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Dagobert I
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Dagobert I

Dagobert I (c. 603 - January 19, 639) was the king of the Franks from 629 to 639.

The son of King Clotaire II, Dagobert became king of Austrasia and on the death of his father, the sole king of the Franks. By 632 he had Bourgogne and Aquitaine under his rule, becoming the most powerful of the Merovingian kings and the most respected ruler in the West. He married five times.

As king, Dagobert I made Paris his capital. During his reign, he built the Altes Schloss Castle in Meersburg, Germany which today is the oldest inhabited castle in that country. Devoutly religious, Dagobert was also responsible for the construction of the Saint Denis Basilica at the site of a Benedictine Monastery in Paris.

Dagobert was the last of the Merovingian kings to wield any real royal power. In 632 the nobles of Austrasia revolted under Mayor of the Palace Pepin I, and Dagobert appeased the rebellious nobles by putting his three-year-old son Sigebert III on the Austrasian throne, thereby ceding royal power in all but name. When Dagobert died in 639, another son, Clovis II, inherited the rest of his kingdom at age five.

This pattern continued for the next century until Pippin III finally deposed the last Merovingian king in 731, establishing the Carolingian dynasty. The Merovingian boy-kings remained ineffective rulers who inherited the throne as young children and lived only long enough to produce a male heir or two, while real power lay in the hands of the noble families (the Old Noblesse) who exercised feudal control over most of the land.

Dagobert was the first of the French kings to be buried in the Royal tombs at Saint Denis Basilica.

King Dagobert was immortalized by the song The good king Dagobert.

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