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The Merovingian Kingdoms in Mediterranean Perspective

International Conference from December 17 to 20 at Freie Universität Berlin

№ 427/2014 from Dec 11, 2014

The Frankish kingdom of the Merovingians and its external relations are the subject of an international conference to be held December 17 to 20 at Freie Universität Berlin. Researchers from Germany, Israel, Europe, and the United States will analyze the trading relations the Merovingian Frankish Empire (481–751) maintained with the Mediterranean region. It is expected that a new image will emerge of the transitional period between antiquity and the Middle Ages. The conference is being sponsored by the Minerva Foundation in the Gentner Symposium series. The Minerva Foundation, which is based at the Max Planck Society, promotes German-Isreali cooperation in research. Since 1973 the Minerva Foundation has been sponsoring two conferences in the Gentner Symposium series annually. The conference will take place in English. It is public, and there is no admission charge.

The Frankish kingdom of the Merovingians, built in Gaul after the fall of the Western Roman Empire (476), was not only deeply rooted in the traditions of antiquity and various Germanic tribes, but also had complex economic, cultural, religious, and political relations with the Byzantine and Islamic worlds, to the papacy in Italy, as well as to Spain and North Africa. By examining Western and Eastern sources and archaeological finds, the conference participants aim to reach a new Mediterranean classification of the Merovingian period. The period was long dominated by national interpretations of history and considered either as German or French "early history."

The conference is being jointly organized by Stefan Esders, a professor of the history of late antiquity and the Early Middle Ages at the Freiderich Meinecke Institute of Freie Universität Berlin, and Yitzhak Hen, a professor of medieval history at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Beer Sheva.

Time, Location, and Conference Program

Further Information

  • Prof. Dr. Stefan Esders, Friedrich Meinecke Institute, Department of History and Cultury Studies, Freie Universität Berlin, Tel.: +49 30 838-56823, Email:
  • Pia Bockius, Researcher, Friedrich Meinecke Institute, Department of History and Cultury Studies, Freie Universität Berlin, Email:

Links to Further Information