Charlemagne or Charles I, King of the Franks

Male 742 - 814  (71 years)


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  • Name Charlemagne or Charles I , King of the Franks 
    Suffix King of the Franks 
    Born 2 Apr 742  Aachen, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Gender Male 
    Died 28 Jan 813 or 814  Aachen, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Buried Aachen Cathedral, Aachen, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Notes 
    • “CHARLES, son of PEPIN "le Bref" King of the Franks & his wife Bertrada [Berta] "au Grand Pied" (near Aix-la-Chapelle 2 Apr 748-Aix-la-Chapelle 28 Jan 814, bur Aix-la-Chapelle, Chapelle Sainte-Marie). He is named first son of King Pepin & Bertrrada in the Cartulaire of Saint-Bertin. At the coronation of his father in 754, Charles was also anointed by Pope Stephen III [II]. On the death of his father, he received the larger part of Austrasia, Neustria and western Aquitaine, succeeding as CHARLES I joint King of the Franks, jointly with his brother Carloman, and was crowned 9 Oct 768 at Noyon. He suppressed the revolt of Hunald in Aquitaine in 769, over which he quarrelled with his brother Carloman. On the death of his brother in 771, he set aside the rights of his nephew and became sole king of the Franks. He defended the Pope against the Lombards, conquering their kingdom in 773. He is recorded in charters as having used the title "rex Francorum et Langobardorum" from 5 Jun 774, adding "atque patricius Romanorum" from 16 Jul 774. He accepted the submission of Saxony at Paderborn in 777. During his campaign in Spain in 778, he captured Pamplona, while Zaragoza, Huesca, Barcelona and Girona swore alllegiance to him. He had his sons crowned king of the Lombards and king of the Aquitainians by Pope Adrian I at Rome 15 Apr 781. He incorporated Bavaria and Carinthia into his kingdom in 787, followed by Thuringia, Hessen and Alemannia, by 797. He re-established Pope Leo III after the latter was ambushed by the Romans in 799, and was crowned CHARLES I “Charlemagne” Emperor of the Romans in St Peter's Rome 25 Dec 800, which the Pope justified technically on the basis of an alleged vacancy of the imperial throne, which could not be occupied by a woman, during the reign at Constantinople of Empress Eirene. At the assembly of Thionville 6 Feb 806, Emperor Charles decided the division of territories between his sons. Byzantinine ambassadors from Emperor Mikhael I finally recognised Charlemagne as emperor (although not "Roman Emperor") at Aix-la-Chapelle in 812. After the death of his two older sons, he crowned his son Louis as associate emperor at Aix-la-Chapelle 11 Sep 813. The necrology of Prüm records the death "814 5 Kal Feb" of "Karolus imperator". The Annales Fuldenses record the death "814 V Kal Feb" of "Karolus imperator" at Aachen at the age of about 71.
      m firstly (769, repudiated [770/early 771]) --- of the Lombards, daughter of DESIDERIUS King of the Lombards & his wife Ansa ---. Einhard calls King Charles's first wife "filiam Desiderii regis Langobardorum". The Annales Fuldenses record that "Berhta regina" brought "filiam Desiderii regis Langobardorum" back from Italy as the wife for "Karolo filio suo". Her husband sent her back to her father after repudiating her.
      m secondly (Aix-la-Chapelle 771 before 30 Apr) HILDEGARD, daughter of GEROLD Graf im Kraichgau [Udalrichinger] & his wife Imma (758-Thionville, Moselle 30 Apr 783[64], bur Metz, église abbatiale de Saint-Arnoul). Einhard refers to Hildegard as "de gente Suavorum". Thegan's Vita Hludowici Imperatoris names her "Hildigardam quæ erat de cognatione Gotefridi ducis Alamannorum" and specifies that she was the daughter of Imma. The Annales Laurissenses record the death "783 pridie Kal MaMai" of "Hildegardis regina" and her burial "iuxta urbem Mettensem in basilica apostolorum et beati Arnulfi". She died from the after effects of childbirth, according to the epitaph of her daughter Hildegard. Paulus Diaconus wrote an epitaph to "Hildegardis regina".
