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In its national anthem, " El Gran Carlemany ", the nation of Andorra credits Charlemagne with its independence. Wer Akne hat oder starke Hautprpbleme hat wird begeistert sein nach der Anwendung, denn man sieht den Erfolg nach sehr kurzer Zeit.

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The story is told in Annales Mettenses priores. Waifer decided to honour it, repeating his father's decision, which he justified by arguing that any agreements with Charles Martel became invalid on Martel's death. Since Aquitaine was now Pepin's inheritance because of the earlier assistance that was given by Charles Martel, according to some the latter and his son, the young Charles, hunted down Waifer, who could only conduct a guerrilla war, and executed him.

Grifo had installed himself as Duke of Bavaria, but Pepin replaced him with a member of the ducal family yet a child, Tassilo, whose protector he had become after the death of his father. The loyalty of the Agilolfings was perpetually in question, but Pepin exacted numerous oaths of loyalty from Tassilo.

However, the latter had married Liutperga , a daughter of Desiderius , king of Lombardy. At a critical point in the campaign, Tassilo left the field with all his Bavarians. Out of reach of Pepin, he repudiated all loyalty to Francia. The first event of the brothers' reign was the uprising of the Aquitainians and Gascons , in , in that territory split between the two kings.

One year earlier, Pepin had finally defeated Waifer , Duke of Aquitaine , after waging a destructive, ten-year war against Aquitaine. Charles met Carloman, but Carloman refused to participate and returned to Burgundy. Charles went to war, leading an army to Bordeaux , where he set up a fort at Fronsac. Lupus, fearing Charles, turned Hunald over in exchange for peace, and was put in a monastery. Gascon lords also surrendered, and Aquitaine and Gascony were finally fully subdued by the Franks.

The brothers maintained lukewarm relations with the assistance of their mother Bertrada, but in Charles signed a treaty with Duke Tassilo III of Bavaria and married a Lombard Princess commonly known today as Desiderata , the daughter of King Desiderius , to surround Carloman with his own allies. Less than a year after his marriage, Charlemagne repudiated Desiderata and married a year-old Swabian named Hildegard. The repudiated Desiderata returned to her father's court at Pavia.

Her father's wrath was now aroused, and he would have gladly allied with Carloman to defeat Charles. Before any open hostilities could be declared, however, Carloman died on 5 December , apparently of natural causes. Carloman's widow Gerberga fled to Desiderius' court in Lombardy with her sons for protection. At his succession in , Pope Adrian I demanded the return of certain cities in the former exarchate of Ravenna in accordance with a promise at the succession of Desiderius.

Instead, Desiderius took over certain papal cities and invaded the Pentapolis , heading for Rome. Adrian sent ambassadors to Charlemagne in autumn requesting he enforce the policies of his father, Pepin. Desiderius sent his own ambassadors denying the pope's charges. The ambassadors met at Thionville , and Charlemagne upheld the pope's side.

Charlemagne demanded what the pope had requested, but Desiderius swore never to comply. Charlemagne and his uncle Bernard crossed the Alps in and chased the Lombards back to Pavia, which they then besieged. The young prince was chased to the Adriatic littoral and fled to Constantinople to plead for assistance from Constantine V , who was waging war with Bulgaria. The siege lasted until the spring of when Charlemagne visited the pope in Rome. There he confirmed his father's grants of land, [48] with some later chronicles falsely claiming that he also expanded them, granting Tuscany , Emilia , Venice and Corsica.

The pope granted him the title patrician. He then returned to Pavia, where the Lombards were on the verge of surrendering. In return for their lives, the Lombards surrendered and opened the gates in early summer.

Desiderius was sent to the abbey of Corbie , and his son Adelchis died in Constantinople , a patrician. Charles, unusually, had himself crowned with the Iron Crown and made the magnates of Lombardy pay homage to him at Pavia. Charlemagne was then master of Italy as king of the Lombards. He left Italy with a garrison in Pavia and a few Frankish counts in place the same year. Instability continued in Italy. Charlemagne rushed back from Saxony and defeated the Duke of Friuli in battle; the Duke was slain.

Their co-conspirator, Arechis, was not subdued, and Adelchis, their candidate in Byzantium , never left that city. Northern Italy was now faithfully his. In , Charlemagne directed his attention towards the Duchy of Benevento , [49] where Arechis II was reigning independently with the self-given title of Princeps.

Charlemagne's siege of Salerno forced Arechis into submission. Grimoald was attacked many times by Charles' or his sons' armies, without achieving a definitive victory. During the first peace of any substantial length — , Charles began to appoint his sons to positions of authority. In , he made his two youngest sons kings, crowned by the Pope. The elder of these two, Carloman , was made the King of Italy , taking the Iron Crown that his father had first worn in , and in the same ceremony was renamed "Pepin".

