Roman Catholic Diocese of Metz
The Roman Catholic Diocese of Metz is a diocese of the Latin Rite of the Roman Catholic Church in France. In the Middle Ages it was a prince-bishopric of the Holy Roman Empire, a de facto independent state ruled by the prince-bishop who had the ex officio title of count, it was annexed to France by King Henry II in 1552. It formed part of the province of the Three Bishoprics. Since 1801 the Metz diocese has been a public-law corporation of cult. Metz was a bishopric by 535, but may date from earlier than that. Metz's Basilica of Saint-Pierre-aux-Nonnains is built on the site of a Roman basilica, a location for the one of the earliest Christian congregations of France; the diocese was under the metropolitan of Trier. After the French Revolution, the last prince bishop, Cardinal Louis de Montmorency-Laval fled and the old organization of the diocese was broken up. With the Concordat of 1801 the diocese was re-established covering the departments of Moselle and Forêts, was put under the Archdiocese of Besançon.
In 1817 the parts of the diocese which became Prussian territory were transferred to the Diocese of Trier. In 1871 the core areas of the diocese became part of Germany, in 1874 Metz diocese reconfined to the borders of the new German Lorraine department became subject to the Holy See; as of 1910 there were about 533,000 Catholics living in the diocese of Metz. When the 1905 French law on the Separation of the Churches and the State was enacted, doing away with public-law religious corporations, this did not apply to the Metz diocese being within Germany. After World War I it was returned to France, but the concordatary status has been preserved since as part of the Local law in Alsace-Moselle. In 1940, after the French defeat, it came under German occupation till 1944 when it became French again. Together with the Archdiocese of Strasbourg the bishop of the see is nominated by the French government according to the concordat of 1801; the concordat further provides for the clergy being paid by the government and Roman Catholic pupils in public schools can receive religious instruction according to diocesan guide lines.
According to the traditional list of bishops, the current bishop Pierre René Ferdinand Raffin is the 105th bishop of Metz. According to this list, the first bishop was Saint Clement sent by Saint Peter himself to Metz; the first authenticated bishop however is Sperus or Hesperus, bishop in 535. Many of the bishops were declared holy or blessed, like Saint Arnulf, Saint Chrodegang or Saint Agilram. Adelbero was bishop of Metz in 933 AD; the bishop of Metz is appointed by the President of the Republic. Willibrord Benzler, O. S. B. 1901–1919 Jean-Baptiste Pelt, 1919–1937 Joseph-Jean Heintz, 1938–1958 Paul Joseph Schmitt, 1958–1987 Pierre René Ferdinand Raffin, O. P. 1987–2013 Jean-Christophe Lagleize, 2013–presentAuxiliary bishopsJean-Pierre Vuillemin, appointed 8 January 2019 Catholic Church in France Website of the diocese Catholic hierarchy Herbermann, Charles, ed.. "Metz". Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company
Gallia Belgica was a province of the Roman empire located in the north-eastern part of Roman Gaul, in what is today France and Luxembourg, along with parts of the Netherlands and Germany. In 50 BC after the conquest by Julius Caesar during his Gallic Wars, it became one of the three newly conquered provinces of Gaul. An official Roman province was created by emperor Augustus in 22 BC; the province was named for the Belgae, as the largest tribal confederation in the area, but included the territories of the Treveri, Leuci, Sequani and others. The southern border of Belgica, formed by the Marne and Seine rivers, was reported by Caesar as the original cultural boundary between the Belgae and the Celtic Gauls, whom he distinguished from one another; the province was re-organised several times, first increased and decreased in size. Diocletian brought the northeastern Civitas Tungrorum into Germania Inferior, joining the Rhineland colonies, the remaining part of Gallia Belgica was divided into Belgica Prima in the eastern area of the Treveri and Leuci, around Luxembourg and the Ardennes, Belgica Secunda between the English channel and the upper River Meuse.
