CHARLEMAGNE (/ˈʃɑːrlᵻmeɪn/ ) or CHARLES THE GREAT (2 April
742 – 28 January 814), numbered CHARLES I, was King of the Franks
King of the Lombards from 774 and Emperor of the Romans from
800. He united much of Europe during the early
Middle Ages . He was
the first recognised emperor in western Europe since the fall of the
Roman Empire three centuries earlier. The expanded Frankish
Charlemagne founded is called the
Carolingian Empire .
Charlemagne was the oldest son of
Pepin the Short and Bertrada of
Laon . He became king in 768 following his father's death, initially
as co-ruler with his brother
Carloman I . Carloman's sudden death in
771 in unexplained circumstances left
Charlemagne as the 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
of Verden .
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_),
as he united most of Western Europe for the first time since the
Roman Empire . 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.
Eastern Orthodox Church views
controversially, labeling as heterodox his support of the filioque and
recognition by the
Bishop of Rome as legitimate Roman Emperor, rather
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 .
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
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
* 2.2 Ancestry
* 2.3 Ambiguous high office
* 2.4.1 Formation of a new
* 2.4.2 Acquisition of
Aquitania by the Carolingians
* 2.4.3 Loss and recovery of
* 2.5 Perforce union
* 3 Italian campaigns
* 3.1 Conquest of the Lombard kingdom
* 3.2 Southern
* 4 Children
Carolingian expansion to the south
Vasconia and the
* 5.3 Contact with the
* 5.4 Wars with the Moors
* 6 Eastern campaigns
* 6.2 Submission of
* 6.3 Avar campaigns
* 6.4 Northeast Slav expeditions
* 6.5 Southeast Slav expeditions
* 7 Imperium
* 7.1.1 Debate
* 7.2 Imperial title
* 7.3 Imperial diplomacy
* 7.4 Danish attacks
* 7.5 Death
* 8 Administration
* 8.1 Military
* 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
* 8.7.1 Organisation
* 8.7.2 Divisio regnorum
* 9 Personality
* 9.1 Manner
* 9.2 Language
* 9.3 Appearance
* 9.4 Dress
* 9.5 Homes
* 10 Family
* 10.1 Marriages and heirs
* 10.2 Ancestry
* 11 Name
* 13 Cultural uses
* 13.2 Modern era
* 14 Books and libraries
* 15 See also
* 16 Notes
* 17 References
* 17.1 Citations
* 17.2 Bibliography
* 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 .
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
Charles Martel (
Charles the Hammer).
Charles governed the
Franks in lieu of a king and declined
to call himself _king_.
Charles was succeeded in 741 by his sons
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
The Early Middle Ages, 284--1000: Charlemagne, 46:14, YaleCourses
Charlemagne: An Introduction,
Smarthistory , 7:49,
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
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
Germany . Orman
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
Louis the German ; and an independent intermediate state
stretching from the low countries along the borderlands to south of
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
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 seventy 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 would appear to
support the idea that
Charlemagne was an illegitimate child, although
that is not mentioned by Einhard.
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
Herstal ) in
present-day Belgium as possible locations.
close to the region from where the Merovingian and Carolingian
families originated. Other cities have been suggested, including
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 wife
Bertrada of Laon (720
– 12 July 783), daughter of
Caribert of Laon and Bertrada of Cologne
. 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
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
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
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
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
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
Charlemagne created distinct sovereign kingdoms.
An inheritance in the countries formerly under Roman law (_ius _ or
_iustitia_) represented not only a transmission of the properties and
privileges but also the encumbrances and obligations attached to the
inheritance. Pepin at his death had been in process of building an
empire, a difficult task. According to Russell:
In those times, to build a kingdom from an aggregation of small
states was itself no great difficulty... But to keep the state intact
after it had been formed was a colossal task... Each of the minor
states...had its little sovereign...who...gave himself chiefly
to...plotting, pillaging and fighting.
