Professor Freedman considers the Merovingians as an example of barbarian kingship in the post-Roman world. In the absence of a strong government, Merovingian society was held together by kinship, private vengeance, and religion. Kings were judged by their ability to lead men in war. Gregory of Tours believed that the violence characteristic of Frankish society was useful insofar as the kings wielded it to back up threats of supernatural retribution for bad actions. Professor Freedman ends with a brief summary of the decline of the Merovingians.
Major developments in the political, social, and religious history of Western Europe from the accession of Diocletian to the feudal transformation. Topics include the conversion of Europe to Christianity, the fall of the Roman Empire, the rise of Islam and the Arabs, the "Dark Ages," Charlemagne and the Carolingian renaissance, and the Viking and Hungarian invasions.
Original Course Name: HIST 210: The Early Middle Ages, 284–1000.