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Before France and Germany: The Creation and Transformation of the Merovingian World 3. From the twilight of the Roman Empire emerged the kingdoms of Merovingian Europe c.

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Professor Geary draws on the latest archaeological and historical findings to elucidate one of the least understood periods of European history. This text is aimed at both survey and graduate courses From the twilight of the Roman Empire emerged the kingdoms of Merovingian Europe c. This text is aimed at both survey and graduate courses on medieval history, which invariably take the Merovingian period as their starting point.

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Before France and Germany: The Creation and Transformation of the Merovingian World

Feb 24, Jenn rated it it was amazing Recommends it for: Historians or students of Late Antiquity. Recommended to Jenn by: Patrick Geary-I had to buy it for his class. One of my biggest problems with the study of European History is the assumption that all culture, thought, and society ended when Romulus Augustulus was removed from the throne of the Western Roman Empire. For centuries writers and historians acted as if the world ceased to exist for about hundred years until Charlemagne resurected it in Professor Geary attempts to correct much of that thought in this book.

A medievalist himself, he ties the culture of the Middle Ages, think knight in One of my biggest problems with the study of European History is the assumption that all culture, thought, and society ended when Romulus Augustulus was removed from the throne of the Western Roman Empire. A medievalist himself, he ties the culture of the Middle Ages, think knight in armor, Crusades, and Monty Python , to the world of the ancient with the late Roman Empire. We can see in this book that indeed there is a clear and concise link between the two, and the slow development of the ancient Roman Empire into the Middle Ages.

Perhaps my biggest praise for the book is that Prof. Geary is clear to point out that the Frankish peoples and other Germanic tribes did not exist in a vaccuum. There eventual domination of areas that once were Roman was not always the swift and violent take-over we associate with say the Vandals, but was in some cases, like the Franks, a slow absorption that lead to their eventual dominance in the hole of power left when things in Rome fell apart.

It's this important fact that highlights Late Antiquity, that transition between the Classical Roman age to the Medieval, and how the Roman world never really 'fell' as we have all been lead to believe by Gibbons and everyone else, but instead morphed and changed, and Geary highlights this by showing how these tribes that for so long had been on the borders of Rome begin to change what it once had been.

The book isn't presenting new information by any means, but it is trying to put a new and different spin on it. I will admit, I am bias in the fact that I was one of Professor Geary's students at UCLA, and the book does flow better when read in context with his lectures, which I might add are VERY enjoyable, he has a dry wit which doesn't always come through in his academic readings.

For anyone interested in this time period in history, I highly recommend it as a good and interesting read. Sep 22, Comicfairy Leanne rated it liked it. The book is a survey based primarily on primary sources of classical and translated works since Geary states that his mission was to address the issue of a huge lack of material available for an English speaking audience. The main scope of the book is Merovingian Gaul which spanned , but the first half of the book just covers the Roman Empire beginning at the end of the 5th century.

Before France and Germany: the creation and transformation of the Merovingian world

The first Merovingian King Clovis does not get mentioned until Chapter 3 There are extensive bibliogra The book is a survey based primarily on primary sources of classical and translated works since Geary states that his mission was to address the issue of a huge lack of material available for an English speaking audience. There are extensive bibliographies at the rear of the book summarizing each recommended sources and his endnotes are strictly to show sources most of which are primarily sources in Latin, German, or French and there are no notes included with them.

Additionally, many foreign words are thrown into the text without explanation and Geary jumped around with timelines and locations so often that I was dizzy. I was also confused to which audience Geary was addressing. Supposedly he wrote this book because much of the available literature on the subject is not in English, and he wanted to offer a contribution to American students in the field. However, only highly educated scholars would know most of the foreign vocabulary used through the book — and if they are highly educated, they would likely already know the subject matter to begin with and likely would not need a survey.

More likely, this is meant to be a strict synthesis aimed at higher education. While I enjoyed this piece, there simply did not seem to be enough data regarding the Merovingian Dynasty specifically, nor that of its mythos. Perhaps this disappointment is due to my believing I would be reading strictly of the Merovingians when, in fact, most chapters did not discuss this. If a non-history major who has heard of the Merovingian dynasty picked up this book, it is likely through the tales told of their connection to the Holy Grail or in modern literature.

There is a helpful family tree although two founders of the dynasty Chlodio and Merovech are absent. Only on ONE page 80 do these founders get mentioned! I was surprised to only find 2 maps and neither timelines nor images of relics and the like. If this is to be a survey, one would assume these to be invaluable. I found it frustrating that the author consistently refers to information provided by Gregory of Tours even while claiming Tours was biased and unreliable.


