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The Franks (Latin: Franci or gens Francorum), as a confederation of Germanic tribes, were originally led by dukes (military leaders) and reguli (petty kings). The Franks occupied the lands of the Lower and Middle Rhine in the third century AD, and alongside the Salian Merovingians, who rose to dominance among the Franks, they conquered most of Roman Gaul. In 507 the Franks would also conquer the Visigoths, while the sons of Clovis would conquer the Burgundians and Alamanni. They acquired Provence and made the Bavarii and Thuringii their clients. The Merovingians were later replaced by a new dynasty called the Carolingians in the eight century. By the end of the ninth century, the Carolingians themselves were replaced throughout much of their realm by other dynasties.

A timeline of Frankish rulers is difficult since the realm was, according to old Germanic practice, frequently divided among the sons of a leader upon his death and then eventually reunited.

Dukes and reguli

Early rulers and Ripuarians

This list of early rulers is incomplete, as our sources leave open many gaps.

Ruler Description
Pharamond son of Marcomer, semi-legendary king. (Pharamond reigned with Chlodio 420–448)
Chlodio (Chlodio reigned with Pharamond 420–448)
Theudemeres son of Richomeres, King circa 422
Sigobert the Lame King 483–507, killed by his son Chloderic the Parricide
Chlodoric the Parricide son of Sigebert, King 507, dethroned by Clovis

Rulers of the Salians

Ruler Description
Clodio son of Theudemeres, King at Dispargum and later Tournai (426–447)
Merovech possible son of Chlodio, King at Tournai (447–458) (Merovee or Merovaeus reigned 448–458)
Childeric I son of Merovech, King at Tournai (458–481)
Clovis I son of Childeric I, King at Tournai (481–511), later united most of the Franks and Roman Gaul.

All of the following may have been related to Clovis in some degree and eventually removed by before 509:

Ruler Description
Ragnachar probably king at Cambrai from before 486, killed by Clovis
Ricchar brother of Ragnachar, killed by Clovis at Cambrai
Rignomer brother of Ragnachar, killed by Clovis at Mans

Merovingian kings of the Franks

All the Franks
Image Name Date of Birth Date of Death Reign Relationship with predecessor
Clovis 1er
Clovis I c. 466 27 November 511 509–511 (481–511) N/A

Clovis I united all the Frankish petty kingdoms as well as most of Roman Gaul under his rule, conquering the Domain of Soissons of the Roman general Syagrius as well as the Visigothic Kingdom of Toulouse. He took his seat at Paris, which along with Soissons, Reims, Metz, and Orléans became the chief residences. Upon his death, the kingdom was split among his four sons:

Soissons Paris Orléans Reims
Picture Name Picture Name Picture Name Picture Name
Denar koenig chlotar i Chlothar I
511–561 (Clotaire r. 511–558) (Neustria)
Tiers de sou d'or de Childebert Ier Childebert I
511–558 (Neustria)
Clodomir supervise l'execution de Sigismond Chlodomer
511–524 (Neustria)
Portrait Roi de france Thierri Ier Theuderic I (Thierry I r. 511–534) (Austrasia)
Passed to Paris then to Soissons
Theodebert I 534 548 king of Metz Theudebert I
534–548 (Austrasia)
548–555 (Austrasia)
Passed to Soissons in 558 Passed to Soissons in 555

Chlothar I eventually (558-561) inherited all of the Frankish kingdoms after the deaths of his brothers or their successors. After his own death, the kingdom was once again split among his four sons:

