What where the main characteristics of the Charlemagne Empire?
The formation of the Carolingian Empire
The effective power
of the Frankish kingdom was in the hands of the officials, who were the
palace butlers. The most important was Charles Martel, who defeated
the Arabs in the battle of Poitiers, in 732. His son, Pepin
the Short, overthrew the last Frankish monarch in 751 and
proclaimed himself king.
the son of Pepin the Short, declared himself the defender of Christianity
and reinforced the power of the Carolingian dynasty. He spread
his power throughout most of Europe, but did not succeed in his attempt to
defeat the emir in Córdoba in the Iberian Peninsula.
On Christmas day in
the year 800, Charlemagne was crowned as the new Western Emperor by
the pope in Rome.
The organisation of the empire
established his residency in Aachen, where he had a great palace built.
The empire was
divided up into two types of territories: the earldoms and the
The earldoms usually covered the territory of a city. They were
administered by the earls, who were directly appointed by the emperor.
They administered justice, were in charge of the protection of
the earldom and collected the taxes.
The marches were areas on the borders set up for defence against
external attacks and they were ruled by a marquis. The most important
marches were: the march against the Avars and Slavs in the east; the
march against the Danish (currently Denmark), and the march against
the Islamic armies, the Spanish March, which was later to become
the Catalonian earldoms.
had the missi dominici, who closely watched over the earls and
the most powerful bishops.
A rural economy
times, most of the population lived in the country in small self-sufficient
hamlets. Each family lived on what they cultivated on their lands and made
the clothing and tools they needed.
stockbreeding were the main economic activities. Methods were very
networks were very deteriorated and trade was low.
A society of lords and peasants
society was organised as a pyramid based on fidelity bonds.
At the top
of the pyramid was the emperor. The noblemen received domains
in exchange for their oaths of fidelity to the emperor. They were
appointed as royal vassals. These royal vassals also had their own
worked the lands. Some of these were serfs, that is to say, they
could not leave the lands and their owners could exercise all rights upon them.
Therefore, not all people were free in the Carolingian Empire.
The disintegration of the empire
only outlived by one son, Louis the Pious. When he died, with the
Treaty of Verdun, in 843, the empire was divided up among his
three sons: Louis, Charles and Lothar.
Charles the Bald
received the western part, present-day France. Louis the German occupied the
eastern part, present-day Germany; Lothair, the oldest son, maintained the
imperial title but only received a long and narrow strip of land from the
North Sea to the Mediterranean Sea. In 870 when there were only two
kingdoms: the kingdom of France and the Holy Roman Empire in German
Treaty of Verdun 843