Charlemagne ordered Pepin and Louis to be raised in the customs of their kingdoms, and he gave their regents some control of their subkingdoms, but kept the real power, though he intended his sons to inherit their realms. He did not tolerate insubordination in his sons: Charles was determined to have his children educated, including his daughters, as his parents had instilled the importance of learning in him at an early age.

The sons fought many wars on behalf of their father. Charles was mostly preoccupied with the Bretons, whose border he shared and who insurrected on at least two occasions and were easily put down.

He also fought the Saxons on multiple occasions. In and , he was sent into the Böhmerwald modern Bohemia to deal with the Slavs living there Bohemian tribes, ancestors of the modern Czechs. He subjected them to Frankish authority and devastated the valley of the Elbe, forcing tribute from them.

Pippin had to hold the Avar and Beneventan borders and fought the Slavs to his north. He was uniquely poised to fight the Byzantine Empire when that conflict arose after Charlemagne's imperial coronation and a Venetian rebellion.

Finally, Louis was in charge of the Spanish March and fought the Duke of Benevento in southern Italy on at least one occasion. He took Barcelona in a great siege in Charlemagne's attitude towards his daughters has been the subject of much discussion. He kept them at home with him and refused to allow them to contract sacramental marriages though he originally condoned an engagement between his eldest daughter Rotrude and Constantine VI of Byzantium, this engagement was annulled when Rotrude was However, he tolerated their extramarital relationships, even rewarding their common-law husbands and treasuring the illegitimate grandchildren they produced for him.

He also, apparently, refused to believe stories of their wild behaviour. After his death the surviving daughters were banished from the court by their brother, the pious Louis, to take up residence in the convents they had been bequeathed by their father.

At least one of them, Bertha, had a recognised relationship, if not a marriage, with Angilbert , a member of Charlemagne's court circle. The destructive war led by Pepin in Aquitaine, although brought to a satisfactory conclusion for the Franks, proved the Frankish power structure south of the Loire was feeble and unreliable. After the defeat and death of Waiofar in , while Aquitaine submitted again to the Carolingian dynasty, a new rebellion broke out in led by Hunald II, a possible son of Waifer.

He took refuge with the ally Duke Lupus II of Gascony , but probably out of fear of Charlemagne's reprisal, Lupus handed him over to the new King of the Franks to whom he pledged loyalty, which seemed to confirm the peace in the Basque area south of the Garonne.

Wary of new Basque uprisings, Charlemagne seems to have tried to contain Duke Lupus's power by appointing Seguin as the Count of Bordeaux and other counts of Frankish background in bordering areas Toulouse , County of Fézensac. The Basque Duke, in turn, seems to have contributed decisively or schemed the Battle of Roncevaux Pass referred to as "Basque treachery". The defeat of Charlemagne's army in Roncevaux confirmed his determination to rule directly by establishing the Kingdom of Aquitaine ruled by Louis the Pious based on a power base of Frankish officials, distributing lands among colonisers and allocating lands to the Church, which he took as an ally.

A Christianisation programme was put in place across the high Pyrenees The new political arrangement for Vasconia did not sit well with local lords. He was eventually released, but Charlemagne, enraged at the compromise, decided to depose him and appointed his trustee William of Gellone.

William, in turn, fought the Basques and defeated them after banishing Adalric From Pallars , Ribagorça to Pamplona under Frankish influence , taking the County of Toulouse for a power base, Charlemagne asserted Frankish authority over the Pyrenees by subduing the south-western marches of Toulouse and establishing vassal counties on the southern Pyrenees that were to make up the Marca Hispanica.

Events in the Duchy of Vasconia rebellion in Pamplona, count overthrown in Aragon , Duke Seguin of Bordeaux deposed, uprising of the Basque lords, etc. These "Saracen" Moorish and Muladi rulers offered their homage to the king of the Franks in return for military support.

Seeing an opportunity to extend Christendom and his own power and believing the Saxons to be a fully conquered nation, Charlemagne agreed to go to Spain. The armies met at Saragossa and Charlemagne received the homage of the Muslim rulers, Sulayman al-Arabi and Kasmin ibn Yusuf, but the city did not fall for him. Indeed, Charlemagne faced the toughest battle of his career. The Muslims forced him to retreat. He decided to go home since he could not trust the Basques , whom he had subdued by conquering Pamplona.

