Frankish Empire

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Francia or Frankia, later also called the Frankish Empire , Frankish Kingdom (Latin: regnum Francorum, "Kingdom of the Franks"), Frankish Realm or occasionally Frankland, was the territory inhabited and ruled by the Franks
Franks
The Franks were a confederation of Germanic tribes first attested in the third century AD as living north and east of the Lower Rhine River. From the third to fifth centuries some Franks raided Roman territory while other Franks joined the Roman troops in Gaul. Only the Salian Franks formed a...

 from the 3rd to the 10th century. Under the nearly continuous campaigns of 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...

, Pepin the Short, and Charlemagne
Charlemagne
Charlemagne was King of the Franks from 768 and Emperor of the Romans from 800 to his death in 814. He expanded the Frankish kingdom into an empire that incorporated much of Western and Central Europe. During his reign, he conquered Italy and was crowned by Pope Leo III on 25 December 800...

—father, son, grandson—the greatest expansion of the Frankish empire was secured by the early 9th century.

The tradition of dividing patrimonies among brothers meant that the Frankish realm was ruled, nominally, as one polity subdivided into several regna (kingdoms or subkingdoms). The geography and number of subkingdoms varied over time, but the particular term Francia came generally to refer to just one regnum, that of Austrasia
Austrasia
Austrasia formed the northeastern portion of the Kingdom of the Merovingian Franks, comprising parts of the territory of present-day eastern France, western Germany, Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands. Metz served as its capital, although some Austrasian kings ruled from Rheims, Trier, and...

, centred on the Rhine and Meuse rivers in northern Europe; even so, sometimes the term was used as well to encompass Neustria
Neustria
The territory of Neustria or Neustrasia, meaning "new [western] land", originated in 511, made up of the regions from Aquitaine to the English Channel, approximating most of the north of present-day France, with Paris and Soissons as its main cities...

 north of the Loire
Loire (river)
The Loire is the longest river in France. With a length of , it drains an area of , which represents more than a fifth of France's land area. It is the 170th longest river in the world...

 and west of the Seine
Seine
The Seine is a -long river and an important commercial waterway within the Paris Basin in the north of France. It rises at Saint-Seine near Dijon in northeastern France in the Langres plateau, flowing through Paris and into the English Channel at Le Havre . It is navigable by ocean-going vessels...

. Eventually, the singular use of the name Francia shifted towards Paris
Paris
Paris is the capital and largest city in France, situated on the river Seine, in northern France, at the heart of the Île-de-France region...

, and settled on the region of the Seine basin surrounding Paris, which still today bears the name Île-de-France
Île-de-France (région)
Île-de-France is the wealthiest and most populated of the twenty-two administrative regions of France, composed mostly of the Paris metropolitan area....

, and which region gave its name to the entire Kingdom of France
France in the Middle Ages
France in the Middle Ages covers an area roughly corresponding to modern day France, from the death of Louis the Pious in 840 to the middle of the 15th century...

.

History



Origins


The first recorded naming of Francia is in the Panegyrici Latini
Panegyrici Latini
The Panegyrici Latini or Latin Panegyrics is a collection of twelve ancient Roman panegyric orations. The authors of most of the speeches in the collection are anonymous, but appear to have been Gallic in origin. Aside from the first panegyric, composed by Pliny the Younger in 100 CE, the other...

of the early third century. At the time it described the area north and east of the Rhine, roughly in the triangle between Utrecht
Utrecht (city)
Utrecht city and municipality is the capital and most populous city of the Dutch province of Utrecht. It is located in the eastern corner of the Randstad conurbation, and is the fourth largest city of the Netherlands with a population of 312,634 on 1 Jan 2011.Utrecht's ancient city centre features...

, Bielefeld
Bielefeld
Bielefeld is an independent city in the Ostwestfalen-Lippe Region in the north-east of North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. With a population of 323,000, it is also the most populous city in the Regierungsbezirk Detmold...

, and Bonn
Bonn
Bonn is the 19th largest city in Germany. Located in the Cologne/Bonn Region, about 25 kilometres south of Cologne on the river Rhine in the State of North Rhine-Westphalia, it was the capital of West Germany from 1949 to 1990 and the official seat of government of united Germany from 1990 to 1999....

. It corresponded with the joint lands of Frankish tribes of the Sicambri
Sicambri
The Sicambri were a Germanic people living on the right bank of the Rhine river, near where it passes out of Germany and enters what is now called the Netherlands at the turn of the first millennium....

, Salians
Salian Franks
The Salian Franks or Salii were a subgroup of the early Franks who originally had been living north of the limes in the area above the Rhine. The Merovingian kings responsible for the conquest of Gaul were Salians. From the 3rd century on, the Salian Franks appear in the historical records as...

, Bructeri
Bructeri
The Bructeri were a Germanic tribe located in northwestern Germany , between the Lippe and Ems rivers south of the Teutoburg Forest, in present-day North Rhine-Westphalia around 100 BC through 350 AD....

, Ampsivarii
Ampsivarii
The Ampsivarii, sometimes referenced by modern writers as Ampsivari , were a Germanic tribe mentioned by ancient authors....

, Chamavi
Chamavi
The Chamavi were a Germanic tribe of Late Antiquity and the European Dark Age. They first appear under that name in the 1st century AD Germania of Tacitus as a Germanic tribe that, for most of their history, existed along the North bank of the Lower Rhine in the region today called Hamaland after...

 and Chattuarii
Chattuarii
The Chattuarii or Attoarii were a Germanic tribe of the Franks. They lived originally east of the northern Rhine and west of the Chatti. Their land was south of the Bructeri. Some of them settled in the pagus attuariorum south of Langres in the 3rd century...

. Some of these peoples, such as the Sicambri and Salians, already had lands in the Roman Empire
Roman Empire
The Roman Empire was the post-Republican period of the ancient Roman civilization, characterised by an autocratic form of government and large territorial holdings in Europe and around the Mediterranean....

 and delivered troops to Roman forces at the border. In 357 the Salian king entered the Roman Empire and made a permanent foothold there by a treaty granted by Julian the Apostate
Julian the Apostate
Julian "the Apostate" , commonly known as Julian, or also Julian the Philosopher, was Roman Emperor from 361 to 363 and a noted philosopher and Greek writer....

, who forced back the Chamavi to Hamaland
Hamaland
Hamaland is a non-administrative region in the east of the Netherlands that is named after the Frankish Chamavi-tribe. It is located east of the river IJssel and south of Salland and Twente . Hamaland and the Chamavi were in Late antiquity ruled by independent kings...

.

As Frankish territory expanded, the meaning of "Francia" expanded with it. Some of the Frankish kings, such as Bauto and Arbogastes, were committed to the cause of the Romans, but other Frankish rulers, such as Mallobaudes
Mallobaudes
Mallobaudes or Mellobaudes was a 4th-century Frankish king who also held the Roman title of comes domesticorum.In 354 he was a tribunus armaturarum in the Roman army in Gaul, where he served under Silvanus, who usurped power in 355. Malobaudes tried unsuccessfully to intervene on his behalf...

, were active on Roman soil for other reasons. After the fall of Arbogastes, his son Arigius succeeded in establishing a hereditary countship at Trier
Trier
Trier, historically called in English Treves is a city in Germany on the banks of the Moselle. It is the oldest city in Germany, founded in or before 16 BC....

 and after the fall of the usurper Constantine III some Franks supported the usurper Jovinus
Jovinus
Jovinus was a Gallo-Roman senator and claimed to be Roman Emperor .Following the defeat of the usurper known with the name of Constantine III, Jovinus was proclaimed emperor at Mainz in 411, a puppet supported by Gundahar, king of the Burgundians, and Goar, king of the Alans...

 (411). Although Jovinus was dead by 413, the Romans could no longer manage the Franks within their borders.

The Frankish king Theudemer was executed by the sword, but to no avail. Around 428 the Salian king Chlodio, whose kingdom included Toxandria
Toxandria
Toxandria is the classical name for a region between the Meuse and the Scheldt rivers in the Netherlands and Belgium. The name is also spelled Taxandria...

 and the civitatus Tungrorum (Tongeren), launched an attack on Roman territory and extended his realm as far as Camaracum (Cambrai
Cambrai
Cambrai is a commune in the Nord department in northern France. It is a sub-prefecture of the department.Cambrai is the seat of an archdiocese whose jurisdiction was immense during the Middle Ages. The territory of the Bishopric of Cambrai, roughly coinciding with the shire of Brabant, included...

) and the Somme
Somme
Somme is a department of France, located in the north of the country and named after the Somme river. It is part of the Picardy region of France....

. Though Sidonius Apollinaris
Sidonius Apollinaris
Gaius Sollius Apollinaris Sidonius or Saint Sidonius Apollinaris was a poet, diplomat, and bishop. Sidonius is "the single most important surviving author from fifth-century Gaul" according to Eric Goldberg...

 relates that Flavius Aëtius
Flavius Aëtius
Flavius Aëtius , dux et patricius, was a Roman general of the closing period of the Western Roman Empire. He was an able military commander and the most influential man in the Western Roman Empire for two decades . He managed policy in regard to the attacks of barbarian peoples pressing on the Empire...

 fought the Franks and temporarily drove them back (c. 431), this period marks the beginning of a situation that would endure for many centuries: the Germanic Franks ruled over an increasing number of Gallo-Roman subjects.

The kingdom of Chlodio changed the borders and the meaning of the word "Francia" permanently. Francia was no longer barbaricum trans Rhenum (barbarians across the Rhine), but a landed political power on both sides of the river, deeply involved in Roman politics. Chlodio's family, the Merovingians, extended Francia even further south. Due to pressure from the Saxons
Saxons
The Saxons were a confederation of Germanic tribes originating on the North German plain. The Saxons earliest known area of settlement is Northern Albingia, an area approximately that of modern Holstein...

, the northeastern borders of Francia were pressed southwest so that most of the original Frankish people came to live more southwesterly, roughly between the Somme and Münster
Münster
Münster is an independent city in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. It is located in the northern part of the state and is considered to be the cultural centre of the Westphalia region. It is also capital of the local government region Münsterland...

.

Merovingian rise and decline, 481–687




Chlodio's successors are obscure figures, but what can be certain is that Childeric I
Childeric I
Childeric I was a Merovingian king of the Salian Franks and the father of Clovis.He succeeded his father Merovech as king, traditionally in 457 or 458...

, possibly his grandson, ruled a Salian kingdom from Tournai
Tournai
Tournai is a Walloon city and municipality of Belgium located 85 kilometres southwest of Brussels, on the river Scheldt, in the province of Hainaut....

 as a foederatus
Foederati
Foederatus is a Latin term whose definition and usage drifted in the time between the early Roman Republic and the end of the Western Roman Empire...

of the Romans. Childeric is chiefly important to history for bequeathing the Franks to his son Clovis
Clovis I
Clovis Leuthwig was the first King of the Franks to unite all the Frankish tribes under one ruler, changing the leadership from a group of royal chieftains, to rule by kings, ensuring that the kingship was held by his heirs. He was also the first Catholic King to rule over Gaul . He was the son...

, who began an effort to extend his authority over the other Frankish tribes and to expand their territorium south and west into Gaul
Gaul
Gaul was a region of Western Europe during the Iron Age and Roman era, encompassing present day France, Luxembourg and Belgium, most of Switzerland, the western part of Northern Italy, as well as the parts of the Netherlands and Germany on the left bank of the Rhine. The Gauls were the speakers of...

. Clovis converted to Roman Catholicism and put himself on good terms with the powerful Church and with his Gallo-Roman subjects. In a thirty-year reign (481–511) he defeated the Roman general Syagrius
Syagrius
Syagrius was the last Roman official in Gaul, whose defeat by king Clovis I of the Franks is considered the end of Roman rule outside of Italy. He came to this position through inheritance, for his father was Aegidius, the last Roman magister militum per Gallias...

 and conquered the Roman enclave of Soissons
Domain of Soissons
The Domain of Soissons, by later writers called the Kingdom of Soissons, Kingdom of Aegidius or the Kingdom of Syagrius, was a rump state of the Western Roman Empire in northern Gaul for some 25 years during Late Antiquity....

, defeated the Alemanni (Tolbiac
Battle of Tolbiac
The Battle of Tolbiac was fought between the Franks under Clovis I and the Alamanni, traditionally set in 496. The site of "Tolbiac", or "Tulpiacum" is usually given as Zülpich, North Rhine-Westphalia, about 60km east of the present German-Belgian frontier, which is not implausible...

, 504) and established Frankish hegemony over them, defeated the Visigoths (Vouillé
Battle of Vouillé
The Battle of Vouillé or Vouglé was fought in the northern marches of Visigothic territory, at Vouillé, Vienne near Poitiers , in the spring of 507 between the Franks commanded by Clovis and the Visigoths of Alaric II, the conqueror of Spain.Clovis and Anastasius I of the Byzantine Empire agreed...

