was one of Medieval Europe's most famous Kings. He became king of the
Franks in 768 CE, when his father died. He inherited his kingdom from
his father, Pepin the Short, who had inherited from his grandfather,
Charles Martel, also known as Charles the Hammer. Pepin and Charles
Martel were good kings, but
Charlemagne was far more.
was over 6 feet tall, with long blonde hair that seemed to glow in the
sun. He was always seen laughing, joking, or singing.
Charlemagne was not one to sit on a throne and rule.
He was always roaming about, either in one of his castles or
through the countryside. He
never just plain walked, He always strode. His dogs were his constant
companions, playing and barking, wherever he went.
If you wanted the king to do something, you had to walk with him.
Charlemagne was reputed to have a great memory.
He always addressed everyone by name.
He seemed to know everyone from the top princes down to the
always led his troops into battle. He
always wore a bright blue cape over his armor so that he could be easily
seen. He was a great warrior
and even though he fought in many battles he managed to survive them all
and live into his seventies. Since
most people died much younger during the medieval times this was another
wonder and part of his mystique.
The Franks were a great warrior tribe. Charlemagne and the Franks
defeated most of the other tribes in Europe and expanded the Frankish
Empire to cover Germany, France, Italy, and parts of Spain. This
also included Belgium, Holland, Luxembourg and Denmark.
means Charles the Great and he certainly was.
Some of the things he accomplished:
Ordeal / Trial by Jury: One
of the most important things Charlemagne did for his people was do away
with the old system of trial by ordeal and replaced it with trial
by jury in place of trial by ordeal.
Education & Preservation: Another change Charlemagne introduced
was his learning center at his main castle. Charlemagne
brought scholars from all over the world to his new learning
center. He put them to work teaching others how to read and
write. He also had them copy all the old manuscripts he could
find. During this copying, a system of illustrating and painting
with gold foil was developed. These copies were known as illuminated
created a new system to rule the huge empire he had created. He
created a new class of Nobles called counts. Each count was
responsible for his district (usually the size of a small
country). The counts ruled in the name of Charlemagne. To
ensure that the counts were ruling wisely Charlemagne made surprise
visits to each of them at least once a year and sometimes
Standardized Money: Each count appointed tax collectors to
collect the yearly taxes. The amount of the tax was set based upon
the population. Everyone knew how much tax they owed. But
there was a problem. Since most people paid their taxes through
barter, the local tax collector could set the value for the barter.
Charlemagne came up with a better system. He created silver coins,
each with a set value to use instead. Thus a farmer could sell his
crops for silver coins and then pay his tax with the silver coins.
There was no way to cheat on this. Everyone, especially the
peasants, loved the new system.
by Ordeal vs Trial by Jury
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