Facts and Events
Tassilo, then still an infant, began his rule as a Frankish ward under the tutelage of his uncle, the Merovingian Mayor of the Palace Pepin the Short (later king) after Tassilo's father, Duke Odilo of Bavaria, had died in 748 and Pepin’s half-brother Grifo had tried to seize the duchy for himself. Pepin removed Grifo and installed the young Tassilo as duke, but under Frankish overlordship.
Later, in 757, according to the Royal Frankish Annals, Tassilo became Pepin’s vassal for his lands at an assembly held at Compiègne. There he is reported to have sworn numerous oaths to Pepin and promised fealty to him and his sons, Charles and Carloman. However, this highly legalistic account is quite out of character for the period; K. L. Pearson has suggested that it probably represents a reworking of the original document by the annalist to emphasise Charlemagne’s overlordship over Tassilo during the period of hostilities between the two rulers.
Around 760 Tassilo married Liutperga, daughter of the Lombard king Desiderius continuing a tradition of Lombardo-Bavarian connections. He made several journeys to Italy to visit his father in law and to establish political relations with the pope. It is reported that Tassilo had gained such a reputation that he was regarded as a kingly ruler when his cousins Charles and Carloman assumed power in the Frankish realm in 768. That year he founded Gars Abbey on the Inn River in southern Bavaria. He was however not able to protect the pope against Lombard expansions which has been seen as a reason for Rome's lack of supporting Tassilo in his later conflict with Charlemagne. Still, there is consensus among historians that Tassilo despite his acting as a kingly sovereign did not intend to become king himself.
This incident was the linchpin in Charlemagne and Pope Hadrian I’s argument that Tassilo was not an independent prince, but a rebellious vassal deserving punishment. This punishment was carried out, after much political maneuvering during a diet in the Imperial Palace Ingelheim, in 788, when Tassilo was finally deposed and entered a monastery. In 794, Tassilo was made once more, at the synod of Frankfurt, to renounce his and his family's claims to Bavaria.
He is venerated by the Roman Catholic Church as a saint with a feast day on December 13.