What are some impacts that Charlemagne had?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Although the Frankish kingdom which Charlemagne ruled was short-lived, it was also an important precursor to the French nation. His rule was important in the development of European identity as well and in cementing a tradition of association between the Papacy and European monarchs.

His most lasting achievements though, and...

Unlock
This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Start your 48-Hour Free Trial

Although the Frankish kingdom which Charlemagne ruled was short-lived, it was also an important precursor to the French nation. His rule was important in the development of European identity as well and in cementing a tradition of association between the Papacy and European monarchs.

His most lasting achievements though, and the reason his period is called the "Carolingian Renaissance" were cultural and administrative. He was instrumental in civilizing a collection of warlords into a well-administered empire (in partnership with the Church) and was a great promoter of literacy and education. He reformed the military and improved its logistics and strategy and was also responsible for important economic and currency reforms. His court welcomed scholars, most notably Alcuin, and promoted the importance of culture and learning and subsidized schools. He supported rule of law and judicial reform, leading to a far more lawful and better administered kingdom.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

In the short term, it is hard to argue that Charlemagne had any great impact much after his death.  He did, of course, put together a large empire.  However, this empire did not really outlive him at all.  It had been held together largely by his own personal characteristics and started to fall apart immediately after he died.

In the long term, some historians have called Charlemagne the "father of Europe."  The idea behind this is that Charlemagne managed to combine Christianity, the Roman influence, and German ethnicity in one empire.  By doing so, he moved Europe back towards being one culture that was Christian and based on Rome, but which also included the ethnic groups of northern Europe.  For the first time since Roman days, much of Europe was united.  This, historians argue, created the idea of a European identity.  This constitutes a very important way in which Charlemagne can be said to have had a long-term impact.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team