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Friday, August 3, 2007

I have Salic DNA

Galles-Wales

The Gauls, Gaul (Latin: Gallia)

Etymology

Some histories asserted that the Merovingian kings were descended from the Sicambri, a Germanic tribe, asserting that this tribe had changed their name to "Franks" in 11 BC, following their defeat and relocation by Drusus, under the leadership of a certain chieftain called Francio. The Chronicle of Fredegar is the earliest source for this chieftain, and it is widely agreed among historians (including A. C. Murray, Ian Woods, Rosamund McKitterick, and J. M. Wallace-Hadrill) that "Francio" is a Fredegarian invention.

The ethnonym has also been traced to *frankon (Old English franca), meaning "javelin, lance." This would compare to the seax (knife) after which the Saxons were named or the halberd (battle-axe) after which the Lombards may have been named. The throwing axe of the Franks is known as the francisca but, conversely, the weapon may have been named after the tribe. A. C. Murray says, "The etymology of 'Franci' is uncertain ('the fierce ones' is the favourite explanation), but the name is undoubtedly of Germanic origin."

The meaning of "free" (e.g. English frank, frankly, franklin) arose because, after the conquest of Gaul, only Franks were free of taxation.

The Sicambri (var. Sicambers, Sicambres, Sigambrer, Sugumbrer, or Sugambri) were a Germanic people living in what is now called the Netherlands at the the turn of the first millennium. They became Frankish in the 4th century and had an unknown — perhaps ancestral — relation with the Low Franconian Salians.

Sicamber

Sicambria

The Merovingian kings claimed descent of their dynasty from the Sicambri

The Merovingians were a Salian Frankish dynasty that came to rule the Franks in a region largely corresponding to ancient Gaul from the mid fifth to the mid eighth century. Their politics involved frequent civil warfare between branches of the family. During the final century of the Merovingian rule, the dynasty was increasingly pushed into a ceremonial role. The Merovingian rule was ended by a palace coup in 751 when Pippin the Short formally deposed Childeric III, beginning the Carolingian monarchy.

They were sometimes referred to as the "long-haired kings" (Latin reges criniti) by contemporaries, for their symbolically unshorn hair (traditionally the tribal leader of the Franks wore his hair long, as distinct from the Romans and the tonsured clergy). The term Merovingian is drawn directly from Low Franconian, akin to their dynasty's Old English name Merewīowing.

Origins

The Merovingian dynasty owes its name to the semi-legendary Merovech, (Latinised as Meroveus or Merovius), leader of the Salian Franks, and emerges into wider history with the victories of his son Childeric I (reigned c.457 – 481) against the Visigoths, Saxons, and Alemanni. Childeric's son Clovis I went on to unite most of Gaul north of the Loire under his control around 486, when he defeated Syagrius, the Roman ruler in those parts. He won the Battle of Tolbiac against the Alemanni in 496, on which occasion he adopted his wife's Nicene Christian faith, and decisively defeated the Visigothic kingdom of Toulouse in the Battle of Vouillé in 507. After Clovis' death, his kingdom was partitioned among his four sons, according to Frankish custom. Over the next century, this tradition of partition would continue. Even when multiple Merovingian kings ruled, the kingdom — not unlike the late Roman Empire — was conceived of as a single entity ruled collectively by several kings (in their own realms) and the turn of events could result in the reunification of the whole kingdom under a single king. Leadership among the early Merovingians was probably based on mythical descent and alleged divine patronage, expressed in terms of continued military success.

History

Upon Clovis' death in 511, the Merovingian kingdom included all the Franks and all of Gaul but Burgundy. To the outside, the kingdom, even when divided under different kings, maintained unity and conquered Burgundy in 534. After the fall of the Ostrogoths, the Franks also conquered Provence. After this their borders with Italy (ruled by the Lombards since 568) and Visigothic Septimania remained fairly stable.[1]

Internally, the kingdom was divided among Clovis' sons and later among his grandsons and frequently saw war between the different kings, who quickly allied among themselves and against one another. The death of one king would create conflict between the surviving brothers and the deceased's sons, with differing outcomes. Later, conflicts were intensified by the personal feud around Brunhilda. However, yearly warfare often did not constitute general devastation but took on an almost ritual character, with established 'rules' and norms.[2]

Eventually, Clotaire II in 613 reunited the entire Frankish realm under one ruler. Later divisions produced the stable units of Austrasia, Neustria, Burgundy and Aquitania.

