On Christmas morning in the year 800, Pope Leo III placed the crown of imperial Rome on the brow of a Germanic king named Karl—a gesture that enabled the man later hailed as Charlemagne to claim his empire and forever shape the destiny of Europe. Becoming Charlemagne tells the story of the international power struggle that led to this world-changing event, illuminating an era that has long been overshadowed by myth.
For 1,200 years, the deeds of Charlemagne inspired kings and crusaders, the conquests of Napoléon and Hitler, and the optimistic architects of the European Union. In this engaging narrative, Jeff Sypeck crafts a vivid portrait of the ruler who became a legend, while evoking a long-ago world of kings, caliphs, merchants, and monks. Transporting readers far beyond Europe to the glittering palaces of Constantinople and the streets of medieval Baghdad, Becoming Charlemagne brings alive an age of empire building that continues to resonate to this day.
Two revealingly different accounts of the life of the most important figure of the Roman Empire
Charlemage ?known as the father of Europe-was one of the most powerful and dynamic of all medieval rulers. The biographies brought together here provide a rich and varied portrait of the king from two perspectives: that of Einhard, a close friend and adviser, and of Notker, a monastic scholar and musician writing fifty years after Charlemagne's death.
Charlemagne—ruler of the vast Frankish kingdom from 768 to his death in 814 and Holy Roman emperor from the year 800—is considered the father of Europe. He founded the first empire in western Europe after the fall of Rome, and his court at Aix-la-Chapelle was a center of classical learning and a focus of the Carolingian Renaissance. This book is a splendid introduction to Charlemagne’s life and legend.
Matthias Becher describes Charlemagne’s rise to emperor and traces his political and military maneuvering against the Saxons, the Lombards, and others, as Charlemagne incorporated these lands into his own realm. Becher points out that under Charlemagne, jury courts were introduced, the laws of the Franks revised and written down, new coinage introduced, weights and measures reformed, and a Frankish grammar begun. Charlemagne tried to give his kingdom a spiritual basis by referring to antique traditions, says Becher, and he explores the tensions that existed in Charlemagne’s court between modern ideas and traditional thinking. He concludes by discussing Charlemagne’s kinship network, the evolving arrangements for his succession, the effects of his reign, and his posthumous fame.
Concise, insightful, and eminently readable, this biography of Charlemagne provides a wealth of information about a remarkable man and his times.
This is a new account of the most important period in the history of Europe between the end of the Roman Empire and the Italian Renaissance. The reign of Charlemagne (768-814) saw the unification of many areas of France, Italy and Germany, Spain and central Europe, as well as the revival of the title 'Emperor in the West.' At the same time, the cultural and artistic revival that took place in western Europe under Charlemagne's rule both led to the preservation of much of the intellectual heritage of Antiquity and inspired succeeding generations of scholars and artists up to the time of the Renaissance. While the empire that Charlemagne created proved short-lived, the title 'Holy Roman Emperor' remained in continuous use until 1806, and his achievements have inspired a succession of both military conquerors and would-be unifiers of Europe up to the present day. Numerous ideas and institutions were revived or created in this period which would serve to shape the future development of western Europe throughout the Middle Ages and beyond.