The capital of Belgica Prima, became an important late western Roman capital. In 57 BC, Julius Caesar led the conquest of northern Gaul, specified that the part to the north of the Seine and Marne rivers was inhabited by a people or alliance known as the Belgae; this definition became the basis of the Roman province of Belgica. Caesar said that the Belgae were separated from the Celtic Gauls to their south by "language and laws" but he did not go into detail, except to mention that he learnt from his contacts that the Belgae had some ancestry from east of the Rhine, which he referred to as Germania. Indeed, the Belgian tribes closest to the Rhine. Modern historians interpret Caesar and the archaeological evidence as indicating that the core of the Belgian alliance was in the present-day northernmost corner of France; these were the leaders of the initial military alliance he confronted, they were more economically advanced than many of their more northerly allies such as the Nervii and Germani Cisrhenani.
Apart from the southern Remi, all the Belgic tribes allied against the Romans, angry at the Roman decision to garrison legions in their territory during the winter. At the beginning of the conflict, Caesar reported the allies' combined strength at 288,000, led by the Suessione king, Galba. Due to the Belgic coalition's size and reputation for uncommon bravery, Caesar avoided meeting the combined forces of the tribes in battle. Instead, he used cavalry to skirmish with smaller contingents of tribesmen. Only when Caesar managed to isolate one of the tribes did he risk conventional battle; the tribes fell in a piecemeal fashion and Caesar claimed to offer lenient terms to the defeated, including Roman protection from the threat of surrounding tribes. Most tribes agreed to the conditions. A series of uprisings followed the 57 BC conquest; the largest revolt was led by the Bellovaci after the defeat of Vercingetorix. During this rebellion, it was the Belgae, they harassed the Roman legions, led by Caesar, with cavalry detachments and archers.
The rebellion was put down. The revolting party was slaughtered. Following a census of the region in 27 BC, Augustus ordered a restructuring of the provinces in Gaul. Therefore, in 22 BC, Marcus Agrippa split Gaul into three regions Agrippa made the divisions on what he perceived to be distinctions in language and community - Gallia Belgica was meant to be a mix of Celtic and Germanic peoples; the capital of this territory was Reims, according to the geographer Strabo, though the capital moved to modern day Trier. The date of this move is uncertain. Modern historians however view the term'Gaul' and its subdivisions as a "product of faulty ethnography" and see the split of Gallia Comata into three provinces as an attempt to construct a more efficient government, as opposed to a cultural division. Successive Roman emperors struck a balance between Romanizing the people of Gallia Belgica and allowing pre-existing culture to survive; the Romans divided the province into four "civitates" corresponding to ancient tribal boundaries.
The capital cities of these districts included modern Cassel, Bavay, Thérouanne, Arras, St. Quentin, Reims, Amiens, Triers and Metz; these civitates were in turn were divided into smaller units, pagi, a term that became the French word "pays". Roman government was run by Concilia in Trier. Additionally, local notables from Gallia Belgica were required to participate in a festival in Lugdunum which celebrated or worshiped the emperor’s genius; the gradual adoption of Romanized names by local elites and the Romanization of laws under local authority demonstrate the effectiveness of this concilium Galliarum. With that said, the concept and community of Gallia Belgica did not predate the Roman pro
The Mediomatrici were an ancient Celtic people of Gaul, who belong to the division of Belgae. Julius Caesar shows their position in a general way when he says that the Rhine flows along the territories of the Sequani, Triboci or Tribocci, Treviri. Ptolemy places the Mediomatrici south of the Treviri. Divodurum was the capital of the Mediomatrici. Besides Metz, settlements in France include the oppidum of Hérapel, the well-preserved examples of Pierrevillers and Vitry-sur-Orne. Other settlements and oppida in Germany were thought to be Saarbrücken, Speyer and Rodalben, although today the ascription of Speyer, Homburg und Rodalben is hotly disputed; the name "Mediomatrici" has been explained as "the people between the Matrona and the Matra." The diocese of Metz represents their territory, accordingly west of the Vosges, but Caesar makes the Mediomatrici extend to the Rhine, in his time they occupied the country between the Vosges and the Rhine. This agrees with Strabo, who says that the Sequani and Mediomatrici inhabit the Rhine, among whom are settled the Triboci, a Germanic nation which had crossed over from their own country.
