Paris

The city now known as Paris was first founded as a Roman city known as Lutetia on the site of a previous Parisii settlement. From there, Paris evolved to be a site of importance for the Merovingian and Carolingian royalty and Christian pilgrimage. Paris in the early Medieval Period became a mix of all these influences political and economic, religious, artistic and cultural scopes as well as the urban development of the city.

While first only covering the Île de la Cité island, the site of the original Parisii settlement on the Seine, Paris rapidly expanded under Roman control. As Paris became more militarily significant, fortifications were added and the city expanded precipitously over the mainland area. After the Roman influence in Paris lessened, Christianity became a prominent force for construction. Viking raids were common but they dwindled in the late 10th century into the 11th  permitting expansion of farmland into forested areas and reallowed the usage of rivers for communication and transport.

Paris was the seat of power for Clovis I, the first Frankish king, after he conquered it in the final days of the Roman empire. He wrote the Salian Law there, a legal code that would strongly influence future Western European law. Paris remained a politically important city and eventually a Parisian count would be elected king of the Franks and found the Capetian dynasty.

Paris and its surrounding area was the site of many notable religious buildings, including St. Geneviève, St. Germain-des-Prés, and St. Denis which were primarily constructed during the Merovingian Dynasty. Notre-Dame de Paris was built in 528 at the order Childebert I. There were also many ecclesiastical synods held in Paris including two notable ones in 552 and 829. Many important monks and abbots also lived in Paris, including Hilduin of St. Denis who build up the cult of Saint Dionysius, Usuard who wrote a notable martyrology, and Aimon and Abbo who were writers and teachers. Paris’s religious houses were also important sites for education and were popular with students even before the University was built.

The arts and culture of Paris were heavily influenced by both pagan Roman and Christian traditions. Early art of the area is often found in the ruins of Roman buildings such as baths, which featured colorful mosaics and sculptures. The Roman period also contributed to the artistic and cultural development of Paris through its architecture. Later buildings, like the basilica of Saint-Denis, took structural cues from Gallo-Roman designs. Post-Roman Paris saw the rise of abbey-churches and the creation of a sprawling necropolis containing the extravagant grave goods of the Merovingian elite.

Paris was the seat of power for Clovis I, the first Frankish king, after he conquered it in the final days of the Roman empire. He wrote the Salian Law there, a legal code that would strongly influence future Western European law. Paris remained a politically important city and eventually a Parisian count would be elected king of the Franks and found the Capetian dynasty. Likewise, as Paris thrive politically, it also grew economically. During the Merovingian period, Emperors such as Clovis and Dagobert I helped the city grow through creating various buildings. The Seine was also a pivotal part in Paris’ growth because it was a gateway to the English Channel allowing them to trade with other nations. However, the Seine also caused them trouble during the 9th Century due to various Viking invasions. Overall, Paris was a rather prosperous city during both the Carolingian and Merovingian dynasties, and would grow even more so during the high middle ages.

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4 Comments

  1. ericksonw
    ·

    Is there a convenient time for all of us in the Paris group to meet on Sunday? Any time in the evening would work for me. I think it would be good to work on the presentation some in person as well as compare information across the various individual subjects.

    Reply
    1. connelln
      ·

      So, based on the when to meet Kevin created (thank you!), the only time all 6 of us are available is from 10-11pm Sunday night. So meet then?

      Reply
  2. connelln
    ·

    So, this is mainly relevant for the religion group, perhaps the art and culture group, but this site might be helpful.
    http://www.saint-denis.culture.fr/en/index.html

    It covers Saint-Denis and it’s development as a town and abbey and also covers some crafts, which might be relevant for the arts and culture section.

    Reply

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