Charlemagne Essay

1613 words - 6 pages

CHARLEMAGNE AND THE CAROLINGIAN RENAISSANCE The first few centuries after the birth of Christ saw many changes throughout the world. The Roman Empire was at the height of its reign and everything throughout the known world was flourishing. Soon there after, the Roman Empire began its decent in power and with it brought the downfall of the Western World. It was not until about three hundred years later that life in the west began to improve. The man that brought forth this change was Charlemagne. "It has been said that it was during the reign of Charlemagne that the transition from classical to early medieval civilization was completed." The reign of Charlemagne, 771-814 AD, is considered the Carolingian Renaissance because of his great revival of the Western World. Through the work of Charlemagne, establishing Christianity in the lands he conquered, setting up many new schools, and giving unity to the Roman Empire that had gone through years of problems, the 8th century AD was truly a Carolingian Renaissance.When Charlemagne took over as the King of the Franks in 771 AD he began to expand the Frankish kingdom through many military campaigns against neighbouring lands. As Charlemagne began conquering these territories he started establishing Christianity throughout. Charlemagne began with Saxony, a region that is now northwestern Germany. The Saxons were the last non-Christian tribe in central Germany, and for many years has threatened the Franks with raids against them. Charlemagne realized that these people were a major threat to his kingdom and he wanted to convert /2 them to Christianity. It took Charlemagne about 32 years to fully conquer the Saxons, but when it was all over, Saxony became a Frankish province and the Christian Church was established there. Those who did not want to convert were put to death. Charlemagne also created the Edict for the Saxon Lands, which outlined the punishments the Saxons would face if they did not follow Charlemagne's rules. These rules were very strict and harsh, "For conspiracy against the king, or breaking faith with him and his Christian people, the penalty was death." Other guidelines included the worship of Churches like the pagan shrines of the past, fines for not baptizing children and fasting during Lent, and the only way to fully repent would be confession and penitence. As Charlemagne continued to expand his empire and establish Christianity in these lands, he justified all the violence and suffering he inflicted on others by claming he was the "defender of the Holy Church." On Christmas Day, 800 AD, Pope Leo III invited Charlemagne to St. Peter's and after the mass the Pope placed a crown on his head saying, "Life and victory to Charles Augustus, crowned by God, the great and peaceful emperor of the Romans." Charlemagne now became the first emperor in the west since the last Roman Emperor back in 476 AD. Even though this marked the return of the Roman Empire in a...

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