The frequent wars had weakened royal power, while the aristocracy had made great gains and procured enormous concessions from the kings in return for their support. These concessions saw the very considerable power of the king parcelled out and retained by leading comites and duces (counts and dukes). Very little is in fact known about the course of the seventh century due to a scarcity of sources, but Merovingians remained in power until the eighth century.

Clotaire's son Dagobert I (died 639), who had sent troops to Spain and pagan Slavic territories in the east, is commonly seen the last powerful Merovingian King. Later kings are known as rois fainéants ("do-nothing kings"), despite the fact only the last two kings did nothing. The kings, even strong-willed men like Dagobert II and Chilperic II, were not the main agents of political conflicts, leaving this role to their mayors of the palace, who increasingly substituted their own interest for their king's. Many kings came to the throne at a young age and died in the prime of life, weakening royal power further.

The conflict between mayors was ended when the Austrasians under the Pepin the Middle triumphed in 687 in the Battle of Tertry. After this, Pepin, though not a king, was the political ruler of the Frankish kingdom and left this position as a heritage to his sons. It was now the sons of the mayor that divided the realm among each other under the rule of a single king.

After Pepin's long rule, his son Charles Martel assumed power, fighting against nobles and his own step-mother. His reputation for ruthlessness further undermined the king's position. During the last years of his life he even ruled without a king, though he did not assume royal dignity. His sons Carloman and Pepin again appointed a Merovingian figure-head to stem rebellion on the kingdom's periphery, but in 751, Pepin finally displaced the last Merovingian and, with the support of the nobility and the blessing of Pope Zachary, himself assumed the title of a King of the Franks. The deposed Merovingian was sent into a monastery, bereft of his symbolic long hair. With Pepin, the Carolingians ruled the Franks as Kings.

Government and law

The Merovingian king was the master of the booty of war, both movable and in lands and their folk, and he was in charge of the redistribution of conquered wealth among his followers, though these powers were not absolute. "When he died his property was divided equally among his heirs as though it were private property: the kingdom was a form of patrimony" (Rouche 1987 p 420). Some scholars have attributed this to the Merovingians lacking a sense of res publica, but other historians have criticized this view as an oversimplification.

The kings appointed magnates to be comites (counts), charging them with defense, administration, and the judgement of disputes. This happened against the backdrop of a newly isolated Europe without its Roman systems of taxation and bureaucracy, the Franks having taken over administration as they gradually penetrated into the thoroughly Romanised west and south of Gaul. The counts had to provide armies, enlisting their milites and endowing them with land in return. These armies were subject to the king's call for military support. There were annual national assemblies of the nobles of the realm and their armed retainers which decided major policies of warmaking. The army also acclaimed new kings by raising them on its shields in a continuance of ancient practice which made the king the leader of the warrior-band. Furthermore, the king was expected to support himself with the products of his private domain (royal demesne), which was called the fisc. This system developed in time into feudalism, and expectations of royal self-sufficiency lasted until the Hundred Years' War. Trade declined with the decline and fall of the Roman Empire, and agricultural estates were mostly self-sufficient. The remaining international trade was dominated by Middle Eastern merchants.

