Stefan Esders
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Manlike discipline and loyalty against the ‘enemies of God’
Some observations on the militarised frontier society of eastern Francia around 600
in Early medieval militarisation
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Starting from the fate of three central regions of the wider Rhine area in the late and post-Roman period, where the Merovingian King Childebert II had a number of laws discussed with his army and decreed shortly before 600, this chapter analyses the special character of the frontier society of the Eastern region (Austrasia) of the Frankish kingdom. As is demonstrated on the basis of further texts, such as the Ripuarian law-code and a formula to make the Austrasian people swear an oath of fidelity to their kings, military institutions and ideas formed the backbone for governing this frontier region and its heterogeneous society, which the kings sought to Christianise in order to separate it from people living beyond the frontier. The chapter addresses the question of how late-Roman substructures became integrated into the new Frankish polity, and how, in the course of this frontier society becoming profoundly transformed, male-centred military virtues and ideals such as loyalty, discipline, blood-money and honour came to dominate political and social discourse.

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