Charlemagne’s quest to restore the Roman Empire Name Institution Tutor Date Charlemagne’s quest to restore the Roman Empire In early medieval times, between the middle 6th century and early 7th century, most of Western Europe and especially Germany was ruled by Emperor Charlemagne…
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It is the purpose of this essay to discuss the efforts made by Charlemagne during his reign, to restore the former glory of the Roman Empire. Charlemagne was involved in numerous wars that he started himself, or those started by his late father. It was Charlemagne’s mission to expand the territory of the Franks and gain control over vast territories. Accordingly, Charlemagne was involved in wars with people such as the Danish, Saxons, Spanish, Huns, Slavs, among other tribes2. In all these wars, Charlemagne and his army emerged victorious and forced the other tribes to surrender. These newly acquired territories increased the size of Charlemagne’s empire to almost three times that ruled by his father3. By the end of his rule, Charlemagne had expanded the Frankish Empire to be the largest in Europe, coming second only to the ancient Roman Empire. Charlemagne’s many accomplishments in war won him as much accolades. He became the most revered king in Europe and every ruler, ranging from the Greeks to the Persians wanted to befriend him. Friendship with Charlemagne meant being well protected from one’s enemies, in addition to trade benefits. Charlemagne ruled Western Europe from Aachen, the center of his empire. Accordingly, the royal palace was stationed at Aachen. Charlemagne enlisted the services of Christian clerics to work for him at the palace. From Aachen, Charlemagne ruled most of present day Europe including: France, Germany, Switzerland, Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, Italy, and Austria4. Aachen was strategically positioned such that Charlemagne was able to govern both the western and eastern sides of the Frankish empire effectively. Charlemagne believed in bringing services closer to people, thus he decentralized the administration of his empire, gave more rights to the subjects and relieved the clergy and nobles of some of their powers. As a religious man and specifically a Christian, Charlemagne was keen to ensure that people had proper places of worship. The “Holy Mother of God” basilica was built at Aix-la-Chapelle for religious practices5. This basilica was a great work of architecture that symbolized the architectural prowess of the people of Western Europe. The basilica was adorned with gold, silver, brass and marbles. Charlemagne was also very concerned about the appearance of sacred places and would routinely order priests and fathers to repair any damaged edifices. During his reign, Charlemagne insisted on the importance of the parish church by encouraging every village to have a church and a priest. Charlemagne forged a strong friendship with Pope Leo III. This ensured that Charlemagne’s empire had strong connections with Rome, thus the strengthening of the Christian faith. It was this close association with the pope that led to Charlemagne being crowned “emperor” by the pope. During Charlemagne’s period of influence, trade and commerce flourished due to various changes introduced in the monetary system. One of the most important changes that Charlemagne introduced was the use of silver as the medium of exchange in Europe. Prior to this, gold was the only form of currency used to transact business all over Europe. Since silver was more available, business transaction became easier and more people were able to participate in commerce6. In addition to the introduction of silver as
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