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Who Is Charlemagne And Why Is He Important? Charlemagne’s Religious Reform

Rightly nicknamed Charles the Great, Charlemagne, as the French call him with undisguised national pride, was, without doubt, one of the most impressive European emperors.

Charlemagne changed the world by saving and restoring Europe. A born leader, a skillful politician, and a pragmatic nature, Charlemagne was always keen to strengthen his influence and regain order in Western Europe. Under his leadership, of course. So in 772, the Frankish king launched a major military campaign that lasted over 30 years and achieved all his goals. Around 800, Charlemagne ruled with an iron fist over Western Europe.

In a most un-Christian circumstance, after a battle against the Saxons, he ordered the mass beheading of 4,500 enemy warriors. Charles the Great died in 814, leaving the empire to his son Louis I, but the Carolingian dynasty lasted only until 887.

What did Charles the Great do?

Charles the Great has gone down in history as a great conqueror, but he also has a lesser-known side. The Frankish emperor ordered the rose to become a crop plant and introduced small print, inventing the Antiqua script, which is still used today.

Few kings have achieved what Charles the Great (742-814 AD), who ruled the Franks from 768 until his death and founded the Carolingian Empire, did. One of the most significant achievements of Charles the Great, anointed emperor by Pope Leo III in 800, was the introduction of small letters, inventing what is now known as the Antiqua script, writes Christoph Schulte-Richtering in his book Kings, Wars and Colonies.

Charlemagne is seen by many historians not only as the founding father of France and Germany but also as a founder of a united Europe, considering that Charlemagne was the first ruler of an empire in Europe since the fall of the Roman Empire. His achievements were instrumental in creating a common European identity for many people in western and central Europe – the future core of a united Europe.

What is Charlemagne most famous for?

He was the first European king to turn his castle into an essential center of learning, inviting scholars and learned men from all over the world and giving them shelter, freedom, and support. He launched an unprecedented currency reform and set taxes according to the income of his subjects.

Charlemagne is most famous for being aware of the abuses of tax collectors, so he introduced the payment of taxes via silver coins, standardizing the value of each currency.

He was loved and feared in equal measure. According to chronicle descriptions, he was cheerful, dynamic, and confident. He seldom walked at a walk, most often riding in a hurry, so that anyone who wanted to address him, whether court counselor or lowly peasant, had to keep up with the king.

Key Verse related to Charlemagne

“By the King of the heavens, I think nothing of your nobility and beauty.”



When was Charlemagne declared king?

The Franks at that time were tempted to return to their ‘pagan,’ pre-Christian traditions and beliefs. The situation in the surrounding area was no different. The Saxons in the north were still pagans, and in the south, the powerful Church was sparing no effort to reclaim the lands seized by the Longobard kingdom in northern Italy.

In 0768 AD, when Charlemagne was 26 years old, the general assembly of the Franks declared him and his younger brother Carloman kings. In 771, Carloman died of an illness, and Charlemagne inherited his brother’s half of the kingdom, making him king of all the Franks. Also, in 771, Carloman died of a disease, and Charlemagne inherited his brother’s half of the kingdom, making him king of all the Franks.

It was bloody but famous and beloved. He was a fierce politician, but he knew the underbelly of the human soul well and always took into account the mood of those around him, whether subjects or enemies on the battlefield.

Did Charlemagne kill his brother?

Charles built schools and systematized libraries, ordering his subjects to compile inventory lists, thus ensuring European cultural memory over time. The Frankish Emperor decided that the rose should become a plant of culture and ordered a court scholar, Alcuin, to clarify the dilemma as to the existence or non-existence of “nothingness,” Christoph Schulte-Richtering records in his book.

Charlemagne’s reign is not without controversy. The Frankish emperor is accused of assassinating his brother, Carloman, although it is officially known that he died of natural causes in 771. Even Charles the Great’s court chronicler, Eginhard, recorded that Carloman’s wife and sons fled to Italy immediately after his death. To put themselves under the protection of the Longobard king.

Charles the Great was involved in several armed conflicts with the Saxons, who were constantly organizing expeditions into Frankish territory for plunder, eventually giving the emperor the pretext to wage war against them, the word “Kings, Wars, and Cockroaches” states.

How is Charlemagne portrayed?

At the time of his birth, probably in April 747 AD, his father, Pepin the Short, was a palace butler in the service of the Merovingian king but exercised adequate power over the vast Frankish kingdom. The little information about Charles the Great’s youth suggests that he received an education centered on leadership, participating in the political, social, and military activities affiliated with his father’s court.

Historians often describe Charlemagne as the ideal warrior leader; Charles had an imposing physical presence, extraordinary energy, courage, and an iron will. He preferred active life – military campaigns, hunting, and swimming – but was also at ease at court, gave generously, was a pleasant companion at parties, and valued friendship.

Charles the Great came to the throne when powerful forces of change were affecting his kingdom. By Frankish tradition, he was a warrior king, expected to lead his subjects in wars extending Frankish hegemony and bringing wealth to his issues. His Merovingian predecessors had been great conquerors, but their victories led to a kingdom made up of diverse peoples who were increasingly difficult to rule by a unified empire.

