23 November 2009
Life of Charlemagne
Sometime between the years of 817 and 830 the Life of Charlemagne was written by a German biographer, known as Einhard. Einhard worked under Charlemagne for many years and knows a lot about his life. Einhard wrote this document to show the accomplishments of Charlemagne throughout his life. Charlemagne, who is also known as Charles the Great, was the King of the Frankish Kingdom. He later became the Emperor of the Roman world.
Charlemagne was born in 742 to King Pepin. Pepin and his brothers ruled the Frankish Kingdom at the time. Pepin died in 768, handing the throne over to Charlemagne and his brother Carolman. Carolman died shortly after they were given the throne, so Charlemagne became sole leader of the Franks. (“Charlemagne” Myths) Charlemagne was 26 years old when he became ruler of the Carolingian world.
One of the first battles that Charlemagne led was the Lombard War. The Lombard’s had a strong army and often attacked Rome. Years before Charlemagne was in power the Franks and the Roman Papacy set up an alliance. In 733, the Lombard’s attacked and sacked Rome. The pope fled to Charlemagne asking him for help. (Spielvogel) Charlemagne took his army and took on the Lombard’s. Charlemagne’s army initiated the Lombard’s. In 774, the Lombard’s were conquered by the Franks and Charlemagne. Charlemagne expanded his reign and became King of the Lombard’s.
Charlemagne wanted to spread Christianity throughout the world. During the 780s, Charlemagne did just that. The Saxon Wars were also led by Charlemagne. The Saxons were a group of pagans, or polytheistic believers, from Germany. They were also rivals with the Franks. Charlemagne took his army to Germany and burned down the Saxon city. (Turner) He brought priests with him and baptized all those who were about to die. Charlemagne known conquered the Saxons.
Charlemagne was an aggressive person when it came to expanding his territory. Anyone who threatened him he took them head on. He took down the Lombards, the Saxons, the Slavic Kingdom, and many more. The Slavic Kingdom was being ruled by the Huns. After Charlemagne took them down he had control over the Danube River. (“Charlemagne” Enclopedia) This was a great place for colonization and the expansion of Christianity. Charlemagne was excellent at expanding his control.
Many of the territories that Charlemagne conquered were of different backgrounds. He allowed those territories to have their own laws and rules. (Snell) Charlemagne kept a close eye on his empire. He used missi dominici, which were servants who inspected on dukes and counts to make sure they were following the rules of Charlemagne. (Knox) The servants were placed in pairs. One was from the church and the other was from the laity. This way both sides had no one side had an advantage.
Charlemagne himself did not no how to read or write. He was very interested in learning how to do so. (Snell) He just never really had time to sit down and learn. Charlemagne knew that education was important, which is why he set up several monistic schools across his empire. The monasteries he set up were schools that copied and saved ancient books. He brought several scholars to his court, including Einhard.
In 800, Charlemagne returned to Rome to help out Pope Leo III. The Pope had been attacked by some people and kicked out of Rome. Charlemagne came with his army and told the people of Rome to allow the Pope to come back. (Snell) The Pope did come back. When the Pope came back he announced Charlemagne as Emperor on December 25, 800. Charlemagne became the first emperor in the west since 476. He is also considered the first Holy Roman Emperor, because he was the first Christian Emperor.
In 814, Charlemagne died and the Carolingian world started to decline. Charlemagne’s grandsons fought over the land that Charlemagne had conquered. They later split the empire into three parts in the Treaty of Verdun. The Carolingian world would be under attack for the next several years and struggle for a while.
"Charlemagne". Enclopedia of World Biography. November 22, 2009
"Charlemagne". Myths Encyclopedia. November 22, 2009 .
Knox, Skip. "The Caolingian Empire". Boise State. November 22, 2009 .
Snell , Melissa. "Charlemagne". November 22, 2009 .
Spielvogel, Jackson. Western Civilization. Boston, MA: Wadsworth Cengage Learning, 2009.
Turner, Samuel. "Medieval Sourcebook". New York Harper & Brothers. November 22, 2009 .