Charlemagne, Emperor, 742-814

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Charlemagne or Charles the Great (2 April 748 – 28 January 814) was the King of the Franks, the Lombards, and the Emperor of the Romans. During the Early Middle Ages, he united the majority of western and central Europe. He was the first recognised emperor to rule from western Europe since the fall of the Western Roman Empire around three centuries earlier. The expanded Frankish state that Charlemagne founded is called the Carolingian Empire. He was later canonised by Antipope Paschal III.

Charlemagne was the eldest son of Pepin the Short and Bertrada of Laon. He became king of the Franks in 768 following his father's death. He continued his father's policy towards the papacy and became its protector, removing the Lombards from power in northern Italy and leading an incursion into Muslim Spain. He campaigned against the Saxons to his east, Christianising them upon penalty of death and leading to events such as the Massacre of Verden. He reached the height of his power in 800 when he was crowned "Emperor of the Romans" by Pope Leo III on Christmas Day at Old St. Peter's Basilica in Rome.

Charlemagne has been called the "Father of Europe" (Pater Europae) as he united most of Western Europe for the first time since the classical era of the Roman Empire and united parts of Europe that had never been under Frankish or Roman rule. His rule spurred the Carolingian Renaissance, a period of energetic cultural and intellectual activity within the Western Church. The Eastern Orthodox Church viewed Charlemagne less favourably due to his support of the filioque and the Pope's having preferred him as emperor over the Byzantine Empire's first female monarch, Irene of Athens. These and other disputes led to the eventual later split of Rome and Constantinople in the Great Schism of 1054.

Charlemagne died in 814 and was laid to rest in Aachen Cathedral in his imperial capital city of Aachen. He married at least four times and had three legitimate sons who lived to adulthood, but only the youngest of them, Louis the Pious, survived to succeed him.

