Western Civilization before The Thirty Years War
Charlemagne: Roman Emperor, Father of Europe, or the Chief Bishop Larry Ray
December 15, 2013
Charlemagne was one of the greatest European rulers of medieval times. He was both part warrior and part scholar. He was also know to many as Charles the Great or just Charles in his inner circle. He lived from 747 to 814. Charlemagne was a Frank. Franks’ were German tribes who controlled the area of northwestern Europe that is now western Germany and northern France. Not much is known about Charlemagne’s childhood, however her grew up to be a very religious righteous man. He boasted with Christian spirit and it is with that spirit that he wanted to rule. He believed in education and in virtuous work. Even his own children would be tasked with menial work.
Charlemagne was known for his “greatness of spirit” and steadfast determination.1 His autobiographer, Einhard wrote many times of the fact that Charlemagne recognized and lived by traditional Roman Virtues. He single handedly battled to extend the area on all sides of his kingdom. Eventually he went from being King of the Franks to Emperor of the West. However, “According to this title, Charlemagne was not the Roman emperor crowned by the pope but rather God’s emperor, who governed the Roman Empire along with his many other duties.” 2 By the time Charlemagne had died, his Frankish Empire was as big as the Byzantine Empire. 3
Charlemagne was a lover of the Liberal Arts. He was never satisfied with his own language so he went on to learn several others, most of all Latin. He could understand Greek but he never learned to speak it well. In the Kings spare time he studied rhetoric, astronomy, and dialectics. It wasn’t until later in his life that he started to write in journals documenting his wisdom and ideas about religion and how the stars and the planets existed.
In one of the most accomplished endeavors that Charlemagne took on, was the education of children. He was truly a visionary of his time. He himself was quite educated verbally and in reading but he never mastered the art of writing. He thought that every child should have a chance to go to school, even commoners. He felt with education that he could lead his people to eternal salvation. What better way to spread the word of God, and then teach it along side general education? In Charlemagne’s conquests there were several newly conquered lands and or people that needed saving, so he took upon himself to build school and fill them with the most educated of educators. He vowed to have the teachers teach grammar, psalms, math, and reading. Charlemagne would offer free schooling to anyone ages six years and up that would offer there children to the Church, attaching them to the monastic life permanently. He would task the nuns and monks to educate these children with little or no down time. If the child successfully completed the first series of education they would then be allowed to continue in his educational program, which would include subjects such as, geometry, music, astronomy, and math. 4
The end result of Charlemagne’s school curriculum well surpassed anything he could have imagined. “It led to a kind of literacy renaissance”. 5Scholars from all over Europe would come and teach different subject. These scholars from Italy, Spain, Ireland, and England influenced the regions culture not only raising questions about religion and social issues but they also influenced the way Charlemagne’s own children were being raised.
Charlemagne married at his mother’s request the daughter of Desiderius, the King of the Lombards. However it is said she was sent away a year later because she could not have children. 6 He later took a Swabian woman as his partner and had four sons and five daughters. Charlemagne was unlike other rules with children. His...
Bibliography: Bhote, Tehmina. Charlemagne: The Life and Times of an Early Medieval Emperor. New York: The Rosen Publishing Group, 2005.
Hunt, Lynn, Thomas R. Martin, R. Po-chia Hsia Rosenwein, and Bonnie G. Smith. The Making of the West: Peoples and Culture, Volume I: to 1740. 3rd ed. Boston, Ma: Bedford/St. Martin 's, 2009.
Meltzer, Milton. Ten Kings and the Wolrds they Ruled. New York: Orchard Books, 2002.
Please join StudyMode to read the full document