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The siege lasted until the spring of , when Charlemagne visited the pope in Rome. Some later chronicles falsely claimed that he also expanded them, granting Tuscany, Emilia, Venice, and Corsica.

After the pope granted Charlemagne the title of patrician, he returned to Pavia, where the Lombards were on the verge of surrendering. In return for their lives, the Lombards conceded and opened the gates in early summer. Charlemagne and Pope Adrian I: The Frankish king Charlemagne was a devout Catholic who maintained a close relationship with the papacy throughout his life. In , when Pope Adrian I was threatened by invaders, the king rushed to Rome to provide assistance.

Shown here, the pope asks Charlemagne for help at a meeting near Rome. In the Saxon Wars, spanning thirty years and eighteen battles, Charlemagne overthrew Saxony and proceeded to convert the conquered to Christianity. The Germanic Saxons were divided into four subgroups in four regions. Nearest to Austrasia was Westphalia, and furthest away was Eastphalia.

Engria was between these two kingdoms, and to the north, at the base of the Jutland peninsula, was Nordalbingia. In his first campaign against the Saxons, in , Charlemagne cut down an Irminsul pillar near Paderborn and forced the Engrians to submit. The campaign was cut short by his first expedition to Italy. He returned to Saxony in , marching through Westphalia and conquering the Saxon fort at Sigiburg. He then crossed Engria, where he defeated the Saxons again.

Saracen Invasion of Southern Italy (Aghlabid Byzantine Lombards Franks)

Charlemagne returned through Westphalia, leaving encampments at Sigiburg and Eresburg, which had been important Saxon bastions. With the exception of Nordalbingia, Saxony was under his control, but Saxon resistance had not ended. Following his campaign in Italy to subjugate 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 brought to heel, but their main leader, Widukind, managed to escape to Denmark, home of his wife. Charlemagne built a new camp at Karlstadt. In , he called a national assembly at Paderborn to integrate Saxony fully into the Frankish kingdom. Many Saxons were baptized as Christians. He fought the Avars, adding modern-day Hungary to his empire, and also fought against the Moors of Spain, gaining the northern part of Spain.

Through these conquests Charlemagne united Europe and spread Christianity. He controlled his vast empire by sending agents to supervise its different areas. As emperor, Charlemagne stood out for his many reforms—monetary, governmental, military, cultural, and ecclesiastical—and ushered in an era known as the Carolingian Renaissance. As emperor, Charlemagne stood out for his many reforms—monetary, governmental, military, cultural, and ecclesiastical.

It was a period of cultural activity in the Carolingian Empire occurring from the late-8th century to the 9th century, taking inspiration from the Christian Roman Empire of the 4th century.

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During this period there was an expansion of literature, writing, the arts, architecture, jurisprudence, liturgical reforms, and scriptural studies. The era ushered in by his reign, the Carolingian Renaissance, was so called because of the flowering of scholarship, literature, art, and architecture that characterized it. Most of the presently 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 that survived to the Carolingian age endures still. Carolingian Minuscule: Carolingian minuscule, one of the products of the Carolingian Renaissance. Charlemagne took a serious interest in scholarship, promoting the liberal arts at the court, ordering that his children and grandchildren be well-educated, and even studying himself in a time when many leaders who promoted education did not take time to learn themselves.


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He studied grammar with Peter of Pisa; rhetoric, dialectic logic , and astronomy he was particularly interested in the movement of the stars with Alcuin; and arithmetic with Einhard. Charlemagne had an important role in determining the immediate economic future of Europe. There were strong pragmatic reasons for this abandonment of a gold standard, notably a shortage of gold itself. 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.

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—and was worth 20 sous from the Latin solidus , 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. When lending money for interest was proscribed in , being against Church law at the time, 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.

In addition to this macro-oriented reform of the economy, Charlemagne also performed a significant number of microeconomic reforms, such as direct control of prices and levies on certain goods and commodities. His Capitulary for the Jews , however, was not representative of his overall economic relationship or attitude toward the Frankish Jews, and certainly not his earlier relationship with them, which had evolved over his lifespan. His paid personal physician, for example, was Jewish, and he employed at least one Jew for his diplomatic missions, a personal representative to the Muslim caliphate of Baghdad.

Letters have been credited to him inviting Jews to settle in his kingdom for economic purposes, generally welcoming them through his overall progressive policies.

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Unlike his father, Pepin, and uncle Carloman, Charlemagne expanded the reform program of the church. The deepening of the spiritual life was later to be seen as central to public policy and royal governance. His authority was now 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 grown a well-developed support from the clergy who approved his desire to deepen the piety and morals of his Christian subjects. In , Charlemagne was crowned emperor and adapted his existing royal administration to live up to the expectations of his new title.

The political reforms wrought in his capital, Aachen, were to have an immense impact on the political definition of Western Europe for the rest of the Middle Ages. Legally, Charlemagne exercised the bannum , the right to rule and command, over all of his territories. Also, he had supreme jurisdiction in judicial matters, made legislation, led the army, and protected both the church and the poor. His administration attempted to organize the kingdom, church, and nobility around him; however, its efficacy was directly dependent upon the efficiency, loyalty, and support of his subjects.

Around Charlemagne reformed the local system of administering justice and created the scabini , professional experts on law. Every count had the help of seven of these scabini , who were supposed to know every national law so that all men could be judged according to it. Judges were also banned from taking bribes and were supposed to use sworn inquests to establish facts. In , all law was written down and amended. The Frankish kingdom was subdivided by Charlemagne into three separate areas to make administration easier.

The fall of the Roman empire and the rise of Islam

Outside this was the regna , where Frankish administration rested upon the counts, and beyond regna were the marcher areas, ruled by powerful governors. These marcher lordships were present in Brittany, Spain, and Avaria. Charlemagne also created two sub-kingdoms in Aquitaine and Italy, ruled by his sons Louis and Pepin respectively.