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April 2, 747?
January 28, 814
Emperor (800-814), Holy Roman Empire
Father Pippin III, son Louis I
Charles I, Charles the Great
Charlemagne was a medieval emperor who ruled much of Western Europe from 768 to 814 and was the founder of the Carolingian Empire. Charles the Great was the king of the Franks (768–814), king of the Lombards (774–814), and first emperor (800–814) of the Romans and of what was later called the Holy Roman Empire. Charlemagne united the majority of western and central Europe. He encouraged the Carolingian Renaissance, a cultural and intellectual revival in Europe.
In 771, Charlemagne became the sole ruler of the Franconians and continued his father's policy towards the papacy and became its protector, removing the Lombards from power in northern Italy. After becoming king, he conquered the Lombards, the Avars and Bavaria, among others. He earned a reputation for ruthlessness after three-decades-long series of battles against the Saxons.
Charlemagne united most of Western and Central Europe for the first time since the classical era of the Roman Empire. On December 25, 800, at St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome, Pope Leo III crowned Charlemagne as emperor of the Romans. As emperor, he promoted education and encouraged the Carolingian Renaissance, a cultural and intellectual revival in Europe.
In January 814 Charlemagne fell ill with a fever, and died one week later. He was laid to rest in the Aachen Cathedral, in his imperial capital city of Aachen. When Charlemagne died, his son Louis the Pious succeed him.
Charlemagne became a legendary figure endowed with mythical qualities. Today, Charlemagne is referred to by some as the father of Europe.
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