Why did the Franks succeed while the other Germanic tribes failed ?

Jul 2017
27
France
#1
Post-Roman history is replete with powerful Germanic tribes that founded Germanic states only to fail after a few generations. I'm thinking of the Visigoths in Spain, The Ostrogoths in Italy, the Vandals in North Africa etc etc.

What did the Franks do differently and why? Surely, there was little, at least at the beginning, to differentiate them from the other tribes. They had similar cultural customs, similar war technologies, similar problems of royal succession. Yet they conquered half of Europe and, ultimately, became France and Germany and they crushed other Germanic tribes like the Saxons or the Lombards, the burgundians ...

I've never seen satisfactory explanation. There must be more to it than just the genius of Charles Martel and Charlemagne.

Is anybody aware of any books that may shed light on this matter ?


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Feb 2014
128
Miami
#3
The visigothic Kingdom was successful until it had a civil war at the worst possible time and some of the factions even invited the moors. The vandals were successful until they met one of the most successful generals in history, belassrius (sorry spelling) and he conquered their state. Odoacers state was successful until the eastern Roman Empire was able to have the Ostrogoths invade. The Ostrogoths were a very powerful kingdom to contend with and took over a decade of war to be reconquered by the Romans. They even sent requests to the sassanids to help them which lead to the devestating war between the romans and Persia which allowed them to be vulnerable to the Islamic invasions. The Germanic invasions of Briton were also successful leading eventually to the Anglo Saxon England and before that, Normandy. Until the cnut the great conquered England and same for his nephew, William the bastard.

So I don’t think the Franks were the only successful ones. The burgundies were successful before they were conquered by the franks.
 

Rodger

Ad Honorem
Jun 2014
5,251
US
#4
Many of the Germanic tribes had recently migrated or had been impacted by the full force of groups such as the Huns or the Eastern Roman Empire. The Franks had the benefit of not having to deal extensively with these factors.
 

Maki

Ad Honorem
Jan 2017
2,127
Republika Srpska
#5
I think another thing that helped the Franks was that their realm was farther away from the Byzantine Empire and the Caliphate (two entities that conquered those other Germanic realms) than the other Germanic kingdoms were. Another Germanic people group that was far away from those two states was the Anglo-Saxons and they also survived.
 

Isleifson

Ad Honorem
Aug 2013
3,556
Lorraine tudesque
#6
Post-Roman history is replete with powerful Germanic tribes that founded Germanic states only to fail after a few generations. I'm thinking of the Visigoths in Spain, The Ostrogoths in Italy, the Vandals in North Africa etc etc.

What did the Franks do differently and why? Surely, there was little, at least at the beginning, to differentiate them from the other tribes. They had similar cultural customs, similar war technologies, similar problems of royal succession. Yet they conquered half of Europe and, ultimately, became France and Germany and they crushed other Germanic tribes like the Saxons or the Lombards, the burgundians ...

I've never seen satisfactory explanation. There must be more to it than just the genius of Charles Martel and Charlemagne.

Is anybody aware of any books that may shed light on this matter ?


View attachment 14745
This

http://docnum.univ-lorraine.fr/public/DDOC_T_2013_0305_SIMMER.pdf
 

Chlodio

Ad Honorem
Aug 2016
3,248
Dispargum
#7
1. Early entry into the empire so that they were arguably the most Romanized of the various tribes
2. Not too Romanized. They still had easy access to Germany with its opportunties for expansion.
3.Conversion to Nicene Christianity instead of Arianism so that the Franks were allied to and not opposed by the Church
4. Stable, long-lasting dynasties in the Merovingians and the Carolingians that managed to produce several powerful leaders (Clovis, Theuderic I, Theudebert I, Charles Martel, Charlemagne, maybe a few others). The Franks were famous for do-nothing kings but not all of them were worthless. When there was a weak king on the throne there was sometimes a strong mayor of the palace who was just as good as a strong king.
5. Gaul was a better base of operations than Britain and probably Spain, too. Gaul may have even been more advantageous than Italy.
 

authun

Ad Honorem
Aug 2011
4,900
#9
The angles, saxons and jutes did a pretty thorough job in Britain. Their legacy was greater and more permanent than the Franks' legacy in Gaul. It is true to say however that, of all the kingdoms which were created as a result of the migration period, only the Anglo Saxons and the Franks were able to hang onto them. However, I have heard some historians claim that the french revolution was 'the final victory of the Gauls over the Franks'.
 
Likes: Rodger

sparky

Ad Honorem
Jan 2017
3,198
Sydney
#10
Yep , that was on the theory that the nobles were from the Frankish invaders while the peasants were a Gallic demographic

the Feudal system was described as alike mafia families giving "protection" in a non negotiable fashion
the revolution greatest achievement would have been to kill them off

A British analogy would be the Anglo-Saxons and their Normand masters
 

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