A 19th century depiction of different Franks (AD 400–600)
Detail of the Tabula Peutingeriana, showing Francia at the top
Approximate location of the original Frankish tribes in the 3rd century
A 6th–7th century necklace of glass and ceramic beads with a central amethyst bead. Similar necklaces have been found in the graves of Frankish women in the Rhineland.
A 6th century bow fibula found in north-eastern France and the Rhineland. They were worn by Frankish noblewomen in pairs at the shoulder or as belt ornaments.
The frontispiece of Gregory's Historia Francorum
A chalice from the Treasure of Gourdon.
The pinnacle of Carolingian architecture: The Palatine chapel at Aachen, Germany.
Drawing of golden bees or flies that was discovered in the tomb of Childeric I
Statue in the Basilica of Saint-Remi depicting the baptism of Clovis I by Saint Remi in around 496
Gelasian Sacramentary, c. 750
Carolingian Empire (green) in 814

First mentioned in 3rd-century Roman sources, and associated with tribes between the Lower Rhine and the Ems River, on the edge of the Roman Empire.

- Franks

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Clovis I

Baptism of Clovis, ivory book cover from 870
Conquests of Clovis between 481 and 511
Clovis I leading the Franks to victory in the Battle of Tolbiac, in Ary Scheffer's 1836 painting
Frankish territories at the time of Clovis's death in 511
The partition of the Frankish kingdom among the four sons of Clovis with Clotilde presiding, Grandes Chroniques de Saint-Denis (Bibliothèque municipale de Toulouse)
Tomb of Clovis I at the Basilica of St Denis in Saint Denis
Battle of Tolbiac. Fresco at the Panthéon (Paris) by Joseph Blanc, circa 1881
Saint Remigius baptizes Clovis, in a painting of c. 1500
Statue depicting the baptism of Clovis by Saint Remigius
Clovis statue at the Abbey Church of Saint-Denis
The Sons of Clovis, by Georges Moreau de Tours (1877)

Clovis (Chlodovechus; reconstructed Frankish: *Hlodowig; c. 466 – 27 November 511) was the first king of the Franks to unite all of the Frankish tribes under one ruler, changing the form of leadership from a group of petty kings to rule by a single king and ensuring that the kingship was passed down to his heirs.

Merovingian dynasty

The Merovingian kingdoms at their height (the Saxons and Bretons also paid tribute to the Merovingian Kings, though at different times)
Signet ring of Childeric I. Monnaie de Paris.
Frankish gold Tremissis, imitation of Byzantine Tremissis, mid-6th century.
Coin of Chlothar II, 584–628. British Museum.
Triens of Dagobert I and moneyer Romanos, Augaune, 629–639, gold 1.32g. Monnaie de Paris.
The Merovingian Basilica of Saint-Pierre-aux-Nonnains in Metz, capital of Austrasia
Coin of Theudebert I, 534–548
Frankish gold Tremissis with Christian cross, issued by minter Madelinus, Dorestad, Netherlands, mid-7th century
Merovingian fibulae. Cabinet des Médailles
A gold chalice from the Treasure of Gourdon
Cover of Merovingian sarcophagus with Christian IX monogram, Musée de Saint-Germain-en-Laye
Baptistry of St. Jean, Poitiers

The Merovingian dynasty was the ruling family of the Franks from the middle of the 5th century until 751.

Carolingian dynasty

A map showing Charlemagne's additions (in light green) to the Frankish Kingdom
Carolingian denier of Lothair I, struck in Dorestad (Middle Francia) after 850
Carolingian family tree, from the Chronicon Universale of Ekkehard of Aura, 12th century

The Carolingian dynasty (known variously as the Carlovingians, Carolingus, Carolings, Karolinger or Karlings) was a Frankish noble family named after Charlemagne, grandson of mayor Charles Martel and descendant of the Arnulfing and Pippinid clans of the 7th century AD.

Gregory of Tours

Gallo-Roman historian and Bishop of Tours, which made him a leading prelate of the area that had been previously referred to as Gaul by the Romans.

St. Gregory of Tours, 19th century statue by Jean Marcellin, in the Louvre in Paris, France
Realms of Merovingian Gaul at the death of Clovis (511 AD).
Frontispiece of Historia Francorum.
St Gregory and King Chilperic I, from the Grandes Chroniques de France de Charles V, 14th-century illumination.

His most notable work was his Decem Libri Historiarum (Ten Books of Histories), better known as the Historia Francorum (History of the Franks), a title that later chroniclers gave to it, but he is also known for his accounts of the miracles of saints, especially four books of the miracles of Martin of Tours.

Salian Franks

Salian settlement in Toxandria in 358 where Julian the Apostate made them dediticii.
Movement of the Salian Franks from the Rhine–Meuse area to the Scheldt delta in c.400–450
Signet ring of Childeric I, king of the Salian Franks from 457 to 481. Inscription CHILDIRICI REGIS ("of Childeric the king"). Found in his tomb at Tournai, now in the Monnaie de Paris

The Salian Franks, also called the Salians (Latin: Salii; Greek: Σάλιοι, Salioi), were a northwestern subgroup of the early Franks who appear in the historical record in the fourth and fifth centuries.

Alaric I

The first king of the Visigoths, from 395 to 410.

1920s artistic depiction of Alaric parading through Athens after conquering the city in 395
Imaginary portrait of Alaric in C. Strahlheim, Das Welttheater, 4. Band, Frankfurt a.M., 1836
The Sack of Rome by the Visigoths on 24 August 410 by J-N Sylvestre (1890)
The burial of Alaric in the bed of the Busento River. 1895 wood engraving

Once an ally of Rome under the Roman emperor Theodosius, Alaric helped defeat the Franks and other allies of a would-be Roman usurper.

