Charlemagne: First of the Moderns

Charlemagne: First of the Moderns

Charlemagne: First of the Moderns

Charlemagne: First of the Moderns

Excerpt

No other figure of antiquity means so much in so many ways to the modern world as Charlemagne. No other had such a profound effect upon all times succeeding his own down to these of ours. For centuries the world was content to accept about this curious and compelling person the mass of romance and fiction begun by his contemporaries and augmented by each generation thereafter. In the end he ceased to be real and became mythical and fantastic.

Scholarship has always known better and often it has protested. In modern times it has become more and more dissatisfied with sources of information once accepted as unquestionable. More recently the devastating inquiries of Professor Halphen of the University of Bordeaux have all but eliminated one of these ancient repositories of fable, the Monk of Saint Gall, and cast much doubt upon even Einhard, the Emperor's secretary, once deemed oracular. The undermining of so much accepted testimony may seem to have left us with rather a maimed and certainly a most unstable basis for the estimating of Charlemagne's character. Yet from the man's indubitable deeds and still more from his remarkable letters or Capitularies, it should be possible to discern his psychology, purposes, methods, and view of life and this is the attempt here.

He found Europe a kind of seething mad-house of conflicting races; he left it unified and organized. He found it in an almost incomparable ignorance; he started it upon the road to education and light. He found it a political chaos and left it the ordered state. What instigated him to these achievements, how he effected them, and his peculiar attitude toward them are to be found best in these letters hereinafter described.

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.