Carloman I

Carloman I, also Karlmann (28 June 751 – 4 December 771) was king of the Franks from 768 until his death in 771. He was the second surviving son of Pepin the Short and Bertrada of Laon and was a younger brother of Charlemagne. His death allowed Charlemagne to take all of Francia and begin his expansion into other kingdoms.

Carloman I
Denier sous Carloman Ier
A denarius minted by Carloman I
King of the Franks
Reign9 October 768 – 4 December 771
PredecessorPepin the Short
SuccessorCharles I
Born28 June 751
Died4 December 771 (aged 20)
HouseCarolingian dynasty
FatherPepin the Short
MotherBertrada of Laon

Split of the Frankish kingdom

At the age of 3, he was, together with his father, Pepin the Short, and his elder brother, Charlemagne, anointed King of the Franks and titled "Patrician of the Romans" by Pope Stephen II, who had left Rome to beg the Frankish King for assistance against the Lombards.[1] Carloman and Charlemagne each inherited a half of the Kingdom of the Franks upon Pepin's death. His share was based in the centre of the Frankish Kingdom, with his capital at Soissons, and consisted of the Parisian basin, the Massif Central, the Languedoc, Provence, Burgundy, southern Austrasia, Alsace and Alemannia; the regions were poorly integrated and surrounded by those bequeathed to Charlemagne, and, although Carloman's territories were easier to defend than those of Charlemagne, they were also poorer in income.[2]

It is commonly agreed that Carloman and Charlemagne disliked each other, although the reasons behind this are unclear: some historians suggest that each brother considered himself rightfully to be the sole heir of their father – Charlemagne as the elder child, Carloman as the legitimate child[3] (Charlemagne is sometimes claimed to have been born a bastard in 742, a claim not always accepted).[2] Be that as it may, Pepin the Short's disposal of his kingdom appears to have exacerbated the bad relations between the pair, since it required co-operation between the pair and left both feeling cheated.[3]

Competition with Charlemagne

Carloman's reign proved short and troublesome. The brothers shared possession of Aquitaine, which broke into rebellion upon the death of Pepin the Short; when Charlemagne campaigned to put down the revolt, Carloman led his own army to assist. The two quarreled at Moncontour, near Poitiers, and Carloman withdrew.[4] This, it had been suggested, was an attempt to undermine Charlemagne's power, since the rebellion threatened Charlemagne's rule. Charlemagne crushed the rebels, whilst Carloman's behaviour had damaged his own standing amongst the Franks.[5][6] Relations between the two then degenerated further, requiring the mediation of their mother, Bertrada, who appears to have favoured Charlemagne, with whom she would live out her widowhood.[6]

In 770, his mother Bertrada began a series of diplomatic offensive to encircle Carloman. Charlemagne had married Desiderata, the daughter of the Lombard king Desiderius in Italy, which created an alliance between Charlemagne and the Lombards; Bertrada had also secured for Charlemagne the friendship of Tassilo, Duke of Bavaria, her husband's nephew; she had even attempted to secure Papal support for the marriage by arranging for Desiderius to cede certain territories to Rome, to which the Papacy laid claim. Although Pope Stephen III remained hostile to an alliance between the Franks and the Lombards in theory, in reality, he was deeply conflicted between the threat the Lombards posed to him and the chance to dispose of the anti-Lombard Christopher the Primicerius, the dominant figure at the Papal court.[7]

These maneuvers had been favorable to the Franks in general, but posed serious threats to Carloman's position. He had been left without allies: he attempted to use his brother's alliance with the Lombards to his own advantage in Rome, offering his support against the Lombards to Stephen III and entering into secret negotiations with the Primicerius, Christopher, who has been isolated by the Franco-Lombard rapprochement; but after the murder of Christopher by Desiderius, Stephen III gave his support to the Lombards and Charlemagne. Carloman's position was rescued, however, by Charlemagne's sudden repudiation of his Lombard wife, Desiderius' daughter. Desiderius, outraged and humiliated, appears to have made an alliance with Carloman in opposition to Charlemagne and the Papacy, which took the opportunity to declare itself against the Lombards.[8]

Death and legacy

Carloman died on 4 December 771, at the Villa of Samoussy; the death, sudden and convenient though it was, was set down to natural causes (a severe nosebleed is sometimes claimed as being at fault).[9][10] At the time of his death, he and his brother Charlemagne were close to outright war, which Charlemagne's biographer Einhard attributes to the miscounsel of Carloman's advisors.[9] Carloman was buried in Reims, but he was reburied in the Basilique Saint-Denis in the 13th century.

