A denarius of Charlemagne dated 812–814 with the inscription  (Karolus Imperator Augustus)
First to reign
Charlemagne
25 December AD 800 – 28 January AD 814
The Bust of Charlemagne, an idealised portrayal and reliquary said to contain Charlemagne's skull cap, is located at Aachen Cathedral Treasury, and can be regarded as the most famous depiction of the ruler.
Coats of arms of prince electors surround the imperial coat of arms; from a 1545 armorial. Electors voted in an Imperial Diet for a new Holy Roman Emperor.
Depiction of Charlemagne in a 12th-century stained glass window, Strasbourg Cathedral, now at Musée de l'Œuvre Notre-Dame.
Roman road connecting Tongeren to the Herstal region. Jupille and Herstal, near Liege, are located in the lower right corner
Illustration of the election of Henry VII (27 November 1308) showing (left to right) the Archbishop of Cologne, Archbishop of Mainz, Archbishop of Trier, Count Palatine of the Rhine, Duke of Saxony, Margrave of Brandenburg and King of Bohemia (Codex Balduini Trevirorum, c. 1340).
Moorish Hispania in 732
Charlemagne (left) and Pepin the Hunchback (10th-century copy of 9th-century original)
Charlemagne instructing his son Louis the Pious
The Frankish king Charlemagne was a devout Catholic and maintained a close relationship with the papacy throughout his life. In 772, when Pope Adrian I was threatened by invaders, the king rushed to Rome to provide assistance. Shown here, the pope asks Charlemagne for help at a meeting near Rome.
Harun al-Rashid receiving a delegation of Charlemagne in Baghdad, by Julius Köckert (1864)
Charlemagne's additions to the Frankish Kingdom
Charlemagne receiving the submission of Widukind at Paderborn in 785, painted c. 1840 by Ary Scheffer
Equestrian statue of Charlemagne by Agostino Cornacchini (1725), St. Peter's Basilica, Vatican City.
Imperial Coronation of Charlemagne, by Friedrich Kaulbach, 1861
Pope Leo III, crowning Charlemagne from Chroniques de France ou de Saint Denis, vol. 1; France, second quarter of 14th century.
The Throne of Charlemagne and the subsequent German Kings in Aachen Cathedral, Germany
Coronation of Charlemagne, drawing by Julius Schnorr von Karolsfeld
Coronation of an idealised king, depicted in the Sacramentary of Charles the Bald (about 870)
The Coronation of Charlemagne, by assistants of Raphael, c. 1516–1517
Europe at the death of the Charlemagne 814.
Proserpina sarcophagus of Charlemagne in the Aachen Cathedral Treasury
A portion of the 814 death shroud of Charlemagne. It represents a quadriga and was manufactured in Constantinople. Musée de Cluny, Paris.
Frederick II's gold and silver casket for Charlemagne, the Karlsschrein
Monogram of Charlemagne, including signum manus, from the subscription of a royal diploma: Signum (monogr.: KAROLVS) Karoli gloriosissimi regis
Denier from the era of Charlemagne, Tours, 793–812
Charlemagne in a contemporary sketch
The privileges of Charlemagne at the Modena Cathedral (containing the monogram of Charlemagne), dated 782
Charlemagne's chapel at Aachen Cathedral
Page from the Lorsch Gospels of Charlemagne's reign
13th-century stained glass depiction of Charlemagne, Strasbourg Cathedral
The Carolingian-era equestrian statuette thought to represent Charlemagne (from Metz Cathedral, now in the Louvre)
Later depiction of Charlemagne in the Bibliothèque Nationale de France
One of a chain of Middle Welsh legends about Charlemagne: Ystorya de Carolo Magno from the Red Book of Hergest (Jesus College, Oxford, MS 111), 14th century
Emperor Charlemagne, by Albrecht Dürer, 1511–1513, Germanisches Nationalmuseum

Charlemagne or Charles the Great (Carolus Magnus; Karl der Große; 2 April 747 – 28 January 814), a member of the Carolingian dynasty, was King of the Franks from 768, King of the Lombards from 774, and the first Holy Roman Emperor from 800.

