- How France acquired its identify: a historic account
- The earliest instances: Gaul
- The Roman province of Provence
- Julius Caesar: Veni, Vidi, Vici
- The Gallo-Romans and the romanisation of Gaul
- Gaul and the autumn of the Roman Empire
- The dominion of the Franks
- Frankish Gaul
- Charlemagne, Emperor of the West
- The Father of Europe
- The Treaty of Verdun and its penalties
- The French language beginning certificates
- How Gaul (modern-day France) acquired its identify
- So what did Gallia imply and the place did it come from?
- The Gallic rooster
- How France acquired its identify because of… the Franks
- When the Franks had been a Roman franchise
- So that is how France acquired its identify!
- What’s the distinction between François and Français?
- François Ier, king of France
- How Ile-de-France acquired its identify
- The historic province of Ile de France
- The Pays de France
- How the French franc acquired its identify
- A king’s ransom paid to the English!
- Franc à cheval
- The franc immediately
- Discover out extra!
In a earlier article, I talked about what’s France in French. I’d wish to proceed on this subject and ask the query: how France acquired its identify? And when did France change into France? If you want to know the reply, we should return in time… a very long time in the past, within the Historical instances.
How France acquired its identify: a historic account
France occupies a horny land, straightforward to succeed in, with nice pure assets.
You’re reading: what is the former name of france?
A land by way of which individuals of many tribes and civilisations have handed and mingled.
Originating from central Europe, the Celts had made it the centre of their settlement after 1,000 B.C.
The earliest instances: Gaul
Due to this fact why a lot of the Celtic land we now name France was recognized in historic instances as Gaul.
Or to be extra precise, Transalpine Gaul to differentiate it from northern Italy, or Cisalpine Gaul.
It was the Romans who gave the identify Gaul to this specific Celtic area.
Probably the most well-known Gaul is Vercingétorix, though many would argue it’s actually Astérix, the hero of an especially fashionable comedian e book collection by Goscinny and Uderzo.
Gaul was a lot bigger than trendy France. It included Belgium, Luxembourg, components of Switzerland, Germany, and the Netherlands.
By the primary century B.C. Gaul was inhabited by quite a few warring tribes of Celtic and Iberian race, with their very own well-developed tradition.
The Roman province of Provence
The Roman presence was by then already established within the south.
To the south-east, the Greek colonists landed on Provence and based the nice harbour metropolis of Massilia (Marseille) about 600 B.C. In 125 B.C. town requested the Romans for navy assist in opposition to their neighbours. When the Romans got here, they merely determined to remain! They referred to as the province “Provincia Nostra” (Our Province). Later the identify turned Provence.
The Romans constructed a few of France’s most lovely historic buildings and cities: Pont du Gard, Maison Carrée of Nîmes, area of Arles, theatre and triumphal arch at Orange, Roman metropolis of Vaison-la-Romaine, amphitheatre in Lyon-Fourvière…
Julius Caesar: Veni, Vidi, Vici
Quickly, taking advantage of the divisions of the Gallic tribes, Julius Caesar’s legions conquered the rest of the land.
The truth is, he got here to Gaul by invitation of the Celts as an ally in opposition to the Germans. Caesar did act as an ally and a liberator, solely to take advantage of the Gauls with the intention to develop Roman energy.
Nevertheless, it was not with out issue as a Gallic chieftain led a revolt in opposition to the Romans in 53 B.C. His identify? Vercingétorix.
Julius Caesar defeated him on the siege of Alesia (in present-day Burgundy) in 52 B.C. and took him as a prisoner to Rome the place he was dragged behind Caesar’s chariot in a triumphal procession. Oh, and to be ultimately executed.
However this tragic consequence was shortly forgotten because the Roman interval proved to be an period of peace and prosperity.
The Gallo-Romans and the romanisation of Gaul
The Gauls adopted (and welcomed) the legal guidelines, language, structure, engineering strategies, and customs of Rome.
The truth that France is immediately one of many “Latin” international locations is as a result of Roman occupation.
The Christian church, too, was first planted within the nation in Roman instances, though the early believers confronted persecution and martyrdom.
Lyon was the Roman capital and centre of commerce, and the Roman rule in Gaul lasted for greater than 4 hundred years.
Gaul and the autumn of the Roman Empire
It’s generally recognized that the Western Roman Empire “formally” ended on 4 September 476, when navy chief Odoacer deposed Romulus Augustulus and proclaimed himself ruler of Italy.
With the autumn of the Roman Empire started a brand new collection of invasions.
Barbarian invaders had begun to look in Gaul within the third century A.D., and as Germans, Visigoths, Vandals, Burgundians, and even the Huns from Asia succeeded one another, the land was devastated.
