The Merovingian polity: A network of courts and courtiers

Yitzhak Hen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

1 Scopus citations


The royal court was the major center of political power in Merovingian Gaul. Following the late Roman model, it became an administrative center, from whence the kingdom was ruled and to which aristocrats flocked in order to serve the king, or in hope for honors and promotion. As such, the Merovingian court encompassed both the ruler’s military retinue and the kingdom’s highest bureaucrats. It also housed the meetings of the king’s royal council, which also functioned as the highest court where political and judicial conflicts were managed and resolved. As the center of political power and the stage for the administration of justice and the settlement of disputes, the Merovingian court generated a sense of authority and consensus politics that served as a symbolic unifier in an otherwise factional reality.

Original languageAmerican English
Title of host publicationThe Oxford Handbook of the Merovingian World
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages21
ISBN (Electronic)9780190234188
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Oxford University Press 2020.


  • Consensus politics
  • Court as center for administering justice
  • Court circle
  • Court culture
  • Court school
  • Education at the court


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