He turned to leave Iberia, but as he was passing through the Pass of Roncesvalles one of the most famous events of his reign occurred. The Basques attacked and destroyed his rearguard and baggage train. The Battle of Roncevaux Pass , though less a battle than a skirmish, left many famous dead, including the seneschal Eggihard, the count of the palace Anselm, and the warden of the Breton March , Roland , inspiring the subsequent creation of the Song of Roland La Chanson de Roland.

The conquest of Italy brought Charlemagne in contact with the Saracens who, at the time, controlled the Mediterranean.

Charlemagne's eldest son, Pepin the Hunchback , was much occupied with Saracens in Italy. Charlemagne conquered Corsica and Sardinia at an unknown date and in the Balearic Islands. The islands were often attacked by Saracen pirates, but the counts of Genoa and Tuscany Boniface controlled them with large fleets until the end of Charlemagne's reign. Charlemagne even had contact with the caliphal court in Baghdad.

In or possibly , the caliph of Baghdad, Harun al-Rashid , presented Charlemagne with an Asian elephant named Abul-Abbas and a clock. In Hispania , the struggle against the Moors continued unabated throughout the latter half of his reign.

Louis was in charge of the Spanish border. In , his men captured Girona permanently and extended Frankish control into the Catalan littoral for the duration of Charlemagne's reign the area remained nominally Frankish until the Treaty of Corbeil in The Muslim chiefs in the northeast of Islamic Spain were constantly rebelling against Cordovan authority, and they often turned to the Franks for help.

The Frankish border was slowly extended until , when Girona, Cardona , Ausona and Urgell were united into the new Spanish March , within the old duchy of Septimania. In , Barcelona , the greatest city of the region, fell to the Franks when Zeid, its governor, rebelled against Cordova and, failing, handed it to them. The Umayyad authority recaptured it in However, Louis of Aquitaine marched the entire army of his kingdom over the Pyrenees and besieged it for two years, wintering there from to , when it capitulated.

The Franks continued to press forward against the emir. They took Tarragona in and Tortosa in The last conquest brought them to the mouth of the Ebro and gave them raiding access to Valencia , prompting the Emir al-Hakam I to recognise their conquests in Charlemagne was engaged in almost constant warfare throughout his reign, [59] often at the head of his elite scara bodyguard squadrons.

In the Saxon Wars , spanning thirty years and eighteen battles, he conquered Saxonia and proceeded to convert it to Christianity. The Germanic Saxons were divided into four subgroups in four regions. Nearest to Austrasia was Westphalia and furthest away was Eastphalia. Between them was Engria and north of these three, at the base of the Jutland peninsula, was Nordalbingia. In his first campaign, in , Charlemagne forced the Engrians to submit and cut down an Irminsul pillar near Paderborn. He returned in , marching through Westphalia and conquering the Saxon fort at Sigiburg.

He then crossed Engria, where he defeated the Saxons again. Finally, in Eastphalia, he defeated a Saxon force, and its leader Hessi converted to Christianity.

Charlemagne returned through Westphalia, leaving encampments at Sigiburg and Eresburg , which had been important Saxon bastions. He then controlled Saxony with the exception of Nordalbingia, but Saxon resistance had not ended. Following his subjugation of the Dukes of Friuli and Spoleto, Charlemagne returned rapidly to Saxony in , where a rebellion had destroyed his fortress at Eresburg. The Saxons were once again defeated, but their main leader, Widukind , escaped to Denmark, his wife's home.

Charlemagne built a new camp at Karlstadt. In , he called a national diet at Paderborn to integrate Saxony fully into the Frankish kingdom. Many Saxons were baptised as Christians. In the summer of , he again invaded Saxony and reconquered Eastphalia, Engria and Westphalia. At a diet near Lippe , he divided the land into missionary districts and himself assisted in several mass baptisms He then returned to Italy and, for the first time, the Saxons did not immediately revolt.

Saxony was peaceful from to He returned to Saxony in and instituted a code of law and appointed counts, both Saxon and Frank. The laws were draconian on religious issues; for example, the Capitulatio de partibus Saxoniae prescribed death to Saxon pagans who refused to convert to Christianity.

This led to renewed conflict. That year, in autumn, Widukind returned and led a new revolt. In response, at Verden in Lower Saxony, Charlemagne is recorded as having ordered the execution of 4, Saxon prisoners, known as the Massacre of Verden "Verdener Blutgericht". The killings triggered three years of renewed bloody warfare — During this war, the Frisians were finally subdued and a large part of their fleet was burned.