The least quite a few of the invaders had been the Franks. Originating from a area protecting the best financial institution of the Rhine, from present-day Nassau to the Ruhr and Apeldoorn in Holland. That’s on the sting of the Roman empire.
Yep, it looks as if France owes quite a bit to present-day Germany!! (try my article Germany in French)
To make a narrative quick, the Franks merely turned the masters of all of the invaders in Gaul.
The dominion of the Franks
And it occurred that within the fifth century, the Germanic tribe of the Franks settled in Gaul.
Considered one of their leaders, Clovis, turned king of a Frankish tribe in 481 A.D.
In 486 he defeated the Gallo-Roman king Syagrius at Soissons.
Six years later, in 493, he made a much more necessary transfer by marrying the Burgundian Clotilda, the one Catholic princess in Gaul.
The Frankish king was later baptised by bishop St. Rémi in Reims in 496. Having unfold Christianity all through the land, he made himself grasp of just about the entire of Gaul.
By professing Christianity he gained the assist of the clergy of Aquitaine (within the south-east) when he got here to expel the Visigoths, who had adopted the Arian heresy.
Frankish Gaul was a group of ethnic, political and philosophical communities, linked in some ways by self-consciously distinct from each other.
The Gallic lands of the Franks had been held collectively solely by a unfastened central authority that reigned moderately than dominated.
It’s when emerged the identify Francia, which changed that of Gaul.
This era has been termed the Darkish Ages…
Clovis was the primary Merovingian, a dynasty that introduced most of Gaul below its sway.
After Clovis’ loss of life, the dominion was divided amongst his descendants, and the a number of fragments had been often at battle.
By 623 there have been two kingdoms held by Clovis’ descendants:
- Neustria (the centre, west, and south of recent France) with Paris as capital.
- Austrasia (the rest and increasing midway into Germany) with Metz as capital.
Trendy-day France included two further kingdoms:
- Burgundy (alongside the Saône and Rhône valleys) with Lyon as capital.
- Aquitaine (the south-west of recent France) with Poitiers as capital.
Charlemagne, Emperor of the West
Charles, son of Pepin the Quick and grandson of Charles Martel (who vanquished the Arabs at Poitiers in 732) turned generally known as Charlemagne or Charles the Nice.
He rose from being King of the Franks to change into emperor of most of Western Europe.
He was an awesome ruler who conquered Saxony. On Christmas Day 800, after a mass in Rome, Pope Leo III unexpectedly topped him “Emperor of the Romans” or “Emperor of the West”.
The Father of Europe
Charlemagne managed to unite most of Western Europe for the primary time for the reason that Roman Empire, and his empire additionally included components of Europe that had by no means been below Roman nor Frankish guidelines. His empire prolonged from the River Elbe to past the Pyrenees and from the North Sea to midway down the Italian peninsula.
For that reason, Charlemagne has been referred to as the “Father of Europe” (Pater Europae) and is arguably the one historic movie star celebrated by each French and German peoples.
He tried to organise this huge space and to encourage using Latin, as a common tongue, in administration and enterprise.
Given the decay into which scholarship had lengthy fallen, he promoted a revival of studying, superintended by the Anglo-Saxon scholar Alcuin of York.
Consequently, Charlemagne turned the patron saint of faculties, as French singer rightly put it:
🎶 Who had this loopy thought Sooner or later to invent the college It’s that holy Charlemagne That darn Charlemagne! 🎶
Nevertheless, an important function of Charlemagne’s rule is arguably its alliance of Church and State.
Charlemagne’s favorite residence was Aachen (in modern-day Germany) the place he died on 28 January 814. The Emperor was buried in Aachen cathedral.
The Treaty of Verdun and its penalties
The good Emperor was succeeded by his son Louis the Pious, however after the latter’s loss of life, his three sons divided up the empire between themselves by the Treaty of Verdun (843).
- Charles the Bald took the western half (modern-day France aside from Brittany, components of Belgium and either side of the Pyrenees).
- Lothar dominated over the centre (components of the Netherlands and Belgium, Luxembourg, a lot of the Rhineland, Japanese France, western Switzerland, Provence, northern Italy).
- Louis the Germanic reigned within the japanese half (most of western Germany).
Henceforth, the centre and the west had been to go their separate methods.
It was after a later settlement that a part of the central kingdom was given to Lothar II and referred to as Lotharingia, nonetheless preserved immediately within the identify of the French province of Lorraine.
