Franks belong to the group of Germanic peoples who lived in northern Europe and by the fourth century begin to venture into the territory of the Roman Empire first part of the Roman army and then establish independent units within the kingdom as federated. Where did the franks settle?
In this article we will see the main characteristics of the Frankish people and their importance in the history of Medieval Europe.
Origin of the Franks
The origin of the Franks is not very clearly known, since they were a people with few characteristics and their own identity, being the result of a set of different peoples. In fact, they remained divided until Childeric arrived, a character who managed to unite these different groups or peoples and fight against the enemies who wanted to take over Gaul , including the Saxons and the Alans. However, the official origin of the kingdom of the Franks is attributed to the arrival of Clovis I and his subsequent conversion to Christianity between 496 and 506, laying the solid foundations of his reign .
For the knowledge about the Frankish people the historian Gregorio de Tours is very important , throughout his life he wrote the History of the Franks towards the 6th century, thanks to this work we have valuable information about the way of life of the Franks and the most important facts from the beginning of its history.
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Location/place of settlement of the Franks Where did the franks settle?
The Franks were a group of Germanic peoples located in Lower Rhine and in territories in the east of the Rhine in Westphalia . This group of peoples also became part of the Roman Empire as federated, along with many other Germanic peoples, which supported them in wars with barbarian peoples if necessary. The Franks became one of the most powerful Germanic kingdoms.
The name of this town lives up to its history, it means francs Free or Free Travelers . During the Middle Ages the conflicts between peoples and migration were part of daily life it is in this context that the Franks were developed. Where did the franks settle?
Political organization of the Franks
The Franks were organized on the basis of the feudal system , which was divided into classes :
- King : he was the main leader who had the authority to control all the people, he was at the top of power.
- Nobility : this group was made up of counts , dukes and other influential characters who were in charge of different lands on behalf of the king, in order to guard it and keep accounts with him. They were considered noble for their position of authority and responsibility, which brought them great benefits. Nobles were also warriors and leaders in battles.
- Clergy : The clergy is made up of the people who make up the Church . The Franks converted to Christianity and the ecclesiastical authorities became important within the kingdom.
- Vassals : Everyone in the kingdom is vassals of the king, from the feudal lord who had control and power over the population to the serfs of the gleba (term that is known to the peasants who owe tribute to the feudal lords).
Social organization of the Franks
The Franks were socially organized following the characteristics of the Middle Ages , since the noble class were those who had the opportunity to reach higher positions, leaders, such as being part of the assembly of warriors or also of the military command, in addition to arriving to be kings of some tribe.
Free men or minor vassals were those who made up the army and engaged in other daily activities.
Finally, the peasants or serfs , had to work the land and pay a rent to the lords; This rent was paid in products of the harvest or in money obtained through the market. The servants also had to work for the powerful lords of the kingdom, during the week they had days assigned to work in the land of the lord. Where did the franks settle?
Franks economy Where did the franks settle?
In the Rhineland there was a comparatively stable and prosperous economy. This was due to the fact that at that time the prevailing economy in the region between the Lower Rhine and the British Channel had developed more than the economy of the Mediterranean region, where in fact it was getting worse and worse. Later, with the development of the wars, these peoples suffered even more economically. However, populations located to the north prospered a little more. For example, in Cologne the metal industry had developed, while in Maastricht and Trier, the manufacture of ceramics developed .
On the other hand, the Franks had succeeded in ensuring that in an area beyond the Somme the peasants who worked as serfs and state officials received their remuneration in the form of land on loan . It is believed that this system or changes were established by the Franks after their conquest, but the truth is that it has its origin in the Roman Empire, who used slavery and the loan of land. In fact, this system would become one of the characteristics of the Middle Ages , rather than antiquity , with consequences that affected socially, economically and even politically. The peasants worked their own land but in exchange they had to deliver aincome in product or currency . This relationship of exploitation based on the taxation of income will be the characteristic of power relations during feudalism .
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Religion of the Franks
The Franks, who had Germanic origin, had always been polytheists and pagans . But especially they dedicated themselves to worshiping gods related to the forces of nature. For example, they worshiped Odin as their main god, who represented the god of war. But later they converted to Christianity, beginning with Clovis I , which was a great shock to the populations of the Franks, clinging to their pagan beliefs. However, it should be noted that Catholicism provided lasting stability to this Frankish kingdom. Where did the franks settle?
The Germanic peoples kingdoms created within the Roman Empire when the Empire falls are these Roman Germanic kingdoms occupying their place . It was normal for the elites to convert to Christianity, the religion of the Roman Empire, as well as to adopt Latin as their language and to follow the forms of the laws of the Romans. They also adopted part of the Roman tax system for the organization of their kingdoms.
Culture of the Franks Where did the franks settle?
Referring to the Frankish kingdom after the conversion to Christianity, religion became the cultural base of this kingdom because they became known throughout Europe, expanding more than ever . Subsequently converted to the Carolingian Empire with Charlemagne to the command, the Franks also had a religious influence with Catholicism, expanding its teachings and its language, Latin. Literature played an important role in the understanding of the ideas in these towns, although the vast majority of the population was illiterate.
On the other hand, it is necessary to emphasize that the culture of the Franks was highlighted by a warrior spirit among its inhabitants . War was important to this people, who throughout their history constantly sought to dominate new territories. Is known the influence that the Franks in the territory of the Iberian Peninsula for their migrations .
Furthermore, it is noteworthy that the figure of the butler was popularized through the Franks as part of their culture . This was a person of wide trust for the king, much more than a servant.
The Franks developed architecture very well, which was characterized by two periods, first the Merovingian and then the Carolingian . Thus, they managed to build large churches with a touch of Roman influence, some of them built even in Armenia and others in Syria. In fact, many of the churches that were built in the Merovingian period have been rebuilt and remodeled over time, while some others have disappeared, such as the Basilica of Saint Martin. Where did the franks settle?