- Charlemagne

In 800 Pope Leo III owed a great debt to Charlemagne, the King of the Franks and King of Italy, for securing his life and position.

- Holy Roman Emperor
A denarius of Charlemagne dated 812–814 with the inscription  (Karolus Imperator Augustus)

10 related topics

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Holy Roman Empire

Political entity in Western, Central and Southern Europe that developed during the Early Middle Ages and continued until its dissolution in 1806 during the Napoleonic Wars.

Political entity in Western, Central and Southern Europe that developed during the Early Middle Ages and continued until its dissolution in 1806 during the Napoleonic Wars.

The change of territory of the Holy Roman Empire superimposed on present-day state borders
The double-headed eagle with coats of arms of individual states, the symbol of the Holy Roman Empire (painting from 1510)
The change of territory of the Holy Roman Empire superimposed on present-day state borders
A map of the Carolingian Empire (a.k.a. Francia, the Frankish Empire) within Europe circa 814 CE.
The Holy Roman Empire during the Ottonian Dynasty
The Holy Roman Empire between 972 and 1032
The Hohenstaufen-ruled Holy Roman Empire and Kingdom of Sicily. Imperial and directly held Hohenstaufen lands in the Empire are shown in bright yellow.
The Reichssturmfahne, a military banner during the 13th and early 14th centuries
Lands of the Bohemian Crown since the reign of Holy Roman Emperor Charles IV
An illustration from Schedelsche Weltchronik depicting the structure of the Reich: The Holy Roman Emperor is sitting; on his right are three ecclesiastics; on his left are four secular electors.
The Holy Roman Empire when the Golden Bull of 1356 was signed
Innsbruck, most important political centre under Maximilian, seat of the Hofkammer (Court Treasury) and the Court Chancery, which functioned as "the most influential body in Maximilian's government". Painting of Albrecht Dürer (1496)
Maximilian I paying attention to an execution instead of watching the betrothal of his son Philip the Handsome and Joanna of Castile. The top right corner shows Cain and Abel. Satire against Maximilian's legal reform, associated with imperial tyranny. Created on behalf of the councilors of Augsburg. Plate 89 of Von der Arztney bayder Glück by the Petrarcameister.
Personification of the Reich as Germania by Jörg Kölderer, 1512. The "German woman", wearing her hair loose and a crown, sitting on the Imperial throne, corresponds both to the self-image of Maximilian I as King of Germany and the formula Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation (omitting other nations). While usually depicted during the Middle Age as subordinate to both imperial power and Italia or Gallia, she now takes central stage in Maximilian's Triumphal Procession, being carried in front of Roma.
The Holy Roman Empire during the 16th century
Carta itineraria europae by Waldseemüller, 1520 (dedicated to Emperor Charles V)
The Holy Roman Empire around 1600, superimposed over current state borders
Religion in the Holy Roman Empire on the eve of the Thirty Years' War
The Empire after the Peace of Westphalia, 1648
The Empire on the eve of the French Revolution, 1789
The crown of the Holy Roman Empire (2nd half of the 10th century), now held in the Schatzkammer (Vienna)
The Seven Prince-electors (Codex Balduini Trevirorum, c. 1340)
A map of the Empire showing division into Circles in 1512
Vienna, circa 1580 by Georg Braun and Frans Hogenberg
Front page of the Peace of Augsburg, which laid the legal groundwork for two co-existing religious confessions (Roman Catholicism and Lutheranism) in the German-speaking states of the Holy Roman Empire

On 25 December 800, Pope Leo III crowned the Frankish king Charlemagne as emperor, reviving the title in Western Europe, more than three centuries after the fall of the earlier ancient Western Roman Empire in 476.

Otto III's former mentor Antipope John XVI briefly held Rome, until the Holy Roman Emperor seized the city.

The Carolingian Empire at its greatest extent in 814style=padding-left: 0.6em; text-align: left;

Carolingian Empire

Large Frankish-dominated empire in western and central Europe during the Early Middle Ages.

Large Frankish-dominated empire in western and central Europe during the Early Middle Ages.

