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CHARLEMAGNE. Charles, The Great. Karl der Grosse. Kaiser Karl. Carolus Magnus, and hence the adjective form 'Carolingian.'
King of the Franks (768-814), Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire, and nominally King of the Lombards.
[Chart A12], [The Carolingians]
Born on 2 April 742 (747-S4) in Northern Europe; son of PEPIN, "The Short" and Bertrada.
Charlemagne was of medium height, with a tendency to portliness. He had a long nose and wore a substantial moustache. His education had been neglected to such an extent that for a long time he could not write, and all we have of his writings are a few childish scribbles. But he had an inquiring mind and took lessons later in life to improve himself. He valued learning and brought learned people to his court to improve the level of education in his kingdom.

He was six feet four inches tall, and built to scale. He had blond hair, animated eyes, a powerful nose ... a presence always stately and dignified. He was temperate in eating and drinking, abominated drunkenness, and kept in good health despite every exposure and hardship. —Eginhard (the King's secretary). (S6).

His father Pepin died at Saint Denis on 24 September 768 and was interred there in the Abbey Basilica.(S5). Pepin had divided the kingdom between his sons in a rather strange manner. Carloman was given Septimania, Toulousain, eastern Aquitaine (Auvergne, Limousin and Berry), Burgundy, Provence, Paris, Soissons, Rheims, Metz, Trier and Strasbourg; a coherent whole and fairly safe from invasion. Charles kingdom was in the shape of a crescent around that of Carloman. It started at the Pyrenees, reached the Garonne at Agen, covered all of western France, Belgium, Frisia, and then turned east to take in the right bank of the Rhine, Hesse, Bavaria, and Thuringia. Upon Pepin’s death Charlemagne, then 26, and his brother Carloman inherited their portions of the kingdom of the Franks. They were both crowned on the same day, 9 October 768. Charles was crowned at Noyon and Carloman at Soissons. To maintain a semblance of unity, an agreement was essential. It was broken, however, in 769 when Carloman refused to help Charles quell a rebellion in Aquitaine.

He married (took as concubine?) (1) Himiltrud.

He married (2) Desiderata, daughter of the Langobard King Desiderius. He sent her back home in 771.

Carloman died in 771, and Charlemagne became sole ruler of the entire kingdom. At that time the Franks were falling back into barbarian ways, neglecting their education and religion. The Saxons of northern Europe were still pagans. In the south, the Roman Catholic church was asserting its power to recover land confiscated by the Lombard kingdom of Italy. Europe was clearly in turmoil.

That same year, in 771, he married (3) Hildegarde.

Charlemagne was determined to strengthen his realm and to bring order to Europe. In 772 he launched a 30-year military campaign to accomplish this objective.

He traveled to Rome in 773.

He traveled again to Rome in 781.

On 30 April 783 his wife Hildegard died.

He married (4) Fastrada in 783. She was the daughter of the East Frank Count, Radulf.

Fastrada died in 794.

He married (5) Luitgarda of Alemannia in 795.

He took concubines (6) Madelgard, (7) Gerswind, (8) Regina, (9) Adelinde, and (10) (Hruodhaid?), and possibly (11) (Galiena?).

It is difficult to understand Charlemagne's attitude toward his daughters. None of them contracted a sacramental marriage. This may have been an attempt to control the number of potential alliances. After his death the surviving daughters entered or were forced to enter monasteries. At least one of them, Bertha, had a recognized relationship, if not a marriage, with Angilbert, a member of Charlemagne's court circle. (S5).


By 800 Charlemagne was the undisputed ruler of Western Europe. His vast realm encompassed what are now France, Switzerland, Belgium, and The Netherlands. It included half of present-day Italy and Germany, and parts of Austria and Spain. By establishing a central government over Western Europe, Charlemagne restored much of the unity of the old Roman Empire and paved the way for the development of modern Europe.

In 800, at Mass on Christmas day in Rome, Pope Leo III crowned Charlemagne emperor, a title that had been out of use in the West since the abdication of Romulus Augustulus in 476.(S5).

On Christmas Day in 800, while Charlemagne knelt in prayer in Saint Peter's in Rome, Pope Leo III placed a golden crown on the bowed head of the king. Charlemagne is said to have been surprised by the coronation, declaring that he would not have come into the church had he known the pope's plan. However, some historians say the pope would not have dared to act without Charlemagne's knowledge.

Charlemagne learned to read Latin and some Greek but apparently did not master writing. At meals, instead of having jesters perform, he listened to visiting scholars read from learned works. Charlemagne believed that government should be for the benefit of the governed. He was a tireless reformer who tried to improve his people's lives. He set up monetary standards to encourage commerce, urged better farming methods and worked to spread education and Christianity.


His father Pepin the Short had indulged in the monopoly of the coining of money, deciding on the opening and closure of minting shops, the weight, title and the subjects represented. European coinage began with Pepin the Short who revived the system put in place by the ancient Greeks and Romans and kept going by the Eastern Roman Empire (1 libra = 20 solidi = 240 denarii). Pursuing his father's reforms, Charlemagne did away with the monetary system based on the gold sou. Both he and king Offa of Mercia took up the system set in place by Pepin. He set up a new standard, the livre (pound -- both monetary and unit of weight) which was worth 20 sous (as per the solidus, and later the shilling) or 240 deniers (as per the denari, and eventually the penny). During this period, the livre and the sou were counting units, only the denier was a coin of the realm. Charlemagne applied the system to much of the European Continent, and Offa's standard was voluntarily adopted by much of England. After Charlemagne's death, continental coinage degraded and most of Europe resorted to using the continued high quality English coin until about AD 1100.(S5).

