Emperor Charlemagne - I31254

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Emperor Charlemagne

Charlemagne.png
The father of modern government and public eduction. Charlemagne was married four times and had six wives by arrangements of brevet. We descend through wife three, Hildegarde, who died April 30, 783. Charlemagne descends by fifteen generations to Eleanor of Castile, who married Edward I, of England. Eighteen generations descended we come to Joseph Smith, the Prophet, a direct descendant on this line from Antenor. [1]

In the early part of his reign, invaded Northern Italy, putting an end to the Lombard kingdom. From 774 to 799 he was at war with the Saxons, at that time a heathen race east of the Rhine. In 785, Widukind, Saxon leader, submitted and was baptized a Christian, but resistance continued in the outlying portions of the region. Bavaria was next annexed and this brought Charlemagne in conflict with the Avars whose Khan became a Christian in 805. Expeditions were also sent against the Arabs of North Spain. In 800, while in Rome, Charlemagne was crowned Emperor by Pope Leo III on Christmas Day, thus reviving the Roman Empire. After a naval war in the Adriatic, in which he surrendered some disputed territory, Charlemagne was saluted by the Greek envoys as Basaileus, Charlemagne witnessed a revival of arts and letters, a revision of Frankish law and the writing of the laws of Saxons, Thuringians, and Frisians. Also known as Carolus Magus and Charles I, "The Great." The ghost of Charlemagne haunts a wide span of medieval history. This is not the place to discuss exactly what his coronation by Pope Leo III in Rome on Christmas Day 800 signified to the participants. It is enough that a new emperor appeared in the west in contrast to the dynamic continuity of the Byzantine Empire in the eastern Mediterranean, which continued the state established by Augustus down to 1453.

The Empire of Charlemagne comprised what we now call France and West Germany as well as the Low Countries, Switzerland, northern Italy and part of Spain. This burden was beyond the capacity of his successors; but in any case the Frankish or Germanic tradition was for division between the surviving sons of a parent. As has been seen, the Treaty of Verdun in 843 arranged a partition into three which later events have made memorable. Germany fell to the share of Louis; but none of his three sons had legitimate issue, though one bastard grandson, Arnulf, became ruler of Germany. Meanwhile the style of emperor had passed to ever more limp and shadowy figures among the descendants of the great and vigorous Charlemagne. His triumph had been a personal one; nor indeed was the idea of empire consonant with the practice of subdivision of estates. [2] A precise description of Charlemagne has been given to us by his secretary and biographer, the Saxon Einhard. Note: Charles was large and strong, and of lofty stature, though not disproportionately tall...the upper part of his head was round, his eyes very large and animated, nose a little long, hair fair, and face laughing and merry. Thus his appearance was always stately and dignified...although his neck was thick and somewhat short, and his belly rather prominent; but the symmetry of the rest of his body concealed these defects. His gait was firm, his whole carriage manly, and his voice clear, but not so strong as his size led one to expect. His health was excellent, except during the four years preceding his death...In accordance with the national custom, he took frequent exercise on horseback and in the chase, accomplishments in which scarcely any people in the world can equal the Franks. He enjoyed the exhalations from natural warm springs, and often practiced swimming, in which he was such as adept that none could surpass him; and hence it was that he built his palace at Aix-la-Chapelle (Aachen), and lived there constantly during his latter years until him death. He used not only to invite his sons to his bath, but his nobles and friends, and now and then a troop of his retinue or bodyguard.

