For 40 years, Charlemagne, the great conqueror of history, presided over various territories and united much of eastern and central Europe during the early Medieval period. On December 25, in the year 800, Charlemagne ascended to rule over the Holy Roman Empire.

A brief overview

One of the most prominent names in Medieval history, Charlemagne’s presence is difficult to overlook. His influence spans the latter half of the 700s all the way through late January of 814 when he died. During that time, Charlemagne led campaigns across Europe and into the Middle East.

Ancient Origins

His inherited title of King of the Franks was the first in a long list of titles Charlemagne acquired in his life. He founded the Carolingian Empire, resurrected the Roman Empire, and was canonized as a saint following his death and recognized throughout his empire.

The new Roman Empire

When Rome fell in the year 476, ending its rule that had lasted over 1000 years, much of Europe fell apart, politically. Charlemagne’s coronation 324 years later revived the long-dead empire and renewed the promise of unity among the territories of eastern Europe.

We’re Never Far From Where We Were

At the time of his coronation, Charlemagne was already presiding over Lombardy and the Carolingian Empire. He was the first emperor to rule from western Europe since the fall of the original Western Roman Empire. It was his final authoritative acquisition, and he governed the three territories until his death.

His personal life

Throughout his life, Charlemagne married at least four times and produced 18 children and three legitimate sons. In person, Charlemagne would have seemed intimidating, standing at or over six feet tall, which was well above average for the time.

Maclean’s

In addition to his conquering and ruling of much of Europe, Charlemagne is largely responsible for the spread and subsequent popularity of Christianity in the modern world. His battles were often fought in the name of God, and he maintained an intimate relationship with the Roman Catholic Church his entire life.