(eventually Neustria)
Paris Orléans
(eventually Burgundy)
Reims and Metz
(eventually Austrasia)
Picture Name Picture Name Picture Name Picture Name
Portrait Roi de france Chilpéric roy de France Chilperic I
561–584 (Neustria)
Jean-Joseph Dassy (1796-1865) - Caribert, roi franc de Paris et de l'ouest de Gaule (mort en 567) Charibert I
561–567 (Caribert r. 561–593) (Neustria)
Statue de saint Gontran Guntram
561–592 (Gontran r. 561–570) (Neustria)
Sigebert 1 Sigebert I
561–575 (Austrasia)
Partitioned in 567, eventually
falling in the hands of Soissons
Childebert II Childebert II
Clothaire II 584 628 Chlothar II
584–629 (Clotaire II, son of Chilperic, r. 584-628)
Passed to Reims and Metz in 592
Portrait Roi de france Thierri II (i.e. IV) Theuderic II
- Theudebert II
Passed to Orléans in 612
then to Soissons
- Sigebert II
Passed to Soissons in 613
Dagobert I effigy Dagobert I
623–629 (r. 628–638)

Chlothar II defeated Brunhilda and her grandson, reunifying the kingdom. However, in 623, in order to appease particularistic forces and also to secure the borders, he gave the Austrasians his young son as their own king. His son and successor, Dagobert I, emulated this move by appointing a sub-king for Aquitaine, with a seat at Toulouse, in 629 and Austrasia in 634.

Neustria, Austrasia & Burgundy Aquitaine
Picture Name Picture Name
Dagobert I effigy Dagobert I
Caribert II tiers de sou d'or (trémissis)-2 Charibert II
autonomy until c. 767.
Neustria and Burgundy Austrasia
Picture Name Picture Name
Dagobert I effigy Dagobert I
Legenda aurea - baptême de Sigebert III Sigebert III
Tiers de sous d'or de Clovis II Clovis II
Portrait Roi de france Clotaire III Chlothar III
- Childebert the Adopted
Inherited by Chlothar III, but given to Childeric II in 662.
Childeric2 Childeric II
Unified rule from 673–675
Theuderic III Theuderic III
Childeric2 Childeric II
Displaced Theuderic III until his death in 675
Theuderic III Theuderic III
Unified rule after 679
Portrait Roi de france Clovis III (sic) Clovis III
Portrait Roi de france Dagobert II (i.e III) Dagobert II
Passed to Neustria and Burgundy

Theuderic III was recognized as king of all the Franks in 679. From then on, the kingdom of the Franks can be treated as a unity again for all but a very brief period of civil war.

Image Name Date of Birth Date of Death Reign Relationship with predecessor
Theuderic III
Theuderic III c. 654 12 April 691 679–691 N/A
Georges Rouget (1783-1869) - Clovis III roi d'Austrasie en 691 (682-695)
Clovis IV c. 678 c. 695 691–695 son of
Childebert III 694 711
Childebert III c. 670/683 23 April 711 695–711 brother of
Dagobert III c. 699 31 December 715 711–715 brother of
Portrait Roy de france Chilperic II
Chilperic II c. 672 13 February 721 715–720 first cousin once removed of
Chlothar IV  ? c. 719 717–718
rival puppet king in Austrasia
relative of
Theuderic IV
Theuderic IV c. 712 16 March/30 April 737 720–737 son of Dagobert III
interregnum 737–743
Jean Dassier (1676-1763) - Childéric III roy de France (754)
Childeric III c. 717 c. 754 743–752 relative of


Mayors of the palace

The Carolingians were initially mayors of the palace under the Merovingian kings, first in Austrasia and later in Neustria and Burgundy. In 687, Pippin of Heristal took the title Duke and Prince of the Franks (dux et princeps Francorum) after his conquest of Neustria in at the Battle of Tertry, which was cited by contemporary chroniclers as the beginning of Pippin's reign. Between 715 and 716, the descendants of Pippin disputed the succession.

  • Pippin I of Landen (Austrasia: 623–629 and 639–640)
  • Grimoald I (Austrasia: 643–656; died 662)
  • Pippin II of Herstal (Austrasia: 680–714, Neustria and Burgundy: 687–695)
  • Drogo (Burgundy: 695–708)
  • Grimoald II (Neustria: 695–714, Burgundy: 708–714)
  • Theudoald (Austrasia, Neustria, and Burgundy: 714–716)
  • Charles I (Austrasia: 715–732, Neustria and Burgundy: 718–732)

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