, 507) and conquered their entire kingdom (save Septimania
Septimania
Septimania was the western region of the Roman province of Gallia Narbonensis that passed under the control of the Visigoths in 462, when Septimania was ceded to their king, Theodoric II. Under the Visigoths it was known as simply Gallia or Narbonensis. It corresponded roughly with the modern...

) with its capital at Toulouse
Toulouse
Toulouse is a city in the Haute-Garonne department in southwestern FranceIt lies on the banks of the River Garonne, 590 km away from Paris and half-way between the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea...

, and conquered the Bretons (according to Gregory of Tours
Gregory of Tours
Saint Gregory of Tours was a Gallo-Roman historian and Bishop of Tours, which made him a leading prelate of Gaul. He was born Georgius Florentius, later adding the name Gregorius in honour of his maternal great-grandfather...

) and made them vassals of Francia. He conquered most or all of the neighbouring Frankish tribes along the Rhine and incorporated them into his kingdom. He also incorporated the various Roman military settlements (laeti
Laeti
Laeti, the plural form of laetus, was a term used in the late Roman Empire to denote communities of barbari permitted to, and granted land to, settle on imperial territory on condition that they provide recruits for the Roman military...

) scattered over Gaul: the Saxons of Bessin
Bessin
The Bessin is an area in Normandy, France, corresponding to the territory of the Bajocasse tribe of Gaul who also gave their name to the city of Bayeux, central town of the Bessin.-History:The territory was annexed by the Duchy of Normandy in 924....

, the Britons and the Alans
Alans
The Alans, or the Alani, occasionally termed Alauni or Halani, were a group of Sarmatian tribes, nomadic pastoralists of the 1st millennium AD who spoke an Eastern Iranian language which derived from Scytho-Sarmatian and which in turn evolved into modern Ossetian.-Name:The various forms of Alan —...

 of Armorica
Armorica
Armorica or Aremorica is the name given in ancient times to the part of Gaul that includes the Brittany peninsula and the territory between the Seine and Loire rivers, extending inland to an indeterminate point and down the Atlantic coast...

 and Loire valley
Loire Valley
The Loire Valley , spanning , is located in the middle stretch of the Loire River in central France. Its area comprises approximately . It is referred to as the Cradle of the French Language, and the Garden of France due to the abundance of vineyards, fruit orchards, and artichoke, asparagus, and...

 or the Taifals
Taifals
The Taifals, Taifali, Taifalae, Tayfals, or Theifali were a people settled by the late Roman Empire in Poitou in the fourth century. They served as dediticii and laeti in the Roman and subsequently Merovingian militaries...

 of Poitou
Poitou
Poitou was a province of west-central France whose capital city was Poitiers.The region of Poitou was called Thifalia in the sixth century....

 to name a few prominent ones. By the end of his life, he ruled all of Gaul save the Gothic province of Septimania and the Burgundian kingdom
Kingdom of Burgundy
Burgundy is a historic region in Western Europe that has existed as a political entity in a number of forms with very different boundaries. Two of these entities - the first around the 6th century, the second around the 11th century - have been called the Kingdom of Burgundy; a third was very...

 in the southeast.

The Merovingians were a hereditary monarchy
Hereditary monarchy
A hereditary monarchy is the most common type of monarchy and is the form that is used by almost all of the world's existing monarchies.Under a hereditary monarchy, all the monarchs come from the same family, and the crown is passed down from one member to another member of the family...

. The Frankish kings adhered to the practice of partible inheritance
Partible inheritance
Partible inheritance is a general term applied to systems of inheritance in which property may be apportioned among heirs. It contrasts in particular with primogeniture, which requires that the whole inheritance passes to the eldest son, and with agnatic seniority where the succession passes to...

: dividing their lands among their sons. Even when multiple Merovingian kings ruled, the kingdom—not unlike the late Roman Empire
Roman Empire
The Roman Empire was the post-Republican period of the ancient Roman civilization, characterised by an autocratic form of government and large territorial holdings in Europe and around the Mediterranean....

—was conceived of as a single realm ruled collectively by several kings and the turn of events could result in the reunification of the whole realm under a single king. The Merovingian kings ruled by divine right and their kingship was symbolised daily by their long hair and initially by their acclamation, which was carried out by raising the king on a shield in accordance with the ancient Germanic practice of electing a war-leader at an assembly of the warriors. At the death of Clovis, his kingdom was divided territorially by his four adult sons in such a way that each son was granted a comparable portion of fiscal land
Fisc
Under the Merovingians and Carolingians, the fisc applied to the royal demesne which paid taxes, entirely in kind, from which the royal household was meant to be supported, though it rarely was...

, which was probably land once part of the Roman fisc, now ceased by the Frankish government.


Clovis' sons made their capitals near the Frankish heartland in northeastern Gaul. Theuderic I
Theuderic I
Theuderic I was the Merovingian king of Metz, Rheims, or Austrasia—as it is variously called—from 511 to 533 or 534....

 made his capital at Reims
Reims
Reims , a city in the Champagne-Ardenne region of France, lies east-northeast of Paris. Founded by the Gauls, it became a major city during the period of the Roman Empire....

, Chlodomer
Chlodomer
Chlodomer, also spelled Clodomir or Clodomer was the second of the four sons of Clovis I, King of the Franks. On the death of his father, in 511, he divided the kingdom of the Franks with his three brothers: Theuderic I, Childebert I, and Clotaire I...

 at Orléans
Orléans
-Prehistory and Roman:Cenabum was a Gallic stronghold, one of the principal towns of the Carnutes tribe where the Druids held their annual assembly. It was conquered and destroyed by Julius Caesar in 52 BC, then rebuilt under the Roman Empire...

, Childebert I
Childebert I
Childebert I was the Frankish king of Paris, a Merovingian dynast, one of the four sons of Clovis I who shared the kingdom of the Franks upon their father's death in 511...

 at Paris
Paris
Paris is the capital and largest city in France, situated on the river Seine, in northern France, at the heart of the Île-de-France region...

, and Chlothar I at Soissons
Soissons
Soissons is a commune in the Aisne department in Picardy in northern France, located on the Aisne River, about northeast of Paris. It is one of the most ancient towns of France, and is probably the ancient capital of the Suessiones...

. During their reigns, the Thuringii
Thuringii
The Thuringii or Toringi were a Germanic tribe which appeared late during the Völkerwanderung in the Harz Mountains of central Germania around 280, in a region which still bears their name to this day — Thuringia. They evidently filled a void left when the previous inhabitants — the...

 (532), Burgundes (534), and Saxons
Saxons
The Saxons were a confederation of Germanic tribes originating on the North German plain. The Saxons earliest known area of settlement is Northern Albingia, an area approximately that of modern Holstein...

 and Frisians
Frisians
The Frisians are a Germanic ethnic group native to the coastal parts of the Netherlands and Germany. They are concentrated in the Dutch provinces of Friesland and Groningen and, in Germany, East Frisia and North Frisia, that was a part of Denmark until 1864. They inhabit an area known as Frisia...

 (c. 560) were incorporated into the Frankish kingdom. The outlying trans-Rhenish tribes were loosely attached to Frankish sovereignty, and though they could be forced to contribute to Frankish military efforts, in times of weak kings they were uncontrollable and liable to attempt independence. The Romanised Burgundian kingdom, however, was preserved in its territoriality by the Franks and converted into one of their primary divisions, incorporating the central Gallic heartland of Chlodomer's realm with its capital at Orléans.

The fraternal kings, however, showed only intermittent signs of friendship and were often in rivalry. On the early death of Chlodomer, his brother Chlothar had his young sons murdered in order to take a share of his kingdom, which was, in accordance with custom, divided between the surviving brothers. Theuderic died in 534, but his adult son Theudebert I
Theudebert I
Theudebert I was the Merovingian king of Austrasia from 533 to his death in 548. He was the son of Theuderic I and the father of Theudebald....

 was capable of defending his inheritance, which formed the largest of the Frankish subkingdoms and the kernel of the later kingdom of Austrasia
Austrasia
Austrasia formed the northeastern portion of the Kingdom of the Merovingian Franks, comprising parts of the territory of present-day eastern France, western Germany, Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands. Metz served as its capital, although some Austrasian kings ruled from Rheims, Trier, and...

. Theudebert was the first Frankish king to formally sever his ties to the Byzantine Empire
Byzantine Empire
The Byzantine Empire was the Eastern Roman Empire during the periods of Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, centred on the capital of Constantinople. Known simply as the Roman Empire or Romania to its inhabitants and neighbours, the Empire was the direct continuation of the Ancient Roman State...

 by striking gold coins with his own image on them and calling himself magnus rex (great king) because of his supposed suzerainty over peoples as far away as Pannonia
Pannonia
Pannonia was an ancient province of the Roman Empire bounded north and east by the Danube, coterminous westward with Noricum and upper Italy, and southward with Dalmatia and upper Moesia....

. Theudebert interfered in the Gothic War on the side of the Gepids and Lombards
Lombards
The Lombards , also referred to as Longobards, were a Germanic tribe of Scandinavian origin, who from 568 to 774 ruled a Kingdom in Italy...

 against the Ostrogoths, receiving the provinces of Rhaetia, Noricum
Noricum
Noricum, in ancient geography, was a Celtic kingdom stretching over the area of today's Austria and a part of Slovenia. It became a province of the Roman Empire...

, and part of Venetia. His son and successor, Theudebald
Theudebald
Theudebald or Theodebald , son of Theudebert I and Deuteria, was the king of Metz, Rheims, or Austrasia—as it's variously called—from 547 or 548 to 555.He was only thirteen years of age when he succeeded and of ill health...

, was unable to retain them and on his death all of his vast kingdom passed to Chlothar. In 558, with the death of Childebert, the entire Frankish realm was reunited under the rule of one king, Chlothar.


In 561 Chlothar died and his realm was divided, in a replay of the events of fifty years prior, between his four sons, with the chief cities remaining the same. The eldest son, Charibert I
Charibert I
Charibert I was the Merovingian King of Paris, the second-eldest son of Chlothar I and Ingund. His elder brother was Gunthar, who died sometime before their father's death....

, inherited the kingdom with its capital at Paris and ruled all of western Gaul. The second eldest, Guntram
Guntram
Saint Guntram was the king of Burgundy from 561 to 592. He was a son of Chlothar I and Ingunda...

, inherited the old kingdom of the Burgundians, augmented by the lands of central France around the old capital of Orléans, which became his chief city, and most of Provence
Provence
Provence ; Provençal: Provença in classical norm or Prouvènço in Mistralian norm) is a region of south eastern France on the Mediterranean adjacent to Italy. It is part of the administrative région of Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur...

. The rest of Provence, the Auvergne
Auvergne (province)
Auvergne was a historic province in south central France. It was originally the feudal domain of the Counts of Auvergne. It is now the geographical and cultural area that corresponds to the former province....

, and eastern Aquitaine were assigned to the third son, Sigebert I
Sigebert I
Sigebert I was the king of Austrasia from the death of his father in 561 to his own death. He was the third surviving son out of four of Clotaire I and Ingund...

, who also inherited Austrasia with its chief cities of Reims and Metz
Metz
Metz is a city in the northeast of France located at the confluence of the Moselle and the Seille rivers.Metz is the capital of the Lorraine region and prefecture of the Moselle department. Located near the tripoint along the junction of France, Germany, and Luxembourg, Metz forms a central place...

. The smallest kingdom was that of Soissons, which went to the youngest son, Chilperic I
Chilperic I
Chilperic I was the king of Neustria from 561 to his death. He was one of the sons of the Frankish king Clotaire I and Queen Aregund....

. The kingdom Chilperic ruled at his death (584) became the nucleus of later Neustria
Neustria
The territory of Neustria or Neustrasia, meaning "new [western] land", originated in 511, made up of the regions from Aquitaine to the English Channel, approximating most of the north of present-day France, with Paris and Soissons as its main cities...

.

This second fourfold division was quickly ruined by fratricidal wars, waged largely over the murder of Galswintha
Galswintha
Galswintha was the daughter of Athanagild, Visigothic king of Hispania , and Goiswintha...

, the wife of Chilperic, allegedly by his mistress (and second wife) Fredegunda. Galswintha's sister, the wife of Sigebert, Brunhilda, incited her husband to war and the conflict between the two queens continued to plague relations until the next century. Guntram sought to keep the peace, though he also attempted twice (585 and 589) to conquer Septimania from the Goths, but was defeated both times. All the surviving brothers benefited at the death of Charibert, but Chilperic was also able to extend his authority during the period of war by bringing the Bretons to heel again. After his death, Guntram had to again force the Bretons to submit. In 587, the Treaty of Andelot
Treaty of Andelot
The Treaty of Andelot , was signed at Andelot-Blancheville in 587 between King Guntram of Burgundy and Queen Brunhilda of Austrasia. Based on the terms of the accord, Brunhilda agreed that Guntram adopt her son Childebert II as his successor and ally himself with Childebert against the revolted...