Carloman had married a beautiful Frankish woman, Gerberga, who according to Pope Stephen III was chosen for him, together with Charlemagne's concubine, Himiltrude, by Pepin the Short.[11] With Gerberga he had two sons, the older of whom was named Pepin after his grandfather, marking him according to Carolingian tradition as the heir of Carloman, and of Pepin the Short.[12] After Carloman's death, Gerberga expected her elder son to become King, and for herself to rule as his regent; however, Carloman's former supporters – his cousin Adalhard, Abbot Fulrad of Saint Denis and Count Warin – turned against her, and invited Charlemagne to annex Carloman's territory, which he duly did.[13] Gerberga then fled (according to Einhard, "for no reason at all")[14] with her sons and Count Autchar, one of Carloman's faithful nobles, to the court of Desiderius, who demanded of the new Pope Hadrian I that he anoint Carloman's sons as Kings of the Franks.[15] Gerberga's flight ultimately precipitated Charlemagne's destruction of the Kingdom of the Lombards; he responded to Desiderius' support of Carloman's children, which threatened Charlemagne's own position, by sweeping into Italy and subjugating it. Desiderius and his family were captured, tonsured, and sent to Frankish religious houses; the fate of Gerberga and her children by Carloman is unknown, although it is possible that they, too, were sent by Charlemagne to monasteries and nunneries.[16]

Despite their difficult relationship, and the events following Carloman's death, Charlemagne would later name his second legitimate son 'Carloman' after his deceased brother. This had, perhaps, been a public gesture to honour the memory of the boy's uncle, and to quell any rumours about Charlemagne's treatment of his nephews. If so, it was swept away in 781, when Charlemagne had his son renamed as Pepin.[8]


He had several children with Gerberga.

  • Pepin, Prince of the Franks (bef. 769)
  • unknown son (ca. 770)
  • Kunigunde or Auberge
  • Ida (ca.768 – ca.820), m. Eckbert II, count of Mersebourg
  • Charles, Illegitimate
  • Carloman, Illegitimate


  1. ^ Chamberlin, Russell, The Emperor Charlemagne, p.44
  2. ^ a b Riché, Pierre, The Carolingians, p.85
  3. ^ a b Chamberlin, Russell, The Emperor Charlemagne, p.62
  4. ^ Collins, Roger, Medieval Europe
  5. ^ McKitterick, Rosamond, The Frankish Kingdoms under the Carolingians, p.64
  6. ^ a b Chamberlin, Russell, The Emperor Charlemagne
  7. ^ Davis, Raymond (Editor), The Lives of the Eighth Century Popes, 102–103 n.76; Chamberlin, Russell, The Emperor Charlemagne, 64–65; McKitterick, Rosamond, The Frankish Kingdoms under the Carolingians, pp.64–65; Collins, Roger, Early Medieval Europe, 279
  8. ^ a b McKitterick, Rosamond, The Frankish Kingdoms under the Carolingians, 65
  9. ^ a b Chamberlin, Russell, The Emperor Charlemagne, p.70
  10. ^ Story, Joanna, "Cathwulf, Kingship, and the Royal Abbey of Saint-Denis", Speculum 74.1 (January 1999:1–21)
  11. ^ Dutton, PE, Carolingian Civilisation: A Reader, p.25
  12. ^ Davis, Raymond (Editor), The Lives of the Eighth Century Popes, 102 n.76
  13. ^ Riché, Pierre, The Carolingians, 86
  14. ^ Einhard, The Life of Charlemagne, in Dutton, PE, Carolingian Civilisation: A Reader, 29
  15. ^ Riché, Pierre, The Carolingians, 97
  16. ^ Chamberlin, Russell, The Emperor Charlemagne, 75.
Carloman I
Born: 751 Died: 771
Preceded by
Pepin the Short
King of the Franks
with Charles I (768–771)
Succeeded by
Charles I

Year 751 (DCCLI) was a common year starting on Friday (link will display the full calendar) of the Julian calendar. The denomination 751 for this year has been used since the early medieval period, when the Anno Domini calendar era became the prevalent method in Europe for naming years.


