(Charles the Great; Charles I; Ger. Karl der Grosse; Lat. Carolus Magnus; ca. 742814). Founder of the Holy Roman Empire. Son of Pepin* the Short (founder of Carolingian dynasty). D. Aachen. Anointed (together with his father and his brother Carloman) king of the Franks 754; coruler with Carloman after Pepin died 768; sole ruler after Carloman died 771; crowned emp. of the Romans by Leo III December 25, 800. After his father and brother died he carried out the projects of his father and grandfather, bringing the Lombards into subjection in support of the papacy and assuming the Lombard crown. He then turned N to the task of conquering and Christianizing the Saxons, accomplishing this task after ca. 33 yrs. of successive campaigns. On extending the boundaries of his realm, he provided for speedy Christianization of acquired territory by covering the country with Christian institutions and forcing people to submit to Baptism and to full agreement with the cultus of the RC Ch. He considered such conversion of the whole pop. essential to the attainment of his pol. ends. To improve the moral and intellectual standards of the clergy, he required bps. and abbots to found schools in their cathedrals and monasteries. He summoned the most eminent educators of his own land and those of It., Sp., and Brit. (including Alcuin* of York) to direct an educ. program. Through monasteries and chs. he sought to spread civilization throughout his realm; promoted ch. music, previously neglected in Ger.; encouraged revival of Christian art; opposed iconoclasm and image worship. See also Ansegis.
J. Lord, Beacon Lights of History, III (New York, 1921), 5591; C. W. Previté-Orton, The Shorter Cambridge Medieval History, rev. P. Grierson, l (London, 1953), pp. 303333; H. Lamb, Charlemagne (New York, 1954); L. Wallach, Alcuin and Charlemagne (Ithaca, New York, 1959); R. Winston, Charlemagne (Indianapolis, 1954).
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