The Perry-Poole Family Tree - Person Sheet
The Perry-Poole Family Tree - Person Sheet
NameCharles “Charlemagne” Martel , King of the Franks, Holy Roman Emperor
Birth2 Apr 742, Aachen, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany
Death28 Jan 814, Aachen, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany
MotherBertrada of Laon (720-783)
Misc. Notes
Charlemagne (742 or 747 – 28 January 814) (also Charles the Great; from Latin, Carolus Magnus or Karolus Magnus), son of King Pippin the Short and Bertrada of Laon, was the king of the Franks from 768 to 814 and king of the Lombards from 774 to 814. He was crowned Imperator Augustus in Rome on Christmas Day, 800 by Pope Leo III and is therefore regarded as the founder of the Holy Roman Empire, a reincarnation of the ancient Western Roman Empire. Through military conquest and defence, he solidified and expanded his realm to cover most of Western Europe and is today regarded as the founding father of both France and Germany and sometimes as the Father of Europe. His was the first truly imperial power in the West since the fall of Rome.

One of the monks studying at Charles' court, Einhard, described the emperor: "Charles was broad and strong and tall (his height being seven times the length of his foot). His head was round, his eyes large and lively, with a long nose, fair hair, and a laughing face. [Charles was always dignified] although his neck was thick and short and his belly was quite prominent; but the symmetry of the rest of his body concealed these defects. His gait was firm, his whole carriage manly, and his voice clear, but not so strong as his size led one to expect."

Charlemagne in later imagery (as in the Dürer portrait) is often portrayed with flowing blond hair, due to a misunderstanding of Einhard, who describes Charlemagne as having canitie pulchra, or "beautiful white hair", which has been rendered as blonde or fair in many translations. The Latin word for blond is flavus, and rutilo, meaning auburn, is the word Tacitus uses for Charlemagne’s hair.

Charlemagne wore the traditional, inconspicuous, and distinctly non-aristocratic costume of the Frankish people, described by Einhard thus:

“He used to wear the national, that is to say, the Frank, dress-next to his skin a linen shirt and linen breeches, and above these a tunic fringed with silk; while hose fastened by bands covered his lower limbs, and shoes his feet, and he protected his shoulders and chest in winter by a close-fitting coat of otter or marten skins.”

He accessorised too, wearing a blue cloak and always carrying a sword with him. The typical sword was of a golden or silver hilt. However, he wore fancy jewelled swords to banquets or ambassadorial receptions. Nevertheless:

“He despised foreign costumes, however handsome, and never allowed himself to be robed in them, except twice in Rome, when he donned the Roman tunic, chlamys, and shoes; the first time at the request of Pope Hadrian, the second to gratify Leo, Hadrian's successor.”

He could rise to the occasion when necessary. On great feast days, he wore embroidery and jewels on his clothing and shoes. He had a golden buckle for his cloak on such occasions and would appear with his great diadem, but he despised such apparel, according to Einhard, and usually dressed as the common people.

Charles tried, and failed, to learn to write. Much of his troubles were because Romanesque lettering had declined to an almost illegible cursive. He commissioned Alcuin, a great scholar at his court, to design a new type of writing, called small-letter script. This became the basis for the hand-lettering in manuscripts and books, eventually to be copied by woodblock and movable type printing--which are the basis for typesetting and fontography today. Thus, an innovation designed to help Charlemagne read became the foundation for all printing (in Roman letters) including books and computer printing.

In 813, Charlemagne called Louis, his only surviving legitimate son, to his court. There he crowned him as his heir and sent him back to Aquitaine. He then spent the autumn hunting before returning to Aachen on 1 November. In January, he fell ill. He took to his bed on the 22 January and as Einhard tells it:
“He died January twenty-eighth, the seventh day from the time that he took to his bed, at nine o'clock in the morning, after partaking of the holy communion, in the seventy-second year of his age and the forty-seventh of his reign.”

When Charlemagne died in 814, he was buried in his own Cathedral at Aachen. He was succeeded by his only son then surviving, Louis the Pious. His empire lasted only another generation in its entirety; its division, according to custom, between Louis's own sons after their father's death laid the foundation for the modern states of France and Germany.
Birth758, Savoy
Death30 Apr 783
ChildrenPippin I (773-810)
Last Modified 17 Apr 2006Created 14 Jan 2022 using Reunion for Macintosh
Created Friday, January 14, 2022 by Mike Perry

using Reunion for Macintosh