Year 768 (DCCLXVIII) was a leap year starting on Friday (link will display the full calendar) of the Julian calendar. The denomination 768 for this year has been used since the early medieval period, when the Anno Domini calendar era became the prevalent method in Europe for naming years.


Year 771 (DCCLXXI) was a common year starting on Tuesday (link will display the full calendar) of the Julian calendar. The denomination 771 for this year has been used since the early medieval period, when the Anno Domini calendar era became the prevalent method in Europe for naming years.


Adalgis or Adelchis (died 788) was an associate king of the Lombards from August 759, reigning with his father, Desiderius, until their deposition in June 774. His mother was Ansa. He is remembered today primarily as the hero of the play Adelchi (1822) by Alessandro Manzoni.

When in 773 the Lombard kingdom was invaded by Charlemagne, the king of the Franks, Desiderius stayed in Pavia, the capital, where he unsuccessfully resisted a siege. Adalgis instead took refuge in Verona, where he sheltered the widow and children of Charlemagne's younger brother, Carloman I, who had entered an Italian monastery after abdicating the kingship. Even before the fall of Pavia, when the Frankish army approached Verona, Adalgis did not resist. He escaped to Constantinople, where he was received by the Eastern Roman emperor Constantine V, who raised him to the patriciate.Adalgis hoped to return to re-conquer Italy, and solicited help from Duke Arechis II of Benevento for this purpose. Many Lombards refused to submit to Frankish rule, believing that Adalgis's return was imminent. The historian Paul the Deacon reflected a widespread belief among the Lombards when he wrote, as part of his poetic epigraph for the tomb of Ansa, that "in her, by Christ, the greatest hope of the Lombards spent a time." Einhard, Charlemagne's biographer, also records that "on [Adalgis] all hope seemed to incline" (in quem spes omnium inclinatae videbantur).Only in 787, after the efforts of the Empress Irene to obtain the hand in marriage of Charlemagne's daughter Rotrude for her son, Constantine VI, did the Romans move to give Adalgis the military assistance he required. An expeditionary corps was placed under the command of the saccellarius and logotheta Ihoannes and augmented by troops from Sicily under the patrikios Theodoros. The Roman army landed in Calabria towards the end of 788, but was met by the united armies of the Lombard dukes Hildeprand of Spoleto and Grimoald III of Benevento, who had succeeded his father, Arechis, and made peace with the Franks. These Lombard forces were accompanied by Frankish troops under Winiges. In the ensuing battle the Romans were defeated, but there is no further record of the fate of Adalgis.


Ansegisel (also Ansgise, Ansegus, or Anchises) (c. 602 or 610 – murdered before 679 or 662) was the younger son of Saint Arnulf, bishop of Metz. He served King Sigebert III of Austrasia (634–656) as a duke (Latin dux, a military leader) and domesticus. He was killed sometime before 679, slain in a feud by his enemy Gundewin. Through his son Pepin, Ansegisel's descendants would eventually become Frankish kings and rule over the Carolingian Empire.


Carloman may refer to:

Carloman (fl. late 6th century), father of Pepin of Landen

Carloman (mayor of the palace) (ruled 741–47)

Carloman I, king of the Franks (768–71)

Carloman, birth name of Pepin of Italy (781–810)

Carloman, son of Charles the Bald (died 876)

Carloman of Bavaria (ruled 876–80)

Carloman II, king of the Franks (879–84)


Charlemagne () or Charles the Great (German: Karl der Große, Italian: Carlo Magno/Carlomagno; 2 April 742 – 28 January 814), numbered Charles I, was King of the Franks from 768, King of the Lombards from 774, and Holy Roman Emperor from 800. He united much of western and central Europe during the Early Middle Ages. He was the first recognised emperor to rule from western Europe since the fall of the Western Roman Empire three centuries earlier. The expanded Frankish state that Charlemagne founded is called the Carolingian Empire. He was later canonized by Antipope Paschal III.

