Frankish Empire

The Frankish kingdom was a kingdom in the west – south – and Central Europe between the 5th and 9 Century, located on the territory of Roman Gaul and adjoining the right bank-Germanic formed settlements. It comes in several West Germanic peoples of the Migration period back.

The empire of the Franks was within three centuries the most important historical empire-building of Western Europe since the ancient times . [1] It developed in the early Middle Ages, after the fall of the Western Roman Empire as a major power in West and Central Europe. It was through the dynasties of the Merovingians and later the Carolingian dynasty ruled, the latter exercised before taking over the kingship in 751 since the late 7th Century of political power in the Reich. The height of its power and expansion reached the Frankish Empire under Charlemagne . According to the later division was from its eastern part ( eastern kingdom ), the medieval German Empire ( Holy Roman Empire ) and from the western part of France .
The expansion of the Frankish Empire 481-814
Table of Contents

1 The Merovingian Frankish Empire
2 The rise of Arnulf Inger and Pippinids
3 The Franks under the Carolingians
4 The demise of the Frankish Empire
4.1 divisions Regnorum (806)
4.2 Treaty of Verdun (843)
4.3 Prüm division (855)
4.4 Treaty of Meersen (870)
4.5 Treaty of Ribemont (880)
5 Lifestyle in the Frankish Empire
5.1 The population
5.2 Agriculture
5.2.1 Origin of manorial
5.2.2 landlords
5.2.3 farmers
5.3 monasteries in the Frankish Empire
5.4 Position of the King
6 See also
8 Literature
8.1 General
8.2 To the Merovingians
8.3 The Carolingians
9 links

The Merovingian Frankish Empire

In the 4th Century settled on the territory of the Roman Empire, Germanic tribes as federates . This was given due to the military problems of Rome’s municipal law, in the expectation that they would defend the frontiers of the empire. At the northeastern end of Gaul settled the Germanic Franks , the Roman sources as Franci in for the first time in the 50 years of the 3rd Century are mentioned. [2]

The first mention of the tribe of Salian Franks found in the Roman historian Ammianus Marcellinus , which the struggle of the Roman Caesar (Under Emperor), Julian reported against the Franks in 358:

“After these preparations, he turned first against the franc, which is usually referred to as the Salian; impudence they had long ago set up on Roman soil Toxandrien in their residences.” [3]

After Gaul since the death of the host master Aetius had slipped more and more of Roman control, the Franks took advantage of the collapse of the Western Roman Empire (c. 476), in order to enlarge their territory, like the Visigoths in the south. In northern Gaul had become a Roman empire under the residual Roman governor Syagrius , the son of Army Master Aegidius , the area around Soissons can hold, which was cut off from the rest of the Empire (since 464, see also Paul ). The Gallo-Romans possibly allied, but possibly also in competition standing to them, was the small salfränkische King Childeric of Tournai .
Expansion of the reign of King Clovis of the Salian Frankish Empire 481 to the United Kingdom 511

486/487 defeated the Franks under Childeric’s son Clovis I Syagrius and conquered the territory. Thus, the limit of the Frankish empire shifted to the Loire . Clovis, who was only one of several small Franconian kings before, then took the opportunity to remove the rest of the kingdoms and establish a Germanic-Roman Empire. He eliminated one after the other under Sigebert of Cologne and Ragnachar and led 496/506 successful wars against the Alamanni . 507 Clovis beat the Visigoths at the Battle of Vouillé (or at Voulon ) after which he almost completely displaced from Gaul.

The possession of the landlords who were killed or displaced during the Frankish wars of conquest, came into the possession of the crown (royal estate). This Clovis funded his campaigns and further strengthened his royal power. The king was gradually largest landowners. Through land grants, he brought other nobles in direct dependence, resulting in the feudal system developed. The king gave the land on time, because the growing royal property, which was the result of the continuous wars, had to be managed. On the other hand, played the cash economy in the Frankish kingdom a relatively minor role. For these conditions, the early feudal Frankish society began to emerge.

