Southern Anthology

Families on the Frontiers of the Old South

Saint Arnulf de Metz, Bishop of Metz

Saint Arnulf de Metz, Bishop of Metz[1]

Male Abt 580 - Abt 640  (~ 60 years)

Personal Information    |    Media    |    Sources    |    Event Map    |    All    |    PDF

  • Name Arnulf de Metz 
    Title Saint 
    Suffix Bishop of Metz 
    Born Abt 580 
    Gender Male 
    Also Known As Arnoul; Arnold 
    Died Abt 640  Remiremont, Lorraine, France Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Buried Metz Cathderal, Metz, France Find all individuals with events at this location 
    • Catholic Encyclopedia (1913), Volume 1, St. Arnulf of Metz by Francis J. Schaefer.

      Statesman, bishop under the Merovingians, born c. 580; died c. 640. His parents belonged to a distinguished Frankish family, and lived in Austrasia, the eastern section of the kingdom founded by Clovis. In the school in which he was placed during his boyhood he excelled through his talent and his good behaviour. According to the custom of the age, he was sent in due time to the court of Theodebert II, King of Austrasia (595-612), to be initiated in the various branches of the government. Under the guidance of Gundulf, the Mayor of the Palace, he soon became so proficient that he was placed on the regular list of royal officers, and among the first of the kings ministers. He distinguished himself both as a military commander and in the civil administration; at one time he had under his care six distinct provinces. In due course Arnulf was married to a Frankish woman of noble lineage, by whom he had two sons, Anseghisel and Clodulf. While Arnulf was enjoying worldly emoluments and honours he did not forget higher and spiritual things. His thoughts dwelled often on monasteries, and with his friend Romaricus, likewise an officer of the court, he planned to make a pilgrimage to the Abbey of Lérins, evidently for the purpose of devoting his life to God. But in the meantime the Episcopal See of Metz became vacant. Arnulf was universally designated as a worthy candidate for the office, and he was consecrated bishop of that see about 611. In his new position he set the example of a virtuous life to his subjects, and attended to matters of ecclesiastical government. In 625 he took part in a council held by the Frankish bishops at Reims. With all this Arnulf retained his station at the court of the king, and took a prominent part in the national life of his people. In 613, after the death of Theodebert, he, with Pepin of Landen and other nobles, called to Austrasia Clothaire II, King of Neustria. When, in 625, the realm of Austrasia was entrusted to the kings son Dagobert, Arnulf became not only the tutor, but also the chief minister, of the young king. At the time of the estrangement between the two kings, and 625, Arnulf with other bishops and nobles tried to effect a reconciliation. But Arnulf dreaded the responsibilities of the episcopal office and grew weary of court life. About the year 626 he obtained the appointment of a successor to the Episcopal See of Metz; he himself and his friend Romaricus withdrew to a solitary place in the mountains of the Vosges. There he lived in communion with God until his death. His remains, interred by Romaricus, were transferred about a year afterwards, by Bishop Goeric, to the basilica of the Holy Apostles in Metz.

      Of the two sons of Arnulf, Clodulf became his third successor in the See of Metz. Anseghisel remained in the service of the State; from his union with Begga, a daughter of Pepin of Landen, was born Pepin of Heristal, the founder of the Carlovingian dynasty. In this manner Arnulf was the ancestor of the mighty rulers of that house. The life or Arnulf exhibits to a certain extent the episcopal office and career in the Merovingian State. The bishops were much considered at court; their advice was listened to; they took part in the dispensation of justice by the courts; they had a voice in the appointment of royal officers; they were often used as the king's ambassadors, and held high administrative positions. For the people under their care, they were the protectors of their rights, their spokesmen before the king and the link uniting royalty with its subjects. The opportunities for good were thus unlimited; and Arnulf used them to good advantage.

    Person ID I11668  Dickinson
    Last Modified 13 May 2014 

    Family Doda 
    • Current scholarship tends to explain Arnulf's presence in the Pippinid/Carolingian geneology as apocryphal, much in the way that Arnulf's hagiographers claim Joseph of Arimathea for his ancestor. (Thus, Rosenwein sees here a king-priest apologia for Carolingian rule.) In this, these historians all point to the late reporting of the family's history. Paul the Deacon's Gesta Episcoporum Mettensium is the first source to name Ansegisel as Arnulf's son. Paul was a court favorite of Charlemagne and the Gesta dates from the 780s. Similarly, John of Gorze's Vita Chrodegangi Episcopi Mettensis, Angalram's Catalogus Episcoporum Mettensium and Annales Xantenses are late sources. Wemple, on the other hand, presents the traditional view; that is, through politic alliances, the Pippinids were strong enough to finally dispatch the Merovingian rule. [3, 4, 5, 6, 7]
     1. Chlodulf, Bishop of Metz,   b. Abt 610,   d. Abt 697  (Age ~ 87 years)  [Birth]
    +2. Ansegisel de Metz, Mayor of the Palace of Austrasia,   b. Abt 612,   d. Abt 662  (Age ~ 50 years)  [Birth]
    Last Modified 14 May 2014 
    Family ID F3285  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Event Map
    Link to Google MapsDied - Abt 640 - Remiremont, Lorraine, France Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsBuried - - Metz Cathderal, Metz, France Link to Google Earth
     = Link to Google Earth 
    Pin Legend  : Address       : Location       : City/Town       : County/Shire       : State/Province       : Country       : Not Set

