Tag Archives: Charlemagne

Christmas with Charlemagne

When Pope Gregory first sent Latin missionaries to the outer northern wilds of Europe, he instructed them to make it easy for converts. If they were used to gathering on a hilltop somewhere on a certain day, find a saint’s … Continue reading

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Roland: the facts

In the “Song of Roland,” the first premise is that Charlemagne has spent seven years campaigning across Spanish Andalusia, taking back territory from the perfidious Saracens. The famous battle in which Roland loses his life takes place in the mountain … Continue reading

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The Song of Roland

The “Song of Roland” was the most popular epic of its time. Composed by a Frankish minstrel named Turoldus, the poem first appeared in written form around 950. Its subject matter was Charlemagne’s invasion into Muslim Spain in 778. The … Continue reading

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Balance of power in the north

While Abd al-Rahman was a fugitive in North Africa, power shifted decisively in Europe. The last major Germanic barbarian invasion came from the east and had settled in the Italian Alps with a capital at Pavia. The Langobards, or Lombards, … Continue reading

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Muslim invasion of France

In 730, the Land of the Franks appeared to be wide open for conquest. The Franks were the most primitive people the Muslims had yet fought, and their Merovingian kings had become increasingly powerless. The border areas were especially decentralized; … Continue reading

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Charlemagne’s vegetables

He wanted his stewards to send him all wolf hides caught and tanned on his estates, feed his hunting dog puppies at their own expense, and use barrels instead of leather bottles. He wanted them to be sure that the … Continue reading

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Charlemagne the Farmer: Pt. 1

The earliest detailed document we have about food in Dark Ages Europe is the set of regulations that Emperor Charlemagne imposed on his archipelago of manor farms. A king’s court was too large to stay in one place for long, … Continue reading

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