—the text of which explicitly refers to the entire Frankish realm as Francia—between Brunhilda and Guntram secured his protection of her young son Childebert II
Childebert II
.Childebert II was the Merovingian king of Austrasia, which included Provence at the time, from 575 until his death in 595, the eldest and succeeding son of Sigebert I, and the king of Burgundy from 592 to his death, as the adopted and succeeding son of his uncle Guntram.-Childhood:When his father...

, who had succeeded the assassinated Sigebert (575). Together the territory of Guntram and Childebert was well over thrice as large as the small realm of Chilperic's successor, Chlothar II. During this period Francia took on the tripartite character it was to have throughout the rest of its history, being composed of Neustria, Austrasia, and Burgundy.


When Guntram died in 592, Burgundy went to Childebert in its entirety, but he died in 595. His two sons divided the kingdom, with the elder Theudebert II
Theudebert II
Theudebert II , King of Austrasia , was the son and heir of Childebert II. He received the kingdom of Austrasia plus the cities of Poitiers, Tours, Vellay, Bordeaux, and Châteaudun, as well as the Champagne, the Auvergne, and Transjurane Alemannia, on the death of his father in 595, but was...

 taking Austrasia plus Childebert's portion of Aquitaine, while his younger brother Theuderic II
Theuderic II
Theuderic II , king of Burgundy and Austrasia , was the second son of Childebert II...

 inherited Burgundy and Guntram's Aquitaine. United, the brothers sought to remove their father's cousin Chlothar II from power and they did succeed in conquering most of his kingdom, reducing him to only a few cities, but they failed to capture him. In 599 they routed his forces at Dormelles
Dormelles
Dormelles is a commune in the Seine-et-Marne department in the Île-de-France region in north-central France.-History:Dormelles was the site of a battle circa 599 between rival Merovingian kings. Chlothar II, ruler of Neustria, faced his cousins, Theuderic II, King of Burgundy, and Theudebert II,...

 and seized the Dentelin
Dentelin
Dentelin was a region of the Frankish Empire disputed between Austrasia and Neustria.Mentioned in the Chronicle of Fredegar, the Duchy of Dentelin included far north-western parts of modern France and south-western parts of Belgium...

, but they then fell foul of each other and the remainder of their time on the thrones was spent in infighting, often incited by their grandmother Brunhilda, who, angered over her expulsion from Theudebert's court, convinced Theuderic to unseat him and kill him. In 612 he did and the whole realm of his father Childebert was once again ruled by one man. This was short-lived, however, as he died on the eve of preparing an expedition against Chlothar in 613, leaving a young son named Sigebert II
Sigebert II
Sigebert II was king of Burgundy and Austrasia . Bastard son of Theuderic II, he succeeded his father in 613; but the mayor of the palace of Austrasia, Warnachar, feared that at his young age he would fall under the influence of his great-grandmother Brunhilda.Brunhilda had brought him before a...

. During their reigns, Theudebert and Theuderic campaigned successfully in Gascony
Gascony
Gascony is an area of southwest France that was part of the "Province of Guyenne and Gascony" prior to the French Revolution. The region is vaguely defined and the distinction between Guyenne and Gascony is unclear; sometimes they are considered to overlap, and sometimes Gascony is considered a...

, where they had established the Duchy of Vasconia
Duchy of Vasconia
The Duchy of Vasconia , or Wasconia, was originally a Frankish march formed by 602 to keep the Basques in check. It comprised the former Roman province of Novempopulania and, at least in some periods, also the lands south of the Pyrenees centred on Pamplona.In the ninth century, civil war within...

 and brought the Basques to submission (602). This original Gascon conquest included lands south of the Pyrenees
Pyrenees
The Pyrenees is a range of mountains in southwest Europe that forms a natural border between France and Spain...

, namely Biscay
Biscay
Biscay is a province of Spain and a historical territory of the Basque Country, heir of the ancient Lord of Biscay. Its capital city is Bilbao...

 and Guipúzcoa, but these were lost to the Visigoths in 612. On the opposite end of his realm, the Alemanni had defeated Theuderic in a rebellion and the Franks were losing their hold on the trans-Rhenish tribes. In 610 Theudebert had extorted the Duchy of Alsace
Duchy of Alsace
The Duchy of Alsace was a large political subdivision of the Frankish Empire during the last decade and a half of Merovingian rule. It corresponded to the territory of Alsace and was carved out of southern Austrasia in the last decade of the reign of Dagobert I, probably to stabilise the southern...

 from Theuderic, beginning a long period of conflict over which kingdom was to have the region of Alsace, Burgundy or Austrasia, which was only terminated in the late seventh century.

During the brief minority of Sigebert II, the office of the mayor of the palace
Mayor of the Palace
Mayor of the Palace was an early medieval title and office, also called majordomo, from the Latin title maior domus , used most notably in the Frankish kingdoms in the 7th and 8th centuries....

, which had for sometime been visible in the kingdoms of the Franks, came to the fore in its internal politics, with a faction of nobles coalescing around the persons of Warnachar, Rado
Rado (mayor of the palace)
Rado was the mayor of the palace of Burgundy from 613 to 617.He, along with Warnachar, Pepin of Landen, and Saint Arnulf, abandoned the cause of the queen Brunhilda and the young king Sigebert II and joined with Clotaire II, promising not to rise in defence of the queen-regent and recognising...

, and Pepin of Landen, to give the kingdom over to Chlothar in order to remove Brunhilda, the young king's regent, from power. Warnachar was himself already the mayor of the palace of Austrasia, while Rado and Pepin were to find themselves rewarded with mayoral offices after Chlothar's coup succeeded and Brunhilda and the ten-year old king were killed.

Immediately after his victory, Chlothar II promulgated the Edict of Paris
Edict of Paris
The Edict of Paris of Chlothar II, the Merovingian king of the Franks, promulgated October 18 614 , is one of the most important royal instruments of the Merovingian period in Frankish history and a hallmark in the history of the development of the Frankish monarchy...

 (614), which has generally been viewed as a concession to the nobility, though this view has come under recent criticism. The Edict primarily sought to guarantee justice and end corruption in government, but it also entrenched the regional differences between the three kingdoms of Francia and probably granted the nobles more control over judicial appointments. By 623 the Austrasians had begun to clamour for a king of their own, since Chlothar was so often absent from the kingdom and, because of his upbringing and previous rule in the Seine basin, was more or less an outsider there. Chlothar thus granted that his son Dagobert I
Dagobert I
Dagobert I was the king of Austrasia , king of all the Franks , and king of Neustria and Burgundy . He was the last Merovingian dynast to wield any real royal power...

 would be their king and he was duly acclaimed by the Austrasian warriors in the traditional fashion. Nonetheless, though Dagobert exercised true authority in his realm, Chlothar maintained ultimate control over the whole Frankish kingdom.


During the joint reign of Chlothar and Dagobert, who have been called "the last ruling Merovingians", the Saxons, who had been loosely attached to Francia since the late 550s, rebelled under Duke Berthoald
Berthoald, Duke of Saxony
Berthoald was the Duke of the Saxons during the reign of the Frankish kings Chlothar II and his son Dagobert I, the last ruling Merovingians. He despised Frankish suzerainty and rebelled, but was defeated...

 and were defeated and reincorporated into the kingdom by the joint action of father and son. When Chlothar died in 628, Dagobert, in accordance with his father's wishes, granted a subkingdom to his younger brother Charibert II
Charibert II
Charibert II , a son of Clotaire II and his junior wife Sichilde, was briefly King of Aquitaine from 629 to his death, with his capital at Toulouse. We have no direct statement about when Charibert was born exact that he was "a few years younger" than his half-brother Dagobert...

. This subkingdom, commonly called Aquitaine, was a new creation. It corresponded to the southern half of the old Roman province of Aquitaine and its capital was at Toulouse
Toulouse
Toulouse is a city in the Haute-Garonne department in southwestern FranceIt lies on the banks of the River Garonne, 590 km away from Paris and half-way between the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea...

. The other cities of his kingdom were Cahors
Cahors
Cahors is the capital of the Lot department in south-western France.Its site is dramatic being contained on three sides within an udder shaped twist in the river Lot known as a 'presqu'île' or peninsula...

, Agen
Agen
Agen is a commune in the Lot-et-Garonne department in Aquitaine in south-western France. It lies on the river Garonne southeast of Bordeaux. It is the capital of the department.-Economy:The town has a higher level of unemployment than the national average...

, Périgueux
Périgueux
Périgueux is a commune in the Dordogne department in Aquitaine in southwestern France.Périgueux is the prefecture of the department and the capital of the region...

, Bordeaux
Bordeaux
Bordeaux is a port city on the Garonne River in the Gironde department in southwestern France.The Bordeaux-Arcachon-Libourne metropolitan area, has a population of 1,010,000 and constitutes the sixth-largest urban area in France. It is the capital of the Aquitaine region, as well as the prefecture...

, and Saintes
Saintes
Saintes is a French commune located in Poitou-Charentes, in the southwestern Charente-Maritime department of which it is a sub-prefecture. Its inhabitants are called Saintaises and Saintais....

; the duchy of Vasconia was also part of his allotment. Charibert campaigned successfully against the Basques, but after his death they revolted again (632). At the same time the Bretons rose up against Frankish suzerainty. The Breton leader Judicael ap Hoel
Judicael ap Hoel
Saint Judicael ap Hoel was the King of Domnonia and a Breton high king in the mid-seventh century.According to Gregory of Tours, the Bretons were divided into various regna during the sixth century, of which Domnonia, Cornouaille, and Broweroch are the best known; they had been under Frankish...

 relented and made peace with the Franks and paid tribute after Dagobert threatened to lead an army against him (635). That same year Dagobert sent an army to subdue the Basques, which it did.

Meanwhile, Dagobert had Charibert's infant successor Chilperic
Chilperic of Aquitaine
Chilperic was the infant son of Charibert II, and briefly king of Aquitaine in 632. He was killed shortly after his father in 632, under orders by Dagobert I, Charibert's half-brother....

 assassinated and reunited the entire Frankish realm again (632), though he was forced by the strong Austrasian aristocracy to grant his own son Sigebert III
Sigebert III
Sigebert III was the king of Austrasia from 634 to his death; probably on 1 February 656, or maybe as late as 660. He was the eldest son of Dagobert I....

 to them as a subking in 633. This act was precipitated largely by the Austrasians desire to be self-governing at a time when Neustrians dominated at the royal court. Chlothar had been the king at Paris for decades before becoming the king at Metz as well and the Merovingian monarchy was ever after him to be a Neustrian monarchy first and foremost. Indeed, it is in the 640s that "Neustria" first appears in writing, its late appearance relative to "Austrasia" probably due to the fact that Neustrians (who formed the bulk of the authors of the time) called their region simply "Francia". Burgundia too defined itself in opposition to Neustria at about this time. However, it was the Austrasians, who had been seen as a distinct people within the realm since the time of Gregory of Tours, who were to make the most strident moves for independence. Dagobert, in his dealings with the Saxons, Alemans, and Thuringii, as well as the Slavic peoples
Slavic peoples
The Slavic people are an Indo-European panethnicity living in Eastern Europe, Southeast Europe, North Asia and Central Asia. The term Slavic represents a broad ethno-linguistic group of people, who speak languages belonging to the Slavic language family and share, to varying degrees, certain...

 beyond the borders of Francia, upon whom he tried to force tribute but who instead defeated him under their king Samo
Samo
Samo was a Frankish merchant from the "Senonian country" , probably modern Soignies, Belgium or Sens, France. He was the first ruler of the Slavs whose name is known, and established one of the earliest Slav states, a supra-tribal union usually called Samo's empire, realm, kingdom, or tribal...

 at the Battle of Wogastisburg
Battle of Wogastisburg
According to the contemporary Chronicle of Fredegar, the battle of Wogastisburg was a battle between Slavs under King Samo and Franks under King Dagobert I in 631. The Frankish armies were advancing the area of Slavic tribal union in three streams - Alamanni, Lombards, and Austrasian Franks...

, made all the far eastern peoples subject to the court of Neustria and not of Austrasia. This, first and foremost, incited the Austrasians to request a king of their own from the royal household.

The young Sigebert was dominated during his minority by the mayor Grimoald I, who convinced the childless king to adopt his own Merovingian-named son Childebert
Childebert the Adopted
Childebert III the Adopted was a Frankish King. When King Sigebert III died in 656, Grimoald the Elder had Sigebert's son Dagobert II shorn of hair and sent to an Irish monastery and then proclaimed his own son king of Austrasia....

 as his son and heir. After Dagobert's death in 639, the duke of Thuringia, Radulf
Radulf, King of Thuringia
Radulf was the Duke of Thuringia from 632 or 633 until his death after 642.According to the Chronicle of Fredegar, he was a son of one Chamar, a Frankish aristocrat, and rose to power under the Merovingian king Dagobert I, who appointed him as dux in the former Thuringian kingdom which Francia...

