The far western end of Europe, a land favored in climate and terrain, France has had much too large an impact on world history to need much in the way of introduction. An even blend of Celtic, Latin, and Teutonic populations, the French have created a major civilization whose relationship to the land seems to be one of mutual symbiosis.

For French provincial states, see Langued'oc (South) or Langued'oil (north).

Contains: France, Austrasia, Neustria, Constables of France, and Mayors of the Palace

FRANCE (The Kingdom of the West Franks) The modern nation of France has its roots in the Treaty of Verdun, summer of 843, which split the Carolingian inheritance into three separate kingdoms. What would become France was the Kingdom of the Western Franks in that separation. In this list though, I begin somewhat earlier, at the commencement of the Carolingian Dynasty, since French kings ennumerate themselves from that beginning, and Charlemagne is a natural starting point for this succession. It may perhaps be inquired as to where Louis XVII and Napoleon II are: Louis was the son of Louis XVI, and spent the time between his fathers execution and his own demise being slowly starved to death in the Bastille, succumbing in 1795. Napoleon II was the son of Napoleon I, and was resident at the Austrian Court when his father abdicated. He died in 1832, having been taught by his maternal relatives to abhor his heritage.

AUSTRASIA This was a Frankish Kingdom located in Eastern Gaul, roughly modern Champagne and the Moselle-Maas basins, with its capital at Rheims. See also, Mayors of the Palace.

BURGUNDY The Burgunds were a western Germanic tribe that inhabited the Rhineland in the 5th and early 6th century. Conquered by the Franks in 532, their kingdom was granted autonomy at times thereafter, before being absorbed completely within the later Frankish Empire.

The FRANKS A record of those Merovingian and early Carolingian sovereigns who held all the Frankish territories in their hands. For earlier Frankish tribal nations, see that article within the Teutons file.

NEUSTRIA This was a Frankish Kingdom located in Northern Gaul, roughly between the Scheldt and Loire rivers, with Paris as its capital.. It became, late in the Merovingian period, the sole remaining Frankish nation, and thus the foundation upon which the Carolingian state was based. During the Interregnum of 737-742, the state was governed by Charles Martel, an ancestor of the Carolingian House, as Mayor of the Palace, a kind of Prime Minister. His best-known achievement was the defeat and dispersal of an Iberian Muslim force, intent on seizing Gaul for the Caliphate.

CONSTABLE of FRANCE (Connétable de France)
The senior official of the Mediaeval and Renaissance court of the Kings of France, second only to the King himself in authority. He was the commander of all French armed forces, source and director of military jurisprudence, and held regulatory authority over all French chivalry. In battle one of his personal attendents bore Oriflamme, the Royal Banner, and the Constable was entrusted with Joyeuse, the Royal Sword, as insignia of his office.

MAYORS of the PALACE No commentary on early French rulers would be complete without notes on the administrative chiefs under the Merovingians who, over time, came to govern their respective realms far more directly than the anointed sovereigns. Indeed, the later Merovingian Kings become no more than powerless ceremonial figureheads - their supplanters, the Carolingians, came into power when Pepin the Short inquired of the Pope "Should not one who holds the power of kingship have the title as well?" and deposed his putative master upon Papal assent. In its origin, the office was an adaptation of that of the steward of a Roman estate, the Major Domus (Master of the Household) (and, yes, the word "majordomo" is derived from the same root). They acted initially as estate managers, advisors, and secretaries. Gradually, they came to hold authority over staffing and Royal appointments, and finally gained command over military affairs and troops. After severe internecine warfare between Meroving Kings had resulted in long sequences of child-rulers, the Mayors assumed practical control over the entire state and, with the unification of Austrasia with Neustria, held the entire Frankish world in their hands. What follows are lists for the three primary Frankish states.