Analysis of the State Church Charlemagne

During the sway of Charlemagne was an epoch of almost incessant warfare. The church was objected by the people he ruled. He successfully accomplished the downfall of all German speaking tribes and he extended his kingdom in all direction. He also Christianized it. The world in which Charlemagne lived was experiencing a continuous war and the people were pagans. He tried to overcome the war which at last came to an end. He also tried to convert people to Christianity. (Einhard 58)

Charlemagne was the first Holy Roman Emperor. This title symbolized the cooperation between church and state that ensured the Roman popes’ power over the Western Church and the Frankish emperors’ power over much of Christianized Western Europe. Under Charlemagne, King of the Franks, the pressure of the Catholic Church had been powerfully resistant.

New affiliation between the Frankish kings and the popes were in progress. Their early program of church modification was greatly long drawn by Charlemagne. Pepin had also given his protection to the popes when Rome was threatened by invaders. Charlemagne sustained the tradition. This condition led a new interdependence between church and state. Charlemagne exerted great pressure on the clergy and on church practice, and offered security to them. (Friedrich 87)

However, despite the general respect for Charlemagne, controversies were still extensive during this era. The ninth century eventually became a crucial era in terms of the authority of religion upon government and the improvement of Medieval Christendom, only distantly resolute by Charlemagne.

Fall down of Charlemagne’s Empire, the inception of the Viking invasions proved politically divisive in terms of governance and there were also many doctrinal controversies inherent to Christianity of the period to further tear apart Christians. The Archbishop of Rheims, Hincmar took a very strong stand against the absolutist stand of papal monarchy or kingly rule–like Charlemagne, he attempted to smack a sense of balance between the two authorial needs of Rome and kings.” (Einhard 42)

Through his efforts to spread Christianity and stop the war he made sure that there was a connection between the state and the church. This changed people’s beliefs and attitude towards the church. By the time Charlemagne died his state and the church had a strong connection thus strengthening the people’s faith.

Life of Charlemagne

Charlemagne was the son of Pippin III (the Short), who legitimately put an end to the Merovingian line of kings when he negotiated with the pope to be crowned King of the Franks, Bertrada was his Mother. When Pippin died, the kingdom of Francia was alienated between Charlemagne and his brother Carloman. Charles proved himself a competent leader from early on, but his brother was less so, and their affiliation was nervous until Carloman’s death in 771.

The supreme of medieval kings was born in 742, at a place unknown. He was of German blood and speech, and shared some characteristics of his people- strength of body, courage of spirit, pride of race, and a crude simplicity many centuries apart from the urbane polish of the modern French. He had little book knowledge; comprehend only a few books- but good ones; tried in his old age to become skilled at writing, but never pretty succeeded; yet he could converse old Teutonic and storybook Latin, and unstated Greek. (Friedrich 47)

When Charlemagne took the throne in 771, he straight away implemented two policies. The first policy was one of spreading out. Charlemagne’s objective was to bring together all Germanic people into one realm. The second policy was devout in that Charlemagne sought to translate all of the Frankish kingdom, and those lands he subjugated, to Christianity. As a result, Charlemagne’s sovereignty was discernible by approximately persistent rivalry. (Donald 58)

Charlemagne life form the individual law of the regime of Francia, he stretched out his territory through subjugation. He conquered the Lombards in northern Italy, acquired Bavaria, and campaigned in Spain and Hungary. Charles used unsympathetic actions in subduing the Saxons and practically exterminating the Avars of present-day Austria and Hungary. Though he had basically cumulative an empire, Charlemagne did not fashion himself “emperor,” but called himself the King of the Franks and Lombards.