The war ended with Widukind accepting baptism. Thereafter, the Saxons maintained the peace for seven years, but in Westphalia again rebelled. The Eastphalians and Nordalbingians joined them in , but the insurrection was unpopular and was put down by An Engrian rebellion followed in , but the presence of Charlemagne, Christian Saxons and Slavs quickly crushed it. The last insurrection occurred in , more than thirty years after Charlemagne's first campaign against them, but also failed.

The war that had lasted so many years was at length ended by their acceding to the terms offered by the King; which were renunciation of their national religious customs and the worship of devils, acceptance of the sacraments of the Christian faith and religion, and union with the Franks to form one people.

By , Charlemagne had invaded the Kingdom of Lombardy , and he later annexed the Lombardian territories and assumed its crown, placing the Papal States under Frankish protection. The remaining power confronting the Franks in the east were the Avars. In , Charlemagne turned to Bavaria. The charges were exaggerated, but Tassilo was deposed anyway and put in the monastery of Jumièges. In , the Avars , an Asian nomadic group that had settled down in what is today Hungary Einhard called them Huns , invaded Friuli and Bavaria.

A Lombard army under Pippin then marched into the Drava valley and ravaged Pannonia. The campaigns ended when the Saxons revolted again in For the next two years, Charlemagne was occupied, along with the Slavs, against the Saxons. Pippin and Duke Eric of Friuli continued, however, to assault the Avars' ring-shaped strongholds. The great Ring of the Avars, their capital fortress, was taken twice.

The booty was sent to Charlemagne at his capital, Aachen , and redistributed to his followers and to foreign rulers, including King Offa of Mercia.

Soon the Avar tuduns had lost the will to fight and travelled to Aachen to become vassals to Charlemagne and to become Christians. Charlemagne accepted their surrender and sent one native chief, baptised Abraham, back to Avaria with the ancient title of khagan. Abraham kept his people in line, but in , the Bulgarians under Khan Krum attacked the remains of the Avar state.

In , Charlemagne sent a Bavarian army into Pannonia , defeating and bringing an end to the Avar confederation. In November of the same year, Charlemagne went to Regensburg where the Avar leaders acknowledged him as their ruler. In , in recognition of his new pagan neighbours, the Slavs , Charlemagne marched an Austrasian-Saxon army across the Elbe into Obotrite territory.

The Slavs ultimately submitted, led by their leader Witzin. Charlemagne then accepted the surrender of the Veleti under Dragovit and demanded many hostages. He also demanded permission to send missionaries into this pagan region unmolested. The army marched to the Baltic before turning around and marching to the Rhine, winning much booty with no harassment.

The tributary Slavs became loyal allies. In , when the Saxons broke the peace, the Abotrites and Veleti rebelled with their new ruler against the Saxons. Witzin died in battle and Charlemagne avenged him by harrying the Eastphalians on the Elbe. Thrasuco, his successor, led his men to conquest over the Nordalbingians and handed their leaders over to Charlemagne, who honoured him. The Abotrites remained loyal until Charles' death and fought later against the Danes.

When Charlemagne incorporated much of Central Europe, he brought the Frankish state face to face with the Avars and Slavs in the southeast. While fighting the Avars, the Franks had called for their support.

Charlemagne also directed his attention to the Slavs to the west of the Avar khaganate: These people were subdued by the Lombards and Bavarii and made tributaries, but were never fully incorporated into the Frankish state.

In so doing, the Pope effectively nullified the legitimacy of Empress Irene of Constantinople:. When Odoacer compelled the abdication of Romulus Augustulus , he did not abolish the Western Empire as a separate power, but cause it to be reunited with or sink into the Eastern, so that from that time there was a single undivided Roman Empire Charlemagne's coronation as Emperor, though intended to represent the continuation of the unbroken line of Emperors from Augustus to Constantine VI, had the effect of setting up two separate and often opposing Empires and two separate claims to imperial authority.

For centuries to come, the Emperors of both West and East would make competing claims of sovereignty over the whole. Einhard says that Charlemagne was ignorant of the Pope's intent and did not want any such coronation:. A number of modern scholars, however, [74] suggest that Charlemagne was indeed aware of the coronation; certainly, he cannot have missed the bejewelled crown waiting on the altar when he came to pray; something even contemporary sources support.

Historians have debated for centuries whether Charlemagne was aware before the coronation of the Pope's intention to crown him Emperor Charlemagne declared that he would not have entered Saint Peter's had he known, according to chapter twenty-eight of Einhard's Vita Karoli Magni , [76] but that debate obscured the more significant question of why the Pope granted the title and why Charlemagne accepted it.