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
referencedIn Kirkland, John Thornton, 1770-1840. Papers, 1788-1837 and undated Harvard University Archives.
referencedIn ITALIAN INSCRIPTION on lead, consistitng of thirty-one lines in capital letters, beginning, EN TELO ANNO DNI DCCLXXIV., and purporting to be a record of the recovery of Pavia from the Lombards by Charlemagne, in the year 774. lt is stated that this r..., 1202 British Library
referencedIn MISCELLANE0US theological treaties, viz.: 1. "Passio beati Thome martyris Cantuariensis archiepiscopi" : the anonymous "Passio" printed from two other MSS. by J. A. Giles, Vita S. Thomae, ii, 1847, p. 137, Migne, Pair. Lat. cxc, col. 317, and by J. C..., 12th century British Library
referencedIn Costanzi, Giovanni Battista, 1704-1778. Il Carlo magno: festa teatrale in occasione della nascita del Defino offerata alle sacre reali maesta cristianissime del Re e Regina di Francia dal Cardinale Ottoboni protetiore degl'affari della corona. HCL Technical Services, Harvard College Library
referencedIn Powlett, Charles, 1764-1834. Letters : Shrewsbury Castle, to Mr. Booth, bookseller, 1814. University of Chicago Library
referencedIn Cabaniss, Allen, 1911-. Allen Cabaniss collection, 1865-1969. University of Mississippi
referencedIn MARTYROLOGIUM, Regula S. Benedicti, etc., viz.: 1. Martyrologium. Imperfect, beginning with the Martyrdom of St. Sebastian, xiii Kal. Feb. f. 7. 2. "Versus [decem] de Regula Sancti Benedicti," f. 83 b. 3. "Epistola Congregationis Sancti Benedicti ad ..., 12th century-14th century British Library
referencedIn LATIN INSCRIPTION on lead, consisting of thirteen lines in capital letters, beginning, IN NOMINE SANCTE ET INDIVIDVE TRINITATIS, and purporting to be a decree of the Emperor Charlemagne, on his assumption of the Western Empire. Dated Bologna, xiv. ka..., 0801 British Library
referencedIn ANTONII CORNAZANI Oratio in heroicis de laudibus et triumphis Ludovici [XI.] , Regis Franciæ, et de vita Caroli Magni. The original presentation copy to Louis XI., written in silver letters, with the royal arms of France emblazoned on the first page ... British Library
referencedIn Seeberger, Thomas G. Some ancestors and descendants of Charlemagne / compiled by Thomas G. Seeberger. Manatee County Public Library System
referencedIn PARHAM MS. LXIV. LIVES of, and narratives concerning, Charlemagne, with William of Malmesbury's De Gestis Regum Anglorum, William of Jumièges, Gesta Normannorum, excerpts from Suger, Gesta Ludovici, etc. : a collection of historical material probably... British Library
referencedIn EXCERPTA quædam ad historiam Anglicam spectantia, ex libro primo Polichronicæ Rogeri Cestrensis, f. 1 ;-Abbreviatio Chronicorum Angliæ, a Bruti tempore ad Danorum adventum, f. 12 ; -Rogeri Cestrensis Polychronicæ liber quintus, usque ad annum 1339 d..., 15th century British Library
referencedIn Pseudo Turpin. Miscelánea cambisiana : [copia de fragmentos de obras impresas]. Biblioteca Nacional de España, Biblioteca Nacional - Madrid
referencedIn Acciaiuoli, Donato, 1429-1478. Vita Caroli Magni : manuscript, [ca. 1470]. Houghton Library
referencedIn Vercauteren, Fernand. Essay, 1952. Getty Research Institute
referencedIn LOMBARD LAWS; collection of laws of the kings of Lombardy, Rothar to Emperor Henry III, 643-1052; 11th-12th centt. Latin. Origin: Italy. The laws are printed in: L. A. Muratori, Rerum Italicarum Scriptores, i, pt.2 (1725), pp. 17-179; P. Canciani, Ba... British Library
referencedIn LAWS of the Franks and other Germanic peoples, and Capitularia of the early Carolingian emperors. Latin. This early 10th cent. MS. seems to have been divided about the 16th cent., probably when in the possession of the brothers Pierre and Francois Pi..., 10th century British Library
referencedIn PRAYERS and Meditations, in Latin and English, partly in verse. Much of the English part occurs also in the Vernon MS. in the Bodleian Library at Oxford. 1. Form of confession in Engl. prose, with explanation of the commandments, sins, senses and wor... British Library
referencedIn Chartaceus, in 4to., ff. 186, sec. xv. 1. Quædam de scriptoribus rerum gestarum Caroli Magni, quæ in hoc codice continentur. fol. 1. b. 2. Eginhardi vita Caroli Magni, omisso prologo. fol. 2. Ad calcem, "Explicit liber primus gestorum Karoli, incipit... British Library
referencedIn Manuscrits de la bibliothèque municipale de Lyon 1-635. Bibliothèque municipale (Lyon)
creatorOf COLLECTION of papal bulls and briefs from Stephen V (816-817) to Innocent XII (1691-1700), together with other papers relating to the history of the Roman Church; circa 797-1711. Latin. Copies, 17th cent. Partly printed (ff. 121-122). Table of conten... British Library
referencedIn "PHILOMENA. Gestes de Charlemagne." Account of the conquest of the cities of Carcassonne and Narbonne, and of the foundation of the monastery of Notre Dame de la Grasse, known as the Romance of Philomena, who is here called at f. 15 "lo maistre de la..., 14th century British Library
referencedIn "LEABHAR Mac Partholain," or book of Mac Partholan [see below, art. 11] a collection of romantic, religious, and other pieces, in Irish:-1. Legend of the Invention of the Holy Cross, the conversion of the Emperor Constantine and his mother, Helena, e... British Library
referencedIn "YSTORIA Karoli gloriosissimi regis et Turpini archiepiscopi Remensis" (so colophon): the French version of the chronicle of the pseudo-Turpin, originally made in 1206 for Renaud, Count of Boulogne (see Ward, Cat. of Romances. i, p. 583). Printed, in..., 13th century British Library
referencedIn Martello, Pier Jacopo, 1665-1727. Del Carlo Magno : poema / del sig. Pierjacopo Martello. University of British Columbia Library