It appears that part of the territory of the Mediomatrici had been occupied by Germans before Caesar's time. Elements of the Mediomatrici may have settled near Novara, in northern Italy, where place-names allude to their presence, e.g. Mezzomerico; this article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Smith, William, ed.. "Belgae". Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography. London: John Murray
Cross of Lorraine
The Cross of Lorraine, known as Cross of Anjou in the 16th century, is a heraldic two-barred cross, consisting of a vertical line crossed by two shorter horizontal bars. In most renditions, the horizontal bars are "graded" with the upper bar being the shorter, though variations with the bars of equal length are seen; the Lorraine name has come to signify several cross variations, including the patriarchal cross with its bars near the top. The Cross of Lorraine consists of one vertical and two horizontal bars, This cross has been referred to on the Flag of the Dominican Republic The Cross of Lorraine came from the Kingdom of Hungary to the Duchy of Lorraine. In Hungary, Béla III was the first monarch to use the two-barred cross as the symbol of royal power in the late 12th century, he adopted it from the Byzantine Empire, according to historian Pál Engel. René II, Duke of Lorraine inherited the two-barred cross as a symbol from his ancestors from the House of Anjou, his grandfather, René the Good, who used it as his personal sigil, laid claim to four kingdoms, including Hungary.
The cross was still known as the "cross of Anjou" in the 16th century. René II placed the symbol on his flag before the Battle of Nancy in January 1477. In the battle, René defeated the army of Charles the Bold, Duke of Burgundy, who had occupied the Duchy of Lorraine, regained his duchy. All coins struck; the Cross of Lorraine is an emblem of Lorraine in eastern France. Between 1871 and 1918, the north-eastern quarter of Lorraine was annexed to Germany, along with Alsace. During that period the Cross served as a rallying point for French ambitions to recover its lost provinces; this historical significance lent it considerable weight as a symbol of French patriotism. During World War II, Capitaine de corvette Thierry d'Argenlieu suggested the Cross of Lorraine as the symbol of the Free French Forces led by Charles de Gaulle as an answer to the Nazi swastika. In France, the Cross of Lorraine was the symbol of Free France during World War II, the liberation of France from Nazi Germany, Gaullism and includes several variations of a two barred cross.
The Cross was displayed on the flags of Free French warships, the fuselages of Free French aircraft. The medal of the Order of Liberation bears the Cross of Lorraine. De Gaulle himself is memorialised by a 43-metre high Cross of Lorraine in his home village of Colombey-les-Deux-Églises; the Cross of Lorraine was adopted by Gaullist political groups such as the Rally for the Republic. French Jesuit missionaries and settlers to the New World carried the Cross of Lorraine c. 1750–1810. The symbol was said to have helped the missionaries to convert the native peoples they encountered, because the two-armed cross resembled existing local imagery; the coat of arms of Hungary depicts a double cross, attributed to Byzantine influence as King Béla III of Hungary was raised in the Byzantine Empire in the 12th century, it was during his rule when the double cross became a symbol of Hungary. The'dual cross' is the consonant'gy' in ancient Hungarian runic writing which reads "egy" when it stands alone if not always, with "God" meaning.
