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Eight Facts About Charlemagne

By Yona Williams    4/12/08

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Continuing the exploration of the "Nine Worthies" – we come to Charlemagne, who is known as the King of the Franks (amongst other things throughout history). In this article, you will learn about his parents, as well as his significance when it comes to European progress.

Who is Charlemagne?

Did you know that Charlemagne translated into 'Charles the Great,' who is best referred to as the King of the Franks, where he ruled from 768 until his passing in 814? Just some of the things that this man was able to accomplish during his lifetime, included the expansion of the Frankish kingdoms, which transformed into a Frankish Empire. Most of Western and Central Europe was involved in this metamorphosis.

During his time in power, he conquered Italy, prompting Pope Leo III to crown him 'Imperator Augustus' on December 25th, 800. It was well known at the time that he was a competitor of Constantinople's Byzantine Emperor. Charlemagne is also linked to the Carolingian Renaissance, which promoted a revival of art, culture, and religion throughout the Catholic Church. All of the conquests abroad and reformations he made internally – he was able to make great strides in Western Europe and during the Middle Ages.

Eight Facts

1) At Roncesvalles (778), Charlemagne experienced one of his worst losses in his life.

2) Charlemagne was born on April 2nd (wither 742 or 747) at Herstal, Belgium. He passed away on January 28th, 814.

3) In history, Charlemagne would earn the reputation of becoming the founding father of the monarchies associated with France and Germany. He is also nicknamed 'the father of Europe.'

4) Pippin the Short was Charlemagne's father, who was also known as Pepin the Younger or Pepin III. His father became the Mayor of the Palace and the Duke of the Franks. Later, he assumed the role of King ogf the Franks, which lasted between 751 and 768.

5) Charlemagne's mother was Bertrada of Laon, who was also referred to as Bertha Broadfoot. This Frankish queen married Pepin the Short in 740. Eleven years passed until they became the King and Queen of the Franks – following the Pepin's successful coup against the Frankish Merovingian monarchs.

6) Charlemagne's parents had four children – one daughter and three sons. Carloman and Gisela lived to become adults, while Pepin died while still an infant. When their father passed away, it was Charlemagne and Carloman that inherited the kingdom in equal parts. Gisela later became a nun.

7) Louis was the only legitimate son of Charlemagne, who would survive his father and inherit his empire.

8) Charlemagne was married to five different women throughout this lifetime. He also produced his fair share of children, which also came as a result to his relations with countless concubines. However, Charlemagne was known as a family man as he kept his family rather close to him. When campaigning in other countries, it was not uncommon to see his sons accompanying him on these journeys.

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