Charlemagne

Charlemagne

Overview
Charlemagne is a city in the Veneto, northern Italy, with approx. 265,000 inhabitants and one of the seven chef-lieus of the region. It is the second largest city municipality in the region and the third of North-Eastern Italy. The metropolitan area of Verona...

. The young prince was chased to the Adriatic littoral and he fled to Constantinople
Constantinople
Constantinople was the capital of the Roman, Eastern Roman, Byzantine, Latin, and Ottoman Empires. Throughout most of the Middle Ages, Constantinople was Europe's largest and wealthiest city.-Names:...

 to plead for assistance from Constantine V
Constantine V
Constantine V was Byzantine emperor from 741 to 775; ); .-Early life:...

, who was waging war with Bulgaria
First Bulgarian Empire
The First Bulgarian Empire was a medieval Bulgarian state founded in the north-eastern Balkans in c. 680 by the Bulgars, uniting with seven South Slavic tribes...

.

The siege lasted until the spring of 774, when Charlemagne visited the pope in Rome.
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Timeline

768   Carloman I and Charlemagne are crowned Kings of The Franks.

771   Austrasian King Carloman dies, leaving his brother Charlemagne King of the now complete Frankish Kingdom.

771   Charlemagne becomes the sole King of the Franks after the death of his brother Carloman.

800   Charlemagne arrives at Rome to investigate the alleged crimes of Pope Leo III.

800   Charlemagne judges the accusations against Pope Leo III in the Vatican.

800   Coronation of Charlemagne as Holy Roman Emperor, in Rome.

 
Encyclopedia
Charlemagne is a city in the Veneto, northern Italy, with approx. 265,000 inhabitants and one of the seven chef-lieus of the region. It is the second largest city municipality in the region and the third of North-Eastern Italy. The metropolitan area of Verona...

. The young prince was chased to the Adriatic littoral and he fled to Constantinople
Constantinople
Constantinople was the capital of the Roman, Eastern Roman, Byzantine, Latin, and Ottoman Empires. Throughout most of the Middle Ages, Constantinople was Europe's largest and wealthiest city.-Names:...

 to plead for assistance from Constantine V
Constantine V
Constantine V was Byzantine emperor from 741 to 775; ); .-Early life:...

, who was waging war with Bulgaria
First Bulgarian Empire
The First Bulgarian Empire was a medieval Bulgarian state founded in the north-eastern Balkans in c. 680 by the Bulgars, uniting with seven South Slavic tribes...

.

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 claiming—falsely—that he also expanded them, granting Tuscany
Tuscany
Tuscany is a region in Italy. It has an area of about 23,000 square kilometres and a population of about 3.75 million inhabitants. The regional capital is Florence ....

, Emilia
Emilia (region of Italy)
Emilia is a historical region of northern Italy which approximately corresponds to the western and north-eastern portions of today’s Emilia-Romagna region...

, Venice, and Corsica
Corsica
Corsica is an island in the Mediterranean Sea. It is located west of Italy, southeast of the French mainland, and north of the island of Sardinia....

. 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
Abbey
An abbey is a Catholic monastery or convent, under the authority of an Abbot or an Abbess, who serves as the spiritual father or mother of the community.The term can also refer to an establishment which has long ceased to function as an abbey,...

 of Corbie
Corbie
Corbie is a commune of the Somme department in Picardie in northern France.-Geography:The small town is situated up river from Amiens, in the département of Somme and is the main town of the canton of Corbie. It lies in the valley of the River Somme, at the confluence of the River Ancre. The town...

 and his son Adelchis died in Constantinople a patrician. Charles, unusually, had himself crowned with the Iron Crown
Iron Crown of Lombardy
The Iron Crown of Lombardy is both a reliquary and one of the most ancient royal insignia of Europe. The crown became one of the symbols of the Kingdom of Lombards and later of the medieval Kingdom of Italy...

 and made the magnates of Lombardy do homage to him at Pavia. Only Duke Arechis II of Benevento
Arechis II of Benevento
Arechis II was Duke of Benevento, in southern Italy, from 758 until his death....

 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 that very year.

There was still instability, however, in Italy. In 776, Dukes Hrodgaud of Friuli
Hrodgaud of Friuli
Hrodgaud or Rodgand was the Duke of Friuli from 774 to 776. Probably he was already duke under Desiderius, even if some Frankish sources, such as the Einhardis annales, say that Charlemagne put him in power after the Siege of Pavia....

 and Hildeprand of Spoleto
Hildeprand of Spoleto
Hildeprand was the Duke of Spoleto from 774 to 789.When Theodicius of Spoleto died fighting at the Siege of Pavia in 774, the Lombards of the Duchy of Spoleto elected Hildeprand their duke and quickly submitted to the Franks. Hildeprand fled to Rome before the Frankish host and did homage to Pope...

 rebelled. Charlemagne rushed back from Saxony
Saxony
The Free State of Saxony is a landlocked state of Germany, contingent with Brandenburg, Saxony Anhalt, Thuringia, Bavaria, the Czech Republic and Poland. It is the tenth-largest German state in area, with of Germany's sixteen states....

 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
Byzantium
Byzantium was an ancient Greek city, founded by Greek colonists from Megara in 667 BC and named after their king Byzas . The name Byzantium is a Latinization of the original name Byzantion...

, never left that city. Northern Italy was now faithfully his.

Southern Italy


In 787 Charlemagne directed his attention toward Benevento
Benevento
Benevento is a town and comune of Campania, Italy, capital of the province of Benevento, 50 km northeast of Naples. It is situated on a hill 130 m above sea-level at the confluence of the Calore Irpino and Sabato...

, where Arechis was reigning independently. Charlemagne besieged Salerno
Salerno
Salerno is a city and comune in Campania and is the capital of the province of the same name. It is located on the Gulf of Salerno on the Tyrrhenian Sea....

, and Arechis submitted to vassalage. However, with his death in 792, Benevento again proclaimed independence under his son Grimoald III
Grimoald III of Benevento
Grimoald III was the Lombard Prince of Benevento from 788 until his own death. He was the second son of Arechis II and Adelperga. In 787, he and his elder brother Romoald were sent as hostages to Charlemagne who had descended the Italian peninsula as far as Salerno to receive the submission of...

. Grimoald was attacked by armies of Charles or his sons many times, but Charlemagne himself never returned to the Mezzogiorno
Mezzogiorno
The Midday is a wide definition, without any administrative usage, used to indicate the southern half of the Italian state, encompassing the southern section of the continental Italian Peninsula and the two major islands of Sicily and Sardinia, in addition to a large number of minor islands...

, and Grimoald never was forced to surrender to Frankish suzerainty
Suzerainty
Suzerainty occurs where a region or people is a tributary to a more powerful entity which controls its foreign affairs while allowing the tributary vassal state some limited domestic autonomy. The dominant entity in the suzerainty relationship, or the more powerful entity itself, is called a...

.

Charles and his children



During the first peace of any substantial length (780–782), Charles began to appoint his sons to positions of authority within the realm, in the tradition of the kings and mayors of the past. In 781, he made his two younger sons kings, having them crowned by the Pope. The elder of these two, Carloman
Pippin of Italy
Pepin was the son of Charlemagne and king of the Lombards under the authority of his father.Pepin was the second son of Charlemagne by his then-wife Hildegard. He was born Carloman, but when his half-brother Pepin the Hunchback betrayed their father, the royal name Pepin passed to him...

, was made king of Italy
King of Italy
King of Italy is a title adopted by many rulers of the Italian peninsula after the fall of the Roman Empire...

, taking the Iron Crown which his father had first worn in 774, and in the same ceremony was renamed "Pippin." The younger of the two, Louis
Louis the Pious
Louis the Pious , also called the Fair, and the Debonaire, was the King of Aquitaine from 781. He was also King of the Franks and co-Emperor with his father, Charlemagne, from 813...

, became king of Aquitaine. Charlemagne ordered Pippin and Louis to be raised in the customs of their kingdoms, and he gave their regents some control of their subkingdoms, but real power was always in his hands, though he intended his sons to inherit their realms some day. Nor did he 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 he himself was not. His children were taught all the arts, and his daughters were learned in the way of being a woman. His sons took archery, horsemanship, and other outdoor activities.


The sons fought many wars on behalf of their father when they came of age. Charles was mostly preoccupied with the Bretons, whose border he shared and who insurrected on at least two occasions and were easily put down, but he was also sent against the Saxons on multiple occasions. In 805 and 806, he was sent into the Böhmerwald (modern Bohemia
Bohemia
Bohemia is a historical region in central Europe, occupying the western two-thirds of the traditional Czech Lands. It is located in the contemporary Czech Republic with its capital in Prague...

) to deal with the Slavs living there (Czechs
Czech people
Czechs, or Czech people are a western Slavic people of Central Europe, living predominantly in the Czech Republic. Small populations of Czechs also live in Slovakia, Austria, the United States, the United Kingdom, Chile, Argentina, Canada, Germany, Russia and other countries...

). He subjected them to Frankish authority and devastated the valley of the Elbe, forcing a tribute on them. Pippin had to hold the Avar
Eurasian Avars
The Eurasian Avars or Ancient Avars were a highly organized nomadic confederacy of mixed origins. They were ruled by a khagan, who was surrounded by a tight-knit entourage of nomad warriors, an organization characteristic of Turko-Mongol groups...

 and Beneventan borders but also fought the Slavs to his north. He was uniquely poised to fight the Byzantine Empire
Byzantine Empire
The Byzantine Empire was the Eastern Roman Empire during the periods of Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, centred on the capital of Constantinople. Known simply as the Roman Empire or Romania to its inhabitants and neighbours, the Empire was the direct continuation of the Ancient Roman State...

 when finally that conflict arose after Charlemagne's imperial coronation and a Venetian rebellion. Finally, Louis was in charge of the Spanish March and also went to southern Italy to fight the duke of Benevento on at least one occasion. He took Barcelona in a great siege in the year 797 (see below).

Charlemagne's attitude toward 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 – possibly to prevent the creation of cadet branch
Cadet branch
Cadet branch is a term in genealogy to describe the lineage of the descendants of the younger sons of a monarch or patriarch. In the ruling dynasties and noble families of much of Europe and Asia, the family's major assets – titles, realms, fiefs, property and income – have...

es of the family to challenge the main line, as had been the case with Tassilo of Bavaria
Tassilo III of Bavaria
Tassilo III was duke of Bavaria from 748 to 788, the last of the house of the Agilolfings.Tassilo, then still an infant, began his rule as a Frankish ward under the tutelage of the Merovingian Mayor of the Palace Pepin the Short after Tassilo's father, Duke Odilo of Bavaria, had died in 747 and...

 – yet he tolerated their extramarital relationships, even rewarding their common-law husbands, and treasured the illegitimate grandchildren they produced for him. He also, apparently, refused to believe stories of their wild behavior. 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
Angilbert
Saint Angilbert was a Frank who served Charlemagne as a diplomat, abbot, poet and semi-son-in-law. He was of noble Frankish parentage, and educated at the palace school in Aquae Grani under Alcuin...

, a member of Charlemagne's court circle.

Carolingian expansion south



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 Waifer of Aquitaine
Waifer of Aquitaine
Waifer was the duke of Aquitaine from 748 to 768, succeeding his newly-monastic father Hunold....

 in 768, while Aquitaine submitted again to the Carolingian dynasty, a new rebellion broke out in 769 led by Hunald II, maybe 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 besides pledging loyalty to him, which seemed to confirm the peace in the Basque area
Duchy of Vasconia
The Duchy of Vasconia , or Wasconia, was originally a Frankish march formed by 602 to keep the Basques in check. It comprised the former Roman province of Novempopulania and, at least in some periods, also the lands south of the Pyrenees centred on Pamplona.In the ninth century, civil war within...

 south of the Garonne.