A golden double cross with equal bars, known as the Cross of Jagiellons, was used by Grand Duke of Lithuania and King of Poland Jogaila since his conversion to Christianity in 1386, as a personal insignia and was introduced in the Coat of Arms of Lithuania. The lower bar of the cross was longer than the upper, since it originates from the Hungarian type of the double cross, it became the symbol of Jagiellon dynasty and is one of the national symbols of Lithuania, featured in the Order of the Cross of Vytis and the badge of the Lithuanian Air Force. The double-barred cross is one of the national symbols in Belarus, both as the Jagiellon Cross and as the Cross of St. Euphrosyne of Polatsk, an important religious artifact; the symbol is supposed to have Byzantine roots and is used by the Belarusian Greek Catholic Church as a symbol uniting Eastern-Byzantine and Western-Latin church traditions. The Belarusian Cross can be found on the traditional coat of arms of the Pahonia. Silver double cross, on a mountain with three peaks, forms the coat of arms of Slovak Republic.
It is considered national symbol of Slovaks, its history in present territory can be traced back to Great Moravia in 9th century. The "Cross of Lorraine" symbol appears in Unicode as U+2628 ☨ CROSS OF LORRAINE, it is not to be confused with U+2021 ‡ DOUBLE DAGGER. The cross of Lorraine was used in the Sabre and Worldspan global distribution systems as a delimiter in various input formats, the latest version of the Graphical User Interface for each system uses a different symbol: Apollo displays it as a plus sign, Worldspan as a number sign, Sabre as a yen symbol. For its defense of France in World War I, the American 79th Infantry Division was nicknamed the "Cross of Lorraine" Division; the German 79th Infantry Division of World War II used the cross of Lorraine as its insignia because its first attack was in the Lorraine region. The insignia was redesignated effective December 1, 2009, for the 79th US Army Reserve Sustainment Support Command in Los Alamitos, California; the cross is used as an emblem by the American Lung Association and related organizations through the world, as such is familiar from their Christmas Seals program.
Its use was suggested in 1902 by Paris physician Gilbert Sersiron as a symbol for the "crusade" against tuberculosis. The Scottish indie rock band Frightened Rabbit have used it as a symbol, notably on some merchandise a
The Moselle is a river flowing through France and Germany. It is a left tributary of the Rhine. A small part of Belgium is drained by the Moselle through the Sauer and the Our; the Moselle "twists and turns its way between Trier and Koblenz along one of Germany's most beautiful river valleys." It flows through a region, influenced by mankind since it was first cultivated by the Romans. Today, its hillsides are covered by terraced vineyards where "some of the best Rieslings grow", numerous ruined castles dominate the hilltops above wine villages and towns that line the riverbanks. Traben-Trarbach with its art nouveau architecture and Bernkastel-Kues with its traditional market square are two of the many popular tourist attractions on the Moselle river; the name Moselle is derived from the Celtic name form, via the Latin Mosella, a diminutive form of Mosa, the Latin description of the Meuse, which used to flow parallel to the Moselle. So the Mosella was the "Little Meuse"; the Moselle is first recorded in Book 4 of his Histories.
The Roman poet Ausonius made it a literary theme as early as the 4th century. In his poem dated 371, called Mosella, published in 483 hexameters, this poet of the Late Antiquity and teacher at the Trier Imperial Court described a journey from Bingen over the Hunsrück hills to the Moselle and following its course to Trier on the road named after him, the Via Ausonius. Ausonius describes flourishing and rich landscapes along the river and in the valley of the Moselle, thanks to the policies of their Roman rulers; the river subsequently gave its name to two French republican départements: Moselle and Meurthe-et-Moselle. The source of the Moselle is at 715 m above sea level on the Col de Bussang on the western slopes of the Ballon d'Alsace in the Vosges. After 544 km it discharges into the Rhine at the Deutsches Eck in Koblenz at a height of 59 m above NHN sea level; the length of the river in France is 314 km, for 39 km it forms the border between Germany and Luxembourg, 208 km is within Germany.
