Henri Pirenne (1862-1935)

                   1937: Mahomet et Charlemagne


Pirenne Thesis





          Major Domus




Charles Martel (688-743)

732 Battle of Tours / Poitiers


Pippin III the short (crowned king by Stephen II 754; died 768)


                             Childeric III (751)

Pope Stephen II Donation of Constantine appears





rois fainéants: do-nothing kings




The wealth and the power of the kingdom were held tight in the hands of certain leading officials of the court, who were called the Mayors of the Palace, and on them supreme authority devolved. All that was left to the King was that, content with his royal title, he should sit on the throne, with his hair long and his beard flowing, and act the part of a ruler, giving audience to the ambassadors who arrived from foreign parts and then, when their time of departure came, charging them with answers which seemed to be of his own devising but in which he had in reality been coached or even directed. Beyond this empty title of King, and a precarious living wage which the Mayor of the Palace allowed him at his own discretion, the King possessed nothing at all of his own, except a single estate with an extremely small revenue, in which he had his dwelling and from which came the servants, few enough in number, who ministered to his wants and did him honour.


(from Einhard, The Life of Charlemagne, trans. Lewis Thorpe)






          Carloman (c.751-771)



Charlemagne (c.742-814)






                    SAXONS: 772-804:

                              785    Capitulary on the Parts of Saxony:

                             797    Saxon Capitulary:

                    BAVARIA: 787

                    SPAIN: 778




          Peripatetic court








Margraves (Mark graaf)

Bishops / Abbots

missi dominici




                             LEO III (795-816)


renovatio imperii