The Franks unite many of the Gothic tribes under one central political authority. Thus, the tribal bonds diminish in importance.
The Frank monarch and the Papacy join in an alliance. Pepin the Short (son of Charles Martel) is anointed King by the Pope. This papal coronation subverts the authority and legitimacy of the actual Frank king. Pepin vows that the Franks will subdue and convert non-Roman Catholic tribes that could threaten the Church (eg. The Lombards).
Charlemagne ascends the Carolingian throne and establishes his court at Aachen. 1. Succeeds his father (Pepin the Short) as King of the Franks.2. Despite his illiteracy, he paves the way for a brief rebirth in learning (
a. Carolingian Handwriting
A great accomplishment of Carolingian era monasteries was the preservation of manuscripts. Monks copied the Bible, works of the Church Fathers, sacred writings and commentaries, and works of classical authors as well. Many of the works of ancient Rome that we possess exist in their earliest form in a Carolingian manuscript. This copying contributed to a reform of handwriting. Merovingian script [was] all but unreadable, and each copying led to new corruptions in the text. With the Carolingian Renaissance there was a new emphasis on accuracy, and this drew attention to the need for better handwriting.
b. The invention of Carolingian Miniscule,
was signiﬁcant. This script has clear, neat letters, with each word separated from one another, rather than all run together as Merovingian script often was. Alcuin
formed a scriptorium (writing ofﬁce) that produced many books in the new script and inﬂuenced writers far and wide. One of Charlemagne's capitularies is entitled "On Scribes - That They Should Not Write Corruptly". Carolingian miniscule was revived during the Renaissance and has survived as our lower case letters (the capital letters come from ancient Rome).
3. Political, Economic and Social Initiatives
a. In his government, Charlemagne systematized the administrative machinery of his predecessors. He permitted conquered peoples to retain their own laws, which he codiﬁed when possible, and he issued many capitularies. A noteworthy achievement was the creation of a system by which he could supervise his administrators in even the most distant lands; his missi dominici were personal representatives with wide powers who regularly inspected their assigned districts. He strove to educate the clergy and exercised more direct control over the appointment of bishops and he acted as arbiter in theological disputes.
He stimulated foreign trade and entertained friendly relations with Christian allies (e.g. England) as well as Muslims (e.g. Abbasid Caliph Harun al-Rashid).
b. Charlemagne's court at Aachen was the center of an intellectual renaissance. The palace school, under the leadership of Alcuin, became famous; numerous schools for children of all classes were also established throughout the empire during Charlemagne's reign. The preservation of classical literature was aided by his initiatives.
IV. ‘The Dark Ages’: Collapse Of The Frankish Kingdom
Rivalry among the sons and grandchildren of Charlemagne fractures the kingdom. Among the Franks, there had been a long tradition of land division among male heirs.
Treaty of Verdun (c. 843)
Charlemagne had several sons, but only one survived him. This son, Louis the Pious, followed his father as the ruler of a united Empire. The dispute between the sons of Louis the Pious (son of Charlemagne) results in the permanent division of the kingdom, determined by the Treaty of Verdun. Over