Carlovingians, Or Carolinians, an imperial family who during the 8th, 9th, and 10th centuries gave sovereigns to Germany, France, and Italy. Their origin is traced back to Arnulf and Pepin of Landen, two powerful Frankish lords of Austrasia in the beginning of the 7th century, while they derived their name from Charles Mar-tel, the conqueror of the Saracens at the battle of Poitiers in 732. This hero, the son of Pepin of Heristal, was the founder of the greatness of his house. Satisfied with the titles of duke of the Franks and mayor of the palace, under the weak Merovingian kings, he ruled with an absolute power the Frankish kingdoms of Australia, Neustria, and Burgundy. His son, Pepin the Short, confining within the walls of a convent the last of those kings, Childeric III., assumed the royal title; and his grandson Charles, afterward known as Charlemagne, having extended his conquests as far as the Ebro and Garigliano on the south, the Oder on the north, and the Carpathian mountains and the Theiss on the east, restored the western Roman empire, and consequently styled himself emperor.
This Carlovingian empire, consisting of a motley assemblage of nations brought together by conquest, and decidedly hostile to each other, could not long outlive its founder; it began to totter on his death, and then gradually fell into ruins. Its final disruption, which took place in the year 888, was followed by nine separate kingdoms, the most important of which, Germany, France, and Italy, continued for a while under the sway of the descendants of Charlemagne. The emperors of this family were Charlemagne, 800-814; Louis the Weak, or le Debonnaire, 814-840; Lothaire, 840-855; Louis II., son of Lothaire, 855-875; Charles the Bald of France, 875-877; Charles the Fat of Germany, 881-887. This was the last of the actual emperors of the Carlovingian dynasty; but several princes, most of them in the feminine line, Guy of Spoleto, Lambert, Arnulf of Ca-rinthia, Louis and Berenger of Italy, boasted the empty title. The Carlovingian kings of Germany were Louis the German, 840-876; Louis the Younger or of Saxony, 876-882; Charles the Fat, 882-887; Arnulf of Carinthia, 887-899; Louis the Child, 899-911. To the extinct house of Charlemagne those of Saxony and Franconia succeeded.
The Carlovingian kings of France are styled the second race of the Frankish kings, and succeeded the Merovingians. They were Pepin the Short, 752-768; Charlemagne, 768-814; Louis le Debonnaire, 814-840; Charles the Bald, 840-877; Louis the Stammerer, 877-879; Louis III. and Carlo-man, 879-884; Charles the Fat of Germany, 884-887; Charles III., the Simple, 893-923; Louis IV., d'Outre-mer (UItramarimis), 936-954; Lothaire, 954-986; Louis V., the Idle, 986-987. On the death of this prince Hugh Capet was elected king by the nation, to the exclusion of the lawful heir, Charles, duke of Lorraine, the uncle of Louis V. Hugh was the head of the third dynasty, called after him Capetians. The Carlovingians who acted as kings of Italy were Charlemagne, 774-781; Pepin, his son, 781-810; Bernard, 812-818; Louis le Debonnaire of France, 818-820; Lothaire, 820-855; Louis II., 855-875; Charles the Bald of France, 875-877; Charles the Fat of Germany, 880-888; Berenger (Guy of Spo-leto, his rival), 888-894 and 905-924; Lambert, 894-898; Louis, 900-905; Hugh of Provence, 926-947; Lothaire, 945-950; Berenger II. and Adalbert, 950-961. On the death of Adalbert, the kingdom of Italy was united by Otho the Great to the German empire.