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Pepin, or Pipin, The Little

Pepin, or Pipin, The Little (d. 768), the son of Charles Martel (q.v.), and the founder of the Carlovingian dynasty of Frankish kings. In 747 his brother, Carloman, withdrew to the monastery of Monte Cassino, and he became Duke of Austrasia as well as Neustria. Four years later he obtained the consent of Pope Zacharias to the deposition of Childeric III., the last of the Merovingians; and in 752 he was consecrated king of the West Franks by Boniface, Archbishop of Mainz. He aimed at strengthening the power of the Franks by a close union with the Papacy, and readily responded to the call of Stephen III., who sought his aid against the Lombard king, Aistulf (754). Eventually Aistulf was forced to become Pepin's tributary (756), and part of his territory was presented by the Frankish king to the Pope. Before this expedition Pepin had been solemnly crowned by Stephen at St. Denis. Thus his policy during these few years exercised a permanent influence on the course of mediaeval history, at the same time laying the foundation of the temporal dominion of the Popes, and justifying their subsequent interference in the political affairs of Europe. The remainder of his life was spent in wars of a semi-religious character.