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date: 16 January 2019


Franks (Franci), a Germanic people who conquered Gallia (Gaul), and made it Francia (France). Their adoption of Gallo-Roman Catholic culture was the seed of French civilization and, hence, that of medieval and modern western Europe. Despite their great importance, their first appearance is late (c. 260 ce), their name (‘the bold’, ‘the fierce’) suggesting a coalition of German tribes on the middle and lower Rhine. From then to the end of the 4th cent. they caused the empire frequent trouble, though they also gave it loyal generals and soldiers. Indeed, 4th-cent. emperors allowed some Frankish settlement on Roman soil in return for military service. However, during the early 5th cent., when the Rhine frontier weakened and the German occupation of Gaul began in earnest, the Franks, like the Alamanni, seemed destined to be eclipsed by relative newcomers. There was some movement across the Rhine into Belgica Secunda, but it was not until the late 5th and early 6th cents. that the various Frankish groups were united by the Salians Childeric and Clovis, and moved south to break the Visigoths and Burgundians.


E. James, The Franks (1988).Find this resource:

Die Franken. Wegbereiter Europas (1997).Find this resource:

W. Pohl, Die Germanen (2000).Find this resource:

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