from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Franzien is the German expression that was introduced to designate the West Franconian-French region called in Latin Francia in order to be able to distinguish it from the East Franconian-German Francia (today's Franconia ). Geographically, "Franzien" roughly corresponded to the area of ​​what is now France north of the Loire .

Name and location

The expansion of the Neustrian Francia, which is referred to in German historical literature as "Franzien".

The ethnographic term Francia describes in a narrower sense the entire settlement area of ​​the Germanic tribe of the Franks ( Franci ), both before and after the Migration Period . The original home country of the Franks is called Austrasia ( Austrasia ), which stretched on the east bank of the Scheldt . The area gained in the migration of peoples was called Neustria ( Neustria ) and comprised roughly all of the land north of the Loire to the English Channel , with the Meuse and Scheldt as borders in the east and Brittany in the west. In the 9th century the term Francia was reserved for the area between the Seine and the Scheldt (for example by the poet Abbo of Saint-Germain-des-Prés ), while from the 10th century the whole of Neustria was included in the Francia . The Franks who moved into Neustria had encountered an already firmly anchored Gallo-Roman culture in which they integrated, while the Franks of Austrasia had largely remained true to their Germanic character.

In the Franconian empire of the Merovingians , the two regions were repeatedly separated from each other and brought together again in the frequently occurring divisions of the empire. The Francia was permanently separated in the division of Verdun in 843 by assigning the Neustrian to the West Franconian and the Austrasian to the Central (here today's Netherlands , Belgium and Lorraine ) and the East Franconian empire (here today's Franconia ). Both regions continued to be referred to colloquially as Francia , which quickly leads to confusion when viewed.

In the West Franconian Empire, the Neustrian Francia was the crown land of the Carolingian royal dynasty as well as its competitors from the Robertin clan . So here were their centers of power around Laon , Senlis , Orléans , Noyon and finally Paris . In the late 9th and early 10th centuries, the regional unity of the Francia disintegrated into several feudal territories, such as Anjou , Maine , Vermandois , Champagne and Flanders , as feudalization began . With Normandy , a landscape with an independent ethnic character emerged on the territory of the New Austrian Francia from 911, whose population is therefore recognized as one of the seven " gentes " from the Franks, Burgundians, Aquitani, Bretons, Goths and Basques the French nation emerged.

The West Franconian "Duchy of Franconia"

"Duke of Franzien" is the German - albeit unfortunate - translation of the Latin title dux Francorum ("Duke of the Franks"). This title was held in the 10th century by the heads of the Robertin families , the ancestors of the later French ruling family of the Capetians . In older literature, it is often erroneously asserted that the earliest representatives of the Robertines, Robert the Brave , † 866; Odo , King 888-898 and Robert I , King 922-923, would have carried this title. The only evidence for this, however, is a demonstrably forged undated document in which King Odo calls his brother Robert dux Francorum .

In fact, the Franconian duke title was only introduced in 936 by King Ludwig IV the Overseas specially for the Robertine Hugo Magnus (Hugo the Great). In his first year in office, the king had named the politically powerful Hugo in three documents as dux Francorum , probably in recognition of his support in the accession to the throne of Ludwig, who was returning from Anglo-Saxon exile. Hugo himself used the title for the first time in his certificates the following year.

The exact constitutional meaning of the term dux Francorum is controversial. Two interpretations stand opposite one another. According to one, dux Francorum is analogous to rex Francorum ("King of the Franks"), the title of the West Franconian kings, and means a kind of viceroyalty, a jurisdiction for the entire empire. Accordingly, the Robertine Franconian Duke stood between the Carolingian Franconian King and the other, subordinate vassals. He would have thus corresponded to the position similar to that of the Carolingian house-keepers in the late phase of the Merovingian Empire. The Robertians Hugo Magnus and his son Hugo Capet actually aspired to and temporarily held such a position . In a document from 936, King Ludwig stated that he was acting on the advice of "our most beloved Hugo, the Franconian Duke, who is second after us in all our realms".

