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The office of the housekeeper (or majordomus or maior domus , from Latin maior "the administrator" and domus "the house", ie the "administrator of the house") was one of the offices of the early medieval court. In the Merovingian Empire, the Hausmeier gained great influence and decisively determined the empire's politics.

Merovingian Franconian Empire

The office of Hausmeiers arose during the Migration Period and is occupied by the Merovingians as well as the Burgundians and Goths (for example in the Ostrogothic empire of Theodoric the Great ); this is controversial for the vandal empire in North Africa. While the caretaker's office was of no great importance in most of the Germanic-Romanic successor realms of the Western Roman Empire , it developed into one of the most influential court offices in the Merovingian Franconian Empire from the late 6th century onwards.

Initially, the Franconian houseflies were only responsible for supervising the unfree “domestic servants” of the court. Elements of late antique administrative practices may have played a role in its development. There were originally several caretakers in the Franconian Empire, with the king, queen and prince having their own caretakers. After the Merovingian Empire repeatedly experienced divisions of rule, the office of the house merchant was also upgraded, who was now responsible for the administration of the entire royal estate and became one of the king's most important confidants. With the increase in their power from the late 6th century onwards, the Hausmeier in the Franconian Empire effectively became heads of government from the 7th century. The caretaker now appointed officials and issued documents in the name of the king, whereby initially each of the sub-kingdoms ( Neustria , Burgundy and Austrasia ) had its own caretaker. The office was now held by nobles, who at the same time used their position to curtail the power of the king as much as possible and attached importance to influencing the appointment of the house keepers. While the caretakers in Neustria still strived for a certain closeness to the king, the caretaker's office in Austrasia had become a pure instrument of the nobility under the Arnulfingern - Pippiniden . It even became hereditary within this family, which had ruled the fortunes of the entire Franconian Empire since 687. However, the following caretakers themselves attached great importance to keeping the influence of the nobility on their politics as low as possible.

The Merovingian kings after Dagobert I actually only ruled as shadow rulers, although some researchers are quite skeptical of the image of the powerless Merovingian kings conveyed in later sources (e.g. Johannes Fried ). In any case, the Grimoald affair had shown that the caretakers could not openly claim the royal dignity for themselves or their family. It was not until the middle of the 8th century that the Carolingians dared to take the decisive step and deposed the last Merovingian in 751. The caretaker's office was significantly abolished by the Carolingians.

List of Franconian caretakers


In 751, Pippin was elected king and at the same time abolished the office of housekeeper.


  • Baudegisil (Batechisil)? -581, then Bishop of Le Mans 581-586
  • Waddo, occupied around 584, † around 590
  • Landrich
  • Gundoland, 613-629
  • Aegas , 629–641 (in personal union with Burgundy from 639)
  • Erchinoald , 641-656
  • Ebroin , 656-673
  • Wulfoald , 673-675
  • Leudesis, 675-676
  • Ebroin (2nd time), 676-680
  • Waratto , 680 / 681–686, † 686
  • Giselmar, Waratto's son, † 683, temporarily ousted his father
  • Berchar , Waratto's son-in-law, 686–687, † 688/689
  • Norbert , 687-695
  • Pippin the Middle ( Carolingian ), 695–714
  • Grimoald the Younger (Carolingian), in Neustria and Burgundy around 700–714
  • Theudoald , 714-715 (de jure)
  • Raganfrid , 715-718
  • Karl Martell (Carolingian), 718–741 throughout the empire
  • Pippin the Younger (Carolingian), 742 in Neustria, Burgundy and Provence, 751 king




Web links

Wiktionary: Hausmeier  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations
Wiktionary: Majordomo  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations


  1. ↑ In general, Gideon Maier: Officials and rulers in Romania Gothica. Stuttgart 2005, p. 147ff.
  2. Despite its age, the material-rich depiction of Waitz is still useful: Georg Waitz : Deutsche Verfassungsgeschichte. Vol. 2, 1: The Constitution of the Franconian Empire. 3. Edition. Homann, Kiel 1882, pp. 89ff. and p. 397ff.
  3. Cf. Gideon Maier: Officials and rulers in Romania Gothica. Stuttgart 2005, p. 147f.
  4. ↑ In summary, Georg Scheibelreiter: Hausmeier. In: Reallexikon der Germanischen Altertumskunde . Volume 14. Berlin et al. 1999, p. 72f.
  5. Johannes Fried : The Middle Ages. History and culture. Beck, Munich 2008, ISBN 978-3-406-57829-8 , p. 53.