Around the year 500 A.D. king Clovis expanded his territory situated near the French-Belgian border to an area reaching from beyond the Pyrenees to well into Germany. Towards the end of the 20th century, this rise of the Franks, Clovis' tribe, was celebrated extensively. From texts written at that occasion one might get the impression that the destiny of present-day Europe was decided 1500 years ago by a group of West Germanic tribes. Without the Franks, there would have been no modern France or Germany ... Reading more closely, however, one involuntarily recalls the famous metaphor from Chaos theory in which the butterfly's delicate fluttering eventually causes a hurricane. Similarly, the Frankish contribution to the fall of the Roman Empire was in the beginning rather modest. Indeed, in the 3rd and 4th century AD, the Franks were, in Roman eyes, only an annoying and, compared with the Goths, Huns or Vandals, insignificant people. Viewed academically, had there been no Clovis, the Franks would not have risen above the level of a footnote in history, for what do we know of their actions in the two centuries before his appearance? Led by King Clovis, and with thanks to Gregory of Tours, we move from ignorance to history, whereas Clovis's predecessors have never moved out of the shadows. What do we know, for instance, of Merovech, the famous dynasty's nomenclator?
The main ingredient in our desire to organize a workshop was curiosity about the Franks' mysterious origins. What people belonged to this tribe-in-the-making? What caused them to leave their homelands? And what was their desired destination? Archaeologically, we are certainly seeing some progress in our knowledge of the early Franks. But what about their history or onomastics? The event, organised by the Groningen Institute of Archaeology, was to be held in the province of the same name, with the small borg of Rusthoven at Wirdum our first and only choice as venue. One does not automatically associate the Franks with the Groningen area. On second thoughts, however, the idea is not so strange after all. In the 3rd century, when the Germanic attacks on the Roman frontier started, the main participants were presumably inhabitants of the coastal area, Frisians and Chauki. Only in the 4th century did the name of the Franks move to and become permanently associated with people in the interior, like the Chamavi or the Bructeri. The intention was to assemble an international but small gathering, where participants could be given an opportunity to raise their voices and facilitate discussion. The geographical focus would be on the Netherlands and its immediate surroundings, while the upper time limit was, initially, set by the reign of Clovis. March 2000 some 30 archaeologists, historians, onomasiologists and others, from the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Belgium and the Netherlands found their way to Wirdum. Eight papers were read and commented on. To our delight, in addition to the texts delivered, this volume contains four more papers.
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Some introductory and concluding remarks IX
Wir nennen sie Franken und sie lebten nördlich des Rheins, 2.-5. Jh.
With a comment by B.J. Groenewoudt 1
Die Herkunft der Franken, Friesen und Sachsen 24
MATTHIAS D. SCHÖN
Sachsen - Nachbarn der frühe Franken Überlegungen zu Bestattungssitten im 4./5. Jh. 35
MARTINA PITZ & ANDREAS SCHORR
Vorgermanische und ‘fränkische' Toponyme im Siedlungsraum der Franken. Überlegungen zu ihrem sprachgeschichtlichen Erkenntniswert 62
Bemerkungen zur völkerwanderungszeitlichen Keramik aus Gennep (Niederlande) 115
Ein Blick auf die fränkische Migration: die Siedlung von Wange-Damekot und die Verbreitung der Franken in Flandern (Belgien) 128
ALERIE GONZALEZ, PIERRE OUZOULIAS & PAUL VAN OSSEL
Des Germains en Lyonnaise seconde ? À propos de la découverte récente d'un habitat du IVe siècle à Saint-Ouen-du-Breuil
(Haute-Normandie, France). 150
ALAIN DIERKENS & PATRICK PÉRIN
The 5th-century advance of the Franks in Belgica II: history and archaeology 165
H.M. VAN DER VELDE, F. DE ROODE & C.G. WIEPKING
A Merovingian settlement in Zelhem (Province of Gelderland) 194
The Merovingian cemetery of Borgharen (Maastricht) and an early Frank named BOBO 212
Two runic finds from The Netherlands - both with a Frankish connection 231
SVANTE FISCHER & JEAN-PIERRE LEMANT
Epigraphic evidence of Frankish exogamy 241