, rebelled and tried to make himself king. He defeated Sigebert in what was a serious reversal for the ruling dynasty (640). The king lost the support of many magnates while on campaign and the weakness of the monarchic institutions by that time are evident in his inability to effectively make war without the support of the magnates; in fact, he could not even provide his own bodyguard without the loyal aid of Grimoald and Adalgisel
Adalgisel
Adalgisel or Adalgis was a Frankish duke and the mayor of the palace of Austrasia. He assumed that office in December 633 or January 634 at the same time that Sigebert III assumed the kingship. Along with Cunibert, Bishop of Cologne, he acted as regent for the young king...

. He is often regarded as the first roi fainéant
Roi fainéant
Roi fainéant, literally "lazy king", is a French term primarily used to refer to the later kings of the Merovingian dynasty, after they seemed to have lost their initial energy...

: "do-nothing king", not insofar as he "did nothing", but insofar as he accomplished little.

Clovis II
Clovis II
Clovis II succeeded his father Dagobert I in 639 as King of Neustria and Burgundy. His brother Sigebert III had been King of Austrasia since 634. He was initially under the regency of his mother Nanthild until her death in her early thirties in 642...

, Dagobert's successor in Neustria and Burgundy, which were thereafter attached yet ruled separately, was a minor for almost the whole of his reign. He was dominated by his mother Nanthild
Nanthild
Nanthild , also known as Nantéchilde, Nanthechilde, Nanthildis, Nanthilde, or Nantechildis, was a Frankish queen consort and regent, the third of many consorts of Dagobert I, king of the Franks ....

 and the mayor of the Neustrian palace, Erchinoald
Erchinoald
Erchinoald succeeded Aega as the mayor of the palace of Neustria in 641 and succeeded Flaochad in Burgundy in 642 and remained such until his death in 658. According to Fredegar, he was a relative of Dagobert I's mother...

. Erchinoald's successor, Ebroin
Ebroin
Ebroin was the Frankish mayor of the palace of Neustria on two occasions; firstly from 658 to his deposition in 673 and secondly from 675 to his death in 680 or 681...

, dominated the kingdom for the next fifteen years of near-constant civil war. On his death (656), Sigbert's son was shipped off to Ireland while Grimoald's son Childebert reigned in Austrasia. Ebroin eventually reunited the entire Frankish kingdom for Clovis's successor Chlothar III by killing Grimoald and removing Childebert in 661. However, the Austrasians demanded a king of their own again and Chlothar installed his younger brother Childeric II
Childeric II
Childeric II was the king of Austrasia from 662 and of Neustria and Burgundy from 673 until his death, making him sole King of the Franks for the final two years of his life. He was the second eldest son of Clovis II. His elder brother Chlothar III was briefly sole king from 661, but gave...

. During Chlothar's reign, the Franks had made an attack on northwestern Italy, but were driven off by the Lombard king Grimoald
Grimoald I of Benevento
Grimoald I was duke of Benevento and king of the Lombards .Born probably before 610 to Duke Gisulf II of Friuli and the Bavarian princess Ramhilde, daughter of Duke Garibald I of Bavaria, he succeeded his brother Radoald as duke of Benevento...

 near Rivoli
Rivoli
Rivoli may refer to:*Rivoli, Piedmont, , a town near Turin in Italy*Rivoli Veronese, a community in the Italian province of Verona*Battle of Rivoli, a battle that took place near Rivoli Veronese*The Rivoli, a restaurant/club in Toronto, Ontario, Canada...

.

Dominance of the mayors of the palace, 687–751



In 673, Chlothar III died and some Neustrian and Burgundian magnates invited Childeric to become king of the whole realm, but he soon upset some Neustrian magnates and he was assassinated (675). The reign of Theuderic III
Theuderic III
Theuderic III was the king of Neustria on two occasions and king of Austrasia from 679 to his death in 691. Thus, he was the king of all the Franks from 679...

 was to prove the end of the Merovingian dynasty's power. Thoroughly Neustrian in outlook, he allied with his mayor Berthar
Berthar
Berthar was the mayor of the palace of Neustria and Burgundy from 686 to 687. He was the successor of Waratton, whose daughter Anstrude he had married....

 and made war on the Austrasian who had installed Dagobert II
Dagobert II
Dagobert II was the king of Austrasia , the son of Sigebert III and Chimnechild of Burgundy. The Feast Date of St Dagobert II is 23 December -Biography:...

, Sigebert III's son, in their kingdom (briefly in opposition to Clovis III
Clovis III
Clovis III was the king of Austrasia from 675 to 676. Perhaps the son of Theuderic III or Clovis II, the Austrasian magnates who proclaimed him called him an illegitimate son of Clotaire III. They placed him on the throne in opposition to the young Dagobert II, the claimant of Wulfoald, the mayor...

). In 687 he was defeated by Pepin of Heristal, the Arnulfing mayor of Austrasia and the real power in that kingdom, at the Battle of Tertry
Battle of Tertry
The Battle of Tertry was an important engagement in Merovingian Gaul between the forces of Austrasia on one side and those of Neustria and Burgundy on the other. It took place in 687 at Tertry, Somme....

 and was forced to accept Pepin as sole mayor and dux et princeps Francorum: "Duke and Prince of the Franks", a title which signifies, to the author of the Liber Historiae Francorum
Liber Historiae Francorum
Liber historiae Francorum is a book that briefly starts as secondary source for early Franks in the time of Marcomer, and it gives a short breviarum of events until the time of the late Merovingians, where it becomes an important primary source of the contemporaneous history...

, the beginning of Pepin's "reign". Thereafter the Merovingian monarchs showed only sporadically, in our surviving records, any activities of a non-symbolic and self-willed nature.

During the period of confusion in the 670s and 680s, attempts had been made to re-assert Frankish suzerainty over the Frisians, but to no avail. In 689, however, Pepin launched a campaign of conquest in Western Frisia (Frisia Citerior) and defeated the Frisian king
Rulers of Frisia
Of the first historically verifiable rulers of Frisia, whether they are called dukes or kings, the last royal dynasty below is established by the chronicles of Merovingian kings of the Franks, with whom they were contemporaries...

 Radbod
Radbod, King of the Frisians
Radbod was the king of Frisia from c. 680 until his death. He is often considered the last independent ruler of Frisia before Frankish domination. He defeated Charles Martel at Cologne. Eventually, however, Charles prevailed and compelled the Frisians to submit...

 near Dorestad
Dorestad
In the Early Middle Ages, Dorestad was the largest settlement of northwestern Europe. It was a large, flourishing trading place, three kilometers long, situated where the rivers Rhine and Lek diverge southeast of Utrecht in the Netherlands near the modern town of Wijk bij Duurstede...

, an important trading centre. All the land between the Scheldt
Scheldt
The Scheldt is a 350 km long river in northern France, western Belgium and the southwestern part of the Netherlands...

 and the Vlie
Vlie
The Vlie or Vliestroom is the seaway between the Dutch islands of Vlieland, to its southwest, and Terschelling, to its northeast. The Vlie was the estuary of the river IJssel in medieval times...

 was incorporated into Francia. Then, circa 690, Pepin attacked central Frisia and took Utrecht
Utrecht (city)
Utrecht city and municipality is the capital and most populous city of the Dutch province of Utrecht. It is located in the eastern corner of the Randstad conurbation, and is the fourth largest city of the Netherlands with a population of 312,634 on 1 Jan 2011.Utrecht's ancient city centre features...

. In 695 Pepin could even sponsor the foundation of the Archdiocese of Utrecht and the beginning of the conversion of the Frisians under Willibrord
Willibrord
__notoc__Willibrord was a Northumbrian missionary saint, known as the "Apostle to the Frisians" in the modern Netherlands...

. However, Eastern Frisia (Frisia Ulterior) remained outside of Frankish suzerainty.

Having achieved great successes against the Frisians, Pepin turned towards the Alemanni. In 709 he launched a war against Willehari
Willehari
Willehari or Willihari was an Alemannic duke in the Ortenau in the early eighth century.According to the Vita Sancti Desiderii, Pepin of Heristal of the Franks, led two expeditions against Willehari in 709 and 712...

, duke of the Ortenau
Ortenau
The Ortenau is a historical territory in Baden-Württemberg, located on the right bank of the River Rhine. It covers approximately the same area as the Ortenaukreis, a present-day district....

, probably in an effort to force the succession of the young sons of the deceased Gotfrid
Gotfrid
Gotfrid, Gotefrid, or Gottfried was the Duke of Alemannia in the late seventh century and until his death. He was of the house of the Agilolfing, which was the dominant ruling family in Bavaria....

 on the ducal throne. This outside interference led to another war in 712 and the Alemanni were, for the time being, restored to the Frankish fold. However, in southern Gaul, which was not under Arnulfing influence, the regions were pulling away from the royal court under leaders such as Savaric of Auxerre
Savaric of Auxerre
Savaric was the Bishop of Auxerre from 710 until his death. A member of high nobility, he was a warrior who held a bishopric. He was the father of Eucherius, Bishop of Orleans....

, Antenor of Provence
Antenor of Provence
Antenor was the Patrician of Provence in the last years of the 7th and first years of the 8th century. He was independent of Arnulfing authority and the representative of the Merovingian sovereign in Provence at a time when Arnulfing power was eclipsing the royal.Antenor's influence in Provence was...

, and Odo of Aquitaine. The reigns of Clovis IV
Clovis IV
Clovis IV , son of Theuderic III, was the sole king of the Franks from 691 until his death. Although Clovis IV is called "King of the Franks", he was really a puppet—a roi fainéant—of his uncle Pepin II, mayor of the palace of Austrasia...

 and Childebert III
Childebert III
Childebert III, called the Just , son of Theuderic III and Clotilda and sole king of the Franks , he was seemingly but a puppet of the mayor of the palace, Pepin of Heristal, though his placita show him making judicial decisions of his own will, even against the Arnulfing clan...

 from 691 until 711 have all the hallmarks of those of rois fainéants, though Childebert is founding making royal judgements against the interests of his supposed masters, the Arnulfings.

When Pepin died in 714, however, the Frankish realm plunged into civil war and the dukes of the outlying provinces became de facto independent. Pepin's appointed successor, Theudoald
Theudoald
Theudoald was the mayor of the palace, briefly unopposed in 714 until Ragenfrid was acclaimed in Neustria and Charles Martel in Austrasia by the nobles, after the death of his grandfather, Pepin of Heristal. He was the illegitimate son of Grimoald II and Theudesinda of Frisia and thus a grandson...

, under his widow, Plectrude
Plectrude
Plectrude was the wife of Pepin of Herstal, the mayor of the palace and duke of the Franks, from about 670. She was the daughter of Hugobert, seneschal of Clovis IV, and Irmina d'Oeren....

, initially opposed an attempt by the king, Dagobert III
Dagobert III
Dagobert III was Merovingian king of the Franks .He was a son of Childebert III. He succeeded his father as the head of the three Frankish kingdoms—Neustria and Austrasia, unified since Pippin's victory at Tertry in 687, and the Kingdom of Burgundy—in 711, at the age of twelve...

, to appoint Ragenfrid
Ragenfrid
Ragenfrid was the mayor of the palace of Neustria and Burgundy from 715, when he filled the vacuum in Neustria caused by the death of Pepin of Heristal, until 718, when Charles Martel finally established himself over the whole Frankish kingdom.His original centre of power was the Véxin...

 as mayor of the palace in all the realms, but soon there was a third candidate for the mayoralty of Austrasia in Pepin's illegitimate adult son, 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...

. After the defeat of Plectrude and Theudoald by the king (now Chilperic II
Chilperic II
Chilperic II , born Daniel, the youngest son of Childeric II, was king of Neustria from 715 and sole king of the Franks from 718 until his death. He was the last Merovingian dynast to exercise any authority on his own....

) and Ragenfrid, Charles briefly raised a king of his own, Chlothar IV, in opposition to Chilperic. Finally, at a battle near Soisson
Battle of Soissons (718)
The Battle of Soissons of 718 was the last of the great pitched battles of the civil war between the heirs of Pepin of Heristal. Since Pepin's death in December 714, his grandson and heir Theudoald, his widow Plectrude, his bastard son Charles Martel, his successor as mayor of the palace in...

