Archiver > GEN-MEDIEVAL > 1998-03 > 0889659550

From: Don Stone< >
Subject: Re: Gallo-Roman ancestors of Charlemagne
Date: 11 Mar 1998 15:39:10 -0800

Jim Larson wrote:
> In NEGHR vol. 101 (April 1947) David Kelley wrote an article entitled "A New
> Consideration of the Carolingians,' in which he proposed a descent in the
> female lines from Afranius Syagrius, consul in 381, to Charlemagne. G.
> Andrews Moriarty in his "Plantagenet Ancestry" calls this line 'very
> problematical.'
> Has any further research been done on this line? What is the current
> opinion of this?


Here is a probable descent from Flavius Afranius Syagrius,
based primarily on Settipani's 1989 book Les Ancetres de
Charlemagne, supplemented by various other sources. This
chart is designed to be displayed or printed with a fixed-
width font.


Gen. 1.
Flavius Afranius Syagrius of =
Lyons; a Gallo-Roman |
senator, i.e., of paternal |
Roman descent; Proconsul |
Africae, 379; Praefectus |
Urbis Romae, 381; selected |
by the emperor Gratian as |
Consul for 382 (serving with |
Antonius); Praefectus |
Praetorio Italiae, 382; a |
poet. He was buried beneath |
an imposing monument at the |
city gate of Lyons, "not |
quite a full bowshot" from |
the church, and a statue of |
him was erected in the city. |
Gen. 2. |
________ Ferreolus = ________, clarissima femina
Gen. 3. |
Tonantius Ferreolus; = Papianilla, clarissima
Praefectus Praetorio | femina, a relative of
Galliarum, 451-452/3, during | Sidonius Apollinaris's wife
which time Attila the Hun | Papianilla (a daughter of
was defeated at the Battle | the emperor Avitus);
of the Catalaunian Plains | Ferreolus's wife was a
(Chalons); his diplomacy | partner who shared his
ended the siege of Arles by | troubles, according to
the Visigothic king | Sidonius.
Thorismodus; he served in |
Rome in 469 as a delegate to |
the trial of Arvandus; a |
Gallo-Roman senator with two |
known estates, Prusianum (on |
the Gardon, near Nimes) and |
Trevidos (perhaps near |
Rodez). |
Gen. 4. |
Tonantius Ferreolus; vir = Industria
clarissimus; a senator of |
Narbonne; visited by his |
cousin St. Apollinaris of |
Valence in 517. |
Gen. 5. |
Ferreolus; a senator in the = Dode; abbess of St.-Pierre
Narbonne region. | de Rheims.
Gen. 6. |
Ansbert; a senator. = Bilichilde (?).
Gen. 7. |
Arnoald; Bishop of Metz, =
601-611. |
- - - - - - - -|
Gen. 8. |
St. Arnulf; domesticus; a = Dode, probably a dau.
counselor of King Chlothar | of Arnoald.
II and of the young Dagobert |
I; Bishop of Metz, ca. |
613-629; d. 640. |
Gen. 9. |
Ansegisel; vir inlustris, = St. Begga; daughter of
domesticus; d. betw. 648 and | Pippin I, Mayor of the
669, perhaps 662. | Palace in Austrasia; founder
| and abbess of Andenne, 691;
| d. 693.
Gen. 10. |
Pippin II of Herstal; b. ca. = Alpais or Alpaida, probably
645; Mayor of the Palace in | a secondary wife.
Austrasia; d. 714. |
Gen. 11. |
Charles Martel; Mayor of (1)= Rotrude; d. 724.
the Palace in Austrasia; b. |
ca. 690; halted the Muslim |
invasion of Europe at |
Poitiers in 732; d. 741. |
Gen. 12. |
Pippin III the Short; Mayor = Bertha of Laon; d. 783.
of the Palace of Austrasia; |
b. ca. 715; deposed the last |
of the Merovingian kings and |
became first king of the |
Franks of the second race, |
ruling from 751 until his |
death in 768. |
Gen. 13. |
Charlemagne, King of France;
b. 747 or 748, acc. 768, d.
813/4; crowned Holy Roman
Emperor in 800.

NOTES (by generation):

Gen. 1. Settipani (1989) is the principal authority for this
chart. A number of years ago Kelley (1947) investigated the
connection with Syagrius in detail, utilizing a ninth-century
pedigree of Charlemagne (but rejecting its clearly incorrect
claim that St. Arnulf, Bishop of Metz, was the son of
Arnoald, Bishop of Metz) and also drawing on various saints'
lives. (Kelley now concurs with Settipani's revised version
of this pedigree.) Jarnut (1986, pp. 14-22) has also
explored this connection.