Merovingian law was not universal law equally applicable to all; it was applied to each man according to his origin: Ripuarian Franks were subject to their own Lex Ripuaria, codified at a late date (Beyerle and Buchner 1954), while the so-called Lex Salica (Salic Law) of the Salian clans, first tentatively codified in 511 (Rouche 1987 p 423) was invoked under medieval exigencies as late as the Valois era. In this the Franks lagged behind the Burgundians and the Visigoths, that they had no universal Roman-based law. In Merovingian times, law remained in the rote memorisation of rachimburgs, who memorised all the precedents on which it was based, for Merovingian law did not admit of the concept of creating new law, only of maintaining tradition. Nor did its Germanic traditions offer any code of civil law required of urbanised society, such as Justinian caused to be assembled and promulgated in the Byzantine Empire. The few surviving Merovingian edicts are almost entirely concerned with settling divisions of estates among heirs.

[edit] Religion and culture

Main articles: Merovingian art and architecture and Merovingian script

Merovingian culture was so thoroughly imbued with religion that Yitzhak Hen found that a presentation of Merovingian popular culture was essentially synonymous with Merovingian religion, which he presented through written texts.[3] Merovingian culture certainly witnessed an extensive proliferation of saints.

Christianity was brought to the Franks by monks. The most famous of these missionaries is St. Columbanus, an Irish monk who enjoyed great influence with Queen Balthild. Merovingian kings and queens used the newly forming ecclesiastical power structure to their advantage. Monasteries and episcopal seats were shrewdly awarded to elites who supported the dynasty. Extensive parcels of land were donated to monasteries to exempt those lands from royal taxation and to preserve them within the family. The family would maintain its dominance over the monastery by appointing family members as abbots. Extra sons and daughters who could not be married off were sent to monasteries so that they would not threaten the inheritance of older children. This pragmatic use of monasteries ensured close ties between elites and monastic properties.

Numerous Merovingians who served as bishops and abbots, or who generously funded abbeys and monasteries, were rewarded with sainthood. The outstanding handful of Frankish saints who were not of the Merovingian kinship nor the family alliances that provided Merovingian counts and dukes, deserve a closer inspection for that fact alone: like Gregory of Tours, they were almost without exception from the Gallo-Roman aristocracy in regions south and west of Merovingian control. The most characteristic form of Merovingian literature is represented by the Lives of the saints. Merovingian hagiography did not set out to reconstruct a biography in the Roman or the modern sense, but to attract and hold popular devotion by the formulas of elaborate literary exercises, through which the Frankish Church channeled popular piety within orthodox channels, defined the nature of sanctity and retained some control over the posthumous cults that developed spontaneously at burial sites, where the life-force of the saint lingered, to do good for the votary.[4] The vitae et miracula, for impressive miracles were an essential element of Merovingian hagiography, were read aloud on saints’ feast days. Many Merovingian saints, and the majority of female saints, were local ones, venerated only within strictly circumscribed regions; their cults were revived in the High Middle Ages, when the population of women in religious orders increased enormously. Judith Oliver noted five Merovingian female saints in the diocese of Liège who appeared in a long list of saints in a late thirteenth-century psalter-hours.[5] The characteristics they shared with many Merovingian female saints may be mentioned: Regenulfa of Incourt, a seventh-century virgin in French-speaking Brabant of the ancestral line of the dukes of Brabant fled from a proposal of marriage to live isolated in the forest, where a curative spring sprang forth at her touch; Ermelindis of Meldert, a sixth-century virgin descended from Pepin I, inhabited several isolated villas; Begga of Andenne,the mother of Pepin II, founded seven churches in Andenne during her widowhood; the purely legendary "Oda of Amay" was drawn into the Carolingian line by spurious genealogy in her thirteenth-century vita, which made her the mother of Arnulf, Bishop of Metz, but she has been identified with the historical Saint Chrodoara;[6] finally, the widely-venerated Gertrude of Nivelles, sister of Begga in the Carolingian ancestry, was abbess of a nunnery established by her mother. The vitae of six late Merovingian saints that illustrate the political history of the era have been translated and edited by Paul Fouracre and Richard A. Gerberding, and presented with Liber Historiae Francorum, to provide some historical context.[7]