Collins points out "[t]hat the motivation behind the acceptance of the imperial title was a romantic and antiquarian interest in reviving the Roman empire is highly unlikely. Furthermore, the new title—carrying with it the risk that the new emperor would "make drastic changes to the traditional styles and procedures of government" or "concentrate his attentions on Italy or on Mediterranean concerns more generally"—risked alienating the Frankish leadership.

For both the Pope and Charlemagne, the Roman Empire remained a significant power in European politics at this time. The Byzantine Empire , based in Constantinople , continued to hold a substantial portion of Italy, with borders not far south of Rome. Charles' sitting in judgment of the Pope could be seen as usurping the prerogatives of the Emperor in Constantinople:.

By whom, however, could he [the Pope] be tried? Who, in other words, was qualified to pass judgement on the Vicar of Christ? In normal circumstances the only conceivable answer to that question would have been the Emperor at Constantinople; but the imperial throne was at this moment occupied by Irene.

That the Empress was notorious for having blinded and murdered her own son was, in the minds of both Leo and Charles, almost immaterial: The female sex was known to be incapable of governing, and by the old Salic tradition was debarred from doing so.

As far as Western Europe was concerned, the Throne of the Emperors was vacant: Irene's claim to it was merely an additional proof, if any were needed, of the degradation into which the so-called Roman Empire had fallen. For the Pope, then, there was "no living Emperor at that time" [81] though Henri Pirenne [82] disputes this saying that the coronation "was not in any sense explained by the fact that at this moment a woman was reigning in Constantinople".

Nonetheless, the Pope took the extraordinary step of creating one. The papacy had since been in conflict with Irene's predecessors in Constantinople over a number of issues, chiefly the continued Byzantine adherence to the doctrine of iconoclasm , the destruction of Christian images; while from , the secular power of the Byzantine Empire in central Italy had been nullified.

By bestowing the Imperial crown upon Charlemagne, the Pope arrogated to himself "the right to appoint With Charlemagne's coronation, therefore, "the Roman Empire remained, so far as either of them [Charlemagne and Leo] were concerned, one and indivisible, with Charles as its Emperor", though there can have been "little doubt that the coronation, with all that it implied, would be furiously contested in Constantinople".

Alcuin writes hopefully in his letters of an Imperium Christianum "Christian Empire" , wherein, "just as the inhabitants of the [Roman Empire] had been united by a common Roman citizenship", presumably this new empire would be united by a common Christian faith.

What is known, from the Byzantine chronicler Theophanes , [87] is that Charlemagne's reaction to his coronation was to take the initial steps towards securing the Constantinopolitan throne by sending envoys of marriage to Irene, and that Irene reacted somewhat favourably to them. It is important to distinguish between the universalist and localist conceptions of the empire, which remain controversial among historians.

According to the former, the empire was a universal monarchy, a "commonwealth of the whole world, whose sublime unity transcended every minor distinction"; and the emperor "was entitled to the obedience of Christendom". According to the latter, the emperor had no ambition for universal dominion; his realm was limited in the same way as that of every other ruler, and when he made more far-reaching claims his object was normally to ward off the attacks either of the Pope or of the Byzantine emperor.

According to this view, also, the origin of the empire is to be explained by specific local circumstances rather than by overarching theories. According to Ohnsorge, for a long time, it had been the custom of Byzantium to designate the German princes as spiritual "sons" of the Romans. What might have been acceptable in the fifth century had become provoking and insulting to the Franks in the eighth century.

Charles came to believe that the Roman emperor, who claimed to head the world hierarchy of states, was, in reality, no greater than Charles himself, a king as other kings, since beginning in he had entitled himself "Basileus" translated literally as "king". Ohnsorge finds it significant that the chief wax seal of Charles, which bore only the inscription: Finally, Ohnsorge points out that in the spring of at Aachen Charles crowned his only surviving son, Louis, as the emperor without recourse to Rome with only the acclamation of his Franks.

The form in which this acclamation was offered was Frankish-Christian rather than Roman. This implies both independence from Rome and a Frankish non-Roman understanding of empire. Charlemagne used these circumstances to claim that he was the renewer of the Roman Empire, which had declined under the Byzantines. In his official charters, Charles preferred the style Karolus serenissimus Augustus a Deo coronatus magnus pacificus imperator Romanum gubernans imperium [90] "Charles, most serene Augustus crowned by God, the great, peaceful emperor ruling the Roman empire" to the more direct Imperator Romanorum "Emperor of the Romans".

The title of Emperor remained in the Carolingian family for years to come, but divisions of territory and in-fighting over supremacy of the Frankish state weakened its significance.

