Carloman, 768-771

Morrison & Grunthal 83, PCGS graded MS-63

Carloman was the elder son of Charles Martel and brother of Pepin the Short. He ruled the Frankish kingdom of Austrasia as mayor of the palace and shared power with Pepin, who ruled in Neustria, Burgundy, and Provence with the same title. Together they destroyed their half-brother Grifo, who also demanded a share of the kingdom, and established Childeric III as Merovingian roi fainéant (“do-nothing king”) to legitimize their rule. However, after establishing this figurehead, Carloman consolidated his power by supporting the Catholic Church in Austrasia—especially the missionary work of Winfrid (the future St. Boniface) among the pagan Franks—and by ruthlessly crushing all political opposition, as at the infamous Blood Court of Cannstatt. In 747, Carloman traveled to Rome where he renounced his title and became a monk. There is some dark speculation about whether Carloman’s sudden retirement was due primarily to his great piety or whether Pope Zachary somehow compelled Carloman to enter the monastery as a means of supporting Pepin’s desire to become sole king of the Franks.

Angers. CARLO. Reverse: Monogram of ANDE (=Andecavis) between cross and semicircle of pellets.

Ex CGB (28 January 2010), 1