      m thirdly (Worms Oct 783) FASTRADA, daughter of RADULF Graf & his wife --- (-Frankfurt-am-Main 10 Oct 794, bur Mainz, St Alban). The Annales Laurissenses record the marriage in 783 at Worms of King Charles and "domne Fastradæ regina". Einhard'd's Annals record the king's marriage in 783 to "filiam Radolfi comitis natione Francam, nomine Fastradam". Fastrada, wife of King Charles, is referred to as "de Orientalium Francorum, Germanorum videlicet" by Einhard. Her cruelty triggered ththe revolt of her husband's illegitimate son Pépin "le Bossu" in 792. The Annales Xantenses record the death in Frankfurt in 794 of "Fastrada regina". Einhard records the death in 794 of "Fastrada regina" at Frankfurt and her burial "Mogontiaci apud sanctum Albanum". Theodulf wrote the epitaph of "Fastradæ reginæ".
      m fourthly ([794/autumn 796]) LIUTGARD, daughter of --- (-Tours 4 Jun 800, bur Tours, église Saint-Martin). Einhard names "Liudgardam Alamannam" as King Charles's fourth wife, specifying that she died childless. Angilbert's poem Ad Pippinum Italiæ regum names "Liutgardis" as the wife of King Charles. The Annales Laurissenses Continuatio records the death "II Non Iun 800" at Tours of "domnæ Liutgardæ coniugis" and her burial at Tours.
      Mistress (1): HIMILTRUD ---. "Himiltrude nobili puella" is named mother of "Pippinum" in the Gesta Mettensium.
      Mistress (2): ---. Einhard refers to "Ruodhaidem" as the daughter of King Charles and an unnamed concubine.
      Mistress (3): [MADELGARD] ---. Settipani names Madelgardis as the mistress of King Charles, and mother of Rothildis abbess of Faremoutiers. However, he cites no primary source on which this is based, apart from a reference to an early 9th century list of nuns at Faremoutiers which includes the name. No reference has been found to her in any of the sources so far consulted.
      Mistress (4): GERSWINDA ---. Einhard names King Charles's concubine "Gersuindam Saxonici generis", and her daughter Adaltrud.
      Mistress (5): REGINA ---. 800. Einhard names King Charles's concubine "Reginam", and her sons "Drogonem et Hugum".
      Mistress (6): ADELINDIS ---. 806. Einhard names King Charles's concubine "Adallindem", and her son "Theodricum".
      King Charles I & his second wife had nine children:
      1. CHARLES ([772/73]-in Bavaria 4 Dec 811). He is named, and his parentage recorded, in the Gesta Mettensium, which specifies that he was his parents' first son. The Chronicon Fontanellense records that Charles I King of the Franks proposesed a marriage between “Offæ Rege Anglorum sive Merciorum…filiam” and “Carolus iunior”, but that King Offa refused unless “Berta filia Caroli Magni” was also married to his son which was unacceptable to the Frankish king. King Charles ordered an embargo on trade imports from England as a result. His father associated Charles in the government of Francia and Saxony in 790. The Annales Laurissenses record that "rex Carolus" installed "primogenitum filium suum Carolum" in "ultra Sequanname…ducatum Cenomannicum" but that this reverted to his father in the summer of the same year. From this time Charles used the title king, and was crowned King of the Franks at Rome 25 Dec 800. Einhard records that "Karolum filium suum [Karoli imperatoris]" invaded "terram Sclavorum…Sorabi" in 806 as far as "super Albium fluvium" and that "Miliduoch Sclavorum dux" was killed during the campaign. At the partition agreed at Thionville in 806, Charles was designated sovereign of Francia (Austrasia and Neustria), northern Burgundy, northern Alemannia, Thuringia, Saxony, Frisia and the Bavarian Nordgau. The Gesta Francorum records the death "811 II Non Dec" of "Karolus filius imperatoris qui maior natu erat". Einhard's Annales also record the death "811 II Non Dec" of "Karlus filius imperatoris qui maior natu erat". The Annales Fuldenses record the death "811 II Non Dec" of "Karolus filius imperator qui maior natu erat".
      2.ADELAIS (in Italy [Sep 773/Jun 774]-in Italy [Jul/Aug] 774, bur Metz, église abbatiale de Saint-Arnoul). She was born during the siege of Pavia, but died during the return journey to France[102]. "Adelaid" is named daughter of King Charles in the Pauli Gesta, when recording her place of burial. Paulus Diaconus wrote an epitaph to "Adeleidis filia Karoli regis" specifying that she was born in Italy.