The Moselle flows through west of the Vosges. Further downstream, in Germany, the Moselle valley forms the division between the Eifel and Hunsrück mountain regions; the average flow rate of the Moselle at its mouth is 328 m3/s, making it the second largest tributary of the Rhine by volume after the Aare and bigger than the Main and Neckar. The section of the Moselle from the France–Germany–Luxembourg tripoint near Schengen to its confluence with the Saar near Konz shortly before Trier is in Germany known as the Upper Moselle; the section from Trier to Pünderich is the Middle Moselle, the section between Pünderich and its mouth in Koblenz as the Lower Moselle or Terraced Moselle. Characteristic of the Middle and Lower Moselle are its wide meanders cut into the highlands of the Rhenish Massif, the most striking of, the Cochemer Krampen between Bremm and Cochem. Typical are its vineyard terraces. From the tripoint the Moselle marks the entire Saarland–Luxembourg border; the catchment area of the Moselle is 28,286 km2 in area.
The French part covers about 54 percent of the entire catchment. The German state of Rhineland-Palatinate has 6,980 km2, the Saarland 2,569 km2, Luxembourg 2,521 km2, Wallonia in Belgium 767 km2 and North Rhine-Westphalia, 88 km2; the three largest tributaries of the Moselle are, in order, the Saar and the Sauer. The Meurthe was the old upper course of the Moselle, until the latter captured the former upper reaches of the Meuse and took it over. However, the Meuse only delivered a little more water than the Meurthe at its confluence; the Saar is the biggest of all the tributaries as well as the longest. The Sauer is the largest left-hand tributary and drains the region on either side of the German-Luxembourg border; the largest tributary relative to the Moselle at its confluence is the Moselotte, about 40% greater by volumetric flow and thus represents the main branch of the Moselle system. At its mouth, the Moselle delivers 328 m3/s of water into the Rhine after flowing for 544 km. From the left Madon, Esch, Rupt de Mad, Fensch, Syre, Kyll, Lieser, Endert, Elz.
From the right Moselotte, Meurthe, Saar, Olewiger Bach, Ruwer, Feller Bach, Ahringsbach, Kautenbach, Lützbach, Altlayer Bach, Ehrbach. Towns along the Moselle are: in France: Épinal, Pont-à-Mousson and Thionville in Luxembourg: Schengen, Remich and Wasserbillig in Germany: Konz, Schweich, Bernkastel-Kues, Traben-Trarbach, Zell and Koblenz From Trier downstream the Moselle separates the two Central Upland ranges of the Eifel and the Hunsrück; the Vosges, the present source region of the Moselle, were formed about 50 million years ago. In the Miocene and Pliocene epochs the ancient Moselle was a tributary of the ancient Rhine. When, in the Quaternary period, the Rhenish Massif rose, the meanders of the Moselle were formed between the Trier Valley and the Neuwied Basin; the highest navigable water level is 6.95 m and normal level is 2.00 m at the Trier Gauge. High water: 11.28 m, Trier Gauge on 21 December 1993 10.56
Duchy of Lorraine
The Duchy of Lorraine Upper Lorraine, was a duchy now included in the larger present-day region of Lorraine in northeastern France. Its capital was Nancy, it was founded in 959 following the division of Lotharingia into two separate duchies: Upper and Lower Lorraine, the westernmost parts of the Holy Roman Empire. The Lower duchy was dismantled, while Upper Lorraine came to be known as the Duchy of Lorraine; the Duchy of Lorraine was coveted and occupied by the Dukes of Burgundy and the Kings of France. In 1737, the Duchy was given to Stanisław Leszczyński, the former king of Poland, who had lost his throne as a result of the War of the Polish Succession, with the understanding that it would fall to the French crown on his death; when Stanisław died on 23 February 1766, Lorraine was annexed by France and reorganized as a province. Lorraine's predecessor, was an independent Carolingian kingdom under the rule of King Lothair II, its territory had been a part of Middle Francia, created in 843 by the Treaty of Verdun, when the Carolingian empire was divided between the three sons of Louis the Pious.
