The Rise Of The French In Medieval Europe, 400 1200

1245 words - 5 pages

Time, invaders, and the economies of the day put the evolution of great civilizations to the test. Their survival, however, depends on their leadership and how these leaders cope with a changing society. The French have a long and illustrious history that began to rise as the English and the Germans were forming their own, independent, societies. These peoples now make up today's great societies. Between the years of 400 and 1200 A.D., the French region saw a great many changes, both in leadership and society. Three families ruled the region within the Holy Roman Empire: the Merovingians, the Carolingians, and the Capetians. The most significant of these rulers were Clovis of the ...view middle of the document...

By reunifying Gaul and recapturing Merovingian possessions, Charles Martel sought to expand the Carolingian holdings and made them the new dominant power in the European region. Through his expansions, the Carolingians gained parts of Saxony, Brittany, and Alamannia (Holmes, 1992). While the Merovingians had been generous with church lands, the early Carolingians secularized church property. Martel used these lands as gifts to loyal nobles and to support his growing army (Riché, 1983). Although he was never a king, Charles Martel made an important stance that is considered one of the greatest land battles in history, the Battle of Tours.The Battle of Tours, fought in October of 732, was a conflict between the Muslim forces of Abd al-Rahman and Charles Martel. Abd al-Rahman, governor of Spain, invaded and conquered Aquitaine. Charles Martel defeated Abd al-Rahman at Tours and ceased the Moslem invasion. By defeating Abd al-Rahman, Martel caused the Moslem army to destabilize and it was then unable to continue their effort in Europe. Scholars surmise that if Martel had been unsuccessful, today's Europe would be an entirely different mentality and culture (Wikipedia, 2003).Following in his ancestor's footsteps, Charlemagne became one of history's most celebrated rulers and military minds. Ruling from 768-814 A.D., Charlemagne became not only king, but also emperor of the Holy Roman Empire. Charlemagne is known for having a great military mind; however, his style of governing led to the Carolingian Renaissance, which helped to shape the growing medieval population of Europe. "That year 779 is a turning point in the history of Charlemagne. Here began the outstanding period of his reign, when he not only considerably widened his power, but gave it a solid basis and initiated policies having consequences felt for centuries" (Ganshof, 1949).Charlemagne has never been considered a tyrant, although he ruled with absolute authority over politics, the military, legislation, and justice (Riché 1993). Charlemagne's "Carolingian Renaissance" included the enhancement of literature, political structure, economics, and expansion of the empire, all of which flourished under his rule. Charlemagne sought to incorporate all of the various cultures of his realm into his political system without forcing them to conform to a single race. By allowing this, he let the various modern nation states continue to evolve culturally, but separately. This act gave way to the...

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