The French language beginning certificates
On 14 February 842, Charles the Bald and Louis the Germanic concluded the Oaths of Strasbourg within the eponymous metropolis, aiming to distance their brother Lothar from the division of the Empire bequeathed by their grandfather, Charlemagne. That is the oldest textual content written in each Romanesque and Germanic languages.
Certainly, the Romanesque textual content of the oaths has an important symbolic significance, because it constitutes, so to talk, “the beginning certificates of the French language” throughout the framework of a political settlement of historic significance.
How Gaul (modern-day France) acquired its identify
As we talked about earlier, it was the Romans who gave the identify “Gallia” (Gaul) to the Celtic territory that corresponds roughly to modern-day France.
The etymology of the Latin time period Gallia shouldn’t be recognized with certainty, but it surely might itself be a mortgage from the Celtic.
Latin authors used the names Gallia (“Gaul“) and Galli (“Gaul“), plural of Gallus, to confer with the Celts settled in Gaul and Western Galatia, “Γαλατία” in Greek.
The identify Gallia was first recorded by Porcius Cato round 168 BC, however its use is most definitely a lot older.
So what did Gallia imply and the place did it come from?
Nicely, the etymology of the Latin time period Gallia shouldn’t be recognized with certainty. Some speculated it might itself be a mortgage from the Celtic.
Maybe it derived from the novel gal-, which was purported to denote power, a time period that’s in flip derived from the previous Irish Gal “warrior fury”, additionally a radical from the Welsh “gallu” and the Breton “galloud”, each which means energy.
The Galli would subsequently be “the robust”, “the highly effective” or “the livid” ones.
By the best way, the novel gal- or gali- would even be on the origin of the French phrases jaillir (to spring) and gaillard (strapping).
Listed here are a number of Gallic equivalences in French and English:
- Gaul is la Gaule
- The folks, the Gauls, are les Gaulois.
- The adjective Gallic, is in French: Gaulois/Gauloise.
- Lutetia (modern-day Paris) is named Lutèce in French.
- Asterix the Gaul is… Astérix le Gaulois!
The Gallic rooster
However there’s extra…
It was not till the Renaissance that the Latin identify Gallus was related by analogy amongst students with its Latin homonym gallus “coq” or rooster.
This is the reason it turned the emblematic animal of France!
Discover out extra in regards to the Gallic rooster!
How France acquired its identify because of… the Franks
So the Franks had been a gaggle of Germanic tribes that conquered Gaul within the fifth century.
The Romans referred to as them Francus (singular), Franci, or gens Francorum (plural).
The primary point out of the Franks in Roman sources dates again to the third century. We all know that they served within the Roman military for the reason that days of Julius Caesar.
On the finish of the sixth century, Franc referred to the free man. This noun may be traced again to the widespread Germanic frankō “javelin, spear”, attested in Outdated English franca and Outdated Norse frakka. Due to this fact, this may indicate that the Frankish tribes derived their names from a totemic weapon (just like the Saxons and their “quick sword”).
When the Franks had been a Roman franchise
Earlier than we go additional, let me introduce the notion of foederatus (federated peoples).
Foederati had been peoples and cities certain by a treaty (foedus), with the Roman Empire.
It applies specifically to teams of “barbarian” mercenaries of varied sizes. In change, they had been allowed to settle throughout the Roman Empire.
And so, the Franks turned foederati in 358 AD, when Emperor Julian allow them to settled in areas throughout northern Gaul.
Within the Rhineland, Frankish settlers helped with the Roman defence by offering intelligence and a buffer state.
Within the fifth century, the Franks levied Roman-like troops supported with a Roman-like armour and weapons business. They turned a Frankish, ie. a franchise.
So that is how France acquired its identify!
The land of the Franks was referred to as “Francia” (Francie in French).
By the sixth century, Francia was generally known as the land of the free males.
So France acquired its identify because of the Franks… because the French too (les Français)!
However not solely that.
Thus many cities and areas in Germany took the identify of the Franks. One of the best recognized are town of Frankfurt am Essential (Francfort-sur-le-Essential in French) and the area of Franconia in northern Bavaria (Franken in German, Franconie in French).
What’s the distinction between François and Français?
François is a French masculine first identify and an historic type of the phrase Français (ie. “French” as a noun and adjective).
It’s the French counterpart of the medieval Latin Franciscus which means “of France”.
The etymology thus makes François (and the Frenchman) “the person of France”,
- both within the major sense “the person from the land of the Franks”
- or “the person from the land of free males”.
François turned a baptismal identify in 1228, on the canonisation of Francis of Assisi (François d’Assise).
It was solely with the spelling reform by the Académie française utilized in 1835 that Français and François had been distinguished, each in writing and orally.