referencedIn Codex membranaceus, in 4to., ff. 75, sec. fortasse xi., haud una manuscriptus. 1. Gesta Regum Francorum, partim e Gregorii, Turonensis Episcopi, Historia, partim aliunde desumpta, auctore incerto, sed qui tempore Theodorici II. vixit. [Folia nonnulla... British Library
referencedIn Boccaccio, Giovanni, 1313-1375. [Wood block of Irene and Charlemagne] Houghton Library
referencedIn Herzog August Bibliothek. De sanctitate b. Karoli Magni [microform]. Brandeis University Library
referencedIn Turpino, Giovanni. La vita di Carlo Magno Imperadore [sic] e di Rolando : scritta in Latino... 1839. UC Berkeley Libraries
referencedIn Pseudo-Turpin, fl. 748 or 9-753. Historii Caroli Magni et Rotolandi. University of Sheffield
referencedIn REGINONIS, Abbatis Prumiensis, Chronicon a Christo nato usque ad annum 905 ; in fine aliquid deest;-Thegani, chorepiscopi ecclesiæ Trevirensis, vita Ludovici Imperatoris ;-Eginhardi vita et gesta Caroli Magni;--De Sibyllis opusculum, venerabili Bedæ ... British Library
creatorOf Usuard, d. 876 or 7. [Martyrology and miscellaneous texts]. Pierpont Morgan Library.
referencedIn Vallaresso, Giacomo. Historia de origine et processu urbis usque ad Carolum magnum extracta de Mari historiarum : manuscript, 1478. Houghton Library
referencedIn Pierpont Morgan Library. [Universal chronicle to the death of Charlemagne]. Pierpont Morgan Library.
referencedIn CHARLEMAGNE: Cronicques et Conquestes de Charlemaine. Reproduction des 105 miniatures [in grisaille] de Jean Le Tavernier, d'Audenarde (1460) (Brussels, Bibl. roy. de Belg., MSS. 9066-9068) par J. Van den Gheyn. 1909.Joseph Van den Gheyn, S J, Keeper... British Library
referencedIn CHRONICLES of Kings of the Franks, etc., in Latin; viz.-1. "Vita Dagoberti Regis Francorum," scripta a monacho S. Dionysii, including also the life of Clovis, his son, ff. 3-25. 2. "Vita et conversatio gloriosissimi imperatoris Karoli . . . . Edita ..., 12th century British Library
referencedIn Medieval Miscellaneous Documents, 13th century; late15th Century Fray Angélico Chávez History Library, New Mexico History Museum.
referencedIn ROMANTIC and religious poems, in English, viz.:-1. "Kynge Charlys": a translation of the chanson de geste of Fierabras (for which see Cat. of Roman, i. pp. 616-619), in rhymed couplets. Quite distinct from the two known Middle-English versions, Sir ..., 15th century British Library
referencedIn Scott, Walter, Sir, 1771-1832. Autograph abstract of Turpin's History of Charlemagne, undated. Pierpont Morgan Library.
referencedIn 1. "KAROLINUS Egidii [Parisiensis], scriptus ad instruccionem illustris pveri Ludouici Francorum Regis filii." An hexameter poem on Charlemagne presented by Gilles de Paris to Louis [afterwards Louis VIII.], son of Philip Augustus, in 1200: in five b..., 13th century British Library
referencedIn OFFICEs and Hymns of the Roman Church, accompanied partly by musical notes, viz.:-Horæ Passionis Jesu Christi;-Horæ S. Crucis ;-Officium defunctorum; -Hymni, cum notis musicis;-Commendatio animarum;-Hymni in Officio S. Ludovici Regis, cum notis musi..., 14th century British Library
referencedIn Raphael Lemkin Collection, undated, [1763]-2002 (bulk 1941-1951) American Jewish Historical Society
referencedIn Powlett, Charles, 1764-1834. Letters : Shrewsbury Castle, to Mr. Booth, bookseller, 1814. Texas Christian University
referencedIn Westcott, John Howell, b. 1858. John Howell Westcott collection, 1915. Princeton University Library
referencedIn 1. CAPITULARIUM Caroli Magni et Ludovici Pii. A collection made in 827 by the Abbat of Fontenelles in Poitou, calling himself in this copy "Ansigisus." In four books, containing respectively 162, 46, 90, and 74 chapters; with a preface and table of c..., 10th century British Library
referencedIn Luce, Stephen Bleecker, 1827-1917. Letter, May 23, 1887. Naval War College, Henry E. Eccles Library
referencedIn "DELS miracles de Sainhta Maria Vergena," (v. Catalogue of Romances ii, p. 689) f. 1; "La ystoria de S. Turpi, arciuesque de Rems, facha del famos Rey Karlemagne," etc., (ibid. i, p. 592) f. 6 b; "Un libre que parla de las mereuilhas de la terra de Y..., 14th century British Library
referencedIn Banning, Pierson W. Notes made by Pierson Banning with regard to Browning's Americans of royal descent (1911) and his Magna Charta Barons and their descendants (1915) : descent from the surities for the Magna Charta of Hugh Bigod, Roger Bigod, Henry Bohun, Richard De Clare, Saire De Quincey and Geoffrey De Saye. Sons of the Revolution State of California
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Acciaiuoli, Donato, 1429-1478. person
associatedWith Banning, Pierson W. person
associatedWith Cabaniss, Allen, 1911- person
associatedWith Costanzi, Giovanni Battista, 1704-1778. person
associatedWith Herzog August Bibliothek. corporateBody
associatedWith Kirkland, John Thornton, 1770-1840 person
associatedWith Luce, Stephen Bleecker, 1827-1917. person
associatedWith Martello, Pier Jacopo, 1665-1727. person
childOf Pepin, King of the Franks, d. 768 person
associatedWith Pierpont Morgan Library. corporateBody
associatedWith Powlett, Charles, 1764-1834. person
associatedWith Pseudo-Turpin, fl. 748 or 9-753. person
associatedWith Raphael Lemkin, 1900-1959 person
associatedWith Scott, Walter, Sir, 1771-1832. person
associatedWith Seeberger, Thomas G. person
associatedWith Turpino, Giovanni. person
associatedWith Usuard, d. 876 or 7. person
associatedWith Vallaresso, Giacomo. person
associatedWith Vercauteren, Fernand. person
associatedWith Westcott, John Howell, b. 1858. person
Place Name Admin Code Country


Birth 0742-04-02

Death 0814-01-28




Ark ID: w6rc7vsr

SNAC ID: 85255416