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The Life of Charlemagne When Pepin, the King of the Franks died in 768, his sons Charlemagne and Carloman were appointed as his successors. The kingdom was divided equally between them. Charlemagne became sole ruler of the Frankish kingdom in 771 when his brother Carloman died. So began Charlemagne’s reign as one of the greatest kings in medieval times. Under Charlemagne’s rule, a common government, a common faith and a common culture united much of Western Europe. That was his legacy. It was not Charlemagne’s military prowess that won him a vast kingdom, as Einhard believed. It was Charlemagne’s strong personality that was the driving force behind his military successes, as well as the glue that held his kingdom together. Charlemagne was a simple man with strong family ties and religious beliefs. He was a man of great vision and determination with a diplomatic flair that few men of his time possessed. His exceptional organizational skills and his belief in education were the hallmarks of his administration. During his reign, Charlemagne engaged in numerous military campaigns. “He so largely increased the Frank’s kingdom, which was already great and strong when he received it at his father’s hands, that more than double its former territory was added to it.” While this was true, it was not principally Charles’ military leadership that brought him victory. “Many battles were fought in his name, but he rarely accompanied his armies and fought no campaigns that are remembered for strategic brilliance.” Charles’ fierce determination helped win him the empire as evidenced in the Aquitanian War. This was Charles’ first military undertaking. Despite the fact that he received no help from his brother, Charles continued this battle begun by his father “with the greatest vigor… and did not desist or shrink from his …task until, by his patience and firmness, he had completely gained his ends....

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Charlemagne. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 21:31, August 22, 2014, from