Frankish arms.JPG
Aristocratic Frankish grave goods from the Merovingian period
Old Frankish
Frankish paganism, Roman Catholicism
Related ethnic groups
Germanic tribes

The Franks ( Latin: Franci or gens Francorum) were a collection of Germanic peoples that originated in the lands between the Lower and Middle Rhine in the 3rd century AD and eventually formed a large empire dominating much of western and central Europe during the Middle Ages.

During ancient times some Franks raided Roman territory, while other Frankish tribes joined the Roman troops of Gaul. The Salian Franks lived on Roman-held soil between the Rhine, Scheldt, Meuse, and Somme rivers in what is now Northern France, Belgium and the central and southern part of the Netherlands. The kingdom was acknowledged by the Romans after 357 AD. They became a powerful ally of Rome, providing many imperial generals, and integrated remarkably well into Roman society, speaking Latin fluently, obtaining Roman citizenship, and being often promoted by the emperors to consular ranks (including senators) for their competence. Following the collapse of Rome in the West, the Frankish tribes were united under the Merovingians, who succeeded in conquering most of Gaul in the 6th century, which greatly increased their power. The Merovingian dynasty, descendants of the Salians, founded one of the French monarchies that would absorb large parts of the Western Roman Empire. The Frankish state consolidated its hold over the majority of western Europe by the end of the 8th century, developing into the Carolingian Empire. With the coronation of their ruler Charlemagne as Holy Roman Emperor by Pope Leo III in 800 AD, he and his successors were recognised as legitimate successors to the emperors of the Western Roman Empire. As such, the Carolingian Empire gradually came to be seen in the West as a continuation of the ancient Roman Empire. This empire would give rise to several successor states, including France, the Holy Roman Empire and Burgundy, though the Frankish identity remained most closely identified with France.

After the death of Charlemagne, his only adult surviving son became Emperor and King Louis the Pious. Following Louis the Pious's death however, accordingly with Frankish culture and law that demanded equality among all living male adult heirs, the Frankish Empire was now split between Louis' three sons.

This led to the creation of independent Kingdoms, which would later become known as the Kingdom of France, the Holy Roman Empire (itself evolving eventually into the German States, and then Germany), the Low Countries (which would later break-up into the Kingdom of Belgium, Kingdom of the Netherlands, and Luxembourg), Switzerland, and the northern Italian city-states that would later become part of the Kingdom of Italy.

In the Middle Ages, the term Frank was used in the east[ vague] as a synonym for western European, as the Franks were then rulers of most of Western Europe. [1] [2] [3]


A 19th century depiction of different Franks (AD 400–600)

The name Franci was originally socio-political. To the Romans, Celts, and Suebi, the Franks must have seemed alike: they looked the same and spoke the same language, so that Franci became the name by which the people were known. Within a few centuries it had eclipsed the names of the original tribes, though the older names have survived in some place-names, such as Hesse, which originates from the Chatti tribe. Following the precedents of Edward Gibbon and Jacob Grimm, [4] the name of the Franks has been linked with the word frank in English. [5] It has been suggested that the meaning of "free" was adopted because, after the conquest of Gaul, only Franks were free of taxation. [6] It is traditionally assumed that Frank comes from the Germanic word for " javelin" (such as in Old English franca or Old Norse frakka). [7] There is also another theory that suggests that Frank comes from the Latin word francisca meaning "throwing axe".[ citation needed] Words in other Germanic languages meaning "fierce", "bold" or "insolent" (German frech, Middle Dutch vrac, Old English frǣc and Old Norwegian frakkr), may also be significant. [8]

Eumenius addressed the Franks in the matter of the execution of Frankish prisoners in the circus at Trier by Constantine I in 306 and certain other measures: [9] [10] Ubi nunc est illa ferocia? Ubi semper infida mobilitas? ("Where now is that ferocity of yours? Where is that ever untrustworthy fickleness?"). Feroces was used often to describe the Franks. [11] Contemporary definitions of Frankish ethnicity vary both by period and point of view. A formulary written by Marculf about 700 AD described a continuation of national identities within a mixed population when it stated that "all the peoples who dwell [in the official's province], Franks, Romans, Burgundians and those of other nations, live ... according to their law and their custom." [12] Writing in 2009, Professor Christopher Wickham pointed out that "the word 'Frankish' quickly ceased to have an exclusive ethnic connotation. North of the River Loire everyone seems to have been considered a Frank by the mid-7th century at the latest; Romani[ specify] were essentially the inhabitants of Aquitaine after that". [13]

Other Languages
Afrikaans: Franke
Alemannisch: Franken (Volk)
Ænglisc: Francan
العربية: فرنجة
aragonés: Francos
asturianu: Pueblu francu
azərbaycanca: Franklar
Bân-lâm-gú: Frank lâng
беларуская: Франкі
български: Франки
bosanski: Franci
brezhoneg: Franked
català: Francs
Чӑвашла: Франксем
čeština: Frankové
Cymraeg: Ffranciaid
dansk: Frankere
eesti: Frangid
Ελληνικά: Φράγκοι
español: Pueblo franco
Esperanto: Frankoj
euskara: Frankoak
فارسی: فرانک‌ها
føroyskt: Frankar
français: Francs
Frysk: Franken
Gaeilge: Na Frainc
galego: Francos
한국어: 프랑크인
hrvatski: Franci
Bahasa Indonesia: Suku Franka
íslenska: Frankar
italiano: Franchi
עברית: פרנקים
ქართული: ფრანკები
қазақша: Франктер
Kiswahili: Wafaranki
Kurdî: Frank
Latina: Franci
latviešu: Franki
lietuvių: Frankai
lumbaart: Franch (pòpol)
magyar: Frankok
македонски: Франки
مصرى: فرانكس
Bahasa Melayu: Orang Frank
монгол: Франк
Nederlands: Franken (volk)
Nedersaksies: Franken
日本語: フランク人
Nordfriisk: Franken (fulk)
norsk: Frankere
norsk nynorsk: Frankarar
occitan: Francs
oʻzbekcha/ўзбекча: Franklar
polski: Frankowie
português: Francos
română: Franci
русский: Франки
Scots: Franks
sicilianu: Franchi
Simple English: Franks
slovenčina: Frankovia
slovenščina: Franki
српски / srpski: Франци
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Franci
suomi: Frankit
svenska: Franker
Türkçe: Franklar
українська: Франки
Tiếng Việt: Người Frank
West-Vlams: Frankn
粵語: 法蘭克人
中文: 法蘭克人