But Clovis took over the operational late antique Roman administrative apparatus (whose core especially in the south civitates were). It played the power of local bishops, who had often taken over management duties in the civitates an important role, so that the church should develop to further support the king’s power. The influence of the Burgundian Chrodechild Clovis I came to Catholic Christianity over. [4] With his baptism (maybe 496/98 or 508, the date is disputed) [4] , he secured the support of the Roman Christians and allowed such a together by Franks and Gallo-Roman population. Soon after came the late antique temporary transitional period in Gaul, the early Middle Ages slowly took shape. The royal messengers (earls and bishops) were determined Clovis enforce royal orders. Clovis sat next to 511 on the first Imperial Synod significant influence of Frankish kings to the Bishop investiture through and tried to create a unified ecclesiastical legislation of the Frankish Empire. In the early 6th Century (after 507) was the Salic a first collection of folk law of the Franks .
The rise of Arnulf Inger and Pippinids
Growth of the Frankish Empire

After the death of Clovis (511), the empire was divided among his four sons. Although the unity of the empire could be established by Clovis successor repeatedly (which mainly Theudebert I is of importance, the expansionary policy in Italy operating), but brought it to the Germanic tradition that it Empire divisions among the sons of the repeatedly father’s death came. Died 639 Dagobert , the last major Merovingian, and left his son again geeinigte the kingdom. But the real power lay in the house Meier AEGA and Scrooge’s widow.

The house Meier sought now by the total power in the empire. An Intermezzo brought the years 657-662, in which the son of the mayor of the palace Grimoald , under the name Childebertus adoptivus went down in history, from the Merovingian Sigebert III. was adopted and was in these years on the throne. In the battle of Tertry (687) Finally, the Austrasian house Meier defeated Pepin II the rightful rulers of the Frankish empire as a whole, and so paved the way for the further rise of Arnulf Inger and Pippinids and later the Carolingians . Pippin dared but in the end, after the failed “coup” Grimoalds not, to bring to the king himself, because he did not have the hereditary king of salvation.

714, after the death of Pippin, flared power struggles in which 719 his illegitimate son Charles Martel prevailed. The well-known for its hardness and its assertiveness Charles stood in front of difficult domestic and foreign policy issues. Repeatedly tried some leaders of the old imperial nobility in the Frankish Empire to revolt against his rule. A turning point put the year 732 dar. In the battle of Tours and Poitiers Charles defeated, together with his former enemy Eudo of Aquitaine and supported by the Lombards , the Muslim Arabs . For this he was a savior of the Western world celebrated. Even the fights against Friesen , Saxony , Bavarians and Alemanni consolidated his rule. He also supported the mission work of Bishop Boniface in these areas. He reigned from 737 to the death of the Merovingian king Theodoric IV alone over the Franks, like his father without a royal title. After Charles Martel, Frankish tradition divided the empire shortly before his death among his sons Carloman and Pippin III. onto.
The Franks under the Carolingian

Pippin III. became sole ruler after his brother Carloman had entered the monastery and he the last Merovingian King Childeric III. had also sent there. 751 he was then the Old Testament example of the king anoint . Three years later Pope anointed him Stephen II a second time In the Treaty of Quierzy (754) promised Pippin, the former Exarchate of Ravenna returned to the Pope ( Pippi niche gift ) in exchange legitimized the Pope, the Carolingian kings of the Frankish Empire. Already suffered 755 the Frankish king’s request to comply with the contract. Until his death, Pepin led two successful campaigns against the Lombards and gave the Pope the conquered territories. Pippin III. valid as the founder of the Papal States . At his death he left 768 his sons Charles and Carloman an empire that was conceived in the political and economic structure.

A short time later (771) Carloman died, and Charlemagne became sole ruler thereby. By the treaty concluded by his father with the Pope Charles was committed to this. Since the Lombards the donations of Pepin unrecognized, Karl went on to fight against them and conquered their empire in 774 In addition to the Langobardenfeldzügen the progressive missionary progress in the east. Especially the wars against the Saxons specific policy Charlemagne to 785, when Widukind finally subjugated to the Frankish king. The Saxon war lasted until 804 continued (last campaign of the Franks after Nordelbien). 811 was the Eider defined as the border between the Frankish and the Danish kingdom, so that the northern expansion of the Franks was complete.

The numerous wars caused a progressive feudalism , a strengthening of the rich and an increase in feudalabhängigen farmers. As a result of this development grew possession and power of the feudal lords , particularly the King (and later Emperor) and the Dukes. Even the church was able to consolidate their power. Karl consolidated state power to the outside through the establishment of boundary markers . These were bulwarks for the defense of the Reich and staging areas for offensive wars. He continued to manage the Marquis , which were equipped with special rights because the brands were not directly part of the empire, and thus outside the Constitution stood. In the Marches castles were built and located a fortified peasant population. Especially important here were the brands in the east of the kingdom, the Avar (see also marcha orientalis ) and Mark Karantania , which later Austria emerged (see also Ostarrîchi ).