After he under enemy control Lombards and became the sovereign, Charlemagne in progress construct of a fortress in Aachen. Ineffective cordon of Saragossa, Spain, is followed by an waylay of Charlemagne’s withdrawing defense force by the Basques at Roncesvalles. Charlemagne’s most solemn overwhelm took place when he botched to take Saragossa, retreated athwart the Pyrenees, and was ambush by Basques. (Donald 59)

Two years later he acknowledged from Pope Hadrian II an imperative application for give support to beside the Lombard Desiderius, who was invading the Papal States. Charlemagne snowed under and took Pavia, unspecified the coronet of Lombardy, established the contribution of Pepin and conventional the role of defender of the Church in all her sequential powers. Charlemagne completed a pilgrimage to Rome and his son Pippin was proclaimed King of Italy; he then met Alcuin, who agrees to move toward Charlemagne’s court. (Friedrich 64)

Charlemagne launched his enlightening sketch by ordering bishops and abbots to unbolt schools near their churches and monasteries. Charlemagne took power of Bavaria; bringing all the region of the Germanic tribes into one supporting component he conducted a sequence of campaigns beside the Avars in present-day Austria and Hungary. The Avars were ultimately shattered as a literary individual. Edifice on the cathedral in Aachen began and Pope Leo III was attacked in the streets of Rome and flew to Charlemagne for fortification. The king had him conducted safe and sound back to Rome. Charlemagne went to Rome to watch over a synod where Leo clears himself of the charges laid on him by his enemies. At Christmas mass, Leo crowned Charlemagne Emperor.

In 813, Charlemagne called Louis the Pious, Charlemagne’s sole existing lawful son to his court to accede to all of the lands that Charlemagne had under enemy control and proscribed. However, like his grandfather before him (and just as his father would have done if any of Louis’ brothers had lived); Louis alienated the lands among his sons according to the custom.

Charlemagne died in January 814. His achievements plunk amongst the majority noteworthy of the before time middle Ages, and even though the empire he built (called “the Carolingian Empire” after him) would not long outlive his son Louis, his consolidation of lands manifest a dividing line in the expansion of Europe.

Contribution of Charlemagne’s to the medieval church

Throughout the period of influence Charlemagne, from 768 to 814 A.D., the intensification of the Church in the west gained escalating supremacy over its eastern counterparts. Charlemagne, the son of Pepin the Short, was indoctrinated with the Christian religion early in his life, and as a result he grew to become the leading promoter of Christian conviction throughout the west. He continual role of papal defender in Italy and his father’s strategy of defensive capture in the north.

After defeating King Desiderius and the Lombards in 774 he crowned himself “King of the Lombards”. He amplified the size of his kingdom by powerfully converting “pagans” into Christianity. His easier said than done invasion was converting the Saxons into loyal Christian citizens.

Thus, after thirty-three years of war the Saxons acknowledged Charlemagne’s stipulations and renounced their religious convictions and customs and adopted those of Christianity, while those that refused were relocated throughout Gaul and Germany. In 800 A.D. on Christmas day Pope Leo III, who was imprisoned by the Roman aristocracy a year earlier but escaped to the protection of Charlemagne who then restored him as pope, crowned Charlemagne emperor.” (Donald 77)

Charlemagne made important reforms in the Catholic liturgy; he brought Anglo-Saxon traditions of humanism into Europe, and was the foremost scholar of the Carolingian Renaissance. He encouraged the use of “Carolingian minuscule”.

He built the beautiful basilica at Aix-la-Chapelle, which he adorned with gold and silver and lamps, and with rails and doors of solid brass. He had the columns and marbles for this structure brought from Rome and Ravenna, for he could not find such as were suitable elsewhere.

Charlemagne was a regular worshipper at this church as long as his health allowed, going morning and evening, even after nightfall, besides attending mass; and he took care that all the services there conducted should be administered with the utmost possible propriety, very often warning the sextons not to let any improper or unclean thing be brought into the building or remain in it.