Charlemagne died on 28 January 814, about the third hour of the day, at Aachen (Aix La Chapelle), about 71 years old. He was buried in the basilica at Aachen. (S5).


He was succeeded by his only son to survive him, Louis the Pious, after whose reign the empire was divided between his three surviving sons according to Frankish tradition. These three kingdoms would be the foundations of later France and the Holy Roman Empire. (S5).

Charlemagne's reign is often referred to as the Carolingian Renaissance because of the flowering of scholarship, literature, art and architecture. Most of the surviving works of classical Latin were copied and preserved by Carolingian scholars. The pan-European nature of Charlemagne's influence is indicated by the origins of many of the men who worked for him: Alcuin, an Anglo-Saxon; Theodulf, a Visigoth; Paul the Deacon, a Lombard; and Angilbert and Einhard, Franks. (S5).

Charlemagne enjoyed an important afterlife in European culture. One of the great medieval literature cycles, the Charlemagne cycle or Matter of France, centers around the deeds of Charlemagne's historical commander of the Breton border, Roland, and the paladins who served as a counterpart to the knights of the Round Table; their tales were first told in the chansons de geste. Charlemagne himself was accorded sainthood inside the Holy Roman Empire after the 12th Century. He was a model knight as one of the Nine Worthies

WIFE (Concubine?) (1):

CHILDREN of Charlemagne and Himiltrud:

WIFE (2):
Desiderata. (Sibilla, Bertha).
Of Langobardei. Daughter of King Desidarius (Didier) of Lombards. They had no children.

WIFE (3):
Hildegarde. of Savoy (Swabia or Vinzgau)
Born in 758, daughter of Geroud (Gerald I), Count in Swabia (Vinzgau) and Emma (Imma, Irma), and a niece of the Herzog of Alemannia, Gottfried.. Married Charlemagne in 771 A.D.

Hildegard died on 30 April 783 (S5), in childbirth, at Thionville, Moselle, France; and was buried at St Amoul Abbey, Metz, Austrasia, France.

CHILDREN of Charlemagne and Hildegarde:

WIFE (4):
Fastrada. Of the East Franks.
Born about 760. Married in (783-S8)(784-S5).
She died in 794. (S5).

CHILDREN of Charlemagne and Fastrada:

WIFE (5):
Luitgarde. (Luitgard).
From Alemannia. b: Bet. 738 - 757. Married 794-796.(S5, S8). d: 800

CHILDREN of Charlemagne and Luitgarde:

WIFE (Concubine) (6):
Madelgard. (Mathalgard, Hathalgard).
Born (between 740 and 778)(about 770-S8)
She died between 832 - 893.

CHILDREN of Charlemagne and Madelgard:

WIFE (Concubine) (7):
Gersiuinde (Gerswind).
From Saxony.

CHILDREN of Charlemagne and Gerswind:

WIFE (Concubine) (8):
Lady Regina (Reginopycrha). (S8).
Born about 770. Of Aachen. Liaison about 791.
d: Bet. 798 - 864.

CHILDREN of Charlemagne and Lady Regina:

WIFE (9):
Adelinde (Ubelinde, Adelaide, Adelheid).
b: Bet. 738 - 758 d: Bet. 763 - 842

CHILDREN of Charlemagne and Adelinde:

WIFE (10):

CHILDREN of Charlemagne and Hruohaid:

WIFE (11):

CHILDREN of Charlemagne and Galiena:

Charlemagne also had another unnamed daughter, by which wife is unknown.


Charlemagne (Charles the Great), and Hildegarde 
  |                                               |
Pepin and Bertha of Toulouse       Louis I The Pious; md (1) Ermengarde of Hasbaye; md (2) Judith of Bavaria.
Bernhard I and Kunigunde of Italy   (see separately)
Pepin II
Heribert I and Ermengarde of Bar
Heribert II and Liegarde of France
Ailix of Vermandois and Arnulf I
Baldwin III, Count of Flanders, and Matilda
Arnulf II, and Rozala (Rosele)
Baldwin IV, Count of Flanders, and Ogive of Luxembourg
Baldwin V and Adele
Matilda and William the Conqueror
Henry I, King of England, and Edith (Eadgyth)
Matilda. (Maud) md (1) Henry V of Germany.        
HENRY II, King of England, md Ida.              
William I Longspee md Ela Fitzpatrick.           
William II Longspee md Idonie de Camville.        
Ela Longspee md James de Audley.                  
Hugh de Audley md  Isolde de Mortimer.            
Hugh de Audley md  Margaret de Clare.           
Margaret de Audley.   md Ralph de Stafford.      
Hugh Stafford.  md Philippa de Beauchamp.         
Edmund Stafford.  md Anne of Gloucester.        
Humphrey Stafford.  md Anne Neville.            
Margaret Stafford md Robert Dunham.             
John Dunham md Elizabeth Bowett.                
John Dunham II md Jean Thorland.                 
John Dunham III md Benedict Folgamsee.           
Ralph Dunham.  He married Elizabeth Wentworth.    
Thomas Dunham. He married Jane Bromley.          
John Dunham Sr.. He married Susanna Kenney/Keno.  
John Dunham Jr..  He married Mary.                
Mary Dunham. She married  James Hamblin.          
Elkenah Hamblin.  He married Abigail Hamblin.     
Sylvanus Hamblin.  He married Dorcas Fish.        
Barnabus Hamblin.  He married Mary Bassett.      
Isaiah Hamblin.  He married Daphne Haynes.       
Jacob Vernon Hamblin md Sarah Priscilla Leavitt. 
Ella Ann Hamblin md Warren Moroni Tenney.         
Clive Vernon Tenney md Minnie Williams
Mildred Ella Tenney = Glenn Russell Handy
Deborah Lee Handy and Rodney Allen Morris