In the early Merovingian period there were two predominant aristocracies in Gaul: Roman and Germanic. Their traditions were not so different as might be supposed. By 500 Visigothic and Burgundian aristocrats had been Roman landowners, living side by side with Roman senators, for two or more generations, and in the north the Frankish aristocrats had been near neighbours and fellow-soldiers of the Romans for far longer. Soon after the Frankish conquest of Gaul the Frankish and Roman aristocracies began to intermingle and intermarry. The intermarriage which, outside Aquitaine at least, was eventually to eliminate the consciousness of Roman descent, has been illustrated by recent prosopographical research. Thus, we know much about Bertram, Bishop of Le Mans from 586 to some time before 626, from his will, which lists 135 properties scattered over Gaul between Brittany and Provence, some 300,000 hectares in extent, about half the size of a modern French département. His family connections can also be pieced together, from a variety of sources. He was the nephew of Bishop Bertram (Bertechramnus) of Bordeaux, who was related to the Merovingian royal family through his mother Ingi-trudis. Bertram of Le Mans was the product of a ‘mixed marriage’, his father being Frankish and his mother Roman, from Aquitaine: she was related to Avitus of Clermont, whose name shows his descent from the most distinguished senatorial family of Roman Gaul.
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