Meet The Franks
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Who were the Franks?
- The Franks emerged into recorded history in the 3rd century C.E as a Germanic tribe living on the east bank of the lower Rhine River.
- The Franks began as a Germanic tribes that migrated from northern Europe into Gaul.
- This is where the country of France is today and the name for France comes from the Franks.
- The Franks invaded the Western Roman Empire in the 5th century.
- Franks Dominating present-day northern France, Belgium, and western Germany, the Franks established the most powerful Christian kingdom of early medieval Western Europe. The name France is derived from their name.
- They were divided into three groups: the Salians, the Ripuarians, and the Chatti, or Hessians. These branches were related to each other by language and custom, but politically they were independent tribes.
Who Ruled the Franks
- There were two main dynasties that ruled the Franks during the Middle Ages, the Merovingian Dynasty and the Carolingian Dynasty.
- The Franks were first united under the leadership of King Clovis in 509 AD.
- He founded the Merovingian Dynasty which would rule the Franks for the next 200 years.
- Clovis led the Franks in victories over the Visigoths, forcing them from Gaul and into Spain.
- He also converted to Christianity and was the first king of the Franks to be recognized as king by the Pope.
* Carolingian Empire:
- The Merovingian Dynasty came to an end when Pepin the Short took power with the support of the Frankish nobles.
- He began the Carolingian Dynasty which would rule the Franks from 751 to 843.
Leader who have led the Franks
Leader How lead The Franks
- The greatest ruler of the Carolingian Empire and over the Franks was Charlemagne who ruled from 742 to 814.
- Charlemagne expanded the Frankish Empire to rule a large portion of Europe.
- He brought many reforms to the Franks including a strong government, written laws, education, a monetary standard, and support for the arts.
* Fun Fact:
- Charlemagne was also known as Charles the Great or King Charles I.
- Charlemagne founded both the French and the German monarchies. His nickname is the "Father of Europe".
- In 481 A.D., a Merovingian King by the name of Clovis came to power.
- He was a brutal warrior who delighted in bloodshed on the battlefield.
- Fifteen years after taking the throne, Clovis became converted to Christianity.
- He encouraged his people to also convert to this new faith.
- The Germanic tribes would be critical in later years in defending Christianity against invading Muslims.
* Pepin The Short:
- In 752 A.D., the Pope anointed Pepin the Short as king. This anointing by the Pope was important. To his subjects, it meant that Pepin had the backing of God, or that he was God’s chosen ruler.
In exchange for the blessing of the Pope, Pepin promised to offer his protection to the Church. At this time, the Church in Rome was under attack by a non-Christian Germanic tribe called the Lombards. The Pope had sought assistance from the Byzantine Empire, but they refused to send aid. This left the Pope with no choice but to turn to the Franks.
In 754 A.D., Pepin the Short successfully removed the Lombards from Rome and gave their lands to the Pope. This strengthened the ties between the Catholic Church and the Franks, while the ties between the Church and the Byzantines were weakened.
How did The Franks Influnce later on cultures?
Well Here's How
- In many ways the Franks were at the heart of the culture of the Middle Ages. It was the Franks who developed the concept of the knight and the feudal system.
- One of the most powerful units of the Frankish army was the heavily armored cavalry.
- These soldiers became known as knights. Because metal armor and war horses were so expensive, only the very wealthy could afford to become knights.
- Knights were often awarded land for their services at war. This helped to develop the feudal system.
- Fun Fact:
* Frankish knights wore chain mail armor usually in the form of a long shirt called a hauberk.
- Under the feudal system, the land was divided up among knights or lords.
- In return for the land, the knights pledged to fight for the king.
- This land was known as a fief and both the land and the title of knight were often inherited by the oldest son.
Holy Roman Empire
- On December 25, 800 AD, the Pope crowned Charlemagne as the first Holy Roman Emperor.
- This began the Holy Roman Empire. The Holy Roman Emperor was considered the protector of the Catholic Church.
- He also had the backing of the church and was considered the leader of the monarchs in Europe.
An Empire Divided
- After Charlemagne died, his son Louis the Pious ruled as sole emperor.
- However, Louis had three sons. According to Frankish tradition, the empire was divided up between the king's sons.
- When King Louis died in 843, the Frankish Empire was divided into three separate states which would later become countries in Western Europe such as Germany and France.