When the family of Charles ceased to produce worthy heirs, the Pope gladly crowned whichever Italian magnate could best protect him from his local enemies. The empire would remain in continuous existence for nearly a millennium, as the Holy Roman Empire, a true imperial successor to Charles. The iconoclasm of the Byzantine Isaurian Dynasty was endorsed by the Franks. The council was not recognised by Charlemagne since no Frankish emissaries had been invited, even though Charlemagne ruled more than three provinces of the classical Roman empire and was considered equal in rank to the Byzantine emperor.

And while the Pope supported the reintroduction of the iconic veneration, he politically digressed from Byzantium. Thus, Charlemagne's assumption of the imperial title was not a usurpation in the eyes of the Franks or Italians. The East Romans, however, still held several territories in Italy: These regions remained outside of Frankish hands until , when the Venetians, torn by infighting, transferred their allegiance to the Iron Crown of Pippin, Charles' son.

The Pax Nicephori ended. Nicephorus ravaged the coasts with a fleet, initiating the only instance of war between the Byzantines and the Franks. The conflict lasted until when the pro-Byzantine party in Venice gave their city back to the Byzantine Emperor, and the two emperors of Europe made peace: Charlemagne received the Istrian peninsula and in the emperor Michael I Rangabe recognised his status as Emperor, [94] although not necessarily as "Emperor of the Romans".

After the conquest of Nordalbingia, the Frankish frontier was brought into contact with Scandinavia. In , the king of the Danes, Godfred , expanded the vast Danevirke across the isthmus of Schleswig. The Danevirke protected Danish land and gave Godfred the opportunity to harass Frisia and Flanders with pirate raids. He also subdued the Frank-allied Veleti and fought the Abotrites. Godfred invaded Frisia, joked of visiting Aachen, but was murdered before he could do any more, either by a Frankish assassin or by one of his own men.

Godfred was succeeded by his nephew Hemming , who concluded the Treaty of Heiligen with Charlemagne in late In , Charlemagne called Louis the Pious , king of Aquitaine , his only surviving legitimate son, to his court. There Charlemagne crowned his son as co-emperor and sent him back to Aquitaine. He then spent the autumn hunting before returning to Aachen on 1 November. In January, he fell ill with pleurisy. He died January twenty-eighth, the seventh day from the time that he took to his bed, at nine o'clock in the morning, after partaking of the Holy Communion , in the seventy-second year of his age and the forty-seventh of his reign.

He was buried that same day, in Aachen Cathedral , although the cold weather and the nature of his illness made such a hurried burial unnecessary. The earliest surviving planctus , the Planctus de obitu Karoli , was composed by a monk of Bobbio , which he had patronised.

Charlemagne's death emotionally affected many of his subjects, particularly those of the literary clique who had surrounded him at Aachen. An anonymous monk of Bobbio lamented: From the lands where the sun rises to western shores, people are crying and wailing O Christ, you who govern the heavenly host, grant a peaceful place to Charles in your kingdom.

Alas for miserable me. Louis succeeded him as Charles had intended. He left a testament allocating his assets in that was not updated prior to his death. His empire lasted only another generation in its entirety; its division, according to custom, between Louis's own sons after their father's death laid the foundation for the modern states of Germany and France.

The Carolingian king exercised the bannum , the right to rule and command. Under the Franks , it was a royal prerogative but could be delegated. His administration was an attempt to organise the kingdom, church and nobility around him. As an administrator, Charlemagne stands out for his many reforms: He is the main protagonist of the "Carolingian Renaissance".

Charlemagne's success rested primarily on novel siege technologies and excellent logistics [] rather than the long-claimed " cavalry revolution" led by Charles Martel in s.

However, the stirrup , which made the "shock cavalry" lance charge possible, was not introduced to the Frankish kingdom until the late eighth century. Horses were used extensively by the Frankish military because they provided a quick, long-distance method of transporting troops , which was critical to building and maintaining the large empire.

Charlemagne had an important role in determining Europe's immediate economic future. Pursuing his father's reforms, Charlemagne abolished the monetary system based on the gold sou. Instead, he and the Anglo-Saxon King Offa of Mercia took up Pippin's system for pragmatic reasons, notably a shortage of the metal. The gold shortage was a direct consequence of the conclusion of peace with Byzantium, which resulted in ceding Venice and Sicily to the East and losing their trade routes to Africa.

The resulting standardisation economically harmonised and unified the complex array of currencies that had been in use at the commencement of his reign, thus simplifying trade and commerce. Charlemagne established a new standard, the livre carolinienne from the Latin libra , the modern pound , which was based upon a pound of silver—a unit of both money and weight—worth 20 sous from the Latin solidus [which was primarily an accounting device and never actually minted], the modern shilling or deniers from the Latin denarius , the modern penny.

