Francia  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Francia was the territory inhabited and ruled by the Franks from the 3rd to the 10th century. Under the nearly continuous campaigns of Charles Martel, Pepin the Short, and Charlemagne—father, son, grandson—the greatest expansion of the Frankish empire was secured by the early 9th century.

Islamic invasion

In the 730s the Arab conquerors of Spain, who had also subjugated Septimania, began advancing northwards into central Francia and the Loire valley. It was at this time (circa 736) that Maurontus, the dux of Provence, called in the Arabs to aid him in resisting the expanding influence of the Carolingians. However, Charles invaded the Rhone valley with his brother Childebrand and a Lombard army and devastated the region. It was because of the alliance against the Arabs that Charles was unable to support Pope Gregory III against the Lombards.

In 732 or 737—modern scholars have debated over the date—Charles marched against an Arab army between Poitiers and Tours and defeated it in a watershed battle that turned back the tide of the Arab advance north of the Pyrenees. But Charles' real interests lay in the northeast, primarily with the Saxons, from whom he had to extort the tribute which for centuries they had paid to the Merovingians.

Shortly before his death in October 741, Charles divided the realm as if he were king between his two sons by his first wife, marginalising his younger son Grifo, who did receive a small portion (it is unknown exactly what). Though there had been no king since Theuderic's death in 737, Charles' sons Pepin the Short and Carloman were still only mayors of the palaces. The Carolingians had assumed the regal status and practice, though not the regal title, of the Merovingians. The division of the kingdom gave Austrasia, Alemannia, and Thuringia to Carloman and Neustria, Provence, and Burgundy to Pepin. It is indicative of the de facto autonomy of the duchies of Aquitaine (under Hunoald) and Bavaria (under Odilo) that they were not included in the division of the regnum.

After Charles Martel was buried, in the Abbey of Saint-Denis alongside the Merovingian kings, conflict immediately erupted between Pepin and Carloman on one side and Grifo their younger brother on the other. Though Carloman captured and imprisoned Grifo, it may have been enmity between the elder brothers that caused Pepin to release Grifo while Carloman was on a pilgrimage to Rome. Perhaps in an effort to neutralise his brother ambitions, Carloman initiated the appointment of a new king, Childeric III, drawn from a monastery, in 743. Others have suggested that perhaps the position of the two brothers was weak or challenged, or perhaps there Carloman was merely acting for a loyalist or legitimist party in the kingdom.

In 743 Pepin campaigned against Odilo and forced him to submit to Frankish suzerainty. Carloman also campaigned against the Saxons and the two together defeated a rebellion led by Hunoald at the head of the Basques and another led by Alemanni, in which Liutfrid of Alsatia probably died, either fighting for or against the brothers. In 746, however, the Frankish armies were still, as Carloman was preparing to retire from politics and enter the monastery of Mount Soracte. Pepin's position was further stabilised and the path was laid for his assumption of the crown in 751.




Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Francia" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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