Charlemagne (/ˈʃɑːrləmeɪn/) or
Charles the Great[a] (2 April
742[b] – 28 January 814), numbered
Charles I, was King of the
Franks from 768, King of the
Lombards from 774 and Holy Roman Emperor
from 800. He united much of western and central Europe during the
early Middle Ages. He was the first recognised emperor to rule from
western Europe since the fall of the Western
Roman Empire three
centuries earlier. The expanded Frankish state that Charlemagne
founded is called the
Carolingian Empire. He was later canonized by
Charlemagne was the eldest son of
Pepin the Short
Pepin the Short and Bertrada of
Laon, having been born before their canonical marriage. He became
king in 768 following his father's death, initially as co-ruler with
his brother Carloman I. Carloman's sudden death in December 771 under
unexplained circumstances left
Charlemagne as the sole, undisputed
ruler of the Frankish Kingdom. He continued his father's policy
towards the papacy and became its protector, removing the Lombards
from power in northern
Italy and leading an incursion into Muslim
Spain. He campaigned against the
Saxons to his east, Christianising
them upon penalty of death and leading to events such as the Massacre
Charlemagne reached the height of his power in 800 when he
was crowned Emperor of the Romans by
Pope Leo III on Christmas Day at
Rome's Old St. Peter's Basilica.
Charlemagne has been called the "Father of Europe" (Pater Europae),[c]
as he united most of Western Europe for the first time since the
classical era of the
Roman Empire and united parts of Europe that had
never been under Frankish rule. His rule spurred the Carolingian
Renaissance, a period of energetic cultural and intellectual activity
within the Western Church. All Holy Roman Emperors considered their
kingdoms to be descendants of Charlemagne's empire, up to the last
Emperor Francis II and the French and German monarchies.[citation
needed] However, the
Eastern Orthodox Church
Eastern Orthodox Church views
controversially, labeling as heterodox his support of the filioque and
recognition by the
Bishop of Rome
Bishop of Rome as legitimate Roman Emperor, rather
Irene of Athens
Irene of Athens of the Eastern Roman Empire. These
and other machinations led to the eventual split of
Constantinople in the Great Schism of 1054.[d]
Charlemagne died in 814, having ruled as emperor for thirteen years.
He was laid to rest in his imperial capital city of Aachen. He married
at least four times and had three legitimate sons, but only his son
Louis the Pious
Louis the Pious survived to succeed him.
1 Political background
2 Rise to power
2.1 Early life
2.1.1 Date of birth
2.1.2 Place of birth
2.3 Ambiguous high office
2.4 Aquitainian rebellion
2.4.1 Formation of a new Aquitaine
2.4.2 Acquisition of
Aquitaine by the Carolingians
2.4.3 Loss and recovery of Aquitaine
2.5 Perforce union
3 Italian campaigns
3.1 Conquest of the Lombard kingdom
3.2 Southern Italy
Carolingian expansion to the south
Vasconia and the Pyrenees
5.3 Contact with the Saracens
5.4 Wars with the Moors
6 Eastern campaigns
6.1 Saxon Wars
6.2 Submission of Bavaria
6.3 Avar campaigns
6.4 Northeast Slav expeditions
6.5 Southeast Slav expeditions
7.2 Imperial title
7.3 Imperial diplomacy
7.4 Danish attacks
8.2 Economic and monetary reforms
8.3 Jews in Charlemagne's realm
8.4 Education reforms
8.5 Church reforms
8.6 Writing reforms
8.7 Political reforms
8.7.2 Divisio regnorum
10.1 Marriages and heirs
13 Cultural uses
13.1 Middle Ages
13.2 Modern era
14 Books and libraries
15 See also
18 External links
Francia, early 8th century
By the 6th century, the western Germanic tribe of the
Franks had been
Christianised, due in considerable measure to the Catholic conversion
of Clovis I. Francia, ruled by the Merovingians, was the most
powerful of the kingdoms that succeeded the Western Roman Empire.
Battle of Tertry the
Merovingians declined into
powerlessness, for which they have been dubbed the rois fainéants
("do-nothing kings"). Almost all government powers were exercised
by their chief officer, the mayor of the palace.[e]
In 687, Pepin of Herstal, mayor of the palace of Austrasia, ended the
strife between various kings and their mayors with his victory at
Tertry. He became the sole governor of the entire Frankish kingdom.
Pepin was the grandson of two important figures of the Austrasian
Arnulf of Metz
Arnulf of Metz and Pepin of Landen. Pepin of
Herstal was eventually succeeded by his illegitimate son Charles,
later known as
Charles Martel (
Charles the Hammer).
The Early Middle Ages, 284–1000: Charlemagne, 46:14, YaleCourses on
YouTube, Yale University
Charlemagne: An Introduction, Smarthistory, 7:49, Khan Academy
Charles governed the
Franks in lieu of a king and declined
to call himself king.
Charles was succeeded in 741 by his sons
Carloman and Pepin the Short, the father of Charlemagne. In 743, the
Childeric III on the throne to curb separatism in the
periphery. He was the last Merovingian king. Carloman resigned office
in 746, preferring to enter the church as a monk. Pepin brought the
question of the kingship before
Pope Zachary, asking whether it was
logical for a king to have no royal power. The pope handed down his
decision in 749, decreeing that it was better for Pepin to be called
king, as he had the powers of high office as Mayor, so as not to
confuse the hierarchy. He therefore ordered him to become the true
In 750, Pepin was elected by an assembly of the Franks, anointed by
the archbishop, and then raised to the office of king. The Pope
Childeric III as "the false king" and ordered him into a
Merovingian dynasty was thereby replaced by the
Carolingian dynasty, named after
Charles Martel. In 753,
II fled from
Italy to Francia, appealing to Pepin for assistance for
the rights of St. Peter. He was supported in this appeal by Carloman,
Charles' brother. In return, the pope could provide only legitimacy.
He did this by again anointing and confirming Pepin, this time adding
his young sons Carolus (Charlemagne) and Carloman to the royal
patrimony. They thereby became heirs to the realm that already covered
most of western Europe. In 754, Pepin accepted the Pope's invitation
Italy on behalf of St. Peter's rights, dealing successfully
with the Lombards.
Under the Carolingians, the Frankish kingdom spread to encompass an
area including most of Western Europe; the east-west division of the
kingdom formed the basis for modern
France and Germany. Orman
Treaty of Verdun
Treaty of Verdun (843) between the warring grandsons of
Charlemagne as the foundation event of an independent
France under its
Charles the Bald; an independent
Germany under its first
king Louis the German; and an independent intermediate state
stretching from the low countries along the borderlands to south of
Rome under Lothair I, who retained the title of emperor and the
Rome without the jurisdiction. The middle kingdom
had broken up by 890 and partly absorbed into Western kingdom (later
France) and Eastern kingdom (Germany) and the rest developing into
smaller "buffer" nations that exist between
Germany to this
day, namely the
Benelux and Switzerland. The concept and memory of a
united Europe remains topical to the current time and hence
Charlemagne is often considered the forefather of modern Europe.
Rise to power
Date of birth
The most likely date of Charlemagne's birth is reconstructed from
several sources. The date of 742—calculated from Einhard's date of
death of January 814 at age 72—predates the marriage of his parents
in 744. The year given in the Annales Petaviani, 747, would be more
likely, except that it contradicts
Einhard and a few other sources in
Charlemagne sixty-seven years old at his death. The month and
day of 2 April are established by a calendar from Lorsch Abbey.
Easter fell on 2 April, a coincidence that likely would have
been remarked upon by chroniclers but was not. If
Easter was being
used as the beginning of the calendar year, then 2 April 747 could
have been, by modern reckoning, April 748 (not on Easter). The date
favoured by the preponderance of evidence is 2 April 742, based on
Charlemagne's age at the time of his death. This date supports the
Charlemagne was technically an illegitimate child,
although that is not mentioned by Einhard, since he was born out of
wedlock; Pepin and Bertrada were bound by a private contract or
Friedelehe at the time of his birth, but did not marry until
Place of birth
Region of Aachen-
Liège (contemporary borders, trade- and travel
Charlemagne's exact birthplace is unknown, although historians have
Aachen in modern-day Germany, and
Liège (Herstal) in
present-day Belgium as possible locations.
close to the region from whence the Merovingian and Carolingian
families originated. Other cities have been suggested, including
Düren, Gauting, Mürlenbach,
Quierzy and Prüm. No definitive
evidence resolves the question.
Charlemagne was the eldest child of Pepin the Short
(714 – 24 September 768, reigned from 751) and his
Bertrada of Laon
Bertrada of Laon (720 – 12 July 783), daughter
Caribert of Laon and Bertrada of Cologne. Many historians consider
Charlemagne (Charles) to have been illegitimate, although some state
that this is arguable, because Pepin did not marry Bertrada until
744, which was after Charles' birth; this status did not exclude him
from the succession.
Records name only Carloman, Gisela, and three short-lived children
named Pepin, Chrothais and Adelais as his younger siblings.
It would be folly, I think, to write a word concerning Charles' birth
and infancy, or even his boyhood, for nothing has ever been written on
the subject, and there is no one alive now who can give information on
it. Accordingly, I determined to pass that by as unknown, and to
proceed at once to treat of his character, his deeds, and such other
facts of his life as are worth telling and setting forth, and shall
first give an account of his deeds at home and abroad, then of his
character and pursuits, and lastly of his administration and death,
omitting nothing worth knowing or necessary to know.
Ambiguous high office
Further information: Mayor of the Palace
The most powerful officers of the Frankish people, the Mayor of the
Palace (Maior Domus) and one or more kings (rex, reges), were
appointed by the election of the people. Elections were not periodic,
but were held as required to elect officers ad quos summa imperii
pertinebat, "to whom the highest matters of state pertained".
Evidently, interim decisions could be made by the Pope, which
ultimately needed to be ratified using an assembly of the people that
Before he was elected king in 750, Pepin was initially a mayor, a high
office he held "as though hereditary" (velut hereditario fungebatur).
Einhard explains that "the honour" was usually "given by the people"
to the distinguished, but Pepin the Great and his brother Carloman the
Wise received it as though hereditary, as had their father, Charles
Martel. There was, however, a certain ambiguity about
quasi-inheritance. The office was treated as joint property: one
Mayorship held by two brothers jointly. Each, however, had his own
geographic jurisdiction. When Carloman decided to resign, becoming
ultimately a Benedictine at Monte Cassino, the question of the
disposition of his quasi-share was settled by the pope. He converted
the Mayorship into a Kingship and awarded the joint property to Pepin,
who gained the right to pass it on by inheritance.
This decision was not accepted by all family members. Carloman had
consented to the temporary tenancy of his own share, which he intended
to pass on to his son, Drogo, when the inheritance should be settled
at someone's death. By the Pope's decision, in which Pepin had a hand,
Drogo was to be disqualified as an heir in favour of his cousin
Charles. He took up arms in opposition to the decision and was joined
by Grifo, a half-brother of Pepin and Carloman, who had been given a
Charles Martel, but was stripped of it and held under loose
arrest by his half-brothers after an attempt to seize their shares by
Grifo perished in combat in the Battle of
Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne while Drogo was hunted down and taken into
On the death of Pepin, 24 September 768, the kingship passed jointly
to his sons, "with divine assent" (divino nutu). According to the
Life, Pepin died in Paris. The
Franks "in general assembly" (generali
conventu) gave them both the rank of a king (reges) but "partitioned
the whole body of the kingdom equally" (totum regni corpus ex aequo
partirentur). The annals tell a slightly different version, with
the king dying at St-Denis, near Paris. The two "lords" (domni) were
"elevated to kingship" (elevati sunt in regnum),
Charles on 9 October
in Noyon, Carloman on an unspecified date in Soissons. If born in 742,
Charles was 26 years old, but he had been campaigning at his father's
right hand for several years, which may help to account for his
military skill. Carloman was 17.
The language in either case suggests that there were not two
inheritances, which would have created distinct kings ruling over
distinct kingdoms, but a single joint inheritance and a joint kingship
tenanted by two equal kings,
Charles and his brother Carloman. As
before, distinct jurisdictions were awarded.
Charles received Pepin's
original share as Mayor: the outer parts of the kingdom bordering on
the sea, namely Neustria, western Aquitaine, and the northern parts of
Austrasia; while Carloman was awarded his uncle's former share, the
inner parts: southern Austrasia, Septimania, eastern Aquitaine,
Burgundy, Provence, and Swabia, lands bordering Italy. The question of
whether these jurisdictions were joint shares reverting to the other
brother if one brother died or were inherited property passed on to
the descendants of the brother who died was never definitely settled.
It came up repeatedly over the succeeding decades until the grandsons
Charlemagne created distinct sovereign kingdoms.