Charlemagne was the eldest son of Pepin the Short and Bertrada of Laon, born before their canonical marriage. He became king in 768 following his father's death, initially as co-ruler with his brother Carloman I. Carloman's sudden death in December 771 under unexplained circumstances left Charlemagne as the sole ruler of the Frankish Kingdom. He continued his father's policy towards the papacy and became its protector, removing the Lombards from power in northern Italy and leading an incursion into Muslim Spain. He campaigned against the Saxons to his east, Christianizing them upon penalty of death and leading to events such as the Massacre of Verden. He reached the height of his power in 800 when he was crowned "Emperor of the Romans" by Pope Leo III on Christmas Day at Rome's Old St. Peter's Basilica.

Charlemagne has been called the "Father of Europe" (Pater Europae), as he united most of Western Europe for the first time since the classical era of the Roman Empire and united parts of Europe that had never been under Frankish or Roman rule. His rule spurred the Carolingian Renaissance, a period of energetic cultural and intellectual activity within the Western Church. All Holy Roman Emperors considered their kingdoms to be descendants of Charlemagne's empire, as did the French and German monarchies. However, the Eastern Orthodox Church views Charlemagne more controversially, labelling as heterodox his support of the filioque and the Pope's recognition of him as legitimate Roman Emperor rather than Irene of Athens of the Byzantine Empire. These and other machinations led to the eventual split of Rome and Constantinople in the Great Schism of 1054.Charlemagne died in 814, having ruled as emperor for almost 14 years and as king for almost 46 years. He was laid to rest in his imperial capital city of Aachen. He married at least four times and had three legitimate sons, but only his son Louis the Pious survived to succeed him.

Charles the Younger

Charles the Younger or Charles of Ingelheim (c. 772 – 4 December 811) was a member of the Carolingian dynasty, the second son of Charlemagne and the first by his second wife, Hildegard of Swabia and brother of Louis the Pious and Pepin Carloman. When Charlemagne divided his empire among his sons, his son Charles was designated King of the Franks.

December 4

December 4 is the 338th day of the year (339th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 27 days remaining until the end of the year.


Dreis is an Ortsgemeinde – a municipality belonging to a Verbandsgemeinde, a kind of collective municipality – in the Bernkastel-Wittlich district in Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany.

Drogo of Champagne

Drogo (670–708), son of Pepin the Middle and Plectrude, was the duke of Champagne by appointment of his father in 690 and duke of Burgundy from the death of Nordebert in 697. He was the mayor of the palace of Burgundy from 695.

He married Anstrude, the daughter of Ansflede and Waratton, the former mayor of the palace of Neustria and Burgundy, and also the widow of the mayor of the palace Berthar. They had four sons: Hugh, Arnulf (c. 690–c. 721), Godfrey, and Pepin. Drogo predeceased his father and left the duchy of Champagne to his second-eldest son Arnulf, as the first born Hugh had entered a monastery. Drogo is buried in Metz in Saint-Pierre-aux-Nonnains.

Engelbert Mühlbacher

Engelbert Mühlbacher (4 October 1843 – 17 July 1903) was an Austrian historian.

Born in Gresten, he received his classical education in Linz, Upper Austria being his family's home region. In 1862 he became a novice among the Austin Canons in Sankt Florian. After completing his theological studies there, he was ordained priest in 1867. As Alfred Ritter von Arneth relates in his memoirs, historical studies had been successfully cultivated at St. Florian's since Provost Arneth's time, and Mühlbacher was soon active in this domain. Among his writings are articles on St. Florian's Gerhoh von Reichersberg, and the literary productions of St. Florian's.