What was Charlemagne’s court?

While responding to the challenges of being a warrior king, Charles the Great was also aware of the obligation of a Frankish ruler to maintain the unity of his territory. This task was complicated by the ethnic, linguistic, and legal divisions between the populations brought under Frankish rule during three centuries of conquest, beginning with the reign of the first Merovingian king, Clovis (481-511 AD).

To help him assert his power to rule, Charlemagne relied on his palatine court, which was an ever-changing group of family members, trusted lay and clerical companions, and other acolytes who formed the king’s itinerant court during military campaigns and sought to profit from the income generated by the royal estates dotted around.

In terms of political leadership, Charles was not an innovator. He was interested in streamlining political and administrative institutions, techniques inherited from his Merovingian predecessors.

What was the most significant political measure imposed by Charlemagne?

Members of this circle, some with titles suggestive of the old administrative divisions. She performed various functions at royal orders, such as managing royal resources and conducting military campaigns and diplomatic missions. So producing written documents necessary for the administration of the realm. Undertaking missions throughout the kingdom to implement royal policy. They executed judicial orders, performed religious services, and advised the king.

Charlemagne’s most innovative political measure involved strengthening the links between himself, his court, and local officials. He made full use of the traditional annual gathering of the Franks, controlling those called up for military service in a context that emphasized the standard duty that manifested itself in the desire to follow their ruler into war.

Indeed, Charles extended the function of these meetings, turning them into a means of strengthening the king’s ties with powerful counts. Bishops, abbots, and also magnates. At these gatherings, he listened to their complaints, accepted their advice, obtained their opinions on his policies, and gave them his orders for running the country in his own words.

What was Charlemagne’s religious reform?

Charles’ military conquests, diplomacy, and efforts to impose a unified administration on his kingdom were impressive evidence. Of his ability to play the role of a traditional Frankish king. So his religious policy reflected his ability to respond positively to the forces of change. Indeed, they were manifesting themselves in his world. With considerable enthusiasm, he extended and intensified the reform program. So more hesitantly instituted in AD 740 by his father Pepin and his uncle Carloman.

The program Charlemagne for fulfilling his royal religious responsibilities was formulated in a series of councils made up of clerics. And laypeople convened by royal order to consider a program set by the royal court. The normative acts of the panels were given the status of law in royal capitularies. And all those in official positions. Bishops were mainly required to implement them.

Furthermore, this legislation, traditional in spirit and content, was inspired by the conviction that the norms needed to correct the deficiencies. So, besetting Christian life in the 16th century was not the only one required to correct the defects of the Church. The traditional tradition was based on the conviction that the norms of the corrections needed to be made to the problems of Christianity. Scripture, early church councils, and ecclesiastical authorities had already defined the 8th century AD.

Primary Takeaways

  • Based on further research in 2010, it appeared that the glorious King of the Franks deserved the nickname of the Great One. If only on anthropometric grounds. Charlemagne was 1.84 meters tall, making him a giant of his time. Especially as the average height of a man at the time was 1.67 meters. He was a great king.
  • His power, fame, and native genius led to his public coronation. However, his proverbial modesty meant that the event was almost canceled because of hearing the news that he was to be crowned emperor by Pope Leo III. So Charles the Great declared that he would not set foot in a church that day.
  • The Byzantine emperors Nicephorus, Michael, and Leo sought his friendship and tried to make alliances with him. So all his life, Charles the Great remained fascinated by strangers, people from other lands, who spoke different languages and had beliefs and customs unknown to him.


With all his extraordinary life, the end knocks on the doors of even the most influential people in the world. When he felt his back was near, he called Louis the Pious. King of Aquitaine, the only one of his legitimate sons left alive, was to his side and appointed him his successor.

Charlemagne died on 28 January 814. He was buried in the cathedral of Aix-la-Chapelle, built on his orders. In 1861, Charlemagne’s tomb was opened by a team of French researchers who made the first-ever analysis of his skeleton.

Read also: Battle of Poitiers Significance. What happened at the Battle of Tours in 732 AD?

Trivia about Charlemagne’s Reign


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Charlemagne was the first emperor of the Holy ____ Empire.

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He was a ___.


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Also, Charlemagne was known as ____.

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Charlemagne was the first-born son of King ___.

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He was born in ___.

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Charles I was about ___ years old when he died.

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He died in ___.

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How many wives he had?

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He had ___ children.

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His nationality was ____.

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  • Therefore. Ganshof, F. L. (1949). So Charlemagne. Speculum24(4), 520-528.
  • Pirenne, H. (2013). Mohammed and also Charlemagne. Therefore Routledge.
  • Riché, P., & Riché, P. (1978). Daily life in the world of Charlemagne. University of Pennsylvania Press.
  • SO. The story, J. (Ed.). (2005). Indeed Charlemagne: Empire and also society. But Manchester University Press.