Formation of a new Aquitaine
Main article: Aquitaine
Rome had been in southern Gaul, Romanised and speaking
a Romance language. Similarly
Hispania had been populated by peoples
who spoke various languages, including Celtic, but the area was now
populated primarily by
Romance language speakers. Between Aquitaine
Hispania were the Euskaldunak, Latinised to Vascones, or
Basques, living in Basque country, Vasconia, which extended,
according to the distributions of place names attributable to the
Basques, most densely in the western
Pyrenees but also as far south as
Ebro River in Spain and as far north as the
Garonne River in
France. The French name, Gascony, derives from Vasconia. The
Romans were never able to entirely subject Vasconia. The parts they
did, in which they placed the region's first cities, were sources of
legions in the Roman army valued for their fighting abilities. The
Aquitaine was Toulouse.
At about 660, the Duchy of
Vasconia united with the Duchy of Aquitaine
to form a single realm under Felix of Aquitaine, governing from
Toulouse. This was a joint kingship with a Basque duke, Lupus I. Lupus
Latin translation of Basque Otsoa, "wolf". At Felix's death
in 670 the joint property of the kingship reverted entirely to Lupus.
Basques had no law of joint inheritance, but practised
primogeniture, Lupus in effect founded a hereditary dynasty of Basque
rulers of an expanded Aquitaine.
Aquitaine by the Carolingians
Umayyad conquest of Hispania
Hispania in 732
Latin chronicles of the end of Visigothic
Hispania omit many
details, such as identification of characters, filling in the gaps and
reconciliation of numerous contradictions. Muslim sources,
however, present a more coherent view, such as in the Ta'rikh iftitah
al-Andalus ("History of the Conquest of al-Andalus") by Ibn
al-Qūṭiyya ("the son of the Gothic woman", referring to the
granddaughter of Wittiza, the last Visigothic king of a united
Hispania, who married a Moor). Ibn al-Qūṭiyya, who had another,
much longer name, must have been relying to some degree on family oral
According to Ibn al-Qūṭiyya Wittiza, the last Visigothic king
of a united Hispania, died before his three sons, Almund, Romulo and
Ardabast, reached maturity. Their mother was regent at Toledo, but
Roderic, army chief of staff, staged a rebellion, capturing Córdoba.
He chose to impose a joint rule over distinct jurisdictions on the
true heirs. Evidence of a division of some sort can be found in the
distribution of coins imprinted with the name of each king and in the
Wittiza was succeeded by Roderic, who reigned for
seven and a half years, followed by Achila (Aquila), who reigned three
and a half years. If the reigns of both terminated with the incursion
of the Saracens, then
Roderic appears to have reigned a few years
before the majority of Achila. The latter's kingdom is securely placed
to the northeast, while
Roderic seems to have taken the rest, notably
Saracens crossed the mountains to claim Ardo's Septimania, only to
encounter the Basque dynasty of Aquitaine, always the allies of the
Odo the Great of
Aquitaine was at first victorious at the
Toulouse in 721.
Saracen troops gradually massed in
Septimania and in 732 an army under
Emir Abd al-Rahman abd Allah
al-Ghafiqi advanced into Vasconia, and Odo was defeated at the Battle
of the River Garonne. They took
Bordeaux and were advancing towards
Tours when Odo, powerless to stop them, appealed to his arch-enemy,
Charles Martel, mayor of the Franks. In one of the first of the
lightning marches for which the
Carolingian kings became famous,
Charles and his army appeared in the path of the
Tours and Poitiers, and in the Battle of
Tours decisively defeated and
killed al-Ghafiqi. The Moors returned twice more, each time suffering
defeat at Charles' hands—at the River Berre near Narbonne in 737
and in the Dauphine in 740. Odo's price for salvation from the
Saracens was incorporation into the Frankish kingdom, a decision that
was repugnant to him and also to his heirs.
Loss and recovery of Aquitaine
After the death of his father,
Hunald I allied himself with free
Lombardy. However, Odo had ambiguously left the kingdom jointly to his
two sons, Hunald and Hatto. The latter, loyal to Francia, now went to
war with his brother over full possession. Victorious, Hunald blinded
and imprisoned his brother, only to be so stricken by conscience that
he resigned and entered the church as a monk to do penance. The story
is told in Annales Mettenses priores. His son Waifer took an early
inheritance, becoming duke of
Aquitaine and ratified the alliance with
Lombardy. Waifer decided to honour it, repeating his father's
decision, which he justified by arguing that any agreements with
Charles Martel became invalid on Martel's death. Since
now Pepin's inheritance because of the earlier assistance given by
Charles Martel, according to some the latter and his son, the young
Charles, hunted down Waifer, who could only conduct a guerrilla war,
and executed him.
Among the contingents of the Frankish army were Bavarians under
Tassilo III, Duke of Bavaria, an Agilofing, the hereditary
Bavarian ducal family.
Grifo had installed himself as Duke of Bavaria,
but Pepin replaced him with a member of the ducal family yet a child,
Tassilo, whose protector he had become after the death of his father.
The loyalty of the
Agilolfings was perpetually in question, but Pepin
exacted numerous oaths of loyalty from Tassilo. However, the latter
had married Liutperga, a daughter of Desiderius, king of Lombardy. At
a critical point in the campaign, Tassilo left the field with all his
Bavarians. Out of reach of Pepin, he repudiated all loyalty to
Francia. Pepin had no chance to respond as he grew ill and died
within a few weeks after Waifer's execution.
The first event of the brothers' reign was the uprising of the
Aquitainians and Gascons, in 769, in that territory split between the
two kings. One year earlier, Pepin had finally defeated Waifer, Duke
of Aquitaine, after waging a destructive, ten-year war against
Hunald II led the Aquitainians as far north as
Charles met Carloman, but Carloman refused to participate
and returned to Burgundy.
Charles went to war, leading an army to
Bordeaux, where he set up a fort at Fronsac. Hunald was forced to flee
to the court of Duke Lupus II of Gascony. Lupus, fearing Charles,
turned Hunald over in exchange for peace, and was put in a monastery.
Gascon lords also surrendered, and
Gascony were finally
fully subdued by the Franks.
The brothers maintained lukewarm relations with the assistance of
their mother Bertrada, but in 770
Charles signed a treaty with Duke
Tassilo III of
Bavaria and married a Lombard Princess (commonly known
today as Desiderata), the daughter of King Desiderius, to surround
Carloman with his own allies. Though
Pope Stephen III first opposed
the marriage with the Lombard princess, he found little to fear from a
Less than a year after his marriage,
Charlemagne repudiated Desiderata
and married a 13-year-old Swabian named Hildegard. The repudiated
Desiderata returned to her father's court at Pavia. Her father's wrath
was now aroused, and he would have gladly allied with Carloman to
defeat Charles. Before any open hostilities could be declared,
however, Carloman died on 5 December 771, apparently of natural
causes. Carloman's widow Gerberga fled to Desiderius' court in
Lombardy with her sons for protection.
Conquest of the Lombard kingdom
The Frankish king
Charlemagne was a devout Catholic and maintained a
close relationship with the papacy throughout his life. In 772, when
Pope Adrian I was threatened by invaders, the king rushed to Rome
to provide assistance. Shown here, the pope asks
Charlemagne for help
at a meeting near Rome.
At his succession in 772,
Pope Adrian I demanded the return of certain
cities in the former exarchate of Ravenna in accordance with a promise
at the succession of Desiderius. Instead,
Desiderius took over certain
papal cities and invaded the Pentapolis, heading for Rome. Adrian sent
Charlemagne in autumn requesting he enforce the
policies of his father, Pepin.
Desiderius sent his own ambassadors
denying the pope's charges. The ambassadors met at Thionville, and
Charlemagne upheld the pope's side.
Charlemagne demanded what the pope
had requested, but
Desiderius swore never to comply.
his uncle Bernard crossed the Alps in 773 and chased the
to Pavia, which they then besieged.
Charlemagne temporarily left
the siege to deal with Adelchis, son of Desiderius, who was raising an
army at Verona. The young prince was chased to the
and fled to
Constantinople to plead for assistance from Constantine V,
who was waging war with Bulgaria.
The siege lasted until the spring of 774, when
Charlemagne visited the
pope in Rome. There he confirmed his father's grants of land, with
some later chronicles falsely claiming that he also expanded them,
granting Tuscany, Emilia, Venice and Corsica. The pope granted him the
title patrician. He then returned to Pavia, where the
Lombards were on
the verge of surrendering. In return for their lives, the Lombards
surrendered and opened the gates in early summer.
Desiderius was sent
to the abbey of Corbie, and his son
Adelchis died in Constantinople, a
patrician. Charles, unusually, had himself crowned with the Iron Crown
and made the magnates of
Lombardy pay homage to him at Pavia. Only
Arechis II of Benevento
Arechis II of Benevento refused to submit and proclaimed
Charlemagne was then master of
Italy as king of the
Lombards. He left
Italy with a garrison in
Pavia and a few Frankish
counts in place the same year.
Instability continued in Italy. In 776, Dukes
Hrodgaud of Friuli and
Hildeprand of Spoleto rebelled.
Charlemagne rushed back from Saxony
and defeated the duke of Friuli in battle; the duke was slain. The
duke of Spoleto signed a treaty. Their co-conspirator, Arechis, was
not subdued, and Adelchis, their candidate in Byzantium, never left
that city. Northern
Italy was now faithfully his.
Charlemagne directed his attention towards the Duchy of
Benevento, where Arechis II was reigning independently with the
self-given title of Princeps. Charlemagne's siege of
Arechis into submission. However, after Arecchis II's death in 787,
his son Grimoald III proclaimed the
Duchy of Benevento
Duchy of Benevento newly
independent. Grimoald was attacked many times by Charles' or his sons'
armies, without achieving a definitive victory.
interest and never again returned to Southern
Italy where Grimoald was
able to keep the Duchy free from Frankish suzerainty.
Charlemagne (left) and his eldest son, Pepin the Hunchback.
Tenth-century copy of a lost original from about 830.
During the first peace of any substantial length (780–782), Charles
began to appoint his sons to positions of authority. In 781, he made
his two youngest sons kings, crowned by the Pope. The elder of these
two, Carloman, was made king of Italy, taking the Iron Crown that his
father had first worn in 774, and in the same ceremony was renamed
"Pepin". The younger of the two, Louis, became king of
Charlemagne ordered Pepin and Louis to be raised in the
customs of their kingdoms, and he gave their regents some control of
their sub-kingdoms, but kept the real power, though he intended his
sons to inherit their realms. He did not tolerate insubordination in
his sons: in 792, he banished his eldest, though possibly
illegitimate, son, Pippin the Hunchback, to the monastery of Prüm,
because the young man had joined a rebellion against him.
Charles was determined to have his children educated, including his
daughters, as his parents had instilled the importance of learning in
him at an early age. His children were also taught skills in
accord with their aristocratic status, which included training in
riding and weaponry for his sons, and embroidery, spinning and weaving
for his daughters.
Charlemagne instructing his son Louis the Pious
The sons fought many wars on behalf of their father.
mostly preoccupied with the Bretons, whose border he shared and who
insurrected on at least two occasions and were easily put down. He
also fought the
Saxons on multiple occasions. In 805 and 806, he was
sent into the Böhmerwald (modern Bohemia) to deal with the Slavs
living there (Bohemian tribes, ancestors of the modern Czechs). He
subjected them to Frankish authority and devastated the valley of the
Elbe, forcing tribute from them. Pippin had to hold the Avar and
Beneventan borders and fought the
Slavs to his north. He was uniquely
poised to fight the
Byzantine Empire when that conflict arose after
Charlemagne's imperial coronation and a Venetian rebellion. Finally,
Louis was in charge of the
Spanish March and fought the duke of
Benevento in southern
Italy on at least one occasion. He took
Barcelona in a great siege in 797.
Charlemagne's attitude towards his daughters has been the subject of
much discussion. He kept them at home with him and refused to allow
them to contract sacramental marriages (though he originally condoned
an engagement between his eldest daughter
Rotrude and Constantine VI
of Byzantium, this engagement was annulled when
Rotrude was 11).
Charlemagne's opposition to his daughters' marriages may possibly have
intended to prevent the creation of cadet branches of the family to
challenge the main line, as had been the case with Tassilo of Bavaria.
However, he tolerated their extramarital relationships, even rewarding
their common-law husbands and treasuring the illegitimate
grandchildren they produced for him. He also, apparently, refused to
believe stories of their wild behaviour. After his death the surviving
daughters were banished from the court by their brother, the pious
Louis, to take up residence in the convents they had been bequeathed
by their father. At least one of them, Bertha, had a recognised
relationship, if not a marriage, with Angilbert, a member of
Charlemagne's court circle.
