Note: Charlemagne (742 - 814) Charles I, Charles the Great, King of the Franks and Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire, is my 37th great-grandfather.
<1. Emporer Charles Charlemagne - also known as: the Great - was born on 2 Apr 0747 in Aix La Chapelle, Austrasia and died on 29 Jan 0813/0814 in Aix la Chapelle, France . He was the son of King Pepin I "The Short" of France <of-the-west-franks.htm> and Countess Bertha "Greatfoot" of Laon <of-laon.htm>. Emporer Charles married Empress Hildegard of Savoy <of-may.htm> about 0772 in Aachen, Rhineland, Prussia. Empress Hildegard was born in 0758 in Aachen, Rhineland, Prussia. She was the daughter of Count Gerold of Vinzgau I <of-may.htm> and Duchess Emma of Swabia <or-alemania.htm>. She died on 30 Apr 0783 in Thionville, Austrasia .
Empress Hildegard - Charlemagne married Hildegard in 771 after divorcing Desideria. With her, he had most of his children and all of his heirs. She was the daughter of an Alemani duke.
Emporer Charles - In 768, when Charlemagne was 26, he and his brother Carloman inherited the kingdom of the Franks. In 771 Carloman died, and Charlemagne became sole ruler of the kingdom. At that time the Franks were falling back into barbarian ways, neglecting their education and religion. The Saxons of northern Europe were still pagans. In the south, the Roman Catholic church was asserting its power to recover land confiscated by the Lombard kingdom of Italy. Europe was in turmoil.
CHARLEMAGNE (742?-814). "By the sword and the cross," Charlemagne (Charles the Great) became master of Western Europe. It was falling into decay when Charlemagne became joint king of the Franks in 768. Except in the monasteries, people had all but forgotten education and the arts. Boldly Charlemagne conquered barbarians and kings alike. By restoring the roots of learning and order, he preserved many political rights and revived culture. Charlemagne's grandfather was Charles Martel, the warrior who crushed the Saracens. Charlemagne was the elder son of Bertrade ("Bertha Greatfoot") and Pepin the Short, first "mayor of the palace" to become king of the Franks. Although schools had almost disappeared in the 8th century, historians believe that Bertrade gave young Charles some education and that he learned to read. His devotion to the church motivated him throughout life. Charlemagne was tall, powerful, and tireless. His secretary, Eginhard, wrote that Charlemagne had fair hair and a "face laughing and merry . . . his appearance was always stately and dignified." He had a ready wit, but could be stern. His tastes were simple and moderate. He delighted in hunting, riding, and swimming. He wore the Frankish dress--linen shirt and breeches, a silk-fringed tunic, hose wrapped with bands, and, in winter, a tight coat of otter or marten skins. Over all these garments "he flung a blue cloak, and he always had a sword girt about him." Charlemagne's character was contradictory. In an age when the usual penalty for defeat was death, Charlemagne several times spared the lives of his defeated foes; yet in 782 at Verden, after a Saxon uprising, he ordered 4,500 Saxons beheaded. He compelled the clergy and nobles to reform, but he divorced two of his four wives without any cause. He forced kings and princes to kneel at his feet, yet his mother and his two favorite wives often overruled him in his own household. Charlemagne Begins His Reign...
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