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List of Frankish kings

The Franks were originally led by dukes (military leaders) and reguli (petty kings). The Salian Merovingians rose to dominance among the Franks and conquered most of Roman Gaul. They also conquered the Visigoths in 507. The sons of Clovis conquered the Burgundians and Alamanni. They acquired Provence and made the Bavarii and Thuringii their clients. The Merovingians were later replaced by a new dynasty called the Carolingians in the 8th century. By the end of the 9th century, the Carolingians themselves were replaced throughout much of their realm by other dynasties. The idea of a "King of the Franks" or Rex Francorum gradually disappeared over the 12th and 13th centuries.

A timeline of Frankish rulers is difficult since the realm was, according to old Germanic practice, frequently divided among the sons of a leader upon his death and then eventually reunited.

Dukes and reguli

Early rulers and Ripuarians

This list of early rulers is incomplete, as our sources leave open many gaps.

Ruler Description
Pharamond son of Marcomer, semi-legendary king. (Pharamond reigned with Chlodio 420–448)[1]
Chlodio (Chlodio reigned with Pharamond 420–448)[1]
Theudemeres son of Richomeres, King circa 422
Sigobert the Lame King 483–507, killed by his son Chloderic the Parricide
Chlodoric the Parricide son of Sigebert, King 507, dethroned by Clovis

Rulers of the Salians

Ruler Description
Clodio son of Theudemeres, King at Dispargum and later Tournai (426–447)
Merovech possible son of Chlodio, King at Tournai (447–458) (Merovee or Merovaeus reigned 448–458)[1]
Childeric I son of Merovech, King at Tournai (458–481)[1]
Clovis I son of Childeric I, King at Tournai (481–511), later united most of the Franks and Roman Gaul.[1]

All of the following may have been related to Clovis in some degree and eventually removed by before 509:

Ruler Description
Ragnachar probably king at Cambrai from before 486, killed by Clovis
Ricchar brother of Ragnachar, killed by Clovis at Cambrai
Rignomer brother of Ragnachar, killed by Clovis at Mans

Merovingian kings of the Franks

All the Franks
Image Name Date of Birth Date of Death Reign Relationship with predecessor
Clovis I c. 466 27 November 511 509–511 (481–511)[1] N/A

Clovis I united all the Frankish petty kingdoms as well as most of Roman Gaul under his rule, conquering the Domain of Soissons of the Roman general Syagrius as well as the Visigothic Kingdom of Toulouse. He took his seat at Paris, which along with Soissons, Reims, Metz, and Orléans became the chief residences. Upon his death, the kingdom was split among his four sons:

Soissons Paris Orléans Reims
Picture Name Picture Name Picture Name Picture Name
80px Chlothar I
511–561 (Clotaire r. 511–558) (Neustria)[1]
80px Childebert I
511–558 (Neustria)[1]
80px Chlodomer
511–524 (Neustria)[1]
80px Theuderic I (Thierry I r. 511–534) (Austrasia)[1]
Passed to Paris then to Soissons
80px Theudebert I
534–548 (Austrasia)[1]
548–555 (Austrasia)[1]
Passed to Soissons in 558 Passed to Soissons in 555

Chlothar I eventually (558-561)[1] inherited all of the Frankish kingdoms after the deaths of his brothers or their successors. After his own death, the kingdom was once again split among his four sons:

(eventually Neustria)
Paris Orléans
(eventually Burgundy)
Reims and Metz
(eventually Austrasia)
Picture Name Picture Name Picture Name Picture Name
80px Chilperic I
561–584 (Neustria)[1]
50px Charibert I
561–567 (Caribert r. 561–593) (Neustria)[1]
50px Guntram
561–592 (Gontran r. 561–570) (Neustria)[1]
80px Sigebert I
561–575 (Austrasia)[1]
Partitioned in 567, eventually
falling in the hands of Soissons
80px Childebert II
80px Chlothar II
584–629 (Clotaire II, son of Chilperic, r. 584-628)[1]
Passed to Reims and Metz in 592
80px Theuderic II
- Theudebert II
Passed to Orléans in 612
then to Soissons
- Sigebert II
Passed to Soissons in 613
80px Dagobert I
623–629 (r. 628–638)[1]

Chlothar II defeated Brunhilda and her grandson, reunifying the kingdom. However, in 623, in order to appease particularistic forces and also to secure the borders, he gave the Austrasians his young son as their own king. His son and successor, Dagobert I, emulated this move by appointing a sub-king for Aquitaine, with a seat at Toulouse, in 629 and Austrasia in 634.

Neustria, Austrasia & Burgundy Aquitaine
Picture Name Picture Name
110px Dagobert I
80px Charibert II
autonomy until c. 767.
Neustria and Burgundy Austrasia
Picture Name Picture Name
80px Dagobert I
80px Sigebert III
160px Clovis II
80px Chlothar III
- Childebert the Adopted
Inherited by Chlothar III, but given to Childeric II in 662.
80px Childeric II
Unified rule from 673–675
80px Theuderic III
80px Childeric II
Displaced Theuderic III until his death in 675
80px Theuderic III
Unified rule after 679
80px Clovis III
80px Dagobert II
Passed to Neustria and Burgundy

Theuderic III was recognized as king of all the Franks in 679. From then on, the kingdom of the Franks can be treated as a unity again for all but a very brief period of civil war. This is the period of the "idle kings" who were increasingly overshadowed by their mayors of the palace.