The Carolingian Empire at its greatest extent in 814style=padding-left: 0.6em; text-align: left;
The Dorestad Brooch, Carolingian-style cloisonné jewelry from c. 800. Found in the Netherlands, 1969.
Detailed map of the Carolingian Empire at its greatest extension (814) and subsequent partition of 843 (Treaty of Verdun).
Copy of the Ludwigslied, an epic poem celebrating the victory of Louis III of West Francia over the Vikings
Interior of the Palatine Chapel in Aachen, Germany
A denarius minted by Prince Adelchis of Benevento in the name of Emperor Louis II and Empress Engelberga, showing the expansion of Carolingian authority in southern Italy which Louis achieved
Carolingian Empire superimposed over contemporary European national boundaries

In 800, the Frankish king Charlemagne was crowned emperor in Rome by Pope Leo III in an effort to transfer the Roman Empire from east to west.

For the later emperors, see Holy Roman Emperor.

A map showing Charlemagne's additions (in light green) to the Frankish Kingdom

Carolingian dynasty

A map showing Charlemagne's additions (in light green) to the Frankish Kingdom
Carolingian denier of Lothair I, struck in Dorestad (Middle Francia) after 850
Carolingian family tree, from the Chronicon Universale of Ekkehard of Aura, 12th century

The Carolingian dynasty (known variously as the Carlovingians, Carolingus, Carolings, Karolinger or Karlings) was a Frankish noble family named after Charlemagne, grandson of mayor Charles Martel and descendant of the Arnulfing and Pippinid clans of the 7th century AD.

The Carolingian dynasty reached its peak in 800 with the crowning of Charlemagne as the first Emperor of the Romans in the West in over three centuries.

Western Roman Empire

Used in historiography to describe the period from 286 to 476, where there were separate coequal courts dividing the governance of the empire in the Western and the Eastern provinces, with a distinct imperial succession in the separate courts.

Used in historiography to describe the period from 286 to 476, where there were separate coequal courts dividing the governance of the empire in the Western and the Eastern provinces, with a distinct imperial succession in the separate courts.

The Western Roman Empire in 418 AD, following the abandonment of Britannia and the settlement of the Visigoths, Burgundians and Suebi within imperial territory as foederati
The Roman Republic before the conquests of Octavian
The Western Roman Empire in 418 AD, following the abandonment of Britannia and the settlement of the Visigoths, Burgundians and Suebi within imperial territory as foederati
The Roman Empire in AD 117 at its greatest extent, at the time of Trajan's death (with its vassals in pink)
The Roman, Gallic and Palmyrene Empires in 271 AD
The organization of the Empire under the Tetrarchy
Division of the Roman Empire among the Caesars appointed by Constantine I: from west to east, the territories of Constantine II, Constans I, Dalmatius and Constantius II. After the death of Constantine I (May 337), this was the formal division of the Empire, until Dalmatius was killed and his territory divided between Constans and Constantius.
The division of the Empire after the death of Theodosius I, c. undefined 395 AD, superimposed on modern borders
Solidus of Emperor Honorius
Barbarian invasions and the invasion of usurper Constantine III in the Western Roman Empire during the reign of Honorius, 407–409
Germanic and Hunnic invasions of the Roman Empire, 100–500 AD
Boxwood relief depicting the liberation of a besieged city by a relief force, with those defending the walls making a sortie. Western Roman Empire, early 5th century AD
The Western Roman Empire during the reign of Majorian in 460 AD. During his four-year-long reign from 457 to 461, Majorian restored Western Roman authority in Hispania and most of Gaul. Despite his accomplishments, Roman rule in the west would last less than two more decades.
The Western and Eastern Roman Empire by 476
The city of Ravenna, Western Roman capital, on the Tabula Peutingeriana, a 13th-century medieval map possibly copied from a 4th- or 5th-century Roman original
Map of the Barbarian kingdoms (major kingdoms and the Roman Empire labelled below) of the western Mediterranean in 526, seven years before the campaigns of reconquest under Eastern emperor Justinian I
6th-century Visigothic coin, struck in the name of Emperor Justinian I
Odoacer's Italy in 480 AD, following the annexation of Dalmatia
Solidus minted under Odoacer with the name and portrait of the Eastern emperor Zeno
Map of the realm of Theodoric the Great at its height in 523, following the annexation of the southern parts of the Burgundian kingdom. Theoderic ruled both the Visigothic and Ostrogothic kingdoms and exerted hegemony over the Burgundians and Vandals.
The Eastern Roman Empire, by reoccupying some of the former Western Roman Empire's lands, enlarged its territory considerably during Justinian's reign from 527 (red) to 565 (orange).
Map of the Eastern Roman Empire in 717 AD. Over the course of the seventh and eighth centuries, Islamic expansion had ended Roman rule in Africa and though some bastions of Roman rule remained, most of Italy was controlled by the Lombards.
Romance languages, languages that developed from Latin following the collapse of the Western Roman Empire, are spoken in Western Europe to this day, with the exception of Romanian, which developed from the Latin spoken in the eastern provinces and the early Eastern Empire. Their extent in Western Europe almost reflects the continental borders of the old Empire.
Bust of Emperor Maximian, the first Western Roman emperor
Bust of Emperor Constantine I, the founder of the Constantinian dynasty
Bust of Emperor Valentinian II, a member of the Valentinianic dynasty's second generation of emperors
Emperor Honorius, as depicted by Jean-Paul Laurens in 1880

