The History Makers: Charlemagne | Pocketmags.com

Shopping Cart -

Your cart is currently empty.
Upgrade to today
for only an extra Cxx.xx

You get:

plus This issue of xxxxxxxxxxx.
plus Instant access to the latest issue of 300+ of our top selling titles.
plus Unlimited access to 26000+ back issues
plus No contract or commitment. If you decide that PocketmagsPlus is not for you, you can cancel your monthly subscription online at any time. Auto-renews at $9.99 per month, unless cancelled.
Upgrade Now for $9.99 Learn more
This website use cookies and similar technologies to improve the site and to provide customised content and advertising. By using this site, you agree to this use. To learn more, including how to change your cookie settings, please view our Cookie Policy
Pocketmags Digital Magazines
US
Pocketmags Digital Magazines
Read anywhere Read anywhere
Ways to pay Pocketmags Payment Types
Trusted site
At Pocketmags you get
Secure Billing
Great Offers
Web & App Reader
Gifting Options
Loyalty Points

The History Makers: Charlemagne

A man of war, scholarship and deep faith, Charlemagne is the king who united western Europe in battle, and fused it for a millennium with religion and a thriving renaissance, writes Jonny Wilkes
GOLDEN KING A 14th-century bust of Charlemagne – the divine ruler of medieval Europe – in Aachen Cathedral
ART ARCHIVE X1, ALAMY X1

CHARLEMAGNE BRINGING LIGHT TO THE DARK AGES

Christmas Day in AD 800, and the powerful King of the Franks and Lombards, Charlemagne, is celebrating mass in Rome. Kneeling at the altar in the majestic setting of St Peter’s Basilica, he is about to rise from his prayers when, seemingly unexpectedly, Pope Leo III approaches the monarch, places a crown on his head and proclaims him Imperator Romanorum – ‘Emperor of the Romans’.

In many ways, the act shouldn’t have been all that surprising. Charlemagne was the most powerful man in Europe, having spent three decades building a domain the likes of which had not been seen since the fall of the Western Roman Empire in the fifth century AD. He introduced sweeping reforms, centralised control, encouraged an intellectual renaissance and spread Christianity (although rarely peacefully). As a deeply pious man, he had proved himself a committed protector of papal authority and lands, and Leo owed his very life to Charlemagne’s recent intervention and support. Yet, if the story is to be believed, the Frankish King had no idea what the Pope was intending, or how important it would be to his legacy.

That moment on Christmas Day – the coronation of Charlemagne (or Charles the Great) as the first Holy Roman Emperor – has since been described as one of the most seismic events in European history. It laid the foundations for the continent we know today and ensured that the legend of Charlemagne would never be forgotten.

The details of his early life, however, may never be known. It is thought he was born in the AD 740s, either in Liege or Aachen (present-day Belgium and Germany respectively), but these are estimations. Even Einhard, a respected scholar of Charlemagne’s court, admits that: “It would be folly, I think, to write a word concerning Charles’s birth and infancy, or even his boyhood, for nothing has been written on the subject, and there is no-one alive now who can give information on it.” He was the son of Pippin III, who was Mayor of the Palace to the Merovingian Dynasty – the toothless rulers of the Franks. Although he was only an official, Pippin actually wielded far greater power and influence than the ‘do-nothing’ Merovingian kings (see Europe before Charlemagne, right), resulting, in AD 751, with him seizing the throne for himself. By the time of his death in AD 768, Pippin passed on a great kingdom to his sons, Carloman and Charlemagne.

READ MORE
Purchase options below
Find the complete article and many more in this issue of BBC History Revealed Magazine - January 2016
If you own the issue, Login to read the full article now.
Single Issue - January 2016
$4.99
Or 499 points
READ NOW
Getting free sample issues is easy, but we need to add it to an account to read, so please follow the instructions to read your free issue today.
Email Address
Annual Digital Subscription
Only $ 3.15 per issue
SAVE
37%
$40.99
Or 4099 points
6 Month Digital Subscription
Only $ 4.15 per issue
SAVE
10%
$26.99
Or 2699 points
Monthly Digital Subscription
Only $ 4.61 per issue
$4.99
Or 499 points

View Issues

About BBC History Revealed Magazine

The January 2016 issue of History Revealed