"Let my armies be the rocks and the trees and the birds in the sky" -Charlemagne
Charlemagne, or Charles the Great, was born in 742 in Northern Europe and died in 814. Charlemagne conquered much of Western Europe and united it under a great empire. He ruled the Franks after his dad Pepin the short died. The Frank Empire was split in half among Charlemagne and his brother Carloman. However, Charlemagne became sole ruler after his brother died in 771. Charlemagne was determined to strengthen his realm and to bring order to Europe. In 772 he launched a 30-year military campaign to accomplish this objective. By 800 Charlemagne was the undisputed ruler of Western Europe. His vast realm encompassed France, Switzerland, Belgium, and The Netherlands. It included half of Italy and Germany, and parts of Austria and Spain. By 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. Sometime in 800, Pope Leo III placed a golden crown on Charlemagne's head. He was then named Charlemagne, Emperor of Holy Roman Empire. He cherished the Church of St. Peter the Apostle at Rome above all other holy and sacred places, and heaped its treasury with a vast wealth of gold, silver, and precious stones. Charlemagne sent great and countless gifts to the popes. Throughout his whole reign, he wished that he were able to re-establish the ancient authority of the city of Rome under his care and by his influence, and to defend and protect the Church of St. Peter. Also, he wished to beautify and enrich it out of his own store above all other churches. During his 46-year reign, from 768 to 814, he almost doubled the territory ruled by the Franks. However, after Charlemagne's death, his empire weakened and eventually fell apart.
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