      3. HROTHRUDIS [Rotrud] ([775]-6 Jun 810). "Hruodrudem et Bertham et Gislam" are named daughters of King Charles & Hildegard by Einhard. Angilbert's poem Ad Pippinum Italiæ regum names (in order) "Chrodthrudis…Berta…Gisla et Theodrada" as daughters of King Charles. Theodulf's poem Ad Carolum Rege changes the order slightly when he names "Berta…Chrodtrudh…Gisla …Rothaidh…Hiltrudh, Tetdrada" as daughters of the king. The betrothal of "Hruodrudem…quæ filiarum eius primogenita" with "CoConstantino, Græcorum imperatore" is recorded by Einhard. Theophanes records that Empress Eirene sent "Costahim sacellarium et Mamalum primicerium" to "Carolum regem Francorum" to arrange the betrothal of "filiam suam…[et] imperatori Constantinino filio suo", in the second year of their joint reign. The Annales Fuldenses record the betrothal of "Hruodtrudis filia regis" and "Constantino imperator" in 787. She was given the name ERYTHRO in Greek. Theophanes records that the betrothaal was terminated in the ninth year of Empress Eirene's reign. Her father kept her and her sisters at court refusing them permission to marry. Her relationship with Rorico [I] is proved by the Annales Bertiniani which record the death "867 V Id Ian" of "Hludowicus abbas monasterii et nepos Karoli imperatoris ex filia maiori natu Rohtrude", read together with an earlier part of the same source in which her son Louis is named "Ludowicum abbatem monasterii Sancti Dyonisii cum fratre ipsius Gauzleno". The Gesta Francorum records the death "810 VIII Id Iun" of "Hruoddrud filia imperatoris quæ natu maior erat". Einhard records the death "VIII Id Iun 810" of "Hruodtrud filia imperatories". The necrology of the abbey of Saint-Denis records the death "III Non Jun" of "Rotrudis filia Karoli imperatoris". Betrothed (781, contract broken 787) to Emperor KONSTANTINOS VI, son of Emperor LEON IV & his wife Eirene (14 Jan 771-Prinkipo Island [15 Aug 797/before 806], bur Constantinople, Monastery of St Euphrosyne). Mistress: ([800]) of RORICO [I], son of GAUZLIN & his wife Adeltrudis --- (-after 1 Mar 839 [840], bur Abbaye de Saint-Maur de Glanfeuil, Anjou). He lived at the court of Charlemagne. Comte de Rennes 819. Comte du Maine [832].
      4. CARLOMAN [Pepin] (777-Milan 8 Jul 810, bur Verona, San Zeno Maggiore). "Pippinus" is named, and his parentage recorded, in the Gesta Mettensium, which specifies that he was his parents' second son. He was baptised "PEPIN" in Rome 15 Apr 781 by Pope Hadrian, Settipani commenting that his name was changed from Carloman but the primary source which identifies him by this name has not so far been identified. Crowned PEPIN I King of Italy 15 Apr 781 at Rome.
      5. HLUDOWIC [Louis] (Chasseneuil-du-Poitou {Vienne} [16 Apr/Sep] 778-island in the Rhine near Ingelheim 20 Jun 840, bur Metz, église abbatiale de Saint-Arnoul). He is named, and his parentage recorded, in the Gesta Mettensium, which specifies that he was his parents' third son, born a twin with Hlothar. On his father's death, he adopted the title Emperor LOUIS I “der Fromme/le Pieux” 2 Feb 814, crowned at Reims [Jul/Aug] 816 by Pope Stephen IV.
      6. HLOTHAR [Lothar] (Chasseneuil-du-Poitou {Vienne} [16 Apr/Sep] 778-[779/780]). He is named, and his parentage recorded, in the Gesta Mettensium, which specifies that he was his parents' fourth son "qui biennis occubuit", born a twin with Hludowic. Paulus Diaconus wrote an epitaph to "Chlodarii pueri regis" naming "Karolus…rex genitorque tuus, genitrix regina…Hildigarda" and specifying that he was a twin.
      7. BERTRADA [Berta] ([779/80]-11 Mar, 824 or after). "Hruodrudem et Bertham et Gislam" are named daughters of King Charles & Hildegard by Einhard. Angilbert's poem Ad Pippinum Italiæ regum names (in order) "Chrodthrudis…Berta…Gisla et Theodrada" as daughters of King Charles. Theodulf's poem Ad Carolum Rege changes the order slightly when he names "Berta…Chrodtrudh …Gisla…Rothaidh…Hiltrudh, Tetdrada" as daughters of the king. The Chronicon Fontanellense records that Charles I King oof the Franks proposed a marriage between “Offæ Rege Anglorum sive Merciorum…filiam” and “Carolus iunior”, but that King Offa refused unless “Berta filia Caroli Magni” was also married to his son which was unacceptable to the Frankish king. Her father kept her and her sisters at the court