Part of The Frankish Empire

History of Germany between 487 AD - 843 AD

Merovingian kingdom (481-751)

Numerous small Frankish kingdoms existed during the 5th century around Cologne, Tournai, Le Mans, Cambrai and elsewhere. After the fall of the Western Roman Empire, the Franks created an empire under the Merovingian kings and subjugated the other Germanic tribes. The Merovingian kings of the Germanic Franks conquered northern Gaul in 486 AD. Swabia became a duchy under the Frankish Empire in 496, following the Battle of Tolbiac; in 530 Saxons and Franks destroyed the Kingdom of Thuringia. In the 5th and 6th centuries the Merovingian kings conquered several other Germanic tribes and kingdoms. King Chlothar I (558–561) ruled the greater part of what is now Germany and made expeditions into Saxony, while the Southeast of modern Germany was still under influence of the Ostrogoths. Saxons inhabited the area down to the Unstrut River.

Regions of the Frankish Empire were placed under the control of autonomous dukes of mixed Frankish and native blood. Frankish Colonists were encouraged to move to the newly conquered territories. While the local Germanic tribes were allowed to preserve their laws, they were pressured into becoming Christians.

The German territories became part of Austrasia (meaning "eastern land"), the northeastern portion of the Kingdom of the Merovingian Franks. As a whole, Austrasia comprised parts of present-day France, Germany, Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands. After the death of the Frankish king Clovis I in 511, his four sons partitioned his kingdom including Austrasia. Authority over Austrasia passed back and forth from autonomy to kingly subjugation, as Frankish lands were alternately united and subdivided by the Merovingian kings.

In 718, Charles Martel, the Franconian Mayor of the Palace, made war against Saxony because of its help for the Neustrians. His son Carloman started a new war against Saxony in 743, because the Saxons gave aid to Duke Odilo of Bavaria.

Aachen Domschatz Bueste1
Mask reliquary of
Charles the Great
in Aachen Cathedral

In 751, Pippin III, Mayor of the Palace under the Merovingian king, himself assumed the title of king and was anointed by the Church. Now the Frankish kings were set up as protectors of the pope, and Charles the Great launched a decades-long military campaign against their heathen rivals, the Saxons and the Avars. The campaigns and insurrections of the Saxon Wars lasted from 772 to 804. The Saxons and Avars were eventually overwhelmed, the people were forcibly converted to Christianity, and the lands were annexed by the Carolingian Empire.

Carolingian empire (751-843)

After the death of Frankish king Pepin the Short in 768 AD, his son Charles consolidated his control over his kingdom and became known as "Charles the Great" or "Charlemagne." From 771 until his death in 814, Charlemagne extended the Carolingian empire into northern Italy and the territories of all west Germanic peoples, including the Saxons and the Baiuvarii (Bavarians). In 800, Charlemagne's authority was confirmed by his coronation as Holy Roman Emperor by the pope on Christmas Day in Rome. Imperial strongholds (Kaiserpfalzen) became economic and cultural centres, of which Aachen was the most famous.

Fighting among Charlemagne's grandchildren caused the Carolingian empire to be partitioned into several parts by the Treaty of Verdun (843), the Treaty of Meerssen (870), and the Treaty of Ribemont. The German region developed out of the East Frankish kingdom, East Francia.

References: Wikipedia

Popular sites founded between 487 AD and 843 AD in Germany

Polling Abbey

According to legend, the founder of Polling Abbey was Duke Tassilo III of Bavaria in about 750, but it seems more likely that the founders were members of the powerful Bavarian noble family of the Huosi. Initially this was a Benedictine monastery, but later became a house of Augustinian canons. The abbey was dissolved during the secularization of 1803 and the buildings were mostly demolished between 1805 and 1807. The i ...
Founded: 8th century AD | Location: Polling, Germany

Aachen Cathedral

The Cathedral of Aachen is one of the most famous examples of occidental architecture. It is the coronation church of more than 30 German kings, burial site of Charlemagne, major pilgrimage church and cathedral church of the Aachen diocese since 1930. In 1978 it was the first German building to be included in the UNESCO World Heritage list. When the Emperor Charlemagne built his representative “Pfalz”, the Palace, be ...
Founded: 793-813 AD | Location: Aachen, Germany

