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Grifo was the son of the Frankish major domo Charles Martel
Charles Martel
Charles Martel , also known as Charles the Hammer, was a Frankish military and political leader, who served as Mayor of the Palace under the Merovingian kings and ruled de facto during an interregnum at the end of his life, using the title Duke and Prince of the Franks. In 739 he was offered the...

 and his second wife Swanahild
Swanachild was the second wife of Charles Martel, who brought her back from his first campaign in Bavaria in 725, along with her uncle Grimoald's wife, Biltrude. Swanachild belonged to the clan of the Agilolfings though her parentage is not quite clear...


After the death of Charles Martel power may well have been intended to be divided among Grifo and his half-brothers Pepin the Younger (Pepin the Short) and Carloman
Carloman, son of Charles Martel
Carloman was the eldest son of Charles Martel, major domo or mayor of the palace and duke of the Franks, and his wife Chrotrud. On Charles' death , Carloman and his brother Pippin the Short succeeded to their father's legal positions, Carloman in Austrasia, and Pippin in Neustria...

. Grifo, considered illegitimate by Pepin and Carloman, was lured into a trap by his half-brothers, however, and imprisoned in a monastery
Monastery denotes the building, or complex of buildings, that houses a room reserved for prayer as well as the domestic quarters and workplace of monastics, whether monks or nuns, and whether living in community or alone .Monasteries may vary greatly in size – a small dwelling accommodating only...


On his escape in 747, his maternal great-uncle Duke Odilo of Bavaria
Odilo of Bavaria
Odilo was an Alamannic nobleman, a son of Gotfrid of the house of the Agilolfings.He ruled Thurgau until 736, when with the death of Hugbert of Bavaria the older line of the Agilofing became extinct and he inherited the rulership of Bavaria, which he held until his death in 748.Odilo presided...

 provided support and assistance to Grifo, but when Odilo died a year later and Grifo attempted to seize the duchy of Bavaria for himself, Pepin, who had become sole major domo of the Frankish (Merovingian) Empire upon Carloman's resignation and retreat into a monastery, took decisive action by invading Bavaria and installing Odilo's infant son, Tassilo III, as duke under Frankish overlordship. Grifo continued his rebellion, but was eventually killed in the battle of Saint-Jean de Maurienne in 753, while Pepin became king of the Franks as Pepin III in 751.


  • "Grifo", in Charles Cawley's 'Medlands', hosted at the Foundation for Medieval Genealogy