of Aix-la-Chapelle refusing them permission to marry, but she was banished from court by her brother Emperor Louis I on his accession. The Vita Angilberti records the relationship between "Berta fiilia [rex de regina Hildigarda]" and "domnus Angilbertus". The Chronicon Centulensis records that “Angilbertus” married “regis filiam Bertam” and that they had “duos filios Harnidum et Nithardum”. Nithard names Bertha, daughter of King Charles, as his mother. The necrology of the abbey of Saint-Denis records the death "V Id Mar" of "Berta filia Karoli imperatoris qui dedit superiorem Curtem". Mistress: (from [795]) of ANGILBERT "the Saint", son of [NITHARD & his wife Richarda] ([750]-18 Feb 814, bur Saint-Riquier, église du Saint-Sauveur et de Saint-Richard).
      8. GISELA (781 before May-after 800, maybe after 814). "Hruodrudem et Bertham et Gislam" are named daughters of King Charles & Hildegard by Einhard. Angilbert's poem Ad Pippinum Italiæ regum names (in order) "Chrodthrudis…Berta…Gisla et Theodrada" as daughters of King Charles. Theodulf's poem Ad Carolum Rege changes the order slightly when he names "Berta…Chrodtrudh …Gisla…Rothaidh…Hiltrudh, Tetdrada" as daughters of the king. The Annales Laurissenses record that "filia eius [Karoli regis] domna Gisla" was baptised by "archiepiscopo…Thoma" in 781. She was baptised in Milan in [May] 781.
      9. HILDEGARD (Thionville [Mar/Apr] 783-[1/8] Jun 783, bur Metz, église abbatiale de Saint-Arnoul). "Hildigard" is named daughter of King Charles in the Pauli Gesta, when recording her place of burial[141]. Paulus Diaconus wrote an epitaph to "Hildegardis filiæ [Karoli regis]" specifying that she lived 40 days.
      King Charles I & his third wife had two children:
      10. THEODRADA ([785]-[9 Jan 844/853]). "Theoderadam et Hiltrudem" are named daughters of King Charles & Fastrada by Einhard. Angilbert's poem Ad Pippinum Italiæ regum names (in order) "Chrodthrudis…Berta…Gisla et Theodrada" as daughters of Kinng Charles. Theodulf's poem Ad Carolum Rege changes the order slightly when he names "Berta…Chrodtrudh…Gisla…Rothaidh…Hiltrudh, Tetdrada" as daughters of the king. Named as abbess of Notre-Dame d'Argenteuil, near Paris by her father before 81414, until 828. "Ludowicus…rex" names "Theodrada amita nostra filia…avi nostri" in a charter dated 9 Jan 844 which confirms her life interest in the abbey of Schwarzach-am-Main, donated to the church of Würzburg, previously belonging to "Blutendndæ filiæ Folkberti quondam comitis". Theodrada arranged for the church of Würzburg to recognise her great niece Hildegard, daughter of Ludwig II "der Deutsche" King of the East Franks as her successor. This must have taken place before 853, at which date Hildegard was abbess of Zürich.
      11. HILTRUD ([787]-after 800, maybe after 814). "Theoderadam et Hiltrudem" are named daughters of King Charles & Fastrada by Einhard. Theodulf's poem Ad Carolum Rege names (in order) "Berta…Chrodtrudh…Gisla…Rothaidh…Hiltrudh, Tetdrada" as daughters of the king. She lived at her father’s court until his death in 814. Wilhelm Kurze appears to have disproved the theory of the alleged marriage of Hiltrud to Eberhard [I] Graf [von Calw], a court official of Emperor Charlemagne. Accordiing to Rösch, Hiltrud was the mistress (between [799/804]) of Richwin Count of Padua, brother of Richbod Bishop of Trier, who was at the court of Emperor Charlemagne between 792 and 814, and was the mother of an illegitimate son by him. He cites no primary source on which this is based and no reference to this has been found in the sources so far consulted. It is possibly based on onomastic speculation from the use of the first name Richbod. Possible illegitimate son:
      a) [RICHBOD ([800/805]-killed in battle Angoulême 14 Jun 844). Abbé de Saint-Riquier 840/44. The Annales Bertiniani record that "Richbote abbas…consobrinus regum, nepos…Karoli imperatoris ex filia" was among those killed in 844. It is possible, but not certain, that his mother was Hiltrud, as explained above.]
      King Charles I had one illegitimate child by Mistress (1):