Formation Of A New Aquitania
Rome had been in southern
Gaul , Romanised and
Romance language . Similarly
Hispania had been populated by
peoples who spoke various languages, including Celtic , but the area
was now populated entirely by
Romance language speakers. Between
Hispania were the Euskaldunak , Latinised to
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 border with
At about 660, the Duchy of
Vasconia united with the Duchy of
Aquitania to form a single kingdom under Felix of
governing from Toulouse. This was a joint kingship with a 28-year-old
Basque king, Lupus I . _Lupus_ is the
Latin translation of Basque
Otsoa, "wolf". The kingdom was sovereign and independent. Vasconia
gave up predation to become a player on the field of European
politics. Whatever arrangements Felix had made with the Merovingians
became null and void. At Felix's death in 670 the joint property of
the kingship reverted entirely to Lupus. As the
Basques had no law of
joint inheritance, but practised primogeniture , Lupus in effect
founded a hereditary dynasty of Basque kings of an expanded Aquitania.
Aquitania By The Carolingians
Umayyad conquest of
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
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
Wittiza , the last Visigothic king
of a united Hispania, died before his three sons, Almund, Romulo and
Ardabast, reached majority. 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
Roderic seems to have taken the rest, notably modern
Saracens crossed the mountains to claim Ardo's
Septimania , only
to encounter the Basque dynasty of Aquitania, always the allies of the
Odo the Great of
Aquitania 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
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
Saracens was incorporation into the Frankish kingdom, a decision
that was repugnant to him and also to his heirs.
Loss And Recovery Of Aquitania
After the death of his father,
Hunald 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 un
Annales Mettenses priores . His son
Waifer took an early inheritance, becoming duke of
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.
Aquitania was 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
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
Liutperga , a daughter of
Desiderius , king of
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
Aquitaine , after waging a destructive, ten-year war against
Aquitaine. Now, another
Hunald (seemingly not
Hunald the duke) led the
Aquitainians as far north as
Charles met Carloman, but
Carloman refused to participate and returned to Burgundy.
to war, leading an army to
Bordeaux , where he set up a fort at
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,
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
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 ambassadors to
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
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
the pope in Rome. There he confirmed his father's grants of land,
with some later chronicles falsely claiming that he also expanded
Tuscany , Emilia , Venice and
Corsica . The pope
granted him the title _patrician _. He then returned to Pavia, where
Lombards were on the verge of surrendering. In return for their
Lombards surrendered and opened the gates in early summer.
Desiderius was sent to the abbey of
Corbie , and his son
Constantinople , a patrician. Charles, unusually, had himself
crowned with the Iron Crown and made the magnates of
homage to him at Pavia. Only Duke
Arechis II of Benevento refused to
submit and proclaimed independence.
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 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
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
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, that proved the Frankish power
structure south of the
Loire was feeble and unreliable. After the
defeat and death of Waifer of
Aquitaine in 768, while Aquitaine
submitted again to the
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
to whom he pledged loyalty, which seemed to confirm the peace in the
Basque area south of the
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
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 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
Huesca . Their masters had been
cornered in the Iberian peninsula by
Abd ar-Rahman I , the Umayyad
emir of Cordova . These "Saracen" (
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
Saxons to be a fully conquered nation, Charlemagne
agreed to go to Spain.
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
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
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 . Pippin was
much occupied with
Saracens in Italy.
Charlemagne conquered Corsica
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
Harun al-Rashid , presented
Charlemagne with an Asian
Abul-Abbas and a clock .
WARS WITH THE MOORS
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
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 of
Aquitaine marched the entire army of his kingdom
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 in 813.
Saxon Wars A map showing Charlemagne's
additions (in light green) to the
Charlemagne was engaged in almost constant warfare throughout his
reign, often at the head of his elite _scara _ bodyguard squadrons,
carrying his legendary sword
Joyeuse . 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
Between them was
Engria and north of these three, at the base of the
Jutland peninsula, was
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,
Westphalia and conquering the Saxon fort at Sigiburg
. He then crossed Engria, where he defeated the
Saxons again. Finally,
in Eastphalia, he defeated a Saxon force, and its leader Hessi
converted to Christianity.
Charlemagne returned through Westphalia,
leaving encampments at
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
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 ("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,
Charlemagne had invaded the Kingdom of
Lombardy , and he
later annexed the Lombardian territories and assumed its crown,
Papal States under Frankish protection. The Duchy of
Spoleto south of
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 , however
Charlemagne acquired other Slavic areas, including
Charlemagne turned to
Bavaria . He claimed Tassilo was an
unfit ruler, due to his oath-breaking. The charges were exaggerated,
but Tassilo was deposed anyway and put in the monastery of
In 794, he was made to renounce any claim to
Bavaria for himself and
his family (the
Agilolfings ) at the synod of
subdivided into Frankish counties, as had been done with Saxony.
