The Life of Charlemagne
Joe   M. Phillip
Columbia   College
Western   Civilization

A   few   historians   believe   that   Charlemagne   was   the   illegitimate   son   of   Pepin   and   the   Countess   of   Laon, Berthe. Despite   the   controversy   surrounding   his   date   of   birth   and   his   parents’   date   of   matrimony,   he   was   destined   for   greatness   and   groomed   from   childhood   to   eventually   assume   and   share   the   kingdom   with   his   brother. This   paper   will   make   an   effort   at   giving   some   insight   to   Charlemagne   the   King   from   a   personal   perspective, as well as   some   of   his   most   notable   accomplishments   and   highlights   during   his   reign,   as   written   by   Einhard.

Charlemagne’s   accession   into   the   Franks’   kingship   came   after   his   father, Pepin, died   in   the   year   768,   thus   leaving   the   throne   to   his   two   sons. The   Franks   made   the   siblings   both   kings   on   the   condition   that   the   kingdom   would   be   divided   equally   between   them. The   kingdom, accordingly, was   plagued with   some   degree   of   animosity   and   sibling   rivalry   despite   Charlemagne’s   effort   at   making   peace   with   his   brother, Carolman. When   sickness   claimed   his   brother’s   life, Charlemagne   was   unanimously   elected   the   new   King   of   the   Franks.
According   to   Einhard, Charlemagne   was   large   and   strong   in   personal   appearance. Though   not   disproportionately   tall,   he   was   somewhat   of   a   lofty   stature. He   led   an   active   lifestyle   in   which   he   was   said   to   partake   in   strenuous   physical   activities   such   as   swimming   and   horseback   riding.
He   was   a   moderate   and   social   drinker   of   wine   and   had   a   weakness   for   food, especially   roasted   meat. He   was   seldom   overheard   griping   about   fasting   and   continued   to   enjoy   his   roasts   albeit   concerns   from   his   doctors. According   to   Einhard, he   enjoyed   listening   to   reading   or   music   while   eating   his   meals. He   was...