[edit] Merovingian saints of more than local cult

[edit] Queens and abbesses

* Genovefa (Genevieve), virgin of Paris (died 502);
* Clothilde, queen of the Franks (died 544/45);
* Monegund, widow and recluse of Tours (died 544);
* Radegund, Thuringian princess who founded a monastery at Poitiers (died 587);
* Rusticula, abbess of Arles (died 632);
* Cesaria II, abbess of St Jean of Arles (died ca 550);
* Glodesind, abbess in Metz (died ca 600);
* Burgundofara, abbess of Moutiers (died 645);
* Sadalberga, abbess of Laon (died 670);
* Rictrude, founding abbess of Marchiennes (died 688);
* Itta, founding abbess of Nivelles (died 652);
* Begga, abbess of Andenne (died 693);
* Gertrude of Nivelles, abbess of Nivelles (died 658) presented in The Life of St. Geretrude (in Fouracre and Gerberding 1996);
* Aldegund, abbess of Mauberges (died ca 684);
* Waltrude, abbess of Mons (died ca 688);
* Balthild, queen of the Franks (died ca 680), presented in The Life of Lady Bathild, Queen of the Franks (in Fouracre and Gerberding 1996);
* Eustadiola, widow of Bourges (died 684);
* Bertilla, abbess of Chelles (died ca. 700);
* Anstrude, abbess of Laon (died before 709);
* Austreberta, abbess of Pavilly (died 703);

[edit] Bishops and abbots

* Audouin of Rouen, presented in The Life of Audoin, Bishop of Rouen (in Fouracre and Gerberding 1996);
* Aunemond, presented in The Deeds of Aunemond (in Fouracre and Gerberding 1996);
* Leodegar, bishop of Autun; presented in The Suffering of Ludegar (in Fouracre and Gerberding 1996);
* Praejectus The Suffering of Praejectus (in Fouracre and Gerberding 1996);
* Eligius/Eloi;
* Prætextatus, Bishop of Rouen and friend of Gregory;
* Gregory of Tours, Bishop of Tours and historian;
* Hubertus, Apostle of the Ardennes and first Bishop of Liège.

[edit] Historiography and sources

There exists a limited number of contemporary sources for the history of the Merovingian Franks, but those which have survived cover the entire period from Clovis' succession to Childeric's deposition. First and foremost among chroniclers of the age is the canonised bishop of Tours, Gregory of Tours. His Decem Libri Historiarum is a primary source for the reigns of the sons of Clotaire II and their descendants until Gregory's own death.

The next major source, far less organised than Gregory's work, is the Chronicle of Fredegar, begun by Fredegar but continued by unknown authors. It covers the period from 584 to 641, though its continuators, under Carolingian patronage, extended it to 768, after the close of the Merovingian era. It is the only primary narrative source for much of its period. The only other major contemporary source is the Liber Historiae Francorum, an anonymous adaptation of Gregory's work apparently ignorant of Fredegar's chronicle: its author(s) ends with a reference to Theuderic IV's sixth year, which would be 727. It was widely read; though it was undoubtedly a piece of Arnulfing work, and its biases cause it to mislead (for instance, concerning the two decades between the controversies surrounding mayors Grimoald the Elder and Ebroin: 652-673).

Aside from these chronicles, the only surviving reservoires of historiography are letters, capitularies, and the like. Clerical men such as Gregory and Sulpitius the Pious were letter-writers, though relatively few letters survive. Edicts, grants, and judicial decisions survive, as well as the famous Lex Salica, mentioned above. From the reign of Clotaire II and Dagobert I survive many examples of the royal position as the supreme justice and final arbiter. There also survive biographical Lives of saints of the period, for instance Saint Eligius and Leodegar, written soon after their subjects' deaths.

Finally, archaeological evidence cannot be ignored as a source for information, at the very least, on the modus vivendi of the Franks of the time. Among the greatest discoveries of lost objects was the 1653 accidental uncovering of Childeric I's tomb in the church of Saint Brice in Tournai. The grave objects included a golden bull's head and the famous golden insects (perhaps bees, cicadas, aphids, or flies) on which Napoleon modelled his coronation cloak. In 1957, the sepulchre of Clotaire I's second wife, Aregund, was discovered in Saint Denis Basilica in Paris. The funerary clothing and jewellery were reasonably well-preserved, giving us a look into the costume of the time.

