Introduction

Throughout history, there have been many good and bad rulers, from the bravery of Alexander the Great, to the madness of George III. None, however, helped shape European feudalism like Charlemagne, King of the Franks, First of the Holy Roman Emperors. His advancements in government were not his only advancements though. He created an educational system for his people. While far behind the public and private educational systems of today, in the 8th and 9th century, it was a start. He also helped spread Christianity throughout Europe. Born in Northern Europe in 752, he was to become one of history's great leaders, and precursor to the Holy Roman Empire.
Brief History of the Line of Frankish kings.

In 481, Clovis became king of one of the Frankish tribes. Because of a bet he made with his wife, he became Christian, and he forced 3,000 of his soldiers to become Christian also. This would eventually gain the support of the Catholic Church for both himself and the Franks. However, Clovis's qualities as a leader were not passed on to his sons, and on Clovis's death, his sons divided the kingdom that he worked to build. Later Merovingian kings became inept at ruling the kingdom, and eventually became kings in just name only. The business of ruling the kingdom was left to the "Mayor of the Palace". In 751, Pope Zacharias arranged for Childeric III to be sent to a monastery and for Pepin, Mayor of the Palace, to be crowned king. But, the alliance between the Papacy and the Franks would soon be tested. Aistulf, king of the Lombards, captured lands north of Rome and announced his intention to capture Rome itself. In an attempt by the Papacy to prevent this disaster, the Pope sent out to ask Pepin the Short, for his assistance in dealing with the Lombards. He would eventually defeat the Lombards in battle, and the land that was gained was given to the Catholic Church, in the Donation of Pepin which created the Papal States.

Birth and Parentage, and Childhood

Charles I, or Charlemagne was born in 742. He was the son of Pepin the Short and Bertrada. Little is known about his childhood, other than the fact that he liked riding horses and hunting. He attempted to learn how to write, but was unsuccessful. He did however learn how to speak fluently in Latin, despite his attempt at learning how to write. Charlemagne's roots can be traced back to Ansegis, Mayor of Austrasia and Begga. His most famous ancestors however, were his father and grandfather, Pepin the Short and Charles Martel, respectively. After the death of Pepin the Short, Charlemagne and his brother Carloman were proclaimed kings by their supporting nobles, and were anointed by their respective bishops.

Military Successes During his life


In 769, Aquitaine and Gascony broke into rebellion. Charlemagne was forced to try to crush these rebellions without his brother's assistance. Charlemagne marched his army through Bordeaux and defeated the rebel leader, Hunold. Duke Hunold was to flee to the protection of Lupus, Duke of the Gascons. But Duke Lupus agreed to give up Duke Hunold to Charlemagne, and was granted peace. Hunold was not executed, but was returned to monastic alive. After the reconquest of Aquitaine, his mother tried to get Charlemagne to reconcile with his brother, but he was already making treaties with rulers that surrounded Carloman's kingdom. To try and seal the peace with Lombardy, he married the daughter of the king of Lombardy, Desiderata. Pope Stephen III did not like this marriage, for they encouraged Frankish kings to weaken the power of the Lombards, whose territories bordered upon it's own. He then made an alliance with her father, Desiderius, which made the Pope give up his objections to the marriage. However, after one year, Charlemagne divorced his wife and married Hildegarde, a Suabian noblewoman. In 771, there was a fear that Carloman, Charlemagne's brother, and Desiderata would create an alliance and attack Charlemagne, but in December of that year, Carloman died, leaving Charlemagne in complete control of the Frankish Kingdom.
In 772, Charlemage led an army into Saxony, in his first attempt to conquer the region. He then destroyed the Irminsul, a sacred temple and tree grove worshipped by all Saxony. He could have continued