When Hugo Capet ascended the throne in 987, the old Neustrian Francia had already split up into several feudal territories such as Anjou, Champagne, Vermandois, Flanders and Normandy. The king could only rule directly over his crown land / crown domain (blue).

The other interpretation, which is based on the common usage of the narrative sources, says that the title dux Francorum did not refer to the whole of western France, but only to a certain part of the empire, precisely that of Francia, corresponding to the already existing duchies of Burgundy and Aquitaine. Flodoard von Reims was the first to write of a ducatus Franciae ("Duchy of Franconia"), which Hugo Magnus received in 943 from King Ludwig IV. According to this interpretation, the dux Francorum would have been the overlords superordinate to the Counts of Francia in terms of rank, themselves only obliged to follow the king. - Probably, however, the term fluctuated between the broader and the narrower meaning; possibly this was deliberately left in the dark.

The Counts of Vermandois carried the title comes Francorum ("Count of the Franks") in order to formally claim third place in western France. In fact, they claimed their equality on the one hand with the Robertinians, on the other hand with the Carolingians, from whom the Counts of Vermandois descended in direct line.

The Francia since the high Middle Ages

The Franconian duke title expired in the West Franconian Empire with the election of its second and last bearer, Hugo Capet, as king in 987. It was never awarded again, and yet the term Franconia remained in colloquial use in addition to the royal title and as a geographical space name, both for the country north of the Loire in the broader sense as well as for the area directly controlled by the king there, the crown land , which he had retained as his own property after the already fully completed feudalization of the West Frankish kingdom. On the one hand, in the late 11th century Guibert von Nogent praised Pope Urban II , who came from Champagne, of his origins in Francia , while in the 12th century Suger von Saint-Denis reported how King Ludwig VI. had the captured rebellious lord of the castle Aymon II of Bourbon transferred to Francia , the crown land. The crown land, to which Champagne itself did not belong, was spatially concentrated around the old royal seats of Orléans, Paris and Senlis, and has been known as Île-de-France (island of France) since modern times . The region of the same name, which encompasses the metropolitan area of ​​Paris, is still called today, which means that the term Franconia has also been retained as a regional name for modern France.

In addition to the region itself, the Franconian name was of course retained throughout the empire of the rex Francorum by changing from its ethnographic to geographical definition Franciae ("Franconia", translated into German as "Frank [en] reich") and the area of ​​the entire former Roman Gallia described. As rex Franciae , King Philip II August (1179–1223) first dubbed himself

The name of France in the Romance languages is derived from the Latin term Francia , in Portuguese “França” and in Romanian “Franța”, while in Spanish and Italian it even corresponds to the original Latin term. In French, the Latin Francia is translated as “France”.


  • Helmut Reimitz:  Neustria. In: Reallexikon der Germanischen Altertumskunde (RGA). 2nd Edition. Volume 21, Walter de Gruyter, Berlin / New York 2002, ISBN 3-11-017272-0 , pp. 126-131.
  • Margret Lugge: "Gallia" and "Francia" in the Middle Ages. Studies on the connection between geographical-historical terminology and political thinking from 6th to 15th Century , in: Bonner historical research vol. 15 (1960), pp. 169–173
  • Walther Kienast : The title of duke in France and Germany (9th to 12th centuries) , in: Historische Zeitschrift 203, 1968, pp. 532-580
  • Joachim Ehlers: Elements of medieval nation building in France (10th-13th centuries) , in: Historische Zeitschrift 231, 1980, pp. 565-587

Individual evidence

  1. see Kienast, p. 538
  2. Flodoard von Reims, Annales, chronica et historiae aevi Saxonici , ed. by Georg Heinrich Pertz in: Monumenta Germaniae Historica SS 3 (1839), p. 390
  3. ^ Suger von Saint-Denis, Vita Ludovici VI regis Philippi filii qui grossus dictus , ed. by Léopold Deslisle in: Recueil des Historiens des Gaules et de la France 12 (1877), p. 43