During this period, the livre and the sou were counting units; only the denier was a coin of the realm. Charlemagne instituted principles for accounting practice by means of the Capitulare de villis of , which laid down strict rules for the way in which incomes and expenses were to be recorded.

Charlemagne applied this system to much of the European continent, and Offa's standard was voluntarily adopted by much of England. After Charlemagne's death, continental coinage degraded, and most of Europe resorted to using the continued high-quality English coin until about Early in Charlemagne's rule he tacitly allowed Jews to monopolise money lending.

Then lending of money for interest was proscribed in because it violated Church law. Charlemagne introduced the Capitulary for the Jews , a prohibition on Jews engaging in money-lending due to the religious convictions of the majority of his constituents, in essence banning it across the board, a reversal of his earlier recorded general policy. His Capitulary for the Jews , however, was not representative of his overall economic relationship or attitude towards the Frankish Jews, and certainly not his earlier relationship with them, which evolved over his life.

His personal physician, for example, was Jewish, [] and he employed one Hebrew, Isaac, who was his personal representative to the Muslim caliphate of Baghdad. Part of Charlemagne's success as a warrior, an administrator and ruler can be traced to his admiration for learning and education. His reign is often referred to as the Carolingian Renaissance because of the flowering of scholarship, literature, art and architecture that characterise it.

Charlemagne came into contact with the culture and learning of other countries especially Moorish Spain, Anglo-Saxon England, [] and Lombard Italy due to his vast conquests. He greatly increased the provision of monastic schools and scriptoria centres for book-copying in Francia.

Most of the surviving works of classical Latin were copied and preserved by Carolingian scholars. Indeed, the earliest manuscripts available for many ancient texts are Carolingian. It is almost certain that a text which survived to the Carolingian age survives still. The pan-European nature of Charlemagne's influence is indicated by the origins of many of the men who worked for him: Charlemagne promoted the liberal arts at court, ordering that his children and grandchildren be well-educated, and even studying himself in a time when even leaders who promoted education did not take time to learn themselves under the tutelage of Peter of Pisa, from whom he learned grammar; Alcuin, with whom he studied rhetoric, dialectic logic , and astronomy he was particularly interested in the movements of the stars ; and Einhard, who tutored him in arithmetic.

His great scholarly failure, as Einhard relates, was his inability to write: In , Charlemagne enlarged the hostel at the Muristan in Jerusalem and added a library to it. He certainly had not been personally in Jerusalem. Unlike his father, Pippin, and uncle, Carloman, Charlemagne expanded the reform Church's programme. The deepening of the spiritual life was later to be seen as central to public policy and royal governance.

His reform focused on strengthening the church's power structure, improving clergy's skill and moral quality, standardising liturgical practices, improvements on the basic tenets of the faith and the rooting out of paganism. His authority extended over church and state. He could discipline clerics, control ecclesiastical property and define orthodox doctrine.

Despite the harsh legislation and sudden change, he had developed support from clergy who approved his desire to deepen the piety and morals of his subjects. In —, Charlemagne called a church council in Aachen , which confirmed the unanimous belief in the West that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son ex Patre Filioque and sanctioned inclusion in the Nicene Creed of the phrase Filioque and the Son.

The Pope, while affirming the doctrine and approving its use in teaching, opposed its inclusion in the text of the Creed as adopted in the First Council of Constantinople. This spoke of the procession of the Holy Spirit from the Father, without adding phrases such as "and the Son", "through the Son", or "alone". Stressing his opposition, the Pope had the original text inscribed in Greek and Latin on two heavy shields that were displayed in Saint Peter's Basilica.

During Charles' reign, the Roman half uncial script and its cursive version, which had given rise to various continental minuscule scripts, were combined with features from the insular scripts in use in Irish and English monasteries. Carolingian minuscule was created partly under the patronage of Charlemagne. Alcuin , who ran the palace school and scriptorium at Aachen, was probably a chief influence. The revolutionary character of the Carolingian reform, however, can be over-emphasised; efforts at taming Merovingian and Germanic influence had been underway before Alcuin arrived at Aachen.

The new minuscule was disseminated first from Aachen and later from the influential scriptorium at Tours , where Alcuin retired as an abbot. Charlemagne engaged in many reforms of Frankish governance while continuing many traditional practices, such as the division of the kingdom among sons. In , Charlemagne first made provision for the traditional division of the empire on his death. To Pippin, he gave Italy, Bavaria, and Swabia.