However, wary of new Basque uprisings, Charlemagne seems to have tried to diminish duke Lupus’s power by appointing a certain Seguin
Seguin I of Gascony
Seguin I Lupo was Duke of Gascony from 812 until 816, when Louis the Pious deposed him "because of his boundless arrogance and wicked ways", according to the contemporary Frankish chroniclers. The "Basques across the Garonne and around the Pyrenees" rebelled against the removal of their duke, but...

 as count of Bordeaux (778) and other counts of Frankish background in bordering areas (Toulouse, County of Fézensac
County of Fézensac
The County of Fézensac was an eighth-century creation on the north-eastern fringes of the Duchy of Vasconia following Charlemagne's policy of feudalisation and Frankish colonisation...

), a decision that seriously undermined the authority of the duke of Gascony (Vasconia). The Basque duke in turn seems to have contributed decisively or schemed the Battle of Roncevaux Pass
Battle of Roncevaux Pass
The Battle of Roncevaux Pass was a battle in 778 in which Roland, prefect of the Breton March and commander of the rear guard of Charlemagne's army, was defeated by the Basques...

 (referred to as “Basque treachery”). The defeat of Charlemagne's army in Roncevaux (778) confirmed him in his determination to rule directly by establishing the Kingdom of Aquitaine (son Louis the Pious
Louis the Pious
Louis the Pious , also called the Fair, and the Debonaire, was the King of Aquitaine from 781. He was also King of the Franks and co-Emperor with his father, Charlemagne, from 813...

 proclaimed first king) based on a power base of Frankish officials, distributing lands among colonisers and allocating lands to the Church, which he took as ally.

From 781 (Pallars
County of Pallars
The County of Pallars or Pallás was a de facto independent petty state, nominally within the Carolingian Empire and then West Francia during the ninth and tenth centuries, perhaps one of the Catalan counties, originally part of the Marca Hispanica in the ninth century...

, Ribagorça
County of Ribagorza
The County of Ribagorza or Ribagorça was originally the independent creation of a local Basque dynasty, later absorbed into the Kingdom of Navarre, and then into the Crown of Aragon. Historically it had a strong connexion with the counties of Sobrarbe and Pallars. Its territory was the valleys of...

) to 806 (Pamplona under Frankish influence), taking the County of Toulouse for a power base, Charlemagne managed to assert Frankish authority on the Pyrenees by establishing vassal counties that were to make up the Marca Hispanica
Marca Hispanica
The Marca Hispanica , also known as Spanish March or March of Barcelona was a buffer zone beyond the province of Septimania, created by Charlemagne in 795 as a defensive barrier between the Umayyad Moors of Al-Andalus and the Frankish Kingdom....

 and provide the necessary springboard to attack the Hispanic Muslims
Al-Andalus
Al-Andalus was the Arabic name given to a nation and territorial region also commonly referred to as Moorish Iberia. The name describes parts of the Iberian Peninsula and Septimania governed by Muslims , at various times in the period between 711 and 1492, although the territorial boundaries...

 (expedition led by William Count of Toulouse
William of Gellone
Saint William of Gellone was the second Count of Toulouse from 790 until his replacement in 811. His Occitan name is Guilhem, and he is known in French as Guillaume d'Orange, Guillaume Fierabrace, and the Marquis au court nez.He is the hero of the Chanson de Guillaume, an early chanson de geste,...

 and Louis the Pious to capture Barcelona in 801), in a way that Charlemagne had succeeded in expanding the Carolingian rule all around the Pyrenees by 812, although events in the Duchy of Vasconia (rebellion in Pamplona, count overthrown in Aragon, duke Seguin of Bordeaux deposed, uprising of the Basque lords, etc.) were to prove it ephemeral on his death.

Roncesvalles campaign


According to the Muslim historian Ibn al-Athir, the Diet of Paderborn had received the representatives of the Muslim rulers of Zaragoza
Zaragoza
Zaragoza , also called Saragossa in English, is the capital city of the Zaragoza Province and of the autonomous community of Aragon, Spain...

, Girona
Girona
Girona is a city in the northeast of Catalonia, Spain at the confluence of the rivers Ter, Onyar, Galligants and Güell, with an official population of 96,236 in January 2009. It is the capital of the province of the same name and of the comarca of the Gironès...

, Barcelona, and Huesca
Huesca
Huesca is a city in north-eastern Spain, within the autonomous community of Aragon. It is also the capital of the Spanish province of the same name and the comarca of Hoya de Huesca....

. Their masters had been cornered in the Iberian
Iberian Peninsula
The Iberian Peninsula , sometimes called Iberia, is located in the extreme southwest of Europe and includes the modern-day sovereign states of Spain, Portugal and Andorra, as well as the British Overseas Territory of Gibraltar...

 peninsula by Abd ar-Rahman I
Abd ar-Rahman I
Abd al-Rahman I, or, his full name by patronymic record, Abd al-Rahman ibn Mu'awiya ibn Hisham ibn Abd al-Malik ibn Marwan was the founder of the Umayyad Emirate of Córdoba , a Muslim dynasty that ruled the greater part of Iberia for nearly three centuries...

, the Umayyad
Umayyad
The Umayyad Caliphate was the second of the four major Arab caliphates established after the death of Muhammad. It was ruled by the Umayyad dynasty, whose name derives from Umayya ibn Abd Shams, the great-grandfather of the first Umayyad caliph. Although the Umayyad family originally came from the...

 emir of Córdoba. These Moorish or "Saracen" rulers offered their homage to the great king of the Franks in return for military support. Seeing an opportunity to extend Christendom
Christendom
Christendom, or the Christian world, has several meanings. In a cultural sense it refers to the worldwide community of Christians, adherents of Christianity...

 and his own power and believing the Saxons to be a fully conquered nation, Charlemagne agreed to go to Spain.

In 778, he led the Neustrian army across the Western Pyrenees
Pyrenees
The Pyrenees is a range of mountains in southwest Europe that forms a natural border between France and Spain...

, while the Austrasians, Lombards, and Burgundians passed over the Eastern Pyrenees. The armies met at Zaragoza 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 was facing the toughest battle of his career where the Muslims had the upper hand and forced him to retreat. He decided to go home, since he could not trust the Basques, whom he had subdued by conquering Pamplona
Pamplona
Pamplona is the historial capital city of Navarre, in Spain, and of the former kingdom of Navarre.The city is famous worldwide for the San Fermín festival, from July 6 to 14, in which the running of the bulls is one of the main attractions...

. He turned to leave Iberia, but as he was passing through the Pass of Roncesvalles
Roncesvalles
Roncesvalles is a small village and municipality in Navarre, northern Spain. It is situated on the small river Urrobi at an altitude of some 900 metres in the Pyrenees, about 8 kilometres from the French frontier....

 one of the most famous events of his long reign occurred. The Basques fell on his rearguard and baggage train, utterly destroying it. The Battle of Roncevaux Pass
Battle of Roncevaux Pass
The Battle of Roncevaux Pass was a battle in 778 in which Roland, prefect of the Breton March and commander of the rear guard of Charlemagne's army, was defeated by the Basques...

, less a battle than a mere skirmish, left many famous dead: among which were the seneschal
Seneschal
A seneschal was an officer in the houses of important nobles in the Middle Ages. In the French administrative system of the Middle Ages, the sénéchal was also a royal officer in charge of justice and control of the administration in southern provinces, equivalent to the northern French bailli...

 Eggihard, the count of the palace Anselm, and the warden of the Breton March, Roland
Roland
Roland was a Frankish military leader under Charlemagne who became one of the principal figures in the literary cycle known as the Matter of France. Historically, Roland was military governor of the Breton March, with responsibility for defending the frontier of Francia against the Bretons...

, inspiring the subsequent creation of the Song of Roland (La Chanson de Roland).

Wars with the Moors



The conquest of Italy brought Charlemagne in contact with the Saracen
Saracen
Saracen was a term used by the ancient Romans to refer to a people who lived in desert areas in and around the Roman province of Arabia, and who were distinguished from Arabs. In Europe during the Middle Ages the term was expanded to include Arabs, and then all who professed the religion of Islam...

s who, at the time, controlled the Mediterranean
Mediterranean Sea
The Mediterranean Sea is a sea connected to the Atlantic Ocean surrounded by the Mediterranean region and almost completely enclosed by land: on the north by Anatolia and Europe, on the south by North Africa, and on the east by the Levant...

. Pippin, his son, was much occupied with Saracens in Italy. Charlemagne conquered Corsica
Corsica
Corsica is an island in the Mediterranean Sea. It is located west of Italy, southeast of the French mainland, and north of the island of Sardinia....

 and Sardinia
Sardinia
Sardinia is the second-largest island in the Mediterranean Sea . It is an autonomous region of Italy, and the nearest land masses are the French island of Corsica, the Italian Peninsula, Sicily, Tunisia and the Spanish Balearic Islands.The name Sardinia is from the pre-Roman noun *sard[],...

 at an unknown date and in 799 the Balearic Islands
Balearic Islands
The Balearic Islands are an archipelago of Spain in the western Mediterranean Sea, near the eastern coast of the Iberian Peninsula.The four largest islands are: Majorca, Minorca, Ibiza and Formentera. The archipelago forms an autonomous community and a province of Spain with Palma as the capital...

. The islands were often attacked by Saracen pirates, but the counts of Genoa
Genoa
Genoa |Ligurian]] Zena ; Latin and, archaically, English Genua) is a city and an important seaport in northern Italy, the capital of the Province of Genoa and of the region of Liguria....

 and Tuscany (Boniface
Boniface I of Tuscany
Boniface II was the count and duke of Lucca and first margrave of Tuscany from about 828. He succeeded his father Boniface I in Lucca — in what was an early example of hereditary succession — and extended his power over the region...

) kept them at bay with large fleets until the end of Charlemagne's reign. Charlemagne even had contact with the caliph
Caliph
The Caliph is the head of state in a Caliphate, and the title for the ruler of the Islamic Ummah, an Islamic community ruled by the Shari'ah. It is a transcribed version of the Arabic word   which means "successor" or "representative"...

al court in Baghdad
Baghdad
Baghdad is the capital of Iraq, as well as the coterminous Baghdad Governorate. The population of Baghdad in 2011 is approximately 7,216,040...

. In 797 (or possibly 801), the caliph of Baghdad, Harun al-Rashid
Harun al-Rashid
Hārūn al-Rashīd was the fifth Arab Abbasid Caliph in Iraq. He was born in Rey, Iran, close to modern Tehran. His birth date remains a point of discussion, though, as various sources give the dates from 763 to 766)....

, presented Charlemagne with an Asian elephant
Asian Elephant
The Asian or Asiatic elephant is the only living species of the genus Elephas and distributed in Southeast Asia from India in the west to Borneo in the east. Three subspecies are recognized — Elephas maximus maximus from Sri Lanka, the Indian elephant or E. m. indicus from mainland Asia, and E. m....

 named Abul-Abbas
Abul-Abbas
Abul-Abbas, also Abul Abaz or Abulabaz, was an Asian elephant given to Emperor Charlemagne by the caliph of Baghdad, Harun al-Rashid, in 797. The elephant's name and events from his life in the Carolingian Empire are recorded in the annales regni francorum , and Einhard's vita Karoli Magni also...

 and a clock
Clock
A clock is an instrument used to indicate, keep, and co-ordinate time. The word clock is derived ultimately from the Celtic words clagan and clocca meaning "bell". A silent instrument missing such a mechanism has traditionally been known as a timepiece...