Carolingian expansion to the south
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See also: Abbasid–
Vasconia and the Pyrenees
The destructive war led by Pepin in Aquitaine, although brought to a
satisfactory conclusion for the Franks, proved the Frankish power
structure south of the
Loire was feeble and unreliable. After the
defeat and death of
Waiofar in 768, while
Aquitaine submitted again to
Carolingian dynasty, a new rebellion broke out in 769 led by
Hunald II, a possible son of Waifer. He took refuge with the ally duke
Lupus II of Gascony, but probably out of fear of Charlemagne's
reprisal, handed him over to the new
King of the Franks
King of the Franks to whom he
pledged loyalty, which seemed to confirm the peace in the Basque area
south of the Garonne.
Wary of new Basque uprisings,
Charlemagne seems to have tried to
contain duke Lupus's power by appointing Seguin as count of Bordeaux
(778) and other counts of Frankish background in bordering areas
(Toulouse, County of Fézensac). The Basque duke in turn seems to have
contributed decisively or schemed the Battle of Roncevaux Pass
(referred to as "Basque treachery"). The defeat of Charlemagne's army
in Roncevaux (778) confirmed his determination to rule directly by
establishing the Kingdom of
Aquitaine (ruled by Louis the Pious) based
on a power base of Frankish officials, distributing lands among
colonisers and allocating lands to the Church, which he took as ally.
A Christianisation programme was put in place across the high Pyrenees
The new political arrangement for
Vasconia did not sit well with local
lords. As of 788 Adalric was fighting and capturing Chorson,
Carolingian count of Toulouse. He was eventually released, but
Charlemagne, enraged at the compromise, decided to depose him and
appointed his trustee William of Gellone. William in turn fought the
Basques and defeated them after banishing Adalric (790).
From 781 (Pallars, Ribagorça) to 806 (
Pamplona under Frankish
influence), taking the County of
Toulouse for a power base,
Charlemagne asserted Frankish authority over the
Pyrenees by subduing
the south-western marches of
Toulouse (790) and establishing vassal
counties on the southern
Pyrenees that were to make up the Marca
Hispanica. As of 794, a Frankish vassal, the Basque lord Belasko
(al-Galashki, 'the Gaul') ruled Álava, but
Pamplona remained under
Cordovan and local control up to 806. Belasko and the counties in the
Marca Hispánica provided the necessary base to attack the Andalusians
(an expedition led by William Count of
Louis the Pious
Louis the Pious to
Barcelona in 801). Events in the Duchy of
in Pamplona, count overthrown in Aragon, duke Seguin of Bordeaux
deposed, uprising of the Basque lords, etc.) were to prove it
ephemeral upon Charlemagne's death.
According to the Muslim historian Ibn al-Athir, the Diet of Paderborn
had received the representatives of the Muslim rulers of Zaragoza,
Barcelona and Huesca. Their masters had been cornered in the
Iberian peninsula by Abd ar-Rahman I, the
Umayyad emir of Cordova.
These "Saracen" (
Moorish and Muladi) rulers offered their homage to
the king of the
Franks in return for military support. Seeing an
opportunity to extend
Christendom and his own power and believing the
Saxons to be a fully conquered nation,
Charlemagne agreed to go to
In 778, he led the Neustrian army across the Western Pyrenees, while
the Austrasians, Lombards, and Burgundians passed over the Eastern
Pyrenees. The armies met at Saragossa and
Charlemagne received the
homage of the Muslim rulers, Sulayman al-Arabi and Kasmin ibn Yusuf,
but the city did not fall for him. Indeed,
Charlemagne faced the
toughest battle of his career. The Muslims forced him to retreat. He
decided to go home, since he could not trust the Basques, whom he had
subdued by conquering Pamplona. He turned to leave Iberia, but as he
was passing through the Pass of
Roncesvalles one of the most famous
events of his reign occurred. The
Basques attacked and destroyed his
rearguard and baggage train. The Battle of Roncevaux Pass, though less
a battle than a skirmish, left many famous dead, including the
seneschal Eggihard, the count of the palace Anselm, and the warden of
the Breton March, Roland, inspiring the subsequent creation of the
Roland (La Chanson de Roland).
Contact with the Saracens
Harun al-Rashid receiving a delegation of
Charlemagne in Baghdad, by
Julius Köckert (1864)
The conquest of
Charlemagne in contact with the Saracens
who, at the time, controlled the Mediterranean. Charlemagne's eldest
son, Pepin the Hunchback, was much occupied with
Saracens in Italy.
Sardinia at an unknown date and in
799 the Balearic Islands. The islands were often attacked by Saracen
pirates, but the counts of
Tuscany (Boniface) controlled
them with large fleets until the end of Charlemagne's reign.
Charlemagne even had contact with the caliphal court in Baghdad. In
797 (or possibly 801), the caliph of Baghdad, Harun al-Rashid,
Charlemagne with an
Asian elephant named
Abul-Abbas and a
Wars with the Moors
In Hispania, the struggle against the Moors continued unabated
throughout the latter half of his reign. Louis was in charge of the
Spanish border. In 785, his men captured
Girona permanently and
extended Frankish control into the Catalan littoral for the duration
of Charlemagne's reign (the area remained nominally Frankish until the
Treaty of Corbeil in 1258). The Muslim chiefs in the northeast of
Islamic Spain were constantly rebelling against Cordovan authority,
and they often turned to the
Franks for help. The Frankish border was
slowly extended until 795, when Girona, Cardona,
Ausona and Urgell
were united into the new Spanish March, within the old duchy of
In 797, Barcelona, the greatest city of the region, fell to the Franks
when Zeid, its governor, rebelled against Cordova and, failing, handed
it to them. The
Umayyad authority recaptured it in 799. However, Louis
Aquitaine marched the entire army of his kingdom over the Pyrenees
and besieged it for two years, wintering there from 800 to 801, when
it capitulated. The
Franks continued to press forward against the
emir. They took
Tarragona in 809 and
Tortosa in 811. The last conquest
brought them to the mouth of the
Ebro and gave them raiding access to
Valencia, prompting the
Emir al-Hakam I to recognise their conquests
Further information: Saxon Wars
A map showing Charlemagne's additions (in light green) to the Frankish
Charlemagne was engaged in almost constant warfare throughout his
reign, often at the head of his elite scara bodyguard squadrons.
In the Saxon Wars, spanning thirty years and eighteen battles, he
conquered Saxonia and proceeded to convert it to Christianity.
Saxons were divided into four subgroups in four regions.
Westphalia and furthest away was Eastphalia.
Between them was
Engria and north of these three, at the base of the
Jutland peninsula, was Nordalbingia.
In his first campaign, in 773,
Charlemagne forced the Engrians to
submit and cut down an
Irminsul pillar near Paderborn. The
campaign was cut short by his first expedition to Italy. He returned
in 775, marching through
Westphalia and conquering the Saxon fort at
Sigiburg. He then crossed Engria, where he defeated the
Finally, in Eastphalia, he defeated a Saxon force, and its leader
Hessi converted to Christianity.
Charlemagne returned through
Westphalia, leaving encampments at
Sigiburg and Eresburg, which had
been important Saxon bastions. He then controlled
Saxony with the
exception of Nordalbingia, but Saxon resistance had not ended.
Following his subjugation of the dukes of Friuli and Spoleto,
Charlemagne returned rapidly to
Saxony in 776, where a rebellion had
destroyed his fortress at Eresburg. The
Saxons were once again
defeated, but their main leader, Widukind, escaped to Denmark, his
Charlemagne built a new camp at Karlstadt. In 777, he
called a national diet at
Paderborn to integrate
Saxony fully into the
Frankish kingdom. Many
Saxons were baptised as Christians.
In the summer of 779, he again invaded
Saxony and reconquered
Engria and Westphalia. At a diet near Lippe, he divided
the land into missionary districts and himself assisted in several
mass baptisms (780). He then returned to
Italy and, for the first
Saxons did not immediately revolt.
Saxony was peaceful from
780 to 782.
Charlemagne (742–814) receiving the submission of
Paderborn in 785, by
Ary Scheffer (1795–1858), Palace of Versailles
He returned to
Saxony in 782 and instituted a code of law and
appointed counts, both Saxon and Frank. The laws were draconian on
religious issues; for example, the Capitulatio de partibus Saxoniae
prescribed death to Saxon pagans who refused to convert to
Christianity. This led to renewed conflict. That year, in autumn,
Widukind returned and led a new revolt. In response, at Verden in
Charlemagne is recorded as having ordered the execution
of 4,500 Saxon prisoners, known as the
Massacre of Verden
Massacre of Verden ("Verdener
Blutgericht"). The killings triggered three years of renewed bloody
warfare (783–785). During this war the
Frisians were finally subdued
and a large part of their fleet was burned. The war ended with
Widukind accepting baptism.
Saxons maintained the peace for seven years, but in
Westphalia again rebelled. The Eastphalians and Nordalbingians
joined them in 793, but the insurrection was unpopular and was put
down by 794. An Engrian rebellion followed in 796, but the presence of
Slavs quickly crushed it. The last
insurrection occurred in 804, more than thirty years after
Charlemagne's first campaign against them, but also failed. According
The war that had lasted so many years was at length ended by their
acceding to the terms offered by the King; which were renunciation of
their national religious customs and the worship of devils, acceptance
of the sacraments of the Christian faith and religion, and union with
Franks to form one people.
Submission of Bavaria
Agostino Cornacchini (1725), St. Peter's
Basilica, Vatican, Italy
Charlemagne had invaded the Kingdom of Lombardy, and he later
annexed the Lombardian territories and assumed its crown, placing the
Papal States under Frankish protection. The
Duchy of Spoleto
Duchy of Spoleto south
Rome was acquired in 774, while in the central western parts of
Europe, the Duchy of
Bavaria was absorbed and the Bavarian policy
continued of establishing tributary marches, (borders protected in
return for tribute or taxes) among the Slavic Serbs and Czechs. The
remaining power confronting the
Franks in the east were the Avars,
Charlemagne acquired other Slavic areas, including Bohemia,
Austria and Croatia.
Charlemagne turned to Bavaria. He claimed that Tassilo III,
Bavaria was an unfit ruler, due to his oath-breaking. The
charges were exaggerated, but Tassilo was deposed anyway and put in
the monastery of Jumièges. In 794, Tassilo was made to renounce
any claim to
Bavaria for himself and his family (the Agilolfings) at
the synod of Frankfurt; he formally handed over to the king all of the
rights he had held.
Bavaria was subdivided into Frankish counties,
as had been done with Saxony.
In 788, the Avars, an Asian nomadic group that had settled down in
what is today
Einhard called them Huns), invaded Friuli and
Charlemagne was preoccupied with other matters until 790,
when he marched down the
Danube and ravaged Avar territory to the
Győr. A Lombard army under Pippin then marched into the
and ravaged Pannonia. The campaigns ended when the
again in 792.
For the next two years,
Charlemagne was occupied, along with the
Slavs, against the Saxons. Pippin and Duke
Eric of Friuli continued,
however, to assault the Avars' ring-shaped strongholds. The great Ring
of the Avars, their capital fortress, was taken twice. The booty was
Charlemagne at his capital, Aachen, and redistributed to his
followers and to foreign rulers, including King Offa of Mercia. Soon
the Avar tuduns had lost the will to fight and travelled to
become vassals to
Charlemagne and to become Christians. Charlemagne
accepted their surrender and sent one native chief, baptised Abraham,
back to Avaria with the ancient title of khagan. Abraham kept his
people in line, but in 800, the Bulgarians under Khan
the remains of the Avar state.
Charlemagne sent a Bavarian army into Pannonia, defeating and
bringing an end to the Avar confederation.
In November of the same year,
Charlemagne went to Regensburg where the
Avar leaders acknowledged him as their ruler. In 805, the Avar
khagan, who had already been baptised, went to
Aachen to ask
permission to settle with his people south-eastward from Vienna.
The Transdanubian territories became integral parts of the Frankish
realm, which was abolished by the
Magyars in 899–900.
Northeast Slav expeditions
In 789, in recognition of his new pagan neighbours, the Slavs,
Charlemagne marched an Austrasian-Saxon army across the
Obotrite territory. The
Slavs ultimately submitted, led by their
Charlemagne then accepted the surrender of the Wiltzes
under Dragovit and demanded many hostages. He also demanded the
permission to send missionaries into this pagan region unmolested. The
army marched to the Baltic before turning around and marching to the
Rhine, winning much booty with no harassment. The tributary Slavs
became loyal allies. In 795, when the
Saxons broke the peace, the
Wiltzes rebelled with their new ruler against the
Saxons. Witzin died in battle and
Charlemagne avenged him by harrying
the Eastphalians on the Elbe. Thrasuco, his successor, led his men to
conquest over the Nordalbingians and handed their leaders over to
Charlemagne, who honoured him. The Abotrites remained loyal until
Charles' death and fought later against the Danes.
