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The Ripuarian Franks (Latin: Ripuari) were Franks that lived along the middle-Rhine River during the Roman Era.



The name Ripuarian, and variants Ripaurii and Riparii, may have come from the Roman word ripa, (Latin for "river bank"), to mean people from the Rhine according to Perry[1], although the connection to "ripa" is considered "doubtful" to other historians.[2] Generally Ripuarian refers to a people river-dwelling along the Rhine, and would be used to differentiate them from the Salian Franks (the Franks of the Sal, the IJssel River[3] , or the Franks of the salty sea.[4]) The first obscure reference to the Ripuarians has been attributed to the historian of the Goths Jornandes (aka Jordanes)[3]. Jordanes alludes to them in Getica (The Origin and Deeds of the Goths), dated approximately 551 AD, where he listed the "Riparii" as one of the Aetius' allies in the Battle of Chalons, in an auxiliary of tribes:

"Hi enim affuerunt auxiliares: Franci, Sarmatae, Armoriciani, Liticiani, Burgundiones, Saxones, Riparii, Olibriones ..."[5]


Ripuarian was also the name of this people's language, it was known as one of the Central Franconian dialects.

Ancient mythology and religion was pagan and Germanic in nature. Their polytheistic beliefs are thought to have flourished among the Franks until the conversion of Clovis to Christianity, after which paganism withered slowly.


The people who came to be known as the Ripuarians probably composed the Frankish army that was defeated by Emperor Maximian (250-310) in the battle at Treves.[6] They began to populate the regions of Andernach down the Rhine through the 5th Century and took possession of Cologne, where they held the left banks of the Rhine in the area known as Germania Secunda.[7] They also spread into Belgica Secunda as far south as the Moselle River, although without taking the City of Treves.[7]

The Ripuarians appear in written history in the first half of the 7th century, when they received their Ripuarian laws (Lex Ripuaria) from the dominating Salian Franks.[8]


  1. ^ Perry, 1857:48.
  2. ^ Chisholm 1910:35-36.
  3. ^ a b Perry 1857:48.
  4. ^ Chisholm 1910:35.
  5. ^ Getica, Jordanes 551 v.191.
  6. ^ Perry 1857:50.
  7. ^ a b Perry 1857:54; Encyclopædia Britannica, Online 2007:119.
  8. ^ Rivers 1986:_?.


  • Chisholm, Hugh (1910). Franks, In The Encyclopædia Britannica: A Dictionary of Arts, Sciences, Literature and General Information, V. 11, pp. 35-36.[1]
  • Jordanes (ca 551 AD). Getica, v. 191. Online translation retrieved Nov. 1, 2007.[2]
  • Perry, Walter Copland. (1857) The Franks, from Their First Appearance in History to the Death of King Pepin. Longman, Brown, Green: 1857.
  • Rivers, Theodore John. (1986) Laws of the Salian and Ripuarian Franks. New York: AMS Press, 1986.
  • France: Early Frankish Period, In Encyclopædia Britannica, p. 119. Retrieved Nov. 1, 2007, from Encyclopædia Britannica Online.[3]


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