Childeric I

Copy of the signet ring of Childeric I (original stolen in 1831). Inscription CHILDIRICI REGIS ("of Childeric the king"). The original was found in his tomb at Tournai (Monnaie de Paris).
Detail of golden bees with garnet insets
Golden bee or fly jewelry from the tomb of Childeric I in Tournai. Drawn by Jacob van Werden and engraved by Cornelis Galle the Younger

Childeric I (Childéric; Childericus; reconstructed Frankish: *Hildirīk; c. 437 – 481 AD) was a Frankish leader in the northern part of imperial Roman Gaul and a member of the Merovingian dynasty, described as a king (Latin rex), both on his Roman-style seal ring, which was buried with him, and in fragmentary later records of his life.

Ripuarian Franks

Roman Cologne, chief city of the Ripuarian Franks
Agrippina, mother of Cologne

Ripuarian or Rhineland Franks (Latin: Ripuarii or Ribuarii) were one of the two main groupings of early Frankish people, and specifically it was the name eventually applied to the tribes who settled in the old Roman territory of the Ubii, with its capital at Cologne on the Rhine river in modern Germany.


King of the Franks from 768, King of the Lombards from 774, and the first Holy Roman Emperor from 800.

A denarius of Charlemagne dated 812–814 with the inscription  (Karolus Imperator Augustus)
The Bust of Charlemagne, an idealised portrayal and reliquary said to contain Charlemagne's skull cap, is located at Aachen Cathedral Treasury, and can be regarded as the most famous depiction of the ruler.
Roman road connecting Tongeren to the Herstal region. Jupille and Herstal, near Liege, are located in the lower right corner
Moorish Hispania in 732
Charlemagne (left) and Pepin the Hunchback (10th-century copy of 9th-century original)
Charlemagne instructing his son Louis the Pious
The Frankish king Charlemagne was a devout Catholic and maintained a close relationship with the papacy throughout his life. In 772, when Pope Adrian I was threatened by invaders, the king rushed to Rome to provide assistance. Shown here, the pope asks Charlemagne for help at a meeting near Rome.
Harun al-Rashid receiving a delegation of Charlemagne in Baghdad, by Julius Köckert (1864)
Charlemagne's additions to the Frankish Kingdom
Charlemagne receiving the submission of Widukind at Paderborn in 785, painted c. 1840 by Ary Scheffer
Equestrian statue of Charlemagne by Agostino Cornacchini (1725), St. Peter's Basilica, Vatican City.
Imperial Coronation of Charlemagne, by Friedrich Kaulbach, 1861
Pope Leo III, crowning Charlemagne from Chroniques de France ou de Saint Denis, vol. 1; France, second quarter of 14th century.
The Throne of Charlemagne and the subsequent German Kings in Aachen Cathedral, Germany
Coronation of Charlemagne, drawing by Julius Schnorr von Karolsfeld
Coronation of an idealised king, depicted in the Sacramentary of Charles the Bald (about 870)
The Coronation of Charlemagne, by assistants of Raphael, c. 1516–1517
Europe at the death of the Charlemagne 814.
Proserpina sarcophagus of Charlemagne in the Aachen Cathedral Treasury
A portion of the 814 death shroud of Charlemagne. It represents a quadriga and was manufactured in Constantinople. Musée de Cluny, Paris.
Frederick II's gold and silver casket for Charlemagne, the Karlsschrein
Monogram of Charlemagne, including signum manus, from the subscription of a royal diploma: Signum (monogr.: KAROLVS) Karoli gloriosissimi regis
Denier from the era of Charlemagne, Tours, 793–812
Charlemagne in a contemporary sketch
The privileges of Charlemagne at the Modena Cathedral (containing the monogram of Charlemagne), dated 782
Charlemagne's chapel at Aachen Cathedral
Page from the Lorsch Gospels of Charlemagne's reign
13th-century stained glass depiction of Charlemagne, Strasbourg Cathedral
The Carolingian-era equestrian statuette thought to represent Charlemagne (from Metz Cathedral, now in the Louvre)
Later depiction of Charlemagne in the Bibliothèque Nationale de France
One of a chain of Middle Welsh legends about Charlemagne: Ystorya de Carolo Magno from the Red Book of Hergest (Jesus College, Oxford, MS 111), 14th century
Emperor Charlemagne, by Albrecht Dürer, 1511–1513, Germanisches Nationalmuseum

By the 6th century, the western Germanic tribe of the Franks had been Christianised, due in considerable measure to the Catholic conversion of Clovis I.


Germans (Deutsche, ) are the natives or inhabitants of Germany, and sometimes more broadly any people who are of German descent or native speakers of the German language.

Germanic Kingdoms in Europe and Africa c. undefined 476 AD
Extent of Holy Roman Empire in 972 (red line) and 1035 (red dots) with Kingdom of Germany marked in blue
The Holy Roman Empire after the Peace of Westphalia, 1648
Boundaries of the German Confederation in red, Prussia in blue, Austria in yellow, and other member states in grey. Note that large parts of Austria and some parts of Prussia did not belong to the Confederation.
Victims of the Holocaust in a mass grave at Bergen-Belsen concentration camp.
Germans expelled from Poland in 1948.
Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe in Berlin, Germany. Remembering the Holocaust is an essential part of modern German culture.

The German ethnicity emerged among early Germanic peoples of Central Europe, particularly the Franks, Frisians, Saxons, Thuringii, Alemanni and Baiuvarii.