Charles The Great: Charlemagne

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Charles the Great, also known as Charlemagne, ruled between the years of 768 and 814 CE. Einhard, a friend of Charlemagne, considers him the greatest king of the middle ages. Still, what characteristics does Einhard consider great, and how are those traits manifested in Charlemagne? Using Einhard’s work, The Life of Charlemagne, we can gleam insight into what made Charlemagne so great, as well as what is the mark of a great medieval king. Einhard, documents how Charlemagne was a great general, a friend of The Church, and a supporter of education. Hence, I argue, that military prowess, religion, and patronizing education, are important to Einhard, and are the traits that made Charlemagne the greatest king of the middle ages.
The respect Einhard has for Charlemagne is of the highest regard. Einhard describes Charlemagne’s spirit as mettlesome and imperturbable, and
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Charlemagne brought in scholars from all across his empire and even beyond it. This is what historians refer to as the Carolingian renaissance, and was fueled by Charlemagne’s perception of having received a divinely ordained mission. As a result of the sheer extant of resources that Charlemagne used to back this mission, there was a significant increase in the circulation and standardization of basic Christian literature. Additionally, advances in bookbinding and handwriting; the letters we print today were derived from the Carolingian miniscule. And, all of this was despite the fact that Charlemagne himself couldn’t read or write. Hence, not only was Charlemagne powerful and influential, but he also used that power and influence to mobilize a literary and intellectual revolution during his reign. Einhard was himself a product of this renaissance and the biography of Charlemagne’s life, which he wrote as a tribute, should provide sufficient evidence that Einhard considers this to be one of the factors that made Charlemagne the greatest king of the middle

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