Charlemagne is considered the most famous ruler of the Middle Ages. A key figure in European history, he conquered much of western Europe and united it under a great empire. His activities laid the foundation of the European civilization that arose during the later Middle Ages. He ruled a vast rural world dotted with isolated estates and characterized by constant petty violence. His empire was a collection of primitive peoples and semi-barbaric tribes. Trade and commerce played only a small part in the economy, nearly everyone engaged in agriculture. By constant travel, personal appearances, and the sheer force of his personality, Charlemagne sought to awe conquered peoples with his fierce presence and terrible justice. History is fortunate in that Charlemagne's first biographer, Einhard (who knew him well), presented a fairly complete picture of the man. Because of that, we have a good idea of his politics, beliefs, and his daily life. For instance, Einhard painted a realistic picture of Charlemagne riding along the roads of France with his wife and his sons by his side and his daughters "following in the rear," trying to keep his daughters from the wooing of young men in his home; "almost hating" his doctors because they would not let him enjoy the roast meat which he loved, because they prescribed the boiled stuff which he hated; devoutly obeying his church but bitterly complaining of those many fast days, "so bad for his health;" loving conversation, even at times "a little garrulous;" and rejoicing in sport with his friends in his great swimming pool at Aachen but stopping in the midst of his sport to discuss a problem of theology. [3]

Charlemagne's physical features included a height probably over six feet, with piercing eyes, fair hair, a thick neck, and a potbelly. He was strong, fond of exercise, and had an alert mind and a forceful personality. Charlemagne could read and speak Latin, which was the language of educated people of his time. He never learned to write Latin. The strength of Charlemagne's personality was evidently rooted in the unbroken conviction of being "at one" with the divine will. He was able to combine personal piety with enjoyment of life, a religious sense of mission with a strong will to power, tough manners with a striving for intellectual growth, and a refusal to compromise with his enemies with a strong moral uprightness. When Charlemagne became sole ruler in 771, he immediately began expanding the kingdom. He conquered Lombardy and Bavaria, and reached into eastern Europe for land and treasures. He waged a 30 year campaign against the Saxons of northwest Germany, finally subduing them and forcing them to accept Christianity. In Spain, returning from an expedition in 778, he was ambushed by the Basques, which decimated his rear guard. This incident became the subject of the famous epic poem, "The Song of Roland." By 800, Charlemagne's realm extended from central Italy north to Denmark, and from eastern Germany west to the Atlantic Ocean. Throughout his reign, Charlemagne followed a policy of friendship and cooperation with the Christian church. He protected the Church and continually extended its power.

In recognition of his vast power, and to strengthen the king's alliance with the Church, Pope Leo III crowned him Emperor of the Romans. This act led to the birth of the Holy Roman Empire, which lasted in some form until 1806. Reforms instituted by Charlemagne included these. He granted large estates to loyal nobles, who, in turn, provided military and political services to the king. The nobles also maintained the roads, bridges, and fortifications on their land. This arrangement, called feudalism, became the basic political and military system of Europe for the next 400 years. Charlemagne helped increase food supplies by introducing more efficient methods of farming. To stimulate trade, he coined silver money and encouraged the establishment of markets. Charlemagne was devoted to justice and good government. Courts were held regularly, and decisions were made only on accepted law. He improved education and culture by establishing a school at his palace in Aachen, training clergy and educators who then traveled and taught throughout the kingdom. The scholars at the school developed a type of handwriting which later became the model for printing. By the time Charlemagne died in 814, his empire had started to fall apart. Attacks by Vikings and other invaders weakened the kingdom, and in 843, his grandsons divided it into three parts. By the late 800's, the empire ceased to exist. However, the cultural revival begun by Charlemagne had a lasting effect on European civilization. His last words were, "Now, Lord, into thy hands I commit my spirit." [4]