In 788, the Avars , a pagan Asian horde that had settled down in what
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
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
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
Croatia and Dalmatian
Croatia . While fighting the Avars,
Franks had called for their support. During the 790s, he won a
major victory over them in 796. Pannonian Croat duke Vojnomir of
Croatia aided Charlemagne, and the
Franks made themselves
overlords over the
Croats of northern Dalmatia,
Slavonia and Pannonia.
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
Paderborn . Charlemagne, advised by scholar
York , 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
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 ... , like their predecessors,
Roman Empire to be one and indivisible, and proposed by the
coronation of 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 ... 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:
e at first had such an aversion that he declared that he would not
have set foot in the Church the day that they 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 Cathedral .
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 "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 of the
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 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 the that time"
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
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 were concerned, one and indivisible, with
Charles as its Emperor", though there can have been "little doubt that
the coronation, with all that it implied, would be furiously contested
Alcuin writes hopefully in his letters of an _Imperium Christianum_
("Christian Empire"), wherein, "just as the inhabitants of the 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 Aquileia.
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.
Charlemagne _, by assistants of
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 , 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
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 reintroduced the veneration of
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
Nicephorus 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
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 Rhangabes 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"
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 , built 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
Flanders with pirate
raids. He also subdued the Frank-allied
Wiltzes and fought the
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.
Testament of Charlemagne Portion of the 814 death
shroud of Charlemagne. It represents a quadriga and was manufactured
Constantinople . Frederick II\'s gold and silver casket for
Persephone sarcophagus of
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
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 _
obitu Karoli _, was composed by a monk of Bobbio , which he had
patronised. A later story, told by Otho of Lomello, Count of the
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
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, from the subscription of a royal
diploma: Signum_ (monogr.: KAROLVS) _Karoli gloriosissimi regis_
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 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 _
Latin _libra _, the modern pound ), which was based upon a
pound of silver—a unit of both money and weight—worth 20 sous
Latin _solidus _ , the modern shilling ) or 240 _deniers _
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,
Charlemagne instituted principles for accounting practice by means of
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, he
employed at least one Jew for diplomatic missions and Isaac was his
personal representative to the Muslim caliphate of Baghdad. Letters
have been credited to him that invited Jews to settle in his kingdom,
for economic purposes, generally welcoming them through his overall,
Part of Charlemagne's success as a warrior, an administrator and
ruler can be traced to his admiration for learning and education. His
reign are 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 presently surviving works of classical
Latin were copied
and preserved by
Carolingian scholars. Indeed, the earliest
manuscripts available for many ancient texts are Carolingian. It is
almost certain that a text which survived to the
The pan-European nature of Charlemagne's influence is indicated by
the origins of many of the men who worked for him:
Alcuin , an
Theodulf , a Visigoth , probably from
Paul the Deacon , Lombard;
Peter of Pisa and
Paulinus of Aquileia ; and
Angilbert , Angilram,
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 arithmetic.
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
Aachen Cathedral .
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 _Filioque_ (and
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
Charles the Younger he designated
Austrasia and Neustria, Saxony, Burgundy and
Thuringia . To Pippin he
Swabia . Louis received Aquitaine, the Spanish
Provence . The imperial title was not mentioned, which led
to the suggestion that, at that particular time,
the title as an honorary achievement that held no hereditary
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 of handling
business in a professional manner, he called all members of the
situation into his bedroom to be given orders.
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
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 people.
Charlemagne himself probably spoke a Rhenish Franconian dialect.
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 it").
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
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
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
In the Bibliothèque Nationale de
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
Italy , the only son of his third son, Pippin of
who was illegitimate, but included in the line of inheritance. Among
his descendants are several royal dynasties, including the
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,
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
king of the
Lombards ; married in 770, annulled in 771.
His second wife was
Hildegard of Vinzgouw (757 or 758–783), married
771, died 783. By her he had nine children:
Charles the Younger
Charles the Younger (ca. 772–4 December 811), Duke of Maine, and
King of the Franks on 25 December 800
* Carloman, renamed Pippin (April 773–8 July 810),
King of Italy
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 Aquitaine
since 781, crowned King of the Franks/co-emperor in 813, senior
Emperor from 814
* Lothair (778–6 February 779/780), twin of Louis, he died in
* Bertha (779–826)
* Gisela (781–808)
* Hildegarde (782–783)
His first known concubine was Gersuinda. By her he had:
* Adaltrude (b.774)
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
* Hiltrude (b.787)
His fourth wife was
Luitgard , married 794, died childless.