      12. PEPIN “le Bossu” ([770]-Abbey of Prüm 811). He is named, and his parentage recorded, in the Gesta Mettensium, which specifies that he was born before his father married Queen Hildegard. He rebelled against his father in 792, allegedly due to the cruelty of Queen Fastrada, was judged by an assembly at Regensburg and imprisoned in the Abbey of St-Gallen. He was transferred to the Abbey of Prüm in 794.
      King Charles I had one illegitimate daughter by Mistress (2):
      13. CHROTHAIS [Rotaïde] ([784]-after 800, maybe after 814). "Ruodhaidem" is named daughter of King Charles and an unnamed concubine by Einhard. Theodulf's poem Ad Carolum Rege names (in order) "Berta…Chrodtrudh…Gisla…Rothaidh…Hiltrudh, Tetdrada" as daughters of the king.
      King Charles I had one illegitimate daughter by Mistress (3):
      14. ROTHILDIS [Rouhaut] ([784]-24 Mar 852). Abbess at Faremoutiers from before Oct 840. Her parentage is proved by the necrology of the abbey of Saint-Germain-des-Prés which records the death "XI Kal Apr" of "Rothildis abbatisse et monache filia regis magni Karoli". The necrology of the abbey of Saint-Denis records the death "XI Kal Mar" of "Rotildis abbatissa".
      King Charles I had one illegitimate daughter by Mistress (4):
      15. ADALTRUD . Einhard names "Adaltrud" daughter of King Charles by his concubine "Gersuindam Saxonici generis".
      King Charles I had two illegitimate sons by Mistress (5):
      16. DROGO [Dreux] (17 Jun 801-drowned Himeriacum, Bourgogne 8 Dec 855, bur Metz, église abbatiale de Saint-Arnoul). Einhard names "Drogonem et Hugum" as sons of King Charles by his concubine "Reginam". The Annales Weissemburgenses record the bbirth "802 aut 803 15 Kal Iul" of Drogo. He and his brother Hugues, and their half-brother Thierry, were brought up in the palace of their half-brother Emperor Louis I after their father died, but after the revolt of Bernard King of Italy in 8118 they were forcibly tonsured and "put under free custody into monasteries". Abbé de Luxeuil 820. Emperor Louis installed "Druagoni fratri suo" as Bishop of Metz in 823. The Annales Fuldenses record that "Druogonem archicapellum et Adalbertum comitem" were sent to the east bank of the Rhine in 840. He became Vicar of the Pope in France in Jun 844. He died after falling into the River Oignon in which he was fishing. A list of bishops of Metz records "domnus Drogo archiepiscopus et sacri palate summus capellanus, filius Karoli imperatoris" as 40th bishop, holding the position for 32 years, 5 months and 7 days, his death "VI Id Dec in Burgundia, prædio sancti Petri Mimeriaco" and his burial in "urbem Medimmatricorum…in ecclesia beati Iohannis apostoli".
      17. HUGO [Hugues] "l´Abbé" ([802/06]-killed in battle Angoulême 14 Jun 844, bur Abbaye de Charroux). Einhard names "Drogonem et Hugum" as sons of King Charles by his concubine "Reginam". He is named "Hugo venerabilis filius Karoli regis magni" in the Cartulaire of Saint-Bertin. He and his brother Drogo, and their half-brother Thierry, were brought up in the palace of their half-brother Emperor Louis I after their father died, but after the revolt of Bernard King of Italy in 818 they were forcibly tonsured and "put under free custody into monasteries". Monk at Charroux 818. Abbé de Saint-Quentin 822/23, Abbé de Lobbes. Abbé de Saint-Bertin 836. Abbé de Noaillé. Arch-chancellor of Emperor Louis I 834-840. The Vita Hluudowici Imperatoris records that "Hugonem fratrem suum sed et Adalgarium comitem" visited the emperor [in 836]. He joined Charles "le Chauve" in Sep 841 after the battle of Fontenoy, becoming his Arch-chaplain. The Annales Fuldenses record that "Hugo abbas, patruus Karoli et Rihboto abbas, Rhaban quoque signifer" were killed "844 VII Id Jun" in the battle in which "Pippini duces" defeated the army of Charles II "le Chauve" King of the Franks.
      King Charles I had one illegitimate son by Mistress (6):
      18. THEODERIC [Thierry] (807-after 818). Einhard names "Theodricum" as son of King Charles by his concubine "Adallindem". The birth of "imperatori filius nomine Theodericus" is recorded in 807. He and his half-brothers Drogo and Hugues were brought up in the palace of their half-brother Emperor Louis I after their father died, but after the revolt of Bernard King of Italy in 818 they were forcibly tonsured and "put under free custody into monasteries".”


