Charlemagne’s Empire.

On Pope Adrian’s request, Charlemagne defeated Desiderius, the king of the Lombards, which won him great influence over the Pope. Charlemagne attacked the Muslims of northern Spain and conquered Navarre. He even invaded Saxony in north-west Germany and established the Christian Church. He then imposed strict Frankish rule over Saxon.

It was a centralized government because he based his kingdom on feudalism by which the power to the nobles was given in exchange for loyalty. This resulted in strengthening his royal power. His royal agents ensured the landowners governed their counties justly. He personally visited every part of his kingdom, judged cases and rewarded faithful followers. Charlemagne standardized tolls, customs duties, weights and measures and issued standard coins that bore his image. To improve commerce he even constructed roads, bridges, and canals.

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To unify the empire, Charlemagne recruited officials to carry out his policies and to watch over his feudal lords. They checked on the nobles and dealt with economic, judicial and political matters. Another unifying force was Christianity. He encouraged missionaries and also supported the effort of the Church to organize parishes. Nevertheless, he kept the power centralized and insisted that ten percent of the subjects’ income be given to the Church to finance the parishes and the missionaries. One of his greatest achievements was that he encouraged learning. Charlemagne opened palace schools and also ordered the monasteries to open schools to train future monks and priests and reward faithful followers. Since Charlemagne had built the empire on his own personal ability rather than important institutions, the administration was difficult after his death which led to frequent tribal dissension. After Louis, died the empire had to be divided between three warring children of Charlemagne.

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