By William S Davis
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Additional info for A History of France
Her boundaries are ample to contain great diversities in customs, products, and scenery. Although France does not possess the deeply indented coast of Britain, Greece, and Norway, she is provided with ample outlets for a great commerce and easy intercourse with distant nations. On the Mediterranean lie Marseilles, the most active harbor upon that "Great Sea," and Toulon, the chief French naval post. On Biscay are Bordeaux, La Rochelle, and Saint-Nazaire, the harbor-town for Nantes. On the Breton and Channel Coasts are Brest, Cherbourg, and especially Le Havre (which is peculiarly the port of Paris), and also Boulogne, Calais, and Dunkirk – the last three mainly important for their communications with England.
But when the brutal work had once been done, it was followed by an era of benevolence and conciliation. First, the Gauls were taught that it was hopeless to resist Rome; then, secondly, that it was not at all disagreeable to be her subjects. Taxes were reasonable. Law and order took the place of outrageous tribal oppressions. The Druids with their human sacrifices were suppressed. Gallic nobles were flattered with Roman citizenship. If they were really prominent nobles they might presently hope to become Roman senators.
All this meant a new series of schisms, conspiracies and wars frequently very bloody and very personal. The Mayor (Major Domus) of Austrasia fought against his rival of Neustria; while Aquitaine under a semi-independent Duke (=Dux, in origin simply "leader") would defy them both. Meantime in the seventh, even as in the sixth century, civilization seemed ever more steadily on the defensive. Then at last came a turn for the better. A great official family came forward. After various vicissitudes his dynasty, later famous as the "Carolingian" (from Charlemagne, its most distinguished member), began to supply Mayors of the Palace who ruled both Neustria and Austrasia simultaneously in a kind of hereditary succession.
A History of France by William S Davis