Charlemagne By Einhard: Summary

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During the Middle Ages, the Catholic Church dictated life not only for the lay people, but also for sovereigns. The chronicler Einhard documented the life of one the of the most famous kings during the Middle Ages, Charlemagne. Einhard focuses on the specific relations between the church and state. While Einhard sometimes presents a skewed representation of the ruler Charlemagne, he offers historians with an account of the ideal monarch. Through this biography, one can see how significant the church impacted the state through its encounters with foreign relations, affairs with the pope and his imperial power, and the religious commissions granted by rulers. The outcomes of foreign relations were highly determined through religious actions.…show more content…
Charlemagne practiced this religious dedication with basilicas, such as the Holy Mother of God at Aix-la-Chapelle (Einhard). Charlemagne fulfilled these devout tasks not only to please the pope, but also as a way to further his own faith. Einhard describes Charlemagne as "a constant worshipper at this church as long as his health permitted, going morning and evening, even after nightfall, besides attending mass" (Einhard). While this might be an exaggeration from the biographer, it demonstrates how Einhard considers the ideal ruler should approach his faith. Kings would be judged on how often they practiced mass, and the religious teachings of the Catholic faith. Monarchs acted as the figurehead for the entire country, and whatever faith they exercised would be reflected in the people. A pious king would set a good example for all of his citizens. This was particular focus in the Catholic faith during the Middle Ages, as it acted as a conversion technique against paganism. Charlemagne would not only commission new churches to be built, but he would also supply the church with sacred vessels, "and whenever he found [churches] falling to ruin from age, he commanded the priests and fathers who had charge of them to repair them, and made sure by commissioners that his instructions were obeyed" (Einhard). These commissions would provide priests with places to learn and study scripture, and as buildings for lay people to come and hear Catholic mass. Churches were also essential, because kings would be crowned there to solidify their divine right from God to

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