.

In Hispania
Hispania
Another theory holds that the name derives from Ezpanna, the Basque word for "border" or "edge", thus meaning the farthest area or place. Isidore of Sevilla considered Hispania derived from Hispalis....

, the struggle against the Moors continued unabated throughout the latter half of his reign. His son Louis was in charge of the Spanish border. In 785, his men captured Gerona permanently and extended Frankish control into the Catalan
Catalonia
Catalonia is an autonomous community in northeastern Spain, with the official status of a "nationality" of Spain. Catalonia comprises four provinces: Barcelona, Girona, Lleida, and Tarragona. Its capital and largest city is Barcelona. Catalonia covers an area of 32,114 km² and has an...

 littoral for the duration of Charlemagne's reign (and much longer, it remained nominally Frankish until the Treaty of Corbeil
Treaty of Corbeil (1258)
The Treaty of Corbeil was an agreement signed on 11 May 1258, in Corbeil between Louis IX of France and James I of Aragon....

 in 1258). The Muslim chiefs in the northeast of Islamic Spain
Al-Andalus
Al-Andalus was the Arabic name given to a nation and territorial region also commonly referred to as Moorish Iberia. The name describes parts of the Iberian Peninsula and Septimania governed by Muslims , at various times in the period between 711 and 1492, although the territorial boundaries...

 were constantly revolting against Córdoban authority, and they often turned to the Franks for help. The Frankish border was slowly extended until 795, when Gerona, Cardona
Cardona
Cardona is a town ìn Catalonia, Spain, in the province of Barcelona; about 90 km northwest of the city of Barcelona, on a hill almost surrounded by the river Cardoner, a branch of the Llobregat.Near the town is an extensive deposit of rock salt...

, Ausona, and Urgel were united into the new Spanish March, within the old duchy of Septimania
Septimania
Septimania was the western region of the Roman province of Gallia Narbonensis that passed under the control of the Visigoths in 462, when Septimania was ceded to their king, Theodoric II. Under the Visigoths it was known as simply Gallia or Narbonensis. It corresponded roughly with the modern...

.

In 797 Barcelona
Barcelona
Barcelona is the second largest city in Spain after Madrid, and the capital of Catalonia, with a population of 1,621,537 within its administrative limits on a land area of...

, the greatest city of the region, fell to the Franks when Zeid, its governor, rebelled against Córdoba and, failing, handed it to them. The Umayyad
Umayyad
The Umayyad Caliphate was the second of the four major Arab caliphates established after the death of Muhammad. It was ruled by the Umayyad dynasty, whose name derives from Umayya ibn Abd Shams, the great-grandfather of the first Umayyad caliph. Although the Umayyad family originally came from the...

 authority recaptured it in 799. However, Louis of Aquitaine marched the entire army of his kingdom over the Pyrenees
Pyrenees
The Pyrenees is a range of mountains in southwest Europe that forms a natural border between France and Spain...

 and besieged it for two years, wintering there from 800 to 801, when it capitulated. The Franks continued to press forward against the emir
Emir
Emir , meaning "commander", "general", or "prince"; also transliterated as Amir, Aamir or Ameer) is a title of high office, used throughout the Muslim world...

. They took Tarragona
Tarragona
Tarragona is a city located in the south of Catalonia on the north-east of Spain, by the Mediterranean. It is the capital of the Spanish province of the same name and the capital of the Catalan comarca Tarragonès. In the medieval and modern times it was the capital of the Vegueria of Tarragona...

 in 809 and Tortosa
Tortosa
-External links:* *** * * *...

 in 811. The last conquest brought them to the mouth of the Ebro
Ebro
The Ebro or Ebre is one of the most important rivers in the Iberian Peninsula. It is the biggest river by discharge volume in Spain.The Ebro flows through the following cities:*Reinosa in Cantabria.*Miranda de Ebro in Castile and León....

 and gave them raiding access to Valencia
Kingdom of Valencia
The Kingdom of Valencia , located in the eastern shore of the Iberian Peninsula, was one of the component realms of the Crown of Aragon. When the Crown of Aragon merged by dynastic union with the Crown of Castile to form the Kingdom of Spain, the Kingdom of Valencia became a component realm of the...

, prompting the Emir al-Hakam I
Al-Hakam I
Al-Hakam Ibn Hisham Ibn Abd-ar-Rahman I was Umayyad Emir of Cordoba from 796 until 822 in the Al-Andalus .Al-Hakam was the second son of his father, his older brother having died at an early age. When he came to power, he was challenged by his uncles Sulayman and Abdallah, sons of Abd ar-Rahman I...

 to recognize their conquests in 812.

Saxon Wars



Charlemagne was engaged in almost constant battle throughout his reign, often at the head of his elite scara
Scara
A scara was a contingent or unit of soldiers, possibly cavalry, in Carolingian armies.-Etymology:The term is a Latinized form of an ancient German word meaning "group." Members of the scara units were called scariti, escariti and scarii.-Function:Although of uncertain...

bodyguard squadrons, with his legendary sword Joyeuse
Joyeuse
Joyeuse , was the name of Charlemagne's personal sword. The name translates as "joyful".-Joyeuse in legend:Some legends claim that it was forged to contain the Lance of Longinus within its pommel; others state it was smithed from the same materials as Roland's Durendal and Ogier's Curtana.The 11th...

 in hand. After thirty years of war and eighteen battles—the Saxon Wars
Saxon Wars
The Saxon Wars were the campaigns and insurrections of the more than thirty years from 772, when Charlemagne first entered Saxony with the intent to conquer, to 804, when the last rebellion of disaffected tribesmen was crushed. In all, eighteen battles were fought in what is now northwestern Germany...

—he conquered Saxonia
Old Saxony
Old Saxony is the original homeland of the Saxons in the northwest corner of modern Germany and roughly corresponds today with the contemporary Lower Saxony, Westphalia and western Saxony-Anhalt....

 and proceeded to convert the conquered to Christianity.

The Germanic
Germanic peoples
The Germanic peoples are an Indo-European ethno-linguistic group of Northern European origin, identified by their use of the Indo-European Germanic languages which diversified out of Proto-Germanic during the Pre-Roman Iron Age.Originating about 1800 BCE from the Corded Ware Culture on the North...

 Saxons
Saxons
The Saxons were a confederation of Germanic tribes originating on the North German plain. The Saxons earliest known area of settlement is Northern Albingia, an area approximately that of modern Holstein...

 were divided into four subgroups in four regions. Nearest to Austrasia was Westphalia
Westphalia
Westphalia is a region in Germany, centred on the cities of Arnsberg, Bielefeld, Dortmund, Minden and Münster.Westphalia is roughly the region between the rivers Rhine and Weser, located north and south of the Ruhr River. No exact definition of borders can be given, because the name "Westphalia"...

 and furthest away was Eastphalia
Eastphalia
Eastphalia is a historical region in northern Germany, encompassing the eastern part of the historic Duchy of Saxony, between the Elbe, Leine, Saale and Unstrut rivers. Today, it covers the southeastern part of the state of Lower Saxony and the western part of Saxony-Anhalt.-Etymology:The name...

. In between these two kingdoms was that of Engria and north of these three, at the base of the Jutland
Jutland
Jutland , historically also called Cimbria, is the name of the peninsula that juts out in Northern Europe toward the rest of Scandinavia, forming the mainland part of Denmark. It has the North Sea to its west, Kattegat and Skagerrak to its north, the Baltic Sea to its east, and the Danish–German...

 peninsula, was Nordalbingia
Nordalbingia
Nordalbingia was one of the four administrative regions of the medieval Duchy of Saxony, the others being Angria, Eastphalia, and Westphalia....

.

In his first campaign, Charlemagne forced the Engrians in 773 to submit and cut down an Irminsul
Irminsul
An Irminsul was a kind of pillar which is attested as playing an important role in the Germanic paganism of the Saxon people. The oldest chronicle describing an Irminsul refers to it as a tree trunk erected in the open air...

 pillar near Paderborn
Paderborn
Paderborn is a city in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany, capital of the Paderborn district. The name of the city derives from the river Pader, which originates in more than 200 springs near Paderborn Cathedral, where St. Liborius is buried.-History:...

. The campaign was cut short by his first expedition to Italy. He returned in 775, marching through Westphalia and conquered the Saxon fort of 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. He returned through Westphalia, leaving encampments at Sigiburg and Eresburg, which had, up until then, been important Saxon bastions. All of Saxony but Nordalbingia was under his control, but Saxon resistance had not ended.

Following his campaign in Italy subjugating the dukes of Friuli and Spoleto, Charlemagne returned very rapidly to Saxony in 776, where a rebellion had destroyed his fortress at Eresburg. The Saxons were once again brought to heel, but their main leader, Widukind
Widukind
Widukind was a pagan Saxon leader and the chief opponent of Charlemagne during the Saxon Wars. Widukind was the leader of the Saxons against the Frankish king Charlemagne...

, managed to escape to Denmark, home of his wife. Charlemagne built a new camp at Karlstadt
Karlstadt am Main
Karlstadt is a town in the Main-Spessart district in the Regierungsbezirk of Lower Franconia in Bavaria, Germany. It is the Main-Spessart district seat ....

. 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 Eastphalia, Engria, and Westphalia. At a diet near Lippe
Lippe
Lippe is a Kreis in the east of North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. Neighboring districts are Herford, Minden-Lübbecke, Höxter, Paderborn, Gütersloh, and district-free Bielefeld, which forms the region Ostwestfalen-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 time, there was no immediate Saxon revolt. Saxony was peaceful from 780 to 782.
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
Capitulatio de partibus Saxoniae
Capitulatio de partibus Saxoniae is a legal code issued by Charlemagne and imposed upon the Saxons during the Saxon Wars in 785...

prescribed death to Saxon pagans who refused to convert to Christianity. This revived a renewal of the old conflict. That year, in autumn, Widukind returned and led a new revolt. In response, at Verden
Verden, Germany
Verden an der Aller, also called Verden or simply Verden , is a town in Lower Saxony, Germany, on the river Aller. It is the administrative centre of the district of Verden...

 in Lower Saxony, 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
Frisians
The Frisians are a Germanic ethnic group native to the coastal parts of the Netherlands and Germany. They are concentrated in the Dutch provinces of Friesland and Groningen and, in Germany, East Frisia and North Frisia, that was a part of Denmark until 1864. They inhabit an area known as Frisia...

 were also finally subdued and a large part of their fleet was burned. The war ended with Widukind
Widukind
Widukind was a pagan Saxon leader and the chief opponent of Charlemagne during the Saxon Wars. Widukind was the leader of the Saxons against the Frankish king Charlemagne...

 accepting baptism.

Thereafter, the Saxons maintained the peace for seven years, but in 792 the Westphalians again rose against their conquerors. The Eastphalians and Nordalbingians joined them in 793, but the insurrection did not catch on and was put down by 794. An Engrian rebellion followed in 796, but the presence of Charlemagne, Christian Saxons and Slavs
Slavic peoples
The Slavic people are an Indo-European panethnicity living in Eastern Europe, Southeast Europe, North Asia and Central Asia. The term Slavic represents a broad ethno-linguistic group of people, who speak languages belonging to the Slavic language family and share, to varying degrees, certain...

 quickly crushed it. The last insurrection of the independent-minded people occurred in 804, more than thirty years after Charlemagne's first campaign against them. This time, the most restive of them, the Nordalbingians, found themselves effectively disempowered from rebellion for the time being. According to Einhard:

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 the Franks to form one people.

