Mayor of the Palace

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Under the Merovingian dynasty, the mayor of the palace (Latin: maior palatii) or majordomo (maior domus) was the manager of the household of the Frankish king. The office existed from the sixth century, and during the seventh it evolved into the "power behind the throne" in the northeastern kingdom of Austrasia. In 751, the mayor of the palace, Pepin the Short, orchestrated the deposition of the king, Childeric III, and was crowned in his place.

The mayor of the palace held and wielded the real and effective power to make decisions affecting the kingdom, while the kings had been reduced to performing merely ceremonial functions, which made them little more than figureheads (rois fainéants, "do-nothing kings"). The office may be compared to that of the peshwa, shogun or prime minister, all of which have similarly been the real powers behind a ceremonial monarch.

In Austrasia, the mayoral office became hereditary in the family of the Pippinids. In 687, after victory over the western kingdom of Neustria, the Austrasian mayor, Pippin of Herstal, took the title Duke of the Franks to signify his augmented rule. His son and successor, Charles Martel, ceased bother with the façade of a king, and the last four years of his reign (743–47) were an interregnum.

Mayors of the Palace of Austrasia[edit]

Mayors of the Palace of Neustria[edit]

Mayors of the Palace of Burgundy[edit]

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:

Sources[edit]

  • Oman, Charles. The Dark Ages, 476–918. London: Rivingtons, 1914.