The story

Charlemagne

Charlemagne



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Medieval emperor (742-814 AD). It was responsible for establishing an empire almost as large as the Roman Empire.

The Roman Empire was the dominant political reality in Europe and the Mediterranean for half a millennium when it fell in 476 AD. With such a collapse, Europe, which had lost the unity of an empire that had been present for several generations, became a continent. fragmented, formed by several rival kingdoms. Pieces of the ancient empire became centers with individual powers ruled by several monarchs. Although Europe was politically shredded, it was unified by one common religion: Christianity. And that has become one of the main features of the period we now call the Middle Ages.

Although Rome, where the Christian popes resided, remained the spiritual center of Europe, the axis of military power had shifted further north, where the Franks lived. By the end of the eighth century, its most powerful leader was only 26 years old: it was Charlemagne, son of Cucumber the Brief (714? -768), and grandson of Charles Martel (789? -741 AD) today considered one of the greatest rulers in the history of Europe.

But even the great rulers encounter opposition. As Charlemagne's main opponent was the Italian king Desiderius. He wanted Pope Hadrian I to crown the younger sons of Charlemagne's predecessor as monarchs of parts of the Frankish kingdom.

After defeating Desiderius, Charlemagne brought most states of northern Italy under the control of the Franks. He then went to Rome, where he met the pope. There Charlemagne discovered that in the long run their goals were very compatible. Charlemagne's goal was to become the leader of an empire that was as vast as the Roman. And Pope Hadrian I needed a unified and dominant political force that would govern Europe and ally with the Church. One of its main tasks would be to protect and expand Christianity in the same way that Moorish armies spread Islam. Thus, with the papal blessing, Charlemagne added much of Denmark, Germany, and central Europe to an empire that already included France and a good chunk of Italy. And also regained part of Spain from the Moors.

At Christmas AD 800 in Rome, while attending Mass, Charlemagne was unexpectedly crowned by Leo III, the successor of Hadrian I, as the "Emperor of the Romans." As a result, the Western Roman Empire, which had ceased to exist 325 years ago, was back on the world political scene, this time under the name of Holy Roman Empire (even though it was not "officially" known in this way). Although recognized only by the ruler of the Eastern Roman Empire in 812 AD, Charlemagne quickly gained the respect of most of the peoples of his empire. This has allowed Europe to once again become a peaceful and unified environment. Thus, Pax Romana was back on the European continent. So it is often said that the government of Charlemagne brought a moment of brilliance in the turbulent millennium that plagued Europe after the fall of the Roman Empire.