Submission of Bavaria


In 788, Charlemagne turned his attention to Bavaria
Bavaria
Bavaria, formally the Free State of Bavaria is a state of Germany, located in the southeast of Germany. With an area of , it is the largest state by area, forming almost 20% of the total land area of Germany...

. 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 Jumièges
Jumièges
Jumièges is a commune in the Seine-Maritime department in the Haute-Normandie region in northern France.-Geography:A forestry and farming village situated in a meander of the river Seine, some west of Rouen, at the junction of the D65 and the D143 roads...

. In 794, he was made to renounce any claim to Bavaria for himself and his family (the Agilolfings
Agilolfings
The Agilolfings were a family of either Frankish or Bavarian nobility that ruled the Duchy of Bavaria on behalf of their Merovingian suzerains from about 550 until 788...

) at the synod
Synod
A synod historically is a council of a church, usually convened to decide an issue of doctrine, administration or application. In modern usage, the word often refers to the governing body of a particular church, whether its members are meeting or not...

 of Frankfurt
Frankfurt
Frankfurt am Main , commonly known simply as Frankfurt, is the largest city in the German state of Hesse and the fifth-largest city in Germany, with a 2010 population of 688,249. The urban area had an estimated population of 2,300,000 in 2010...

. Bavaria was subdivided into Frankish counties, as had been done with Saxony.

Avars campaigns


In 788, the Avars
Eurasian Avars
The Eurasian Avars or Ancient Avars were a highly organized nomadic confederacy of mixed origins. They were ruled by a khagan, who was surrounded by a tight-knit entourage of nomad warriors, an organization characteristic of Turko-Mongol groups...

, a pagan Asian horde which had settled down in what is today Hungary
Hungary
Hungary , officially the Republic of Hungary , is a landlocked country in Central Europe. It is situated in the Carpathian Basin and is bordered by Slovakia to the north, Ukraine and Romania to the east, Serbia and Croatia to the south, Slovenia to the southwest and Austria to the west. The...

 (Einhard called them Huns
Huns
The Huns were a group of nomadic people who, appearing from east of the Volga River, migrated into Europe c. AD 370 and established the vast Hunnic Empire there. Since de Guignes linked them with the Xiongnu, who had been northern neighbours of China 300 years prior to the emergence of the Huns,...

), invaded Friuli and Bavaria. Charlemagne was preoccupied until 790 with other things, but in that year, he marched down the Danube
Danube
The Danube is a river in the Central Europe and the Europe's second longest river after the Volga. It is classified as an international waterway....

 into their territory and ravaged it to the Győr
Gyor
-Climate:-Main sights:The ancient core of the city is Káptalan Hill at the confluence of three rivers: the Danube, Rába and Rábca. Püspökvár, the residence of Győr’s bishops can be easily recognised by its incomplete tower. Győr’s oldest buildings are the 13th-century dwelling tower and the...

. Then, a Lombard army under Pippin marched into the Drava
Drava
Drava or Drave is a river in southern Central Europe, a tributary of the Danube. It sources in Toblach/Dobbiaco, Italy, and flows east through East Tirol and Carinthia in Austria, into Slovenia , and then southeast, passing through Croatia and forming most of the border between Croatia and...

 valley and ravaged Pannonia
Pannonia
Pannonia was an ancient province of the Roman Empire bounded north and east by the Danube, coterminous westward with Noricum and upper Italy, and southward with Dalmatia and upper Moesia....

. The campaigns would have continued if the Saxons had not revolted again in 792, breaking seven years of peace.

For the next two years, Charlemagne was occupied with the Slavs against the Saxons. Pippin and Duke Eric of Friuli
Eric of Friuli
Eric was the Duke of Friuli from 789 to his death. He was the eldest son of Gerold of Vinzgouw and by the marriage of his sister Hildegard the brother-in-law of Charlemagne....

 continued, however, to assault the Avars' ring-shaped strongholds. The great Ring of the Avars, their capital fortress, was taken twice. The booty was sent to Charlemagne at his capital, Aachen
Aachen
Aachen has historically been a spa town in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. Aachen was a favoured residence of Charlemagne, and the place of coronation of the Kings of Germany. Geographically, Aachen is the westernmost town of Germany, located along its borders with Belgium and the Netherlands, ...

, and redistributed to all his followers and even to foreign rulers, including King Offa of Mercia
Offa of Mercia
Offa was the King of Mercia from 757 until his death in July 796. The son of Thingfrith and a descendant of Eowa, Offa came to the throne after a period of civil war following the assassination of Æthelbald after defeating the other claimant Beornred. In the early years of Offa's reign it is likely...

. Soon the Avar tudun
Tudun
A tudun was a governor resident in a town or other settlement in Ancient Bulgar/Avar/Gokturk empires, particularly those of the Bulgars and the Khazars. In Gothic THIUDNASSAM means 'kingdom'. The tudun was the personal representative of the imperial government and could function both as an...

s had thrown in the towel and travelled to Aachen to subject themselves to Charlemagne as vassals and Christians. Charlemagne accepted their surrender and sent one native chief, baptised Abraham, back to Avaria with the ancient title of khagan
Khagan
Khagan or qagan , alternatively spelled kagan, khaghan, qaghan, or chagan, is a title of imperial rank in the Mongolian and Turkic languages equal to the status of emperor and someone who rules a khaganate...

. Abraham kept his people in line, but in 800, the Bulgarians
First Bulgarian Empire
The First Bulgarian Empire was a medieval Bulgarian state founded in the north-eastern Balkans in c. 680 by the Bulgars, uniting with seven South Slavic tribes...

 under Khan Krum swept the Avar state away. In the 10th century, the Magyars settled the Pannonian plain and presented a new threat to Charlemagne's descendants.

Northeast Slav expeditions


In 789, in recognition of his new pagan neighbours, the Slavs
Slavic peoples
The Slavic people are an Indo-European panethnicity living in Eastern Europe, Southeast Europe, North Asia and Central Asia. The term Slavic represents a broad ethno-linguistic group of people, who speak languages belonging to the Slavic language family and share, to varying degrees, certain...

, Charlemagne marched an Austrasian-Saxon army across the Elbe
Elbe
The Elbe is one of the major rivers of Central Europe. It rises in the Krkonoše Mountains of the northwestern Czech Republic before traversing much of Bohemia , then Germany and flowing into the North Sea at Cuxhaven, 110 km northwest of Hamburg...

 into Obotrite territory. The Slavs immediately submitted under their leader Witzin. Charlemagne then accepted the surrender of the Wiltzes under Dragovit and demanded many hostages and the permission to send, unmolested, missionaries into the pagan region. The army marched to the Baltic
Baltic region
The terms Baltic region, Baltic Rim countries, and Baltic Rim refer to slightly different combinations of countries in the general area surrounding the Baltic Sea.- Etymology :...

 before turning around and marching to the Rhine with much booty and no harassment. The tributary Slavs became loyal allies. In 795, when the Saxons broke the peace, the Abotrites and Wiltzes rose in arms with their new master 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 greatly honoured him. The Abotrites remained loyal until Charles' death and fought later against the Danes.

Southeast Slav expeditions


When 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 neighbors were Croats
Croats
Croats are a South Slavic ethnic group mostly living in Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and nearby countries. There are around 4 million Croats living inside Croatia and up to 4.5 million throughout the rest of the world. Responding to political, social and economic pressure, many Croats have...

, who settled in Pannonian Croatia
Pannonian Croatia
Pannonian Croatia was a medieval duchy from the 7th to the 10th century located in the Pannonian Plain approximately between the rivers Drava and Sava in today's Croatia, but at times also considerably to the south of the Sava. Its capital was Sisak...

 and Littoral Croatian Duchy
Littoral Croatian Duchy
Littoral Croatia or Dalmatian Croatia is a name for a region of what used to be a medieval Croatian principality which was established in the former Roman province of Dalmatia...

. While fighting the Avars, the Franks had called for their support. During the 790s, when Charlemagne campaigned against the Avars, he won a major victory in 796. Pannonian Croatian duke Vojnomir of Pannonian Croatia aided Charlemagne, and the Franks made themselves overlords over the Croatians of northern Dalmatia, Slavonia
Slavonia
Slavonia is a geographical and historical region in eastern Croatia...

, and Pannonia.

The Frankish commander Eric of Friuli
Eric of Friuli
Eric was the Duke of Friuli from 789 to his death. He was the eldest son of Gerold of Vinzgouw and by the marriage of his sister Hildegard the brother-in-law of Charlemagne....

 wanted to extend his dominion by conquering Littoral Croatian Duchy. During that time, Littoral Croatia was ruled by duke Višeslav of Croatia
Višeslav of Croatia
Višeslav was one of the first princes or dukes of Littoral Croatia.He ruled with the support of the Pope and Byzantium. The Croats warred against the Franks during his rule and avoided defeat until 803 - a year after his death...

, who was one of the first known Croatian dukes. In the Battle of Trsat
Siege of Trsat
The Siege of Trsat was a battle fought over possession of the town of Trsat The city of Tarsatica, where the siege happened, was probably located at the present Old Town in Rijeka, not at Trsat itself, which is found on on a hill overlooking Rijeka on the other side of the Rječina River. Trsat was...

, the forces of Eric fled their positions and were totally routed by the forces of Višeslav. Eric himself was among the killed, and his death and defeat proved a great blow for the Carolingian Empire.

Charlemagne also directed his attention to the Slavs
South Slavs
The South Slavs are the southern branch of the Slavic peoples and speak South Slavic languages. Geographically, the South Slavs are native to the Balkan peninsula, the southern Pannonian Plain and the eastern Alps...

 to the west of the Avar khaganate: the Carantanians and Carniola
Carniola
Carniola was a historical region that comprised parts of what is now Slovenia. As part of Austria-Hungary, the region was a crown land officially known as the Duchy of Carniola until 1918. In 1849, the region was subdivided into Upper Carniola, Lower Carniola, and Inner Carniola...

ns. These people were subdued by the Lombards and Bavarii, were made tributaries, but were never fully incorporated into the Frankish state.

Imperial diplomacy



In 799, Pope Leo III
Pope Leo III
Pope Saint Leo III was Pope from 795 to his death in 816. Protected by Charlemagne from his enemies in Rome, he subsequently strengthened Charlemagne's position by crowning him as Roman Emperor....

 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
Paderborn
Paderborn is a city in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany, capital of the Paderborn district. The name of the city derives from the river Pader, which originates in more than 200 springs near Paderborn Cathedral, where St. Liborius is buried.-History:...

, asking him to intervene in Rome and restore him. Charlemagne, advised by Alcuin of York, agreed to travel to Rome, doing so in November 800 and holding a council on 1 December. On 23 December Leo swore an oath of innocence. At Mass
Mass
Mass can be defined as a quantitive measure of the resistance an object has to change in its velocity.In physics, mass commonly refers to any of the following three properties of matter, which have been shown experimentally to be equivalent:...

