An Introduction to the Study of the Middle Ages (375-814)

By Ephraim Emerton | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XIV.
FOUNDATION OF THE MEDIÆVAL EMPIRE.

AUTHORITIES:--As above for Chapter XIII.
MODERN WORKS:-- James Bryce: The Holy Roman Empire.--
Milman; Greenwood; The Church Histories.

WE have thus far been considering Charlemagne as the head of the Frankish nation. He was, by consent of the people, king of the Franks. He had won his victories with Frankish arms, and he had taken possession of the conquered countries in the name of the Frankish people. Every step which he had taken had been with the advice and consent of the nation assembled in the great meetings of the springtime, and his public documents carefully express the share of the nation in his great achievements. Saxony, Bavaria, Lombardy, Aquitaine, the Spanish Mark, all these great countries, lying outside the territory of Frankland proper, had been made a part of its possession by the might of his arm and the wisdom of his counsel. But when this had all been done, the question arose, by what right he should hold all this power, and secure it so that it should not fall apart as soon as he should be gone. As king of the Franks it was impossible that he should not seem to the conquered peoples, however mild and beneficent his rule might be, a foreign prince; and though he might be able to force them to follow

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