Merovingian dynasty

Frankish aristocratic family that ruled from the 5th century to 751

The Merovingians were a dynasty of Frankish kings who ruled in the region of ancient Gaul (more or less modern France), from the fifth to the 8th century when the Carolingian dynasty took control.

They were sometimes referred to as the "long-haired kings" (Latin reges criniti) by people of the time, for their symbolically uncut hair (traditionally the tribal leader of the Franks wore his hair long, while the warriors trimmed theirs short). The term is drawn directly from Germanic, akin to their dynasty's Old English name Merewīowing.

The Merovingian dynasty owes its name to the semi-legendary Merovech (or Merowig, sometimes Latinised as Meroveus or Merovius), leader of the Salian Franks from c.447 to 457. Clovis I went on to unite most of Gaul north of the Loire under his control around 486, when he defeated Syagrius, the Roman ruler in those parts.

  • Franks (main history of Frankish kingdoms)


  • Beyerle, F and R. Buchner: Lex Ribuaria in MGH, Hannover 1954.
  • Eugen Ewig: Die Merowinger und das Frankenreich. Stuttgart: Kohlhammer, 2001.
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  • Kaiser, Reinhold: Das römische Erbe und das Merowingerreich, (Enzyklopädie deutscher Geschichte 26) (München, 2004)
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  • Werner, Karl Ferdinand: Die Ursprünge Frankreichs bis zum Jahr 1000, Stuttgart 1989.
  • Oman, Charles: The Dark Ages 476-918, London, 1914.
  • Wood, Ian: "The Merovingian Kingdoms: 450-751", New York: Longman Press, 1994.

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