Frankish mythology comprises the mythology of the Germanic tribal confederation of the Franks, from its roots in polytheistic Germanic paganism through the inclusion of Greco-Roman components in the Early Middle Ages. This mythology flourished among the Franks until the conversion of the Merovingian king Clovis I to Nicene Christianity (c. 500), though there were many Frankish Christians before that. After that, their paganism was gradually replaced by the process of Christianisation, but there were still pagans in the late 7th century.[ citation needed ]
The majority of pagan Frankish beliefs may share similarities with that of other Germanic peoples. If so, then it may be possible to reconstruct the basic elements of Frankish traditional religion.
The migration era religion of the Franks likely shared many of its characteristics with the other varieties of Germanic paganism, such as placing altars in forest glens, on hilltops, or beside lakes and rivers, and consecration of woods.Generally, Germanic gods were associated with local cult centres and their sacred character and power were associated with specific regions, outside of which they were neither worshipped nor feared. Other deities were known and feared and shared by cultures and tribes, although in different names and variations. Of the latter, the Franks may have had one omnipotent god Allfadir ("All Father"), thought to have lived in a sacred grove. Germanic peoples may have gathered where they believed him to live, and sacrificed a human life to him. Variants of the phrase All Father (like Allfadir) usually refer to Wuotan (Woden, Óðinn/Odin), and the Franks probably believed in Wuoton as "chief" of blessings, whom the first historian Tacitus called "Mercurius", and his consort Freia, as well as Donar (Thor), god of thunder, and Zio (Tyr), whom Tacitus called "Mars". According to Herbert Schutz, most of their gods were "worldly", possessing form and having concrete relation to earthly objects, in contradistinction to the transcendent God of Christianity. Tacitus also mentioned a goddess Nerthus being worshipped by the Germanic people, in whom Perry thinks the Franks may have shared a belief. With the Germanic groups along the North Sea the Franks shared a special dedication to the worship of Yngvi, synonym to Freyr, whose cult can still be discerned in the time of Clovis.
In contrast to many other Germanic tribes, no Merovingians claimed to be descended from Wodan.
Some rich Frankish graves were surrounded by horse burials, such as Childeric's grave.
|List of mythologies|
The bulls that pulled the cart were taken as special animals, and according to Salian law the theft of those animals would impose a high sanction.[ citation needed ] Eduardo Fabbro has speculated that the Germanic goddess Nerthus (who rode in a chariot drawn by cows) mentioned by Tacitus, was the origin of the Merovingian conception of Merovech, after whom their dynasty would be named. The Merovingian kings riding through the country on an oxcart could then be an imaginative reenactment the blessing journey of their divine ancestor. In the grave of Childeric I (died 481) was found the head of a bull, craftily made out of gold. This may have represented the symbol of a very old fertility ritual, that centred on the worship of the cow. According to Fabbro, the Frankish pantheon expressed a variation of the Germanic structure that was especially devoted to fertility gods.
However, a more likely explanation is that the Merovingian ox-cart went back to the Late-Roman tradition of governors riding through the province to dispense justice in the company of angariae, or ox wagons belonging to the imperial post.The bull in Childeric's grave was probably an insignificant object imported from elsewhere, and belongs to a wide artistic usage of bulls in pre-historic European art.
The Frankish mythology that has survived in primary sources is comparable to that of the Aeneas myth of in Roman mythology, but altered to suit Germanic tastes. Like many Germanic peoples, the Franks told a founding myth to explain their connection with peoples of classical history. In the case of the Franks, these people were the Sicambri and the Trojans. An anonymous work of 727 called Liber Historiae Francorum states that following the fall of Troy, 12,000 Trojans led by their kings Priam and Antenor moved through the Sea of Azov and up the Tanais (Don) river and settled in Pannonia, where they founded a city called "Sicambria". After altercations the Alans and Emperor Valentinian (late 4th century AD), who renamed them Franks, they moved to the Rhine.
These stories have obvious difficulties if taken as fact. Historians, including eyewitnesses like Caesar, have given us accounts that places the Sicambri firmly at the delta of the Rhine and archaeologists have confirmed ongoing settlement of peoples. The Franks also appear close to the Rhine earlier then the 4th century. Frankish historian [[Fredegar], who also has the Franks originate in Troy but, under an eponymous king named Francio, lets them move straight to the Rhine without mentioning the Sicambri. For these reasons, current scholars think that this myth was not prevalent, certainly not historical: For example, J. M. Wallace-Hadrill states that "this legend is quite without historical substance".Ian Wood says that "these tales are obviously no more than legend" and "in fact there is no reason to believe that the Franks were involved in any long-distance migration".