Flavius was the given name, Afranius was the family name, and
Syagrius was a cognomen meaning "wild boar" (Moriarty, 1956).
See, however, Bagnall, et al. (1987, pp. 36, ff.), on the use
of the name Flavius as a courtesy title. There were two
different consuls named Syagrius in two successive years, 381
and 382. The consul of 381 was a friend and correspondent of
Symmachus, the noted orator and vigorous defender of the
pagan religion. The consul of 382 was probably the one who
was the maternal grandfather of Tonantius Ferreolus; he may
also have been the Syagrius who was a pupil and friend of the
poet Ausonius. Ausonius was the head of a famous school at
Bordeaux, was selected by emperor Valentinian as tutor for
his son (the future emperor) Gratian, and was prefect of the
Gauls in 378 and consul in 379 under Gratian; a number of his
relatives and friends held various high imperial offices (Van
Dam, 1985, p. 304). Each of these two Syagrii held a number
of offices besides consul, and determining which office goes
with which Syagrius is somewhat difficult. A relatively
plausible scenario is given in Jones, et al. (1971),
following Martindale (1967). Demandt (1971) proposes a
somewhat different assignment of offices to the Syagrii, but
later reviews (e. g., Bagnall, et al., 1987, p. 649, and
Errington, 1992, note 109) point out that Demandt probably
misinterpreted a comment of Mitteis, an earlier researcher.

The office of consul had great prestige and was eagerly
sought by Roman citizens. In the second half of the fourth
century it was usually attained as the culmination of a
distinguished career (Bagnall, et al., 1987, p. 3); at this
time it was largely an honorary office with minimal political

Gen. 3. Details on Tonantius Ferreolus's offices come from
Martindale (1980). Additional information is supplied by
Stevens (1933) and Harries (1994). Settipani (1989 and 1991,
pp. 198-9) says that Ferreolus's wife Papianilla was probably
a niece of the emperor Avitus. Harries (1994, p. 34, n. 30)
says that she was a generation older, perhaps a sister or
cousin of Avitus, while Mommaerts and Kelley (1992, pp. 112-
3) propose that she might be a generation younger.

Gen. 8. For a thorough discussion of the tentative connection
between generations 7 and 8, see Settipani (1989).

Gen. 9. Ansegisel is sometimes referred to as Mayor of the
Palace, but Settipani and Van Kerrebrouck (1993, p. 151)
point out that this is not attested by any contemporaneous
source and thus can't be relied on.

Gen. 10. Gerberding (1987) provides a detailed analysis of
the status of Alpaida and the political significance of her
union with Pippin.

Gen. 11. Rotrude's possible descent from Syagrius, great-
grandson of Flavius Afranius Syagrius, is given by Settipani
(1989), but see also Settipani's more recent comments (1990,
pp. 20-3).

Gen. 13. Most modern authorities give Charlemagne's birth year
as 747, but Settipani and Van Kerrebrouck (1993) give 748; see
their detailed analysis in note 3, p. 191.


Bagnall, R. S., A. Cameron, S. R. Schwartz, and K. A. Worp.
1987. Consuls of the Later Roman Empire. Philological
Monographs of the American Philological Association, Number
36. Atlanta: Scholars Press.

Demandt, A. 1971. "Die Konsuln der Jahr 381 und 382 namens
Syagrius." Byzantinische Zeitschrift 64: 38-45.

Errington, R. M. 1992. "The Praetorian Prefectures of
Virius Nicomachus Flavianus." Historia 41: 439-461.

Gerberding, Richard A. 1987. The Rise of the Carolingians
and the Liber Historiae Francorum. Oxford: Clarendon Press.

Harries, Jill. 1994. Sidonius Apollinaris and the Fall of
Rome, AD 407-485. Oxford: Clarendon Press.

Jarnut, Jorg. 1986. Agilolfingerstudien: Untersuchungen zur
Geschichte Einer Adligen Familie im 6. und 7. Jahrhundert.
Stuttgart: Anton Hiersemann.

Jones, A. H. M., J. R. Martindale, and J. Morris. 1971. The
Prosopography of the Later Roman Empire. Vol. I: A.D. 260-
395. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Kelley, David H. 1947. "Genealogical Research in Europe: A
New Consideration of the Carolingians." New England
Historical and Genealogical Register 101: 109-112.

Martindale, J. R. 1967. "Note on the Consuls of 381 and
382." Historia 16: 254-256.

Martindale, J. R. 1980. The Prosopography of the Later
Roman Empire. Vol. II: A.D. 395-527. Cambridge: Cambridge
University Press.

Mommaerts, T. S., and D. H. Kelley. 1992. "The Anicii of
Gaul and Rome." In Fifth-century Gaul: a Crisis of Identity?
ed. by John Drinkwater and Hugh Elton. Cambridge: Cambridge
University Press.

Moriarty, G. Andrews. 1956. "Genealogical Research in
Europe: The Syagrii." New England Historical and
Genealogical Register 110: 38-40.

Schwennicke, Detlev. 1980. Europaische Stammtafeln. Band
I. Marburg: J. A. Stargardt.

Settipani, Christian. 1989. Les ancetres de Charlemagne.
Paris: Editions Christian.

Settipani, Christian. 1990. "Les ancetres de Charlemagne:
addenda et corridenda." Histoire et Genealogie 28: 19-36.

Settipani, Christian. 1991. "Ruricius Ier eveque de Limoges
et ses relations familiales." Francia 18/1: 195-222.

Settipani, Christian, and Patrick Van Kerrebrouck. 1993. La
prehistoire des Capetiens 481-987. Premiere partie:
Merovingiens, Carolingiens et Robertiens. Villeneuve d'Ascq
(France): P. Van Kerrebrouck.

Stevens, C. E. 1933. Sidonius Apollinaris and his Age.
Oxford: Clarendon Press.

Van Dam, Raymond. 1985. Leadership and Community in Late
Antique Gaul. Berkeley: University of California Press.

-- Don Stone

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