Southeast Slav expeditions
Europe around 800
Charlemagne incorporated much of Central Europe, he brought the
Frankish state face to face with the Avars and
Slavs in the
southeast. The most southeast Frankish neighbours were Croats, who
settled in Pannonian
Croatia and Dalmatian Croatia. While fighting the
Franks had called for their support. During the 790s,
he won a major victory over them in 796. Pannonian Croat duke
Vojnomir of Pannonian
Croatia aided Charlemagne, and the
themselves overlords over the
Croats of northern Dalmatia, Slavonia
The Frankish commander
Eric of Friuli wanted to extend his dominion by
conquering the Littoral Croat Duchy. During that time, Dalmatian
Croatia was ruled by duke Višeslav of Croatia. In the Battle of
Trsat, the forces of Eric fled their positions and were routed by the
forces of Višeslav. Eric was among those killed which was a great
blow for the
Charlemagne also directed his attention to the
Slavs to the west of
the Avar khaganate: the Carantanians and Carniolans. These people were
subdued by the
Lombards and Bavarii and made tributaries, but were
never fully incorporated into the Frankish state.
Coronation of Charlemagne, by Friedrich Kaulbach, 1861
Pope Leo III had been mistreated by the Romans, who tried to
put out his eyes and tear out his tongue. Leo escaped and fled to
Charlemagne at Paderborn. Charlemagne, advised by scholar Alcuin,
travelled to Rome, in November 800 and held a council on 1
December. On 23 December, Leo swore an oath of
innocence. At Mass, on Christmas Day (25 December), when Charlemagne
knelt at the altar to pray, the
Pope crowned him Imperator Romanorum
("Emperor of the Romans") in Saint Peter's Basilica. In so doing, the
Pope effectively nullified the legitimacy of
Empress Irene of
Odoacer compelled the abdication of Romulus Augustulus, he did
not abolish the Western Empire as a separate power, but cause it to be
reunited with or sink into the Eastern, so that from that time there
was a single undivided Roman Empire ... [
Pope Leo III and
Charlemagne], like their predecessors, held the
Roman Empire to be one
and indivisible, and proposed by the coronation of [Charlemagne] not
to proclaim a severance of the East and West ... they were not
revolting against a reigning sovereign, but legitimately filling up
the place of the deposed Constantine VI ... [Charlemagne] was
held to be the legitimate successor, not of Romulus Augustulus, but of
Constantine VI ...
Charlemagne's coronation as Emperor, though intended to represent the
continuation of the unbroken line of Emperors from
Constantine VI, had the effect of setting up two separate (and often
opposing) Empires and two separate claims to imperial authority. For
centuries to come, the Emperors of both West and East would make
competing claims of sovereignty over the whole.
Einhard says that
Charlemagne was ignorant of the Pope's intent and
did not want any such coronation:
[H]e at first had such an aversion that he declared that he would not
have set foot in the Church the day that they [the imperial titles]
were conferred, although it was a great feast-day, if he could have
foreseen the design of the Pope.
A number of modern scholars, however, suggest that
indeed aware of the coronation; certainly he cannot have missed the
bejewelled crown waiting on the altar when he came to pray; something
even contemporary sources support.
The throne of
Charlemagne and the subsequent German Kings in Aachen
Historians have debated for centuries whether
Charlemagne was aware
before the coronation of the Pope's intention to crown him Emperor
Charlemagne declared that he would not have entered Saint Peter's had
he known, according to chapter twenty-eight of Einhard's Vita Karoli
Magni), but that debate obscured the more significant question of
Pope granted the title and why
Charlemagne accepted it.
Collins points out "[t]hat the motivation behind the acceptance of the
imperial title was a romantic and antiquarian interest in reviving the
Roman empire is highly unlikely." For one thing, such romance
would not have appealed either to
Franks or Roman Catholics at the
turn of the ninth century, both of whom viewed the Classical heritage
Roman Empire with distrust. The
Franks took pride in having
"fought against and thrown from their shoulders the heavy yoke of the
Romans" and "from the knowledge gained in baptism, clothed in gold and
precious stones the bodies of the holy martyrs whom the Romans had
killed by fire, by the sword and by wild animals", as Pippin III
described it in a law of 763 or 764.
Furthermore, the new title—carrying with it the risk that the new
emperor would "make drastic changes to the traditional styles and
procedures of government" or "concentrate his attentions on
on Mediterranean concerns more generally"—risked alienating the
For both the
Pope and Charlemagne, the
Roman Empire remained a
significant power in European politics at this time. The Hellenic
Eastern Empire, based in Constantinople, continued to hold a
substantial portion of Italy, with borders not far south of Rome.
Charles' sitting in judgment of the
Pope could be seen as usurping the
prerogatives of the Emperor in Constantinople:
By whom, however, could he [the Pope] be tried? Who, in other words,
was qualified to pass judgement on the Vicar of Christ? In normal
circumstances the only conceivable answer to that question would have
been the Emperor at Constantinople; but the imperial throne was at
this moment occupied by Irene. That the Empress was notorious for
having blinded and murdered her own son was, in the minds of both Leo
and Charles, almost immaterial: it was enough that she was a woman.
The female sex was known to be incapable of governing, and by the old
Salic tradition was debarred from doing so. As far as Western Europe
was concerned, the Throne of the Emperors was vacant: Irene's claim to
it was merely an additional proof, if any were needed, of the
degradation into which the so-called
Roman Empire had fallen.
— John Julius Norwich
For the Pope, then, there was "no living Emperor at that time"
though Henri Pirenne disputes this saying that the coronation "was
not in any sense explained by the fact that at this moment a woman was
reigning in Constantinople". Nonetheless, the
Pope took the
extraordinary step of creating one. The papacy had since 727 been in
conflict with Irene's predecessors in
Constantinople over a number of
issues, chiefly the continued Byzantine adherence to the doctrine of
iconoclasm, the destruction of Christian images; while from 750, the
secular power of the
Byzantine Empire in central
Italy had been
Coronation of an idealised king, depicted in the Sacramentary of
Charles the Bald
Charles the Bald (about 870)
By bestowing the Imperial crown upon Charlemagne, the
to himself "the right to appoint ... the Emperor of the
Romans, ... establishing the imperial crown as his own personal
gift but simultaneously granting himself implicit superiority over the
Emperor whom he had created." And "because the Byzantines had proved
so unsatisfactory from every point of view—political, military and
doctrinal—he would select a westerner: the one man who by his wisdom
and statesmanship and the vastness of his dominions ... stood out
head and shoulders above his contemporaries."
With Charlemagne's coronation, therefore, "the
Roman Empire remained,
so far as either of them [
Charlemagne and Leo] were concerned, one and
Charles as its Emperor", though there can have been
"little doubt that the coronation, with all that it implied, would be
furiously contested in Constantinople".
Alcuin writes hopefully in his letters of an Imperium Christianum
("Christian Empire"), wherein, "just as the inhabitants of the [Roman
Empire] had been united by a common Roman citizenship", presumably
this new empire would be united by a common Christian faith. This
writes the view of Pirenne when he says "
Charles was the Emperor of
the ecclesia as the
Pope conceived it, of the Roman Church, regarded
as the universal Church". The Imperium Christianum was further
supported at a number of synods all across the Europe by Paulinus of
What is known, from the Byzantine chronicler Theophanes, is that
Charlemagne's reaction to his coronation was to take the initial steps
towards securing the Constantinopolitan throne by sending envoys of
marriage to Irene, and that Irene reacted somewhat favourably to them.
Coronation of Charlemagne, by assistants of Raphael, circa
It is important to distinguish between the universalist and localist
conceptions of the empire, which remain controversial among
historians. According to the former, the empire was a universal
monarchy, a "commonwealth of the whole world, whose sublime unity
transcended every minor distinction"; and the emperor "was entitled to
the obedience of Christendom". According to the latter, the emperor
had no ambition for universal dominion; his realm was limited in the
same way as that of every other ruler; and when he made more
far-reaching claims his object was normally to ward off the attacks
either of the
Pope or of the Byzantine emperor. According to this
view, also, the origin of the empire is to be explained by specific
local circumstances rather than by overarching theories.
According to Ohnsorge, for a long time it had been the custom of
Byzantium to designate the German princes as spiritual "sons" of the
Byzantines. What might have been acceptable in the fifth century had
become provoking and insulting to the
Franks in the eighth century.
Charles came to believe that the Roman emperor, who claimed to head
the world hierarchy of states, in reality was no greater than Charles
himself, a king as other kings, since beginning in 629 he had entitled
himself "Basileus" (translated literally as "king"). Ohnsorge finds it
significant that the chief wax seal of Charles, which bore only the
inscription: "Christe, protege Carolum regem Francorum [Christ,
protect Charles, king of the Franks], was used from 772 to 813, even
during the imperial period and was not replaced by a special imperial
seal; indicating that
Charles felt himself to be just the king of the
Franks. Finally, Ohnsorge points out that in the spring of 813 at
Charles crowned his only surviving son, Louis, as emperor
without recourse to
Rome with only the acclamation of his Franks. The
form in which this acclamation was offered was Frankish-Christian
rather than Roman. This implies both independence from
Rome and a
Frankish (non-Roman) understanding of empire.
Charlemagne used these circumstances to claim that he was the renewer
of the Roman Empire, which had declined under the Byzantines. In his
Charles preferred the style Karolus serenissimus
Augustus a Deo coronatus magnus pacificus imperator Romanum gubernans
imperium ("Charles, most serene
Augustus crowned by God, the
great, peaceful emperor ruling the Roman empire") to the more direct
Imperator Romanorum ("Emperor of the Romans").
The title of Emperor remained in the
Carolingian family for years to
come, but divisions of territory and in-fighting over supremacy of the
Frankish state weakened its significance. The papacy itself never
forgot the title nor abandoned the right to bestow it. When the family
Charles ceased to produce worthy heirs, the
Pope gladly crowned
whichever Italian magnate could best protect him from his local
enemies. The empire would remain in continuous existence for nearly a
millennium, as the Holy Roman Empire, a true imperial successor to
Europe around 814
The iconoclasm of the Byzantine Isaurian
Dynasty was endorsed by the
Second Council of Nicaea
Second Council of Nicaea reintroduced the veneration
of icons under Empress Irene. The council was not recognised by
Charlemagne since no Frankish emissaries had been invited, even though
Charlemagne ruled more than three provinces of the old Roman empire
and was considered equal in rank to the Byzantine emperor. And while
Pope supported the reintroduction of the iconic veneration, he
politically digressed from Byzantium. He certainly desired to
increase the influence of the papacy, to honour his saviour
Charlemagne, and to solve the constitutional issues then most
troubling to European jurists in an era when
Rome was not in the hands
of an emperor. Thus, Charlemagne's assumption of the imperial title
was not a usurpation in the eyes of the
Franks or Italians. It was,
however, seen as such in Byzantium, where it was protested by Irene
and her successor Nikephoros I—neither of whom had any great
effect in enforcing their protests.
The Byzantines, however, still held several territories in Italy:
Venice (what was left of the Exarchate of Ravenna), Reggio (in
Brindisi (in Apulia), and
Naples (the Ducatus
Neapolitanus). These regions remained outside of Frankish hands until
804, when the Venetians, torn by infighting, transferred their
allegiance to the Iron Crown of Pippin, Charles' son. The Pax
Nicephori ended. Nicephorus ravaged the coasts with a fleet,
initiating the only instance of war between the Byzantines and the
Franks. The conflict lasted until 810, when the pro-Byzantine party in
Venice gave their city back to the Byzantine Emperor, and the two
emperors of Europe made peace:
Charlemagne received the Istrian
peninsula and in 812 the emperor
Michael I Rangabe
Michael I Rangabe recognised his
status as Emperor, although not necessarily as "Emperor of the
After the conquest of Nordalbingia, the Frankish frontier was brought
into contact with Scandinavia. The pagan Danes, "a race almost
unknown to his ancestors, but destined to be only too well known to
his sons" as
Charles Oman described them, inhabiting the Jutland
peninsula, had heard many stories from
Widukind and his allies who had
taken refuge with them about the dangers of the
Franks and the fury
which their Christian king could direct against pagan neighbours.
In 808, the king of the Danes, Godfred, expanded the vast Danevirke
across the isthmus of Schleswig. This defence, last employed in the
Danish-Prussian War of 1864, was at its beginning a 30 km
(19 mi) long earthenwork rampart. The
Danevirke protected Danish
land and gave Godfred the opportunity to harass
Frisia and Flanders
with pirate raids. He also subdued the Frank-allied
Wiltzes and fought
Godfred invaded Frisia, joked of visiting Aachen, but was murdered
before he could do any more, either by a Frankish assassin or by one
of his own men. Godfred was succeeded by his nephew Hemming, who
Treaty of Heiligen with
Charlemagne in late 811.
See also: Testament of Charlemagne
Portion of the 814 death shroud of Charlemagne. It represents a
quadriga and was manufactured in Constantinople.
