More than 2,000 years ago a tall and fair-haired people roamed Europe. The ancestors of these fierce Teutonic warriors may have come from Northern Europe. The Romans later called them the Germani. As these Germanic tribes migrated south- and westward, they clashed with the Romans. In 113 BC German tribes–the Cimbri and Teutoni–began invading the Mediterranean regions. The Roman general Gaius Marius defeated them in 102 and 101 BC.
To discourage further invasions, Julius Caesar crossed the Rhine in 55 and 53 BC. After the Germans under Arminius destroyed Quinctilius Varus’ army in AD 9, Augustus decided not to conquer Germany. The Romans built a line of fortifications, called the Limes Germanicus, from the Rhine to the Danube. When Roman power weakened, waves of German tribes migrated to various regions of the empire. The Franks crossed the Rhine into Gaul (now France). The Goths migrated to the Balkans. The Alemanni moved into the Rhineland and the Burgundians and Vandals into the Main River valley.
Between present-day Netherlands and Denmark were the Frisians. Between the Rhine and Elbe rivers were the Saxons. In central Germany were the Thuringians. On the upper Rhine in Swabia were the Alemanni and on the lower Rhine the Franks.
In 486 at Soissons, Clovis extended Frankish rule over northern Gaul. Under Charlemagne the kingdom covered most of Western Europe, including Germany to the Elbe. In 800 the pope crowned Charlemagne emperor of the Holy Roman Empire
Charlemagne died in 814. The Treaty of Verdun in 843 divided his empire into three parts. Louis the German acquired the eastern part, which became Germany. Charles the Bald ruled the west, which became France. Lothair obtained the middle part. With the rise of feudalism Germany was cut into five tribal, or Stamm, duchies–Saxony, Franconia, Bavaria, Swabia, and Lorraine
In 911 the Carolingian rule of Germany ended. Conrad I of Franconia was the first German king. The Saxon House began with the rule of Henry I from 919 to 936. The strongest Saxon king was Otto I the Great (936-973). He revived the Holy Roman Empire, which did not include France.Share on Facebook