To consolidate his rule, according to the Interior Karl centralized kingship by 793 by an administrative reform. The kingship was based on the royal court, the court Palatinate and the firm . Count the king in the kingdom managed assets ( palaces ). Palatinate and Margrave were king messengers ( missi dominici controlled) and spoke royal law. Aachen was Charlemagne to the Imperial Palace and the center of the Frankish Empire.

The height of its power reached 25 Charles December 800 with the coronation as Roman emperor: This was the Frankish Empire – next to the Byzantine Empire and the Caliphate of the Abbasids – now finally a recognized great power.
The decline of the Frankish Empire

After 46 years of rule 814 Charles died in Aachen. His son, Louis the Pious was Emperor. This tried against the Frankish tradition, which provided for the division of the inheritance and how it also Charlemagne in the divisions Regnorum was determined from 806 to maintain the unity of the empire and issued 817 a kingdom division or better imperial unity Act ( Ordinatio imperii ). Finally, the imperial dignity was considered indivisible. Therefore, Louis appointed his son to co-emperor Lothar. The law stipulated that the oldest son should inherit the title of Emperor of the Roman emperor. Louis opted for the imperial unity of thought, albeit under ecclesiastical influence, who saw the unity of the empire as a counterpart to the unity of the Church. Therefore, the bishops also played an important political role: They opposed the sons of the Emperor, who had for the division of the empire. 829 Since these tensions led to military clashes between the emperor and his sons.

When Louis died in 840, was Lothar I Emperor indeed, but the sons of 843 agreed in the Treaty of Verdun , divide the Frankish Empire. Later, the empire was by the Prüm division (855) and the Treaty of Mersen (870) and Ribemont (880) further divided. The unity of the empire was except briefly under Charles III. (885-887), never recovered. The individual parts developed different customs, traditions, languages, and thus became independent states. Some time later there was talk of a West and East Frankish kingdom until otherwise indicated on the common origin a century later disappeared. From the old Frankish Empire only the western part should be named ” France take over. ” From the eastern kingdom resulting Holy Roman Empire , and later from the Germany emerged, continued the tradition of the Roman Empire.
Divisions Regnorum (806)

The Testament of Charles the Great saw the division among his sons Pepin , Louis the Pious and Charles the Younger before (see divisions Regnorum ). However, Pepin and Charles the Younger already 810 and 811 and thus died before their father, this plan was abandoned and instead Ludwig was raised to 813 co-emperor, who could succeed him as now in possession of all the imperial rights after the death of his father, 814 .
Treaty of Verdun (843)
The zoning in the Treaty of Verdun, 843

The breakdown of the Frankish empire was on the partly warlike dispute of succession back, the Emperor Louis I, the Pious, led with his sons. After a palace coup and captured emperor was deposed by his sons, Louis I the beginning of 830 years. From 831/832 to their sons increasingly became independent dominions in the kingdom of association and beließen her father in the operation of a Titularkaisers. Three years after the death of her father initiated Emperor Lothar I , King Charles the Bald and King Louis the German 843 in the Treaty of Verdun , the division and the end of the Frankish Empire on; unity of the empire was no longer in effect to ensure and ended with the Treaty of Verdun.

By the division created three new kingdoms:

the West Franks Charles the Bald , the origin of the later France
the eastern kingdom of Louis the German , origin of the later Holy Roman Empire (German Nation)
the Lotharii Regnum (“Middle Kingdom”) Lothair I. , Origin of the late Lorraine

Prüm division (855)

855 led Lothar I. Prüm division means the division of the empire among his sons.
Treaty of Meersen (870)

After the death of the sons of Lothair I. The former media empire of Charles the Bald and Louis the German was in the Treaty of Meersen divided.
Treaty of Ribemont (880)

After futile attempts of Charles the Bald, to conquer the Middle Empire ( First Battle of Andernach 876), the East Frankish king was Louis III. due to the Treaty of Ribemont the western half Lotharingiens. Thus the division of the Frankish empire was provisionally closed, the boundary between the western and eastern part of the Middle Ages remained virtually unchanged over.

After the death of King Ludwig III. (882) and Carloman (884), the East Frankish king Charles III. still to 888 last emperor of the entire empire (except Lower Burgundy). The dispute between Germany and France later successor states to areas that were once part of the Middle Kingdom, presented as so-called enmity to the 20th Century.
Life in the Frankish Empire
The population

In the Frankish empire, the majority of the population were peasants or peasant servants . In many areas, there were no cities , only in early Roman Roman areas were reduced facilities that continued to exist as an administrative center points of civitates among bishops or counts. Above the lower classes, there was a numerically thin layer of nobles , generally known in that time “the Great”.

