Merovingian Frankish

Merovingian Frankish

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Historical Overview Section

496-751 (referred to as Middle Frankish in some army list books)

The Merovingians (also Merovings) were a Salian Frankish dynasty that came to rule the Franks in the region largely corresponding to the Ancient Gallic territories from the middle of the fifth century. Their politics involved frequent civil warfare among branches of the family, making for great gaming fun and min-campaigns.

The dynasty owes its name to the semi-legendary Merovech (Meroveus or Merovius), leader of the Salian Franks. His son Childeric I (457 – 481) really got things going properly with big wins against the Later Visigothic, Early Anglo Saxon and Early Frankish Alemanni kingdoms. Childeric's even more bolshie son son Clovis I went on to unite most of Gaul north of the Loire in 486, when he defeated the Foederate Romans under Syagrius. He subsequently went on to decisively defeat the later Visigothic kingdom of Toulouse in the Battle of Vouillé in 507. After Clovis' death, his kingdom was partitioned among his four sons in an act of almost criminal incompetence and over the next century this tradition of partition would continue with obvious consequences. Even when several Merovingian kings simultaneously ruled their own realms, the kingdom pretended to be a single entity to all the overseas nations they came into (often bloody) contact with and upon Clovis' death in 511 conquered Burgundy in 534. After the fall of the Italian Ostrogothic kingdom the Franks also conquered Provence. After this their borders with Italy (ruled by the Lombards since 568) and Later Visigothic Septimania remained fairly stable.

Dagobert I (who died in 639), who had sent troops to Spain and pagan Early South Slavic territories in the east is commonly seen as the last powerful Merovingian King. Later kings are known as rois fainéants ("do-nothing kings"), despite the fact that only the last two kings did nothing! The kings authority was usurped by their mayors of the palace, who increasingly substituted their own interest for their king's. Many kings came to the throne at a young age and died in the prime of life (rather unluckily and without any trace of suspicious circumstances in any of these unfortunate occurrences of course) weakening royal power further.

The conflict between mayors was ended when the Austrasians under Pepin the Middle triumphed in 687 in the Battle of Tertry. After this, Pepin, though not a king, was the political ruler of the Frankish kingdom and left this position as a heritage to his sons. It was now the sons of the mayor that divided the realm among each other under the rule of a single king. After Pepin's long rule, his son Charles Martel assumed power whilst also founding a brandy distillery. His reputation for ruthlessness further undermined the king's position. During the last years of his life he even ruled without a king. His sons Carloman and Pepin again appointed a Merovingian figure-head to stem rebellion on the kingdom's periphery however in 751 Pepin finally displaced the last Merovingian and with the support of the nobility and the blessing of Pope Zachary became one of the Frankish Kings. The deposed Merovingian was sent into a monastery, bereft of his symbolic long hair. With Pepin, the Carolingians ruled the Franks as Kings.

Using the army in FoG

  • The post-600 AD option with lancer cavalry looks to be rather better than an underpowered javelin-armed selection. Superiority is more important than armour, if you feel forced to make a choice.
  • The masses of cheap spearmen are best taken as cheaply as possible, so post 600Ad 4 units of 6 still come in at 120 points as poor.
  • If you intend using them to block off part of the table, an IC and some rear support can work wonders whilst yoru knights charge home to victory or defeat on their own.
  • There are not enough Breton cavalry in the main list to make them a reasonable option.

UK Tournament Results with this army

User-contributed links about this army:


  • Breton Any Wolves from the Sea 17 The legendary Bretons are 4-16 LH or cavalry, all with light spears
  • Frankish, Merovingian (Internal Ally) Any Wolves from the Sea 13 Lancers post 600AD, and some unusual impact foot pre 600, otherwise a lot of Off Spear

15mm Manufacturers supplying figures for this army

You can see some of the figures in the Ancients Photo Gallery also on this site

Image Image Image Image

Core Troops

Which troops are absolutely needed for this army, and what are your thoughts on how to organise, paint and buy them.

Army Lists

Sample army lists for this army

Name of Army / Date

  • Using asterisks inthe edit mode creates a bulleted list in the actual site
  • This is a lot easier to do than easier than setting up tables
  • For FoG I suggest listing your army in order or march
  • with troop desctiptions on each line, for example
  • 4 HF Armoured Average Drilled Impact Foot Swordsmen
  • 8 LG Undrilled Unarmoured Poor Bowen
  • Dont forget to include your Generals !!!

Include any notes you want here, including comments on how to use - or play against - the army.

Remember to leave a line before you copy the above section as a template for your own list

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Created by admin. Last Modification: Tuesday 12 of November, 2019 18:58:45 GMT by admin. (Version 15)
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