Three centuries on the throne, the Merovingians far from the images of Epinal

ROYAL READING – Why did the Carolingians manage to rule for three centuries? This is explained by the historian Bruno Dumézil in the book he dedicated to this dynasty of the early Middle Ages.

The contemporary texts have almost all disappeared. Especially since they were written on papyrus. As for memory, it has inevitably been lost over a millennium and a half. So much so that only “amplified, invented or distorted stories” were often sold about the Merovingians, emphasizes historian Bruno Dumézil in the introduction to his book “The Merovingian Empire”. 5th – 8th century” published last September by Editions Passés / Composés (on sale for 23 euros). And let us name among these images from Epinal, for example, the Soissons vase, the trousers of the good King Dagobert or even the rivalry between Frédégonde and Brunehaut, the “queens of blood”.

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Their contemporaries had a high opinion of the Merovingian rulers

This normalien, associate professor of history and doctor of medieval history, who teaches at the Sorbonne, also wanted to set the record straight about this dynasty, which ruled over a large area of ​​Europe for 300 years, through this work. “However, before the time of oblivious memory there was a family that occupied the throne of the Franks between 450 and 751. Three centuries longer than all the other dynasties except the Capetians. Moreover, contemporaries had a high opinion of their kings,” he assures.

In the 352 pages of this book, the author examines the emergence of this informal empire and its sustainability on the basis of all existing documentation. From Childeric and his son Clovis to the “lazy kings,” he shows “that the Merovingian world held together because it was constantly torn by movements that we can think of as crises or reforms, but which forced us to invest in many actors. the life of the kingdom: institutions, relations with the king, current or past identities, everything could be discussed or reformulated.

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