Frederick II's gold and silver casket for Charlemagne, the
Persephone sarcophagus of Charlemagne
Charlemagne called Louis the Pious, king of Aquitaine, his
only surviving legitimate son, to his court. There
his son as co-emperor and sent him back to Aquitaine. He then spent
the autumn hunting before returning to
Aachen on 1 November. In
January, he fell ill with pleurisy. In deep depression (mostly
because many of his plans were not yet realised), he took to his bed
on 21 January and as
Einhard tells it:
He died January twenty-eighth, the seventh day from the time that he
took to his bed, at nine o'clock in the morning, after partaking of
the Holy Communion, in the seventy-second year of his age and the
forty-seventh of his reign.
He was buried that same day, in
Aachen Cathedral, although the cold
weather and the nature of his illness made such a hurried burial
unnecessary. The earliest surviving planctus, the
Planctus de obitu
Karoli, was composed by a monk of Bobbio, which he had patronised.
A later story, told by Otho of Lomello, Count of the Palace at Aachen
in the time of Otto III, would claim that he and Emperor Otto had
discovered Charlemagne's tomb: the emperor, they claimed, was seated
upon a throne, wearing a crown and holding a sceptre, his flesh almost
entirely incorrupt. In 1165, Frederick I re-opened the tomb again
and placed the emperor in a sarcophagus beneath the floor of the
cathedral. In 1215 Frederick II re-interred him in a casket made
of gold and silver.
Charlemagne's death emotionally affected many of his subjects,
particularly those of the literary clique who had surrounded him at
Aachen. An anonymous monk of Bobbio lamented:
From the lands where the sun rises to western shores, people are
crying and wailing ... the Franks, the Romans, all Christians,
are stung with mourning and great worry ... the young and old,
glorious nobles, all lament the loss of their Caesar ... the
world laments the death of Charles ... O Christ, you who govern
the heavenly host, grant a peaceful place to
Charles in your kingdom.
Alas for miserable me.
Louis succeeded him as
Charles had intended. He left a testament
allocating his assets in 811 that was not updated prior to his death.
His empire lasted only another generation in its entirety; its
division, according to custom, between Louis's own sons after their
father's death laid the foundation for the modern states of Germany
As an administrator,
Charlemagne stands out for his many reforms:
monetary, governmental, military, cultural and ecclesiastical. He is
the main protagonist of the "
Charlemagne's success rested primarily on novel siege technologies and
excellent logistics rather than the long-claimed "cavalry
revolution" led by
Charles Martel in 730s. However, the stirrup, which
made the "shock cavalry" lance charge possible, was not introduced to
the Frankish kingdom until the late eighth century.
Horses were used extensively by the Frankish military, because horses
provided a quick, long-distance method of transporting troops, which
was critical to building and maintaining the large empire.
Economic and monetary reforms
Monogram of Charlemagne, including signum manus, from the subscription
of a royal diploma: Signum (monogr.: KAROLVS) Karoli gloriosissimi
Charlemagne had an important role in determining Europe's immediate
economic future. Pursuing his father's reforms,
the monetary system based on the gold sou. Instead he and the
Offa of Mercia
Offa of Mercia took up Pippin's system for pragmatic
reasons, notably a shortage of the metal.
The gold shortage was a direct consequence of the conclusion of peace
with Byzantium, which resulted in ceding Venice and Sicily to the East
and losing their trade routes to Africa. The resulting standardisation
economically harmonised and unified the complex array of currencies
that had been in use at the commencement of his reign, thus
simplifying trade and commerce.
Charlemagne established a new standard, the livre carolinienne (from
Latin libra, the modern pound), which was based upon a pound of
silver—a unit of both money and weight—worth 20 sous (from the
Latin solidus [which was primarily an accounting device and never
actually minted], the modern shilling) or 240 deniers (from the Latin
denarius, the modern penny). During this period, the livre and the sou
were counting units; only the denier was a coin of the realm.
Denier from the era of Charlemagne, Tours, 793–812
Charlemagne instituted principles for accounting practice by means of
Capitulare de villis
Capitulare de villis of 802, which laid down strict rules for the
way in which incomes and expenses were to be recorded.
Charlemagne applied this system to much of the European continent, and
Offa's standard was voluntarily adopted by much of England. After
Charlemagne's death, continental coinage degraded, and most of Europe
resorted to using the continued high-quality English coin until about
Jews in Charlemagne's realm
Early in Charlemagne's rule he tacitly allowed Jews to monopolise
money lending. Then lending of money for interest was proscribed in
814, because it violated Church law.
Charlemagne introduced the
Capitulary for the Jews, a prohibition on Jews engaging in
money-lending due to the religious convictions of the majority of his
constituents, in essence banning it across the board, a reversal of
his earlier recorded general policy. In addition to this broad
Charlemagne also performed a significant number of
microeconomic reforms, such as direct control of prices and levies on
certain goods and commodities.
His Capitulary for the Jews, however, was not representative of his
overall economic relationship or attitude towards the Frankish Jews,
and certainly not his earlier relationship with them, which evolved
over his life. His personal physician for example was Jewish, and
he employed one Hebrew known as Isaac, who was his personal
representative to the Muslim caliphate of Baghdad. Letters have
been credited to him that invited Jews to settle in his
Part of Charlemagne's success as a warrior, an administrator and ruler
can be traced to his admiration for learning and education. His reign
is often referred to as the
Carolingian Renaissance because of the
flowering of scholarship, literature, art and architecture that
Charlemagne came into contact with the culture and
learning of other countries (especially
Moorish Spain, Anglo-Saxon
England, and Lombard Italy) due to his vast conquests. He greatly
increased the provision of monastic schools and scriptoria (centres
for book-copying) in Francia.
Most of the surviving works of classical
Latin were copied and
Carolingian scholars. Indeed, the earliest manuscripts
available for many ancient texts are Carolingian. It is almost certain
that a text which survived to the
Carolingian age survives still.
The pan-European nature of Charlemagne's influence is indicated by the
origins of many of the men who worked for him: Alcuin, an Anglo-Saxon
from York; Theodulf, a Visigoth, probably from Septimania; Paul the
Peter of Pisa and Paulinus of Aquileia; and
Franks Angilbert, Angilram,
Einhard and Waldo of Reichenau.
Charlemagne promoted the liberal arts at court, ordering that his
children and grandchildren be well-educated, and even studying himself
(in a time when even leaders who promoted education did not take time
to learn themselves) under the tutelage of Peter of Pisa, from whom he
learned grammar; Alcuin, with whom he studied rhetoric, dialectic
(logic), and astronomy (he was particularly interested in the
movements of the stars); and Einhard, who tutored him in
His great scholarly failure, as
Einhard relates, was his inability to
write: when in his old age he attempted to learn—practising the
formation of letters in his bed during his free time on books and wax
tablets he hid under his pillow—"his effort came too late in life
and achieved little success", and his ability to read—which Einhard
is silent about, and which no contemporary source supports—has also
been called into question.
Charlemagne enlarged the hostel at the
Muristan in Jerusalem
and added a library to it. He certainly had not been personally in
Charlemagne and church music
Charlemagne's chapel at
Unlike his father, Pippin, and uncle, Carloman,
the reform Church's programme. The deepening of the spiritual life was
later to be seen as central to public policy and royal governance. His
reform focused on strengthening the church's power structure,
improving clergy's skill and moral quality, standardising liturgical
practices, improvements on the basic tenets of the faith and the
rooting out of paganism. His authority extended over church and state.
He could discipline clerics, control ecclesiastical property and
define orthodox doctrine. Despite the harsh legislation and sudden
change, he had developed support from clergy who approved his desire
to deepen the piety and morals of his subjects.
Charlemagne called a church council in Aachen, which
confirmed the unanimous belief in the West that the Holy Spirit
proceeds from the Father and the Son (ex Patre Filioque) and
sanctioned inclusion in the
Nicene Creed of the phrase
the Son). For this
Charlemagne sought the approval of
Pope Leo III.
The Pope, while affirming the doctrine and approving its use in
teaching, opposed its inclusion in the text of the Creed as adopted in
the 381 First Council of Constantinople. This spoke of the procession
of the Holy Spirit from the Father, without adding phrases such as
"and the Son", "through the Son", or "alone". Stressing his
Pope had the original text inscribed in Greek and
Latin on two heavy shields that were displayed in Saint Peter's
Page from the
Lorsch Gospels of Charlemagne's reign
During Charles' reign, the Roman half uncial script and its cursive
version, which had given rise to various continental minuscule
scripts, were combined with features from the insular scripts in use
in Irish and English monasteries.
Carolingian minuscule was created
partly under the patronage of Charlemagne. Alcuin, who ran the palace
school and scriptorium at Aachen, was probably a chief influence.
The revolutionary character of the
Carolingian reform, however, can be
over-emphasised; efforts at taming Merovingian and Germanic influence
had been underway before
Alcuin arrived at Aachen. The new minuscule
was disseminated first from
Aachen and later from the influential
scriptorium at Tours, where
Alcuin retired as an abbot.
Charlemagne engaged in many reforms of Frankish governance, while
continuing many traditional practices, such as the division of the
kingdom among sons.
Main article: Government of the
Carolingian king exercised the bannum, the right to rule and
command. He had supreme jurisdiction in judicial matters, made
legislation, led the army, and protected both the Church and the poor.
His administration was an attempt to organise the kingdom, church and
nobility around him. However, the effort was heavily dependent upon
the efficiency, loyalty, and support of his subjects.
Charlemagne first made provision for the traditional division
of the empire on his death. For
Charles the Younger he designated
Austrasia and Neustria, Saxony, Burgundy and Thuringia. To Pippin he
Bavaria and Swabia. Louis received Aquitaine, the Spanish
March and Provence. The imperial title was not mentioned, which led to
the suggestion that, at that particular time,
Charlemagne regarded the
title as an honorary achievement that held no hereditary significance.
Pepin died in 810 and
Charles in 811.
Charlemagne then reconsidered
the matter, and in 813, crowned his youngest son, Louis, co-emperor
and co-King of the Franks, granting him a half-share of the empire and
the rest upon Charlemagne's own death. The only part of the Empire
that Louis was not promised was Italy, which
bestowed upon Pippin's illegitimate son Bernard.
Einhard tells in his twenty-fourth chapter:
Charles was temperate in eating, and particularly so in drinking, for
he abominated drunkenness in anybody, much more in himself and those
of his household; but he could not easily abstain from food, and often
complained that fasts injured his health. He very rarely gave
entertainments, only on great feast-days, and then to large numbers of
people. His meals ordinarily consisted of four courses, not counting
the roast, which his huntsmen used to bring in on the spit; he was
more fond of this than of any other dish. While at table, he listened
to reading or music. The subjects of the readings were the stories and
deeds of olden time: he was fond, too, of St. Augustine's books, and
especially of the one entitled "The City of God".
Charlemagne threw grand banquets and feasts for special occasions such
as religious holidays and four of his weddings. When he was not
working, he loved Christian books, horseback riding, swimming, bathing
in natural hot springs with his friends and family, and hunting.
Franks were well known for horsemanship and hunting skills.
Charles was a light sleeper and would stay in his bed chambers for
entire days at a time due to restless nights. During these days, he
would not get out of bed when a quarrel occurred in his kingdom,
instead summoning all members of the situation into his bedroom to be
Einhard tells again in the twenty fourth chapter: "In
summer after the midday meal, he would eat some fruit, drain a single
cup, put off his clothes and shoes, just as he did for the night, and
rest for two or three hours. He was in the habit of awaking and rising
from bed four or five times during the night."
Main article: Theodiscus
By Charlemagne's time the French vernacular had already diverged
significantly from Latin. This is evidenced by one of the regulations
of the Council of
Tours (813), which required that parish priests
preach either in the "rusticam Romanam linguam" (Romance) or
"Theotiscam" (the Germanic vernacular) rather than in Latin. The goal
of this rule was to make sermons comprehensible to the common
Charlemagne himself probably spoke a Rhenish Franconian
He also spoke
Latin and had at least some understanding of Greek,
Einhard (Grecam vero melius intellegere quam pronuntiare
poterat, "he could understand Greek better than he could speak
The largely fictional account of Charlemagne's Iberian campaigns by
Pseudo-Turpin, written some three centuries after his death, gave rise
to the legend that the king also spoke Arabic.
The Carolingian-era equestrian statuette thought to represent
Metz Cathedral, now in the Louvre)
Charlemagne's personal appearance is known from a good description by
Einhard after his death in the biography Vita Karoli Magni. Einhard
He was heavily built, sturdy, and of considerable stature, although
not exceptionally so, since his height was seven times the length of
his own foot. He had a round head, large and lively eyes, a slightly
larger nose than usual, white but still attractive hair, a bright and
cheerful expression, a short and fat neck, and he enjoyed good health,
except for the fevers that affected him in the last few years of his
life. Towards the end, he dragged one leg. Even then, he stubbornly
did what he wanted and refused to listen to doctors, indeed he
detested them, because they wanted to persuade him to stop eating
roast meat, as was his wont, and to be content with boiled meat.
