- Mayor of the Palace
Mayor of the Palace was an early medieval title and office, also called majordomo, from the Latin title maior domus ("superior of the house"), used most notably in the Frankish kingdoms in the 7th and 8th centuries.
During the 7th century, the office of Mayor of the Palace developed into the true power behind the throne in Austrasia, the northeastern portion of the Kingdom of the Franks under the Merovingian dynasty. The Major Domo held and wielded the real and effective power to make decisions affecting the Kingdom, while in the mid to late Merovingian period, kings had been reduced to performing merely ceremonial functions, which made them little more than nominal kings or figureheads. Compare with the figures of peshwa, shogun, and prime minister under a constitutional monarchy, which have similarly been the real powers with a ceremonial king.
The office became hereditary in the family of the Pippinids with powerful mayors of the palace such as Charles Martel, who proclaimed himself Duke of the Franks, and for the last four years of his reign did not even bother with the façade of a King. After Austrasia and Neustria were reunited in one kingdom, Pepin III — Major Domo since 747 — took the crown of the Merovingians in 751 to establish the line of Carolingian kings. His son Charlemagne assumed even greater power when he was crowned emperor in 800, thus becoming one of the most prominent figures in European history.
Mayors of the Palace of Austrasia
- Parthemius (until 548)
- Gogo (c. 567–581), during the minority of Childebert II
- Wandalenus (from 581), during the minority of Childebert II
- Gundulf (from 600), under Theudebert II
- Landric (until 612), probably also in Neustria
- Warnachar (612–617), also in Burgundy
- Hugh (or Chucus) (617–623), successor of previous
- Pepin the Elder (623–629), under Dagobert I
- Adalgisel (633–639)
- Pepin the Elder (639–640), again
- Otto (640–642 or 643)
- Grimoald I 642 or 643–656), died 662
- Wulfoald (656–680), also in Neustria (673–675)
- Pepin the Middle (680–714), took the title Duke and Prince of the Franks (dux et princeps Francorum) after his conquest of Neustria in 687
- Theudoald (714–715), also in Neustria. Illegitimate son of Grimoald II, designated heir of his grandfather Pepin, opposed by the nobility, who acclaimed Charles Martel
- Charles Martel (715–741), illegitimate son of Pepin the Middle, also in Neustria (718–741)
- Carloman (741–747), died 754 or 755
- Drogo (747–751), son of Carloman
Mayors of the Palace of Neustria
- Landric, under Clotaire II, probably also in Austrasia
- Gundoland (613 or 616–639)
- Aega (639–641), also in Burgundy
- Erchinoald (641–658)
- Ebroin (658–673), deposed
- Wulfoald (673–675), also in Austrasia (662–680)
- Leudesius (675), chosen after previous, then deposed
- Ebroin (675–680), again
- Waratton (680 or 681–682), deposed by his son Gistemar
- Gistemar (682), son of previous, usurper, died 683 or 684
- Waratton (682–684 or 686), again
- Berthar (686–688 or 689), son-in-law of previous, lost Battle of Tertry to Pepin the Middle in 687, murdered in 688 or 689
- Pepin the Middle (688–695), represented in court by his follower Nordebert
- Grimoald II (695–714), son of Pepin the Middle
- Theudoald (714–715), also in Austrasia. Illegitimate son of Grimoald II, driven out of Neustria by the nobility, surrendered claim in 716.
- Ragenfrid (715–718), took power in Neustria in 714 or 715, but defeated by Charles Martel in 717 and definitively in 718 and fled, died 731
- Charles Martel (718–741), illegitimate son of Pepin the Middle, also in Austrasia (715–741)
- Pepin the Younger (741 or 742–751), became king of the Franks in 751 (died 768)
Mayors of the Palace of Burgundy
- Warnachar I (596–599)
- Berthoald (before 603–604)
- Protadius (604–606)
- Rado (613–617)
- Warnachar II (617–626), also in Austrasia
- Godinus (626–627)
- Brodulf (627–628)
- Aega (639–641), also in Neustria
- Flaochad (642)
- Radobertus (642–662)
Hereafter the office was united with that of Neustria, though Burgundy remained a separate realm under the King of Neustria and Burgundy. The administration of Burgundy was briefly separate under:
- Drogo (695–708), son of Pepin the Middle, also duke of Champagne (from 690) and duke of Burgundy from Nordebert's death in 697
- Fredegar. The Chronicle of Fredegar, trans. J. M. Wallace-Hadrill, The Early Middle Ages, 500–1000, ed. Robert Bentrano. New York, 1964.
- Gregory of Tours. Historia Francorum, trans. Earnest Brehaut, 1916. Available at Medieval Sourcebook.
- Oman, Charles. The Dark Ages, 476–918. London: Rivingtons, 1914.
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