Pre-Modern ‘Germany’

In the centuries before Christ, what is today Germany was crossed, settled, fought over and abandoned by assorted tribes of Celts, Slavs, Franks and Teutons. The first major hero of German history who stood as something more than a shadowy figure was Charlemagne, whom the Germans claim as their own under the name ‘Karl der Große’ (Charles the Great).

Karl brought the Frankish empire to the height of its power and territorial reach and oversaw the greatest blooming of early medieval European culture. Other than the empire’s expansions and contractions, the next several centuries of German history were largely characterized by repeated conflicts over authority between emperors and Church, or emperors and the rulers of smaller entities within the empire.

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