*Charlemagne (Charles the Great) Holy Roman Emperor
born 2 April 0742 Aix La Chapelle, Austrasia
christened St. Denis, France
died 28 January 0814 Aix La Chapelle, Austrasia
buried Notre Dame D'Aix La Chapelle, Austrasia
*Pepin (Pippin) III "the Short" King of France
born 0714 Austrasia
died 24 September 0768 St. Denis, France
married about 0740
*Bertha (Bertrada) "The Broadfoot" of Laon
born about 0720 Laon, Austrasia
died 12 July 0783 Choisy, Bourgogne
buried St. Denis, France
*daughter of Pepin (Pippin) III "the Short" King of France
*Gisela of Chelles Abbess
Ade Princess of the Franks born 0759 Aachen, Rheinland, Germany died 12 May
Carloman, King of Burgundy born about 0751 Aachen, Rhineland, Germany
died 4 December 0771 Samoussy, Austrasia buried Abbaye de St. Remy, Reims, Neustria
Rothaide Princess of France born about 0744 Aachen, Rhineland, Germany
died Austrasia, France buried St. Arnoul Abbey, Metz, Moselle, France
Adâelaèide Princess of France born about 0746 Aachen, Germany
buried Abbaye de St. Arnoul, Metz, Austrasia
spouse (not married):
(end of information)
children (from this union):
*Alpais (Aupais) d'Aquitaine born about 0764 died after 0852
*Hildegarde Countess of Swabia (Linzgau) Empress of the Holy Roman Empire
born about 0757 Aachen, Rhineland, Prussia
died 30 April 0783 Thionville, Austrasia
buried Abbaye de St. Arnoul, Metz, Austrasia
married about 0772 Aachen, Rhineland, Prussia
children (from 2nd marriage):
Pepin the Hunchback died in 0811
*Charles "the Younger" Duc de Ingelheim King of Aquitaine Holy Roman Emperor
born 0772 died 0811
*Pepin (Pippin) (Carloman) of Lombardy King of Italy born 0776 (or April 0773)
died 8 July 0810 Milan
Adâelaèide(Adelheid) Princess of the Holy Roman Empire
born 0774 Pavie, Lombardy, Italy died August 774
Rotrude Princess of the Holy Roman Empire born August 0774 Aachen, Rhineland, Germany died 6 June 0810
Gisáele Princess of the Holy Roman Empire born 0781 Milano, Lombardy, Italy
*Bertha of the Franks Princess of the Holy Roman Empire
born 0775 Aachen, Rhineland, Germany died 11 March 0826
*Louis I "The Pious" Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire born August 0778 Casseneuil, France
died 20 June 0840 near Ingelheim, Rhinehessen, Hesse
buried Cathedrale D'Aachen, Aachen, Rheinland, Germany
Lothaire Prince of the Holy Roman Empire
born August 0778 Casseneuil, Lot-et-Garonne, France died August 778
Hildegarde Princess of the Holy Roman Empire born 0782 Aachen, Rhineland, Germany
died 9 June 0783
born circa 0770
children (from this union):
*Hugo "L'Abbe" of the Franks born about 0794 Aachen, Rhineland, Prussia
died 7 June 0844
Drogo Bishop of Metz
biographical and/or anecdotal:
Charlemagne (Carolus Magnus, Charles the Great) as king of the Franks (768-814) conquered the Lombard kingdom in Italy, subdued the Saxons, annexed Bavaria to his kingdom, fought campaigns in Spain and Hungary, and, with the exception of the Kingdom of Asturias in Spain, southern Italy, and the British Isles, united in one superstate practically all the Christian lands of western Europe. In 800 he assumed the title of emperor. (He is reckoned as Charles I of the Holy Roman Empire, as well as Charles I of France.) Besides expanding its political power, he also brought about a cultural renaissance in his empire. Although this imperium survived its founder by only one generation, the medieval kingdoms of France and Germany derived all their constitutional traditions from Charles's monarchy. Throughout medieval Europe, the person of Charles was considered the prototype of a Christian king and emperor.