In 1872 he was studying history under Julius von Ficker in Innsbruck, where after two years he received the degree of Doctor of Philosophy. He then hastened to Vienna to finish his historical training under Theodor von Sickel's guidance. When Ficker entrusted the youthful scholar with the revision of the Carolingian period of Böhmer's "Regesta", he was directing him to a domain in which he was to do much work. In 1878 he was formally received as academical lecturer into the philosophical faculty of the University of Innsbruck, and between 1880 and 1889 published his edition of the imperial "Regesta" of the Carolingian period. As Oswald Redlich says, "the technique of compiling regesta received exemplary development at Mühlbacher's hands, and his work served as a model for the entire new edition of the imperial Regesta".

In 1892 Mühlbacher was entrusted with the editing of the Carolingian charters for the Monumenta Germaniæ Historica. At the same time it became necessary to bring out a new edition of his Carolingian "Regesta". The two works proved of mutual assistance. He was able to see only the first part of each work through the press, but left considerable material for the use of his successors. No other German scholar was so well qualified to write the Deutsche Geschichte unter den Karolingern, which appeared in 1896. After 1879 Mühlbacher edited the Mitteilungen des Instituts für österreichische Geschichtsforschung (Publications of the Institute for Austrian Historical Research). In 1881 he was appointed extraordinary, and in 1896 ordinary professor at Vienna. In 1895 Ficker turned over to him the management of the Regesta Imperii. He took in hand the arrangement of the Austrian State Archives, and the preparation of the more recent history of Austria. He was chosen an active member of the Imperial Academy of Sciences in Vienna.

When Mühlbacher died in Vienna in the age of only 59 years of pneumonia (an illness made worse by neglect and his enthusiasm for his work), he left the almost completed manuscript of his edition of the charters of Pepin the Short, Carloman I and Charlemagne. This volume was published posthumously in 1906 (Die Urkunden Pippins, Karlmanns und Karls des Großen, MGH Diplomata Karolinorum I, book in digital form) and is the authoritative edition of the charters of these three kings until today.

Frankish Papacy

From 756 to 857, the papacy shifted from the orbit of the Byzantine Empire to that of the kings of the Franks. Pepin the Short (ruled 751–768), Charlemagne (r. 768–814) (co-ruler with his brother Carloman I until 771), and Louis the Pious (r. 814-840) had considerable influence in the selection and administration of popes. The "Donation of Pepin" (756) ratified a new period of papal rule in central Italy, which became known as the Papal States.

This shift was initiated by the Lombards conquering the Exarchate of Ravenna from the Byzantines, strengthened by the Frankish triumph over the Lombards, and ended by the fragmentation of the Frankish Kingdom into West Francia, Middle Francia, and East Francia. Lothair I continued to rule Middle Francia which included much of the Italian peninsula, from 843 to 855.

This period was "a critical time in Rome's transformation from ancient capital to powerful bishopric to new state capital." The period was characterized by "battles between Franks, Lombards and Romans for control of the Italian peninsula and of supreme authority within Christendom."


Gerberga or Gerberge was the name of several queens and noblewomen among the Franks.

Gerberga, the wife and Queen consort of Carloman I, King of the Franks (751–791)

Gerberge (born circa 854), daughter of Pepin, Count of Vermandois

Geva, wife of Dirk I, Count of Holland (born c.870), name also given as Gerberga

Gerberga, wife of Fulk II, Count of Anjou (c. 905 — 960)

Gerberga of Saxony (c. 913–984), the wife and Queen consort of Louis IV of France, mother of Gerberga of Lorraine

Gerberge of Lorraine (c. 935–978), daughter of Gerberga of Saxony, wife of Adalbert I, Count of Vermandois

Gerberga of Burgundy (965–1016), wife of Herman II, Duke of Swabia

Gerberge, daughter of Rotbold II, Count of Provence (d.1008)

Gerberga of Lower Lorraine (c.980–1018), daughter of Charles, Duke of Lower Lorraine, granddaughter of Gerberga of Saxony, niece of Gerberga of Lorraine, wife of Lambert I, Count of Louvain.

Ermesinda of Bigorre (1015–1049) born Gerberga.

Gerberga, Countess of Provence (c. 1060–1115), succeeded by her daughter Douce of Provence (Dolça de Gévaudaun) and son-in-law Ramon Berenguer III, Count of Barcelona.

