The emergence of the Franks as a major force in European history after the fall of Rome was largely due to a youthful tribal leader--Clovis (466?-511). He suceeded in uniting the fractious Franks (481). He was noted for his physical bravery and duplicity. Clovis conveted to Christianity and made the Merovingoan dynasty. He set up an independent state centered at at Tournai (431 AD). Clovis I defeated the Roman remanant and gained control of Gaul. He built a powerful kingdom by assimilating the largely Romanized Celtic population of Gaul with his Frankish peoples. Relatively little is known about Gaul during this period, in part because that learming declined and we have few written acounts. There appears tobhave been a general societal decline. One grave study shows a general decline in the quality of grave goods during the Merovingian era. [Lobell, pp. 49-50.]
Clovis while uniting the Franks and unifying Gaul left a terrible situation in that his four sons claimed a part of the kingdom. Clovis and his successors, however, conquered much of western Europe, included modern France and Belgium and areas of southwestern Germany. The Frankish Kingdom created by Clovis was divided into several kingdoms (Neustria, Austrasia, Burgundy, and others). Clovis converted to Christianity brining the Franks into developing Christian Europe. The Franks after Clovis, however, began to splinter and the Merovingians began to decline. It was at the end of the Merovingian rule that Charles Martel defeated the Islamic army at tours. Charles would go on to found the Carolingian Dynasty.
Lobell, Jarrett A. "Auul after the Romans: A cemeter in northwetern France is beginning to expand our knowledge of the emergence of the Merovingian dynasty," Archaeology (January-February 2015), pp. 48-50.
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