Footnotes

  1. EVEN: Rgn Date: BET. 800 - 814 Place: Holy Roman Empire EVEN: Acceded Date: 768 Ref Number: 5585 THE ROYAL LINE - CHART PREPARED FOR THE NEW YORK STAKE GENEALOGICAL BOARD THE CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST OF LATTER-DAY DAINTS CENTENNIAL EXHIBITION - MARCH 1936 Compiled from - "The Kinship of families" by Archibald F. Bennett "Adam to New Chart" by Mrs. Eva Sells Jaeger "Europe's Royal Family Tree" by E. L. Sandberg "Pedigree of Joseph Smith, George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Franklin D Roosevelt" by Karl Weiss "Present Time and Prophecies" by James H. Anderson Bible, Pearl of Great Price Secular History (Notice - These copies are presented to you with some misspelling and ommission due to human errors. We offer it as a challenge to anyone to correct them.) Abraham 3:23 - "And God saw these souls that that were good and He said, I will make these my rulers." --------------- House of Pepin Dynasty of Charlemagne by Ed Stephan (Map of Anglo-Saxon Kingdom (Great Britian), (Europe) - Saxons, Austrasia (Germany), Bethenia, Neustra, Burgundy, Carinthia, Kembar, Provence, Aquitaine (France), (Italy) Moslems (Spain/Portugal)) Authorities - 1. History of England, Larson, p. 57 and 176. 2. Leading Facts French History. Montegomery, p. 300. 3. Allstrom's Dictionary. Royal Lineage, p. 326-419-328-575 4. Hume History of England Vol. I, p. 136 5. Complete Peerage by C. E. C., Vol. 6 p. 345 6. Bank Baronage in Fee Vol. 1 p. 211 Omerode Cheshire, Vol. III. p. 88 7. Complete Peerage, G.E.C. 8. Complete Peerage, G.E.C. 9. Coppingers Manors in Suffolk. Vol. 2, p. 77 10. Visiliation of Norfolk, V I, pg. 79 11. Owens and Blakenaye Shrewsbury, Vol. II. p. 129 12. Shropshire Archaeilogy Vol. 44, p. 15 (Sir Wm. Burley was Speaker, House of Commons. (1422 and 1464) 12. Visitation Staffordshire, 1382.
  2. Ref: Einhard, The Life of Charlemagne, with a forward by S. Painter (Ann Arbor, University of Michigan Press, 1960), pp. 50-51.
  3. Ref: EleanorShipley Duckett, Alfred the Great, the King and His England (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1962), p. 203.
  4. THE ROYAL LINE - CHART PREPARED FOR THE NEW YORK STAKE GENEALOGICAL BOARD THE CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST OF LATTER-DAY DAINTS CENTENNIAL EXHIBITION - MARCH 1936 Compiled from - "The Kinship of families" by Archibald F. Bennett "Adam to New Chart" by Mrs. Eva Sells Jaeger "Europe's Royal Family Tree" by E. L. Sandberg "Pedigree of Joseph Smith, George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Franklin D Roosevelt" by Karl Weiss "Present Time and Prophecies" by James H. Anderson Bible, Pearl of Great Price Secular History (Notice - These copies are presented to you with some misspelling and ommission due to human errors. We offer it as a challenge to anyone to correct them.) Abraham 3:23 - "And God saw these souls that that were good and He said, I will make these my rulers." --------------- House of Pepin Dynasty of Charlemagne by Ed Stephan (Map of Anglo-Saxon Kingdom (Great Britian), (Europe) - Saxons, Austrasia (Germany), Bethenia, Neustra, Burgundy, Carinthia, Kembar, Provence, Aquitaine (France), (Italy) Moslems (Spain/Portugal)) Authorities - 1. History of England, Larson, p. 57 and 176. 2. Leading Facts French History. Montegomery, p. 300. 3. Allstrom's Dictionary. Royal Lineage, p. 326-419-328-575 4. Hume History of England Vol. I, p. 136 5. Complete Peerage by C. E. C., Vol. 6 p. 345 6. Bank Baronage in Fee Vol. 1 p. 211 Omerode Cheshire, Vol. III. p. 88 7. Complete Peerage, G.E.C. 8. Complete Peerage, G.E.C. 9. Coppingers Manors in Suffolk. Vol. 2, p. 77 10. Visiliation of Norfolk, V I, pg. 79 11. Owens and Blakenaye Shrewsbury, Vol. II. p. 129 12. Shropshire Archaeilogy Vol. 44, p. 15 (Sir Wm. Burley was Speaker, House of Commons. (1422 and 1464) 12. Visitation Staffordshire, 1382. -------------------- Line of Ephriam.