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Geary even relied on a quote from Julius Ceasar to claim that the German diet consisted of milk. There are also occasional errors in the data itself. Patrick Geary is a highly educated man with a rich background in Medieval History and I have a lot of admiration for him, but this piece left me a bit disappointed. Hopefully an updated version will be printed that will alleviate some of these issues.


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Meanwhile, I consider it a nice addition to my knowledge of the world the Merovingians inhabited, rather than the family itself. Nov 05, Lauren Albert rated it really liked it Shelves: Geary manages to pack an awful lot into this small book. He does his best to make what is a very confusing period of history clear to non-specialists. But I think confusion is inevitable to some extent. A historian of the period is dealing with geographic groups, tribal groups, family groups, linguistic groups, etc. And people from many of these groups migrate and mix with other groups.

Then, the non-specialist is dealing with endless place and regional names that often don't correspond to any p Geary manages to pack an awful lot into this small book. Then, the non-specialist is dealing with endless place and regional names that often don't correspond to any place he or she is familiar with. It can be hard to grasp what the European world was like before "countries.

Table of Contents

Oct 22, Chris Jaffe rated it really liked it Shelves: This book seeks to understand the Franks of this period, how they evolved, how they operated — and why this period is so often overlooked. One key conclusion on that last point: The Carolingian dynasty had stronger kings. Geary is a gifted synthesizer. Geary wrote this clearly and simply which makes it valuable for both an undergraduate and graduate audience.

It will arouse a new interest in a period relatively neglected, even by medievalists. Bisson, Harvard University "A fine and important book. Geary really does know the literature in all the relevant languages. He is not merely a gifted synthesizer; he is one of the research scholars in the field.

Before France and Germany: the creation and transformation of the Merovingian world

I would adopt it; I have been waiting for such a survey. It steers a sensible course through minefields of controversy. Noble, University of Virginia "A very revealing yet succinct account of a topic long considered confused if not irrelevant. Geary's synthesis is based upon firm control of early medieval sources and modern scholarship. Would you like to tell us about a lower price? If you are a seller for this product, would you like to suggest updates through seller support? Learn more about Amazon Prime. In this innovative new study, Patrick Geary rejects traditional notions of European history to present the Merovingian period ca.

Drawing on current scholarship in archaeology, cultural history, historical ethnography, and other fields, the author formulates an original interpretation not only of Merovingian history but of the Romano-barbarian world from which it arose. Mapping the complex interactions of a volatile era, he carefully traces the Romanization of barbarians and the barbarization of Romans that ultimately made these populations indistinguishable.

Read more Read less. Add both to Cart Add both to List. One of these items ships sooner than the other. Buy the selected items together This item: Before France and Germany: Ships from and sold by Amazon. Customers who viewed this item also viewed. Page 1 of 1 Start over Page 1 of 1. The Franks The Peoples of Europe. The Myth of Nations: The Medieval Origins of Europe. The Merovingian Kingdoms - A History of the Franks Penguin Classics. The Golden Age of the 'Abbasid Empire.

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Discover more about their history in this captivating book! The Leaning Tower of Pisa: Charles River Editors investigates the famous weapons industry of Venice. Review "Clear and concise survey. Geary is at University of California, Los Angeles. Oxford University Press; 1 edition February 25, Language: Related Video Shorts 0 Upload your video. Try the Kindle edition and experience these great reading features: Share your thoughts with other customers.

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Please try again later. I was impressed by this book. It is a useful, workmanlike text on the misty conversion of what was once Gaul, into a functional post-Roman state. The time it discusses was one of great chaos and movement of peoples, so it is difficult to present a clear picture of this process. This was a very good introduction, but despite all its virtues I came away hungry to know more and frustrated that perhaps there might not be much more. Perhaps the lack of that final star is related to the word "workmanlike. Kindle Edition Verified Purchase.

The period between the fall of Rome and the emergence of medieval Europe gets short shrift in the popularly available literature. This book fills that gap, and in doing so show just how overdrawn is the "fall of Rome" view of European history. Geary shows convincingly that late Roman ways and relationships persisted for centuries, gradually evolving into what we recognize as early medieval culture.

Or at least they did in the place that is very much the author's focus: The title may be somewhat misleading: In France, a Gallo-Roman provincial aristocracy persisted and remained powerful after the Franks established control over much of what is now France and the Low Countries, and late Roman culture persisted along with that. Moreover, the Franks themselves had been heavily Romanized, serving in Roman armies and becoming subject to Roman law. The Merovingian kings worked with the Gallo Roman power structure rather than attempting to supplant it.

Given just how few Franks there may have been Geary cites a "guess" of , spread out in a Gallo-Roman population of ,, they probably had little choice. The author ends with a chapter summing up the importance of the Merovingians, and argues convincingly that much of their poor reputation les rois faineants may be due to Carolingian propaganda.