Werden Abbey

Near Essen Saint Ludger founded a monastery in 799 and became its first abbot. The little church which Saint Ludger built here in honor of Saint Stephen was completed in 804 and dedicated by Saint Ludger himself, who had meanwhile become Bishop of Münster. Upon the death of Ludger on 26 March 809, the abbacy of Werden passed by inheritance first to his younger brother Hildigrim I (809–827), then successively to ...
Founded: 799 AD | Location: Essen, Germany

Garz Slavic Fort

Garz Slavic fort was an ancient burgwall. The earthworks have an oval shape, are about 200 metres long and 140 metres wide. There is an entrance roughly in the middle of the western side. Towards the lake of Garzer See to the south the ramparts are lower. The castle was mentioned in 1165 as Borgar Gardz, when there were small-scale skirmishes with Danish warriors in front of the castle. The castle itself does not appear ...
Founded: 8th-9th century | Location: Garz, Germany

Meersburg Castle

Burg Meersburg may be the oldest inhabited castle in Germany. The central tower was first built during the 7th century, though the original structure is no longer visible. There are two theories about the construction of the Meersburg. The first is that the Merovingian king Dagobert I built the Dagobertturm (Dagobert's Tower), the central keep of the Meersburg, in 630. Around 630, Dagobert was in the Lake Constance region ...
Founded: c.630 / 12th century | Location: Meersburg, Germany

Isen Abbey Church

Isen Abbey was a Benedictine abbey, later a collegiate foundation. Dedicated to Saint Zeno of Verona, the abbey was founded by members of the Fagana family, an indigenous Bavarian noble clan, and by Bishop Joseph of Freising (also known as Joseph of Verona) in the 8th century, about 752. It was one of the oldest monasteries on ancient Bavarian soil. Until the beginning of the 12th century it was Benedictine, but afterward ...
Founded: 752 AD | Location: Isen, Germany

Fulda Abbey

Fulda Abbey was a Benedictine abbey as well as an ecclesiastical principality founded in 744 by Saint Sturm, a disciple of Saint Boniface. Through the 8th and 9th centuries, Fulda Abbey became a prominent center of learning and culture in Germany, and a site of religious significance and pilgrimage following the burial of Boniface. The growth in population around Fulda would result in its elevation to a prince-bishopric i ...
Founded: 744 AD | Location: Fulda, Germany

Benediktbeuern Abbey

Benediktbeuern Abbey is a monastery of the Salesians of Don Bosco, originally a monastery of the Benedictine Order. The monastery, dedicated to Saints James and Benedict, was founded in around 739/740 as a Benedictine abbey by members of the Huosi, a Bavarian noble clan, who also provided the three brothers who served one after the other as the first three abbots, traditionally named as Lanfrid, Waldram, and Eliland, for ...
Founded: 739 AD | Location: Benediktbeuern, Germany

Lorsch Abbey

The religious complex represented by the former Lorsch Abbey with its 1,200-year-old gatehouse, which is unique and in excellent condition, comprises a rare architectural document of the Carolingian era with impressively preserved sculpture and painting of that period. It gives architectural evidence of the awakening of the West to the spirit of the early and high Middle Ages under the first king and emperor, Charlemagne. ...
Founded: 764 AD | Location: Lorsch, Germany

Herford Abbey Church

Herford Abbey was the oldest women"s religious house in the Duchy of Saxony. It was founded as a house of secular canonesses in 789, but moved later to the present site. The city of Herford grew up on this site around the abbey. The abbey was dedicated in 832 and was elevated to the status of a Reichsabtei ('Imperial abbey') under Emperor Louis the Pious (d. 840). Between 919 and 924 Herford was des ...
Founded: 832 AD | Location: Herford, Germany

St. Michael's Church

St. Michael"s Church in Fulda is considered to be the oldest Holy Sepulchre church in Germany, built in the Carolingian architectural style (Pre-Romanesque) by the abbot Eigil in the years 820-822. It served as a burial chapel to Fulda monastery founded in 744, which was one of the prominent cultural centres of the early Middle Ages. St. Michael stands in the neighbourhood of Fulda cathedral, and the architect was pr ...
Founded: 820-822 AD | Location: Fulda, Germany

