eclectic content

Merovingians, the

[French History]
[ MER-oh-vin-GEE-ahns ]

(also 'Merovingian')

The Merovingians were a dynasty of Frankish kings who ruled a (frequently fluctuating) area -- in what is now France -- from the 5th to the 8th century AD.

The Merovingian Dynasty owes its name to Merovech (sometimes Latinised as Meroveus or Merovius),
leader of the Salian Franks from about 447 to 457. The Dynasty emerges into wider history with the victories of Childeric I (reigned about 457-481) against the Visigoths, Saxons and Alamanni.
Childeric's son Clovis I went on to unite most of Gaul north of the Loire (486), to adopt Roman Catholicism (496), and to conquer the Visigothic kingdom of Toulouse (battle of Vouillé, 507).

The reigns of earlier Frankish chiefs - Pharamond (about 419 - about 427) and Clodion (about 427 - about 447) - are thought to owe more to myth than fact, and their relationship to the historical Merovingian line is uncertain. After Clovis's death (511) his realm was repeatedly divided over the next two centuries following Frankish inheritance patterns. The rivalry between the eastern kingdom of Austrasia and its western neighbour Neustria contributed to the rise of the powerful court officials known as the mayors of the palace, founders of what was to become the Carolingian Empire with the deposition of the last Merovingian king and the accession in 751 of Pepin the Short, father of Charlemagne.

According, however, to certain esoteric versions of history (the Knights' Templar, in particular), the Merovingian kings were direct descendants of Mary Magdalene and Jesus Christ once they arrived in southern France following Christ's crucifixion and "resurrection." Some say that the Roman church killed off all remnants of this dynasty (i.e., both the "Cathar Heresy" of Languedoc early on and Templars--also purportedly descendants of Christ--during the Inquisition) in order to gain power through the "spiritual" dynasty of Peter instead of the "holy blood" (i.e. Sangreal) of Mary Magdalene's descendants.