The physical portrait provided by
Einhard is confirmed by contemporary
depictions such as coins and his 8-inch (20 cm) bronze statuette
kept in the Louvre. In 1861, Charlemagne's tomb was opened by
scientists who reconstructed his skeleton and estimated it to be
measured 1.95 metres (6 ft 5 in). An estimate of his
height from an X-ray and
CT scan of his tibia performed in 2010 is
1.84 metres (6 ft 0 in). This puts him in the 99th
percentile of height for his period, given that average male height of
his time was 1.69 metres (5 ft 7 in). The width of the bone
suggested he was gracile but not robust in body build.
In the Bibliothèque Nationale de France
Charlemagne wore the traditional costume of the Frankish people,
He used to wear the national, that is to say, the Frank, dress—next
his skin a linen shirt and linen breeches, and above these a tunic
fringed with silk; while hose fastened by bands covered his lower
limbs, and shoes his feet, and he protected his shoulders and chest in
winter by a close-fitting coat of otter or marten skins.
He wore a blue cloak and always carried a sword typically of a golden
or silver hilt. He wore fancy jewelled swords to banquets or
ambassadorial receptions. Nevertheless:
He despised foreign costumes, however handsome, and never allowed
himself to be robed in them, except twice in Rome, when he donned the
Roman tunic, chlamys, and shoes; the first time at the request of Pope
Hadrian, the second to gratify Leo, Hadrian's successor.
On great feast days, he wore embroidery and jewels on his clothing and
shoes. He had a golden buckle for his cloak on such occasions and
would appear with his great diadem, but he despised such apparel,
Einhard and usually dressed like the common people.
Charlemagne had residences across his kingdom, including numerous
private estates that were governed in accordance with the Capitulare
de villis. A 9th century document detailing the inventory of an estate
at Asnapium listed amounts of livestock, plants and vegetables and
kitchenware including cauldrons, drinking cups, brass kettles and
firewood. The manor contained seventeen houses built inside the
courtyard for nobles and family members and was separated from its
Marriages and heirs
Charlemagne had eighteen children with eight of his ten known wives or
concubines. Nonetheless, he had only four legitimate grandsons,
the four sons of his fourth son, Louis. In addition, he had a grandson
(Bernard of Italy, the only son of his third son, Pippin of Italy),
who was illegitimate, but included in the line of inheritance. Among
his descendants are several royal dynasties, including the Habsburg,
Plantagenet dynasties. By consequence, most if not all
established European noble families ever since can genealogically
trace their background to Charlemagne.
Marriages and heirs
Concubinages and illegitimate children
His first relationship was with Himiltrude. The nature of this
relationship is variously described as concubinage, a legal marriage,
or a Friedelehe. (
Charlemagne put her aside when he married
Desiderata.) The union with
Himiltrude produced a son:
Pippin the Hunchback
Pippin the Hunchback (ca. 769–811)
After her, his first wife was Desiderata, daughter of Desiderius, king
of the Lombards; married in 770, annulled in 771.
His second wife was
Hildegard of the Vinzgau
Hildegard of the Vinzgau (757 or 758–783),
married 771, died 783. By her he had nine children:
Charles the Younger (ca. 772–4 December 811), Duke of Maine, and
King of the Franks
King of the Franks on 25 December 800
Carloman, renamed Pippin (April 773–8 July 810), King of Italy
Adalhaid (774), who was born whilst her parents were on campaign in
Italy. She was sent back to Francia, but died before reaching Lyons
Rotrude (or Hruodrud) (775–6 June 810)
Louis (778–20 June 840), twin of Lothair, King of
781, crowned King of the Franks/co-emperor in 813, senior Emperor from
Lothair (778–6 February 779/780), twin of Louis, he died in
His first known concubine was Gersuinda. By her he had:
His second known concubine was Madelgard. By her he had:
Ruodhaid (775–810), abbess of Faremoutiers
His third wife was Fastrada, married 784, died 794. By her he had:
Theodrada (b.784), abbess of Argenteuil
His fourth wife was Luitgard, married 794, died childless.
His fourth known concubine was Regina. By her he had:
Bishop of Metz
Bishop of Metz from 823 and abbot of Luxeuil Abbey
Hugh (802–844), archchancellor of the Empire
His fifth known concubine was Ethelind. By her he had:
Richbod (805–844), Abbott of Saint-Riquier
Theodoric (b. 807)
Charles Martel, sarcophagus
8. Pepin of Herstal
2. Pepin the Short
10. ? Lambert, Count of Hesbaye
11. ? Chrotlind
6. Charibert of Laon
13. Bertrada of Prüm
3. Bertrada of Laon
Bust of Charlemagne, located at
Aachen Cathedral Treasury
Arm reliquary of
Aachen Cathedral Treasury
He was named
Charles in French and English, Carolus in Latin, after
Charles Martel. Later Old French historians dubbed
Charles le Magne (
Charles the Great), becoming
English after the Norman conquest of England. The epithet Carolus
Magnus was widely used, leading to numerous translations into many
languages of Europe. He was known in German as Karl der Große; Dutch,
Karel de Grote; Danish/Norwegian/Swedish, Karl den Store; Italian,
Carlo Magno; Catalan, Carlemany; Bosnian, Croatian and Serbian, Karlo
Veliki; Czech, Karel Veliký; Slovak, Karol Veľký; Spanish,
Carlomagno; Portuguese, Carlos Magno; and various others.[citation
Charles' achievements gave a new meaning to his name. In many European
languages, the very word for "king" derives from his name; e.g.,
Polish: król, Ukrainian: король (korol'), Czech: král, Slovak:
kráľ, Hungarian: király, Lithuanian: karalius, Latvian: karalis,
Russian: король, Macedonian: крал, Bulgarian: крал,
Romanian: crai, Bosnian: kralj, Serbian: краљ/kralj, Croatian:
kralj, Turkish: kral. This development parallels that of the name of
the Caesars in the original Roman Empire, which became kaiser and
czar, among others.
Charlemagne was revered as a saint in the Holy
Roman Empire after the
twelfth century. The
Apostolic See did not recognise his invalid
canonisation by Antipope Paschal III, done to gain the favour of
Frederick Barbarossa in 1165. The
Apostolic See annulled all of
Paschal's ordinances at the
Third Lateran Council
Third Lateran Council in 1179. He is
not enumerated among the 28 saints named "Charles" in the Roman
Martyrology. His beatification has been acknowledged as cultus
confirmed and is celebrated on 28 January.
Charlemagne had a sustained impact on European culture. The author of
Visio Karoli Magni written around 865 uses facts gathered
Einhard and his own observations on the decline of
Charlemagne's family after the dissensions war (840–43) as the basis
for a visionary tale of Charles' meeting with a prophetic spectre in a
Charlemagne was a model knight as one of the
Nine Worthies who enjoyed
an important legacy in European culture. One of the great medieval
literary cycles, the
Charlemagne cycle or the Matter of France,
centres on his deeds—the Emperor with the Flowing Beard of Roland
fame—and his historical commander of the border with Brittany,
Roland, and the 12 paladins. These are analogous to, and inspired the
myth of, the knights of the Round Table of King Arthur's court.
Their tales constitute the first chansons de geste.
In the 12th century,
Geoffrey of Monmouth based his stories of Arthur
largely on stories of Charlemagne. During the Hundred Years War
in the 14th century, there was considerable cultural conflict in
England, where the Norman rulers were aware of their French roots and
identified with Charlemagne, Anglo-Saxon natives felt more affinity
for Arthur, whose own legends were relatively primitive. Therefore,
storytellers in England adapted legends of
Charlemagne and his 12
Peers to the Arthurian tales.
In the Divine Comedy, the spirit of
Charlemagne appears to Dante in
the Heaven of Mars, among the other "warriors of the faith".
Charlemagne appears in Adelchi, the second tragedy by Italian writer
Alessandro Manzoni, first published in 1822.
In 1867, an equestrian statue of Charlemagne, was made by Louis
Jehotte and was inaugurated in 1868 on the Boulevard d'Avroy in
Liège. In the niches of the neo-roman pedestal are six statues of
Charlemagne's ancestors (Sainte Begge, Pépin de Herstal, Charles
Martel, Bertrude, Pépin de Landen and Pépin le Bref).
The city of
Aachen has, since 1949, awarded an international prize
Karlspreis der Stadt Aachen) in honour of Charlemagne. It
is awarded annually to "personages of merit who have promoted the idea
of western unity by their political, economic and literary
endeavours." Winners of the prize include Richard von
Coudenhove-Kalergi, the founder of the pan-European movement, Alcide
De Gasperi, and Winston Churchill.
In its national anthem, "El Gran Carlemany", the nation of Andorra
Charlemagne with its independence.
In 1964, young French singer
France Gall released the hit song "Sacré
Charlemagne" in which the lyrics blame the great king for imposing the
burden of compulsory education on French children.
Charlemagne is quoted by Dr Henry Jones, Sr. in Indiana Jones and the
Last Crusade. After using his umbrella to induce a flock of seagulls
to smash through the glass cockpit of a pursuing German fighter plane,
Henry Jones remarks, "I suddenly remembered my Charlemagne: 'Let my
armies be the rocks and the trees and the birds in the sky.'" Despite
the quote's popularity since the movie, there is no evidence that
Charlemagne actually said this.
The Economist features a weekly column entitled "Charlemagne",
focusing generally on European affairs and, more usually and
specifically, on the
European Union and its politics.
Actor and singer Christopher Lee's symphonic metal concept album
Charlemagne: By the Sword and the Cross and its heavy metal
follow-up Charlemagne: The Omens of Death feature the events of
A 2010 episode of QI discussed the mathematics completed by Mark
Humphrys that calculated that all modern Europeans are highly
likely to share
Charlemagne as a common ancestor (see most recent
In April 2014, on the occasion of the 1200th anniversary of
Charlemagne's death, public art Mein Karl by
Ottmar Hörl at Katschhof
place was installed between city hall and the
Inauguration of the statue of Charlemagne, Liège, 26 July 1868
Art installation Mein Karl by
Ottmar Hörl on Katschhof place of
Charlemagne sitting on his throne in the railway
station of Metz, representing the imperial protection over
the German annexation of the city
Charlemagne near Notre-Dame Cathedral, Paris
Books and libraries
Charlemagne was a lover of books, sometimes having them read to him
during meals. He was thought to enjoy the works of St. Augustine.
His court played a key role in producing books that taught elementary
Latin and different aspects of the church. It also played a part in
creating a royal library that contained in-depth works on language and
Charlemagne encouraged clerics to translate Christian creeds and
prayers into their respective vernaculars as well to teach grammar and
music. Due to the increased interest of intellectual pursuits and the
urging of their king, the monks accomplished so much copying that
almost every manuscript from that time was preserved. At the same
time, at the urging of their king, scholars were producing more
secular books on many subjects, including history, poetry, art, music,
law, theology, etc. Due to the increased number of titles, private
libraries flourished. These were mainly supported by aristocrats and
churchmen who could afford to sustain them. At Charlemagne's court, a
library was founded and a number of copies of books were produced, to
be distributed by Charlemagne.
Book production was completed
slowly by hand, and took place mainly in large monastic libraries.
Books were so in demand during Charlemagne's time that these libraries
lent out some books, but only if that borrower offered valuable
collateral in return. Most books, however, were held by chains in
order to discourage theft. This made it difficult for multiple
students to study one title, but helped ensure the safety of the
Alcuin was a proponent of education and wrote thoughtfully on
Christian religion. Considered the greatest scholar of his day,
he became the king's confidant and adviser. He brought his interest in
libraries to the king's court. He was also a tutor to the king and his
sons, teaching them liberal arts, theology and astrology.
Middle Ages portal
^ In Latin: Karolus or Carolus, whence Charles. The French form
Charlemagne comes from his nickname, Carolus Magnus (
Great). In reconstructed Frankish, his native tongue, his birthname
would likely would have been *Kar(e)l.
^ Additional birth years for
Charlemagne include 747 and 748. There is
scholarly debate over this topic. See: Karl Ferdinand Werner: Das
Geburtsdatum Karls des Großen, in:
Francia 1, 1973, pp. 115–157
(online Archived 17 November 2013 at the Wayback Machine.);
Matthias Becher: Neue Überlegungen zum Geburtsdatum Karls des
Francia 19/1, 1992, pp. 37–60 (online Archived 17
November 2013 at the Wayback Machine.);
^ Papst Johannes Paul II (2004). "Ansprache von seiner Heiligkeit
Papst Johannes Paul II" (in German). Internationaler
Aachen. Archived from the original on 17 January 2012.