[edit] Numismatics

Byzantine coinage was in use in Francia before Theudebert I began minting his own money at the start of his reign. He was the first to issue distinctly Merovingian coinage. The solidus and triens were minted in Francia between 534 and 679. The denarius (or denier) appeared later, in the name of Childeric II and various non-royals around 673–675. A Carolingian denarius replaced the Merovingian one, and the Frisian penning, in Gaul from 755 to the eleventh century.

Merovingian coins are on display at the Monnaie de Paris in Paris.

Merovingian Kings
Kings of All the Franks
Kings of Neustria
Kings of Austrasia
Chlodio
Merovech
Childeric I ? -481
Clovis I 481 - 511
Childebert I 511-558
Chlothar I 511-561
Chlodomer 511-524
Theuderic I 511-534
Theudebert I 534-548
Theudebald 548-555
Chlothar I 558-561
Charibert I 561-567
Chilperic I 561-584
Chlothar II 584-629
Guntram 561-592
Childebert II 592-595
Theuderic II 595-613
Sigebert II 613
Sigebert I 561-575
Childebert II 575-595
Theudebert II 595-612
Theuderic II 612-613
Sigebert II 613
Chlothar II 613-629
Dagobert I 623-629
Dagobert I 629-639
Charibert II 629-632
Chilperic 632
Clovis II 639-658
Chlothar III 658-673
Theuderic III 673
Childeric II 673-675
Theuderic III 675-691
Sigebert III 634-656
Childebert the Adopted 656-661
Chlothar III 661-662
Childeric II 662-675
Clovis III 675-676
Dagobert II 676-679
Theuderic III 679-691
Clovis IV 691-695
Childebert III 695-711
Dagobert III 711-715
Chilperic II 715-720
Chlothar IV 717-720
Theuderic IV 721-737
Childeric III 743-751

Salian Franks
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See also: Salian dynasty

The Salian Franks or Salii were a subgroup of the early Franks who originally had been living North of the limes in the coastal area above the Rhine in the northern Netherlands, where today still is a region called Salland. The Merovingian kings, responsible for the conquest of Gaul were of Salian stock.

From the early 7th century on the name Salian Franks is used to contrast with the Ripuarian Franks. The name Ripuarian is believed to mean 'river-dwelling'. Therefore the name Salian may refer to salt and, by extension, the sea, i.e. 'sea-dwelling'. Alternatively, it may be derived from the Roman name for a river in the Netherlands: Isala, currently named IJssel in Dutch. Even nowadays, this area is called Salland. In Latin texts the word Salii otherwise is used for the dancing priests of Mars. The early Salian Franks were known to be another warlike Germanic people. Even though after settling within Roman territory, they were to develop an organized society that tilled the land and did not pose a threat over the neighboring Romans.

Since eventually the Salians fully merged into the Franks their separate identity was already lost in Carolingian times. Their language belongs to - and is ancestral to - the family of Low Franconian dialects. The Salian Franks formed the foundation for early Dutch culture and society. According to modern scholars like Robinson their language evolved into Dutch.