Charles was born probably in 742 (on April 2), the elder son of Pepin III, also called Pepin the Short. Pepin and his older brother, Carloman, had just jointly assumed the government of the Frankish kingdom as maior domus, or "mayor of the palace." The dynasty, later called Carolingian after Charlemagne, had originated in the Meuse-Moselle region on the borders of modern France, Germany, Belgium, and The Netherlands. In the course of a few generations, it had, as mayors of the palace to the Merovingians, gained control of the entire Frankish kingdom. Charlemagne's grandfather, Charles Martel, reconstituted a realm that had been on the point of breaking up, and, without infringing on the royal prerogatives of the otherwise powerless Merovingians, he had in effect bequeathed the empire to his sons, Pepin and Carloman, like a family inheritance. (see also Index: Merovingian dynasty)
Charles grew to manhood while his father was engaged in acquiring sole sovereignty and the kingship. On Carloman's retirement to a monastery, Pepin eliminated the latter's sons from the government. Having thus prepared the way, he had himself proclaimed king in 751, after dethroning the Merovingians. An oracular response by Pope Zacharias furnished the ecclesiastical approbation for thus shunting aside the former reigning house, which had been held sacred. Zacharias' successor, Stephen II, arrived in the Frankish kingdom during the winter of 753-754, in order to seek help against the Lombards who were attacking Rome. As the reigning monarch's oldest son, Charles, then about 12 years of age, travelled ahead to welcome the Pope, who anointed him king, along with his father and his brother Carloman, thus sanctioning the new dynasty. The political alliance between the Franks and the Pope against the Lombards was affirmed on the same occasion. When his father subdued Aquitaine (France south of the Loire) in a series of yearly campaigns beginning in 760, reasserting the integrity of the Frankish kingdom all the way to the Pyrenees, Charles repeatedly accompanied the army.
These youthful experiences probably contributed to the formation of Charles's character and to the formulation of his aims. He shared with his father an unbending will to power, a readiness to fight resolutely against external enemies and to increase his domains, and the determination to rule by himself even if it meant usurping the rights of close relatives. Charles early acknowledged the close connection between temporal power and the church; he had a high regard for the church and the king's duty to spread the Christian faith and, while asserting royal suzerainty over the church, considered himself accountable to God for the Christians entrusted to him.
In accordance with old Frankish custom, the kingdom was divided on Pepin's death in 768 between his two sons. It was not long, however, before a strong rivalry sprang up between the brothers: with his mother's support, Charles concluded, with the Lombard king Desiderius, whose daughter he married, and with his cousin Duke Tassilo of Bavaria, alliances directed against Carloman.
On Carloman's sudden death in 771, Charles was able to make himself sole ruler of the kingdom, unopposed by his young nephews, whose rights he ignored. When Carloman's widow with her children and a few remaining supporters had fled to the Lombard court, and King Desiderius, breaking his alliance with Charles, put pressure on the Pope to anoint Carloman's sons as Frankish kings, Charles was forced to come to the aid of Pope Adrian I. He marched on the Lombard capital, Pavia, and after its fall made himself king of the Lombards. His brother's sons, who had fallen into his hands, disappeared. While the siege of Pavia was still in progress, Charles journeyed to Rome, where he celebrated Easter 774 with the Pope and reiterated, in St. Peter's Basilica, his father's promise to transfer to papal rule large sections of Italy. But he actually enlarged the Pope's lands only slightly, assuming for himself the sovereignty over the entire Lombard kingdom.
Charles had fought the pagan Saxons, in what is now Lower Saxony and Westphalia, in retribution for their attacks on the lower Rhine region, as early as 772, before the first Italian campaign. From 775 on, however, it was his goal to subdue the whole Saxon tribe, converting it to Christianity and integrating it into his kingdom. This aim appeared to have been realized after several campaigns culminating in declarations of allegiance by the Saxon nobility and mass baptisms performed in 775-777. A diet held in 777 in Paderborn sealed the submission of the Saxons. Among those attending the diet had been some Arab emissaries from northern Spain who sought Charles's aid in their uprising against the Umayyad amir of Córdoba. In the summer of 778 Charles advanced into Spain and laid siege to Saragossa, without, however, being able to take the city. Retreating across the Pyrenees, the Frankish army was badly mauled by the Basques. Roland, warden of the Breton march, who died on this occasion, was later immortalized in legend and poetry.
This defeat marks the end of the first period of Charles's rule, the period of vigorous expansion. Within a decade he had become the sole ruler of the Franks, conquered the Lombard kingdom, visited Rome, subdued the Saxons, invaded Spain. Henceforth he was concerned with defending and safeguarding his quickly won gains (which were to be extended only on the right bank of the Rhine), while consolidating the state internally and protecting cultural life and the rule of law.
