The Roman Republic annexed southern Gaul as the province of Gallia Narbonensis in the late 2nd century BC, and Roman forces under Julius Caesar conquered the rest of Gaul in theGallic Wars of 58–51 BC. Afterwards a Gallo-Roman culture emerged and Gaul was increasingly integrated into the Roman Empire.
In 600 BC, Ionian Greeks from Phocaeafounded the colony of Massalia(present-day Marseille) on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea, making it the oldest city of France. At the same time, some Celtic tribes penetrated the eastern parts (Germania superior) of the current territory of France, but this occupation spread in the rest of France only between the 5th and 3rd century BC.
Long before any Roman settlements, Greek navigators settled in what would become Provence. The Phoceans founded important cities such as Massalia (Marseille) and Nikaia (Nice), bringing them in to conflict with the neighboring Celts and Ligurians. Some Phocean great navigators, such as Pytheas, were born in Marseille. The Celts themselves often fought with Aquitanians and Germans, and a Gaulish war band led byBrennus invaded Rome c. 393 or 388 BC following the Battle of the Allia.
Gaul was divided into several different provinces. The Romans displaced populations to prevent local identities from becoming a threat to Roman control.
In 486, Clovis I, leader of the Salian Franks, defeated Syagriusat Soissons and subsequently united most of northern and central Gaul under his rule.
State building into the Kingdom of France (987–1453)
Kings during this period
- Capetian Dynasty (House of Capet):
- Hugh Capet, 940-996
- Robert the Pious, 996-1027
- Henry I, 1027-1060
- Philip I, 1060–1108
- Louis VI the Fat, 1108–1137
- Louis VII the Young, 1137–1180
- Philip II Augustus, 1180–1223
- Louis VIII the Lion, 1223–1226
- Saint Louis IX, 1226–1270
- Philip III the Bold, 1270–1285
- Philip IV the Fair, 1285–1314
- Louis X the Quarreller, 1314–1316
- John I the Posthumous, five days in 1316
- Philip V the Tall, 1316–1322
- Charles IV the Fair, 1322–1328
- House of Valois:
- Philip VI of Valois, 1328–1350
- John II the Good, 1350–1364
- Charles V the Wise, 1364–1380
- Charles VI the Mad, 1380–1422
- Charles VII the Well Served, 1422–1461. ( A view of the remains of the Abbey of Cluny, a Benedictine monastery, was the centre of monastic life revival in the Middle Ages and marked an important step in the cultural rebirth following the Dark Ages.) France was a very decentralised state during the Middle Ages. The authority of the king was more religious than administrative. ........The monarchy overcame the powerful barons over ensuing centuries, and established absolute sovereignty over France in the 16th century. A number of factors contributed to the rise of the French monarchy. The dynasty established by Hugh Capet continued uninterrupted until 1328, and the laws of primogenitureensured orderly successions of power..