In the mid-400s CE, a Germanic-speaking group known to Romans as the Franks invaded the Roman province of Gaul. Because of various threats from other non-Roman groups, Roman officials in Gaul ended up embracing the Franks as military allies. Little did those officials realize that the Franks would go on to establish a separate kingdom in Gaul, which would become the medieval kingdom of France. We’ll examine the development of the kingdom of France and French culture from their origins in the late Roman era to the late Middle Age. We'll emphasize the nature of political power in France that allowed the kings to go from little more than figurehead rulers to absolutist monarchs, admired and feared throughout European society.