Charlemagne, also known as Charles the Great and Charles I, was not only a king of France, but a commanding historical figure. Charlemagne is believed to have been born sometime around the year 742. He became King of the Franks in 768 and went on to become the Emperor of the Carolingian Empire in 800, before his death in 814.
Charlemagne’s father, King Pepin (the short), officially put an end to the Merovingian line of kings to become King of the Franks, and willed that Francia be divided between both Charlemagne and his brother Carloman upon his death in 768. The divided rule was short lived, ○“Carloman had succumbed to disease after ruling two years in common with his brother, at his death Charles was unanimously elected King of the Franks” (Einhard 27). By the time Charlemagne was elected King of the Franks, his country had already occupied the majority of France, all of the Netherlands, and Belgium, most of Switzerland, and a sizeable portion of Germany. During his reign of forty-seven years he added even more territories including: Saxony, Bavaria, parts of Austria, the Kingdom of Lombardy, and the Spanish March, which was in the Pyrenees along the French border. During his reign Charlemagne managed to amass a kingdom that became the largest in the history of Western Europe, after the collapse of the Roman Empire.
After Pope Leo III called on Charlemagne for assistance after being brutalized by the Romans, ○“Charles accordingly went to Rome, to sent in order the affairs of the Church, which were in great confusion, and passed the whole winter there” (Einhard 56). Following his tending to the Pope and the Church, on December 25, 800, Charlemagne was crowned Emperor of the Romans and Augustus by Pope Leo III. After being given the title of Emperor, Charlemagne codified laws and even stabilized and standardized currency. He focused on Christian beliefs and fostered architecture and arts. This period has become known as the Carolingian Dynasty. The sense of renewal in a newly stabilized society was stimulated by an elite group of scholars gathered to Charlemagne’s court. During this time, there was a strong flourish of arts, literature, architecture, and religion.
Charlemagne married several times and had several children, not only as product of his marriages, but from his concubines as well. He was very intent on having his children, male and female, study the liberal arts. He was also particularly personally fond of these studies. At the time of his death in 814, his son Louis succeeded him.
Einhard, born in 775 in an ancient Frankish homeland, in a valley of the River Main, was taken into Charlemagne’s court sometime between 791 and 792. After the scholar Alcuin retired to the monastery, Einhard became a go to source for answers for Charlemagne. After Charlemagne’s death Einhard felt compelled to write a biography about his king and friend, writing that, ○“In any event, I would rather commit my story to writing, and hand it down in...