Charlemagne (c. 742 - 814)

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Latin: Carolus Magnus Charles the Great.

The son of Pepin the Short, he conquered the Saxon tribes (772-81), defeated the Avars and became King of Lombardy (773). In 778 he campaigned in North-Eastern Spain, where at Roncesvalles his paladin Roland, the hero of the Chanson de Roland, was killed. In 800, having conquered most of western Christendom, he was crowned emperor of the West by Pope Leo III. Charlemagne did much to centralize the administration of the empire while maintaining the traditional customs of his conquered territories. His court at Aix-la-Chapelle became a great European centre, where Charlemagne, the patron of such scholars as Alcuin and Einhard, fostered the cultural revival known as the Carolingian renaissance.
 
 

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