Charlemagne denier Mayence 812 814.jpg
A denarius of Charlemagne dated c. 812–814 with the inscription KAROLVS IMP AVG (Karolus Imperator Augustus) (in Latin)
Holy Roman Emperor
Reign25 December 800 – 28 January 814
Coronation25 December 800
Old St. Peter's Basilica, Rome
SuccessorLouis the Pious
King of the Lombards
Reign10 July 774 – 28 January 814
Coronation10 July 774
SuccessorBernard of Italy
King of the Franks
Reign9 October 768 – 28 January 814
Coronation9 October 768
PredecessorPepin the Short
SuccessorLouis the Pious
Born2 April 742[1], 747[2] or 748
Frankish Kingdom
Died28 January 814 (aged 65, 66 or 71)
Aachen, Francia (present-day Germany)
Among others
FatherPepin the Short
MotherBertrada of Laon
ReligionRoman Catholicism
Signum manusCharlemagne's signature

Charlemagne (English: n/; French: [ʃaʁ.lə.maɲ])[3] or Charles the Great[a] (2 April 742[1][b] – 28 January 814), numbered Charles I, was king of the Franks from 768, king of the Lombards from 774, and emperor of the Romans from 800. During the Early Middle Ages, he united the majority of western and central Europe. He was the first recognised emperor to rule from western Europe since the fall of the Western Roman Empire three centuries earlier.[4] The expanded Frankish state that Charlemagne founded is called the Carolingian Empire. He was later canonized by Antipope Paschal III.

Charlemagne was the eldest son of Pepin the Short and Bertrada of Laon, born before their canonical marriage.[5] He became king in 768 following his father's death, initially as co-ruler with his brother Carloman I. Carloman's sudden death in December 771 under unexplained circumstances left Charlemagne as the sole ruler of the Frankish Kingdom.[6] He continued his father's policy towards the papacy and became its protector, removing the Lombards from power in northern Italy and leading an incursion into Muslim Spain. He campaigned against the Saxons to his east, Christianizing them upon penalty of death and leading to events such as the Massacre of Verden. He reached the height of his power in 800 when he was crowned "Emperor of the Romans" by Pope Leo III on Christmas Day at Rome's Old St. Peter's Basilica.

Charlemagne has been called the "Father of Europe" (Pater Europae),[c] as he united most of Western Europe for the first time since the classical era of the Roman Empire and united parts of Europe that had never been under Frankish or Roman rule. His rule spurred the Carolingian Renaissance, a period of energetic cultural and intellectual activity within the Western Church. Emperors of the Holy Roman Empire considered themselves successors of Charlemagne, as did the French and German monarchs. However, the Eastern Orthodox Church views Charlemagne more controversially, labelling as heterodox his support of the filioque and the Pope's recognition of him as legitimate Roman Emperor rather than Irene of Athens of the Byzantine Empire. These and other machinations led to the eventual split of Rome and Constantinople in the Great Schism of 1054.[7][d]

Charlemagne died in 814, having ruled as emperor for almost 14 years and as king for almost 46 years. He was laid to rest in his imperial capital city of Aachen. He married at least four times and had three legitimate sons, but only his son Louis the Pious survived to succeed him.

Political background

Francia, early 8th century

By the 6th century, the western Germanic tribe of the Franks had been Christianised, due in considerable measure to the Catholic conversion of Clovis I.[8] Francia, ruled by the Merovingians, was the most powerful of the kingdoms that succeeded the Western Roman Empire.[9] Following the Battle of Tertry, the Merovingians declined into powerlessness, for which they have been dubbed the rois fainéants ("do-nothing kings").[10] Almost all government powers were exercised by their chief officer, the mayor of the palace.[e]

In 687, Pepin of Herstal, mayor of the palace of Austrasia, ended the strife between various kings and their mayors with his victory at Tertry.[11] He became the sole governor of the entire Frankish kingdom. Pepin was the grandson of two important figures of the Austrasian Kingdom: Saint Arnulf of Metz and Pepin of Landen.[12] Pepin of Herstal was eventually succeeded by his son Charles, later known as Charles Martel (Charles the Hammer).[13]

External video
Charlemagne at dinner - British Library Royal MS 15 E vi f155r (detail).jpg
The Early Middle Ages, 284–1000: Charlemagne, 46:14, YaleCourses on YouTube, Charlemagne: An Introduction, Smarthistory, 7:49, Khan Academy

After 737, Charles governed the Franks in lieu of a king and declined to call himself king. Charles was succeeded in 741 by his sons Carloman and Pepin the Short, the father of Charlemagne. In 743, the brothers placed Childeric III on the throne to curb separatism in the periphery. He was the last Merovingian king. Carloman resigned office in 746, preferring to enter the church as a monk. Pepin brought the question of the kingship before Pope Zachary, asking whether it was logical for a king to have no royal power. The pope handed down his decision in 749, decreeing that it was better for Pepin to be called king, as he had the powers of high office as Mayor, so as not to confuse the hierarchy. He, therefore, ordered him to become the true king.[14]

In 750, Pepin was elected by an assembly of the Franks, anointed by the archbishop, and then raised to the office of king. The Pope branded Childeric III as "the false king" and ordered him into a monastery. The Merovingian dynasty was thereby replaced by the Carolingian dynasty, named after Charles Martel. In 753, Pope Stephen II fled from Italy to Francia, appealing to Pepin for assistance for the rights of St. Peter. He was supported in this appeal by Carloman, Charles' brother. In return, the pope could provide only legitimacy. He did this by again anointing and confirming Pepin, this time adding his young sons Carolus (Charlemagne) and Carloman to the royal patrimony. They thereby became heirs to the realm that already covered most of western Europe. In 754, Pepin accepted the Pope's invitation to visit Italy on behalf of St. Peter's rights, dealing successfully with the Lombards.[14][15]