History

Their original vicinity to the sea has been attested by the first historic records of Franks, being described by the Romans as pirates. This changed when the Saxons drove them south into Roman territory. Among others, their history is attested by Ammianus Marcellinus and Zosimus, who described their migrations towards the southern Netherlands, and Belgium. The first crossed the Rhine during the Roman upheavels and subsequent Germanic breakthrough in 260 AD. When peace had returned Roman Emperor Constantius I Chlorus allowed the Salians to settle at 297 AD between the Batavians, where they soon came to dominate the Batavian island in the Rhine delta. It is not known whether this people were obliged to serve the Roman army like the Batavians before them, or if they were assigned another territory close to the Black Sea, so the backgrounds of the seafaring Franks whose story was written down during the reign of emperor Probus (276-282), are not clear when a large group decided to hijack some ships and return from Eastern Europe - reaching their homes in the Rhine estuaries without large losses through Greece, Sicily and Gibraltar, although not without causing mayhem.[1] Franks ceased to be associated with seafaring when other Germanic tribes, probably Saxons, drove them to the south. The Saliens received protection from the Romans and in return were recruited by Constantius Gallus - together with the other inhabitants of the Batavian isle. However, this did not prevent the onslaught of the Germanic tribes to the north, by then probably especially from Chamavi signature. The Salian subsequent "unashamed" settlement within Roman territory in Toxandria, Belgium, was answered by the future Roman Emperor Julian the Apostate, who attacked them. To him the Salians surrendered in 358 AD, accepting Roman terms[2].

The Salian tribes constituted a loose confederacy, that stood up together in order to negotiate with Roman authority. Each tribe was made up of extended familiar groups, gathered around a particular family, seen as specially renowned and noble. The importance of such a family bond was made clear by the Salic Law, that ordained that an individual has no right to protection in the case he is not part of a family. One particular Salian family comes to the light of Frankish history in the early fifth century, in time to become the Merovingians - Salian kings named after Childeric's mythical father Merovech whose birth was atttributed with supernatural elements.

From the 420s onwards, headed by a certain Chlodio that expanded their territory to the Somme into northern France, they formed a kingdom in that area, with the Belgian city of Tournai becoming the center of their domain. This kingdom was extended even further by Childeric and especially Clovis, who gained control over Roman Gaul, i.e. France, which bears its current name after the Franks.

In 451, Flavius Aëtius , de facto ruler of the Western Roman Empire, called upon his Germanic allies on Roman soil to help fight off an invasion by Attila's Huns. The Salian Franks answered the call.

Clovis, king of the Salian Franks, became the absolute ruler of a Germanic kingdom of mixed Roman-Germanic population in 486. He consolidated his rule with victories over the Gallo-Romans and all the other Frankish tribes and established his capital in Paris. After he had beaten the Visigoths and the Alemanni his sons drove the Visigoths to Spain and subdued the Burgundians, Alemanni and Thuringians. After 250 years of this dynasty, however, they were marked by internecine struggles and a gradual decline. The position in society of the Merovingians was taken over by Carolingians who again came from a northern area around the river Maas in what is now Belgium and southern Netherlands.

In Gaul a fusion of Roman and Germanic societies was occurring. During the period of Merovingian rule, the Franks reluctantly began to adopt Christianity following the baptism of Clovis I, an event that inaugurated the alliance between the Frankish kingdom and the Roman Catholic Church. Unlike their Goth and Lombard counterparts the Salians adopted Catholic Christianity early on; they had an intimate relationship with their ecclesiastical hierarchy, subjects, and conquered territories.

The division of the Frankish kingdom among Clovis’s four sons (511) was a precedent that would influence Frankish history for more than four centuries. By then the Salic Law had established the exclusive right to succession of male descendents. However, this principle turned out to be an exercise in interpretation, rather than the simple implementation of a new model of succession. No trace of an established practice of territorial division can in fact be discovered among Germanic peoples other than the Franks.

By the 9th century, if not earlier, the division between Salian and Ripuarian Franks had in practice become virtually non-existent, but continued for some time to have implications for the legal system under which a person could go on trial. The adjective Salian as applied to the Frankish people is the origin of the name of the Salic Law.

Mythology

Pagan Salian Mythology, based on polytheistic beliefs, is supposed to have flourished among the Salian Franks until the conversion of Clovis to Christianity, after which paganism withered slowly.

The Merovingian kings
Salland

The Salian Franks or Salii were a subgroup of the early Franks who originally had been living North of the limes in the coastal area above the Rhine in the northern Netherlands, where today still is a region called Salland. The Merovingian kings, responsible for the conquest of Gaul were of Salian stock.

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