Реферат: Charlemagne. Карл I (Великиий, король франков)

WorldHistory I

HST218 – 102


By:Vlad Exxxx

Instructor:Mr. James Krokar


November18, 2002

<span Arial",«sans-serif»">Thehappiness and prosperity of the citizens

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Sometimes one great man is all ittakes to change the course of history around for a nation, a civilization, oreven the entire world. Luckily for the proponents of its proponents, it is hardto disagree with the theory of “persona magna.” The world has seen thehistorical repercussions of the distinguished exploits of such men as JuliusCaesar, Alexander the Great, and Abraham Lincoln. The remarkableaccomplishments of Charlemagne undeniably earn him a place among the mosttriumphant individuals in history.

Charlemagne was born into the family of the Mayor of thePalace in the court of King Childeric. Despite the lack of royal ancestry,Charles’ father, Pepin was the true ruler of the Franks until the eventualdeposition of impotent Childeric, at which time Pepin was named the officialmonarch. Upon Pepin’s demise, the state, which Pepin had gloriously expanded,was passed on to Charles and his brother Carloman who ruled jointly for somethree years, and after Carloman’s death, Charles became the King of the Franks(Einhard 27).

The reign of Charlemagne was a most glorious one. Duringhis forty-five years in power, Charles distinguished himself as a successfulconqueror, an imposing sovereign, an able diplomat, and an active advocate oflearning. His conquests doubled the empire he inherited, his masterfuldiplomacy helped him establish strategic alliances with neighbors, and hisappreciation for knowledge and scholarship sparked a “Carolingian Renaissance”(Painter 5), a period of revival of learning, while popular education waswaning in Europe during the early Middle Ages.

For the purpose of determining the medieval Franks’ viewof an ideal ruler, Einhard’s positively biased biography of Charlemagne is thebest source for information. As pointed out in Sidney Painter’s foreword to thebook, Einhard slants the focus toward the positive aspects, while “passing overdelicately details he considered embarrassing” (Painter 11). As a result ofsuch omission of most of the unfavorable biographical facts, the somewhatidealized view of Charlemagne becomes a model of a “perfect King” as envisionedby the people of his time.

Perhaps the skill most highly valued by Einhard as wellas by the people of the turbulent Middle Ages was the ability to conduct victoriouswarfare. After the fall of the Holy Roman Empire, the nations that came toinherit the land were engaged in frequent wars, trying to conquer lands inorder to collect tribute. Clearly, in times like those it was necessary for aking to be an apt military commander because the welfare of a nation almostdirectly depended upon the territory, and therefore the amount of arable landand natural resources. Einhard dedicates a large portion of the biography tothe history of Charlemagne’s conquests. He mentions Charles’ charisma andoutstanding leadership skills. If one were to closely examine the record of themost famous or most notorious kings in the history of mankind, the top of thelist would be dominated by the warrior kings: Alexander the Great, JuliusCaesar, Sundiata, Ivan the Terrible, and others. In today’s world, theviolation of other nations’ borders seems if not outrageous, then at leastunethical. But in the Middle Ages, when all government was done by the sword,the winner was the one who was most adept with that sword. What difference doesit make that Charlemagne could not read or write if his fifty-three successfulconquests brought all of Christian Western Europe except for Britain, Italy,and Sicily (Painter 5) to the Franks’ feet? In contrast to Charlemagne’sspectacular example, Einhard briefly describes the personality of the officialking in the time of Pepin, Charlemagne’s father:

There was nothing left the King todo but to be content with his name of King, his flowing hair, and long beard,to sit on the throne and play the ruler, to give ear to the ambassadors thatcame from all quarters, and to dismiss them, as if on his own responsibility,in words that were, in fact, suggested to him, or even imposed upon him (Einhard 23-24).

If anything had caused Einhard to give mention to such apetty figure as King Childeric, it must have been the need for an antithesis tocontrast with the marvelous personality of Charlemagne. Fulfilling the duty ofa historian would not explain such a motion because in Einhard’s own foreword,he indirectly confesses of creating a somewhat biased picture of his master andbenefactor, thereby renouncing the duty and the title of a historian.

Einhard undertook a considerable effort to discussCharlemagne’s positive personal traits: determination and steadfastness to gothrough with all his endeavors; strict adherence to justice and readiness tocounteract any “faithless behavior” with righteous vengeance (Einhard 31).Through Charlemagne’s example, Einhard specifies more valuable character traitsof a worthy ruler: perseverance to withstand whatever comes, without yieldingin the face of adversity or difficulty (Einhard 33).

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