You are on page 1of 3

2º ESO: SOCIAL SCIENCE María López Cabrera.

IES La Madraza

THE CAROLINGIAN EMPIRE

After the fall of the Roman Empire, the Frankish kingdom was established in France. The kings were weak.
They handed power over to officials called Mayors of the Palace. The most important of these was CARLOS
MARTEL. He defeated the Muslims in France, at the Battle of Tours in 732.

In 751 King Pepin the Short (PIPINO EL BREVE) established a new dinasty among the Franks: the
Carolingian dynasty, which took the name from Charlemagne, Pepin's son.

Charlemagne (742-814) wanted to re-establish the unity and splendour of the old Western Roman Empire.
He almost succeeded, conquering the north of Italy, central Europe, and the north of Germany.
After his conquest Charlemagne was crowned emperor by Pope LEON III in the year 800. The empire,
however, would not last long because Charlemagne's son, LUIS EL PIADOSO, divided it among his three sons
(CARLOS, LUIS and LOTARIO) in 843 when they signed the TREATY OF VERDUM.

ACTIVITIES

1. The division of the Carolingian Empire at the Treaty of Verdun shows the beginning of three big modern
European countries. Which three countries?

2. Where did the Carolingian Empire take its name from?

3. What was Charlemgne's objective?

4. Were the following people KINGS, EMPERORS or MAYORS OF THE PALACE?

a) CARLOS MARTEL: b) PEPIN THE SHORT:


c) CHARLEMAGNE: d) LOUIS THE PIOUS:
2º ESO: SOCIAL SCIENCE María López Cabrera. IES La Madraza

THE GOVERMENT OF CHARLEMAGNE

Charlemagne was a very tall and strong man, who led his army successfully into many battles. But he wasn't
just a great military leader, he was also a great political leader: he reorganised the empire, introduced a new
currency and encouraged education. He was popular with the people, because he constantly travelled around
his empire, making sure that it was governed well. He was respected and feared by other kings, and the pope
gave him the title of Roman Emperor. He was the most powerful man in Western Europe since the fall of the
Roman Empire. He lived to other seventy, which was very old in those days.

The Carolingian Empire was divided into provinces called:

– MARCHES, which were at the frontiers of the Empire. Each March was governed by a marquess,
who commanded an army to protect the province.
– COUNTIES, which were each governed by a count. Counties were much more peaceful than
marches.

Although they had a lot of power, the counts and marquesses promised to be loyal to the emperor. Most
people in the Carolingian Empire were peasant farmers who only grew enough food for themselves and for
their families. There were not many artisans, and there was very little trade.

Charlemagne was worried about the low level of education in his empire, so he set up schools. These included
the Palace School of Aachen, where the noble's children went to learn about the arts and sciences. The school
was a model for other schools throught Europe, and it developed textbooks for teaching the TRIVIUM
(grammar, logic and rhetoric) and the QUADRIVIUM (arithmetic, geometry, astronomy and music).

Charlemagne made Aachen, in Germany, the capital


of his empire, and he built his palace there. The city
was easy to reach because it was on the River Rhine
and had a Roman road. The palace had many
buildings. One of them was the emperor's residence.
Another housed the audience room and the room
where the treasure was kept. The palace also made
use of some Roman baths. The only part of the
palace that remains today is the Palatine Chapel.
The emperor's throne was there, and, until the 16th
century, it was the place where German emperors
were crowned. Charlemagne was buried here, too.
The chapel was built using materials from Roman
monuments. Many of them were brought from
Italy, including mosaics and other decorative
elements.
2º ESO: SOCIAL SCIENCE María López Cabrera. IES La Madraza

ACTIVITIES

5. Read the definitions and decide what they refer to:


a) It was the capital of Charlemagne's empire:
b) The city was built on this river:
c) There were many of these at the palace:
d) Only this part of the palace remains today:
e) Materials were taken from these to built the chapel:

6. What were the two types of provinces in the Carolingian Empire called?

Who were they governed by?

What was the difference between them?

7. Was trade important in the Carolingian Empire?

8. What seven subjects were taught in schools?

9. Where is Charlemagne buried?

10. Write down at least four things that Charlemagne did while he was emperor. Compare your list with
your classmate's lists. Discuss wheter you think he was a good king. Practice different ways of expressing
your opinion, for example: I think that..., I believe that..., I consider that..., In my opinion...