Charlemagne (Dictionary of World Biography: Middle Ages)
Article abstract: By 800, when he was crowned emperor by Pope Leo III, Charlemagne had revived the Roman idea of universal empire, preserved through the Carolingian Renaissance much of the written legacy of the ancient world, and established the foundation for a European civilization distinct from that of ancient Rome and from the contemporary Byzantine and Islamic empires.
Charlemagne was born about 742 in the kingdom of the Merovingian Franks, founded on the ruins of Roman Gaul by Clovis I, whose people’s nominal conversion to Roman Christianity made them the allies of the Papacy against the Arian heresy. Under Clovis’ factious and often-inept successors, whose cruelty was anything but Christian, the kingdom was at times split into as many as four parts. Though it was reunited by the end of the seventh century, real power by then had passed from the Merovingians to Charlemagne’s ancestors, who became hereditary holders of the office of mayor of the palace. Charlemagne’s grandfather, Charles Martel, ruled over an increasingly powerful Frankish state from 714 to 741, during much of which time there was no Merovingian on the throne. On his death, power passed to his sons, Pepin the Short and Carloman, though the latter entered a monastery in 747, leaving his elder brother as mayor to Childeric III. Charlemagne was the eldest child of Pepin and Bertrada, his Friedelehe—more than a concubine,...
(The entire section is 3126 words.)
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Charlemagne (Magill’s Guide to Military History)
Article abstract: Military significance: Charlemagne spread Frankish domination into Spain, Italy, and central Europe. He limited the expansion of Islam, stabilized the power of the papacy, introduced Christianity and Western culture into central Europe, and created the Holy Roman Empire.
The Carolingian Dynasty placed Charlemagne and his younger brother Carloman in control of the Frankish kingdom after the death of their father, Pépin III the Short, in 768. Charlemagne ruled in the west, his brother ruled in the east, and they essentially shared power until Carloman’s death in 771, when Charlemagne seized control of the entire kingdom. Carloman’s wife and children feared for their lives and fled to the protection of Desiderius, the Lombard king of northern Italy. In an effort to fight for the rights of Carloman’s heirs and to win himself land and glory, Desiderius instigated unrest in southern Frankish lands and threatened the pope, Saint Hadrian III, Charlemagne’s ally. To put an end to both threats, Charlemagne invaded northern Italy in 773 and quickly defeated Desiderius and the Lombards. With the victory, Charlemagne reaffirmed the temporal power of the pope and his control of the Frankish kingdom. Charlemagne seized northern Italy and declared himself king of the Lombards.
In 772, Charlemagne began the longest of his campaigns when he attacked the Saxons along his northeastern border. For decades, the Saxons...
(The entire section is 664 words.)
Charlemagne (Myths and Legends of the World)
Charlemagne, king of the , was the greatest ruler in Europe in the centuries following the fall of the Roman empire. In a long reign that lasted from A.D. 768 to 814, he conquered most of western Europe and converted many of its paganterm used by early Christians to describe non-Christians and non-Christian beliefs peoples to Christianity. In 800 he became the "Emperor of the Romans." Under Charlemagne's rule, Europe experienced a great revival in learning and the arts, which had declined dramatically after the collapse of Rome. The legends that grew up around Charlemagne focus on his military and political skills and on his moral conduct.
Life and Achievements
Born in about 742, Charlemagne was the son of King Pepin III (known as Pepin the Short). Pepin and his brother together ruled the Franks, whose kingdom included parts of present-day France, Belgium, Germany, and the Netherlands. Upon Pepin's death in 768, Charlemagne and his brother Carloman inherited the kingdom. When Carloman died three years later, Charlemagne became the sole ruler.
Charlemagne the King. Soon after Carloman's death, Charlemagne defeated the Lombard kingdom in northern Italy and made himself king of the Lombards. He then turned his attention to the Saxons, a group of pagan tribes in...
(The entire section is 1352 words.)