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Charlemagne Research Papers

Charlemagne research papers examine the influence of this great leader. The history writers at Paper Masters can help you understand Charlemagne in a custom written project that explores his rule or the prolific influence he had on the culture and society Europe.

After the fall of the Roman Empire, the period that followed in Western Europe has been called in world history research papers the Dark Ages.  The light of knowledge was replaced by fear and brutality across EuropeCharlemagneFor three centuries, barbarian tribes and local strongmen established tiny islands of feudalism.  In 800 AD, there was a brief return of knowledge and technology under the mighty empire of Charles the Great, Charlemagne.  The term paper should show that the Carolingian Renaissance saw the birth of the first true European civilization, short lived as it was.

Carolingian Renaissance

The Carolingian dynasty, founded by Pepin of Heristal, rose to power as the Merovingians faded.  Charles Martel consolidated his power over the Franks after his defeat of the Muslims at Tours (AD 732).  In 751, his son Pepin the Short was crowned King of the Franks.  In 768, Charlemagne assumed the throne.

Charlemagne is an immense historical figure.  Legendarily nearly seven feet tall in height, this dark ages leader, who would rise to be considered the founder/leader of two countries, is historical, somewhat mythical and certainly renowned.  As one author writes, “No other figure of antiquity means so much in so many ways to the modern world as Charlemagne. No other had such a profound effect upon all times succeeding his own down to these of ours.”  This paper will explore the following regarding Charlemagne:

  1. The world that Charlemagne transformed through military might
  2. The reestablishment of cultural, religious and political/legal reforms absent since the fall of the Roman Empire.
  3. To better understand the immensity of Charlemagne’s accomplishments and rule

The understand Charlemangne's influence, one must first explore his heritage and the age in which he lived. As one historian so aptly writes: “Nor, again, do the greatest of men stand outside the sympathies, the hopes, and fears of the generation which has produced them.” Though Charlemagne had the position, authority and drive of leadership within his personhood, it was also significantly shaped by the world around him.

Charlemagne, also known as Charles, was born in 742 as the eldest son of a Frankish leader, Pepin.  “Pepin the Short” was considered a Mayor and had influence over some significant territories, along with his brother, Carloman. Between them, they had quite a powerful influence over much territory.  Pepin was able to impose peace throughout the land by “suppressing the constantly recurring revolts.”  The Pope at that time, Pope Zacharias, realized in his deliberations with Pepin that it would be beneficial to ally with this powerful man.  His conclusion:  “It was better to give the name of the king to him who possessed the power rather than to him who did not, so that order could be preserved.”  He spoke this because the real royal blood (Childeric III) lay elsewhere, but lame and impotent.  The Pope saw that the leadership should belong to the actually powerful, rather than just those in power by name or heritage.  So, Pope Zacharias created a strong alliance with the Carolingians.  Not soon after, under this alliance between the papacy and the Carolingians, Zacharias’ successor, Pope Stephen II, requested that Pepin come to the aid of Rome to help fight off the Lombards.  Pepin defeated these foes and as a result Pope Stephen II crowned him, along with his two sons, Charlemagne and Carloman, in 754 A.D.

Charlemagne, as a growing lad, watched and accompanied his father on military exploits against the Lombards (Germanic peoples who were in central and northern Italy). Very keenly we can see the result:   “Charlemagne learned at an early age the importance of both strong leadership on the battlefield and of close links between secular power and the Roman Catholic Church.”  And in fact, as was already mentioned, with the Pope crowning their family as monarchy, that power was firmly linked.  The stage was set for his rise to even greater leadership and influence.

Upon their father’s death, Charlemagne, and his younger brother Carloman, were each given a part of Francia.  Carloman took the part that his uncle and namesake had governed, and Charlemagne took the land that his father, Pepin, had overseen.  This next generation of Carolingian leaders were not only divided over the land they inherited, but also were somewhat divided with one another.  Einhard, friend and early biographer of Charlemagne writes:  “Peace was only maintained between them with the greatest difficulty, because many of Carloman's party kept trying to disturb their good understanding, and there were some even who plotted to involve them in a war with each other.”  

Carloman, ten years younger than Charlemagne, was described as being “a boy in years and abilities, peevish, consequential, and a willing prey to the flatterers who told him that, as one born in the purple, he had a claim to the whole and not a poor half of the kingdom.” On the other hand, Charlemagne, was confident, very aware of the reputation that he had gained by fighting in his father’s battles and zealous to carry on his father’s traditions.  It is this reputation of his might and tenacity that would inspire poetry and ballads lifting Charlemagne to an almost mythical status.  This description, at length, will give aid to understanding this great historical leader:  He was so hardy, they tell us, that he would hunt the wild bull single-handed, so strong that he felled a horse and rider with one blow of his fist.  He could straighten four horseshoes joined together, and lift with his right hand a fully equipped fighting-man to the level of his head. His forehead was majestic, his nose like an eagle's beak. He had the eyes of a lion: when he was angry they gleamed so that no man could look him in the face. He dressed like a Frank of the ancient days, scoffed at foreign fashions, loved the speech and the songs of his own Austrasia. Add to these external traits a tireless energy, an iron will, a keen love of order and of justice, deep-seated religious instincts, and under all an exuberant animal nature: such was the man as he appeared to his contemporaries. Hard he might be called by some; but those who knew him best loved him the most. When it became necessary to choose between the brothers, it was with Charles that their mother threw in her lot. Perhaps no verdict can be more emphatic than that of the Saxons who had every cause to hate him: ‘The best man on earth and the bravest was Charles: Truth and good faith he established and kept.’"

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