, on Christmas Day (25 December), when Charlemagne knelt at the altar to pray, the Pope crowned
Coronation of the Holy Roman Emperor
The Coronation of the Holy Roman Emperor refers to a ceremony in which the ruler of Europe's then largest political entity received the Imperial Regalia at the hands of the Pope, symbolizing the pope's alleged right to crown Christian sovereigns, and the emperor's role as protector of the Roman...

 him Imperator Romanorum ("Emperor of the Romans") in Saint Peter's Basilica
Old Saint Peter's Basilica
Old Saint Peter's Basilica was the building that stood, from the 4th to 16th centuries, on the spot where the Basilica of Saint Peter stands today in Rome. Construction of the Basilica, built over the historical site of the Circus of Nero, began during the reign of emperor Constantine I...

. In so doing, the Pope was effectively reviving the Western Roman Empire and nullifying the legitimacy of Empress Irene of Constantinople
Constantinople
Constantinople was the capital of the Roman, Eastern Roman, Byzantine, Latin, and Ottoman Empires. Throughout most of the Middle Ages, Constantinople was Europe's largest and wealthiest city.-Names:...

 (Pope Leo III did not consider her a legitimate claimant to the Byzantine throne
Byzantine Empire
The Byzantine Empire was the Eastern Roman Empire during the periods of Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, centred on the capital of Constantinople. Known simply as the Roman Empire or Romania to its inhabitants and neighbours, the Empire was the direct continuation of the Ancient Roman State...

 because she was a woman). 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.


Many modern scholars suggest that Charlemagne was indeed aware of the coronation; certainly he cannot have missed the bejeweled crown waiting on the altar when he came to pray. In any event, he used these circumstances to claim that he was the renewer of the Roman Empire, which had apparently fallen into degradation under the Byzantines
Byzantine Empire
The Byzantine Empire was the Eastern Roman Empire during the periods of Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, centred on the capital of Constantinople. Known simply as the Roman Empire or Romania to its inhabitants and neighbours, the Empire was the direct continuation of the Ancient Roman State...

. In his official charters, 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 a more direct Imperator Romanorum ("Emperor of the Romans").

The iconoclasm
Iconoclasm (Byzantine)
The Byzantine Iconoclasm encompasses two periods in the history of the Byzantine Empire when Emperors, backed by imperially-appointed leaders and councils of the Orthodox Church imposed a ban on religious images or icons. The "First Iconoclasm", as it is sometimes called, lasted between about 730...

 of the Byzantine Isaurian Dynasty
Leo III the Isaurian
Leo III the Isaurian or the Syrian , was Byzantine emperor from 717 until his death in 741...

 was endorsed by the Franks. When the Second Council of Nicaea
Second Council of Nicaea
The Second Council of Nicaea is regarded as the Seventh Ecumenical Council by Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, Eastern Catholic Churches and various other Western Christian groups...

 reintroduced the veneration of icons under Empress Irene, the council was not recognized by Charlemagne since no Frankish emissaries had been invited although Charlemagne was ruling more than three provinces of the old Roman empire and was considered equal in rank to the Byzantine emperor. And although the Pope supported the reintroduction of the iconic veneration he thus politically digressed from Byzantium. He also most certainly desired to increase the influence of the papacy, honour his saviour Charlemagne, and 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 an usurpation in the eyes of the Franks or Italians. It was, however, 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
Exarchate of Ravenna
The Exarchate of Ravenna or of Italy was a centre of Byzantine power in Italy, from the end of the 6th century to 751, when the last exarch was put to death by the Lombards.-Introduction:...

), Reggio
Reggio Calabria
Reggio di Calabria , commonly known as Reggio Calabria or Reggio, is the biggest city and the most populated comune of Calabria, southern Italy, and is the capital of the Province of Reggio Calabria and seat of the Council of Calabrian government.Reggio is located on the "toe" of the Italian...

 (in Calabria
Calabria
Calabria , in antiquity known as Bruttium, is a region in southern Italy, south of Naples, located at the "toe" of the Italian Peninsula. The capital city of Calabria is Catanzaro....

), Brindisi
Brindisi
Brindisi is a city in the Apulia region of Italy, the capital of the province of Brindisi, off the coast of the Adriatic Sea.Historically, the city has played an important role in commerce and culture, due to its position on the Italian Peninsula and its natural port on the Adriatic Sea. The city...

 (in Apulia
Apulia
Apulia is a region in Southern Italy bordering the Adriatic Sea in the east, the Ionian Sea to the southeast, and the Strait of Òtranto and Gulf of Taranto in the south. Its most southern portion, known as Salento peninsula, forms a high heel on the "boot" of Italy. The region comprises , and...

), and Naples
Naples
Naples is a city in Southern Italy, situated on the country's west coast by the Gulf of Naples. Lying between two notable volcanic regions, Mount Vesuvius and the Phlegraean Fields, it is the capital of the region of Campania and of the province of 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
Pax Nicephori
Pax Nicephori is a term used to refer to both a 803 peace treaty allegedly concluded between the Frankish ruler Charlemagne and Nikephoros I, emperor of Byzantium, and the outcome of negotiations that took place between the same parties, but were concluded by different emperors, between 811 and 814...

ended. Nicephorus ravaged the coasts with a fleet, and the only instance of war between the Byzantines and the Franks, as it was, began. It 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 Istria
Istria
Istria , formerly Histria , is the largest peninsula in the Adriatic Sea. The peninsula is located at the head of the Adriatic between the Gulf of Trieste and the Bay of Kvarner...

n peninsula and in 812 the emperor Michael I Rhangabes recognised his status as Emperor, although not necessarily as "Emperor of the Romans".

Danish attacks


After the conquest of Nordalbingia, the Frankish frontier was brought into contact with Scandinavia. The pagan
Norse paganism
Norse paganism is the religious traditions of the Norsemen, a Germanic people living in the Nordic countries. Norse paganism is therefore a subset of Germanic paganism, which was practiced in the lands inhabited by the Germanic tribes across most of Northern and Central Europe in the Viking Age...

 Danes, "a race almost unknown to his ancestors, but destined to be only too well known to his sons" as Charles Oman
Charles Oman
Sir Charles William Chadwick Oman was a British military historian of the early 20th century. His reconstructions of medieval battles from the fragmentary and distorted accounts left by chroniclers were pioneering...

 described them, inhabiting the Jutland
Jutland
Jutland , historically also called Cimbria, is the name of the peninsula that juts out in Northern Europe toward the rest of Scandinavia, forming the mainland part of Denmark. It has the North Sea to its west, Kattegat and Skagerrak to its north, the Baltic Sea to its east, and the Danish–German...

 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
Gudfred
King Gudfred was a Danish king during the Viking era. Gudfred was the younger son of King Sigfred. Alternate spelling include Godfred, Göttrick , Gøtrik , Gudrød , and Godofredus .-Biography:King Gudfred appeared in present day Holstein with a navy in 804 AD where diplomacy took place with the...

, built the vast Danevirke
Danevirke
The Danevirke The Danevirke The Danevirke (modern Danish spelling: Dannevirke; in Old Norse Danavirki ; in German Danewerk ; is a system of Danish fortifications in Schleswig-Holstein (Northern Germany). This important linear defensive earthwork was constructed across the neck of the Cimbrian...

 across the isthmus of Schleswig
Schleswig
Schleswig or South Jutland is a region covering the area about 60 km north and 70 km south of the border between Germany and Denmark; the territory has been divided between the two countries since 1920, with Northern Schleswig in Denmark and Southern Schleswig in Germany...

. 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
Frisia
Frisia is a coastal region along the southeastern corner of the North Sea, i.e. the German Bight. Frisia is the traditional homeland of the Frisians, a Germanic people who speak Frisian, a language group closely related to the English language...

 and Flanders
Flanders
Flanders is the community of the Flemings but also one of the institutions in Belgium, and a geographical region located in parts of present-day Belgium, France and the Netherlands. "Flanders" can also refer to the northern part of Belgium that contains Brussels, Bruges, Ghent and Antwerp...

 with pirate raids. He also subdued the Frank-allied Wiltzes and fought the Abotrites.

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 concluded the Treaty of Heiligen
Treaty of Heiligen
The Treaty of Heiligen was signed at Heiligen in 811 between the Danish King Hemming and Charlemagne. Based on the terms of the accord, the southern boundary of Denmark was established at the Eider River...

 with Charlemagne in late 811.

Death


In 813, Charlemagne called Louis the Pious
Louis the Pious
Louis the Pious , also called the Fair, and the Debonaire, was the King of Aquitaine from 781. He was also King of the Franks and co-Emperor with his father, Charlemagne, from 813...

, king of Aquitaine
Aquitaine
Aquitaine , archaic Guyenne/Guienne , is one of the 27 regions of France, in the south-western part of metropolitan France, along the Atlantic Ocean and the Pyrenees mountain range on the border with Spain. It comprises the 5 departments of Dordogne, :Lot et Garonne, :Pyrénées-Atlantiques, Landes...

, his only surviving legitimate son, to his court. There Charlemagne crowned his son with his own hands 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
Pleurisy
Pleurisy is an inflammation of the pleura, the lining of the pleural cavity surrounding the lungs. Among other things, infections are the most common cause of pleurisy....

. In deep depression (mostly because many of his plans were not yet realized), he took to his bed on 21 January and as Einhard
Einhard
Einhard was a Frankish scholar and courtier. Einhard was a dedicated servant of Charlemagne and his son Louis the Pious; his main work is a biography of Charlemagne, the Vita Karoli Magni, "one of the most precious literary bequests of the early Middle Ages."-Public life:Einhard was from the eastern...

 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 the same day as his death, in Aachen Cathedral
Aachen Cathedral
Aachen Cathedral, frequently referred to as the "Imperial Cathedral" , is a Roman Catholic church in Aachen, Germany. The church is the oldest cathedral in northern Europe and was known as the "Royal Church of St. Mary at Aachen" during the Middle Ages...

, although the cold weather and the nature of his illness made such a hurried burial unnecessary. The earliest surviving planctus
Planctus
A planctus is a lament or dirge, a song or poem expressing grief or mourning. It became a popular literary form in the Middle Ages, when they were written in Latin and in the vernacular . The most common planctus is to mourn the death of a famous person, but a number of other varieties have been...

, the Planctus de obitu Karoli
Planctus de obitu Karoli
The Planctus ' Karoli , also known by its incipit A solis ortu , is an anonymous medieval Latin planctus eulogising Charlemagne, written in accented verse by a monk of Bobbio shortly after his subject's death in 814...

, was composed by a monk of Bobbio
Bobbio Abbey
Bobbio Abbey is a monastery founded by Irish Saint Columbanus in 614, around which later grew up the town of Bobbio, in the province of Piacenza, Emilia-Romagna, Italy. It is dedicated to Saint Columbanus...

, which he had patronised. A later story, told by Otho of Lomello, Count of the Palace at Aachen in the time of Otto III
Otto III, Holy Roman Emperor
Otto III , a King of Germany, was the fourth ruler of the Saxon or Ottonian dynasty of the Holy Roman Empire. He was elected King in 983 on the death of his father Otto II and was crowned Holy Roman Emperor in 996.-Early reign:...

, 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
Frederick I, Holy Roman Emperor
Frederick I Barbarossa was a German Holy Roman Emperor. He was elected King of Germany at Frankfurt on 4 March 1152 and crowned in Aachen on 9 March, crowned King of Italy in Pavia in 1155, and finally crowned Roman Emperor by Pope Adrian IV, on 18 June 1155, and two years later in 1157 the term...

 re-opened the tomb again and placed the emperor in a sarcophagus beneath the floor of the cathedral. In 1215 Frederick II
Frederick II, Holy Roman Emperor
Frederick II , was one of the most powerful Holy Roman Emperors of the Middle Ages and head of the House of Hohenstaufen. His political and cultural ambitions, based in Sicily and stretching through Italy to Germany, and even to Jerusalem, were enormous...

 re-interred him in a casket made of gold and silver.

