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The Franks

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Published on Jun 29, 2011

As the Roman Empire draws to a close, from out the north a confederation of tribes band together under a powerful leader. These fierce marauders became known as the Franks. Even by Roman provincial standards, they are more ferocious warriors than most. In 354, wracked by civil war, the Roman northern frontier essentially collapses, and Gaul is inundated with a tide of savage invaders from Germany, led by Merovech (French Mérovée, German Merowech) c. ad 450, king of the Salian Franks from whom Frankish tradition held the Merovingian dynasty to have taken its name. He was the father of Childeric I (d. 481/482) and grandfather of Clovis I (c. 466--511).

Nothing definite is known of Merovech's life, but an early myth made him the son of a sea god. He is mentioned in Gregory of Tours's Histories. Under the leadership of this legendary warrior, the Franks cut a swath of devastation, conquering both the Roman and Visigoth armies.

It was the Franks who created the strongest and most stable barbarian kingdom in the days after the Western Roman Empire had collapsed. The name "Frank" is closely related to the word that means "fierce" or "free" in the Frankish language.

This History Channel documentary series, Barbarians 2, tells the fascinating stories of four of the most fabled groups of fighters in history, the Saxons, the Lombards, the Franks, the Vandals, tracing 1,000 years of conquest and adventure through inspired scholarship and some of the most extensive reenactments ever filmed.

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