The Franks first come to light in historical sources in the third century A.D. as a group of undistinguished barbarians living in the marshy lowlands north and east of the Rhine frontier of the Roman Empire. Within three centuries they had become the most powerful of all of the barbarian kingdoms, the effective heirs of the Roman Empire, and the founders of France. In 800, a Frank, Charlemagne, was crowned in Rome as the first Emperor of Germanic origins. Using both contemporary documents and the evidence provided by thousands of archaeological excavations over the last century, the author traces the history of the Franks from barbarism to civil and military dominance in Northern Europe. He describes the evolution of their society and culture, of their religion and conversion to Christianity, and their conquests and methods of ruling. In the final chapter he considers their influence on the history of modern Europe.
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The Franks began as a loose confederacy of undistinguished barbarians from the marshy Rhine lowlands. In the third century they attacked Rome, but within 300 years, as rulers of Gaul, Frankish aristocrats became partial heirs to Rome, extending their dominion over much of Western Europe by appointing counts and dukes to rule in their name. This careful account by a senior lecturer in history at the University of York in England uses archeological evidence to fill in the Franks' often obscure history in the five centu ries before Charlemagne (a Frank) was crowned Emperor of Rome in 800 A.D. Crammed with pictures of forts, burial artifacts, coins, bowls and jewelry, the volume is primarily for scholars, but the general reader will enjoy such details as the symbolism of Frankish clothing, the sanctioned custom of family feuds to end disputes and King Guntram's reputed miracle-working and healing powers.
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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