Charlemagne, Conqueror and Cultured King

The extraordinary life and reign of Charlemagne, the first Carolingian Emperor: he ruled for over 40 years, steadily increasing his vast territories. His character was a sometimes uneasy combination of muscular Christianity and genuine spirituality mixed with a desire to emulate Classical Rome and to forge new things. Unfailingly energetic, he led his troops into battle year in, year out, but also was the first to establish a permanent court where his great basilica remains today at Aachen. To his court scholars and artists flocked, leaving a rich legacy of manuscripts and artefacts. He is also the man whose most dramatic defeat in battle changed the way we write today. Find out more!