Who was Charlemagne? Summary of his biography

Who was Charlemagne? Summary of his biography

Biography of Charlemagne

Born on April 2, 742 (or 747), known as “Charles the Great”, Charlemagne He was King of the Franks from 768, appointed King of Italy in 774 and after numerous victories proclaimed the first emperor of the Holy Roman Empire.

After the death of his father, Pepin the Short, in 768 the government of their kingdoms was shared between Charlemagne and his brother Carloman I, but under inexplicable circumstances the second died in 771 leaving Charlemagne as the undisputed ruler of the Frankish kingdom.

King of the Franks

In 772, when the pope Hadrian I asked for help against Desiderius, the king of the Lombards, Charlemagne invaded Italy, overthrowing Desiderio (774) and assuming the royal title. Then he made a trip to Rome and claimed to continue with the policy that his father had previously exercised, which was heading towards the protection of Christianity and the papacy.

In 772 Charlemagne fought against the incursions of the Saxons into his territory and, moved by success in Italy, carried out in 775 a campaign to conquer and Christianize them, but even having some initial success, the confrontation lasted for thirty years.

He fought in the Iberian Peninsula in 778, in 788 subjected the Bavarians to his power, and between the years 791 and 796 their armies conquered the territory of the Avars.

Finally, through his military conquests, subjugating Saxons, Bavarians and opening the border in Spain, he managed to extend his empire by incorporating a large part of the West and Central Europe. Charlemagne reached the peak of his power in 800, at which time he was appointed emperor on Christmas Day by the Pope Leo III.

The coronation of Charlemagne by Leo III

Throughout the Saxon Wars and his other campaigns, Charlemagne he acted entirely on his own initiative and paid little attention to the papacy. However, none of the popes complained that the various Charlemagne they coincided with their own interests or benefited them directly. However, in 800 it became clear that the power of Charlemagne it surpassed that of the papacy and that there was nothing anyone could do about it.

This became clear when Pope Leo III (795-816) was attacked by a mob in the streets of Rome and was forced to flee. The mob had been spurred on by Roman nobles who, hoping to replace Leon with one of their own, had accused him of immorality and abuse of office.

Leon went to Charlemagne seeking protection and, on the advice of his wise advisor, the scholar Alcuin (735-804), Charlemagne He agreed to accompany Leon back to Rome to clear his name.

In a trial that presided Charlemagne, Leon finally cleared himself of the accusations against him. This course of events had meant a terrible humiliation for the Pope and his self-denial before the Carolingian ruler and he decided to try to regain the prestige and authority of his office by carrying out the imperial coronation of Charlemagne.

The day of Christmas 800, when Charlemagne rose from prayer at the tomb of Saint Peter, Pope Leo and without Charlemagne knowing, placed the crown on the king's head and the Roman clergy and well-rehearsed people shouted: "Carlos Augusto, crowned great and peaceful. Emperor of the Romans, life and victory!»

Charlemagne he supposedly did not want to be crowned by Leon and reportedly said that he would never have entered the church if he had known it was going to happen.

Be that as it may, it is well established that the crown was clearly visible in the church when charlemagne entered and he was smart enough to realize that it hadn't been accidentally left there.

The Carolingian Renaissance

During his reign there was the call Carolingian Renaissance since the art, architecture and literature that characterize it were reborn.

Most of the surviving works of Classical Latin were copied and preserved by the Carolingian scholars.

Its importance also resides in the fact that the first ancient manuscripts that we have today are of Carolingian origin.

Through its conquests and internal reforms, promoting the creation of a common European entity, uniting for the first time most of Western Europe was called the "Father of europe”And both the French and German monarchies regarded their kingdoms as descendants of the empire forged by Charlemagne.

After having ruled as emperor just over 13 years he died in 814, being buried in the imperial capital of Aachen, in Germany, and his son ceded him in office. Louis the pious.

Charlemagne's legacy

Charlemagne he ruled his empire for 14 years until his death from natural causes in 814. Loyn notes that his "strength and dynamic personality were necessary to create the empire and, without him, the disintegrated elements quickly gained power."

The He had already crowned Louis I the Pious (Ludovico Pío, his son) as successor in 813, but could do nothing to ensure that his legacy would endure after his death.

The death of just a few enlightened leaders, or even the sudden loss of a great personality, can cause the entire system to collapse and open the way for an equally swift reversion to chaos and barbarism.

However, the initial problems for the empire were not due to any element of retreat or disintegration, but to the decisions of Charlemagne compared to Saxony taken decades earlier.

Viking raids

The Saxon wars destroyed the region, killed thousands of people and did little more than enrage the Scandinavian kings who bided their time until the death of Charlemagne and then they unleashed the Viking raids on France.

During the reign of LouisBetween the years 820 and 840, the Vikings repeatedly struck France. Luis did his best to defend himself against these attacks, but found it easier to appease the Norse through land grants and negotiations.

The division of the Carolingian empire

When Louis died in 840, the empire was divided between his three sons who fought each other for supremacy. Their conflict was ended by the Treaty of Verdun of the year 843, what divided the empire between the sons of Louis I: Luis The Germanicus (r. 843-876) received eastern France, Lothair I (r. 843-855) took central France, and Carlos The Bald (r. 843-877) would rule western France.

The separate kingdoms of the empire of Charlemagne they would eventually form the modern nations of Europe and, for all their faults, they could not have done so were it not for their vision of purpose and natural abilities to lead in such a way that others were eager to serve them.

I was born in Madrid on August 27, 1988 and since then I started a work of which there is no example. Fascinated by both numbers and letters and a lover of the unknown, that is why I am a future graduate in Economics and Journalism, interested in understanding life and the forces that have shaped it. Everything is easier, more useful and more exciting if, with a look at our past, we can improve our future and for that… History.


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