Charlemagne's death greatly affected many of his subjects, particularly those of the literary clique who had surrounded him at Aachen
Aachen
Aachen has historically been a spa town in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. Aachen was a favoured residence of Charlemagne, and the place of coronation of the Kings of Germany. Geographically, Aachen is the westernmost town of Germany, located along its borders with Belgium and the Netherlands, ...

. 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.


He was succeeded by his surviving son, Louis, who had been crowned the previous year. 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 and France.

Administration


As an administrator, Charlemagne stands out for his many reforms: monetary, governmental, military, cultural, and ecclesiastical. He is the main protagonist of the "Carolingian Renaissance."

Military


It has long been held that the dominance of Charlemagne's military was based on a "cavalry
Heavy cavalry
Heavy cavalry is a class of cavalry whose primary role was to engage in direct combat with enemy forces . Although their equipment differed greatly depending on the region and historical period, they were generally mounted on large powerful horses, and were often equipped with some form of scale,...

 revolution" led by Charles Martel
Charles Martel
Charles Martel , also known as Charles the Hammer, was a Frankish military and political leader, who served as Mayor of the Palace under the Merovingian kings and ruled de facto during an interregnum at the end of his life, using the title Duke and Prince of the Franks. In 739 he was offered the...

 in 730s. However, the stirrup
Stirrup
A stirrup is a light frame or ring that holds the foot of a rider, attached to the saddle by a strap, often called a stirrup leather. Stirrups are usually paired and are used to aid in mounting and as a support while using a riding animal...

, which made the "shock cavalry" lance
Lance
A Lance is a pole weapon or spear designed to be used by a mounted warrior. The lance is longer, stout and heavier than an infantry spear, and unsuited for throwing, or for rapid thrusting. Lances did not have tips designed to intentionally break off or bend, unlike many throwing weapons of the...

 charge possible, was not introduced to the Frankish kingdom until the late eighth century. Instead, Charlemagne's success rested primarily on novel siege
Siege
A siege is a military blockade of a city or fortress with the intent of conquering by attrition or assault. The term derives from sedere, Latin for "to sit". Generally speaking, siege warfare is a form of constant, low intensity conflict characterized by one party holding a strong, static...

 technologies and excellent logistics. However, large numbers of horses were used by the Frankish military during the age of Charlemagne. This was because horses provided a quick, long-distance method of transporting troops
Mounted infantry
Mounted infantry were soldiers who rode horses instead of marching, but actually fought on foot . The original dragoons were essentially mounted infantry...

, which was critical to building and maintaining such a large empire.

Economic and monetary reforms


Charlemagne had an important role in determining the immediate economic future of Europe. Pursuing his father's reforms, Charlemagne abolished the monetary system based on the gold , and he and the Anglo-Saxon King
Anglo-Saxon monarchs
Anglo-Saxon monarchs were the rulers of the various kingdoms which arose in England following the withdrawal of the Romans in the fifth century. The most prominent kingdoms were Kent, Sussex, Wessex, Mercia and Bernicia, each recognising their own monarch...

 Offa of Mercia
Offa of Mercia
Offa was the King of Mercia from 757 until his death in July 796. The son of Thingfrith and a descendant of Eowa, Offa came to the throne after a period of civil war following the assassination of Æthelbald after defeating the other claimant Beornred. In the early years of Offa's reign it is likely...

 took up the system set in place by Pippin. There were strong pragmatic reasons for this abandonment of a gold standard, notably a shortage of gold itself, which was a direct consequence of the conclusion of peace with Byzantium, which resulted in the ceding of Venice and Sicily and the loss of their trade routes to Africa and to the East. This standardisation also had the effect of economically harmonising and unifying the complex array of currencies which had been in use at the commencement of his reign, thus simplifying trade and commerce.


He established a new standard, the (from the Latin , the modern pound
Pound (currency)
The pound is a unit of currency in some nations. The term originated in England as the value of a pound of silver.The word pound is the English translation of the Latin word libra, which was the unit of account of the Roman Empire...

), which was based upon a pound of silver—a unit of both money and weight—which was worth 20 sous (from the Latin [which was primarily an accounting device and never actually minted], the modern shilling
Shilling
The shilling is a unit of currency used in some current and former British Commonwealth countries. The word shilling comes from scilling, an accounting term that dates back to Anglo-Saxon times where it was deemed to be the value of a cow in Kent or a sheep elsewhere. The word is thought to derive...

) or 240 (from the Latin , the modern penny
Penny
A penny is a coin or a type of currency used in several English-speaking countries. It is often the smallest denomination within a currency system.-Etymology:...

). During this period, the and the were counting units; only the was a coin of the realm.

Charlemagne instituted principles for accounting practice
Accountancy
Accountancy is the process of communicating financial information about a business entity to users such as shareholders and managers. The communication is generally in the form of financial statements that show in money terms the economic resources under the control of management; the art lies in...

 by means of the Capitulare de villis of 802, which laid down strict rules for the way in which incomes and expenses were to be recorded.

The lending of money for interest was prohibited and then strengthened in 814, when Charlemagne introduced the Capitulary for the Jews
Capitulary for the Jews
The Capitulary for the Jews is a piece of legislation attributed to Charlemagne and dated to 814. It prescribes a set of prohibitions against Jews engaging in commerce or money-lending.1...

, a draconian prohibition on Jews engaging in money-lending.

In addition to this macro-oriented reform of the economy of his empire, Charlemagne also performed a significant number of microeconomic reforms, such as direct control of prices and levies on certain goods and commodities.

Charlemagne applied the 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 1100.

Education reforms


A part of Charlemagne's success as warrior and administrator can be traced to his admiration for learning. His reign and the era it ushered in are often referred to as the Carolingian Renaissance
Carolingian Renaissance
In the history of ideas the Carolingian Renaissance stands out as a period of intellectual and cultural revival in Europe occurring from the late eighth century, in the generation of Alcuin, to the 9th century, and the generation of Heiric of Auxerre, with the peak of the activities coordinated...

 because of the flowering of scholarship, literature, art, and architecture which characterize it. Charlemagne, brought into contact with the culture and learning of other countries (especially Visigothic Spain, Anglo-Saxon England, and Lombard Italy) due to his vast conquests, 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 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
Alcuin
Alcuin of York or Ealhwine, nicknamed Albinus or Flaccus was an English scholar, ecclesiastic, poet and teacher from York, Northumbria. He was born around 735 and became the student of Archbishop Ecgbert at York...

, an Anglo-Saxon
Anglo-Saxons
Anglo-Saxon is a term used by historians to designate the Germanic tribes who invaded and settled the south and east of Great Britain beginning in the early 5th century AD, and the period from their creation of the English nation to the Norman conquest. The Anglo-Saxon Era denotes the period of...

 from York
York
York is a walled city, situated at the confluence of the Rivers Ouse and Foss in North Yorkshire, England. The city has a rich heritage and has provided the backdrop to major political events throughout much of its two millennia of existence...

; Theodulf, a Visigoth, probably from Septimania
Septimania
Septimania was the western region of the Roman province of Gallia Narbonensis that passed under the control of the Visigoths in 462, when Septimania was ceded to their king, Theodoric II. Under the Visigoths it was known as simply Gallia or Narbonensis. It corresponded roughly with the modern...

; Paul the Deacon
Paul the Deacon
Paul the Deacon , also known as Paulus Diaconus, Warnefred, Barnefridus and Cassinensis, , was a Benedictine monk and historian of the Lombards.-Life:...

, Lombard; Peter of Pisa
Peter of Pisa
Peter of Pisa was a grammarian of the Early middle ages. He originally taught at Pavia. In 776, after the conquest of the Lombard Kingdom, Charlemagne summoned him to his court to teach Latin. Peter was a friend of Alcuin. He returned about the year 790 to Italy where he died no later than 799...

 and Paulinus of Aquileia
Saint Paulinus II
Saint Paulinus II , was a northern Italian bishop, theologian, poet, and scholar of the Carolingian Renaissance.-Early life:...

, Italians; and Angilbert
Angilbert
Saint Angilbert was a Frank who served Charlemagne as a diplomat, abbot, poet and semi-son-in-law. He was of noble Frankish parentage, and educated at the palace school in Aquae Grani under Alcuin...

, Angilram, Einhard
Einhard
Einhard was a Frankish scholar and courtier. Einhard was a dedicated servant of Charlemagne and his son Louis the Pious; his main work is a biography of Charlemagne, the Vita Karoli Magni, "one of the most precious literary bequests of the early Middle Ages."-Public life:Einhard was from the eastern...

, and Waldo of Reichenau
Waldo of Reichenau
Waldo of Reichenau was a Carolingian abbot and bishop.He belonged to a noble Frankish family of the von Wetterau. His father was Richbold Count of Breisgau and his older brother was Ruthard Baron von Aargau. In 782 he became Abbot of the Abbey of St. Gall, where he established a library...

, Franks.

Charlemagne took a serious interest in scholarship, promoting the liberal arts
Liberal arts
The term liberal arts refers to those subjects which in classical antiquity were considered essential for a free citizen to study. Grammar, Rhetoric and Logic were the core liberal arts. In medieval times these subjects were extended to include mathematics, geometry, music and astronomy...

 at the 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 Paul the Deacon, 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 assisted him in his studies of arithmetic. His great scholarly failure, as Einhard relates, was his inability to write: when in his old age he began attempts to learn—practicing 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.

In 800, Charlemagne enlarged the hostel at the Muristan
Muristan
The Muristan is a complex of streets and shops in the Christian Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem...

 in Jerusalem and added a library to it. He certainly had not been personally in Jerusalem.

Writing reforms


During Charles' reign, the Roman half uncial
Uncial
Uncial is a majuscule script commonly used from the 3rd to 8th centuries AD by Latin and Greek scribes. Uncial letters are written in either Greek, Latin, or Gothic.-Development:...

 script and its cursive version, which had given rise to various continental minuscule scripts, were combined with features from the insular script
Insular script
Insular script was a medieval script system originally used in Ireland, then Great Britain, that spread to continental Europe under the influence of Celtic Christianity. Irish missionaries also took the script to continental Europe, where they founded monasteries such as Bobbio. The scripts were...

s that were being used in Irish and English monasteries. Carolingian minuscule
Carolingian minuscule
Carolingian or Caroline minuscule is a script developed as a writing standard in Europe so that the Roman alphabet could be easily recognized by the literate class from one region to another. It was used in Charlemagne's empire between approximately 800 and 1200...

 was created partly under the patronage of Charlemagne. Alcuin of York, who ran the palace school and scriptorium
Scriptorium
Scriptorium, literally "a place for writing", is commonly used to refer to a room in medieval European monasteries devoted to the copying of manuscripts by monastic scribes...

 at Aachen, was probably a chief influence in this. The revolutionary character of the Carolingian reform, however, can be over-emphasised; efforts at taming the crabbed Merovingian and Germanic hands had been underway before Alcuin arrived at Aachen. The new minuscule was disseminated first from Aachen and later from the influential scriptorium at Tours
Tours
Tours is a city in central France, the capital of the Indre-et-Loire department.It is located on the lower reaches of the river Loire, between Orléans and the Atlantic coast. Touraine, the region around Tours, is known for its wines, the alleged perfection of its local spoken French, and for the...

