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Charlemagne Research Paper

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Charlemagne Research Paper


Table of Contents[pic 1][pic 2]

Introduction………………………………………………………………………………1

Early Life…………………………………………………………………………………2

Territorial Expansion…………………………………………………………………..3-4

Holy Roman Empire……………………………………………………………………..4

His Last Years………………………………………………………………………….4-5

Conclusion……………………………………………………………………………….6

Bibliography……………………………………………………………………………..7


Introduction

        Charlemagne, also known as Charles the Great, was king of the Franks between 768 and 814. He was also the Christian emperor of the west between 800 and 814. Charlemagne founded the Holy Roman Empire, strengthened European economic and political life, and promoted the cultural revival known as the Carolingian Renaissance (“World Biography").

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Early Life

        Charlemagne was born in 742 and was thought to be illegitimate because his parents were not legally married at the time of his birth. Even though his parents married before his birth, it was not considered legal at the time because they were too closely related to each other. His father was named Pepin, but was known as Pepin the Short due to mistranslations of his name even though he was not short. Charlemagne’s mother was Bertrada of Laon, who was also known as Bertrada the Younger or Bertha Broadfoot, which in Latin means the queen with the goose-foot.  Sources suggest that his father may have had a previous marriage before Bertrada and that would mean Charlemagne could have had five half siblings. Charlemagne had several siblings but only himself and his two younger siblings, Carloman and Gisela, survived to adulthood (Charlemagne Paperback – May 10 2005”).

        In 754, Charlemagne was one of the participants during the ceremony when Pope Stephen II appointed his father, Pepin, king of the Franks. The Franks were a powerful Germanic tribe that lived in the region that is now known as France. Charlemagne also went on many military campaigns with his father. On October 768, Pepin died and Charlemagne and his younger brother, Carloman, were both announced king and were meant to rule the kingdom together. However, Carloman received a larger and richer portion than his older brother, Charlemagne, which resulted in them hating each other. In 771, Carloman unexpectedly died and Charlemagne became the sole ruler of the entire kingdom (Charlemagne Paperback – May 10 2005”).[pic 4]

        

Territorial Expansion

        Charlemagne was determined to expand his power and to get rid of those who threatened his authority. In Italy, he immediately attacked and defeated King Desiderius of the Lombards. After that, Charlemagne was crowned king of the Lombards at Pavia. The Frankish conquest of Italy—first of Lombardy in the north and later Benevento in the south—eliminated the threats and resulted in a large portion of Italy under his control. The Frankish conquest brought new wealth and expanded the population in his kingdom (Wilson, Derek A. Charlemagne).

        During his Italian campaigns, Charlemagne declared a war against the Saxons, a Germanic tribe who threatened the northeastern frontier of Francia. The cruel and bitter war begun in 772 and ended in 804. Francia claimed the land of Saxony and enforced the Christian religion on the Saxon tribes (Wilson, Derek A. Charlemagne).

        Charlemagne expanded his territory by carrying on several major campaigns. One of the most well known campaigns took place in Spain. While returning from a successful campaign in 778, traitorous Basques near Roncesvalles ambushed Count Roland of the Breton March, who led Charlemagne’s rear guard. This campaign held historical importance and was the military district’s establishment called the Spanish March, which was a territorial barrier zone between Frankish Gaul and Moslem Spain (Wilson, Derek A. Charlemagne).

        During his eastern frontier, Charlemagne defeated the Duke of Bavania, Tassilo, and expanded his territory by making the duchy of Bavania part of his empire. The western portion of the duchy was divided into countries that were each administered by a count that were loyal to him. The eastern portion formed a border zone called the Ostmark that was protected by a military duke (“The Life & Times Of Charlemagne”).[pic 5][pic 6]

        The Slavic kingdom was further into the east and was considered the major power and threat to the Frankish realm. The Slavic Kingdom belonged to the Avars, also known as Huns, who were an Asiatic tribe that settled along the upper Danube. Charlemagne crushed the power of the Avars between 791 and 795, and made their kingdom a tributary state. This victory opened the entire Danubian Plain to German colonization and the eastern expansion of Christianity (“The Life & Times Of Charlemagne”).

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