Why did the kingdom of the Franks prove to be more durable than the others (see)?
They had one king for a long time. Charlemagne dominated 46 years. The unity of monarchical power, long rule allowed the king to create a strong centralized state. Removal from strong rivals allowed the state to prosper and avoid major military battles.
After the fall of the Western Roman Empire on its ruins, the Germanic tribes founded a number of early feudal states - the so-called "barbarian kingdoms".
These newly emerged state formations were not distinguished by the strength, stability and inviolability of borders:
- the redistribution of the world continued and other states were not averse to increasing territories at the expense of neighbors - so the kingdom of Burgundy was conquered by the Franks, and the kingdom of the Sueves by the Visigoths, much later, in 774, the kingdom of the Lombards was conquered by Charlemagne. recovered and strengthened its position in the international arena, the Eastern Roman Empire - Byzantium: in 534. she conquered the kingdom of the Vandals, and in 555 - the kingdom of the Ostrogoths.
- internal instability was caused by the fact that in all these kingdoms there was a conflict of interests between the conquerors and the old local nobility.
The Kingdom of the Franks - the largest of the barbarian kingdoms, turned out to be the most stable.
King Clovis from the first royal dynasty of the Franks - the Merovingian dynasty, who adopted Christianity himself and baptized his people, was recognized even by the Byzantine emperor himself, granting him the title of consul of the Empire - no other barbarian king was awarded such a privilege.
In the 6th - early 7th century, the Frankish state greatly expanded and politically 4 large regions took shape in the kingdom - Austrasia, Neustria, Aquitaine and Burgundy, which regularly became almost independent, because the Frankish kings had a tradition of dividing the kingdom between their sons before death, then again united under one command, when one of the heirs managed to defeat the rest and appropriate them to a part of the kingdom.
It is possible to judge how much the process of fragmentation of the regions of the state of the Franks has gone by the fact that after Clovis, all parts of the kingdom united together under one command only 3 times - the youngest son of Clovis Chlotar 1 (in 558561), his great-grandson Chlothar 2 (in 613629) and great-great-grandson Dagobert 1 (in 629639).
The huge, but not strong and fragmented Merovingian state continued to exist in its former form only due to the fact that
- all the main potential opponents of the franc by this time have already won,
- and the Byzantine Empire, moreover, preoccupied with its own problems, was far away and did not have as many opportunities to invade the European continent so deeply and therefore preferred to recognize the Frankish rulers and maintain official relations with them
- and another nice little thing as a bonus - in the west and north (here - for the time being, but this is a completely different story - about how the Duchy of Normandy appeared) the Franks did not have neighbors that could be competitors and opponents - borders Frankish kingdom in these directions rested on the sea.
The last rise of the Merovingian dynasty was during the reign of King Dagobert 1 (629639), after which it finally degenerated, and the last representatives of the dynasty did not actually rule the state - on their behalf, the governors of the royal court, the majordomo, did it.
At the beginning of the 8th century, the neighbors of the Franks - the Germanic tribes (Saxons, Frisians, Allemans), the Avar Kaganate - became active, and the Arabs invaded from the south, who by that time had seized the Iberian Peninsula, defeating the Visigoth kingdom.
Majordomo Karl Martell managed to take control of the situation - his actions to suppress external and internal opponents were very successful. The peak of his career as a general was the victory of the heavy knightly cavalry in 732 over the Arabs at the battle of Poitiers. This battle stopped the advance of the Arabs deep into the European continent, and clearly demonstrated the advantages of the heavy cavalry of the Europeans over the light cavalry of the Arabs.
In order to have a strong army both to repel external aggression and to strengthen his position inside the country (at these times, internal strife was very strong in the Frankish state and Karl had to fight the recalcitrant southern tycoons all the years), Karl Martell stopped the practice of gratuitous donating land to those close to him, took away the land from those who longed for independence from the central government and gave the land to new holders on the basis of compulsory military service. So there was a serving nobility - professional warriors, one of the main estates of feudal society and the main support and protection of royal power.
The son of Karl Martell, Pepin the Short, removed the last king from the Merovingian dynasty from power and himself became the king of the Franks. Pepin finally conquered Aquitaine and recaptured the Narbonne region from the Arabs, and also handed over to the Pope the territories in Italy that he had conquered from the Lombards (shortly before this, the Lombards seized these areas from Byzantium, which at that time was very preoccupied with internal problems and therefore had no time to be distracted on events outside the Empire).
By the way, since the time of Clovis, the Franks have been able to conduct a competent policy in relation to the clergy, both within the country and in relations with the Roman throne, whose support undoubtedly strengthened the position of the Frankish state.
And the son of Pepin the Short went down in history as, probably, the most famous ruler of the Middle Ages, who significantly expanded the borders of the Frankish state and turned it into an empire, and he himself became Emperor Charlemagne, giving the name of the new royal dynasty of Franks - the Carolingian dynasty. During the reign of Charles, the state of the Franks reached a new level, having changed both quantitatively (in the sense of - territorially) and qualitatively - it was no longer a barbarian kingdom, but the empire of the West, the legitimacy of which was confirmed even by Byzantium itself, recognizing the title of Basileus for Charles, which was worn Byzantine emperors.
The Kingdom of the Franks was strong because of the fact that Charlemagne strengthened his power by removing the power of the Dukes. He also contributed to the spread of Christianity in his empire, which always holds people together. He strengthened the law within his empire, carrying out the necessary reforms. For his reign, 200 capitulars were issued, regulating the life of the church, the population and officials. Great importance in them was also given to the moral and moral order in the empire. Compliance with legality and law was decided by the most important task. Charlemagne also fought against the arbitrariness of local authorities: bishops and counts. Under Charles the Great, science developed. He built the Palatine Academy, which became the first European university.
Charlemagne's military successes expanded and strengthened the borders of the state. His numerous and impressive victories inspired respect for his fellow citizens and awe of his enemies.
But the acquisition of huge territories imposed certain responsibilities: Charles was forced to adapt, adjust some of his state's laws to local laws that existed in the conquered territories. At the same time, a body of laws was published, subject to unconditional implementation throughout the territory of the empire.
A significant role in the fact that the state of Karl was more durable was played by skillful, proper administration. Representatives of the king throughout the empire worked, kept records, clearly following and obeying the instructions of Charles.
The whole empire was held on the undisputed authority of the ruler, and after his death, which naturally, began to disintegrate.
One of the reasons for the great migration of peoples was the statehood that was awakening among the barbarian tribes, which pushed the barbarians to conquest, but on the other hand encouraged them to form their own state. After the fall of the Roman Empire, many small states formed on its ruins, between which there were constant wars for the redistribution of spheres of influence, as it is now called. Weaker barbarian states were absorbed by stronger ones. And the most powerful among the new states was the kingdom of the Franks.
There were several reasons for this.
First of all, the Franks had one dynasty, and the transition from the Merovingians to the Carolingians was virtually painless. The Franks adopted Christianity before other nations, which gave them the support of the Pope and Christians throughout Europe. The Franks created an excellent army, taking samples of Roman troops, and this helped the Franks not only successfully wage war with their neighbors, but to stop Arab expansion in the Pyrenees.
The thing is that too many people want to be kings and strive for power, crushing and weakening the common territory of their country. Strongly divided into principalities, states are easy to conquer. The Franks had one chief leader, and that was their strength. This helped them to withstand the onslaught and conquer other, more fragmented tribes and peoples.
The advantages of the Frankish kingdom can be attributed to a favorable location. In the immediate vicinity there were only weaker tribes, which the Franks subdued. In addition, the kingdom of the Franks was more united due to the laws introduced by Charles the Great.