Gerberga, wife of Carloman I

Gerberga (8th century) was the wife of Carloman I, King of the Franks, and sister-in-law of Charlemagne. Her flight to the Lombard kingdom of Desiderius following Carloman's death precipitated the last Franco-Lombard war, and the end of the independent kingdom of the Lombards in 774.Very little is known of Gerberga. Her family and background are otherwise unknown: references to her being a daughter of Desiderius appear to be based upon confusion between herself and her sister-in-law, the Lombard princess Desiderata, who had married Carloman's brother, Charlemagne, as part of a pact between the Franks and the Lombards. That she in fact was a Frank is attested by Pope Stephen III: when the Pope, hearing of the marriage between Desiderata and Charlemagne, wrote a scolding letter to Carloman and Charlemagne, he claimed to the pair that "by your father's [i.e. Pepin the Short] explicit order, you were united in marriage to beautiful Frankish women..."Gerberga bore her husband Carloman two sons, the elder of whom was named Pippin, during their marriage. After Carloman died (of a severe nosebleed, according to one source), Gerberga expected her sons to inherit Carloman's realm, and perhaps intended to rule as regent; instead, Charlemagne seized his brother's territory, and Gerberga fled Francia with her sons and Carloman's chief advisor, Autchar. Charlemagne's biographer, Einhard, claimed she fled "for no reason at all".In Lombardy, Gerberga and her companions were given refuge by King Desiderius at Pavia. Desiderius and Carloman had been enemies during the latter's reign, due to the alliance between Desiderius and Charlemagne, with whom Carloman had lived in a state of hostility. Desiderius, however, had been alienated from Charlemagne by the latter's repudiation of Desiderius' daughter, Desiderata, shortly before, and now moved in support of Carloman's family. He made overtures to Pope Hadrian I, requesting that he crown Carloman's sons as Kings of the Franks, and acknowledge their right to succeed their father.In 773, Charlemagne invaded Italy, intending to end the threat that Desiderius and Gerberga posed towards him. Desiderius was besieged at Pavia, the Lombard capital; Gerberga took refuge with her sons, Desiderius' son Adalgis, and Autchar, in Verona, the strongest of the Lombard cities. Pavia would fall in June 774; Verona had already been taken before that, the citizens being unwilling to give a protracted resistance to the Frankish army, and Gerberga, her children, and Autchar were brought before Charlemagne.Their fate thereafter is unknown, since there is no further reference to them in Frankish or Papal histories. Some historians consider it likely that Gerberga and her sons (the latter having been tonsured) were sent to religious houses, as was the fate of Desiderius and his family. Others consider Charlemagne's exhortations to his own sons in the Divisio Regni, where he orders that none of his sons should harm their sons or nephews, and suggest that he might have had in mind his own treatment of his nephews.

Grimoald the Younger

Grimoald II (French: Grimaud) (died 714), called the Younger, was the mayor of the palace of Neustria from 695. He was the second son of Pepin of Herstal and Plectrude and his father placed him in the office of mayor of the palace in the Neustrian kingdom in 695, when he was still young.

He married Theudesinda (or Theodelinda), daughter of Radbod, King of the Frisians, and had two sons: Theudoald and Arnold. While en route to visit the tomb of Saint Lambert at Liège, he was assassinated by a certain Rangar, in the employ of his father-in-law. His sons carried on a fight to be recognised as Pepin of Herstal's true heirs, since Grimoald predeceased his father and his half-brother Charles Martel usurped the lands and offices of their father. In short, he was innocent but unlucky.


The Pippinids or Arnulfings are the members of a family of Frankish nobles in the Pippinid dynasty. Their selections served as Mayor of the Palace, de facto rulers, of the Frankish kingdoms of Neustria and Austrasia that were nominally ruled by the Merovingians.


Theudoald (or Theodald; c.708 – 741) was the mayor of the palace, briefly unopposed in 714 after the death of his grandfather, Pepin of Herstal. Then in 715 the nobility acclaimed Ragenfrid mayor of Neustria and Charles Martel mayor of Austrasia.

