Lecture 11 - Frankish Society

The Early Middle Ages, 284~1000

Yale

Professor Freedman considers the Merovingians as an example of barbarian kingship in the post-Roman world. In the absence of a strong government, Merovingian society was held together by kinship, private vengeance, and religion. Kings were judged by their ability to lead men in war. Gregory of Tours believed that the violence characteristic of Frankish society was useful insofar as the kings wielded it to back up threats of supernatural retribution for bad actions. Professor Freedman ends with a brief summary of the decline of the Merovingians.

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