, where Alcuin retired as an abbot.

Political reforms


Charlemagne engaged in many reforms of Frankish governance, but he continued also in many traditional practices, such as the division of the kingdom among sons.

Organization



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 organize the kingdom, church, and nobility around him. However, the effort was heavily dependent upon the efficiency, loyalty, and support of his subjects.

Imperial coronation


Historians have debated for centuries whether Charlemagne was aware of the Pope's intent to crown him Emperor prior to the coronation (Charlemagne declared that he would not have entered Saint Peter's had he known), but that debate has often obscured the more significant question of why the Pope granted the title and why Charlemagne chose to accept it once he did, "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, The life of Charlemagne, 28).

Roger Collins
Roger Collins
Roger J. H. Collins is an English medievalist, currently an honorary fellow in history at the University of Edinburgh.Collins studied at the University of Oxford under Peter Brown and John Michael Wallace-Hadrill. He then taught ancient and medieval history at the universities of Liverpool and...

 points out "That 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
Classical antiquity
Classical antiquity is a broad term for a long period of cultural history centered on the Mediterranean Sea, comprising the interlocking civilizations of ancient Greece and ancient Rome, collectively known as the Greco-Roman world...

 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 (Collins 151). 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 Italy or on Mediterranean concerns more generally"—risked alienating the Frankish leadership.

For both the Pope and Charlemagne, the Roman Empire remained a significant power in European politics at this time, and continued to hold a substantial portion of Italy, with borders not very far south of the city of Rome itself—this is the empire historiography has labelled the Byzantine Empire, for its capital was Constantinople (ancient Byzantium) and its people and rulers were Greek
Byzantine Empire
The Byzantine Empire was the Eastern Roman Empire during the periods of Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, centred on the capital of Constantinople. Known simply as the Roman Empire or Romania to its inhabitants and neighbours, the Empire was the direct continuation of the Ancient Roman State...

; it was a thoroughly Hellenic state. Indeed, Charlemagne was usurping the prerogatives of the Roman Emperor in Constantinople simply by sitting in judgement over the Pope in the first place:
For the Pope, then, there was "no living Emperor at the that time" (Norwich 379), though Henri Pirenne
Henri Pirenne
Henri Pirenne was a Belgian historian. A medievalist of Walloon descent, he wrote a multivolume history of Belgium in French and became a national hero....

 (Mohammed and Charlemagne, pg. 234n) 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 nullified. By bestowing the Imperial crown upon Charlemagne, the Pope arrogated 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 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 in Constantinople." (Norwich, Byzantium: The Apogee, pg. 3) How realistic either Charlemagne or the Pope felt it to be that the people of Constantinople would ever accept the King of the Franks as their Emperor, we cannot know; Alcuin speaks 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 (Collins 151), certainly this is 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" (Pirenne 233).

What is known, from the Byzantine chronicler Theophanes
Theophanes the Confessor
Saint Theophanes Confessor was a member of the Byzantine aristocracy, who became a monk and chronicler. He is venerated on March 12 in the Roman Catholic and the Eastern Orthodox Church .-Biography:Theophanes was born in Constantinople of wealthy and noble iconodule parents: Isaac,...

 (Collins 153), is that Charlemagne's reaction to his coronation was to take the initial steps toward securing the Constantinopolitan throne by sending envoys of marriage to Irene, and that Irene reacted somewhat favorably to them. Only when the people of Constantinople reacted to Irene's failure to immediately rebuff the proposal by deposing her and replacing her with one of her ministers, Nicephorus I, did Charlemagne drop any ambitions toward the Byzantine throne and begin minimising his new Imperial title, and instead return to describing himself primarily as rex Francorum et Langobardum.

The title of emperor remained in his family for years to come, however, as brothers fought over who had the supremacy in the Frankish state. The papacy itself never forgot the title nor abandoned the right to bestow it. When the family of Charles ceased to produce worthy heirs, the pope gladly crowned whichever Italian magnate could best protect him from his local enemies. This devolution led, as could have been expected, to the dormancy of the title for almost forty years (924–962). Finally, in 962, in a radically different Europe from Charlemagne's, a new Roman Emperor was crowned in Rome by a grateful pope. This emperor, Otto the Great, brought the title into the hands of the kings of Germany for almost a millennium, for it was to become the Holy Roman Empire, a true imperial successor to Charles, if not Augustus
Augustus
Augustus ;23 September 63 BC – 19 August AD 14) is considered the first emperor of the Roman Empire, which he ruled alone from 27 BC until his death in 14 AD.The dates of his rule are contemporary dates; Augustus lived under two calendars, the Roman Republican until 45 BC, and the Julian...

.

Divisio regnorum



In 806, 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
Thuringia
The Free State of Thuringia is a state of Germany, located in the central part of the country.It has an area of and 2.29 million inhabitants, making it the sixth smallest by area and the fifth smallest by population of Germany's sixteen states....

. To Pippin he gave Italy, Bavaria, and Swabia
Swabia
Swabia is a cultural, historic and linguistic region in southwestern Germany.-Geography:Like many cultural regions of Europe, Swabia's borders are not clearly defined...

. Louis received Aquitaine, the Spanish March, and Provence
Provence
Provence ; Provençal: Provença in classical norm or Prouvènço in Mistralian norm) is a region of south eastern France on the Mediterranean adjacent to Italy. It is part of the administrative région of Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur...

. There was no mention of the imperial title however, which has led to the suggestion that, at that particular time, Charlemagne regarded the title as an honorary achievement which held no hereditary significance.

This division might have worked, but it was never to be tested. Pippin 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 which Louis was not promised was Italy, which Charlemagne specifically bestowed upon Pippin's illegitimate son Bernard
Bernard of Italy
Bernard was the King of the Lombards from 810 to 818. He plotted against his uncle, Emperor Louis the Pious, when the latter's Ordinatio Imperii made Bernard a vassal of his cousin Lothair...

.

First generation of descendants


Charlemagne had twenty (20) children over the course of his life with eight of his ten known wives or concubines. Nonetheless, he only had four legitimate grandsons, the four sons of his third son, Louis. In addition, he had a grandson (Bernard of Italy
Bernard of Italy
Bernard was the King of the Lombards from 810 to 818. He plotted against his uncle, Emperor Louis the Pious, when the latter's Ordinatio Imperii made Bernard a vassal of his cousin Lothair...

, the only son of his third son, Pippin of Italy
Pippin of Italy
Pepin was the son of Charlemagne and king of the Lombards under the authority of his father.Pepin was the second son of Charlemagne by his then-wife Hildegard. He was born Carloman, but when his half-brother Pepin the Hunchback betrayed their father, the royal name Pepin passed to him...

), who was born illegitimate but included in the line of inheritance. So, despite twenty children, the claimants to his inheritance were few.
Start date Marriages and heirs Concubinages and illegitimate children
ca.768 His first relationship was with Himiltrude
Himiltrude
Himiltrude was the mother of Charlemagne's first-born son Pippin the Hunchback.-Life:Little is known about Himiltrude's origins. Paulus Diaconus calls her a "noble girl"...

. The nature of this relationship is variously described as concubinage, a legal marriage, or a Friedelehe
Friedelehe
Friedelehe is the term for a postulated form of Germanic marriage said to have existed during the Early Middle Ages. This concept was introduced into mediaeval historiography during the 1920s by Herbert Meyer. Whether such a marriage form actually existed remains controversial.- Etymology :The...

. (Charlemagne put her aside when he married Desiderata.) The union with Himiltrude produced two children:
  • Amaudru, a daughter
  • Pippin the Hunchback (ca. 769–811)
ca. 770 After her, his first wife was Desiderata, daughter of Desiderius
Desiderius
Desiderius was the last king of the Lombard Kingdom of northern Italy...

, king of the Lombards
Lombards
The Lombards , also referred to as Longobards, were a Germanic tribe of Scandinavian origin, who from 568 to 774 ruled a Kingdom in Italy...

; married in 770, annulled in 771.
ca. 771 His second wife was Hildegard (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 crowned King of the Franks on 25 December 800
  • Carloman, renamed Pippin
    Pippin of Italy
    Pepin was the son of Charlemagne and king of the Lombards under the authority of his father.Pepin was the second son of Charlemagne by his then-wife Hildegard. He was born Carloman, but when his half-brother Pepin the Hunchback betrayed their father, the royal name Pepin passed to him...

     (April 777–8 July 810), King of Italy
    King of Italy
    King of Italy is a title adopted by many rulers of the Italian peninsula after the fall of the Roman Empire...

  • 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
    Rotrude
    Rotrude was the second daughter of Charlemagne from his marriage to Hildegard.-Early life:...

     (or Hruodrud) (775–6 June 810)
  • Louis
    Louis the Pious
    Louis the Pious , also called the Fair, and the Debonaire, was the King of Aquitaine from 781. He was also King of the Franks and co-Emperor with his father, Charlemagne, from 813...

     (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 infancy
  • Bertha (779–826)
  • Gisela
    Gisela, daughter of Charlemagne
    Gisela was a daughter of Charlemagne from his marriage to Hildegard. Little is known of her life. She should not be confused with her aunt Gisela, after whom she was possibly named.-Ancestry:...

     (781–808)
  • Hildegarde (782–783)
  • ca. 773 His first known concubine was Gersuinda. By her he had:
  • Adaltrude (b.774)
  • ca. 774 His second known concubine was Madelgard. By her he had:
  • Ruodhaid (775–810), abbess
    Abbess
    An abbess is the female superior, or mother superior, of a community of nuns, often an abbey....

     of Faremoutiers
  • ca. 784 His third wife was Fastrada
    Fastrada
    Fastrada was an East Frankish noblewoman.* In 783, Fastrada, along with other Saxon women, entered barebreasted into battle against Charlemagne's forces.She became the third wife of Charlemagne, marrying him in 784. She bore him two children:...

    , married 784, died 794. By her he had:
  • Theodrada
    Theodrada
    Theodrada was a daughter of Charlemagne from his marriage to Fastrada. She became Abbess of the monastery of Argenteuil.-External links:...

     (b.784), abbess
    Abbess
    An abbess is the female superior, or mother superior, of a community of nuns, often an abbey....

     of Argenteuil
    Argenteuil
    Argenteuil is a commune in the northwestern suburbs of Paris, France. It is located from the center of Paris. Argenteuil is a sub-prefecture of the Val-d'Oise department, the seat of the arrondissement of Argenteuil....

  • Hiltrude (b.787)
  • ca. 794 His fourth wife was Luitgard
    Luitgard
    Luitgard was the fourth and last wife of Charlemagne. She was the daughter of an Alamannian count and married Charlemagne around 794. Liutgard did not have any children with Charlemagne and died on June 4, 800 of unknown causes.-Notes:...

    , married 794, died childless.
    His third known concubine was Amaltrud of Vienne. By her he had:
  • Alpaida (b.794)
  • ca. 800 His fourth known concubine was Regina
    Regina (concubine)
    Regina was a concubine of Charlemagne who bore him two illegitimate sons, both of whom became clerical men. First, she gave birth to Drogo in 801, then to Hugh in 802. They would be the last-living sons of Charlemagne, though not the longest-living: Louis the Pious lived to the age of 62....

    . By her he had:
  • Drogo
    Drogo of Metz
    Drogo , also known as Dreux or Drogon, was an illegitimate son of Frankish emperor Charlemagne by the concubine Regina....

