the name of a confederation of German tribes to which belonged the Sigambri (the principal people), Chamavi, Ampsivarii, Bructeri, Chatti, Marsi, Tubantes, Attuarii, Dulgibini, and others.
This confederation, which had stepped into the place of that of the Cherusci on the Lower Rhine, is mentioned for the first time by Vopiscus (Aurel.
7), about A.D. 240.
The name Franci gradually absorbed the, names of the separate tribes forming the confederation, which, however, is sometimes designated by the name of the leading people, the Sigambri (e. g. Claudian, de IV. Con. Hon.
446). These Franci, or Franks, as they are commonly called, conquered the: northern parts of Gaul; and, having amalgamated with the Romanised Celts of that country, they adopted the civilisation of the conquered people, and soon acquired such power that, under their great king Clovis, A.D. 496, they returned and subdued their own kinsmen in the north and south of Germany, and thus established the great Frankish empire.
But their history belongs to the middle ages.