The way of life of the rural population base in the Frankish Empire can not be compared with today. The majority of people spent his whole life in the same village. Daily worked from sunrise to sunset, except on Sundays and religious holidays. One was old enough, you got married and had a child almost every year, most children died young. In general, the life expectancy was much lower than today, with 50 years was a farmer or a farmer as an old man. Most people knew the only way together with their village to the nearest church and surrounding villages. Of the events at a greater distance, the majority had no idea. An additional obstacle was the lack of paved roads except those that had been created by the Romans before. The simple population could neither read nor write, but there were no writings by such people could find out what is going on in the world itself. Agricultural activities were done by the farmers in the same way as it once did their fathers before them. What has been done since ancient times, they were the right thing because it is so willed by God.

Exact figures on the former population are not known, so that the historians have to rely on estimates. This resulted in an approximate number of 2 million inhabitants in the “German”-speaking part of the Frankish Empire. For the whole kingdom one takes an average population density of about 8 inhabitants / square kilometer in, for the German-speaking areas, however, only an average number of 4-5 inhabitants / square kilometer.
Emergence of the rule of reason

The Warriors of the Frankish king took over after the conquest of the manors of their predecessors. The male and female servants, who lived next to the manor house, took care of the land of men. They had no money, but food and accommodation. The artisans of them put forth the clothes and weapons and cultivated them. The poor were forced into military service. The others who could afford duties were discharged home.

The farmers as the dominant part of the rural population in the Middle Ages were accurately distinguished by their legal status. There was free, half-free and unfree, was also later distinction between serfs and bondsmen. Even the nobles were initially only large farmers with more extensive ownership of land, Allod called, and people. About these relatives of his house of nobles exerted a far-reaching Mr. Right. The house included here in a broad sense also dependent families. Took a similar position before in the late Roman society, the landowners a, where a more extensive ownership of large estates belonged, in whose center stood a luxurious manor, which was cultivated by many farmers dependent. In addition there were craftsmen whose possession, so that you can virtually run out of self-sufficiency. These peasants were tied to their land and were not allowed to move away in order to search in a different location to another gentlemen or even a different career. From these two roots of the new social order of today’s so-called developed in a long development basic rule in the Frankish Empire.

The basic rule quickly sat through the whole empire. They also spread into the areas that came into Frankish possession only from 800th Landlords were nobles, monasteries, bishops and the king, who was the largest landowner at the time. The farmers who were under such a rule, well managed most of the time not own, but had at the same time help in the fields of the owner. The basic rule was the “cornerstone” of the former building society, and at least since 750 to the usual farm, much like today the farm is the usual farm.

The landlords were all nobles (bishops, abbots). The hearing farmer of the Middle Ages was not allowed to resign from the basic rule without the permission of his landlord. The serfs had to perform services for their Lord and thereby pay him regular duties, mostly in the form of shares in the harvest. But the owner had obligations that had to be met. He had his subordinates “watch and ward” offer, which is to protect and support, such as disease, fire or severe crop failure it. He had to defend it from attackers both as practice and revenge in his name, if he should be killed. Within his own lordship, he was the keeper of the peace, he also jumped in quarrels as mediators and judges and could penalize peace breaker in case of dispute.

The reason this rule was divided into different areas. There was depending on the size of the courtyard, a church, several workshops (leather workshop, blacksmith, wheelwright, tailoring, dyeing cloth, shoemaker), a brewery, a mill and a wine press. There was of course a variety of fields, from which the majority of the hearing was made available. However, a portion of the fields was still in the possession of the landlord. And so it was, together with the charges also the task of the farmer a certain time every day to work on these fields before they could take care of the ordering of their own areas.

In addition to the hearing, there was also the so-called servants . This term refers to the servants and the handmaids of the lord, whose only task was in the fields of their owner forced labor to make. They lived mostly in Fronhof or immediately next to it.

Besides the most numerous classes of the population, the serfs and the manorial servants , there were two more in the Frankish Empire peasant layers: the tenant farmers and the King outdoors . In the interest farmers are those farmers who were not committed to any work on the Fronhof or Mr. Acker, the landlords, however, a certain tax paid, so this will protect them from any possible dangers. Over time they have slowly adapted to the hearing and at the end of the Frankish Empire (around 900), they differed virtually indistinguishable from them.