     (801–855), Bishop of Metz from 823 and abbot of Luxeuil Abbey
    Luxeuil Abbey
    Luxeuil Abbey was one of the oldest and best-known monasteries in Burgundy, located in the "département" of Haute-Saône in Franche-Comté, France.-Columbanus:...

  • Hugh
    Hugh, son of Charlemagne
    Hugh was the illegitimate son of Charlemagne and his concubine Regina, with whom he had one other son: Bishop Drogo of Metz .Hugh was the abbot of several abbacies: Saint-Quentin , Lobbes , and Saint-Bertin...

     (802–844), archchancellor
    Archchancellor
    An archchancellor or chief chancellor was a title given to the highest dignitary of the Holy Roman Empire, and also used occasionally during the Middle Ages to denote an official who supervised the work of chancellors or notaries....

     of the Empire
  • ca. 804 His fifth known concubine was Ethelind. By her he had:
  • Richbod (805–844), Abbott of Saint-Riquier
  • Theodoric (b. 807)


  • Cultural uses


    Charlemagne had an immediate afterlife. The author of the Visio Karoli Magni
    Visio Karoli Magni
    The Visio Karoli Magni , full title Visio Domini Karoli Regis Francorvm , is an anonymous East Frankish piece of Carolingian Renaissance visionary literature...

    written around 865 uses facts gathered apparently from 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 dream.
    Charlemagne, being a model knight
    Knight
    A knight was a member of a class of lower nobility in the High Middle Ages.By the Late Middle Ages, the rank had become associated with the ideals of chivalry, a code of conduct for the perfect courtly Christian warrior....

     as one of the Nine Worthies
    Nine Worthies
    The Nine Worthies are nine historical, scriptural and legendary personages who personify the ideals of chivalry as were established in the Middle Ages. All are commonly referred to as 'Princes' in their own right, despite whatever true titles each man may have held...

    , enjoyed an important afterlife in European culture. One of the great medieval literary cycles, the Charlemagne cycle or the Matter of France
    Matter of France
    The Matter of France, also known as the Carolingian cycle, is a body of literature and legendary material associated with the history of France, in particular involving Charlemagne and his associates. The cycle springs from the Old French chansons de geste, and was later adapted into a variety of...

    , centres on the deeds of Charlemagne—the Emperor with the Flowing Beard of Roland fame—and his historical commander of the border with Brittany
    Brittany
    Brittany is a cultural and administrative region in the north-west of France. Previously a kingdom and then a duchy, Brittany was united to the Kingdom of France in 1532 as a province. Brittany has also been referred to as Less, Lesser or Little Britain...

    , Roland
    Roland
    Roland was a Frankish military leader under Charlemagne who became one of the principal figures in the literary cycle known as the Matter of France. Historically, Roland was military governor of the Breton March, with responsibility for defending the frontier of Francia against the Bretons...

    , and the paladin
    Paladin
    The paladins, sometimes known as the Twelve Peers, were the foremost warriors of Charlemagne's court, according to the literary cycle known as the Matter of France. They first appear in the early chansons de geste such as The Song of Roland, where they represent Christian martial valor against the...

    s who are analogous to the knights of the Round Table
    Round Table (Camelot)
    The Round Table is King Arthur's famed table in the Arthurian legend, around which he and his Knights congregate. As its name suggests, it has no head, implying that everyone who sits there has equal status. The table was first described in 1155 by Wace, who relied on previous depictions of...

     or King Arthur
    King Arthur
    King Arthur is a legendary British leader of the late 5th and early 6th centuries, who, according to Medieval histories and romances, led the defence of Britain against Saxon invaders in the early 6th century. The details of Arthur's story are mainly composed of folklore and literary invention, and...

    's court. Their tales constitute the first chansons de geste
    Chanson de geste
    The chansons de geste, Old French for "songs of heroic deeds", are the epic poems that appear at the dawn of French literature. The earliest known examples date from the late eleventh and early twelfth centuries, nearly a hundred years before the emergence of the lyric poetry of the trouvères and...

    .

    Charlemagne himself was accorded sainthood inside the Holy Roman Empire after the twelfth century. His canonisation by Antipope Paschal III
    Antipope Paschal III
    Antipope Paschal III was Antipope from 1164 to 20 September 1168.His real name was Guido of Crema. Paschal III was the second of the antipopes to challenge the reign of Pope Alexander III. In 1164, a small number of cardinals who had elected Victor IV met again to vote Paschal III as his successor...

    , to gain the favour of Frederick Barbarossa in 1165, was never recognised by the Holy See
    Holy See
    The Holy See is the episcopal jurisdiction of the Catholic Church in Rome, in which its Bishop is commonly known as the Pope. It is the preeminent episcopal see of the Catholic Church, forming the central government of the Church. As such, diplomatically, and in other spheres the Holy See acts and...

    , which annulled all of Paschal's ordinances at the Third Lateran Council in 1179; however, his beatification
    Beatification
    Beatification is a recognition accorded by the Catholic Church of a dead person's entrance into Heaven and capacity to intercede on behalf of individuals who pray in his or her name . Beatification is the third of the four steps in the canonization process...

     has been acknowledged as cultus confirmed and is celebrated on 28 January. In the Divine Comedy
    The Divine Comedy
    The Divine Comedy is an epic poem written by Dante Alighieri between 1308 and his death in 1321. It is widely considered the preeminent work of Italian literature, and is seen as one of the greatest works of world literature...

     the spirit of Charlemagne appears to Dante in the Heaven of Mars, among the other "warriors of the faith."
    Charlemagne is sometimes credited with supporting the insertion of the filioque into the Nicene Creed
    Nicene Creed
    The Nicene Creed is the creed or profession of faith that is most widely used in Christian liturgy. It is called Nicene because, in its original form, it was adopted in the city of Nicaea by the first ecumenical council, which met there in the year 325.The Nicene Creed has been normative to the...

    . The Franks had inherited a Visigothic tradition of referring to the Holy Spirit as deriving from God the Father and Son (Filioque), and under Charlemagne, the Franks challenged the 381 Council of Constantinople proclamation that the Holy Spirit proceeded from the Father alone. Pope Leo III
    Pope Leo III
    Pope Saint Leo III was Pope from 795 to his death in 816. Protected by Charlemagne from his enemies in Rome, he subsequently strengthened Charlemagne's position by crowning him as Roman Emperor....

     rejected this notion, and had the Nicene Creed carved into the doors of Old St. Peter's Basilica without the offending phrase; the Frankish insistence led to bad relations between Rome and Francia. Later, the Roman Catholic Church would adopt the phrase, leading to dispute between Rome and Constantinople. Some see this as one of many pre-cursors to the East-West Schism
    East-West Schism
    The East–West Schism of 1054, sometimes known as the Great Schism, formally divided the State church of the Roman Empire into Eastern and Western branches, which later became known as the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Church, respectively...

     centuries later.

    French volunteers in the Wehrmacht and later Waffen-SS during World War II were organised in a unit called 33rd Waffen Grenadier Division of the SS Charlemagne (1st French)
    33rd Waffen Grenadier Division of the SS Charlemagne (1st French)
    The 33. Waffen-Grenadier-Division der SS Charlemagne and Charlemagne Regiment are collective names used for units of French volunteers in the Wehrmacht and later Waffen-SS during World War II...

    . A German Waffen-SS unit used "Karl der Große" for some time in 1943, but then chose the name 10th SS Panzer Division Frundsberg
    10th SS Panzer Division Frundsberg
    The 10th SS Panzer Division Frundsberg or 10.SS-Panzer-Division Frundsberg was a German Waffen SS panzer division. The division was formed at the beginning of 1943 as a reserve for the expected Allied invasion of France. However, their first campaign was in the Ukraine in April 1944...

    instead.

    The city of Aachen has, since 1949, awarded an international prize (called the Karlspreis
    Karlspreis
    - See also :*Charlemagne*European integration*Leipzig Human Rights Award, originally called the "Alternative Charlemagne Award", formed in opposition to Clinton's recognition with the award- External links :* http://www.karlspreis.de/ *...

     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 Count Richard Coudenhove-Kalergi
    Richard Nikolaus Graf Coudenhove-Kalergi
    Richard Nikolaus Eijiro von Coudenhove-Kalergi was an Austrian politician, geopolitician, philosopher and count of Coudenhove-Kalergi...

    , the founder of the pan-European movement, Alcide De Gasperi
    Alcide De Gasperi
    Alcide De Gasperi was an Italian statesman and politician and founder of the Christian Democratic Party. From 1945 to 1953 he was the prime minister of eight successive coalition governments. His eight-year rule remains a landmark of political longevity for a leader in modern Italian politics...

    , and Winston Churchill
    Winston Churchill
    Sir Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill, was a predominantly Conservative British politician and statesman known for his leadership of the United Kingdom during the Second World War. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest wartime leaders of the century and served as Prime Minister twice...

    .

    In its national anthem, El Gran Carlemany
    El Gran Carlemany
    El Gran Carlemany is the national anthem of Andorra. Written by Enric Marfany Bons and composed by Joan Benlloch i Vivó , it was adopted in 1921.-Lyrics:-External links:...

    , the nation of Andorra
    Andorra
    Andorra , officially the Principality of Andorra , also called the Principality of the Valleys of Andorra, , is a small landlocked country in southwestern Europe, located in the eastern Pyrenees mountains and bordered by Spain and France. It is the sixth smallest nation in Europe having an area of...

     credits Charlemagne with its independence.

    Charlemagne is quoted by Dr Henry Jones Sr. (played by Sean Connery
    Sean Connery
    Sir Thomas Sean Connery , better known as Sean Connery, is a Scottish actor and producer who has won an Academy Award, two BAFTA Awards and three Golden Globes Sir Thomas Sean Connery (born 25 August 1930), better known as Sean Connery, is a Scottish actor and producer who has won an Academy...

    ) in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
    Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
    Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade is a 1989 American adventure film directed by Steven Spielberg, from a story co-written by executive producer George Lucas. It is the third film in the Indiana Jones franchise. Harrison Ford reprises the title role and Sean Connery plays Indiana's father, Henry...

    . 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
    The Economist
    The Economist is an English-language weekly news and international affairs publication owned by The Economist Newspaper Ltd. and edited in offices in the City of Westminster, London, England. Continuous publication began under founder James Wilson in September 1843...

    , the weekly news and international affairs newspaper, features a one-page article every week entitled "Charlemagne", focusing generally on European affairs and, more usually and specifically, on the European Union
    European Union
    The European Union is an economic and political union of 27 independent member states which are located primarily in Europe. The EU traces its origins from the European Coal and Steel Community and the European Economic Community , formed by six countries in 1958...

     and its politics.

    There is a play named "Carelman Charitham" in the India
    India
    India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

    n art-form Chavittu Nadakam
    Chavittu Nadakam
    Chavittu Nadakam is a highly colorful Christian classical art form originated in Gothuruth village, Kerala state in India. It is noted for its attractive make-up of characters, their elaborate costumes, detailed gestures and well-defined body movements presented in tune with the rhythmic playback...

     which is based on the life of Charlemagne.

    See also

    • Massacre of Verden, a massacre of 4,500 captive rebel Saxons in 782 as a repression for their paganism.
    • Capitulatio de partibus Saxoniae
      Capitulatio de partibus Saxoniae
      Capitulatio de partibus Saxoniae is a legal code issued by Charlemagne and imposed upon the Saxons during the Saxon Wars in 785...

      , a law code imposed by Charlemagne in 785 that prescribes death for Saxon pagans refusing to convert to Christianity.
    • Carolingian dynasty

    External links