, Charles definitively defeated his rivals and forced them into hiding, eventually accepting the king back on the condition that he receive his father's positions (718). There were no more active Merovingian kings after that point and Charles and his Carolingian
Carolingian
The Carolingian dynasty was a Frankish noble family with origins in the Arnulfing and Pippinid clans of the 7th century AD. The name "Carolingian", Medieval Latin karolingi, an altered form of an unattested Old High German *karling, kerling The Carolingian dynasty (known variously as the...

 heirs ruled the Franks.

After 718 Charles Martel embarked on a series of wars intended to strengthen the Franks' hegemony in western Europe. In 718 he defeated the rebellious Saxons, in 719 he overran Western Frisia, in 723 he suppressed the Saxons again, and in 724 he defeated Ragenfrid and the rebellious Neustrians, ending the civil war phase of his rule. In 720, when Chilperic II died, he had appointed Theuderic IV
Theuderic IV
Theuderic IV or Theuderich, Theoderic, or Theodoric; in French, Thierry was the Merovingian King of the Franks from 721 until his death in 737...

 king, but this last was a mere puppet of his. In 724 he forced his choice of Hugbert
Hugbert of Bavaria
Hugbert of the Agilolfings was duke of Bavaria from 725 to 736 . He was son of the duke Theudebert and Regintrud, the probable daughter of the Seneschal Hugobert and Irmina of Oeren....

 for the ducal succession upon the Bavarians of Hugbert
Hugbert of Bavaria
Hugbert of the Agilolfings was duke of Bavaria from 725 to 736 . He was son of the duke Theudebert and Regintrud, the probable daughter of the Seneschal Hugobert and Irmina of Oeren....

 and forced the Alemanni to assist him in his campaigns in Bavaria (725 and 726), where laws were promulgated in Theuderic's name. In 730 Alemannia had to be subjugated by the sword and its duke, Lantfrid
Lantfrid
Lantfrid was duke of Alamannia under Frankish sovereignty from 709 until his death. He was the son of duke Gotfrid...

, was killed. In 734 Charles fought against Eastern Frisia and finally subdued it.

In the 730s the Arab conquerors of Spain
Umayyad conquest of Hispania
The Umayyad conquest of Hispania is the initial Islamic Ummayad Caliphate's conquest, between 711 and 718, of the Christian Visigothic Kingdom of Hispania, centered in the Iberian Peninsula, which was known to them under the Arabic name al-Andalus....

, who had also subjugated Septimania
Septimania
Septimania was the western region of the Roman province of Gallia Narbonensis that passed under the control of the Visigoths in 462, when Septimania was ceded to their king, Theodoric II. Under the Visigoths it was known as simply Gallia or Narbonensis. It corresponded roughly with the modern...

, began advancing northwards into central Francia and the Loire valley
Loire Valley
The Loire Valley , spanning , is located in the middle stretch of the Loire River in central France. Its area comprises approximately . It is referred to as the Cradle of the French Language, and the Garden of France due to the abundance of vineyards, fruit orchards, and artichoke, asparagus, and...

. It was at this time (circa 736) that Maurontus
Maurontus
Maurontus or Maurontius was the Duke or Patrician of Provence in the early eighth century . He aspired to independence in the face of Charles Martel, Duke of the Franks, and the Provençal patrician Abbo....

, the dux of Provence, called in the Arabs to aid him in resisting the expanding influence of the Carolingians. However, Charles invaded the Rhone valley with his brother Childebrand
Childebrand
Childebrand was a Frankish duke , son of Pepin of Heristal and Alpaida, brother of Charles Martel. He married Emma of Austrasia and was given Burgundy by his father...

 and a Lombard army and devastated the region. It was because of the alliance against the Arabs that Charles was unable to support Pope Gregory III
Pope Gregory III
Pope Saint Gregory III was pope from 731 to 741. A Syrian by birth, he succeeded Gregory II in March 731. His pontificate, like that of his predecessor, was disturbed by the iconoclastic controversy in the Byzantine Empire, in which he vainly invoked the intervention of Charles Martel.Elected by...

 against the Lombards. In 732 or 737—modern scholars have debated over the date—Charles marched against an Arab army between Poitiers
Poitiers
Poitiers is a city on the Clain river in west central France. It is a commune and the capital of the Vienne department and of the Poitou-Charentes region. The centre is picturesque and its streets are interesting for predominant remains of historical architecture, especially from the Romanesque...

 and Tours
Tours
Tours is a city in central France, the capital of the Indre-et-Loire department.It is located on the lower reaches of the river Loire, between Orléans and the Atlantic coast. Touraine, the region around Tours, is known for its wines, the alleged perfection of its local spoken French, and for the...

 and defeated it in a watershed battle
Battle of Tours
The Battle of Tours , also called the Battle of Poitiers and in Battle of the Court of the Martyrs, was fought in an area between the cities of Poitiers and Tours, located in north-central France, near the village of Moussais-la-Bataille, about northeast of Poitiers...

 that turned back the tide of the Arab advance north of the Pyrenees; but Charles' real interests lay in the northeast, primarily with the Saxons, from whom he had to extort the tribute which for centuries they had paid to the Merovingians.

Shortly before his death in October 741, Charles divided the realm as if he were king between his two sons by his first wife, marginalising his younger son Grifo
Grifo
Grifo was the son of the Frankish major domo Charles Martel and his second wife Swanahild.After the death of Charles Martel power may well have been intended to be divided among Grifo and his half-brothers Pepin the Younger and Carloman...

, who did receive a small portion (it is unknown exactly what). Though there had been no king since Theuderic's death in 737, Charles' sons 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...

 were still only mayors of the palaces. The Carolingians had assumed the regal status and practice, though not the regal title, of the Merovingians. The division of the kingdom gave Austrasia
Austrasia
Austrasia formed the northeastern portion of the Kingdom of the Merovingian Franks, comprising parts of the territory of present-day eastern France, western Germany, Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands. Metz served as its capital, although some Austrasian kings ruled from Rheims, Trier, and...

, Alemannia, and Thuringia
Thuringia
The Free State of Thuringia is a state of Germany, located in the central part of the country.It has an area of and 2.29 million inhabitants, making it the sixth smallest by area and the fifth smallest by population of Germany's sixteen states....

 to Carloman and Neustria, Provence, and Burgundy to Pepin. It is indicative of the de facto autonomy of the duchies of Aquitaine (under Hunoald) and Bavaria (under Odilo
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...

) that they were not included in the division of the regnum.

After Charles Martel was buried, in the Abbey of Saint-Denis alongside the Merovingian kings, conflict immediately erupted between Pepin and Carloman on one side and Grifo their younger brother on the other. Though Carloman captured and imprisoned Grifo, it may have been enmity between the elder brothers that caused Pepin to release Grifo while Carloman was on a pilgrimage to Rome. Perhaps in an effort to neutralise his brother ambitions, Carloman initiated the appointment of a new king, Childeric III
Childeric III
Childeric III was the last King of the Franks in the Merovingian dynasty from 743 to his deposition by Pope Zachary in March 752...

, drawn from a monastery, in 743. Others have suggested that perhaps the position of the two brothers was weak or challenged, or perhaps there Carloman was merely acting for a loyalist or legitimist party in the kingdom.

In 743 Pepin campaigned against Odilo and forced him to submit to Frankish suzerainty. Carloman also campaigned against the Saxons and the two together defeated a rebellion led by Hunoald at the head of the Basques and another led by Alemanni, in which Liutfrid of Alsatia probably died, either fighting for or against the brothers. In 746, however, the Frankish armies were still, as Carloman was preparing to retire from politics and enter the monastery of Mount Soracte. Pepin's position was further stabilised and the path was laid for his assumption of the crown in 751.

Carolingian empire, 751–840


Pepin reigned as an elected king. Although such elections happened infrequently, a general rule in Germanic law stated that the king relied on the support of his leading men
Leadership
Leadership has been described as the “process of social influence in which one person can enlist the aid and support of others in the accomplishment of a common task". Other in-depth definitions of leadership have also emerged.-Theories:...

. These men reserved the right to choose a new "kingworthy" leader out of the ruling clan if they felt that the old one could not lead them in profitable battle. While in later France the kingdom became hereditary, the kings of the later Holy Roman Empire
Holy Roman Empire
The Holy Roman Empire was a realm that existed from 962 to 1806 in Central Europe.It was ruled by the Holy Roman Emperor. Its character changed during the Middle Ages and the Early Modern period, when the power of the emperor gradually weakened in favour of the princes...

 proved unable to abolish the elective tradition
Prince-elector
The Prince-electors of the Holy Roman Empire were the members of the electoral college of the Holy Roman Empire, having the function of electing the Roman king or, from the middle of the 16th century onwards, directly the Holy Roman Emperor.The heir-apparent to a prince-elector was known as an...

 and continued as elected rulers until the empire's formal end in 1806.

Pepin solidified his position in 754 by entering into an alliance with Pope Stephen II
Pope Stephen II
Pope Stephen II was Pope from 752 to 757, succeeding Pope Zachary following the death of Pope-elect Stephen. Stephen II marks the historical delineation between the Byzantine Papacy and the Frankish Papacy.-Allegiance to Constantinople:...

, who presented the king of the Franks a copy of the forged "Donation of Constantine
Donation of Constantine
The Donation of Constantine is a forged Roman imperial decree by which the emperor Constantine I supposedly transferred authority over Rome and the western part of the Roman Empire to the pope. During the Middle Ages, the document was often cited in support of the Roman Church's claims to...

" at Paris and in a magnificent ceremony at Saint-Denis
Saint Denis Basilica
The Cathedral Basilica of Saint Denis is a large medieval abbey church in the commune of Saint-Denis, now a northern suburb of Paris. The abbey church was created a cathedral in 1966 and is the seat of the Bishop of Saint-Denis, Pascal Michel Ghislain Delannoy...

 anointed the king and his family and declared him patricius Romanorum ("protector of the Romans"). The following year Pepin fulfilled his promise to the pope and retrieved the Exarchate of Ravenna
Exarchate of Ravenna
The Exarchate of Ravenna or of Italy was a centre of Byzantine power in Italy, from the end of the 6th century to 751, when the last exarch was put to death by the Lombards.-Introduction:...

, recently fallen to the Lombards
Lombards
The Lombards , also referred to as Longobards, were a Germanic tribe of Scandinavian origin, who from 568 to 774 ruled a Kingdom in Italy...

, and returned it to the Papacy. Pepin donated the re-conquered areas around Rome to the Pope, laying the foundation for the Papal States
Papal States
The Papal State, State of the Church, or Pontifical States were among the major historical states of Italy from roughly the 6th century until the Italian peninsula was unified in 1861 by the Kingdom of Piedmont-Sardinia .The Papal States comprised territories under...

 in the "Donation of Pepin
Donation of Pepin
The "Donation of Pepin", the first in 754, and second in 756, provided a legal basis for the formal organizing of the Papal States, which inaugurated papal temporal rule over civil authorities...

" which he laid on the tomb of St Peter. The papacy had good cause to expect that the remade Frankish monarchy would provide a deferential power base (potestas) in the creation of a new world order, centred on the Pope.

Upon Pepin's death in 768, his sons, Charles and Carloman
Carloman, son of Pippin III
Carloman I was the king of the Franks from 768 until his death in 771. He was the second surviving son of Pepin the Short and Bertrada of Laon...

, once again divided the kingdom between themselves. However, Carloman withdrew to a monastery and died shortly thereafter, leaving sole rule to his brother, who would later become known as Charlemagne
Charlemagne
Charlemagne was King of the Franks from 768 and Emperor of the Romans from 800 to his death in 814. He expanded the Frankish kingdom into an empire that incorporated much of Western and Central Europe. During his reign, he conquered Italy and was crowned by Pope Leo III on 25 December 800...

 or Charles the Great, a powerful, intelligent, and modestly literate figure who became a legend for the later history of both France and Germany. Charlemagne restored an equal balance between emperor and pope.

From 772 onwards, Charles conquered and eventually defeated the Saxons
Saxons
The Saxons were a confederation of Germanic tribes originating on the North German plain. The Saxons earliest known area of settlement is Northern Albingia, an area approximately that of modern Holstein...

 to incorporate their realm into the Frankish kingdom. This campaign expanded the practice of non-Roman Christian rulers undertaking the conversion of their neighbours by armed force; Frankish Catholic missionaries, along with others from Ireland and Anglo-Saxon England, had entered Saxon lands since the mid-8th century, resulting in increasing conflict with the Saxons, who resisted the missionary efforts and parallel military incursions. Charles' main Saxon opponent, Widukind
Widukind
Widukind was a pagan Saxon leader and the chief opponent of Charlemagne during the Saxon Wars. Widukind was the leader of the Saxons against the Frankish king Charlemagne...

, accepted baptism in 785 as part of a peace agreement, but other Saxon leaders continued to fight. Upon his victory in 787 at Verden, Charles ordered the wholesale killing of thousands of pagan
Paganism
Paganism is a blanket term, typically used to refer to non-Abrahamic, indigenous polytheistic religious traditions....

