Merovingian Dynasty the first dynasty of Frankish kings in Gaul. The name is derived from Merowig, a legendary chief of the Salian Franks. Clovis (reigned 481โ€“511), the real founder of the dynasty, left to his heirs a kingdom consisting of most of what is now France and southwestern Germany. The Merovingian custom of dividing the rule among a deceased king's sons led to civil warfare among the Franks in 567โ€“613 and 674โ€“87. The last Merovingian king, Childeric III, was deposed in 751 by Pepin the Short, who founded the Carolingian dynasty.