Who were the Franks?

   Franks is the name of several Germanic tribes, who first appear in history about the middle of the 3d century. They fought with the Ro­man Empire. After the time of the Roman emperor Julian they were divided into two branches, the Salian Franks near the North Sea and the Ripuarian Franks along the Rhine River. The Salian Franks were conquered by the Romans and became the allies of Rome for a time. But in the 5th century under Clovis and later under his sons they defeated the Romans and founded the largest European kingdom of the Middle Ages, including France, Germany, and eventually Italy, un­der Charlemagne. After Charlemagne's death his kingdom was divided.