Theudoald was the legitimate but later claimed illegitimate son of Grimoald II (son of Pepin II of Herstal and Plectrude) and Theudesinda of Frisia (daughter of king Radbod). Thus, he was a grandson of the Frisian king. His grandmother Plectrude tried to have him recognised by his grandfather as the legitimate heir to all the Pippinid lands, instead of Charles Martel. His grandmother surrendered on his behalf in 716 to Chilperic II of Neustria and Ragenfrid.

Theudoald died, probably killed, around 741, after the death of his uncle and protector, Charles Martel. It is notable that, despite his having been proclaimed heir to Pepin of Herstal, when Charles Martel seized power, he allowed his nephew to live, instead of killing him, as was often the case in the Middle Ages.


Tilpin (or Tulpin, Latin Tilpinus; died 794 or 800), whose name was corrupted in legend as Turpin, was the bishop of Reims from about 748 until his death. He was for many years regarded as the author of the legendary Historia Caroli Magni, which is thus also known as the "Pseudo-Turpin Chronicle". He appears as one of the Twelve Peers of France in a number of the chansons de geste, the most important of which is The Song of Roland. His portrayal in the chansons, often as a warrior-bishop, is completely fictitious.

According to Flodoard, the tenth-century historian of the church of Reims, Tilpin was originally a monk at the Basilica of St Denis near Paris. He may have served as a chorbishop under Bishop Milo of Trier (who was also acting as bishop of Reims) before becoming full bishop upon Milo's death around 762. The date of Tilpin's election as a bishop is unknown, usually being placed in 748 or 753. According to Hincmar, the later archbishop of Reims, Tilpin occupied himself in securing the restoration of the rights and properties of his church, the revenues and prestige of which had been impaired under the rule of the more martial Milo.Before Tilpin's episcopate, probably no earlier than 745, a community of priests had formed in the 6th-century basilica that housed the relics of Saint Remigius. It was Tilpin who gave this community a monastic rule and thus founded the abbey of Saint-Remi. He is also credited with founding the scriptorium and library of Reims Cathedral. In 769, Tilpin was one of twelve Frankish bishops to attend the synod of Rome.In 771, Carloman I, joint king of the Franks with his brother, was buried in a 4th-century Roman sarcophagus in the abbey of Saint-Remi in Reims. Tilpin presumably performed the funeral. As a result, the city of Reims was neglected during the long reign of Carloman's brother and rival, Charlemagne. Despite the apparent coolness between Tilpin and Charlemagne, the latter did confirm several of his brother's donations to Saint-Remi.There is a letter purportedly sent by Pope Adrian I to Tilpin in 780, in which the pope recalls how Charlemagne had asked him to send Tilpin the pallium (thus making him an archbishop in 779) and how Charlemagne and Carloman had restored many lands that had previously been taken from the church of Reims. Modern scholarship has tended to view this letter as being heavily interpolated by later partisans of the see of Reims, either by Archbishop Hincmar or by supporters of the deposed Archbishop Ebbo. Another letter, sent by Hincmar to King Louis the Younger, claims that Tilpin granted the villa of Douzy to Charlemagne as a precarium in exchange for the nona et decima and twelve pounds of silver annually. This letter, too, has come under suspicion as falsified.Tilpin died, if the evidence of a diploma alluded to by Jean Mabillon may be trusted, in 794, although it has been stated that this event took place on 2 September 800. Hincmar, who composed his epitaph, makes him bishop for over forty years, while Flodoard says that he died in the forty-seventh year of his archbishopric. The Historia de vita Caroli magni et Rolandi, attributed to Tilpin. was declared authentic in 1122 by Pope Callixtus II. It is, however, entirely legendary, being rather the crystallization of earlier Roland legends than the source of later ones, and its popularity seems to date from the latter part of the 12th century.It is possible that the warlike legends which have gathered around the name of "Turpin" are due to some confusion of his identity with that of Milo. According to Flodoard, Charles Martel drove Archbishop Rigobert from his office and replaced him with a warrior clerk named Milo, afterwards also bishop of Trier. Flodoard also represents Milo as discharging a mission among the Vascones (Basques), the same people credited with ambushing the rearguard of Charlemagne's army and killing Roland at the Battle of Roncevaux Pass in 778.

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