Louis received Aquitaine, the Spanish March and Provence. The imperial title was not mentioned, which led to the suggestion that, at that particular time, Charlemagne regarded the title as an honorary achievement that held no hereditary significance. Pepin died in and Charles in Charlemagne then reconsidered the matter, and in , crowned his youngest son, Louis, co-emperor and co-King of the Franks, granting him a half-share of the empire and the rest upon Charlemagne's own death. The only part of the Empire that Louis was not promised was Italy, which Charlemagne specifically bestowed upon Pippin's illegitimate son Bernard.

Charles was temperate in eating, and particularly so in drinking, for he abominated drunkenness in anybody, much more in himself and those of his household; but he could not easily abstain from food, and often complained that fasts injured his health. He very rarely gave entertainments, only on great feast-days, and then to large numbers of people.

His meals ordinarily consisted of four courses, not counting the roast, which his huntsmen used to bring in on the spit; he was more fond of this than of any other dish. While at table, he listened to reading or music. The subjects of the readings were the stories and deeds of olden time: Augustine's books, and especially of the one entitled "The City of God". Charlemagne threw grand banquets and feasts for special occasions such as religious holidays and four of his weddings.

When he was not working, he loved Christian books, horseback riding, swimming, bathing in natural hot springs with his friends and family, and hunting. During these days, he would not get out of bed when a quarrel occurred in his kingdom, instead summoning all members of the situation into his bedroom to be given orders. Einhard tells again in the twenty-fourth chapter: He was in the habit of awaking and rising from bed four or five times during the night.

By Charlemagne's time, the French vernacular had already diverged significantly from Latin. This is evidenced by one of the regulations of the Council of Tours , which required that parish priests preach either in the "rusticam Romanam linguam" Romance or "Theotiscam" the Germanic vernacular rather than in Latin. The goal of this rule was to make sermons comprehensible to the common people. He also spoke Latin and had at least some understanding of Greek, according to Einhard Grecam vero melius intellegere quam pronuntiare poterat , "he could understand Greek better than he could speak it".

The largely fictional account of Charlemagne's Iberian campaigns by Pseudo-Turpin , written some three centuries after his death, gave rise to the legend that the king also spoke Arabic. Charlemagne's personal appearance is known from a good description by Einhard after his death in the biography Vita Karoli Magni. He was heavily built, sturdy, and of considerable stature, although not exceptionally so, since his height was seven times the length of his own foot. He had a round head, large and lively eyes, a slightly larger nose than usual, white but still attractive hair, a bright and cheerful expression, a short and fat neck, and he enjoyed good health, except for the fevers that affected him in the last few years of his life.

Towards the end, he dragged one leg. Even then, he stubbornly did what he wanted and refused to listen to doctors, indeed he detested them, because they wanted to persuade him to stop eating roast meat, as was his wont, and to be content with boiled meat.

In , Charlemagne's tomb was opened by scientists who reconstructed his skeleton and estimated it to be measured 1. This puts him in the 99th percentile of height for his period, given that average male height of his time was 1. The width of the bone suggested he was gracile in body build. Charlemagne wore the traditional costume of the Frankish people , described by Einhard thus: He used to wear the national, that is to say, the Frank, dress—next his skin a linen shirt and linen breeches, and above these a tunic fringed with silk; while hose fastened by bands covered his lower limbs, and shoes his feet, and he protected his shoulders and chest in winter by a close-fitting coat of otter or marten skins.

He wore a blue cloak and always carried a sword typically of a golden or silver hilt. He wore fancy jewelled swords to banquets or ambassadorial receptions. He despised foreign costumes, however handsome, and never allowed himself to be robed in them, except twice in Rome, when he donned the Roman tunic, chlamys, and shoes; the first time at the request of Pope Hadrian, the second to gratify Leo, Hadrian's successor.

On great feast days, he wore embroidery and jewels on his clothing and shoes. He had a golden buckle for his cloak on such occasions and would appear with his great diadem , but he despised such apparel, according to Einhard and usually dressed like the common people. Charlemagne had residences across his kingdom, including numerous private estates that were governed in accordance with the Capitulare de villis.

A 9th-century document detailing the inventory of an estate at Asnapium listed amounts of livestock, plants and vegetables and kitchenware including cauldrons, drinking cups, brass kettles and firewood.

The manor contained seventeen houses built inside the courtyard for nobles and family members and was separated from its supporting villas.

Charlemagne had eighteen children with eight of his ten known wives or concubines. In addition, he had a grandson Bernard of Italy , the only son of his third son, Pippin of Italy , who was illegitimate but included in the line of inheritance.

Among his descendants are several royal dynasties, including the Habsburg , Capetian and Plantagenet dynasties.

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