Middle Francia was allotted to Emperor Lothair I, therefore called Lotharii Regnum. On his death in 855, it was further divided into three parts, of which his son Lothair II took the northern one, his realm comprised a larger territory stretching from the County of Burgundy in the south to the North Sea. In French, this area became known as Lorraine, while in German, it was known as Lothringen. In the Alemannic language once spoken in Lorraine, the -ingen suffix signified a property; as Lothair II had died without heirs, his territory was divided by the 870 Treaty of Meerssen between East and West Francia and came under East Frankish rule as a whole by the 880 Treaty of Ribemont. After the East Frankish Carolingians became extinct with the death of Louis the Child in 911, Lotharingia once again attached itself to West Francia, but was conquered by the German king Henry the Fowler in 925. Stuck in the conflict with his rival Hugh the Great, in 942 King Louis IV of France renounced all claims to Lotharingia.
In 953, the German king Otto. In 959, Bruno divided the duchy into Lower Lorraine; the Upper Duchy was further "up" the river system. Upper Lorraine was first denominated as the Duchy of the Moselle, both in charters and narrative sources, its duke was the dux Mosellanorum; the usage of Lotharingia Superioris and Lorraine in official documents begins around the fifteenth century. The first duke and deputy of Bruno was Frederick I of Bar, son-in-law of Bruno's sister Hedwig of Saxony. Lower Lorraine disintegrated into several smaller territories and only the title of a "Duke of Lothier" remained, held by Brabant. After the duchy of the Moselle came into the possession of René of Anjou, the name "Duchy of Lorraine" was adopted again, only retrospectively called "Upper Lorraine". At that time, several territories had split off, such as the County of Luxembourg, the Electorate of Trier, the County of Bar and the "Three Bishoprics" of Verdun and Toul; the border between the Empire and the Kingdom of France remained stable throughout the Middle Ages.
In 1301, Count Henry III of Bar had to receive the western part of his lands as a fief by King Philip IV of France. In 1475, the Burgundian duke Charles the Bold campaigned for the Duchy of Lorraine, but was defeated and killed at the 1477 Battle of Nancy. In the 1552 Treaty of Chambord, a number of insurgent Protestant Imperial princes around Elector Maurice of Saxony ceded the Three Bishoprics to King Henry II of France in turn for his support. Due to the weakening of Imperial authority during the 1618-1648 Thirty Years' War, France was able to occupy the duchy in 1634 and retained it until 1661 when Charles IV was restored. In 1670, the French invaded again. France returned the Duchy in the 1697 Treaty of Ryswick ending the Nine Years' War and Charles' son Leopold, became duke and was known as'Leopold the Good. In 1737, after the War of the Polish Succession, an agreement between France, the Habsburgs and the Lorraine House of Vaudémont assigned the Duchy to Stanisław Leszczyński, former king of Poland.
He was father-in-law to King Louis XV of France, who lost out to a candidate backed by Russia and Austria in the War of the Polish Succession. The Lorraine duke Francis Stephen, betrothed to the Emperor's daughter Archduchess Maria Theresa, was compensated with the Grand Duchy of Tuscany, where the last Medici ruler had died without issue. France promised to support Maria Theresa as heir to the Habsburg possessions under the Pragmatic Sanction of 1713. Leszczyński received Lorraine with the understanding that it would fall to the French crown on his death; the title of Duke of Lorraine was of course given to Stanisław, but retained by Francis Stephen, it figures prominently in the titles of his successors, the House of Habsburg-Lorraine. When Stanisław died on 23 February 1766, Lorraine was annexed by France and reorganized as a province by the French government. Two regional languages survive in the re
France the French Republic, is a country whose territory consists of metropolitan France in Western Europe and several overseas regions and territories. The metropolitan area of France extends from the Mediterranean Sea to the English Channel and the North Sea, from the Rhine to the Atlantic Ocean, it is bordered by Belgium and Germany to the northeast and Italy to the east, Andorra and Spain to the south. The overseas territories include French Guiana in South America and several islands in the Atlantic and Indian oceans; the country's 18 integral regions span a combined area of 643,801 square kilometres and a total population of 67.3 million. France, a sovereign state, is a unitary semi-presidential republic with its capital in Paris, the country's largest city and main cultural and commercial centre. Other major urban areas include Lyon, Toulouse, Bordeaux and Nice. During the Iron Age, what is now metropolitan France was inhabited by a Celtic people. Rome annexed the area in 51 BC, holding it until the arrival of Germanic Franks in 476, who formed the Kingdom of Francia.
