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In the typical Captivating History style, the author sets the scene politically for the reader. As Charles/Charlemagne was coming onto the scene, the kings of Francia and Lomarady were spending much of their time tamping down insurrections. Popes of the time were also politically active and interfered with individual state's internal affairs.
Charlemagne is a difficult man to categorize because he was all over the map with his accomplishments and efforts. Although not the first ruler of the Carolingian Dynasty (he was the third), he was a strong ruler and conqueror who was often called the Father of Europe. He ruled for 47 years and spent much of that time conquering rebelling tribes and regions. However, he also worked to stabilize the currency, encouraged reading, and competent administration.
He also changed the relationship between kings and the Catholic Church. He became a protector of the Catholic pope. For this, he was eventually crowned as Holy Roman Emperor. What I liked about this book was the way Captivating History helped create a living-and-breathing Charlemagne for the reader.
Captivating History is known to put the "story" in history. "Charlemagne," with its historical prowess and polished prose, is an exemplar of this truth.
The eponymous king of the Franks and Lombards and emperor of the Holy Roman Empire lived a colorful life and left an enduring legacy that continues today. This author notes as such in arguing that "it is difficult to imagine a leader more influential in the course of history than this king with his conquests and his renaissance" (Loc 1330). Between Charlemagne's thirst for violence and penchant for cultural achievement, one can only wonder who this man truly was. This book attempts to answer this question exactly.
Signs of historical diligence here, as with all other Captivating History titles, are present. Sources, historiography, visual media, and a full bibliography is included. The image sources are located in the bibliography, which is a change from previous volumes that placed them under their respective pictures. It is interesting to note that this author consulted Hourly History's history of Charlemagne for research. Hourly History is another publisher that releases concise histories, and it is nice to see Captivating History acknowledge this company's credibility.
Anyone who is interested in medieval history will enjoy reading this publication. Fantasy fans may also like this work, since the content, which by itself seems unbelievable occasionally, and writing style are so engaging. Overall, "Charlemagne" is nothing short of excellent.
This is another well written book from Captivating History. To start, it is best to say what it isn't - a mere collection of dates with various battles and treaties. This is about the man who became the most powerful of the Carolingian Kings. From his early years where he demonstrated he was a naturally gifted warrior and leader, throughout the notable successes and rare failures, we see a man who rarely lost but whose life was one of turmoil. The early part of his reign saw him expanding his country into an empire with wars against Lombards, Saxons as well as the forefathers of the Basques to name but a few. His rule was violent and through the battles that he won he became the victor by conquest of a huge area. However conquering and ruling such an area are different things and his ongoing action with the Saxons took decades before they were subdued. Through his connections with the Papacy he became the Holy Roman Emperor and this he was written into history as one of the great king of post Roman Europe.
History is like a series of puzzle pieces. You can have comprehension of some of them and have placed them where they belong on the puzzle board. Other pieces still must be discovered and placed in their proper place. Charles the Great is one of those enigmas. As described by Matt Clayton in his introduction of Charlemagne: A Captivating Guide to the Greatest Monarch of the Carolingian Empire and How He Ruled over the Franks, Lombards, and Romans, Charlemagne was an enigma; a warrior, ruler, patron of the arts and language. Terrorist, brutal oppressor, protector of the good, Guardian of Christendom and Father of Europe.
This 98-page writing sets the reader up with an early history before the time of the Great King which explains how the Franks defeated Attila the Huns and subsequently freed themselves of Roman rule. Then we are exposed to the Merovingian dynasty and subsequent Carolingian dynasty. During that Carolingian dynasty, a mayor named Charles Martel led an outnumbered Frankish infantry to a surprise victory over a calvary of Umayyads at the Battle of Tours. Charles Martel went on to father the focus of this history, Charlemagne.
This is just the beginning of a well-written history from Matt Clayton’s Charlemagne: A Captivating Guide to the Greatest Monarch of the Carolingian Empire and How He Ruled over the Franks, Lombards, and Romans will give you the settings that influenced the evolution of Europe, creating a path for the rise of both the Kingdome of France and the Holy Roman Empire.
Since the Celts didn't use a written language, we mostly have to glean from Roman & other sources. The Romans recruited Celts into their legions; but, some showed they couldn't be subdued. It's interesting to hear of the struggles of the Germanics (Anglo-Saxon, etc.) who also didn't have a written language since I have both the above people groups in my family lineage. Both Celts & Germanics were fierce, helping the Romans expand until the remaining peoples halted further Roman expansion on both the European front (especially Hadrian's Wall) and regions closer to the Italian peninsula.
Reading between the lines, we see the establishment of the Vatican to stand against the threat of Islam. Since Asians have used the tactic of taking the capital of an enemy, this is why Catholics set up the Vatican since Jerusalem has been in an unstable location.
I love reading about history, but I am not into academic books with dry details and Non-emotional storytelling. The story of Charlemagne was told With all the human nuances thrown in And that makes for great reading. You will find that this book goes fast before you know it it is over, I was shocked. I think this book is my favorite but out of all the books. It was so good!
This is a good wrap of the life of a fascinating, inspirational and influential man. In true 'Captivating History' style, there is an extended introduction before "Charlemagne' is even born. Then (of necessity, sometimes due to a lack of records), there is a lot of supposition and assumptions about various character's situations, actions and feelings, but (as usual) it is done so well that the reader can overlook the conjectures as it just improves the narrative and the readers' enjoyment and education.
Father of Europe has lost sight through future endeavors that his descendants kept the kingdom from faring prosperously. Only through the glory of the Pope John II, the old revered ancient title returned some of that shine to the crown. Not even the great philosophers of those times could appropriately find purpose to the annihilation of Charlemagne’s endeavors. Once a glorious tri-state kingdom that eventually repurposed its subjects, missions of peace, prosperity, and safe harbors, turned the page and was to be no more. Safely now, the promise of all that was is no more.
In this book we see a person who was many things to many different people. He had both positives & negatives attributes. I think the one thing that is overlooked is the Battle of Tours in 732 . This victory by Charlemagne helped stop the spread of Islam in Europe . Tremendous job by the Captivating History Staff.
With a degree in history, and having taken a number of European history classes, much about Charlemagne and his empire is familiar to myself. However, if you're not familiar with Charlemagne or his empire, this is a good way to introduce yourself to his history and not be overwhelmed. Definitely worth the read!.