The Franks (Latin: Franci or gens Francorum) are historically first known as a group of Germanic tribes that roamed the land between the Lower and Middle Rhine in the 3rd century AD, and second as the people of Gaul who merged with the Gallo-Roman populations during succeeding centuries, passing on their name to modern-day France and becoming part of the heritage of the modern day French people. Some Franks raided Roman territory, while other Frankish tribes joined the Roman troops of Gaul. In later times, Franks became the military rulers of the northern part of Roman Gaul. With the coronation of their ruler Charlemagne as Imperator Romanorum by Pope Leo III in 800 AD, he and his successors were recognised as legitimate successors to the emperors of the Western Roman Empire. In this way, Romance speakers came to be seen as ""Franks"" in some contexts.The Salian Franks lived on Roman-held soil between the Rhine, Scheldt, and Meuse rivers in what is now Northern France, Belgium and the southern Netherlands. The kingdom was acknowledged by the Romans after 357 AD. Following the collapse of Rome in the West, the Frankish tribes were united under the Merovingians, who succeeded in conquering most of Gaul in the 6th century. The Franks became very powerful after this. The Merovingian dynasty, descendants of the Salians, founded one of the Germanic monarchies that would absorb large parts of the Western Roman Empire. The Frankish state consolidated its hold over the majority of western Europe by the end of the 8th century, developing into the Carolingian Empire. This empire would gradually evolve into the state of France and the Holy Roman Empire.In the Middle Ages, the term Frank was used in the east as a synonym for western European, as the Franks were then rulers of most of Western Europe. The Franks in the east kept their Germanic language and became part of the Germans, Dutch, Belgians and Luxembourgers. The Franconian languages, which are called Frankisch in Dutch or Fränkisch in German, originated at least partly in the Old Frankish language of the Franks. Nowadays, the German name for France is ""Frankreich"" (Dutch: ""Frankrijk"") which means ""Realm of the Franks"".