HISTORY: FROM ITS ORIGINS TO PIPPIN THE SHORT
France arose from the ruins of the Western Roman Empire. Around the middle of the century. V d. C., Gaul was divided between four Germanic peoples: the southern part was subjected to the Visigoths and Burgundians, the northern part was largely subjected to the Franks and the Alamanni; the former were in turn divided into two groups: the Sali Franks or West Franks (between the mouth of the Reno and the Somme) and the Ripuarian Franks or Renani Franks (on the left bank of the Rhine). Only a small part of Gaul, between the Somme, the Meuse and the Loire, remained under Roman domination and was ruled by Siagrio, a representative of the old Gallo-Roman aristocracy, who resided in Soissons. With Meroveo, third king of the Franks, from which the first Frankish dynasty takes its name, we leave the purely legendary field: the tomb of his son Childeric I was discovered near Tournai in 1653.
In 481, according to globalsciencellc, on the death of Childeric, his son Chlodowich, whose name was rendered in French as Clovis and in Italian as Clovis, he was fifteen and according to Salic law he was of age, so he succeeded his father, in a very small area around Tournai. Very ambitious, he also made use of a skilful religious policy to expand his domains: in fact he proposed himself as the protector of the Catholic populations of the conquered regions and their bishops and when he took Aquitaine from the Visigoths, most of Roman Gaul became prerogative of the Merovingians. For over a century, a period characterized by the most atrocious crimes followed: murders, vendettas and betrayals followed one another in the royal family. Clovis had divided the kingdom between his four sons: Clotaire, Theodoric, Clodomiro and Childebert; in 558 the first, after the deaths of Clodomiro (524), of Theodoric (534) and of Childebert (558), became the only king of the Franks. But three years later, on his death (561), the kingdom was again divided between his four sons Chilperico (561-584), Cariberto (561-567), Gontrano (561-593) and Sigeberto (561-575). A new territorial conception then appeared, that of Austrasia, consisting of the territories located between the Meuse, the Rhine and the Moselle and formed by strongly Germanized, if not even Germanic, regions. This concept was first evident when Sigeberto moved his residence from Reims to Metz. His brothers, neglecting the northern regions, preferred richer lands, which remained Romanized, and from the Paris Basin they gave birth to Neustria, which stretched along the Seine and was endowed with a vast maritime coast. In this way the sense of belonging to a single nation disappeared, to give way to the rivalry between the two states, Neustria and Austrasia, of which Chilperico and Sigeberto were considered respectively king. Their wives, Fredegonda and Brunhilde, distinguished themselves in the struggle for power with ferocious crimes.
The son of Chilperico and Fredegonda, Clotaire II, proved to be an energetic and enterprising ruler: in 613, with the help of the Austrasian nobility, he re-established the unity of the Frankish kingdom. His son Dagoberto left in the people the memory of having been the “good king”. Perhaps he owed this fame above all to his advisers, the bishop of Noyon, Eligio, that of Rouen, Audoeno, and Pippin known as of Landen. At his death (638) the kingdom was again divided between his two sons; thus the division between Neustria (Clovis II) and Austrasia (Sigebert III) was resurrected), in the government of which the two young sovereigns were assisted, or rather replaced, by palace masters (with them began the period of the “idle kings”).. During the half-century that followed the death of Dagobert, under the rule of Ebroin, which aimed to restore Frankish unity to its advantage, Neustria successfully opposed Austrasia, where the powerful and wealthy Pippin family had succeeded. to centralize the functions of the palace butlers within himself. After the assassination of Ebroin (681), Pepin of Héristal he defeated the troops of Neustria at Tertry (687) and restored unity under the fictitious rule of the Merovingian kings. He did not make the mistake of leaving Austrasia, where his strength and the flower of his army resided, and imposed on Neustria a child king who was succeeded by kings of little account and of whom little is known. Pepin of Héristal, considered the founder of the Carolingian dynasty, died in 714 and three years later, Charles, his natural son, established himself as a master of the palace. With the victory he won in Poitiers in 732 against the Arabs (the new adversaries who after the destruction of the Visigothic kingdom in Spain had invaded Septimania, and marched on Tours) he made his name immortal and from that moment he was called Carlo Martello. In 741, on the death of Charles, the kingdom was divided among his sons. Charlemagne had the eastern half, then Austrasia, and Pepin called the Short, the western part, Neustria (since 747, when Charlemagne retired to a convent, Pepin remained the only master of the kingdom). At his side a Merovingian king continued to vegetate until 751, when with the support of Pope Zacharias, who aimed to create a solid support against the Lombards who increasingly threatened the borders of the papal domains, Pippin had himself proclaimed king by the Assembly of the great of the kingdom. In 755 he intervened in Italy in aid of Pope Stephen II and in the course of two campaigns he defeated the Lombards and assured the papacy the possession of the Byzantine provinces of central Italy, together with the authority over the city of Rome.