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The Franks

The Franks were a Germanic people who first became prominent in history because of their savage raids into Roman territory during the Third Century A. D. Later, the Romans enlisted thousands of Franks into the imperial army and bodyguards, putting their warlike skills to good use. Arbogastes was a Frank who rose to the high rank of Master General during the reign of Valentinian II but who is suspected of later murdering the emperor in order to place his own candidate, Eugenius, on the throne. The first kings of France were the Merovingians, a Frankish dynasty formed started by the chieftain Meroveg (or Meroveus in Latin). The most famous of the Merovingians was Clovis, who built up his power during the late Fifth and early Sixth Centuries. He was a bloodthirsty conqueror, murdering his defeated foes in order to instill fear in those next on his list of petty kings and independent warlords slated for annihilation and incorporation into his growing kingdom.

The royal seal in the image above here belonged to Childeric, father of Clovis and an early king of the Franks. It was discovered in the grave of a warrior in France. The gold coins shown with the seal are solidi, either Byzantine or Western copies of the popular Byzantine coin. Notice also that the king wears his hair in long braids. Frankish kings regularly wore their hair in braids, which were a symbol of royalty amongst this Germanic people.


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