1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Pippin

PIPPIN, or Pepin, the name of three members of the Carolingian family.

Pippin I. (d. 640), incorrectly called Pippin of Landen, was mayor of the palace to the youthful Dagobert I., whom Clotaire II had placed over the kingdom of Austrasia. He was disgraced when Dagobert became sole king in 629, and had to seek refuge in Aquitaine. Returning at Dagobert's death (639), he governed Austrasia in Sigebert's name, but died in the following year.

Pippin II. (d. 714), incorrectly called Pippin of Herstal, was son of Adalgiselus (son of Arnulf, bishop of Metz) by a daughter of Pippin I., called in later documents Begga. Towards 678 he placed himself at the head of the great nobles in Austrasia to combat Ebroïn, the mayor of the palace, and Neustria. After some reverses he gained a great victory after Ebroïn's death at the battle of Tertry, not far from St Quentin. This victory made Pippin almost entire master of Gaul. He appointed one of his sons mayor of the palace of Neustria, reserving for another of his sons the mayoralty of Austrasia. He made war on the Frisians and defeated their duke Radbod; and part of this people became converts to Christianity. He also defeated Willari, the duke of the Alamanni, and subdued his country. The Bavarians, too, recognized the Frankish suzerainty. The plans he had formed for reforming the church and convoking councils were interrupted by his death, which took place on the 16th of December 714.

Pippin III. (d. 768), the Short,[1] was son of Charles Martel. Before his death in 741 Charles Martel had divided the Frankish kingdom between his two sons, Carloman and Pippin, giving Carloman the eastern part and Pippin the western. Since 737 there had been no king in the Frankish realm; in the diplomas the two brothers bear the title of majores palatii, while the chroniclers call them simply principles. In 743, however, the mayors decided to appoint a king in the person of Childeric III., who was apparently connected with the Merovingian family. But Childeric was a mere figure-head, and had no power. The two brothers presided over the tribunals, convoked the councils at which the Frankish Church was reformed, assembled the host and made war, jointly defeating and subduing Duke Hunald of Aquitaine. In 747 Carloman unexpectedly abdicated, became a monk, and retired to a monastery near Rome, subsequently founding on Mt Soracte the monastery of St Silvester. From the time of the abdication Pippin was sole master; and in 751, after consulting Pope Zacharias, he took the title of king and removed the feeble Childeric to a monastery. He then got himself crowned by St Boniface, a ceremony which was new to France and which gave the sovereign immense prestige; henceforth the king of the Franks called himself Gratia Dei rex Francorum. Pippin's reign is marked by many important events. He received in France a personal visit from Pope Stephen II., who conferred on him the title of Patrician of the Romans and recrowned him. In return for these honours Pippin, at the appeal of the pope, made two expeditions into Italy, in 754 and 756; and he became the veritable creator of the papal state by conferring on the pope the exarchate of Ravenna, which he had wrested from Aistulf, the king of the Lombards. Pippin took Septimania from the Arabs, and after a stubborn war of nearly eight years' duration (760-68) succeeded in taking Aquitaine from its duke, Waifer. He also intervened in Germany, Where he forced the duke of Bavaria, Tassilo, to become his vassal. In 763, however, Tassilo abandoned Pippin during an expedition against Aquitaine. Pippin made several expeditions against the Saxons, but failed to subdue them. He entered into relations with the Eastern Empire, exchanging ambassadors with the emperor Constantine Copronymus. During Pippin's reign Frankish institutions underwent some modification. The Frankish assemblies, previously held in the month of March (champs de mars), but under Pippin deferred to May (champs de mai), came to be more numerous, and served the king of the Franks as a means of receiving the gifts of his subjects and of promulgating his capitularies. At the head of the administration was placed the arch chaplain, and an ecclesiastical chancellor was substituted for the ancient referendarius. Ecclesiastical reform was continued under Pippin, Bishop Chrodegans of Metz uniting the clergy of Metz in a common life and creating canons (see {{EB1911 article link|Canon). Pippin died on the 24th of September 768 at St Denis, leaving two sons, Charles (Charlemagne) and, Carloman.

See H. Bonnell, Die Anfänge des karolingischen Hauses (Berlin, 1866); H. Hahn, Jahrbücher des frankischen Reiches 741-752 (Berlin, 1863), L. Oelsner, Jahrbücher des frankischen Reiches unter König Pippin (Leipzig, 1871); J. F. Böhmer and E. Mühlbacher, Regesten des Kaiserreichs unter den Karolingern (2nd ed, 1899); and E. Mühlbacher, Deutsche Geschichte unter den Karolingern (Stuttgart, 1896)  (C. Pf.) 


  1. A surname given to Pippin III on the strength of a legendary anecdote related by the monk of St Gall.