Under the Carolingians, the Frankish kingdom spread to encompass an area including most of Western Europe; the east-west division of the kingdom formed the basis for modern France and Germany. Orman[16] portrays the Treaty of Verdun (843) between the warring grandsons of Charlemagne as the foundation event of an independent France under its first king Charles the Bald; an independent Germany under its first king Louis the German; and an independent intermediate state stretching from the low countries along the borderlands to south of Rome under Lothair I, who retained the title of emperor and the capitals Aachen and Rome without the jurisdiction. The middle kingdom had broken up by 890 and partly absorbed into the Western kingdom (later France) and the Eastern kingdom (Germany) and the rest developing into smaller "buffer" nations that exist between France and Germany to this day, namely the Benelux and Switzerland. The concept and memory of a united Europe remain topical to the current time and hence Charlemagne is often considered the forefather of modern Europe.[17]

Other Languages
Afrikaans: Karel die Grote
Alemannisch: Karl der Große
العربية: شارلمان
aragonés: Carlos Magno
asturianu: Carlomagnu
azərbaycanca: Böyük Karl
تۆرکجه: شارلمانی
Bân-lâm-gú: Charlemagne
башҡортса: Бөйөк Карл
беларуская: Карл Вялікі
беларуская (тарашкевіца)‎: Карл Вялікі
Bikol Central: Charlemagne
български: Карл Велики
bosanski: Karlo Veliki
brezhoneg: Karl Veur
буряад: Ехэ Карл
català: Carlemany
Чӑвашла: Аслă Карл
Cebuano: Carlomagno
čeština: Karel Veliký
Cymraeg: Siarlymaen
eesti: Karl Suur
Ελληνικά: Καρλομάγνος
español: Carlomagno
Esperanto: Karolo la Granda
estremeñu: Carlus el Grandi
euskara: Karlomagno
فارسی: شارلمانی
Fiji Hindi: Charlemagne
føroyskt: Karlamagnus
français: Charlemagne
furlan: Carli Magn
Gaeilge: Séarlas Mór
Gàidhlig: Teàrlach Mòr
galego: Carlomagno
հայերեն: Կառլոս Մեծ
हिन्दी: शारलेमेन
hrvatski: Karlo Veliki
Ilokano: Karlomagno
Bahasa Indonesia: Karel yang Agung
interlingua: Carolo Magne
íslenska: Karlamagnús
italiano: Carlo Magno
עברית: קרל הגדול
Kabɩyɛ: Charlemagne
ქართული: კარლოს დიდი
қазақша: Ұлы Карл
Kiswahili: Karolo Mkuu
Kreyòl ayisyen: Charlemagne
kurdî: Charlemagne
Кыргызча: Улуу Карл
latviešu: Kārlis Lielais
Lëtzebuergesch: Karel de Groussen
lietuvių: Karolis Didysis
Ligure: Carlomagno
Limburgs: Karel de Groete
Lingua Franca Nova: Carlo la grande
Livvinkarjala: Karl Suuri
lumbaart: Carlo Magn
македонски: Карло Велики
Malagasy: Charlemagne
മലയാളം: കാറൽമാൻ
मराठी: शार्लमेन
მარგალური: კარლოს დიდი
مصرى: شارلمان
Bahasa Melayu: Charlemagne
Mirandés: Carlos Magno
монгол: Их Карл
မြန်မာဘာသာ: ရှာလမိန်း
Nāhuatl: Carolus Magnus
Nederlands: Karel de Grote
Nedersaksies: Karel de Grote
नेपाल भाषा: चार्लेम्याग्न
日本語: カール大帝
Nordfriisk: Karl di Grat
norsk nynorsk: Karl den store
Nouormand: Charlemangne
occitan: Carlesmanhe
oʻzbekcha/ўзбекча: Charlemagne
ਪੰਜਾਬੀ: ਸ਼ਾਰਲਮੇਨ
پنجابی: شارلمین
Patois: Charlemagne
Picard: Carlémangne
Piemontèis: Carl Magn
Plattdüütsch: Karl de Grote
polski: Karol Wielki
português: Carlos Magno
Qaraqalpaqsha: Karolus Magnus
română: Carol cel Mare
rumantsch: Carl il Grond
Runa Simi: Carolus Magnus
русиньскый: Карл I. Великый
русский: Карл Великий
саха тыла: Улуу Карл
संस्कृतम्: शार्लेमन्य
sicilianu: Carlu Magnu
Simple English: Charlemagne
slovenčina: Karol Veľký
slovenščina: Karel Veliki
کوردی: شارلمان
српски / srpski: Карло Велики
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Karlo Veliki
Tagalog: Carlomagno
татарча/tatarça: Бөек Карл
Türkçe: Şarlman
українська: Карл I Великий
vèneto: Carlo Magno
vepsän kel’: Karl Sur'
Tiếng Việt: Charlemagne
Võro: Karl Suur
文言: 查理曼
West-Vlams: Karel den Grôotn
Winaray: Carlomagno
Yorùbá: Charlemagne
žemaitėška: Karuolės Dėdlīsės
中文: 查理曼