By Derek Wilson
The best of medieval monarchs, Charles the good (742-814) towers over each suggestion now we have of nationwide heroes and semi-mythical champions. His army conquests passed these of Julius Caesar. He had the sagacity and commitment to public carrier of a Marcus Aurelius. In ruthlessness, as in commitment to private tradition, he was once comparable to Augustus. yet that's purely the start. Charlemagne used to be a phenomenon and phenomena don't die. Later ecu leaders from Frederick Barbarossa and Charles V to Louis XIV, Napoleon I and Hitler took Charlemagne as their version. His growing to be mythology encouraged the Crusades, fed the concept that of chivalry, strengthened absolutist regimes, excited nineteenth-century liberals and emerges this present day between those that declare Charles the nice because the founding father of eu team spirit. Charlemagne is likely one of the such a lot striking figures in eu heritage: merely through figuring out him in all his complexity do we start to comprehend Europe this present day. Derek Wilson's biography offers such a chance.
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Extra info for Charlemagne: The Great Adventure
10. 877/12. Reproduced by permission of Bildarchiv Foto Marburg. 11. Shrine of Charlemagne [detail], CS005690. © Corbis Inc. 12. Manuscript Illumination of Constellations and a Centaur From an Astronomical Tract, IH163906. © Corbis Inc.. 13. 423r Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris, France. Giraudon. French, out of copyright. 14. The Coronation of Louis I, Holy Roman Emperor from
In this case Pepin took his time about deciding which of his women to marry. What we know about Bertrada suggests that she was a formidable woman. She may have possessed a commanding presence. Charlemagne’s first biographer, Einhard, wrote of Charles’ appearance: He had a broad and strong body of unusual height, but well proportioned; for his height measured seven times his feet. His skull was round, the eyes were lively and rather large, the nose of more than average length, the hair grey but full, the face friendly and cheerful.
There was no question of his throwing himself at Pepin’s feet as a grovelling supplicant. His position might be weak and he would be asking the Frankish king for a major military commitment, but Stephen did hold certain strong cards. Pepin (who was, after all, merely a semi-educated barbarian) was a loyal son of the Church and it should be possible to overawe him with his sense of duty to protect the headquarters of Latin Christendom. There was also the fact that Pepin owed Rome a favour. Pope Zacharias had obliged the Frank by endorsing his seizure of the throne, and the king was therefore vulnerable to moral pressure to offer a quid pro quo.
Charlemagne: The Great Adventure by Derek Wilson