Weltenburg Abbey

Weltenburg Abbey is a Benedictine monastery founded by monks of the Hiberno-Scottish mission around 620 AD. It is held to be the oldest monastery in Bavaria. According to tradition, the abbey was founded in 617 by Agilus and Eustace of Luxeuil, both students of Columbanus. Reportedly during the first half of the 8th century, the abbey took on the rules of the Benedictine order and was supported by Tassilo III. By 932 at ...
Founded: 617 AD | Location: Weltenburg, Germany

Tegernsee Abbey

Tegernsee Abbey, officially known as St. Quirinus Abbey for its patron saint St. Quirinus, was founded either in 746 or around 765 AD. It was settled by monks from St. Gall and dedicated to Saint Quirinus of Rome, whose relics were brought here from Rome in 804. Soon, the monastery spread the message of Christianity as far as the Tyrol and Lower Austria. Until 1803, it was the most important Benedictine community in Bavar ...
Founded: 746-765 AD | Location: Tegernsee, Germany

Ellwangen Abbey

Ellwangen Abbey was the earliest Benedictine monastery established in the Duchy of Swabia. According to the monastery chronicles the abbey was established around 764 by Herulph and his brother Ariolf, both documented as Chorbishops of Langres. There is however some evidence that the foundation dates back to 732. The first monks may came from the Abbey of St. Benignus at Dijon. Ellwangen in its early days was home to Abbo ...
Founded: c. 764 AD | Location: Ellwangen (Jagst), Germany

Ottobeuren Abbey

Ottobeuren Abbey was one of the self-ruling imperial abbeys of the Holy Roman Empire and, as such, was a virtually independent state. It was originally founded in 764 by Blessed Toto, and dedicated to St. Alexander, the martyr. Of its early history little is known beyond the fact that Toto, its first abbot, died about 815 and that Saint Ulrich was its abbot in 972. In the 11th century its discipline was on the decline, un ...
Founded: 764 AD | Location: Ottobeuren, Germany

Gars Abbey

Gars Abbey was founded in 768 by the cleric Boso from Salzburg for Tassilo III, Duke of Bavaria. For centuries it belonged to the archbishopric of Salzburg. The Augustinian Canons erected the present monastery building after 1122. In 1128 Bishop Conrad I of Salzburg transferred the monastery to the Augustinian Canons. In 1648 the Swedes pillaged and devastated the town and the monastery. Under Provost Athanasius Peitlhau ...
Founded: 768 AD | Location: Gars am Inn, Germany

Kempten Abbey

The Imperial Abbey of Kempten was an ecclesiastical state of the Holy Roman Empire for centuries until it was annexed to the Electorate of Bavaria in the course of the German mediatization in 1803. Located within the former Duchy of Swabia, the Princely Abbey was the second largest ecclesiastical Imperial State of the Swabian Circle by area, after the Prince-Bishopric of Augsburg. According to the 11th-century chronicles ...
Founded: 752 AD | Location: Kempten (Allgäu), Germany

Metten Abbey

Metten Abbey, or St. Michael"s Abbey, was founded in 766 by Gamelbert of Michaelsbuch. For many centuries Metten was under the lordship of the Dukes and Electors of Bavaria. When Charlemagne stayed in Regensburg for three years after 788, Utto turned his abbey over to the Frankish ruler, making the Ducal Abbey a Royal Abbey. After the Carolingians became extinct, Metten was turned into an Imperial Abbey. Besides the ...
Founded: 766 AD | Location: Metten, Germany

Amorbach Abbey

Amorbach Abbey was one of four Carolingian foundations intended to establish Christianity in the region of the Odenwald. It is said to take its name from Amor, a disciple of Saint Pirmin, regarded as the founder. The abbey was consecrated in 734. By 800 it had become a Reichsabtei, the abbot being directly answerable to Charlemagne. Pepin united it to the Bishopric of Würzburg, although control of it was much dispute ...
Founded: 734 AD | Location: Amorbach, Germany

Gengenbach Abbey

Gengenbach Abbey was an Imperial Benedictine Abbey from the late Carolingian period to 1803. It was founded by Saint Pirmin (d. 735) sometime after his expulsion from Reichenau in 727 and settled by monks from Gorze Abbey. It enjoyed good relations with the Carolingian dynasty and soon became an Imperial abbey, with territorial independence. In 1007, however, Emperor Henry II presented it to his newly founded Prince-Bisho ...
Founded: c. 730 AD | Location: Gengenbach, Germany

