Germany is situated in the heart of Europe, bordered by nine countries.
Historically, the Saxons who invaded Britain in the sixth century came from Germany, and Geoffrey of Monmouth lists Hengist and Horsa as German natives. Though the country was divided by number of Teutonic tribes in the fifth and sixth century, several “dukes” or “emperors” of Germany appear in various Arthurian romances.
Among them are an Emperor of Germany whose daughter, Fenice, is the love of Cligés in Chrétien de Troyes’s Cliges; another Emperor of Germany who joins a tournament at Camelot in the Vulgate Lancelot; and Emperor Henry of Germany, who is named as the father of Arthur’s Sir Laris in Claris et Laris.
An Emperor of the Alemanni figures into the tale of Meriadoc. Duke Frollo, who rules Gaul in Geoffrey of Monmouth’s chronicle, is the ruler of Germany (owing his allegiance to Rome) in the Vulgate Merlin, and the Germans join Frollo, Emperor Lucius, and King Claudas in a series of aggressions against King Arthur. Frollo had stolen the dukedom from a Duke Mathem.
Germany | 0 to 800 AD
During the first and fifth centuries AD, the territory of modern-day Germany was inhabited by various Germanic tribes, including the Suebi, Cherusci, and Alemanni. The Roman Empire extended its influence into parts of present-day Germany, establishing provinces such as Germania Infernior and Germania Superior along the Rhine and Danube rivers. The Germanic tribes interacted with the Roman Empire through trade, conflict, and alliances.
In the fourth and fifth centuries, the Western Roman Empire faced internal and external pressures, including invasions by various Germanic tribes. The Roman legions withdrew from parts of Germania, leading to the establishment of various tribal kingdoms and confederations.
The Migration Period, also known as the Völkerwanderung, was characterized by the movement of various tribes across Europe. The Ostrogoths, Visigoths, Vandals, and Suebi migrated through or settled in parts of modern-day Germany during this time. The Franks emerged as a prominent Germanic tribe and eventually established the Merovingian Kingdom, which played a significant role in the early medieval period.
In the fifth to eight centuries, the Merovingian Franks, led by rulers such as Clovis I, established a kingdom that encompassed parts of modern-day France, Belgium, and Germany. The kingdom of Francia was divided into the realms of Austrasia, Neustria, and Burgundy. The rise of the Carolingians, with figures like Charles Martel and Pepin the Short, paved the way for the establishment of the Carolingian Empire.
During this periode, Christianity began to spread throughout the Germanic territories. Missionaries like Saint Boniface played a crucial role in converting the Germanic tribes to Christianity, and monasteries became centers of learning and culture.
In the eight century, the Frankish king Charlemagne (also known as Carolus Magnus or Charles the Great) expanded his realm to encompass a significant portion of Western Europe. Charlemagne was crowned Holy Roman Emperor by Pope Leo III in 800 AD, leading to the establishment of the Carolingian Empire, often considered a precursor to the Holy Roman Empire.
Historia Regum Britanniae | Geoffrey of Monmouth, c. 1138
Cligés | Chrétien de Troyes, late 12th century
Vulgate Lancelot | 1215-1230
Vulgate Merlin | 1220-1235
Claris et Laris | 1268
Historia Meriadoci Regis Cambrie | Late 13th century