Charlemagne

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Charlemagne was the French name of Carolus Magnus (747-814), King of the Franks, which is Charles the Great in English. Son of Pepin. Charlemagne's new Carolingian dynasty supplanted the reigning Merovingians.

Charles was, variously, King of the Franks, King of the Lombards, and Holy Roman Emperor.

His first wife was Himilitrude: their son, Pepin, pre-deceased his father by 3 years. He then married the daughter of the king of the Lombards, Desideria (770CE) but repudiated her the subsequent year, without children. His third wife was Hildegarde of Vinzgau, daughter of the Graf. By her he had Charles, who became King of the East Franks; Pepin, who became King of Lombardy; Louis (the Fair) weho became King of Aquitania, King of the Franks and Italy, and Holy Roman Emperor; and a number of daughters. He also married, sucessively, after Hildegarde, Fastrada, daughter of the Count of Franconia, and a lady called Luitgarde.

Charlemagne fought battles almost constantly throughout his life. He conquered Saxony and fought a number of battles with Muslim Spain, which lead to the Song of Roland legends.

Charlemagne was later considered to be one of the Nine Worthies.

After his death, his realm fragmented under his sons.


On the other hand medieval legend recounted that the Moorish king Marsilus was brought before Charlemagne as a prisoner, and was offered baptism or death. He looked round.
"Who," he asked, "are the fat men, clad in furs, who sit at your table and feast?" Charles replied: "They are my bishops and abbots."
"And who are the thin men, clad in black and grey, who also receive your food?" "They," Charles aid, "are the mendicants and friars who pray for me."
|"And who," the pagan king asked, "are those beyond them, dressed in rags, squatting on the ground, who scrabble for the scraps that fall from your table?" "They are poor people," Charlemagne replied.
"If that is how you treat your poor, who are God's children, in dishonour of His love and charity, then kill me: I have no wish to be baptised into your faith."