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“Right action is better than knowledge; but in order to do what is right, we must know what is right.”- Charlemagne Charlemagne, also known as Charles I, Charles the Great and the Father of Europe was an important Germanic figure in medieval times and has influenced modern society. Between 768 and 814, he served as King of the Franks and fulfilled the role as an Emperor of the West between 800 and 814. Although Charlemagne undeniably marked an impression upon the historical world, the question whether he was a ‘great’ man has attracted much scholarly debate both during and after his existence. During his time, he also participated in several military campaigns to strengthen the influence of Christianity, had many recommendations and theories that changed and improved society, and his successful leadership was also an important factor in gaining opportunities.
As a king, Charlemagne wanted to unite all the Germanic tribes in Western Europe and to spread Christianity to the people he conquered. To do this, he and his army were believed to go on sixty military campaigns. Charlemagne developed his reputation during the many military campaigns he engaged in, and this is the main factor to why he was seen as a powerful figure. He was seen as a powerful figure through his military campaigns as he repeatedly vanquished neighbouring tribes of his kingdom, most of the time with ease. Charlemagne’s most demanding military undertaking was against the Saxons, where after thirty years of campaigning the Franks finally became victorious. The long struggle which led to the conquest of a sizeable block of land between the Rhine and Elbe rivers was marked by pillaging, mass killings and the harsh measures of forcing the Saxons to convert to Christianity. This is one of the many times Charlemagne and his army successfully conquered the neighbouring tribes of his kingdom. The army would loot the conquered land and force everyone they defeated to convert to Christianity. If the people did not change, they would be killed. By the end of his reign, Charlemagne had expanded his kingdom by double and had made many changes and improvements along the way.
During his time as an emperor and king, Charlemagne developed many theories and changes that not only improved his kingdom and Europe as a whole, but also influenced modern society. One of his most important and affective theories was education. Charlemagne believed that education was vital for his kingdom, so he opened schools for all children living in his territory and wanted everyone to learn. He preserved literature and created an educated empire. One of the main reasons he did this was to set up the future for the empire. This period that Charlemagne revived is known as the Carolingian Renaissance. The revival of the Carolingian Renaissance was an extremely important act as it significantly impacted the improvement in literacy and culture of the Frankish Empire. Without this crucial improvement, not only would his kingdom have been less knowledgeable and resourceful, but the whole of Europe.
Charlemagne’s act also influenced modern society as education and schooling wouldn’t be thriving today if it wasn’t for him. Along with this, he also had many other changes, theories and improvements such as uniting Western Europe, playing a vital role in the spread of Christianity, standardising currency, maintaining order and prosperity through efficient administration and aiding classical literature. Charlemagne greatly improved and influenced Europe, which is also why he was such a great leader and was given many opportunities.
Charlemagne’s successful leadership was noted during medieval times, which is why he is still known as one of the most victorious leaders in history and was given the opportunities he was offered. He became known for his ruthlessness, courageousness, intelligence, and the way he chose the best available military strategies to ensure the territorial expansion of his kingdom and Christianity. These qualities are what made Charlemagne such a successful leader and gave him opportunities such as being crowned Holy Roman Emperor by Pope Leo III. His leadership skills were crucial in the development of his power, and without them he wouldn’t have been as noticed or acknowledged as he was.
Overall, Charlemagne played an enormous role in positively impacting and influencing medieval as well as modern times. He is referred to as the Father of Europe because of the many qualities he possessed and the changes he made. Charlemagne greatly influenced Christianity during his many military campaigns, developed a variety of theories and changes that improved his kingdom and Europe as a whole, and his successful leadership was so impressionable it is still remembered today and earned him many opportunities throughout his reign.
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