He provided it with a great number of sacred vessels of gold and silver and with such a quantity of clerical robes that not even the doorkeepers who fill the humblest office in the church were obliged to wear their everyday clothes when in the exercise of their duties. He was at great pains to improve the church reading and psalmody, for he was well skilled in both although he neither read in public nor sang, except in a low tone and with others. (Friedrich 70)

Charlemagne was also a devoted Christian. He supported the Church, giving generously at his own expense as well as that of the state to support the Church and combating to protect the Pope and the Roman Catholic Church’s property in Italy. On Christmas Day in 800, Pope Leo III crowned Charlemagne “Emperor and Augustus.” This could have created conflict since the emperor of the Byzantine Empire already possessed this title, but Charlemagne quickly sent gifts and envoys to appease his usurpation.

Charlemagne was forth ward in succoring the deprived, and in that unjustified munificence he not only supported in his own country and kingdom, but when he revealed that there were Christians living in poverty in Syria, Egypt, and Africa, at Jerusalem, Alexandria, and Carthage, he had sympathy on their needs, and used to send money over the seas to them. Charlemagne zealously strove to make friends with the kings beyond seas so as to get help and relief to the Christians living under their rule. (Claster 96)

Charlemagne treasured the Church of St. Peter the Apostle at Rome above all other holy and sacred places, and heaped its treasury with immense wealth of gold, silver, and precious stones. He sent grand and incalculable gifts to the popes; and throughout his whole sovereignty his aspiration was to bring back the ancient power of the city of Rome under his care and by his influence, and to defend and protect the Church of St. Peter, and to doll up and enhance it out of his own store above all other churches. Although he held it in such adoration, he only repaired to Rome to pay his vows and make his supplications four times during the whole forty-seven years that he reigned.

Charlemagne was so beloved by the Carolingian people he ruled, because he sympathized towards the peoples he subjugated, seldom apparent during the era. Emperor Charlemagne established an administrative balance between the requirements of the governing state and the demands of the powerful Christian church. He personified the ideal steadiness between Christian and lay demands in edict empire. (Friedrich 87)

Through Alcuin he caused corrected copies of the Scripture to be placed in the churches, and earned great credit for his enhancement of the much immoral text of the Latin Vulgate. Education, for aspirants to the priesthood at least, was furthered by the royal order of 787 to all bishops and abbots to keep open in their cathedrals and monasteries schools for the study of the seven liberal arts and the interpretation of Scriptures. (Fichtenau 35)

When Charlemagne accepted Christianity, he helped Christianity in diverse ways. Christians were no longer victimized for their faith, and the Emperor gave many gifts to Christian leaders. With the recognition of Christianity, the faith was able to spread throughout. Christianity became a part of the government. Children were taught Christian beliefs and these were passed down through generation. (Donald 96)

Charlemagne alleged that the church and state should be as close as possible. This belief brought about deformation of the Christian faith. In order to please all of his subjects, Charlemagne combined pagan worship with Christianity. However, though Constantine’s translation is uncertain when it comes to his true acceptance of the faith, he puts all his power into advancing the cause of the Church of Christ. (Eginhard and Monk 87)

With the church and state so narrowly entwined, the empire became stronger. A council of 300 bishops was formed called the Council of Nicea. Their work was to deal with disagreement about the spirituality of Jesus. This council made an official statement claiming Jesus religion, and because the church and state were so narrowly related, he fought for Christianity which led people to call him “the strong right hand of God”. (Claster 36)

Through his dedication to fight for the church brought about the spread of Christianity to many people leading to the growth of church. Charlemagne took advantage of Christianity’s moral and ethical principles, and he complete laws in support of the spread of the faith. Also, after Charlemagne became Emperor he came up with two policies for success. The first policy was expansion, and with Charlemagne’s military experience this was not difficult to achieve. The second policy was the conversion of all his lands to Christianity. (Capitol Hill) With this policy, the Christian faith spread quickly all the way through the lands, and many were transformed. (Donald 58)