 Saxon prisoners. After several more uprisings, the Saxons suffered definitive defeat in 804. This expanded the Frankish kingdom eastwards as far as the Elbe
Elbe
The Elbe is one of the major rivers of Central Europe. It rises in the Krkonoše Mountains of the northwestern Czech Republic before traversing much of Bohemia , then Germany and flowing into the North Sea at Cuxhaven, 110 km northwest of Hamburg...

 river, something the Roman empire
Roman Empire
The Roman Empire was the post-Republican period of the ancient Roman civilization, characterised by an autocratic form of government and large territorial holdings in Europe and around the Mediterranean....

 had only attempted once, and at which it failed in the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest
Battle of the Teutoburg Forest
The Battle of the Teutoburg Forest took place in 9 CE, when an alliance of Germanic tribes led by Arminius of the Cherusci ambushed and decisively destroyed three Roman legions, along with their auxiliaries, led by Publius Quinctilius Varus.Despite numerous successful campaigns and raids by the...

 (9 AD). In order to more effectively Christianize the Saxons, Charles founded several bishopric
Diocese
A diocese is the district or see under the supervision of a bishop. It is divided into parishes.An archdiocese is more significant than a diocese. An archdiocese is presided over by an archbishop whose see may have or had importance due to size or historical significance...

s, among them Bremen
Archbishopric of Bremen
The Archdiocese of Bremen was a historical Roman Catholic diocese and formed from 1180 to 1648 an ecclesiastical state , named Prince-Archbishopric of Bremen within the Holy Roman Empire...

, Münster
Münster
Münster is an independent city in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. It is located in the northern part of the state and is considered to be the cultural centre of the Westphalia region. It is also capital of the local government region Münsterland...

, Paderborn
Paderborn
Paderborn is a city in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany, capital of the Paderborn district. The name of the city derives from the river Pader, which originates in more than 200 springs near Paderborn Cathedral, where St. Liborius is buried.-History:...

, and Osnabrück
Osnabrück
Osnabrück is a city in Lower Saxony, Germany, some 80 km NNE of Dortmund, 45 km NE of Münster, and some 100 km due west of Hanover. It lies in a valley penned between the Wiehen Hills and the northern tip of the Teutoburg Forest...

.

At the same time (773–774), Charles conquered the Lombards
Lombards
The Lombards , also referred to as Longobards, were a Germanic tribe of Scandinavian origin, who from 568 to 774 ruled a Kingdom in Italy...

 and thus included northern Italy in his sphere of influence. He renewed the Vatican donation and the promise to the papacy of continued Frankish protection.

In 788, Tassilo, dux (duke) of Bavaria rebelled against Charles. Crushing the rebellion incorporated Bavaria into Charles' kingdom. This not only added to the royal fisc, but also drastically reduced the power and influence of the Agilolfings
Agilolfings
The Agilolfings were a family of either Frankish or Bavarian nobility that ruled the Duchy of Bavaria on behalf of their Merovingian suzerains from about 550 until 788...

 (Tassilo's family), another leading family among the Franks and potential rivals. Until 796, Charles continued to expand the kingdom even farther southeast, into today's Austria and parts of Croatia
Croatia
Croatia , officially the Republic of Croatia , is a unitary democratic parliamentary republic in Europe at the crossroads of the Mitteleuropa, the Balkans, and the Mediterranean. Its capital and largest city is Zagreb. The country is divided into 20 counties and the city of Zagreb. Croatia covers ...

.

Charles thus created a realm that reached from the Pyrenees
Pyrenees
The Pyrenees is a range of mountains in southwest Europe that forms a natural border between France and Spain...

 in the southwest (actually, including an area in Northern Spain (Marca Hispanica
Marca Hispanica
The Marca Hispanica , also known as Spanish March or March of Barcelona was a buffer zone beyond the province of Septimania, created by Charlemagne in 795 as a defensive barrier between the Umayyad Moors of Al-Andalus and the Frankish Kingdom....

) after 795) over almost all of today's France (except Brittany
Brittany
Brittany is a cultural and administrative region in the north-west of France. Previously a kingdom and then a duchy, Brittany was united to the Kingdom of France in 1532 as a province. Brittany has also been referred to as Less, Lesser or Little Britain...

, which the Franks never conquered) eastwards to most of today's Germany, including northern Italy and today's Austria. In the hierarchy of the church, bishops and abbots looked to the patronage of the king's palace, where the sources of patronage and security lay. Charles had fully emerged as the leader of Western Christendom
Christendom
Christendom, or the Christian world, has several meanings. In a cultural sense it refers to the worldwide community of Christians, adherents of Christianity...

, and his patronage of monastic centres of learning gave rise to the "Carolingian Renaissance
Carolingian Renaissance
In the history of ideas the Carolingian Renaissance stands out as a period of intellectual and cultural revival in Europe occurring from the late eighth century, in the generation of Alcuin, to the 9th century, and the generation of Heiric of Auxerre, with the peak of the activities coordinated...

" of literate culture. Charles also created a large palace at Aachen, a series of roads, and a canal.

On Christmas Day, 800, Pope Leo III
Pope Leo III
Pope Saint Leo III was Pope from 795 to his death in 816. Protected by Charlemagne from his enemies in Rome, he subsequently strengthened Charlemagne's position by crowning him as Roman Emperor....

 crowned Charles as "Emperor of the Romans
Emperor
An emperor is a monarch, usually the sovereign ruler of an empire or another type of imperial realm. Empress, the female equivalent, may indicate an emperor's wife or a woman who rules in her own right...

" in Rome in a ceremony presented as a surprise (Charlemagne did not wish to be indebted to the bishop of Rome), a further papal move in the series of symbolic gestures that had been defining the mutual roles of papal auctoritas and imperial potestas. Though Charlemagne, in deference to Byzantine
Byzantine Empire
The Byzantine Empire was the Eastern Roman Empire during the periods of Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, centred on the capital of Constantinople. Known simply as the Roman Empire or Romania to its inhabitants and neighbours, the Empire was the direct continuation of the Ancient Roman State...

 outrage, preferred the title "Emperor, king of the Franks and Lombards", the ceremony formally acknowledged the Frankish Empire as the successor of the (Western) Roman one (although only the forged "Donation" gave the pope political authority to do this), thus triggering a series of disputes with the Byzantines around the Roman name
Names of the Greeks
The Greeks have been called by several names, both by themselves and by other people. The most common native ethnonym is Hellenes ; the name Greeks was used by the Romans and then in all European languages....

. After an initial protest at the usurpation, in 812, the Byzantine Emperor Michael I Rhangabes acknowledged Charlemagne as co-Emperor. The coronation gave permanent legitimacy to Carolingian primacy among the Franks. The Ottonian
Ottonian
The Ottonian dynasty was a dynasty of Germanic Kings , named after its first emperor but also known as the Saxon dynasty after the family's origin. The family itself is also sometimes known as the Liudolfings, after its earliest known member Liudolf and one of its primary leading-names...

s later resurrected this connection in 962.

Upon Charlemagne's death on 28 January 814 in Aachen
Aachen
Aachen has historically been a spa town in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. Aachen was a favoured residence of Charlemagne, and the place of coronation of the Kings of Germany. Geographically, Aachen is the westernmost town of Germany, located along its borders with Belgium and the Netherlands, ...

, he was buried in his own Palace Chapel at Aachen
Aachen Cathedral
Aachen Cathedral, frequently referred to as the "Imperial Cathedral" , is a Roman Catholic church in Aachen, Germany. The church is the oldest cathedral in northern Europe and was known as the "Royal Church of St. Mary at Aachen" during the Middle Ages...

. Unlike the previous Roman Empire, which after the disaster of Teutoburg, advanced beyond the Rhine only in order to seek vengeance and then withdraw, Charlemagne decisively crushed Germanic and Slavic forces that had been troubling his empire and extended it to the Elbe.

Divided empire, post-840


Charlemagne had several sons, but only one survived him. This son, Louis the Pious
Louis the Pious
Louis the Pious , also called the Fair, and the Debonaire, was the King of Aquitaine from 781. He was also King of the Franks and co-Emperor with his father, Charlemagne, from 813...

, followed his father as the ruler of a united empire. But sole inheritance remained a matter of chance, rather than intent. When Louis died in 840, the Carolingians adhered to the custom of partible inheritance
Partible inheritance
Partible inheritance is a general term applied to systems of inheritance in which property may be apportioned among heirs. It contrasts in particular with primogeniture, which requires that the whole inheritance passes to the eldest son, and with agnatic seniority where the succession passes to...

, and after a brief civil war between the three sons, they made an agreement in 843, the Treaty of Verdun
Treaty of Verdun
The Treaty of Verdun was a treaty between the three surviving sons of Louis the Pious, the son and successor of Charlemagne, which divided the Carolingian Empire into three kingdoms...

, which divided the empire in three:
  1. Louis' eldest surviving son Lothair I
    Lothair I
    Lothair I or Lothar I was the Emperor of the Romans , co-ruling with his father until 840, and the King of Bavaria , Italy and Middle Francia...

     became Emperor in name but de facto only the ruler of the Middle Frankish Kingdom
    Middle Francia
    Middle Francia was an ephemeral Frankish kingdom created by the Treaty of Verdun in 843, which divided the Carolingian Empire among the sons of Louis the Pious...

    , or Middle Francia, known as King of the Central or Middle Franks. His three sons in turn divided this kingdom between them into Lotharingia
    Lotharingia
    Lotharingia was a region in northwest Europe, comprising the Low Countries, the western Rhineland, the lands today on the border between France and Germany, and what is now western Switzerland. It was born of the tripartite division in 855, of the kingdom of Middle Francia, itself formed of the...

     (centered on Lorraine
    Lorraine (province)
    The Duchy of Upper Lorraine was an historical duchy roughly corresponding with the present-day northeastern Lorraine region of France, including parts of modern Luxembourg and Germany. The main cities were Metz, Verdun, and the historic capital Nancy....

    ), Burgundy and (Northern) Italy Lombardy
    Lombardy
    Lombardy is one of the 20 regions of Italy. The capital is Milan. One-sixth of Italy's population lives in Lombardy and about one fifth of Italy's GDP is produced in this region, making it the most populous and richest region in the country and one of the richest in the whole of Europe...

    . These areas with different cultures, peoples and traditions would later vanish as separate kingdoms, which would eventually become Belgium
    Belgium
    Belgium , officially the Kingdom of Belgium, is a federal state in Western Europe. It is a founding member of the European Union and hosts the EU's headquarters, and those of several other major international organisations such as NATO.Belgium is also a member of, or affiliated to, many...

    , the Netherlands
    Netherlands
    The Netherlands is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, located mainly in North-West Europe and with several islands in the Caribbean. Mainland Netherlands borders the North Sea to the north and west, Belgium to the south, and Germany to the east, and shares maritime borders...

    , Luxembourg
    Luxembourg
    Luxembourg , officially the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg , is a landlocked country in western Europe, bordered by Belgium, France, and Germany. It has two principal regions: the Oesling in the North as part of the Ardennes massif, and the Gutland in the south...

    , Lorraine, Switzerland, Lombardy
    Lombardy
    Lombardy is one of the 20 regions of Italy. The capital is Milan. One-sixth of Italy's population lives in Lombardy and about one fifth of Italy's GDP is produced in this region, making it the most populous and richest region in the country and one of the richest in the whole of Europe...

     and the various departments of France along the Rhone river
    Rhône River
    The Rhone is one of the major rivers of Europe, rising in Switzerland and running from there through southeastern France. At Arles, near its mouth on the Mediterranean Sea, the river divides into two branches, known as the Great Rhone and the Little Rhone...

     drainage basin and Jura massif.
  2. Louis' second son, Louis the German
    Louis the German
    Louis the German , also known as Louis II or Louis the Bavarian, was a grandson of Charlemagne and the third son of the succeeding Frankish Emperor Louis the Pious and his first wife, Ermengarde of Hesbaye.He received the appellation 'Germanicus' shortly after his death in recognition of the fact...

    , became King of the East Frankish Kingdom or East Francia. This area formed the kernel of the later Holy Roman Empire
    Holy Roman Empire
    The Holy Roman Empire was a realm that existed from 962 to 1806 in Central Europe.It was ruled by the Holy Roman Emperor. Its character changed during the Middle Ages and the Early Modern period, when the power of the emperor gradually weakened in favour of the princes...

     by way of the Kingdom of Germany
    Kingdom of Germany
    The Kingdom of Germany developed out of the eastern half of the former Carolingian Empire....

     enlarged with some additional territories from Lothair's Middle Frankish Realm: much of these territories eventually evolved into modern Austria, Switzerland and Germany. For a list of successors, see the List of German monarchs.
  3. His third son Charles the Bald
    Charles the Bald
    Charles the Bald , Holy Roman Emperor and King of West Francia , was the youngest son of the Emperor Louis the Pious by his second wife Judith.-Struggle against his brothers:He was born on 13 June 823 in Frankfurt, when his elder...

     became King of the West Franks, of the West Frankish Kingdom or West Francia. This area, most of today's southern and western France, became the foundation for the later France under the House of Capet
    House of Capet
    The House of Capet, or The Direct Capetian Dynasty, , also called The House of France , or simply the Capets, which ruled the Kingdom of France from 987 to 1328, was the most senior line of the Capetian dynasty – itself a derivative dynasty from the Robertians. As rulers of France, the dynasty...

