Charlemagne and the early middle ages
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Charlemagne and the early Middle ages. Week Eight. p etros = rock. Peter. petrify. Petra. g eo/terra = earth/land. t erra cotta. terrier. geology. Charlemagne and the early Middle ages. Week Eight. I. Aachen Chapel.

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Charlemagne and the early Middle ages

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Charlemagne and the early Middle ages

Week Eight

petros = rock




geo/terra = earth/land

terra cotta



Charlemagne and the early Middle ages

Week Eight

I. Aachen Chapel

  • Charlemagne’s Aachen Cathedral reflects the succession of the ancient Roman emperors and the Christianizing of Europe.

Aachen cathedral

The Octagons of Aachen

II. Charlemagne

  • Einhard’s hagiographical description

  • Reality: a barbarian Christian conqueror

bio/viv= life




dict = speak




III. The Making of Barbarian Kingdoms

A. Italian Ostrogoths

  • Theodoric the Great: Roman civil government and Germanic kingship

  • From chaos to Lombard rule after Theodoric’s death

    B. Spanish Visigoths

  • Wealthy and desirable territory

  • Muslims overthrow the Visigoths and establish caliphate in 711


III. The Making of Barbarian Kingdoms

C. Anglo-Saxons

  • Little kingdoms

  • Conversion to Christianity, as chronicled by Bede

  • Syncretism and Beowulf: story that chronicles the adventures of a hero who saves the Danes from the terrible monster Grendel



In Search of Beowulf

Beowulf trailer

III. The Making of Barbarian Kingdoms

D. Franks

  • Client state of Rome

  • Clovis and conquest (486 CE); conversion to Christianity; launches the Merovingian dynasty

Baptism of Clovis

IV. Charlemagne and the Carolingians

A. Charles Martel

  • Rise of aristocracy over kingdom. Why?

    1. Military: scorched earth and absolute fidelity

    2. Religious: loyalty and religious posts; church-state collusion


The Kingdom of Charlemagne

IV. Charlemagne and the Carolingians

B. Charlemagne

  • Conquest: Pippin’s son defeats the Lombards, Saxons, Avars, Muslims

  • Government: a crude Roman administration

Charlemagne’s Empire

Carolingian Renaissance

1. Spiritual renewal

  • The protector of all Christians under the Pope’s obedience

  • Rome crowns Charlemagne emperor in 800

    2. Intellectual renewal

  • Education: establishes schools; recruits intellectuals

  • Fusion of Germanic and Roman art

V. After Charlemagne

A. Overextension: not enough infrastructure

B. Division of the kingdom

C. Threats from outside

D. Return to aristocracies

E. Christianity spreads


Viking invasion


  • Charlemagne’s death

    • 814: buried under Palatine Chapel in imperial robes

Aachen Chapel today

Aachen’s hot springs

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