      “In 768, when Charlemagne was 26, he and his brother Carloman inherited the kingdom of the Franks. In 771 Carloman died, and Charlemagne became sole ruler of the kingdom. At that time the Franks were falling back into barbarian ways, neglecting their education and religion. The Saxons of northern Europe were still pagans. In the south, the Roman Catholic church was asserting its power to recover land confiscated by the Lombard kingdom of Italy. Europe was in turmoil.
       
      "By the sword and the cross," Charlemagne ... became master of Western Europe. It was falling into decay when Charlemagne became joint king of the Franks in 768. Except in the monasteries, people had all but forgotten education and the arts. Boldly Charlemagne conquered barbarians and kings alike. By restoring the roots of learning and order, he preserved many political rights and revived culture. Charlemagne's grandfather was Charles Martel, the warrior who crushed the Saracens. Charlemagne was the elder son of Bertrade ("Bertha Greatfoot") and Pepin the Short, first "mayor of the palace" to become king of the Franks. Although schools had almost disappeared in the 8th century, historians believe that Bertrade gave young Chararles some education and that he learned to read. His devotion to the church motivated him throughout life. Charlemagne was tall, powerful, and tireless. His secretary, Eginhard, wrote that Charlemagne had fair hair and a "face laughing and merry . . . his appearance was always stately and dignified." He had a ready wit, but could be stern. His tastes were simple and moderate. He delighted in hunting, riding, and swimming. He wore the Frankish dress--linen shirt and breeches, a silk-frringed tunic, hose wrapped with bands, and, in winter, a tight coat of otter or marten skins. Over all these garments "he flung a blue cloak, and he always had a sword girt about him." Charlemagne's character was contradictory. In an age when ththe usual penalty for defeat was death, Charlemagne several times spared the lives of his defeated foes; yet in 782 at Verden, after a Saxon uprising, he ordered 4,500 Saxons beheaded. He compelled the clergy and nobles to reform, but he divorced two of his four wives without any cause. He forced kings and princes to kneel at his feet, yet his mother and his two favorite wives often overruled him in his own household.  