St. Mang's Abbey

The Benedictine abbey of Saint Mang was founded in the first half of the 9th century as a proprietary monastery of the Prince-Bishops of Augsburg. The reason for its foundation goes back to the hermit Magnus of Füssen (later Saint Mang) and his Benedictine brother Theodor, both from the Abbey of Saint Gall, who built a cell and an oratory here. The saint"s body, amid miracles, was discovered uncorrupted, a proof of h ...
Founded: 9th century | Location: Füssen, Germany

Hirsau Abbey

Hirsau Abbey was once one of the most important Benedictine abbeys of Germany. In the 11th and 12th century, the monastery was a centre of the Cluniac Reforms, implemented as 'Hirsau Reforms' in the German lands. The complex was devastated during the War of the Palatine Succession in 1692 and not rebuilt. A Christian chapel at Hirsau dedicated to Saint Nazarius had already been erected in the late 8th century. The monast ...
Founded: 830 AD | Location: Hirsau, Germany

Hedeby

Hedeby is the Southernmost Nordic town, and played an important role as a key trading center in the viking age. It is at the crossroads of the Slien Fjord and the Baltic Sea to the East, streams that led to the Atlantic running close by to the West and the main land route, the Army Road running along the Jutland high ridge up along the Eastern side of Jutland. The city area is surrounded by a 1300 meter long city wall in ...
Founded: c. 770 AD | Location: Schleswig, Germany

Neustadt am Main Abbey

Neustadt am Main Abbey was first mentioned in a document dating to 768/769. Reportedly, the consecration of the abbey church was in 793. Berowelf, who succeeded Megingoz as Bishop of Würzburg, sent 50 monks to join him at this Nivenstat or Nuovenstatt ('new place'). To establish the new foundation"s independence from Würzburg, Megingoz succeeded in making it a Königskloster, chartered by the ...
Founded: 760-793 | Location: Neustadt am Main, Germany

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Eketorp Fort

Eketorp is an Iron Age fort in southeastern Öland, which was extensively reconstructed and enlarged in the Middle Ages. Throughout the ages the fortification has served a variety of somewhat differing uses: from defensive ringfort, to medieval safe haven and thence a cavalry garrison. In the 20th century it was further reconstructed to become a heavily visited tourist site and a location for re-enactment of medieval battles. Eketorp is the only one of the 19 known prehistoric fortifications on Öland that has been completely excavated, yielding a total of over 24,000 individual artifacts. The entirety of southern Öland has been designated as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. The Eketorp fortification is often referred to as Eketorp Castle.

The indigenous peoples of the Iron Age constructed the original fortification about 400 AD, a period known to have engendered contact between Öland natives with Romans and other Europeans. The ringfort in that era is thought to have been a gathering place for religious ceremonies and also a place of refuge for the local agricultural community when an outside enemy appeared. The circular design was believed to be chosen because the terrain is so level that attack from any side was equally likely. The original diameter of this circular stone fortification was about 57 metres. In the next century the stone was moved outward to construct a new circular structure of about 80 metres in diameter. At this juncture there were known to be about fifty individual cells or small structures within the fort as a whole. Some of these cells were in the center of the fortified ring, and some were actually built into the wall itself.

In the late 600s AD the ringfort was mysteriously abandoned, and it remained unused until the early 11th century. This 11th century work generally built upon the earlier fort, except that stone interior cells were replaced with timber structures, and a second outer defensive wall was erected.

Presently the fort is used as a tourist site for visitors to Öland to experience a medieval fortification for this region. A museum within the castle walls displays a few of the large number of artefacts retrieved by the National Heritage Board during the major decade long excavation ending in 1974. Inside the fort visitors are greeted by actors in medieval costumes who assume the roles of period artisans and merchants who might have lived there nine centuries earlier. There are also re-enactment scenes of skirmishes and other dramatic events of daily life from the Middle Ages.

Eketorp lies a few kilometers west of Route 136. There is an ample unpaved parking area situated approximately two kilometers west of the paved Öland perimeter highway. There is also a gift shop on site. During peak summer visitation, there are guided tours available. Visitors are assessed an admission charge.