“Alors commença la France”: Merovingian expansion south of the Loire, 495-510

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


By the late fifth century, there were two primary barbarian powers in Gaul, the Visigoths and the Franks. Both were enlarging their territories in the wake of the final precipitous decline of Roman authority during the 470s. The expansion achieved by the Frankish king Clovis I inevitably brought him into conflict with the Visigothic king Alaric II. During the 490s, the Franks made several unsuccessful forays into Brittany and south of the Loire. Subsequently, both sides did their best to consolidate their resources. Attempts by the Ostrogothic king Theoderic to avoid direct conflict failed, and war began in earnest in 507, when Clovis made a massive attack on the Visigothic kingdom. The decisive Frankish victory at Vouillé determined the map of sixth-century western Europe: the Franks gained control of most of Gaul, and the Visigoths consolidated their holdings in Spain.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe Oxford Handbook of the Merovingian World
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages17
ISBN (Electronic)9780190234188
StatePublished - Jan 1 2020


  • Alamanni
  • Alaric II
  • Aquitania
  • Arians
  • Battle of vouillé
  • Childeric I
  • Clovis I
  • Franks
  • Ostrogoths
  • Theoderic I the ostrogoth
  • Visigoths

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Arts and Humanities


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