    . For his successors, see the List of French monarchs.


Subsequently, at the Treaty of Mersen (870) the partitions were recast, to the detriment of Lotharingia. On 12 December 884, Charles the Fat
Charles the Fat
Charles the Fat was the King of Alemannia from 876, King of Italy from 879, western Emperor from 881, King of East Francia from 882, and King of West Francia from 884. In 887, he was deposed in East Francia, Lotharingia, and possibly Italy, where the records are not clear...

 reunited most of the Carolingian Empire, aside from Burgundy. In late 887, his nephew, Arnulf of Carinthia
Arnulf of Carinthia
Arnulf of Carinthia was the Carolingian King of East Francia from 887, the disputed King of Italy from 894 and the disputed Holy Roman Emperor from February 22, 896 until his death.-Birth and Illegitimacy:...

 revolted and assumed the title as King of the East Franks. Charles retired and soon died on 13 January 888. Odo, Count of Paris
Odo, Count of Paris
Odo was a King of Western Francia, reigning from 888 to 898. He was a son of Robert the Strong, count of Anjou, whose branch of the family is known as the Robertians....

 was chosen to rule in the west, and was crowned the next month. At this point, West Francia was composed of Neustria in the west and in the east by Francia proper, the region between the Meuse
Meuse
Meuse is a department in northeast France, named after the River Meuse.-History:Meuse is one of the original 83 departments created during the French Revolution on March 4, 1790...

 and the Seine
Seine
The Seine is a -long river and an important commercial waterway within the Paris Basin in the north of France. It rises at Saint-Seine near Dijon in northeastern France in the Langres plateau, flowing through Paris and into the English Channel at Le Havre . It is navigable by ocean-going vessels...

. The Carolingians were restored ten years later in West Francia, and ruled until 987, when the last Frankish King, Louis V
Louis V of France
Louis V , called the Indolent or the Sluggard , was the King of Western Francia from 986 until his early death...

, died.

West Francia was the land under the control of Charles the Bald
Charles the Bald
Charles the Bald , Holy Roman Emperor and King of West Francia , was the youngest son of the Emperor Louis the Pious by his second wife Judith.-Struggle against his brothers:He was born on 13 June 823 in Frankfurt, when his elder...

. It is the precursor of modern France. It was divided into the following great fiefs: Aquitaine
Aquitaine
Aquitaine , archaic Guyenne/Guienne , is one of the 27 regions of France, in the south-western part of metropolitan France, along the Atlantic Ocean and the Pyrenees mountain range on the border with Spain. It comprises the 5 departments of Dordogne, :Lot et Garonne, :Pyrénées-Atlantiques, Landes...

, Brittany
Brittany
Brittany is a cultural and administrative region in the north-west of France. Previously a kingdom and then a duchy, Brittany was united to the Kingdom of France in 1532 as a province. Brittany has also been referred to as Less, Lesser or Little Britain...

, Burgundy, Catalonia
Catalonia
Catalonia is an autonomous community in northeastern Spain, with the official status of a "nationality" of Spain. Catalonia comprises four provinces: Barcelona, Girona, Lleida, and Tarragona. Its capital and largest city is Barcelona. Catalonia covers an area of 32,114 km² and has an...

, Flanders
Flanders
Flanders is the community of the Flemings but also one of the institutions in Belgium, and a geographical region located in parts of present-day Belgium, France and the Netherlands. "Flanders" can also refer to the northern part of Belgium that contains Brussels, Bruges, Ghent and Antwerp...

, Gascony
Gascony
Gascony is an area of southwest France that was part of the "Province of Guyenne and Gascony" prior to the French Revolution. The region is vaguely defined and the distinction between Guyenne and Gascony is unclear; sometimes they are considered to overlap, and sometimes Gascony is considered a...

, Gothia
Septimania
Septimania was the western region of the Roman province of Gallia Narbonensis that passed under the control of the Visigoths in 462, when Septimania was ceded to their king, Theodoric II. Under the Visigoths it was known as simply Gallia or Narbonensis. It corresponded roughly with the modern...

, the Île-de-France
Île-de-France (province)
The province of Île-de-France or Isle de France is an historical province of France, and the one at the centre of power during most of French history...

, and Toulouse
Toulouse
Toulouse is a city in the Haute-Garonne department in southwestern FranceIt lies on the banks of the River Garonne, 590 km away from Paris and half-way between the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea...

. After 987, the kingdom came to be known as France, because the new ruling dynasty (the Capetians
House of Capet
The House of Capet, or The Direct Capetian Dynasty, , also called The House of France , or simply the Capets, which ruled the Kingdom of France from 987 to 1328, was the most senior line of the Capetian dynasty – itself a derivative dynasty from the Robertians. As rulers of France, the dynasty...

) were originally dukes of the Île-de-France.

Middle Francia
Middle Francia
Middle Francia was an ephemeral Frankish kingdom created by the Treaty of Verdun in 843, which divided the Carolingian Empire among the sons of Louis the Pious...

 was the territory ruled by Lothair I
Lothair I
Lothair I or Lothar I was the Emperor of the Romans , co-ruling with his father until 840, and the King of Bavaria , Italy and Middle Francia...

, wedged between East and West Francia. The kingdom, which included the Kingdom of Italy
Kingdom of Italy (medieval)
The Kingdom of Italy was a political entity under control of Carolingian dynasty of Francia first, after the defeat of the Lombards in 774. It was finally incorporated as a part of the Holy Roman Empire in 962....

, Burgundy, the Provence
Provence
Provence ; Provençal: Provença in classical norm or Prouvènço in Mistralian norm) is a region of south eastern France on the Mediterranean adjacent to Italy. It is part of the administrative région of Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur...

, and the west of Austrasia
Austrasia
Austrasia formed the northeastern portion of the Kingdom of the Merovingian Franks, comprising parts of the territory of present-day eastern France, western Germany, Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands. Metz served as its capital, although some Austrasian kings ruled from Rheims, Trier, and...

, was an unnatural creation of the Treaty of Verdun, with no historical or ethnic identity. The kingdom was split on the death of Lothair II
Lothair II of Lotharingia
Lothair II was the second son of Emperor Lothair I and Ermengarde of Tours. He was married to Teutberga, daughter of Boso the Elder. He is the namesake of the Lothair Crystal, which he probably commissioned, and of the Cross of Lothair, which was made over a century after his death but...

 in 869 into those of Lotharingia
Lotharingia
Lotharingia was a region in northwest Europe, comprising the Low Countries, the western Rhineland, the lands today on the border between France and Germany, and what is now western Switzerland. It was born of the tripartite division in 855, of the kingdom of Middle Francia, itself formed of the...

, Provence (with Burgundy divided between it and Lotharingia), and north Italy.

East Francia was the land of Louis the German
Louis the German
Louis the German , also known as Louis II or Louis the Bavarian, was a grandson of Charlemagne and the third son of the succeeding Frankish Emperor Louis the Pious and his first wife, Ermengarde of Hesbaye.He received the appellation 'Germanicus' shortly after his death in recognition of the fact...

. It was divided into four duchies: Swabia
Duke of Swabia
The following is a list of Dukes of Swabia in southwest Germany.Swabia was one of the five stem duchies of the medieval German kingdom, and its dukes were thus among the most powerful magnates of Germany. The most notable family to hold Swabia were the Hohenstaufen, who held it, with a brief...

 (Alamannia
Alamannia
Alamannia or Alemannia was the territory inhabited by the Germanic Alamanni after they broke through the Roman limes in 213.The Alamanni expanded from the Main basin during the 3rd century, raiding the Roman provinces and settling on the left bank of the Rhine from the 4th century.Ruled by...

), Franconia
Duchy of Franconia
The Duchy of Franconia was one of the stem duchies of Germany during the formative period of the Holy Roman Empire in the 10th century, part of former Frankish Austrasia.But unlike the others Franconia did not evolve into a stable political entity...

, Saxony
Duchy of Saxony
The medieval Duchy of Saxony was a late Early Middle Ages "Carolingian stem duchy" covering the greater part of Northern Germany. It covered the area of the modern German states of Bremen, Hamburg, Lower Saxony, North Rhine-Westphalia, and Saxony-Anhalt and most of Schleswig-Holstein...

 and Bavaria; to which after the death of Lothair II were added the eastern parts of Lotharingia
Lotharingia
Lotharingia was a region in northwest Europe, comprising the Low Countries, the western Rhineland, the lands today on the border between France and Germany, and what is now western Switzerland. It was born of the tripartite division in 855, of the kingdom of Middle Francia, itself formed of the...

. This division persisted until 1268, the end of the Hohenstaufen
Hohenstaufen
The House of Hohenstaufen was a dynasty of German kings in the High Middle Ages, lasting from 1138 to 1254. Three of these kings were also crowned Holy Roman Emperor. In 1194 the Hohenstaufens also became Kings of Sicily...

 dynasty. Otto I
Otto I, Holy Roman Emperor
Otto I the Great , son of Henry I the Fowler and Matilda of Ringelheim, was Duke of Saxony, King of Germany, King of Italy, and "the first of the Germans to be called the emperor of Italy" according to Arnulf of Milan...

 was crowned on 2 February 962, marking the beginning of the Holy Roman Empire
Holy Roman Empire
The Holy Roman Empire was a realm that existed from 962 to 1806 in Central Europe.It was ruled by the Holy Roman Emperor. Its character changed during the Middle Ages and the Early Modern period, when the power of the emperor gradually weakened in favour of the princes...

 (translatio imperii
Translatio imperii
Translatio imperii, Latin for "transfer of rule", is a concept invented in the Middle Ages for describing history as a linear succession of transfers of imperium, that is of supreme power concentrated with a series of single rulers .-Origin:...

). From the 10th century, East Francia became also known as regnum Teutonicum ("Teutonic
Teutons
The Teutons or Teutones were mentioned as a Germanic tribe by Greek and Roman authors, notably Strabo and Marcus Velleius Paterculus and normally in close connection with the Cimbri, whose ethnicity is contested between Gauls and Germani...

 kingdom" or "Kingdom of Germany
Kingdom of Germany
The Kingdom of Germany developed out of the eastern half of the former Carolingian Empire....

"), a term that became prevalent in Salian times. The title of Holy Roman Emperor was used from that time, beginning with Conrad II
Conrad II, Holy Roman Emperor
Conrad II was Holy Roman Emperor from 1027 until his death.The son of a mid-level nobleman in Franconia, Count Henry of Speyer and Adelaide of Alsace, he inherited the titles of count of Speyer and of Worms as an infant when Henry died at age twenty...

.

Law


The different Frankish tribes, such as the Salii, Ripuarii, and Chamavi, had different legal traditions, which were only lately codified, largely under Charlemagne. The Leges Salica, Ribuaria, and Chamavorum were Carolingian creations, their basis in earlier Frankish reality being difficult for scholars to discern at the present distance. Under Charlemagne codifications were also made of the Saxon law
Lex Saxonum
The Lex Saxonum are a series of laws issued by Charlemagne in 785 as part of his plan to subdue the Saxon nation. The law is thus a compromise between the traditional customs and statutes of the pagan Saxons and the established laws of the Frankish Empire....

 and the Frisian law
Lex Frisionum
Lex Frisionum, the "Law Code of the Frisians", was recorded in Latin during the reign of Charlemagne, after the year 785, when the Frankish conquest of Frisia was completed by the final defeat of the Frisian king Radboud. The law code covered the region of the Frisians...

. It was also under Frankish hegemony that the other Germanic societies east of the Rhine began to codify their tribal law, in such compilations as the Lex Alamannorum
Lex Alamannorum
The terms Lex Alamannorum and Pactus Alamannorum refer to two early medieval law codes of the Alamanni. They were first edited in parts in 1530 by Johannes Sichard in Basel.-Pactus Alamannorum:...

and Lex Bajuvariorum for the Alemanni and Bavarii respectively. Throughout the Frankish kingdoms there continued to be Gallo-Romans subject to Roman law
Roman law
Roman law is the legal system of ancient Rome, and the legal developments which occurred before the 7th century AD — when the Roman–Byzantine state adopted Greek as the language of government. The development of Roman law comprises more than a thousand years of jurisprudence — from the Twelve...

 and clergy subject to canon law
Canon law
Canon law is the body of laws & regulations made or adopted by ecclesiastical authority, for the government of the Christian organization and its members. It is the internal ecclesiastical law governing the Catholic Church , the Eastern and Oriental Orthodox churches, and the Anglican Communion of...

