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 481–511), 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 567–613 and 674–87. The last Merovingian king, Childeric III, was deposed in 751 by Pepin the Short, who founded the Carolingian dynasty.