His fourth known concubine was Regina. By her he had:
* Drogo (801–855),
Bishop of Metz from 823 and abbot of Luxeuil
* 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
Pepin of Herstal
Pepin the Short
Lambert, Count of Hesbaye
11. ? Chrotlind
Caribert of Laon
13. Bertrada of
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 his grandfather,
Charles Martel . Later Old French historians
dubbed him _
Charles le Magne_ (
Charles the Great), becoming
Charlemagne in 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
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
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 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
Roland , and the paladins who are analogous to the knights
of the Round Table of
King Arthur 's court. Their tales constitute the
first _chansons de geste _. In the Divine Comedy the spirit of
Charlemagne appears to Dante in the Heaven of Mars, among the other
"warriors of the faith".
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
(called the _
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, the 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
Charlemagne as a common ancestor (see most recent common
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 Aachen
cathedral, displaying 500
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
Metz , representing the imperial protection over Metz
during the German annexation of the city
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 tomes.
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
Charlemagne comes from his nickname, _Carolus Magnus_ (Charles
the 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
Großen_, in: _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 2014.
* ^ _A_ _B_ McKitterick 2008 , p. 72.
* ^ 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
, Years 745–755
* ^ Oman 1914 , pp. 409–410.
* ^ _Charlemagne—Forefather of Modern Europe_ --The Trumpet
* ^ _A_ _B_ Baldwin, Stewart (2007–2009). "Charlemagne". The
* ^ "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.
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.
* ^ Russell 1930 , p. 87.
* ^ 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. ISBN
* ^ Freeman, Edward
Augustus (1904). _Western Europe in the Eighth
Century & Onward: An Aftermath_. Macmillan and Company, limited. p.
* ^ 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. ISBN 9780313316685 .
* ^ Runciman, Steven. "The
Empress Irene the Athenian." Medieval
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day, although it was a major festival, had he been aware of the pope's
plans". Einhard, The life of Charlemagne, 28
* ^ Collins 1987 , p. 147.
* ^ _A_ _B_ Collins 1987 , p. 151.
* ^ Collins 1987 , p. 149.
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* ^ "Ohnsorge, Werner, \'\'Das Zweikaiserproblem im früheren
Mittelalter. Die Bedeutung des byzantinischen Reiches für die
Entwicklung der Staatsidee in Europa\'\', (Hildesheim, August Lax
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* ^ Cf. _
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* ^ _A_ _B_ Becher, Matthias (2011). "Die Außenpolitik Karls des
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* ^ _eum imperatorem et basileum appellantes_, cf. _Royal Frankish
Annals _, a. 812.
* ^ Eichmann, Eduard (1942). _Die Kaiserkrönung im Abendland: ein
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Berücksichtigung des kirchlichen Rechte, der Liturgie und der
Kirchenpolitik_. Echter-Verlag. p. 33.
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* ^ Dutton 2004 .
* ^ von Hellfeld, Matthias. "Die Geburt zweier Staaten – Die
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* ^ "
Charlemagne created a peaceful environment for Jews in his
Charlemagne fostered a system where the Christian majority
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forbidden to loan money at an interest rate, a restriction not shared
by the Jews.". Worldology.com. 25 April 2013. Retrieved 14 January
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* ^ 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.
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Charlemagne and Anglo-Saxon England_, Joanna Story,
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* ^ _A_ _B_ Dutton 2016 .
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* ^ Barbero 2004 , p. 106.
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* ^ Barbero 2004 , p. 116.
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Einhard 1999 , 23. Dress.
* ^ "Internet History Sourcebooks Project". _legacy.fordham.edu_.
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* ^ Durant, Will. "King Charlemagne." Archived 24 December 2011 at
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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,
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Latin manuscripts into French, which was
subsequent to whatever language
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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
* ^ _Martyrologium Romanum, Ad Formam Editionis Typicae Scholiis
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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
Christopher Lee is to release an album of "symphonic
metal", telling the story of his own direct ancestor, the first Holy
* ^ 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.
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Charlemagne Holy Roman emperor ". _Encyclopædia
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