. After the Frankish conquest of Septimania
Septimania
Septimania was the western region of the Roman province of Gallia Narbonensis that passed under the control of the Visigoths in 462, when Septimania was ceded to their king, Theodoric II. Under the Visigoths it was known as simply Gallia or Narbonensis. It corresponded roughly with the modern...

 and Catalonia
Catalonia
Catalonia is an autonomous community in northeastern Spain, with the official status of a "nationality" of Spain. Catalonia comprises four provinces: Barcelona, Girona, Lleida, and Tarragona. Its capital and largest city is Barcelona. Catalonia covers an area of 32,114 km² and has an...

, those regions which had formerly been under Gothic control continued to utilise the Visigothic law code.

During the early period Frankish law was preserved by the rachimburgs, officials trained to remember it and pass it on. The Merovingians adopted the capitulary
Capitulary
A capitulary was a series of legislative or administrative acts emanating from the Frankish court of the Merovingian and Carolingian dynasties, especially that of the first emperor, Charlemagne...

as a tool for the promulgation and preservation of royal ordinances. Its usage was to continue under the Carolingians and even the later Spoletan emperors Guy
Guy III of Spoleto
Guy of Spoleto , sometimes known by the Italian version of his name, Guido, or by the German version, Wido, was the Margrave of Camerino from 880 and then Duke of Spoleto and Camerino from 883. He was crowned King of Italy in 889 and Holy Roman Emperor in 891...

 and Lambert
Lambert II of Spoleto
Lambert II was the King of Italy from 891, Holy Roman Emperor, co-ruling with his father from 892, and Duke of Spoleto and Camerino from his father's death in 894. He was the son of Guy III of Spoleto and Ageltrude, born in San Rufino...

 under a programme of renovation regni Francorum ("renewal of the Frankish kingdom").

The last Merovingian capitulary was one of the most significant: the edict of Paris
Edict of Paris
The Edict of Paris of Chlothar II, the Merovingian king of the Franks, promulgated October 18 614 , is one of the most important royal instruments of the Merovingian period in Frankish history and a hallmark in the history of the development of the Frankish monarchy...

, issued by Chlothar II in 614 in the presence of his magnates, had been likened to a Frankish Magna Carta
Magna Carta
Magna Carta is an English charter, originally issued in the year 1215 and reissued later in the 13th century in modified versions, which included the most direct challenges to the monarch's authority to date. The charter first passed into law in 1225...

 entrenching the rights of the nobility, but in actuality it sought to remove corruption from the judiciary and protect local and regional interests. Even after the last Merovingian capitulary, kings of the dynasty continued to independently exercise some legal powers. Childebert III even found cases against the powerful Arnulfings and became renowned among the people for his justness. But law in Francia was to experience a renaissance under the Carolingians
Carolingian Renaissance
In the history of ideas the Carolingian Renaissance stands out as a period of intellectual and cultural revival in Europe occurring from the late eighth century, in the generation of Alcuin, to the 9th century, and the generation of Heiric of Auxerre, with the peak of the activities coordinated...

.

Among the legal reforms adopted by Charlemagne were the codifications of traditional law mentioned above. He also sought to place checks on the power of local and regional judiciaries by the method of appointing missi dominici in pairs to oversee specific regions for short periods of time. Usually missi were selected from outside their respective regions in order to prevent conflicts of interest. A capitulary of 802 gives insight into their duties. They were to execute justice, enforce respect for the royal rights, control the administration of the counts and dukes
Dukes
-Albums:-EPs:-Singles:...

 (then still royal appointees), receive the oath of allegiance, and supervise the clergy.

Town and country life


The most dramatic change in medieval Gaul was the collapse of trade and town life. While many "towns" existed in the Dark Ages, they were usually only the fortified villages or market-centers surrounding government or religious buildings; many of these towns were, descended from Roman cities. There were, however, improvements in agriculture, notably the adoption of a new heavy plough
Plough
The plough or plow is a tool used in farming for initial cultivation of soil in preparation for sowing seed or planting. It has been a basic instrument for most of recorded history, and represents one of the major advances in agriculture...

 and the growing use of the three-field system.

Currency


Byzantine coinage
Byzantine coinage
Byzantine currency, money used in the Eastern Roman Empire after the fall of the West, consisted of mainly two types of coins: the gold solidus and a variety of clearly valued bronze coins...

 was in use in Francia before Theudebert I
Theudebert I
Theudebert I was the Merovingian king of Austrasia from 533 to his death in 548. He was the son of Theuderic I and the father of Theudebald....

 began minting his own money at the start of his reign. The solidus
Solidus (coin)
The solidus was originally a gold coin issued by the Romans, and a weight measure for gold more generally, corresponding to 4.5 grams.-Roman and Byzantine coinage:...

 and triens
Triens
The triens was an Ancient Roman bronze coin produced during the Roman Republic valued at one-third of an as . The most common design for the triens was the bust of Minerva and four pellets on the obverse and the prow of a galley on the reverse. It was not a common denomination and was last struck...

 were minted in Francia between 534 and 679. The denarius
Denarius
In the Roman currency system, the denarius was a small silver coin first minted in 211 BC. It was the most common coin produced for circulation but was slowly debased until its replacement by the antoninianus...

 (or denier
French denier
The denier was a Frankish coin created by Charlemagne in the Early Middle Ages. It was introduced together with an accounting system in which twelve deniers equaled one sou and twenty sous equalled one livre...

) appeared later, in the name of Childeric II
Childeric II
Childeric II was the king of Austrasia from 662 and of Neustria and Burgundy from 673 until his death, making him sole King of the Franks for the final two years of his life. He was the second eldest son of Clovis II. His elder brother Chlothar III was briefly sole king from 661, but gave...

 and various non-royals around 673–675. A Carolingian denarius replaced the Merovingian one, and the Frisian penning
Pfennig
The Pfennig , plural Pfennige, is an old German coin or note, which existed from the 9th century until the introduction of the euro in 2002....

, in Gaul from 755 to the eleventh century.

The denarius subsequently appeared in Italy issued in the name of Carolingian monarchs after 794, later by so-called "native" kings in the tenth century, and later still by the German Emperors
Holy Roman Empire
The Holy Roman Empire was a realm that existed from 962 to 1806 in Central Europe.It was ruled by the Holy Roman Emperor. Its character changed during the Middle Ages and the Early Modern period, when the power of the emperor gradually weakened in favour of the princes...

 from Otto I
Otto I, Holy Roman Emperor
Otto I the Great , son of Henry I the Fowler and Matilda of Ringelheim, was Duke of Saxony, King of Germany, King of Italy, and "the first of the Germans to be called the emperor of Italy" according to Arnulf of Milan...

 (962). Finally, denarii were issued in Rome in the names of pope and emperor from Leo III and Charlemagne
Charlemagne
Charlemagne was King of the Franks from 768 and Emperor of the Romans from 800 to his death in 814. He expanded the Frankish kingdom into an empire that incorporated much of Western and Central Europe. During his reign, he conquered Italy and was crowned by Pope Leo III on 25 December 800...

 onwards to the late tenth century.

Primary sources


  • Ammianus Marcellinus
    Ammianus Marcellinus
    Ammianus Marcellinus was a fourth-century Roman historian. He wrote the penultimate major historical account surviving from Antiquity...

    . Roman History. trans. by Roger Pearse. London: Bohn, 1862.
  • Procopius
    Procopius
    Procopius of Caesarea was a prominent Byzantine scholar from Palestine. Accompanying the general Belisarius in the wars of the Emperor Justinian I, he became the principal historian of the 6th century, writing the Wars of Justinian, the Buildings of Justinian and the celebrated Secret History...

    . History of the Wars. trans. by H. B. Dewing.
  • Fredegar. The Fourth Book of the Chronicle of Fredegar with its Continuations. trans. by John Michael Wallace-Hadrill
    John Michael Wallace-Hadrill
    John Michael Wallace-Hadrill CBE was Professor of Mediaeval History at the University of Manchester , a Senior Research Fellow of Merton College in the University of Oxford , Chichele Professor of Modern History, University of Oxford and a Fellow, All Souls College, Oxford...

    . Connecticut: Greenwood Press, 1960.
  • Fredegar. Historia Epitomata. Woodruff, Jane Ellen. Ph.D. Dissertation, University of Nebraska–Lincoln, 1987.
  • Gregory of Tours
    Gregory of Tours
    Saint Gregory of Tours was a Gallo-Roman historian and Bishop of Tours, which made him a leading prelate of Gaul. He was born Georgius Florentius, later adding the name Gregorius in honour of his maternal great-grandfather...

    . Historia Francorum.
  • Gregory of Tours
    Gregory of Tours
    Saint Gregory of Tours was a Gallo-Roman historian and Bishop of Tours, which made him a leading prelate of Gaul. He was born Georgius Florentius, later adding the name Gregorius in honour of his maternal great-grandfather...

    . The History of the Franks. trans. by Earnest Brehaut. 1916. Excerpts here
  • Gregory of Tours
    Gregory of Tours
    Saint Gregory of Tours was a Gallo-Roman historian and Bishop of Tours, which made him a leading prelate of Gaul. He was born Georgius Florentius, later adding the name Gregorius in honour of his maternal great-grandfather...

    . The History of the Franks. 2 vol. trans. O. M. Dalton. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1967.
  • Bachrach, Bernard S.
    Bernard Bachrach
    Bernard S. Bachrach is an American historian and a professor of history at the University of Minnesota. He specialises in the Early Middle Ages, mainly on the topics of Medieval warfare, Medieval Jewry, and early Angevin history...

     (trans.) Liber Historiae Francorum
    Liber Historiae Francorum
    Liber historiae Francorum is a book that briefly starts as secondary source for early Franks in the time of Marcomer, and it gives a short breviarum of events until the time of the late Merovingians, where it becomes an important primary source of the contemporaneous history...

    . 1973.


Secondary sources


  • Bachrach, Bernard S.
    Bernard Bachrach
    Bernard S. Bachrach is an American historian and a professor of history at the University of Minnesota. He specialises in the Early Middle Ages, mainly on the topics of Medieval warfare, Medieval Jewry, and early Angevin history...

     Merovingian Military Organization, 481–751. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1971. ISBN 0816606218
  • Collins, Roger. Early Medieval Europe 300–1000. London: MacMillan, 1991.
  • Fouracre, Paul. "The Origins of the Nobility in Francia." Nobles and Nobility in Medieval Europe: Concepts, Origins, Transformations, ed. Anne J. Duggan. Woodbridge: The Boydell Press, 2000. ISBN 0851157696.
  • Geary, Patrick J. Before France and Germany: the Creation and Transformation of the Merovingian World. New York: Oxford University Press, 1988. ISBN 0195044584
  • James, Edward
    Edward James (historian)
    Edward James is Professor of Medieval History at University College, Dublin. He received a BA 1968; DPhil in 1975. He was a Lecturer, then College Lecturer, at the Department of Medieval History, University College Dublin from 1970-1978...

    . The Franks. (Peoples of Europe series) Basil Blackwell, 1988. ISBN 0631179364
  • Lewis, Archibald R. "The Dukes in the Regnum Francorum, A.D. 550–751." Speculum, Vol. 51, No 3 (July 1976), pp 381–410.
  • McKitterick, Rosamond. The Frankish Kingdoms under the Carolingians, 751–987. London: Longman, 1983. ISBN 0582490057.
  • Murray, Archibald C. and Goffart, Walter A. After Rome's Fall: Narrators and Sources of Early Medieval History. 1999.
  • Nixon, C. E. V. and Rodgers, Barbara. In Praise of Later Roman Emperors. Berkeley, 1994.
  • Schutz, Herbert. The Germanic Realms in Pre-Carolingian Central Europe, 400–750. American University Studies, Series IX: History, Vol. 196. New York: Peter Lang, 2000.
  • Wallace-Hadrill, J. M.
    John Michael Wallace-Hadrill
    John Michael Wallace-Hadrill CBE was Professor of Mediaeval History at the University of Manchester , a Senior Research Fellow of Merton College in the University of Oxford , Chichele Professor of Modern History, University of Oxford and a Fellow, All Souls College, Oxford...

     The Long-Haired Kings. London: Butler & tanner Ltd, 1962.
  • Wallace-Hadrill, J. M.
    John Michael Wallace-Hadrill
    John Michael Wallace-Hadrill CBE was Professor of Mediaeval History at the University of Manchester , a Senior Research Fellow of Merton College in the University of Oxford , Chichele Professor of Modern History, University of Oxford and a Fellow, All Souls College, Oxford...

    The Barbarian West. London: Hutchinson, 1970.


External links