Episode 31: The Long War: Rome and Francia
I know, I know, It’s been a little longer than I intended, I know. But thankfully, much of this is due to a lot of positive things happening, and good news for the podcast as well.
Those who follow me personally know I’m not just a historian but a writer as well. My debut novel “The Maiden Voyage of New York City” is coming out this May 15th and I have been working to promote that. It is currently up on Barnes and Noble’s website if you want to check it out; every purchase helps this podcast since it gives me a source of income, and it’ll help me achieve my dream!
Otherwise I was a guest on Radio France Internationale where I talked about the Sakai Incident, in which French sailors were attacked by samurai in 1868 during the Meiji Restoration. I was a guest on History’s What If podcast where we talked about what would have happened if the monarchy reestablished themselves in 1792. And I am set to be a guest on History’s Most probably in April. I was scheduled to give a talk about podcasting with the University of Houston Center for Public History, although the Coronavirus has delayed that.
So some final good news; I can promise a main series episode every other week starting in June since this is the last semester I will be TAing at the University of Houston. I love teaching and going the extra mile for my students, but over the past few years the federal government and the state of Texas have repeatedly cut education funding; when I entered UH in 2015 I had 75-100 students to teach; today I have 150 and two of my colleagues have 300 without any additional resources and the smallest of pay increases. It is becoming impossible to adequately do the job, and since the podcast and my writing career are taking off, I figured I would give this a try.
Between now and June I am going to try to put out a regular series episode every 2 weeks as normal, though my other obligations and the chaos caused by the Coronavirus might force me to scale it back a bit. I do apologize; anyone who has followed this podcast for any length of time knows I am an absolute workhorse. I have been on a pretty good streak putting out episodes on a weekly basis when I can get guests and offering transcripts and sources for all episodes. Believe me, this episode hasn’t taken an extra long time because I was twiddling my thumbs.
Thank you very much to everyone who has been patient. Special thanks to my patrons for making this possible; John, Karen, Jeffrey, Yonatan, Brad, Mark, Haley, Mehmet, Ryan, Kevin, Elizabeth, Michelle, Steven, Michel, Eric, Jeremy, Kyri, Demetrio, Kathleen, Eric R., Amanda, Rani, Reflect, Eliza and Bengt-Ake. And Phillip for the repeat donations. Thank you all so much for supporting me. Now, on with the show.
Today we’re going to move from the early 4th century into the early 5th century, from the end of Constantine’s reign to the devolution of Roman authority in Gaul. From Constantine’s death to the fall of the Western Roman Empire the Franks and Romans were involved in a long process where the former replaced the latter, as a people and as leaders, as Gaul transformed into the new Francia. This process was often violent, as Franks across the Rhine invaded Gaul every time Rome fell into civil wars. But the Franks were more often allies of the Romans against the Alemanni, Vandals, Saxons and later the Huns. They earned their place within Gallic society and the military, but corruption and incompetence from the Emperors frustrated the Franks. Rome was decrepit and decaying, while the Franks were strong, growing and capable. During the 4th century the Franks simultaneously fought against invaders from across the Rhine, and against Roman prejudice in order to earn their place as Romans. But by the late 5th century, the Franks increasingly abandoned the crumbling Rome for