      Charlemagne was determined to strengthen his realm and to bring order to Europe. In 772 he launched a 30-year campaign that conquered and Christianized the powerful pagan Saxons in the north. He subdued the Avars, a huge Tatar tribe on the Danube. He compelled the rebellious Bavarian dukes to submit to him.
       
      When possible he preferred to settle matters peacefully, however. For example, Charlemagne offered to pay the Lombard king Desiderius for return of lands to the pope, but, when Desiderius refused, Charlemagne seized his kingdom in 773 to 774 and restored the Papal States.
       
      The key to Charlemagne's amazing conquests was his ability to organize. During his reign he sent out more than 50 military expeditions. He rode as commander at the head of at least half of them. He moved his armies over wide reaches of country with unbelievable speed, but every move was planned in advance. Before a campaign he told the counts, princes, and bishops throughout his realm how many men they should bring, what arms they were to carry, and even what to load in the supply wagons. These feats of organization and the swift marches later led Napoleon to study his tactics.
       
      One of Charlemagne's minor campaigns has become the most famous. In 778 he led his army into Spain, where they laid siege to Saragossa. They failed to take the city, and during their retreat a group of Basques ambushed the rear guard at Roncesvalles and killed "Count Roland." Roland became a great hero of medieval songs and romances.
       
      By 800 Charlemagne was the undisputed ruler of Western Europe. His vast realm covered what are now France, Switzerland, Belgium, and the Netherlands. It included half of present-day Italy and Germany, part of Austria, and the Spanish March ("border"). The broad March reached to the Ebro River. By thus establishing a central government over Western Europe, Charlemagne restored much of the unity of the old Roman Empire and paved the way for the development of modern Europe.
       
      On Christmas Day in 800, while Charlemagne knelt in prayer in St. Peter's in Rome, Pope Leo III seized a golden crown from the altar and placed it on the bowed head of the king. The throng in the church shouted, "To Charles the August, crowned by God, great and pacific emperor, long life and victory!"
       
      Charlemagne is said to have been surprised by the coronation, declaring that he would not have come into the church had he known the pope's plan. However, some historians say the pope would not have dared to act without Charlemagne's knowledge.
       
      The coronation was the foundation of the Holy Roman Empire. Though Charlemagne did not use the title, he is considered the first Holy Roman emperor (see Holy Roman Empire). Reform and Renaissance Charlemagne had deep sympathy for the peasants and believed that government should be for the benefit of the governed. When he came to the throne, various local governors, called "counts," had become lax and oppressive. To reform them, he expanded the work of investigators, called missi domininici. He prescribed their duties in documents called capitularies and sent them out in teams of two--a churchman and a noble. They rode to all parts of the realm, inspecting government, administering justice, and reawakening all citizens to their civil and religious duties.
       
      Twice a year Charlemagne summoned the chief men of the empire to discuss its affairs. In all problems he was the final arbiter, even in church issues, and he largely unified church and state.
       
      Charlemagne was a tireless reformer who tried to improve his people's lot in many ways. He set up money standards to encourage commerce, tried to build a Rhine-Danube canal, and urged better farming methods. He especially worked to spread education and Christianity in every class of people.
       
      He revived the Palace School at Aachen, his capital. He set up other schools, opening them to peasant boys as well as nobles.
       
      Charlemagne never stopped studying. He brought an English monk, Alcuin, and other scholars to his court. He learned to read Latin and some Greek but apparently did not master writing. At meals, instead of having jesters perform, he listened to men reading from learned works.
       
