Nightbringer | The Arthurian Online Encyclopedia


Germany is situated in the heart of Europe, bordered by nine countries: Denmark, Poland, Czech Republic, Austria, Switzerland, France, Luxembourg, Belgium and the Netherlands.

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 MeriadocDuke 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 the 9th century AD

Roman Period | 1st century BC – 5th century AD
In the first century BC, the Roman Empire expanded into the region that is now Germany. This area was inhabited by various Germanic tribes, such as the Cherusci, Suebi, and Chatti. The Battle of Teutoburg Forest in 9 AD was a major event in which Germanic tribes, led by Arminius, successfully ambushed and defeated three Roman legions.

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. While the Romans maintained control over some areas west of the Rhine River, much of present-day Germany remained outside direct Roman control. The Rhine and Danube rivers served as natural frontiers, with the Romans constructing fortifications such as the Limes to defend their borders. 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.

Migration Period | 4th – 6th centuries
The migration period, also known as the Völkerwanderung, was characterized by the movement of various Germanic and non-Germanic tribes across Europe. The Suebi, Vandals, Ostrogoths and Visigoths, migrated through or settled in parts of modern-day Germany during this time.

Frankish Kingdom | 5th – 9th centuries
The Franks, a Germanic tribe, emerged as a dominant force. Under leaders like Clovis I, the Franks established the Merovingian Dynasty. The kingdom encompassed parts of modern-day France, Belgium, and Germany.

Clovis I’s conversion to Christianity in the late fifth century had profound implications for the region, as Christianity became an integral part of the emerging Germanic states. 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.

Charlemagne and the Carolingian Empire | 8th century
Charlemagne, also known as Charles the Great, became the King of the Franks in 768 and later established the Carolingian Empire. In 800, Charlemagne was crowned as the Holy Roman Emperor by Pope Leo III, marking the revival of the title in Western Europe. The Carolingian Empire encompassed a significant portion of modern-day Germany and laid the foundations for the Holy Roman Empire.

Holy Roman Empire | 800-1806
The Holy Roman Empire, officially founded in 800, continued to evolve over the centuries, with its center of power often located in the German-speaking territories. The empire played a central role in medieval European politics, with emperors such as Otto I being influential figures. The Holy Roman Empire persisted until its dissolution in 1806 during the Napoleonic Wars.

See also
Francia | The Legend of King Arthur

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