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Charlemagne by the Sword and the Cross Essay

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Charlemagne by the Sword and the Cross

"By the sword and the cross," Charlemagne became master of Western Europe. It was falling into decay when Charlemagne became joint king of the Franks in 768. Except in the monasteries, people had all but forgotten education and the arts. Boldly Charlemagne conquered barbarians and kings alike. By restoring the roots of learning and order, he preserved many political rights and revived culture.
Charlemagne's grandfather was Charles Martel, the warrior who crushed the Saracens. Charlemagne was the elder son of Bertrade and Pepin the Short, first "mayor of the palace" to become king of the Franks. Although schools had almost disappeared in the 8th century, historians believe that Bertrade gave
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In 768, when Charlemagne was 26, he and his brother Carloman inherited the kingdom of the Franks. In 771 Carloman died, and Charlemagne became sole ruler of the kingdom. At that time the northern half of Europe was still pagan and lawless. In the south, the Roman Catholic Church was striving to assert its power against the Lombard kingdom in Italy. In Charlemagne's own realm, the Franks were falling back into barbarian ways, neglecting their education and religion.
Charlemagne was determined to strengthen his realm and to bring order to Europe. In 772 he launched a 30-year campaign that conquered and Christianized the powerful pagan Saxons in the north. He subdued the Avars, a huge Tatar tribe on the Danube. He compelled the rebellious Bavarian dukes to submit to him. When possible he preferred to settle matters peacefully, however. For example, Charlemagne offered to pay the Lombard king Desiderius for return of lands to the pope, but, when Desiderius refused, Charlemagne seized his kingdom in 773 to 774 and restored the Papal States.
The key to Charlemagne's amazing conquests was his ability to organize. During his reign he sent out more than 50 military expeditions. He rode as commander at the head of at least half of them. He moved his armies over wide reaches of country with unbelievable speed, but every move was planned in advance. Before a campaign he told the counts,
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