^ Also see: The Great Schism – St. George Orthodox Cathedral or The
Great Schism – Assumption Greek Orthodox Church
^ See:"France :: The hegemony of Neustria". Encyclopædia
Britannica. Britannica.com. 24 April 2013. Retrieved 14 January
^ a b McKitterick 2008, p. 72.
^ Becher, Matthias (4 March 2005). Charlemagne.
Yale University Press.
p. 96. ISBN 0300107587.
^ a b c Barbero, Alessandro (10 September 2004). Charlemagne: Father
of a Continent. University of California Press. pp. 12–.
^ Bradbury, Jim (2 August 2004). The Routledge Companion to Medieval
Warfare. Routledge. pp. 19–. ISBN 978-1-134-59847-2.
^ Gregory 2005, pp. 251–252.
^ Waldman & Mason 2006, pp. 270, 274–275.
^ Collins 1999, pp. 161–172.
^ Fouracre 2005, pp. 5–8.
^ Frassetto 2003, p. 292.
^ Frassetto 2003, p. 292–293.
^ Waldman & Mason 2006, p. 271.
^ a b "France :: Pippin III – Encyclopædia Britannica".
Britannica.com. 24 April 2013. Retrieved 14 January 2014.
^ The background relies heavily on Einhard, putative & 741–829,
^ Oman 1914, pp. 409–410.
^ "World News, Economics and Analysis Based on Bible Prophecy".
^ a b Baldwin, Stewart (2007–2009). "Charlemagne". The Henry
^ Matheson, Lister M. (2012). Icons of the Middle Ages: Rulers,
Writers, Rebels, and Saints. ABC-CLIO. pp. 145–.
^ Northen Magill, Frank; Aves, Alison (1998). Dictionary of World
Biography: The Middle Ages. Routledge. pp. 226–.
^ "Charlemagne". History.com. Retrieved 14 January 2014.
^ Route Gottfried von Bouillon e.V. – deutsche Sektion.
Route-gottfried-von-bouillon.de. Retrieved on 7 September 2013.
^ Dictionary of World Biography: The Middle Ages, Volume 2. Routledge.
1998. p. 226. ISBN 978-1-579-58041-4.
^ Collins, Roger (1998). Charlemagne. University of Toronto Press.
pp. 32–. ISBN 978-0-8020-8218-3.
^ Matheson, Lister M. (2012). Icons of the Middle Ages: Rulers,
Writers, Rebels, and Saints. ABC-CLIO. pp. 152–.
^ Fichtenau, Heinrich (1957). The
Carolingian Empire. University of
Toronto Press. pp. 39–. ISBN 978-0-8020-6367-0.
Einhard 1999, 4. Plan of This Work.
Einhard 1999, 1. The Merovingian Family.
^ The Annales uses maiores domus, a plural followed by a singular: one
house, two chief officers. Einhard, putative & 741–829, Year 742
^ Einhard, putative & 741–829, Years 745, 746.
^ a b c d
Einhard 1999, 6. Lombard War.
^ Collins 1998, pp. 32–33.
Einhard 1999, 3. Charlemagne's Accession.
^ Einhard, putative & 741–829, Year 768.
^ Collins 1987, p. 32.
^ Collins 1987, p. 105.
^ Douglass & Bilbao 2005, pp. 36–37.
^ Collins 1987, p. 100.
^ Collins 2004, pp. 130–131, "The sequence of events...has not
been assisted by the tendency of the historians to take all the
information...from all the available sources and combine it to produce
a single synthetic account...As a rule of thumb, reliability, and also
brevity of narrative, are usually in direct proportion to
^ James 2009, p. 49.
^ Collins 2004, pp. 131–132.
^ Douglass & Bilbao 2005, p. 40.
Einhard 2007, p. 24.
^ Lewis, David Levering (12 January 2009). God's Crucible: Islam and
the Making of Europe, 570–1215. W. W. Norton. p. 177.
^ Freeman, Edward
Augustus (1904). Western Europe in the Eighth
Century & Onward: An Aftermath. Macmillan and Company, limited.
^ Russell 1930, p. 88.
^ McKitterick 2008, pp. 118–125.
^ Kohn, George C. (2006). Dictionary of Wars. Infobase Publishing.
pp. 125–. ISBN 978-1-4381-2916-7.
^ Paul Halsall, Einhard: The Wars of Charlemagne, c. 770–814,
Internet Medieval Sourcebook, Fordham University, 1998
^ a b Charlemagne, Encyclopædia Britannica
^ Hodgkin 1889.
^ Hodgkin 1889, pp. 85–6.
^ Gelfand, Dale Evva (1 January 2003). Charlemagne. Infobase
Publishing. ISBN 9781438117850.
^ Butt, John J. (1 January 2002). Daily Life in the Age of
Charlemagne. Greenwood Publishing Group.
^ Runciman, Steven. "The
Empress Irene the Athenian." Medieval Women.
Ed. Derek Baker. Oxford: Ecclesiastical History Society, 1978.
^ Becher 2005, p. 122.
^ McKitterick 2008, p. 91.
^ Heck, Gene W. (2007). When Worlds Collide: Exploring the Ideological
and Political Foundations of the Clash of Civilizations. Rowman &
Littlefield. pp. 172–. ISBN 978-0-7425-5856-4.
^ France, John, "The Composition and Raising of the Armies of
Charlemagne", in Journal of Medieval Military History, ed. B. Bachrach
(2002), pp. 63–5
^ Revised annals of the kingdom of the Franks, ed. and trans. King,
Sources, p. 110
^ a b Historical Atlas of Knights and Castles, Cartographica, Dr Ian
Barnes, 2007 pp.30&31
^ Goldberg, Eric Joseph (2006). Struggle for Empire: Kingship and
Conflict Under Louis the German, 817–876. Cornell University Press.
pp. 48–. ISBN 0-8014-3890-X.
^ Collins, Roger (1998). Charlemagne. University of Toronto Press.
pp. 87–. ISBN 978-0-8020-8218-3.
^ a b c Bachrach, Bernard S.; Clifford J. Rogers; Kelly DeVries
(November 2002). Journal of Medieval Military History. Boydell Press.
^ a b Bruce Ross, James (April 1945). Two Neglected Paladins of
Charlemagne: Erich of Friuli and Gerold of
Bavaria Speculum, Vol. 20,
No. 2. Medieval Academy of America. pp. 212–235.
^ Sinor, Denis (1 March 1990). The Cambridge History of Early Inner
Asia. New York: Cambridge University Press. p. 219.
^ a b Fine, John Van Antwerp (1991). The early medieval Balkans: a
critical survey from the sixth to the late twelfth century. University
of Michigan Press. p. 78. ISBN 978-0-472-08149-3.
^ a b Klaić, Vjekoslav (1988). Povijest Hrvata: od najstarijih
vremena do svršetka XIX stoljeća. Treće doba: vladanje kraljeva iz
raznih porodica (1301–1526). Knj. 2 (in Croatian). Zagreb: Nakladni
zavod Matice Hrvatske. pp. 63–64.
^ Turner, Samuel Epes (1880). Einhard: The Life of
Karoli Magni). New York: Harper & Brothers.
^ Einhard, Life of
Charles the Great
^ "CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: Charlemagne".
^ James Bryce, 1st Viscount Bryce, The Holy Roman Empire, 1864, pp
Einhard Life of
^ Tierney, Brian. The Crisis of the Church and State 1050–1300.
University of Toronto Press, 1964. p. 17.
^ Meek, Harry. "Charlemagne's Imperial Coronation: The Enigma of
Sources and Use to Historians". www.academia.edu/HMeek.
^ "[...] he said that he would have refused to enter the church that
day, although it was a major festival, had he been aware of the Pope's
plans". Einhard, Vita Karoli Magni, 28.
^ Collins 1987, p. 147.
^ a b Collins 1987, p. 151.
^ Collins 1987, p. 149.
^ Norwich 1992b, p. 378.
^ Norwich 1992b, p. 379.
^ Pirenne 2012, p. 234n.
^ Norwich, John Julius (2011). The Popes: A History. Random House.
p. 55. ISBN 978-0701182908.
^ Norwich 1992a, p. 3.
^ Pirenne 2012, p. 233.
^ Butler, Alban; Hugh Farmer, David (1995). "St Paulinus of Aquileia,
Bishop (c. 726–804)". Butler's Lives of the Saints: New Full
Edition. Continuum International Publishing Group. pp. 74–75.
^ Collins 1987, p. 153.
^ "Holy Roman Empire". Britannica.com. 14 January 2013. Retrieved 14
^ "Ohnsorge, Werner, Das Zweikaiserproblem im früheren Mittelalter.
Die Bedeutung des byzantinischen Reiches für die Entwicklung der
Staatsidee in Europa, (Hildesheim, August Lax Verlagsbuchhandlung,
1947), pp. 15–31. Translated by Richard E. Sullivan in The
Charlemagne D. C. Heath and Company, Boston, 1959,
Library of Congress Catalog Card Number: 59-14499".
Clc-library-org-docs.angelfire.com. Retrieved 14 January 2014.
^ Cf. Monumenta Germaniae Historica, Diplomata Karolinorum I, 77ff.;
title used from 801 onward.
^ Cantor 2015, pp. 194–5, 212.
^ Davies1996, pp. 316–317.
^ a b Becher, Matthias (2011). "Die Außenpolitik Karls des Großen.
Zwischen Krieg und Diplomatie".
Damals (in German). 2011 Special
^ eum imperatorem et basileum appellantes, cf. Royal Frankish Annals,
^ Eichmann, Eduard (1942). Die Kaiserkrönung im Abendland: ein
Beitrag zur Geistesgeschichte des Mittelalters, mit besonderer
Berücksichtigung des kirchlichen Rechte, der Liturgie und der
Kirchenpolitik. Echter-Verlag. p. 33.
^ Einhard, Life, p. 59
^ Godman, Peter (1985). Poetry of the
Duckworth. pp. 206–211. ISBN 978-0-7156-1768-7.
^ Chamberlin, Russell (1986). The Emperor, Charlemagne. F. Watts.
pp. 222–224. ISBN 978-0-531-15004-7.
^ Dutton 2004.
^ von Hellfeld, Matthias. "Die Geburt zweier Staaten – Die
Straßburger Eide vom 14. Februar 842".
Deutsche Welle (in German).
Retrieved 22 October 2011.
Charles R. (2006). The Battle of Lechfeld and Its Aftermath,
August 955: The End of the Age of Migrations in the
Ashgate Publishing, Ltd. pp. 49–.
^ a b Hooper, Nicholas; Bennett, Matthew (26 January 1996). The
Cambridge Illustrated Atlas of Warfare: The Middle Ages, 768–1487.
Cambridge University Press. pp. 12–.
Charlemagne created a peaceful environment for Jews in his kingdom.
Charlemagne fostered a system where the Christian majority could
procure credit through Jewish constituents. Christians were forbidden
to loan money at an interest rate, a restriction not shared by the
Jews". Worldology.com. 25 April 2013. Retrieved 14 January 2014.
^ "Charlemagne". JewishEncyclopedia.com. Retrieved 14 January
^ "CHARLEMAGNE - JewishEncyclopedia.com". www.jewishencyclopedia.com.
Retrieved 11 October 2017.
^ Scheindlin, Raymond P. (1998). A Short History of the Jewish People.
Oxford University Press. pp. 101–104.
^ "Ashkenazic Jewry in France". Jewishhistory.org. Retrieved 14
^ Goldfoot, Nadene (8 October 2012). "includes sourced excerpts".
Jewishfactsfromportland.blogspot.com. Retrieved 14 January 2014.
Charlemagne and Anglo-Saxon England, Joanna Story, Charlemagne:
Empire and Society, ed. Joanna Story, (Manchester University Press,
^ a b Dutton 2016.
^ Karl der Grosse und das Erbe der Kulturen, Band 1999, Franz-Reiner
Erkens, Akademie Verlag, 2001.
^ Saint-Denis zwischen Adel und König, Rolf Große, Thorbecke,
^ "Charlemagne". Britannica.com. 7 February 2012. Retrieved 14 January
^ "The Filioque: A Church-Dividing Issue?: An Agreed Statement of the
North American Orthodox-Catholic Consultation". Usccb.org. Retrieved
14 January 2014.
^ "Adolf Harnack, History of Dogma, The Controversy regarding the
Filioque and Pictures". Ccel.org. 1 June 2005. Retrieved 14 January
^ Gerald Bray, The
Filioque Clause in History and Theology The Tyndale
Historical Lecture 1982 Archived 16 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine.,
^ Schulman, Jana K. (2002). The rise of the medieval world,
500–1300: a biographical dictionary. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood
Press. p. xx. ISBN 9780313011085.
^ a b c Bhote, Tehmina (1 January 2005). Charlemagne: The Life and
Times of an Early Medieval Emperor. The Rosen Publishing Group.
^ Barbero 2004, p. 106.
