Critical Review of Fichtenau's Charlemagne

Topics: Charlemagne, Franks, Primary source Pages: 4 (1177 words) Published: December 8, 2010
Critical Review of Fichtenau’s
The Carolingian Empire:
The Age of Charlemagne

This is an analytical book review of Heinrich Fichtenau’s The Carolingian Empire: The Age of Charlemagne. It will cover the Fichtenau’s writing techniques and sources he used in developing this fascinating book.

Thesis: To better understand the significance of Charles the Great, one must first comprehend the unfortunate features challenging Charles during the Carolingian period. This was a quality intention for Fichtenau because historians have struggled with the legend of Charlemagne. It is hard to distinguish his celebrity myths from the factual truth.

Content: Fichtenau created an enchanting overview of the social, economic, political, and religious problems that faced Charles the Great. The author tried to remove the legendary side of Charles and reveal his human side. “No man’s stature is increased by the accumulation of myths, and nothing is detracted from genuine historical greatness by the consideration of a man’s purely human side” (Fichtenau, p.25). He focuses not only on Charlemagne, but also on the human affairs confronting the people of the Carolingian Empire. Fichtenau also takes an in-depth look at the various classes of people within the empire. He examines the scholars of the empire and their effect on how Charlemagne is portrayed in their works. Although seen as propagandists, Fichtenau commends the scholars for their contributions (Ficthenau, p. 103). Also, he scrutinizes the large, growing gap between the rich and the poor of the empire. The ruling class became overwhelmed with a lust for power and wealth (Fichtenau, p. 112). The author additionally tackles the issue of Christianity in the kingdom. Charles basically forced his subjects into Christianity. This meant they supported Christianity, but not with sincerity (Fichtenau, p. 143). Fichtenau sees the time of peace in the Frankish kingdom as more of a mirage or lull period, as opposed to actual...
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