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Western Civilization. Franks and Vikings - Essay Example

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The Germanic tribes north of Rome were much less organized than the Roman Empire had been, but they had the advantage of strong leadership in the form of their local chieftains, and loyal following in the warriors who banded together and were willing to fight or farm…
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Western Civilization. Franks and Vikings
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Download file to see previous pages The lack of a controlling center in Rome allowed them to take part in a wider range of trade activities, reaching even outside the limits of the formerly Roman territories. This meant that the Franks took over in a way which “actually led to the spread of Roman and Christian civilization beyond Rome’s frontiers” (Lewis, 153). The social structure was more flexible than the Roman structure, which had depended on large armies and a system of either conscription or professional soldiering, both of which required significant amounts of central funding. The Franks managed their affairs locally, becoming involved in small skirmishes here and there, but generally preserving their civilization as a whole made up of independent parts.
One of the great strengths of the Franks was their ruling dynasty of the Merovingians who were a very ancient family that commanded the loyalty of wide territories. After the death of Clovis there was some debate about who should take over particular territories. Over the centuries, as the generations succeeded one another, the lands were repeatedly divided up, which created the potential for rivalries and divisions to split the Franks into factions. They were at a disadvantage compared to the Romans because they had a lower level of education: “Compared with the Roman Empire, the Frankish kingdom was a feeble political structure, yet its role in the building of European civilization was important (Lewis, 155). Many of the kings and their immediate circle were not able to read and write, but this caused them to forge an important strategic alliance with the monasteries. The oldest children of monarchs were brought up to be rules, but younger siblings were often sent to the monasteries to acquire useful skills. This link between Church and State was a very important dimension of the Frankish rise to power, because it gave access to great moral unity and material wealth. The ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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