^ Keller, R.E. (1964). "The Language of the Franks". Bulletin of the
John Rylands Library of Manchester. 47 (1): 101–122, esp. 122.
^ Chambers, William Walker; Wilkie, John Ritchie (10 January 2014). A
Short History of the German Language (RLE Linguistics E: Indo-European
Linguistics). London: Routledge. p. 33.
^ McKitterick 2008, p. 318.
Einhard 1999, 25. Studies.
^ Van Herwaarden, J. (1 January 2003). Between Saint James and
Erasmus: Studies in Late-Medieval Religious Life : Devotions and
Pilgrimages in the Netherlands. BRILL. p. 475.
^ Barbero 2004, p. 116.
^ Barbero 2004, p. 118.
^ Ruhli, F.J.; Blumich, B.; Henneberg, M. (2010). "
very tall, but not robust". Economics and Human Biology. 8: 289–290.
^ a b c
Einhard 1999, 23. Dress.
^ "Internet History Sourcebooks Project". legacy.fordham.edu.
Retrieved 2 May 2016.
^ Durant, Will. "King Charlemagne." Archived 24 December 2011 at the
Wayback Machine. History of Civilization, Vol III, The Age of Faith.
Online version in the Knighthood, Tournaments & Chivalry Resource
Library, Ed. Brian R. Price.
^ Charlemagne's biographer
Einhard (Vita Karoli Magni, ch. 20) calls
her a "concubine" and
Paulus Diaconus speaks of Pippin's birth "before
legal marriage", whereas a letter by
Pope Stephen III refers to
Charlemagne and his brother Carloman as being already married (to
Himiltrude and Gerberga), and advises them not to dismiss their wives.
Historians have interpreted the information in different ways. Some,
such as Pierre Riché (The Carolingians, p.86.), follow
Himiltrude as a concubine. Others, for example Dieter
Hägemann (Karl der Große. Herrscher des Abendlands, p. 82f.),
Himiltrude a wife in the full sense. Still others subscribe
to the idea that the relationship between the two was "something more
than concubinage, less than marriage" and describe it as a Friedelehe,
a form of marriage unrecognised by the Church and easily dissolvable.
Russell Chamberlin (The Emperor Charlemagne, p. 61.), for instance,
compared it with the English system of common-law marriage. This form
of relationship is often seen in a conflict between Christian marriage
and more flexible Germanic concepts.
^ "By [Hildigard]
Charlemagne had four sons and four daughters,
according to Paul the Deacon: one son, the twin of Lewis, called
Lothar, died as a baby and is not mentioned by Einhard; two daughters,
Hildigard and Adelhaid, died as babies, so that
Einhard appears to err
in one of his names, unless there were really five daughters." Thorpe,
Lewis, Two Lives of Charlemagne, p.185
^ Church historians of the period wrote universally in Latin,
regardless of native language.
Charles le Magne only translates
Carolus Magnus given in the
Latin manuscripts into French, which was
subsequent to whatever language
^ a b c Anderson, Perry (23 April 2013). Passages from Antiquity to
Feudalism. Verso Books. ISBN 978-1-78168-008-7.
^ a b Shahan, Thomas; Ewan Macpherson. "Charlemagne". The Catholic
Encyclopedia. Retrieved 1 January 2013. In some parts of the empire
popular affection placed him among the saints. For political purposes
and to please
Frederick Barbarossa he was canonised (1165) by the
antipope Paschal III, but this act was never ratified by insertion of
his feast in the Roman Breviary or by the Universal Church; his
cultus, however, was permitted at
Aachen [Acta SS., 28 Jan., 3d ed.,
II, 490–93, 303–7, 769; his office is in Canisius, "Antiq. Lect.",
^ Martyrologium Romanum, Ad Formam Editionis Typicae Scholiis
Historicis Instructum. 1940. p. 685.
^ Hoche, Dominique T (2012). "Charlemagne". In Lister M. Matheson.
Icons of the Middle Ages: Rulers, Writers, Rebels, and Saints. Santa
Barbara, California: Greenwood. pp. 143–74 .
ISBN 978-0-313-34080-2. Retrieved 1 January 2013.
^ Arthurian Legend — Encyclopedia Brittanica
^ Arthur the Conqeror, Michael Fraley
"To anyone familiar with the early Medieval Period of European
history, Geoffrey's story begins to sound familiar here. It should. It
seems to be based, in large part, on the historical adventures of
Charlemagne, the Frankish King of the Ninth Century, who eventually
became Emperor. Looking at Charlemagne's life and personality, it
becomes clear that he and Geoffrey's Arthur are practically twins."
King Arthur and Contested National Identity in English
Modelling his narrative on earlier Middle English texts, the English
AMA-poet, appropriates aspects of the historical reality of
Charlemagne and refashions them to fit Arthur, creating a hero that
the English can claim as their own.
^ Dorothy L. Sayers, Paradise, notes on Canto XVII.
^ Banham (1998, 678).
^ Chamberlin, Russell, The Emperor Charlemagne, p. ???
^ "Quid plura? "Flying birds, excellent birds ..."". Quidplura.com.
5 August 2007. Retrieved 14 January 2014.
^ "Where do The Economist's unusual names come from?". The Economist.
Retrieved 26 March 2017.
^ Michaels, Sean (5 January 2010). "
Christopher Lee to release
'symphonic metal' album, The man who played Dracula and Saruman is to
tell the story of Charlemagne, the first Holy Roman Emperor, through
the universal language of metal". The Guardian. Retrieved 1 January
2013. The man who played Dracula, Saruman and the Man with the Golden
Gun is now to portray Charlemagne—through the medium of song. Actor
Christopher Lee is to release an album of 'symphonic metal', telling
the story of his own direct ancestor, the first Holy Roman
^ Farrell, John (28 May 2012). "
Christopher Lee Celebrates 90th
Birthday By Recording Heavy Metal". Forbes. Retrieved 1 January 2013.
'Let Legend Mark Me As King;' and 'The Ultimate Sacrifice', arranged
by Judas Priest lead guitarist Richie Falkner, are part of a new
album, Charlemagne: The Omens of Death.
^ Common ancestors of all humans. Humphrysfamilytree.com. Retrieved on
7 September 2013.
^ Euregio Aachen: Mein Karl Archived 23 April 2014 at the Wayback
Machine., 18 October 2013
^ a b Bullough, Donald A. (December 2003). "Charlemagne's court
library revisited". Early Medieval Europe. 12 (4): 339–363.
doi:10.1111/j.0963-9462.2004.00141.x. Retrieved 16 December
Charlemagne Holy Roman emperor [747?–814]". Encyclopædia
Britannica. Retrieved 17 November 2015.
^ "Charlemagne's court library revisited". Early Medieval Europe. 12
(4): 339–363. 2003. doi:10.1111/j.0963-9462.2004.00141.x.
Charlemagne, from Encyclopædia Britannica, full-article, latest
Barbero, Alessandro (2004). Charlemagne: Father of a Continent. trans.
Allan Cameron. Berkeley: University of California Press.
Becher, Matthias (4 March 2005). Charlemagne. Translated by Bachrach,
David S. New Haven:
Yale University Press.
Cantor, Norman F. (13 October 2015). Civilization of the Middle Ages:
Completely Revised and Expanded Edition, A. HarperCollins.
Collins, Roger (1987) . The Basques. New York: Basil Blackwell
Collins, Roger (1998). Charlemagne. Toronto: University of Toronto
Collins, Roger (1999). Early Medieval Europe, 300–1000. New York:
Palgrave Macmillan. ISBN 978-0-33365-808-6.
Collins, Roger (2004). Visigothic Spain, 409–711. History of Spain.
Malden, MA; Oxford: Blackwell Pub.
Davies, Norman (1996). Europe: A History. Oxford University Press.
Douglass, William A; Bilbao, Jon (2005). Amerikanuak:
Basques in the
New World. The Basque series. Reno; Las Vegas: University of Nevada
Press. ISBN 9780874176254.
Dutton, P. (30 April 2016). Charlemagne's Mustache: And Other Cultural
Clusters of a Dark Age. Palgrave Macmillan US.
Dutton, Paul Edward (2004).
Carolingian Civilization: A Reader.
Broadview Press. ISBN 978-1-55111-492-7.
Einhard, putative (741–829). Annales Regni Francorum (Annales
Laurissenses Maiores). Medieval Latin. The
Einhard (1999) . Halsall, Paul, ed. The Life of Charlemagne.
Translated by Samuel Epes Turner. New York: Harper & Brothers;
Medieval Sourcebook, Fordham University.
Fouracre, Paul (2005). "The Long Shadow of the Merovingians". In
Joanna Story. Charlemagne: Empire and Society. Machester, UK:
Manchester University Press. ISBN 978-0-71907-089-1.
Frassetto, Michael (2003). Encyclopedia of Barbarian Europe: Society
in Transformation. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO.
Ganshof, F. L. (1971). The Carolingians and the Frankish Monarchy:
Carolingian History. trans. Janet Sondheimer. Ithaca, N.Y.:
Cornell University Press. ISBN 0-8014-0635-8.
Gregory, Timothy E. (2005). A History of Byzantium. Malden, MA;
Oxford, UK: Blackwell Publishing. ISBN 978-0-63123-513-2.
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Italy and Her Invaders. 8. Oxford: Clarendon
Ibn al-Qūṭiyya (2009). Early Islamic Spain: The
History of Ibn al-Qūṭiyya: a study of the unique
in the Bibliothèque Nationale de France, Paris, with a translation,
notes and comments. London and New York: Routledge.
Lewers Langston, Aileen; Buck, Jr., J. Orton, eds. (1974). Pedigrees
of Some of the Emperor Charlemagne's Descendants. Baltimore:
Genealogical Pub. Co.
McKitterick, Rosamond (24 April 2008). Charlemagne: The Formation of a
European Identity. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
Molina Figueras, Joan (2004). "Arnau de Montrodon y la catedral de San
Carlomagno: sobre la imagen y el culto al emperador carolingio en
Gerona". Anuario de Estudios Medievales (in Spanish). 34 (1):
Norwich, John Julius (1992a). Byzantium: The Apogee. Knopf.
Norwich, John Julius (1992b). Byzantium: The Early Centuries. Penguin
Charles (1914). The Dark Ages, 476–918 (6th ed.). London:
Painter, Sidney (1953). A History of the Middle Ages, 284–1500. New
Pirenne, Henri (18 April 2012) [1937 posthumous]. Mohammed and
Charlemagne (Dover ed.). Mineola, N.Y.: Courier Corporation.
Riché, Pierre (1993). The Carolingians: A Family Who Forged Europe.
Middle Ages Series. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.
Charles Edward (1930). Charlemagne, first of the moderns.
Boston and New York: Houghton Mifflin Co.
Santosuosso, Antonio (2004). Barbarians, Marauders, and Infidels: The
Ways of Medieval Warfare. Boulder, Colo.: Westview Press.
Sarti, Laury (2016). "Frankish Romanness and Charlemagne's Empire".
Speculum. 91 (4): 1040–1058.
Scholz, Bernhard Walter; Barbara Rogers (1970). Carolingian
Royal Frankish Annals
Royal Frankish Annals and Nithard's Histories. Ann Arbor:
University of Michigan Press. ISBN 0-472-08790-8. Comprises
the Annales regni Francorum and The History of the Sons of Louis the
Sypeck, Jeff (2006). Becoming Charlemagne: Europe, Baghdad, and The
Empires of A.D. 800. New York: Ecco/HarperCollins.
Tierney, Brian (1964). The Crisis of Church and State 1050–1300.
Toronto: University of Toronto Press. ISBN 0-8020-6701-8.
Waldman, Carl; Mason, Catherine (2006). Encyclopedia of European
Peoples. New York: Facts on File. ISBN 978-0816049646.
Wilson, Derek (2005). Charlemagne: The Great Adventure. London:
Hutchinson. ISBN 0-09-179461-7.
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The Making of Charlemagne's Europe (freely available database of
prosopographical and socio-economic data from legal documents dating
to Charlemagne's reign, produced by King's College London)
Einhard. "Vita Karoli Magni". Medieval Latin. The
Bakker, Marco (2003–2011). "Charlemagne". Reportret.
The Sword of
Charlemagne (myArmoury.com article)
Snell, Melissa (2011). "
Charlemagne Picture Gallery". Medieval
Charter given by
Charlemagne for St. Emmeram's
Abbey showing the
Emperor's seal, 22.2.794 . Taken from the collections of the
Lichtbildarchiv älterer Originalurkunden at Marburg University
Works by or about
Charlemagne at Internet Archive
LibriVox (public domain audiobooks)
An interactive map of Charlemagne's travels
"Carolus Magnus imperator". Repertorium "Historical Sources of the
German Middle Ages" (Geschichtsquellen des deutschen
Charles I the Great
Died: 28 January 814
Pippin the Short
King of the Franks
Carloman I (768–771)
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