"In the history of Europe the period between the end of the Roman Empire in the fifth century and the cessation of Viking Raids in the eleventh is one of particular importance.

It was a time of transition, or rather transitions, from a Mediterranean-based empire to a world of states which were to develop into those of modern Europe. Within these six centuries of transition, the earliest saw the greatest changes; the collapse of the Empire and the first emergence of what might be called the Nation State. It was the fifth century that saw the origins of France and the sixth that saw those of England. And if the lines of development from Visigothic Spain and Ostrogothic and Lombard Italy to their modern counterparts were not to be so direct, they nevertheless marked major developments in the transformation of the Roman World.

Within the first three centuries which followed the end of the Roman rule the kingdom which emerged in France, Belgium, the Rhineland and Switzerland holds a preeminent place. Of the states which succeeded the Roman Empire it was the longest lasting. It was also, for much of the time, the most powerful."