Charlemagne (742-814) ruledover Western Europe in the Early Middle Ages. He became King of the Franks afterthe Frankish Kingdom was divided between him and his younger brother. When hisbrother died Charlemagne became sole ruler.
King Charles had a strongrelationship with the Roman Church. Charlemagne was particularly generous whenit came to the poor. He gave to the poor in his own country and kingdom alongwith countries such as Syria, Egypt, African, Jerusalem, Alexandria, andCarthage.
Charlemagne sent money abroad to these countries and to the poorliving in them. His reasoning was that he aimed to provide help and liberationto the Christians. King Charles worshiped the Church of St. Peter the Apostleat Rome. He sent gifts to the popes throughout his reign and he wished tore-establish the authority of Rome under his guidance. Charlemagne also soughtto both defend and protect the church.
Charlemagne’s ultimate goal was to bringthe Germanic people together united under one Kingdom and convert the people toChristianity. Anyone persons under his rule who failed to be baptized or failedto follow Christian traditions was sentenced to death. Charlemagne was anadvocate and defender of Christianity. Einhard’s writing showed King Charles’relationship with Christianity. This is important because it taught historiansthat Charlemagne played a major role in ensuring the survival of Christianityin Europe. Much of Charlemagne’s rule was spent in warfare.
This isbecause in order to accomplish his goals of uniting the Germanic people underone kingdom he needed to conquer them. Warfare also was meant as a way to spreadChristianity to the nations in which he sought to rule. King Charles dominated theLombards, Avars, and Bavaria.
Charlemagne’s military was always at war becausehe wished to expand the Frankish Kingdom. This was important because it showedthat he had a strong government. It started with the Aquitanian War. Thisparticular was started by his father. Charles went about this war with patience;this showed that he was controlled.
The Lombard War was a quick war. Charlesalso took a different approach to warfare than his father. “Now, althoughCharles seems to have had similar, or rather just the same grounds fordeclaring war that his father had, the war itself differed from the precedingone alike in its difficulties and its issue.” (Einhard, p.24) Charles did not stopuntil he had devestated King Desiderius and forced him to surrender. This isimportant because it proves that Charlemagne was ruthless when it came toexpanding his empire. Thewar with the Saxons was bitter and long. This was forced conversion and itexpanded the empire.
“Accordingly war was begunagainst them, and was waged for thirty-three successive years with great fury;more, however, to the disadvantage of the Saxons than of the Franks. It coulddoubtless have been brought to an end sooner, had it not been for the faithlessnessof the Saxons.” (Einhard, p.26-27) There were times throughout this warthat the Saxon people were so distraught that they swore to begin followingChristianity. The war finally ended when the Saxons reluctantly agreed to rejecttheir religious customs and accept the rituals of Christianity. They alsoagreed on unity with the Franks. This is important because it showed howrelentless Charlemagne was when it came to spreading Christianity. The war withthe Saxons lasted about thirty-two years.
King Charles never yielded. Einhard’swriting of Charlemagne’s wars show exactly how he spread Christianity andconquered other nations. After the wars, Charlemagne truly demonstrated how he fared as aruler. King Charles encouraged education and the Renaissance.
He also placed abig emphasis on scholarship and culture. Charlemagne also had many economic andreligious reforms. By doing this he created a sense of peace and unity amonghis people. Charles planned to have all of his children, both boys and girlseducated in the liberal arts.
He also spent a lot of his own time focusing onthe liberal arts. He made sure his children were skilled in different areas.The boys must be skilled in horsemanship, war practice and the chase. The girlshad to work with cloth-making, distaff and spindle. Charlemagne’s personal lifeand the way he brought up his children was a clear reflection of how devoted hewas to their education and well-being. “He was so careful of the training ofhis sons and daughters that he never took his meals without them when he was athome, and never made a journey without them; his sons would ride at his side,and his daughters follow him, while a number of his body-guard, detailed fortheir protection, brought up the rear.
“(Einhard, p.53) Charlemagne was veryinterested in education. He stressed grammar, logic, and rhetoric. He enforcededucation onto his children and encouraged it throughout his kingdom.