The Pippinids or Arnulfings were a Frankish aristocratic family from Austrasia during the Merovingian period. They dominated the office of mayor of the palace after 687 and eventually supplanted the Merovingians as kings in 751, founding the Carolingian dynasty.

The names "Pippinid" and "Arnulfing" are modern conventions, reflecting the fact that the family traced its descent from two contemporaries, Arnulf of Metz (died c. 640) and Pippin of Landen (died 640), through the marriage of Arnulf's son Ansegisel and Pippin's daughter Begga. The recurrence of the leading name Pippin in the family led the anonymous author of the Annals of Metz (c. 805) to call the family Pippinios, the earliest known designation for the family.[1] In a strict sense, the Pippinids are the descendants of Pippin of Landen and the Arnulfings those of Arnulf of Metz, which groups only overlap in the person of Pippin of Heristal, Ansegisel and Begga's son, and his descendants.[2]

Since the late eighth century, the rise of the Pippinids has been depicted as the defining feature of the late Merovingian period, with the kings portrayed as rois fainéants ("do-nothing kings"), puppets of their Pippinid mayors. This theme has been continued in modern historiography. Some have even suggested that the Pippinids followed a "long-term strategy" to seize power.[3] Following his victory at the Battle of Tertry in 687, Pippin of Heristal extended his influence into Neustria. His death in 714 was followed by years of civil war between his successors. By 718, his younger son Charles Martel had taken control of both Austrasia and Neustria. His descendants are the Carolingians proper, although some historians take this name as far back as the union of Ansegisel and Begga. The descendants of Charles's brother, Childebrand, on the other hand, are known as the Nibelungids.


  1. Rosamond McKitterick, Charlemagne: The Formation of a European Identity (Cambridge University Press, 2008), p. 57n.
  2. Constance Bouchard, Rewriting Saints and Ancestors: Memory and Forgetting in France, 500–1200 (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2015), p. 112.
  3. Bernard Bachrach, Early Carolingian Warfare: Prelude to Empire (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2001), pp. 2–5.
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