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Imperialism in Medieval History II
Dualism in German History I
Volume XVI of The Light and the Dark. A cultural history of dualism is the second volume of the series on the Middle Ages. The Volumes XV-XVIII all have or will have as their subject medieval imperialism. Imperialism is something dualistic, which means that it contains an unsolvable opposition, namely, that of the imperialistic power and the states, nations, tribes, which are forced, almost always willy-nilly, into an empire; often they defend themselves with all their might. Sometimes they are even threatened with physical extinction. In any case they lose their independent existence.
Ch. I describes the history of the Merovingian kingdoms of the Franks, beginning with King Clovis, who was a great conqueror. Starting from the rather small territory of the Salian Franks around Tournai in Belgium around 500, he and his successors conquered all of France and Belgium, the southern half of the Netherlands, and a considerable part of western Germany. Ch. II describes how the Merovingians were succeeded by the Carolingians. Their first kings, Pepin III the Short and Charlemagne, were also great conquerors. Pepin intervened in Italy, defeated the Lombards, and founded the Papal States. His son and successor Charlemagne made an end of the Lombard kingdom in northern Italy and became its king himself. From then on Italy always played an important role in the imperial politics of western Europe. Charlemagne also recreated the Roman Emperor by being crowned as emperor in Rome in 800. In Germany he annexed Bavaria and made an end of Saxon independence in long and bloody wars, during which a great part of the Saxon nation was annihilated. After his reign there were no new conquests; Frankish history was characterized by many divisions of the empire and by endless infighting.
Germany broke away from the Frankish Empire in 911 (Ch. III). In 919 Henry I the Fowler founded the Saxon dynasty, which ruled until 1024. Otto I the Great became the first emperor of the German Empire, also called the Holy Roman Empire, because this empire too considered itself as the legitimate successor of the Roman Empire. Non-German parts of this empire were Burgundy-Provence and Lombardy. Every German king had to cope with the particularism of parts of the empire an their rulers, especially of Bavaria and Saxony. Violent revolts and civil wars were the result. In Italy too there was much resistance to German rule. For more information about 'The Light and the Dark'- series go to Fontaine's own website:
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|Verschenen:||15 juni 2001|