The phrase Frank gave many variations of names:
- Francis (regular type in English and likewise properly established in French).
- Francesco (in Italian, actually little Frenchman)
François Ier, king of France
Considered one of France’s biggest king bears the identify of François: François Ier or Francis I (1494-1547).
King of France from 1515 till his loss of life in 1547, François’ reign coincided with the unfold of French Renaissance, thus attracting many Italian artists to work for him in Paris and the Loire Valley. Considered one of them was Leonardo da Vinci, who introduced the Mona Lisa with him.
How Ile-de-France acquired its identify
Across the yr 1000, France didn’t but correspond to the nice nation we all know immediately. Or a minimum of, the royal area of the Capetians (the dynasty of the kings of France, from 987 onwards) solely prolonged over a small space round Paris, the capital.
The historic province of Ile de France
The royal area was given the identify Ile de France (actually: Isle of France). A wierd identify when you look just a little nearer on the geography of the territory.
There are not any main islands and the property is even situated in the course of the land.
Does the identify Ile de France come from the Ile de la Cité, the seat of royal and episcopal energy?
The Pays de France
Inside the Ile de France area, there’s one other territory that will have given its identify to the royal area.
That is the Pays de France (actually the land of France), often known as the plain of France.
The realm extends within the north-east of Paris, corresponding roughly to the east of the Val d’Oise département, a part of Seine-Saint-Denis and the north-western restrict of Seine-et-Marne.
The designation “de France” appeared for the primary time in 1126 to designate the abbey of St. Denis (Monasterii beati dyonisii de Francia).
Immediately, eight communes retain the toponym en-France:
- the well-known commune of Roissy-en-France, web site of Paris’ airport Charles-de-Gaulle,
- and likewise, since August 1989, Tremblay-en-France, which was beforehand referred to as Tremblay-lès-Gonesse.
The truth is, villages like Tremblay-en-France illustrate the contrasting land of the Plain of France.
There you’ll discover a juxtaposition of previous rural villages surrounded by massive cereal-growing areas, the financial actions surrounding the Roissy-Charles de Gaulle airport complicated, and the massive housing blocks within the north-east of Paris.
How the French franc acquired its identify
Earlier than the introduction of the euro forex in 1999, the official cash of France was the French franc (FRF) or franc français.
On the thirty first December 1998, the parity between the euro and the French franc was definitively fastened at 1 EUR = 6.55957 FRF.
A king’s ransom paid to the English!
The primary francs date again to the 14th century and had been struck on the event of an occasion associated to the Hundred Years’ Struggle, a collection of conflicts from 1337 to 1453 between France and England.
On 19 September 1356, the English captured King of France Jean II on the Battle of Poitiers.
In opposition to the liberation of the king, the English demanded the sum of 4 million ecus.
To take action, the regent Charles (Jean II’s son) had a brand new coin made, a gold protect. The primary cash had been minted in Compiègne on 5 December 1360.
Franc à cheval
This gold protect weighing 3.87 g of high quality gold represented the king on horseback, armed with a protect with a fleur-de-lis and brandishing the sword, therefore his nickname “franc à cheval”.
The coin additionally included the time period “Francorum Rex” (i.e.: King of the Franks).
In one of many three ordinances issued on 5 December 1360, John II wrote:
“We’ve got been delivered to full jail and are free (franc) and delivered perpetually (…). We’ve got ordained and order that the high quality Golden coin which we now have made and intend to proceed to make might be referred to as Golden Franc”.
Thus, it is vitally possible that the identify of this new forex performed on the double which means of the phrase “franc“:
- “free” (or “franc“),
- and “King of the Franks” referring to the Frankish origin of the dominion.
The regent paid a deposit of 400,000 kilos (1,161 kilograms of gold) and the English launched the king.
Thus, the franc owed its existence to a ransom the French folks paid to the English that might free the king of France.
The franc immediately
Though the French franc disappeared with the introduction of the euro cash and notes in 2002, there are nonetheless many international locations who presently use a franc.
There are primarily present in Africa with the CFA franc… though within the close to future it could be changed with the Eco, a standard forex for West African international locations.
As well as, two international locations in Europe proceed to make use of the franc: Switzerland and Liechtenstein (Swiss franc).
Lastly, plenty of French abroad collectivities use the CFP franc: French Polynesia, New Caledonia, and Wallis-and-Futuna.
Discover out extra!
- Our web page on the Ile-de-France area
- What’s France in French? – A Little Information
- What’s Germany in French? – A Little Information
- The Wikipedia article in regards to the Franks
- The Franks on the Historical Historical past Encyclopaedia