In this innovative new study, Patrick Geary rejects traditional notions of European history to present the Merovingian period (ca. 400-750) as an integral part of Late Antiquity. Drawing on current scholarship in archaeology, cultural history, historical ethnography, and other fields, the author formulates an original interpretation not only of Merovingian history but of the Romano-barbarian world from which it arose. Mapping the complex interactions of a volatile era, he carefully traces the Romanization of barbarians and the barbarization of Romans that ultimately made these populations indistinguishable. Authoritative and elegantly written, Before France and Germany
*presents an original and powerful synthesis of one of the most misunderstood periods of European history
*draws on the latest archaeological, ethnographic, and historical findings, including grave finds, court documents, and kinship records
*establishes the Merovingian world as an integral part of late antiquity
*culls and interprets a wealth if specialist Continental scholarship in a concise, readable style This new study is an important contribution to our understanding of a crucial but often neglected period of Western history.