Charlemagne, also known as Charles the Great, was the king of the Franks from 742-814 A. D. In Aachen, 724 A. D. , Charles was born to Peppin the Short. Before Charlemagne’s time, Charles Martel and Peppin the Short had been working hard at trying to conquer, unify, and Christianize Europe. Charles Martel was the start of it, and he passed on his vision and beliefs to his son Peppin. Peppin later passed it on to his two sons Charles and Carloman. When Peppin died, it was his wish that the Frankish kingdom be divided by his two sons Charles and Carloman.
Three years later, Carloman died and Charles assumed full command of the Franks. He was now fully in control of the army of his father and grandfather, and he built it up and made it double in size and power. Charlemagne was a soldier at heart and a great military leader; he had his grandfather’s fighting spirit in him. He planned to carry out his father and grandfather’s vision and that’s exactly what he did. When Charles first took the thrown, the kingdom was wild with different pagan tribes and kingdoms. They were at war with everyone and especially the Christians.
Charlemagne’s goal was to conquer the heathens and convert them. Through years of war, many battles, and thousands of lost lives, Charles accomplished his objective. The peoples he conquered include: the Aquitanians, the Lombards, the Saxons, the Bretons, the Bavarians, the Huns, and the Danes, the Huns, the Lombards, the Saxons, the Aquitanians, the Bavarians, the Bretons, and the Danes. Some of the tribes took awhile to overtake; for example, the Saxons were probably the longest to put up a fight against the Franks.
They were conquered and reconquered, for they kept turning back to their paganism. Those who refused to convert to Christianity were put to death, by order of the king. Having people slaughtered if they wouldn’t covert to Christianity horrified the church. The pope and the church were strongly against it and Charles relented his previous order. The church played a huge part in Charles’ kingdom and he was very involved with the things of the church. After the different kingdoms and tribes were conquered he ordered that all the people be taught the bible and the difference between right and wrong.
Charlemagne had strict standard in his now thriving empire, and he based his laws on the laws of the church. Charles may have been a man of war, but education was also another thing that he strongly believed in. He, himself, was unable to write but he could read. Charlemagne believed in education for everyone, not just the rich. He set up schools all throughout the kingdom and he got monks to teach in them. One monk in particular taught at one of Charlemagne’s schools; his name was Alcuin. He became to Charles’ children and a mentor to Charles.
By Charles’ commission, Alcuin also fixed errors that had been made when the bible had been copied out. Charles’ schools were a success and they even attracted foreigners. Charles himself sometimes attended school and he learned how to read and write Latin and Greek. He started late in life with writing so he always struggled with it and he never really mastered it. He made sure all his children attended school and they were all educated in different things. The boys learned hunting and riding skills, while the girl learned how to make clothing.
However, they were all taught about their history and traditions. Education was another tool meant to unify the Frankish empire. In summary, the time of Charlemagne was a comeback from the Dark Ages. Peace, Christianity, education, and order were reestablished for a time. Not long after Charlemagne died, the empire slowly started falling apart. But during Charlemagne’s reign, he brought order with the military, he strengthened the church, expanded his empire, and some would say he brought people out of the Dark Ages. He was able to establish his vision and the vision of his father and grandfather.