In Roman and Merovingian times, panegyrics played an important role in the transmission of culture. A common panegyrical device was the use of archaic names for contemporary things. Romans were often called "Trojans" and Franks were called "Sicambri". A notable example related by the sixth-century historian Gregory of Tours states that the Merovingian Frankish leader Clovis I, on the occasion of his baptism into the Catholic faith, was referred to as a Sicamber by Remigius, the officiating bishop of Rheims.At the crucial moment of Clovis' baptism, Remigius declared, "Bend your head, Sicamber. Honour what you have burnt. Burn what you have honoured." It is likely that in this way a link between the Sicambri and the Franks was being invoked. Further examples of Salians being called Sicambri can be found in the Panegyrici Latini , the Life of King Sigismund, the Life of King Dagobert, and other sources.
Before Clovis converted to Catholic Christianity, pagan Frankish rulers probably maintained their elevated positions by their "charisma", their legitimacy and "right to rule" may have been based on their supposed divine descent as well as their financial and military successes.The concept of "charisma" has been controversial.
Fredegar tells a story of the Frankish king Chlodio taking a summer bath with his wife when she was attacked by some sort of sea beast, which Fredegar described as bestea Neptuni Quinotauri similis, ("the beast of Neptune that looks like a Quinotaur"). Because of the attack, it was unknown if Merovech, the legendary founder of the Merovingian dynasty was conceived of Chlodio or the sea beast.
In later centuries, divine kingship myths would flourish in the legends of Charlemagne (768–814) as a divinely-appointed Christian king. He was the central character in the Frankish mythology of the epics known as the Matter of France. The Charlemagne Cycle epics, particularly the first, known as Geste du Roi ("Songs of the King"), concern a King's role as champion of Christianity. From the Matter of France, sprang some mythological stories and characters adapted through Europe, such as the knights Lancelot and Gawain.
The Merovingian dynasty was the ruling family of the Franks from the middle of the 5th century until 751. They first appear as "Kings of the Franks" in the Roman army of northern Gaul. By 509 they had united all the Franks and northern Gaulish Romans under their rule. They conquered most of Gaul, defeating the Visigoths (507) and the Burgundians (534), and also extended their rule into Raetia (537). In Germania, the Alemanni, Bavarii and Saxons accepted their lordship. The Merovingian realm was the largest and most powerful of the states of western Europe following the breaking up of the empire of Theoderic the Great.
Clovis 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 royal chieftains to rule by a single king and ensuring that the kingship was passed down to his heirs. He is considered to have been the founder of the Merovingian dynasty, which ruled the Frankish kingdom for the next two centuries.
Childeric I was a Frankish leader in the northern part of imperial Roman Gaul and a member of the Merovingian dynasty, described as a king, both on his Roman-style seal ring, which was buried with him, and in fragmentary later records of his life. He was father of Clovis I, who acquired effective control over all or most Frankish kingdoms, and a significant part of Roman Gaul.
Merovech was the King of the Salian Franks, which later became the dominant Frankish tribe, and the founder of the Merovingian dynasty. Several legends and myths surround his person. He is proposed to be one of several barbarian warlords and kings that joined forces with the Roman general Aetius against the Huns under Attila at the Battle of the Catalaunian Plains in Gaul in 451. His grand-son Clovis I became the founder of the Frankish kingdom.
Dagobert I was the king of Austrasia (623–634), king of all the Franks (629–634), and king of Neustria and Burgundy (629–639). He was the last king of the Merovingian dynasty to wield any real royal power. Dagobert was the first of the Frankish kings to be buried in the royal tombs at Saint Denis Basilica.
The Thuringii (Thervingi), Toringi or Teuriochaimai, were an early Germanic people that appeared during the late Migration Period in the Harz Mountains of central Germania, a region still known today as Thuringia. It became a kingdom, which came into conflict with the Merovingian Franks, and it later came under their influence and Frankish control. The name is still used for one of modern Germany's federal states (Bundesländer).
Childeric III was King of Francia from 743 until he was deposed by Pope Zachary in March 751 at the instigation of Pepin the Short. Although his parentage is uncertain, he is considered the last Frankish king from the Merovingian dynasty. Once Childeric was deposed, Pepin the Short, who was the father of emperor Charlemagne, was crowned king, initiating the Carolingian dynasty.
