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Charlemagne ()
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World History I

HST 218  102


By: Vlad Exxxx

Instructor: Mr. James Krokar

DePaul University

November 18, 2002

The happiness and prosperity of the citizens

 is the only legitimate object of government.

Thomas Jefferson

Sometimes one great man is all it takes to change the course of history
around for a nation, a civilization, or even the entire world. Luckily
for the proponents of its proponents, it is hard to disagree with the
theory of persona magna. The world has seen the historical
repercussions of the distinguished exploits of such men as Julius
Caesar, Alexander the Great, and Abraham Lincoln. The remarkable
accomplishments of Charlemagne undeniably earn him a place among the
most triumphant individuals in history.

Charlemagne was born into the family of the Mayor of the Palace in the
court of King Childeric. Despite the lack of royal ancestry, Charles
father, Pepin was the true ruler of the Franks until the eventual
deposition of impotent Childeric, at which time Pepin was named the
official monarch. Upon Pepins demise, the state, which Pepin had
gloriously expanded, was passed on to Charles and his brother Carloman
who ruled jointly for some three years, and after Carlomans death,
Charles became the King of the Franks (Einhard 27).

The reign of Charlemagne was a most glorious one. During his forty-five
years in power, Charles distinguished himself as a successful conqueror,
an imposing sovereign, an able diplomat, and an active advocate of
learning. His conquests doubled the empire he inherited, his masterful
diplomacy helped him establish strategic alliances with neighbors, and
his appreciation for knowledge and scholarship sparked a Carolingian
Renaissance (Painter 5), a period of revival of learning, while popular
education was waning in Europe during the early Middle Ages.

For the purpose of determining the medieval Franks view of an ideal
ruler, Einhards positively biased biography of Charlemagne is the best
source for information. As pointed out in Sidney Painters foreword to
the book, Einhard slants the focus toward the positive aspects, while
passing over delicately details he considered embarrassing (Painter
11). As a result of such omission of most of the unfavorable
biographical facts, the somewhat idealized view of Charlemagne becomes a
model of a perfect King as envisioned by the people of his time.

Perhaps the skill most highly valued by Einhard as well as by the people
of the turbulent Middle Ages was the ability to conduct victorious
warfare. After the fall of the Holy Roman Empire, the nations that came
to inherit the land were engaged in frequent wars, trying to conquer
lands in order to collect tribute. Clearly, in times like those it was
necessary for a king to be an apt military commander because the welfare
of a nation almost directly depended upon the territory, and therefore
the amount of arable land and natural resources. Einhard dedicates a
large portion of the biography to the history of Charlemagnes
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