The King peasants were farmers, but the king had no man of himself. Most of them belonged to the Frankish tribe. They were for military service obligation if the king mustered his army and served there as Fußkrieger. The Frankish kings were usually set the king’s pawn on unclaimed land since the collapse of the Franks in Gaul. Charlemagne settled mainly in Saxony to these farmers, which he probably made the serfs of the King of goods, of which he was landlord had shut choose. You should at the same time secure the Frankish domination of Saxony.

It was not rare that a formerly kings, allocated to a country outside King gave away again to a new person, for example as a country gift to a monastery or a vassal equip them with basic wanted. In this case, the land was given away along with the king outside. Although in theory this was a free man, but was simultaneously subject to its new owner. First he lost the right to pull out of his possession and was made step by step to the hearing.

There were also cases in which a king Free voluntarily made subject to a landlord. This could have several reasons: poverty and the inability to continue to do business itself, a large number of debts to a landlord, which could not be repaid or because he no longer wanted to summon up for the army. Without that there was an exact law, it came into use over time, hearing that farmers were no longer obliged to fight in wars.

Towards the end of the early Middle Ages it was decided in various parts of France and Germany, that no country residents could be free. That is, each farmer had a reason men have about themselves and thus belonged either to the servants of the Lord or to the serfs.
Monasteries in the Frankish Empire

Over the centuries, the number of monasteries grew strongly in the kingdom. Since the first Carolingian king and bishop Boniface since more and more such institutions took the 530 wrote the Rule of St. Benedict at. Benedict of Nursia coexistence and behavior of the monks had herewith in his monastery on Monte Cassino, at Naples defined. It became the model body for the whole European monasticism in the subsequent period.

Monks and nuns were mainly those who wanted to withdraw from the rest of the world with their friends or bonds to put their lives in the service of God. But there were other reasons for entry, as friars and sisters were economically sufficiently supplied. Five times a day and twice at night, the monks gathered in their church for prayers and singing of psalms. At meals take turns reading a monk his brothers from the writings of saints before. Due to the three vows, had to take on entering the monks, they were not allowed to perform a marriage or having children. You should be destitute and were obliged to obey the respective abbot. All this should serve to ensure that a monk could align his life only to God.

Since inaction was considered a sin, wrote the rules that the monks should work several hours a day and read for several hours. Everything you needed to live, was produced in the monastery. Part of the monks did his work in the fields, his part in the monastery garden. Still others performed their duties as a copyist, by copying or parchment writing books from the monastic libraries. Besides predominantly Christian writings and books “secular” authors have been adopted, such as the writings of Titus , Caesar and Virgil . From the 6th Century also convent for nuns were made in addition to the monk monasteries. Nuns were doing any field work, but often worked in the garden.

In the Frankish empire monasteries were endowed with diverse lands and were able to develop in this way to rich landlords. The great monasteries employed among other servants who worked as craftsmen in certain workshops. Nobles of the monasteries were often used as supply centers for their sons and daughters, whom they had been unable to marry. Here they could indeed lead a noble life, but life without economic hardship. Moreover there were a monastery above the abbots and abbesses in many cases, of noble origin.

See also: Abbey , convent life (Cistercian)
Position of the king
Goslar Imperial Palace , one of the strongholds of the king

The King was not just about the ordinary peasants and the nobility, but also about the abbots and bishops in his kingdom. He was the largest landowner in the country by far. In a variety of areas he had made ​​noblemen to count, and with this title they led the supervision of the located near King of goods and individual Fronhöfe there, worked at the Army contingent by and attracted to the king entitled to fees from the country (border, shipping – and road tolls, coinage coins and market taxes) a. In some of his estates, the king had built large, stone building, the so-called palaces . All goods king had to pay their surpluses to the nearest such facility. Each Palatinate in front of a Count Palatine.

The king had no fixed capital, but moved with his Hofgefolge of Palatinate Palatinate. For entourage included a eunuch , whose job was to administer the royal treasury and the revenues of the king, and the marshal , who commanded the mounted warriors of the Royal Guard. A priest was also present and led the firm. He read the letters to the king or other ruler of bishops before, wrote the letter in reply and left by his subordinate Hofgeistlichen the gift and other royal charters post. The ruler himself could read and write only in very few cases. Charlemagne also had this problem. Instead he drew his signature on a certificate or a letter from a small line to explain this as valid.

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