      To revive church music, Charlemagne had monks sent from Rome to train his Frankish singers. To restore some appreciation of art, he brought valuable pieces from Italy. An impressive monument to his religious devotion is the cathedral at Aachen, which he built and where he was buried.
       
      At Charlemagne's death in 814 only one of his three sons, Louis, was living. Louis's weak rule brought on the rise of civil wars and revolts. After his death his three quarreling sons split the empire between them by the Partition of Verdun in 843.”««s61»», ««s87»» [1, 2]
    Person ID I10654  Lowell&Block
    Last Modified 5 Feb 2017 

    Father Pepin or Pippin “The Short”, Mayor of Neustria, King of the Franks,   b. 714, Austrasia, Kingdom of the Merovingien Franks Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 24 Sep 768, Saint Denis, Paris, France Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 54 years) 
    Mother Bertrada (Bertha) “au Grand Pied or Greatfoot” DE LAON, Countess of Laon, Queen of the Franks,   b. 720, Laon, Aisne, France Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 12 Jul 783, Choisy-au-Bac, Compiègne, Oise, Picardy, France Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 63 years) 
    Family ID F3714  Group Sheet

    Family 1 ? 
    Last Modified 5 Feb 2017 
    Family ID F4378  Group Sheet

    Family 2 Hildegard,   b. 758, Aachen, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 30 Apr 783, Thionville, Moselle, Lorraine, France Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 25 years) 
    Married 771  Aachen, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Children 
     1. Charles “The Younger”, Duke of Maine, King of the Franks,   b. 772/73,   d. 4 Dec 811  (Age 38 years)
     2. Adalhaid or Adelais
     3. Rotrude or Hrothrudis,   b. Abt 775,   d. 6 Jun 810  (Age ~ 35 years)
    +4. Pépin or Pippin I Carloman, King of Italy,   b. 12 Apr 773, Aachen, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 8 Jul 810, Milan, Lombardy, Italy Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 37 years)
    +5. Louis or Hludowic I “the Pious”, Emperor and King of the Aquitainians,   b. 778,   d. 20 Jun 840  (Age 62 years)
     6. Lothair or Hlothar
     7. Bertha or Bertrada
     8. Gisela
     9. Hildegarde
    Last Modified 5 Feb 2017 
    Family ID F3711  Group Sheet

    Family 3 Fastrada 
    Children 
     1. Theodrada,   b. Abt 785,   d. Between 844 and 853  (Age ~ 59 years)
     2. Hiltrud,   b. Abt 787,   d. Aft 800  (Age ~ 14 years)
    Last Modified 5 Feb 2017 
    Family ID F4379  Group Sheet

    Family 4 Liutgard 
    Last Modified 5 Feb 2017 
    Family ID F4380  Group Sheet

    Family 5 Various MISTRESSES 
    Children 
     1. Pepin “Le Bossu”,   b. 770,   d. 811  (Age 41 years)
     2. Chrothais or Rotaïde
     3. Rothildis or Rouhaut,   b. 784,   d. 24 Mar 852  (Age 68 years)
     4. Adaltrud
     5. Drogo or Dreux,   b. 17 Jun 801,   d. 8 Dec 855  (Age 54 years)
     6. Hugo or Hugues “L’Abbe”,   b. Between 802 and 806,   d. 14 Jun 844  (Age ~ 42 years)
     7. Theoderic or Thierry,   b. 807,   d. Aft 818  (Age > 12 years)
    Last Modified 5 Feb 2017 
    Family ID F4695  Group Sheet

  • Event Map
    Link to Google MapsBorn - 2 Apr 742 - Aachen, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsMarried - 771 - Aachen, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsDied - 28 Jan 813 or 814 - Aachen, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsBuried - - Aachen Cathedral, Aachen, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany Link to Google Earth
     = Link to Google Maps 
     = Link to Google Earth 

  • Sources 
    1. [S61] Charlemagne Family Genealogy., Hart, Jr., Albert D..

    2. [S87] Foundation for Medieval Genealogy., Foundation for Medieval Genealogy Trustees..