How Much Do You Know About Charlemagne?



9 Questions

What is Charlemagne's other name?

Which of the following territories was not conquered by Charlemagne?

What was the Carolingian Empire?

What was the main reason for Charlemagne's campaigns against the Saxons?

What was the Carolingian Renaissance?

What was Charlemagne's relationship with his daughters?

What was Charlemagne's title after being crowned by Pope Leo III?

What was the Battle of Roncevaux Pass?

What was the cause of Charlemagne's death?


Charlemagne: The Father of Europe

  • Charlemagne, also known as Charles the Great, was the King of the Franks from 768, King of the Lombards from 774, and the Emperor of the Romans from 800.

  • He succeeded in uniting most of western and central Europe, founding the Carolingian Empire, which is considered the first phase in the history of the Holy Roman Empire.

  • Charlemagne was born before the canonical marriage of his parents, Pepin the Short and Bertrada of Laon.

  • He continued his father's policy towards protection of the papacy and became its sole defender, removing the Lombards from power in northern Italy and leading an incursion into Muslim Spain.

  • He also campaigned against the Saxons to his east, Christianizing them upon penalty of death, which led to events such as the Massacre of Verden.

  • Charlemagne was crowned Emperor of the Romans by Pope Leo III on Christmas Day at Old St. Peter's Basilica in Rome in 800, marking the height of his power.

  • He is called the "Father of Europe" for uniting most of Western Europe for the first time since the classical era of the Roman Empire.

  • His reign spurred the Carolingian Renaissance, a period of energetic cultural and intellectual activity within the Western Church.

  • The Eastern Orthodox Church viewed Charlemagne less favorably due to his support of the filioque and the Pope's preference of him as emperor over the Byzantine Empire's first female monarch, Irene of Athens.

  • Charlemagne died in 814 after contracting an infectious lung disease, and was laid to rest in the Aachen Cathedral, in his imperial capital city of Aachen.

  • He married at least four times, and three of his legitimate sons lived to adulthood, with only the youngest, Louis the Pious, surviving to succeed him.

  • Charlemagne is a direct ancestor of many of Europe's royal houses, including the Capetian dynasty, the Ottonian dynasty, the House of Luxembourg, the House of Ivrea, and the House of Habsburg.Charlemagne: Wars, Inheritances, and Family

  • Charlemagne had a joint inheritance with his brother Carloman, ruling over a single kingdom with distinct jurisdictions.

  • Aquitaine had been Romanized, and the region united with the Duchy of Vasconia under Felix of Aquitaine and Duke Lupus I, who founded a hereditary dynasty of Basque rulers of an expanded Aquitaine.

  • Charlemagne acquired Aquitaine after defeating Waifer, Duke of Aquitaine, in a ten-year war.

  • Charlemagne had 18 children with seven of his ten known wives or concubines and had only four legitimate grandsons.

  • Charlemagne appointed his sons to positions of authority and made Carloman the king of Italy and Louis the king of Aquitaine.

  • Charlemagne's sons fought many wars on behalf of their father, including wars against the Bretons, Saxons, Slavs, and Byzantine Empire.

  • Charlemagne kept his daughters at home with him and refused to allow them to contract sacramental marriages.

  • Charlemagne conquered the Lombard kingdom at the request of Pope Adrian I, taking over certain papal cities and invading the Pentapolis, heading for Rome.

  • Charlemagne was crowned Emperor of the Romans by Pope Leo III on Christmas Day in 800, marking the first time since 476 that a person other than the Byzantine Emperor had been crowned emperor.

  • Charlemagne's empire was divided into administrative units called counties, which were ruled by counts, and each county was subdivided into hundreds and governed by a centenarius.

  • Charlemagne was a patron of the arts and education, establishing schools and inviting scholars to his court to translate and copy ancient texts.

  • Charlemagne's death marked the beginning of the Carolingian decline, with his empire being divided among his three surviving grandsons.Charlemagne engaged in constant warfare throughout his reign, conquering Saxonia and converting it to Christianity in the Saxon Wars. He also conquered Italy and established himself as king of the Lombards. Charlemagne extended Frankish authority over the Pyrenees by subduing the south-western marches of Toulouse and establishing vassal counties on the southern Pyrenees that were to make up the Marca Hispanica. He was engaged in a struggle against Islam in Hispania throughout the latter half of his reign, and his son Louis was in charge of the Spanish border. Charlemagne conquered Corsica and Sardinia and the Balearic Islands, which were often attacked by Saracen pirates. The Franks continued to press forward against the emir, and the last conquest brought them to the mouth of the Ebro and gave them raiding access to Valencia. In addition, Charlemagne had contact with the caliphal court in Baghdad and received an Asian elephant and a clock from the caliph. The Battle of Roncevaux Pass saw the Basques attack and destroy Charlemagne's rearguard and baggage train. Finally, the Saxons maintained the peace for seven years, but there were several rebellions that were quickly crushed.Charlemagne's Expansion and Coronation as Emperor

  • Charlemagne annexed the Kingdom of Lombardy in 774 and placed the Papal States under Frankish protection.

  • He absorbed the Duchy of Bavaria in 774 and established tributary marches among the Slavic Sorbs and Czechs.

  • Charlemagne acquired Bohemia, Moravia, Austria, and Croatia, among other Slavic areas.

  • In 789, Charlemagne invaded Bavaria and deposed Tassilo III, Duke of Bavaria, and put him in a monastery.

  • Charlemagne marched against the Avars in 790, ravaged their territory, and subdued them.

  • In 803, Charlemagne sent a Bavarian army into Pannonia, defeating and bringing an end to the Avar confederation.

  • In 789, Charlemagne marched an Austrasian-Saxon army across the Elbe into Obotrite territory and subdued the Slavs.

  • Charlemagne won a major victory over the Croats in 796 and made himself an overlord over them.

  • Charlemagne was crowned Imperator Romanorum ("Emperor of the Romans") by Pope Leo III in 800.

  • Historians debate whether Charlemagne was aware of the coronation beforehand and why it was granted.

  • Charlemagne used the title to claim that he was the "renewer of the Roman Empire."

  • Charlemagne preferred the style "Charles, most serene Augustus crowned by God, the great, peaceful emperor ruling the Roman empire" to "Emperor of the Romans."


Test your knowledge of one of the most influential figures in European history with our Charlemagne quiz. Learn about his conquests, his legacy, and his coronation as the first emperor of the Holy Roman Empire. From his battles against the Saxons to his patronage of the arts, this quiz covers all aspects of Charlemagne's life and reign. Challenge yourself and discover how much you really know about the "Father of Europe."

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