Image Name Date of Birth Date of Death Reign Relationship with predecessor
Theuderic III c. 654 12 April 691 679–691 N/A
Clovis IV c. 678 c. 695 691–695 son of
Childebert III c. 670/683 23 April 711 695–711 brother of
Dagobert III c. 699 31 December 715 711–715 brother of
Chilperic II c. 672 13 February 721 715–720 first cousin once removed of
Chlothar IV  ? c. 719 717–718
rival puppet king in Austrasia
relative of
Theuderic IV c. 712 16 March/30 April 737 720–737 son of Dagobert III
interregnum 737–743
Childeric III c. 717 c. 754 743–752 relative of


Mayors of the palace

The Carolingians were initially mayors of the palace under the Merovingian kings, first in Austrasia and later in Neustria and Burgundy. In 687, Pippin of Heristal took the title Duke and Prince of the Franks (dux et princeps Francorum) after his conquest of Neustria in at the Battle of Tertry, which was cited by contemporary chroniclers as the beginning of Pippin's reign. Between 715 and 716, the descendants of Pippin disputed the succession.

  • Pippin I of Landen (Austrasia: 623–629 and 639–640)
  • Grimoald I (Austrasia: 643–656; died 662)
  • Pippin II of Herstal (Austrasia: 680–714, Neustria and Burgundy: 687–695)
  • Drogo (Burgundy: 695–708)
  • Grimoald II (Neustria: 695–714, Burgundy: 708–714)
  • Theudoald (Austrasia, Neustria, and Burgundy: 714–716)
  • Charles Martel (Austrasia: 715–741, Neustria and Burgundy: 718–741)
  • Carloman (Austrasia: 741–747; died 754 or 755)
  • Pippin III the Short (Neustria and Burgundy: 741–751, Austrasia: 747–751)

In March 752,[4][5] Pippin III became the King of the Franks and the office of mayor disappeared. The Carolingians displaced the Merovingians as the ruling dynasty.

Kings of the Franks

Louis the Pious made many divisions of his empire during his lifetime. The final division, pronounced at Worms in 838, made Charles the Bald heir to the west, including Aquitaine, and Lothair heir to the east, including Italy and excluding Bavaria, which was left for Louis the German. However, following the emperor's death in 840, the empire was plunged into a civil war that lasted three years. The Frankish kingdom was then divided by the Treaty of Verdun in 843. Lothair was allowed to keep his imperial title and his kingdom of Italy, and granted the newly created Kingdom of Middle Francia, a corridor of land stretching from Italy to the North Sea, and including the Low Countries, the Rhineland (including Aachen), Burgundy, and Provence. Charles was confirmed in Aquitaine, where Pepin I's son Pepin II was opposing him, and granted West Francia (modern France), the lands west of Lothair's Kingdom. Louis the German was confirmed in Bavaria and granted East Francia (modern Germany), the lands east of Lothair's kingdom.

The following table does not provide a complete listing for some of the various regna of the empire, especially those which were subregna of the Western, Middle, or Eastern kingdom such as Italy, Provence, Neustria, and Aquitaine.


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s William Deans; Frederick Martin (1882). A History Of France: From The Earliest Times To The Present Day 1. Edinburgh & London: A. Fullarton & Co. pp. 420-1792, Table Of Sovereigns Of France, vi-ix. 
  2. ^ Contested by Munderic, 533, rival king in the Auvergne
  3. ^ Contested by Gundoald, 584 – 585, rival king in Aquitaine
  4. ^ Charles Knight, The English Cyclopaedia: Volume IV, (London : 1867); pg 733 "We have no circumstantial account of this important event, except that Pepin was anointed at Soissons, in March 752, by Boniface, bishop of Mainz, called the Apostle of Germany, before the assembly of the nation."
  5. ^ Claudio Rendina & Paul McCusker, The Popes: Histories and Secrets, (New York : 2002), pg 145

Further reading

  • The history of France as recounted in the "Grandes Chroniques de France", and particularly in the personal copy produced for King Charles V between 1370 and 1380 that is the saga of the three great dynasties, the Merovingians, Carolingians, and the Capetians, that shaped the institutions and the frontiers of the realm. This document was produced and likely commissioned during the Hundred Years' War, a dynastic struggle between the rulers of France and England with rival claims to the French throne. It should therefore be read and considered carefully as a source, due to the inherent bias in the context of its origins.
  • The Cambridge Illustrated History of France - Cambridge University Press
  • The Origins of France: Clovis to the Capetians 500-1000 by Edward James ISBN 0-333-27052-5
  • Late Merovingian France: History and Hagiography, 640-720 (Manchester Medieval Sources); Paul Fouracre (Editor), Richard A. Gerberding (Editor) ISBN 0-7190-4791-9
  • Medieval France: An Encyclopedia, eds. W. Kibler and G. Zinn. New York: Garland Publishing, 1995.

External links