Not long after Charles's defeat in Spain, the Saxons rose up once more. The war against them became the longest and most cruel war fought by the Franks. In Charles's eyes, the resistance of this people that had undergone baptism and signed a treaty of allegiance amounted to political high treason and religious apostasy. These offenses called for severe punishment, and 4,500 Saxons were reported to have been executed en masse in 782. New outbreaks occurred after 792, and the last Saxons were not vanquished until 804. Between 772 and 804, Charles took the field against the Saxons no fewer than 18 times. In the end he carried out his aim of not only subjecting them to his rule but also incorporating them fully into his empire. Given the indissoluble tie between temporal power and the Christian faith, this meant they had to be converted. But the violent methods by which this missionary task was carried out had been unknown to the earlier Middle Ages, and the sanguinary punishment meted out to those who broke canon law or continued to engage in pagan practices called forth criticism in Charles's own circle, for example by Alcuin, his adviser and head of his palace school.
When, in 788, Charles deposed his cousin Duke Tassilo III of Bavaria, who had acknowledged the Frankish kings as feudal lords, he in effect deprived of its independence the last of the German tribes beyond the Rhine. The Bavarians, who had long been Christians, were now directly integrated into the empire. The West Germanic tribes of the Alemanni, Bavarians, Saxons, and Thuringians thus found themselves for the first time gathered into one political unit. Charles's conquests on the right bank of the Rhine were, however, not limited to the Germanic tribes. Making Ratisbon (Regensburg), the residence of the Bavarian dukes, his base, he conducted several campaigns, partly under his own command, against the Avar kingdom (in modern Hungary and Upper Austria). The remaining Avar principalities and the newly founded Slav states of the Danubian region drifted into a loose dependence on the Franks, whose sovereignty they more or less acknowledged.
The gigantic expansion of the Frankish state, raising it far above the tribal states of the early Middle Ages, entailed qualitative as well as quantitative changes. Yet the idea of bestowing on Charles the Roman title of emperor arose only at a very late stage and out of a specific political constellation. While the Eastern, or Byzantine, Empire laid claim to universal recognition, the popes, constitutionally still subjects of Byzantium, were opposed to the iconoclastic religious policies of the Eastern emperors. Moreover, under the protection of Charles, Pope Adrian sought to erect an autonomous domain over central Italy, the more so as the Byzantines, abandoning for all practical purposes Rome and Ravenna, were asserting their rule only in Sicily and the southernmost edge of Italy. The papacy's desire for independence found a significant expression in the Donation of Constantine, a forgery dating probably from the first few years of Adrian's reign and purporting to legitimize these papal aims in the name of the first Christian emperor, Constantine I the Great. Charles paid a second visit to Rome in 781, when he had the Pope crown his young sons Pepin and Louis as kings of the Lombards and Aquitanians and gained de facto recognition of his Italian position from the Byzantine empress Irene, the mother of Constantine VI. The entente that existed between Charles and Byzantium came to an end after a Frankish attack on southern Italy in 787.
In the end, local Roman conflicts brought about the clarification of the city's constitutional position. In May 799, Pope Leo III was waylaid in Rome by personal enemies. He took refuge at the court of Charles, who had him conducted back to the city and who in November 800 came to Rome himself, where he was received with imperial honours. Before Charles and a synod, Pope Leo cleared himself under oath of the charges made by his enemies. During Christmas mass in St. Peter's, the Romans acclaimed Charles emperor, whereupon the Pope crowned and perhaps anointed him.
The imperial title was by nature a Roman dignity. While the acclamation represented the juridically conclusive act, it was the coronation at the hands of the Pope that, though of no constitutional importance, was to acquire for the Franks great significance. The Pope had been determined to make Charles emperor, deciding to a large extent the outward form; yet Charles was surely not surprised by these events. His famous statement quoted by one of his favourites, the Frankish historian Einhard, that he would not have set foot in church that Christmas if he had known the Pope's intention, implies a criticism of the ceremony initiated by the Pope, as well as a formal expression of humility. The crowning had been preceded by negotiations. While Charles's imperial rank was legally substantiated by the fact of his dominion over the western part of the old Roman Empire, the desire to counteract the petticoat rule of the empress Irene (who had dethroned and blinded her son in 797) also played a role. Residing in Rome four months and pronouncing sentence on the Pope's enemies as rebels guilty of lese majesty, Charles grasped the imperial reins with a firm hand. Likewise, after his return to Aachen (Aix-la-Chapelle), he promulgated laws in full consciousness of his rank as emperor.
Byzantium braced itself for the usurper's attack, but Charles merely wished to see his new rank and his dominion over Rome recognized in negotiations; he gained his point in 812 when the emperor Michael I acknowledged him as em