Constantine’s and Charlemagne brought about the spread of Christianity making their empire victorious. With the close affiliation between the church and state, the spread of Christianity was not a hard task to accomplish. (Eginhard and Monk 39)

Charlemagne’s Legacy to church todayCharlemagne exerted manipulated the church history a lot. Despite the fact that, his influence was, appropriate speaking, simply that of conservatory, association and consolidation. In my opinion he in all probabilities did not reach far beyond an acceptably accurate accomplishment of the precepts of the Church. There is no doubt that his personality has been much overstated by the legendary poetry of the Church. His desire of chastity, and ignorance of the marriage-vow, must be with no doubt accepted.

Basically the Church was to him, not only the noticeable ambassador of Christ on earth, but also an appendage of evolution, an implement of administration and sometimes he was unprincipled enough in the use of this mechanism, as, for instance, when he compelled the Saxons, by force and with unexampled malice, to be baptized. On the other hand he contributed more than any one else to make the Church a supremacy in the account of the race. He enabled it to figure throughout the middle ages much-needed and extremely advantageous counterpoise to the military autocracy of feudalism. (Eginhard and Monk 45)

His nonexistence peculiarity between spiritual and temporal power characterizes his relation to the Church. Both were indistinguishable to him; he was unquestionably the holder of the one he essentially came to regard himself as the proprietor of the other too. Without much observation to the Pope, whom, under other state of affairs, he was not reluctant to be familiar with the delegate of the Church, he fated at the synod of Frankfort (794) the decrees of the second council of Nicaea concerning image-worship.

Charlemagne was open-minded to the Church, Churches and monasteries received mammoth endowments all over the place. Formation of dioceses, the building of churches, and foundation of missionary-stations, etc, was his first business after winning the territory. But of this church, made great and rich by his charity, he demanded complete submission. The metropolitans received the pallium from the Pope, but only with his authority; and the bishops he chose and selected alone. He would have been very much surprised if any one had humiliated him.

A century later on, it was preached from the roofs – that there was a spiritual power to which even the emperor obeyed. Church and State were one to him. His ideas to the government were theocratic, with the division, despite the fact that in his case, it wasn’t the Church, which had engrossed the State, but the State, which acknowledged itself with the Church. (Eginhard and Monk 47)

There was no evidence that the group of great men, which gathered around Charlemagne that the most important problem, which he anticipated the Church to solve, had a common refining deportment. All the great men of his age were associated, either as teachers or as pupils, with that school which he had founded in his palace, and which became the fertile germ of the medieval university. All these men were theologians, but not completely on the contrary. Their importance was their many-sidedness.

They had studied grammar, rhetoric, philosophy, classical literature, canon law, etc. They were poets, philosophers, statesmen, practical administrators, etc. They were precisely what he wanted, – people whom he could send out as legates to see how the counts were doing in the marches, or could settle as bishops in a diocese to take care, not only of the Church good, but also of the school and the court. for, in his views the Church was a society with many worldly duties of education and authority. Therefore, it became under his hands, a society with many worldly interests of possessions and aspirations.(Eginhard and Monk 53)

Through Charlemagne’s personality and devotion to Christianity, this led to growth and spread of Christian faith throughout the world. The church began from the medieval ages up to date. Christian faith, which started during the time of Charlemagne when he was ignited since his infancy, made a great contribution to the church today. (Claster 69)

Work Cited

Claster. J.N, (1982), the medieval experience 300-1400, New York and London, New

York University Press

Donald, B. (1965), the age of Charlemagne, London, Elek books

Einhard, (1960), the life of Charlemagne, New York, University of Michigan Press

Eginhard and Monk, (1926), early lives of Charlemagne, London, London: Chatto and


Fichtenau, H. (1978), the Carolingian empire, Toronto, University of Toronto

Friedrich, H. (1975), Charlemagne and his world, London, Weidenfeld and Nicolson guide/p/sg facts.html biography.htmldat


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