Frankish Church
Middle Ages

Church in a kingdom of barbarian invaders located in present-day France.

Typical 5th- or 6th-century Frankish warrior

Under the Merovingian dynasty, the Franks became Christian in the late fifth century at the time of the baptism of the Frankish king, Clovis. In the early sixth century the Franks conquered the Burgundians and united much of what is now France. The Franks under the leadership of Charles Martel defeated Muslim invaders of Europe at the Battle of Tours (732). One of Martel's descendants, Charlemagne, as king of the Franks, founded the Carolingian dynasty and was crowned Holy Roman Emperor in 800. Under Charlemagne, the Frankish kingdom became a center of learning and reforming influence in the church throughout the new empire. It also became the seat from which emperors would contest the authority of popes over both church and state.

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