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: The Franks first come to light in historical sources in the third century A.D. as a group of undistinguished barbarians living in the marshy lowlands north and east of the Rhine frontier of the Roman Empire. Within three centuries they had become the most powerful of all of the barbarian kingdoms, the effective heirs of the Roman Empire, and the founders of France. In 800, a Frank, Charlemagne, was crowned in Rome as the first Emperor of Germanic origins. Using both contemporary documents and the evidence provided by thousands of archaeological excavations over the last century, the author traces the history of the Franks from barbarism to civil and military dominance in Northern Europe. He describes the evolution of their society and culture, of their religion and conversion to Christianity, and their conquests and methods of ruling. In the final chapter he considers their influence on the history of modern Europe.