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Franks

The Franks were a group of Germanic people that were situated in the lower and middle portions of the Rhine during the 3rd century. However, some of them successfully raided Roman territories while there were other Franks that became a part of the Roman troops in Gaul.

Origin of the Franks

The Salian Franks were known for establishing a kingdom in an area that was a part of the Roman Empire. When the Western Roman Empire collapsed, the Franks joined forces under the leadership of Merovingians. This is another group that was able to invade a large part of Gaul during the 6th century.

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Franks
‘A 19th-century depiction of different Franks (AD 400-600)’

With the Merovingian dynasty, one of the largest Germanic monarchies was established. Eventually, this took the place of Rome situated in the west. Afterwards, the Frankish state strengthened its hold on various parts of Western Europe. Thus, by the latter part of the 8th century, the Carolingian Empire was formed. The said empire further evolved into the Holy Roman Empire, as well as the state of France.

During the Middle Ages, the word “Frank” served as a synonym for the Europeans in the west because most of the rulers in western Europe were Franks. Moreover, the Franks that were situated in Gaul joined the Gallo-Roman people; they passed down their name to modern-day France.

On the other hand, the Franks that remained in the eastern part of Europe maintained their Germanic language. They also became a part of the Dutch, Flemings and Germans. Also, the Frankish or Franconian language was rooted to the Franks’ old language.

Historical Background

Based on scholars, it was not until the 3rd century that the Franks emerged from a much smaller group of Germanic people. These tribes included the Bructeri, Chattuarii, Chamavi, Tencteri, Ubii, Ampsivarii, and Chatti. They remained in the Rhine Valley, particularly from the Yssel, Mainz and between Lacus Flevo.  They are located on the Bible Timeline Chart with World History from 400 AD – 500 AD.

The Franks gained interest in reclaiming the left portion of the Rhine river bank, which was currently under the control of the Romans. They succeeded in driving the Romans back to the south by implementing tactics such as surprise attacks and use of different weapons.

By the 3rd century, this tribe aimed to settle in Batavia, particularly in the southern part of Lacus Flevo. By this time, they remained in Toxandria, as permitted by the Romans. Here, they became an independent and powerful maritime force called the Salians.

As for the other Franks that came from Mainz to Duisburg, they raided across the river Rhine. They were also given the name Ripuarians, which may be translated as “river people”.

Both of these groups, however, maintained a distinct political quality until the unification of Francia. This move was made possible by Clovis, who was a Salian from the Merovingian dynasty.

When it comes to military tactics, the Merovingians adopted some of the techniques that were used by the Romans. In fact, their methods were quite flexible and capable of adapting to various situations at most battles. They were even successful in raising naval forces such as in the naval campaign that included river craft and ships used in Rhine, Rhone and Loire in the battle of 515 AD.

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