While the Arab-Islamic empire ruled in the Middle East, North Africa and the Spanish peninsula, the Franks empire stretched across Central and Western Europe.
Drawn by many internal disputes between the various noble houses and the majordomo (janitor), the area was continuously expanded by the respective rulers of the Franks. Particularly noteworthy here is the victory over the Neustrier in today's northern France, where the ruler Karl incorporated this 717 into the Reich. Further incorporation took place at the Frisians and partly at the Saxons. Through the ongoing attacks by Muslims who occupied the Spanish peninsula, the Franks Empire extended its borders to Barcelona, where the border ran as far as Pamplona, thus protecting the south-western part of Europe from the Arab-Islamic empire.
In 771 Karl, commonly known as Charlemagne, became king of the Franks. Through the constant raids on the unoccupied Saxon lands Charles led 772 his army against the insurgents until 773 an intervention in Italy was necessary to support the pope against the Lombard king Desiderius and dissatisfied Franks. By defeating Desiderius and skilful negotiations in 774, Charles persuaded the Lombard dukes to accept him as king and secure peace in the region.
Due to the continuing attacks of the Saxons, Karl had to take care of the Italian campaign again immediately around the eastern border of his empire. Thus, in 775, a rather brutal campaign was waged against the Saxons to finally end the rebellion. In 776 Charles had to devote himself to Italy again, because there was a rebellion against his rule was fanned. This was also terminated, but after only a few weeks, it was again the Saxons who rebelled against Karl. However, this time the Saxons quickly recognized Charlemagne as their king due to the devastating uprising in Italy.
So peace in the Frankish empire lasted for 2 years when in 778 on the Spanish peninsula the Muslims invaded the north into present day southern France. There, too, Karl had to intervene with his army, could repulse the invasion and keep the border from Barcelona to Pamplona.
In 777, Karl invaded the present-day territory of Bavaria, where he defeated the local Avars, whose empire was already decaying. In 778, the Saxons revolted again, so Karl was forced to provide peace in this area until 782. Because of the constant uprisings Karl read in the same year allegedly revenge 4,500 Saxons in the so-called "blood court" of Verden executed. Likewise, as part of the integration of the Saxons into the Frankish Empire, he tried to eradicate their pagan practices. But only in the year 804 after Karl started to deport Saxony to Francia, the region was finally pacified.
Over time, the Franks empire split into the eastern-Germanic and the formerly Roman-Gallic. By the Treaty of Verdun in 843 by the sons of Louis the Pious the separation became permanent. The today's name of Franksreichs is to be derived by this split today.
You can find the right literature here:
A History of the Franks: The Frankish Empire - Its Kingdom, Wars and Dynastic Conquest of Early Medieval Europe
Saint Gregory of Tours' comprehensive history of the Frankish people, who ruled over much of what is modern-day France and Germany, is published here in full with an original map and genealogical chart. Gregory's history of the Franks is valuable for having emerged when the events described were recent. As such this text, also known as Decem Libri Historiarum, has become one of the prime sources for historians of the so-called Dark Ages. Gregory provides a chronicle of Frankish monarchs, their lineage, principle battles, and the local Gallic culture. The Franks gradually assumed control of the governmental vacuum left by the crumbling Roman Empire. First formally recognized as an authority by the Roman Empire in the 4th century, less than two centuries later the Romans had all but ceded control of their Western Empire. This left many of the tribes previously denigrated as 'barbarians' to assume full control.
When Charlemagne died in 814 CE, he left behind a dominion and a legacy unlike anything seen in Western Europe since the fall of Rome. Distinguished historian and author of The Middle Ages Johannes Fried presents a new biographical study of the legendary Frankish king and emperor, illuminating the life and reign of a ruler who shaped Europe’s destiny in ways few figures, before or since, have equaled.
Living in an age of faith, Charlemagne was above all a Christian king, Fried says. He made his court in Aix-la-Chapelle the center of a religious and intellectual renaissance, enlisting the Anglo-Saxon scholar Alcuin of York to be his personal tutor, and insisting that monks be literate and versed in rhetoric and logic. He erected a magnificent cathedral in his capital, decorating it lavishly while also dutifully attending Mass every morning and evening. And to an extent greater than any ruler before him, Charlemagne enhanced the papacy’s influence, becoming the first king to enact the legal principle that the pope was beyond the reach of temporal justice―a decision with fateful consequences for European politics for centuries afterward.
Though devout, Charlemagne was not saintly. He was a warrior-king, intimately familiar with violence and bloodshed. And he enjoyed worldly pleasures, including physical love. Though there are aspects of his personality we can never know with certainty, Fried paints a compelling portrait of a ruler, a time, and a kingdom that deepens our understanding of the man often called “the father of Europe.”
The Carolingian Empire: The History and Legacy of the Frankish Rulers Who Unified Most of Europe and Established the Holy Roman Empire in the Middle Ages
*Includes medieval accounts
*Includes online resources and a bibliography for further reading
The Carolingian Dynasty, which carved out a major empire in Europe from 750-887, ushered in an important period in the Early Middle Ages. The Carolingians were in their time seen as the successors of Ancient Rome in the West, and while they sought to reestablish the glory of antiquity, they’re remembered today for effectively founding the states that would become France and Germany.
The Carolingians are also credited with creating the first Renaissance, the Carolingian Renaissance, centuries before the Italian Renaissance. Many of the great Latin classics survive today because of copies made during this period. In addition, the revisions made to written script at this time made texts easier to read, so much so that most of those changes remain in the modern system of writing.
The Carolingians lived at a moment in time where they saw that antiquity was seen as worth preserving, but they also sought to adapt it to the times, setting the groundwork for many aspects of what would become the modern world. Nobody was more important in bringing this about than Charlemagne, the most famous man of the Middle Ages, and likely the most influential. Upon the death of his father, Pepin the Short, in 768, Charlemagne became King of the Franks, and he proceeded to create one of the largest European empires since the collapse of Rome. Through his conquests across Western Europe and Italy, Charlemagne became the first Holy Roman Emperor after a famous imperial coronation by Pope Leo III.
In becoming the first Holy Roman Emperor, Charlemagne essentially established the new order on the European continent, thereby directly influencing how European politics and royalty proceeded in the coming centuries. As if to demonstrate how large he loomed in life, Charlemagne was numbered Charles I in Germany, France, and the Holy Roman Empire. Charlemagne is also viewed as having brought about the Carolingian Renaissance, a revival of art, religion, and culture through the Catholic Church. This helped establish a uniform European culture, helping Charlemagne earn the title “Father of Europe.” After World War II, when France and Germany were looking for common ground, Charlemagne would often be held up as a unifying force between peoples who had so often been enemies.
The Carolingian Empire: The History and Legacy of the Frankish Rulers Who Unified Most of Europe and Established the Holy Roman Empire in the Middle Ages profiles the rulers who helped bring about modern Europe, and the history of their empire. Along with pictures of important people, places, and events, you will learn about the Carolingians like never before.
Charlemagne: A Biography
Charlemagne was an extraordinary figure: an ingenious military strategist, a wise but ruthless leader, a cunning politician, and a devout believer who ensured the survival of Christianity in the West. He also believed himself above the rules of the church, siring bastards across Europe and coldly ordering the execution of 4,500 prisoners. Derek Wilson shows how this complicated, fascinating man married the military might of his army to the spiritual force of the Church in Rome, thereby forging Western Christendom. This is a remarkable portrait of Charlemagne and of the intricate political, religious, and cultural world he dominated.
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