PIPPIN III. (d. 768), or Pepin, the Short, 1 was son of Charles Martel. Before his death in 741 Charles Martel had divided the Prankish kingdom between his two sons, Carloman and Pippin, giving Carloman the eastern part and Pippin the western. Since 737 there had been no king in the Prankish realm; in the diplomas the two brothers bear the title of majores palatii, while the chroniclers call them simply principes. In 743, however, the mayors decided to appoint a king in the person of Childeric III., who was apparently connected with the Merovingian family. But Childeric was a mere figure-head, and had no power. The two brothers presided over the tribunals, convoked the councils at which the Prankish Church was reformed, assembled the host and made war, jointly defeating and subduing Duke Hunald of Aquitaine. In 747 Carloman unexpectedly abdicated, became a monk, and retired to a monastery near Rome, subsequently founding on Mt Soracte the monastery of St Silvester. From the time of the abdication Pippin was sole master; and in 751, after consulting Pope Zacharias, he took the title of king and removed the feeble Childeric to a monastery. He then got himself crowned by St Boniface, a ceremony which was new to France and which gave the sovereign immense prestige; henceforth the king of the Franks called himself Gratia Dei rex Francnrum. Pippin's reign is marked by many important events. He received in France a personal visit from Pope Stephen II., who conferred on him the title of Patrician of the Romans and recrowned him. In return for these honours Pippin, at the appeal of the pope, made two expeditions into Italy, in 754 and 756; and he became the veritable creator of the papal state by conferring on the pope the exarchate of Ravenna, which he had wrested from Aistulf, the king of the Lombards. Pippin took Septimania from the Arabs, and after a stubborn war of nearly eight years' duration (760-68) succeeded in taking Aquitaine from its duke, Waifer. He also intervened in Germany, where he forced the duke of Bavaria, Tassilo, to become his vassal. In 763, however, Tassilo abandoned Pippin during an expedition against Aquitaine. Pippin made several expeditions against the Saxons, but failed to subdue them. He entered into relations with the Eastern Empire, exchanging ambassadors with the emperor Constantine Copronymus. During Pippin's reign Prankish institutions underwent some modification. The Prankish assemblies, previously held in the month of March (champs de mars), but under Pippin deferred to May (champs de mat), came to be more numerous, and served the king of the Franks as a means of receiving the gifts of his subjects and of promulgating his capitularies. At the head of the administration was placed the archchaplain, and an ecclesiastical chancellor was substituted for the ancient referendarius. Ecclesiastical reform was continued under Pippin, Bishop Chrodegans of Metz uniting the clergy of Metz in a common life and creating canons (see CANON). Pippin died on the 24th of September 768 at St Denis, leaving two sons, Charles (Charlemagne) and Carloman.
See H. Bonnell, Die Anfange des karolingischen Hauses (Berlin, 1866); H. Hahn, Jahrbiicher des frankischen Reiches 741-752 (Berlin, 1863); L. Oelsner, Jahrlriicher des frankischen Reiches unter Konig Pippin (Leipzig, 1871); J. F. Bohmer and E. Muhlbacher, Regeslen des Kaiserreichs unter den Karolingern (2nd ed., 1899); and E. Muhlbacher, Deutsche Geschichte unter den Karolingern (Stuttgart, 1896)- (C. PF.)
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)