The Treaty of Verdun of 843 partitioned Francia into Middle Francia and West Francia. West Francia which became the Kingdom of France in 987 emerged as a major European power in the Late Middle Ages following its victory in the Hundred Years' War. During the Renaissance, French culture flourished and a global colonial empire was established, which by the 20th century would become the second largest in the world; the 16th century was dominated by religious civil wars between Protestants. France became Europe's dominant cultural and military power in the 17th century under Louis XIV. In the late 18th century, the French Revolution overthrew the absolute monarchy, established one of modern history's earliest republics, saw the drafting of the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen, which expresses the nation's ideals to this day. In the 19th century, Napoleon established the First French Empire, his subsequent Napoleonic Wars shaped the course of continental Europe. Following the collapse of the Empire, France endured a tumultuous succession of governments culminating with the establishment of the French Third Republic in 1870.
France was a major participant in World War I, from which it emerged victorious, was one of the Allies in World War II, but came under occupation by the Axis powers in 1940. Following liberation in 1944, a Fourth Republic was established and dissolved in the course of the Algerian War; the Fifth Republic, led by Charles de Gaulle, remains today. Algeria and nearly all the other colonies became independent in the 1960s and retained close economic and military connections with France. France has long been a global centre of art and philosophy, it hosts the world's fourth-largest number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites and is the leading tourist destination, receiving around 83 million foreign visitors annually. France is a developed country with the world's sixth-largest economy by nominal GDP, tenth-largest by purchasing power parity. In terms of aggregate household wealth, it ranks fourth in the world. France performs well in international rankings of education, health care, life expectancy, human development.
France is considered a great power in global affairs, being one of the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council with the power to veto and an official nuclear-weapon state. It is a leading member state of the European Union and the Eurozone, a member of the Group of 7, North Atlantic Treaty Organization, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, the World Trade Organization, La Francophonie. Applied to the whole Frankish Empire, the name "France" comes from the Latin "Francia", or "country of the Franks". Modern France is still named today "Francia" in Italian and Spanish, "Frankreich" in German and "Frankrijk" in Dutch, all of which have more or less the same historical meaning. There are various theories as to the origin of the name Frank. Following the precedents of Edward Gibbon and Jacob Grimm, the name of the Franks has been linked with the word frank in English, it has been suggested that the meaning of "free" was adopted because, after the conquest of Gaul, only Franks were free of taxation.
Another theory is that it is derived from the Proto-Germanic word frankon, which translates as javelin or lance as the throwing axe of the Franks was known as a francisca. However, it has been determined that these weapons were named because of their use by the Franks, not the other way around; the oldest traces of human life in what is now France date from 1.8 million years ago. Over the ensuing millennia, Humans were confronted by a harsh and variable climate, marked by several glacial eras. Early hominids led a nomadic hunter-gatherer life. France has a large number of decorated caves from the upper Palaeolithic era, including one of the most famous and best preserved, Lascaux. At the end of the last glacial period, the climate became milder. After strong demographic and agricultural development between the 4th and 3rd millennia, metallurgy appeared at the end of the 3rd millennium working gold and bronze, iron. France has numerous megalithic sites from the Neolithic period, including the exceptiona