  • Photos
    St. Arnulf of Metz
    St. Arnulf of Metz
    Frankish Empire (481-814)
    Frankish Empire (481-814)

    How beautiful upon the mountains
    are the feet of him who brings good news,
    who publishes peace, who brings good news of happiness,
    who publishes salvation,
    who says to Zion, “Your God reigns.”

  • Sources 
    1. [S336463] Medieval Lands: A prosopography of medieval European noble and royal families, Charles Cawley, (Online: The Foundation for Medieval Genealogy at, 20XX),

    2. [S336459] Catholic Encyclopedia, (New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1913), [Public Domain].

    3. [S14] Late Merovingian France: History and Hagiography, 640-720, Paul Fouracre, Richard A. Gerberding, ed., (Manchester, UK: Manchester University Press, 1996), ISBN-13: 978-0719047916., 311.
      "St. Arnulf has generally been considered Ansegisel's father and thus Arnulf's large holdings between Metz and Verdun could reflect the family's landed origins. The familial connection between Ansegisel and Arnulf, however, seems to have been the result of later Carolingian desire to have Arnulf as the family's holy patriarch, and although much land around Metz did come under Pippinid control, this seems to have happened after the 670s, when the Pippinids returned to power."

    4. [S15] Charlemagne and Louis the Pious: Lives by Einhard, Notker, Ermoldus, Thegan, and the Astronomer, Thomas F. X. Noble, (University Park, PA: Penn State University Press, 2009), Hardcover ISBN: 978-0-271-03573-4., 195, n. 1.
      "Arnulf was critically important in Frankish politics in the first decades of the seventh century. He was bishop of Metz from 614 to 629. He retired as a recluse near the convent of Remiremont and died around 640. It was only at the end of the eigth century that sources with connections to the Carolingian court began to claim Arnulf as an ancestor of Charlemagne."

    5. [S16] Property and Power in the Early Middle Ages, Wendy Davies, Paul Fouracre, ed., (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2002), ISBN: 9780521522250., 32.
      "[T]he Pippinid family, as it came to be remembered, is a construct of its Carolingian descendants. There is nothing before the days of Paul the Deacon to suggest that Arnulf was the father of Ansegisel."

    6. [S18] Negotiating Space: Power, Restraint, and Privileges of Immunity in Early Medieval Europe, Barbara H. Rosenwein, (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1999), 127.
      "[T]he Gesta presents a vision of two intertwined careers springing from the seed of Arnulf: bishop of Metz and king of the Franks. Allied by common purpose, they [Chlodulf and Ansegisel] triumphed in each other's victories and found protection in the same saintly patron." (parenthetical information added)

    7. [S17] Women in Frankish Society: Marriage and the Cloister, 500 to 900, Suzanne Fonay Wemple, (University Station, PA: Penn State University Press), ISBN 978-0-8122-1209-9., 54.
      "When Begga, the daughter of the Austrasian mayor Pepin the Elder (d. 640), married Ansegisel, the son of Arnulf of Metz, the acendancy of the northeastern region over other parts of the kingdom was assured. This matrimonial alliance prepared the way for the replacement of the Merovingian ruling house by the Carolingian dynasty. The circumstances leading to this alliance are well known to historians. Almost as important was the union of Begga's and Ansegisel's son, Pepin the Middle (d. 714), and Plektrud, which has been analyzed by E. Hlawitschka. With the politcally powerful seneschal Hugobert as her father and the heiress Irmina as her mother, Plektrud was a coveted bride. Because she had only sisters and no brothers, she inherited vast domains in the country between the Rhine, the Moselle, and the Meuse, and these became the basis for her husban's political maneuvers. Her two sons futher enhanced Pepin's power by marrying women with political connections in the north and northwest. Drogo took as his wife Anstrud, the widow of Neustrian mayor of the palace; Grimoald married Theudesind, the daughter of the Frisian Chieftain. It was through the help of Drogo's mother-in-law Ansfled (Anseflidis) that Pepin was able to secure his hold over Neustria."