Francia, also called the Kingdom of the Franks, Frankland, or Frankish Empire, was the largest post-Roman barbarian kingdom in Western Europe. It was ruled by the Franks during Late Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages. After the Treaty of Verdun in 843, West Francia became the predecessor of France, and East Francia became that of Germany. Francia was among the last surviving Germanic kingdoms from the Migration Period era before its partition in 843.
The Istvaeones were a Germanic group of tribes living near the banks of the Rhine during the Roman Empire which reportedly shared a common culture and origin. The Istaevones were contrasted to neighbouring groups, the Ingaevones on the North Sea coast, and the Herminones, living inland of these groups.
Chlodio also Clodio, Clodius, Clodion, Cloio or Chlogio, was a Frankish king who attacked, and apparently then held, Roman-inhabited lands and cities in the Silva Carbonaria forest, now in central Belgium, then Cambrai and Tournai, and reached as far south as the River Somme.
Germanic paganism refers to the various religious practices of the Germanic peoples from the Iron Age until Christianisation during the Middle Ages. Religious practices represented an essential element of early Germanic culture. From both archaeological remains and literary sources, it is possible to trace a number of common or closely related beliefs among the Germanic peoples into the Middle Ages, when the last areas in Scandinavia were Christianized. Rooted in Proto-Indo-European religion, Proto-Germanic religion expanded during the Migration Period, yielding extensions such as Old Norse religion among the North Germanic peoples, the paganism practiced amid the continental Germanic peoples, and Anglo-Saxon paganism among the Old English-speaking peoples. The Germanic religion is best documented in 10th- and 11th-century texts from Scandinavia and Iceland.
The Salian Franks, also called the Salians, were a northwestern subgroup of the early Franks who appear in the historical record in the fourth and fifth centuries. They lived west of the Lower Rhine in what was then the Roman Empire and today the Netherlands and Belgium.
Ripuarian or Rhineland Franks 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. Their western neighbours were the Salii, or "Salian Franks", who were named already in late Roman records, and settled with imperial permission within the Roman Empire in what is today the southern part of the Netherlands, and Belgium, and later expanded their influence into the northern part of France above the Loire river, creating the Frankish empire of Francia.
The Sicambri, also known as the Sugambri or Sicambrians, were a Celtic people or Germanic people who during Roman times lived on the east bank of the Rhine river, in what is now Germany, near the border with the Netherlands. They were first reported by Julius Caesar, who described them as Germanic (Germani), though he did not necessarily define this in terms of language.
The mythologies in present-day France encompass the mythology of the Gauls, Franks, Normans, Bretons, and other peoples living in France, those ancient stories about divine or heroic beings that these particular cultures believed to be true and that often use supernatural events or characters to explain the nature of the universe and humanity. French myth has been primarily influenced by the myths and legends of the Gauls and the Bretons as they migrated to the French region from modern day England and Ireland. Other smaller influences on the development of French mythology came from the Franks.
The Franks were a group of Germanic peoples whose name was 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. Later the term was associated with Romanized Germanic dynasties within the collapsing Western Roman Empire, who eventually commanded the whole region between the rivers Loire and Rhine. They imposed power over many other post-Roman kingdoms and Germanic peoples. Frankish rulers were given recognition by the Catholic Church as successors to the old rulers of the Western Roman Empire.
The First Council of Orléans was convoked by Clovis I, King of the Franks, in 511. Clovis called for this synod four years after his victory over the Visigoths under Alaric II at the Battle of Vouillé in 507. The council was attended by thirty-two bishops, including four metropolitans, from across Gaul, and together they passed thirty-one decrees. The bishops met at Orléans to reform the church and construct a strong relationship between the crown and the Catholic episcopate, the majority of the canons reflecting compromise between these two institutions.
The Quinotaur is a mythical sea creature mentioned in the 7th century Frankish Chronicle of Fredegar. Referred to as "bestea Neptuni Quinotauri similis", it was held to have fathered Meroveus by attacking the wife of the Frankish king Chlodio and thus to have sired the line of Merovingian kings.
Christianization of the Franks was the process of converting the pagan Franks to Catholicism during the late 5th century and early 6th century. It was started by Clovis I, regulus of Tournai, with the insistence of his wife, Clotilde and Saint Remigius, the bishop of Reims.
The Battle of Lucofao was the decisive engagement of the civil war that afflicted the Frankish kingdoms during and after the reign of Dagobert II (676–79). In the battle, the Neustrian forces of Theuderic III and his majordomo Ebroin defeated the forces of Austrasia under the dukes Pippin and Martin.