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World History I

 

HST 218 102

 

Charlemagne.

 

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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