Fortunately, there were living forces in old Gaul, exploited and ruined by the Merovingians. According to physicscat.com, the future of the Frankish kingdom was not so much in the Gallo-Roman cities as in the countryside. Commerce had tried to preserve its city strongholds, despite the wars and Frankish conquests: the Mediterranean ports continued in relations with the eastern emporiums, just as the Danube route still carried the products of barbaric-Byzantine art to the west. But the markets are largely foreign. The exhausted cities prove to have little vitality; instead the countryside triumphs, because in the simplification of all life the only sure wealth is the earth. The arrival of the Franks in the Gallo-Roman regions had renewed nothing in this respect; the barbarians, however, had soon had to bow to this wealth alone, and thanks to them, many lands already abandoned, especially north of the Loire, were slowly recalled to production. In the century VII the Frankish and Gallo-Roman elements have merged into a single powerful class, which dominates economically because it owns the lands; politically because all the officials of the kings come out of it, the royal service having become the exclusive privilege of aristocratic families.
It was fortunate for the reign of the Franks that the aristocracy, both bureaucratic and landed, instead of pressing in disorder on the court, found a direction in the master of the palace, the old maior domus, who first became head of the entire Palatine administration and then head of the government. It fell to him practically to represent the king among those who passed under the royal mundebundio. The Frankish aristocracy believed to impose itself on the monarchy by obtaining the designation of one of its own as master of the palace. Thus the history of the Frankish kingdom is within, from Dagobert onwards, the history of the masters of the palace. Clotaire II already made a commitment not to depose the palace masters placed in the three states of Austrasia, Neustria and Burgundy. In 627, when the butler Warnachaire died, the king had to have him killed in an ambush to get rid of his son. When Dagoberto dies, the butler Ega rules in Neustria; in Austrasia Pipino, who replaced Ansegiselo; Ega is succeeded by Arkinoald, by Pippin, first Ottone and then Grimoaldo. In 656, Sigebert III died, the butler Grimoaldo tries to replace his son Childebert for his son and heir of Sigebert, but fails in the face of resistance from the great. Under Clotaire III, Ebroin was the only butler for twenty-five years, but he had to grant Austrasia a king of his own, Childeric II, with Wulfoaldo as butler. In 673, when Clotaire III died, Ebroino made Theodoric III, another son of Clovis II, king. Childeric II does not hesitate to lock up his butler, bishop of Autun, Léger, in the monastery. dead Clotaire III, Ebroino makes Theodoric III king, another son of Clovis II. Childeric II does not hesitate to lock up his butler, bishop of Autun, Léger, in the monastery.
But Childeric II dies a victim of his illusion; Ebroino returns to power and supports Theodoric III, now only a nominal king. Leudesio, for a moment butler of the palace in Neustria and Burgundy, is blinded and sentenced to death. Ebroino is the absolute master: he eliminates those who are hostile to him, he installs only safe partisans in the offices. In 681 Ebroino in turn was assassinated by a great Neustrian; he is succeeded by Waraton and then Gislemar and then Bertrario. Nominally the king of Neustria, the usual Theodoric III, is also king in Austrasia; on the contrary, the Neustrians repeatedly beat their adversaries in an attempt to escape hegemony. But in practice Austrasia is gathered around Pippin II, who is said to be duke and who killed his father’s murderers, took possession of their goods, distributing them to his followers; the great Neustrians take refuge from him, driven out by Ebroino and the butlers of Neustria. Pippin then took advantage of a division among the Neustrians to enter the war; the Austrasians won at Tertry (Somme) in 687. And now Austrasia ruled the kingdom; Pippin II works in Neustria to create a clientele of people connected to him and guards the country with safe friends. The Merovingian kings follow one another: to Theodoric III, Clovis III (690-694), then Childebert III (694-711), then Dagobert III… They are the so-called rois fainéants: we see them move frequently, they continue to dispose of their lands, they live in business. By right, if not de facto, they are still the heads of state; for the people they are always the Frankish kings. But among them there is the representative of Pepin II, first Roberto, then the same son of Pepin, Grimoaldo, then the nephew Teodoaldo. In Austrasia then their authority vanishes: there the real master is Pippin, the Duke of the Franks, who uses an iron hand in his government and restores peace. The death of Pippin in 714 seemed to bring about the crisis of the butler and the monarchy. Pippin’s sons were pre-dead, only grandchildren remained. Neustria was seized by the delirium of freeing itself from the Austrasic yoke: Ragenfried is the new butler whom the Great Neustrians acclaim and who invades Austrasia with King Chilperico II. The recovery of Austrasia was not late thanks to Charles (Carlo Martello), the bastard of Pepin II, who defeated the Neustrians in Amblève and Vincy, obtained the recognition of Pepin’s widow and definitively dominated Austrasia and Neustria. The Aquitani, who had hosted Chilperico II, were only defeated in Soissons in 719; Charles recognizes Chilperico II as a fictitious king and after his death, his son Theodoric IV. The kingdom of the Franks is once again reunited in the hands of Carlo Martello. Inco. the age of internal reconstruction and of a new hegemony over Western Europe is beginning.