The papal coronation of the Frankish King Charlemagne as Roman Emperor in 800 marked a new imperial line that would evolve into the Holy Roman Empire, which presented a revival of the Imperial title in Western Europe but was in no meaningful sense an extension of Roman traditions or institutions.

Mosaic at Triclinium Leoninum

Pope Leo III

The 96th pope from 26 December 795 to his death.

The 96th pope from 26 December 795 to his death.

Mosaic at Triclinium Leoninum
Detail from The Coronation of Charlemagne by Raphael (1517)

Protected by Charlemagne from the supporters of his predecessor, Adrian I, Leo subsequently strengthened Charlemagne's position by crowning him emperor.

Two days after his oath, on Christmas Day 800, Leo crowned Charlemagne as emperor.

Iron Crown of Lombardy

King of Italy

The title given to the ruler of the Kingdom of Italy after the fall of the Western Roman Empire.

The title given to the ruler of the Kingdom of Italy after the fall of the Western Roman Empire.

Iron Crown of Lombardy

With the Frankish conquest of Italy in the 8th century, the Carolingians assumed the title, which was maintained by subsequent Holy Roman Emperors throughout the Middle Ages.

However, in 774, they were defeated by the Franks under Charlemagne, who deposed their king and took up the title "king of the Lombards".

The Habsburg dominions around 1200 in the area of modern-day Switzerland are shown as, among the houses of, and

House of Habsburg

Austrian and Spanish dynasty which was once one of the most prominent royal houses of Europe in the 2nd millennium.

Austrian and Spanish dynasty which was once one of the most prominent royal houses of Europe in the 2nd millennium.

The Habsburg dominions around 1200 in the area of modern-day Switzerland are shown as, among the houses of, and
Map showing the constituent lands of the Archduchy of Austria: the Duchy of Austria, comprising Upper Austria centered on Linz, and Lower Austria centered on Vienna; Inner Austria, centered on Graz, comprising the duchies of Styria, Carinthia and Carniola, and the lands of the Austrian Littoral; and Further Austria, comprising mostly the Sundgau territory with the town of Belfort in southern Alsace, the adjacent Breisgau region east of the Rhine, and usually the County of Tyrol. The area between Further Austria and the Duchy of Austria was the Archbishopric of Salzburg.
Habsburg lands (in green), following the Battle of Mühlberg in 1547; excludes Holy Roman Empire, and the Spanish colonial empire
The Iberian Union in 1598, under Philip II, King of Spain and Portugal
The Spanish and Austrian Habsburg European lands, ca 1700
Profile portrait of Leopold I highlighting his "Habsburg jaw", Deutsches Historisches Museum
An ethno-linguistic map of Austria–Hungary, 1910
"PLUS OULTRE", motto of Charles V in French, on a ceiling of the Palace of Charles V in Granada
Arms of the Counts of Habsburgs. The Habsburgs all but abandoned this for the arms of Austria. It only reappeared in their triarch family arms in 1805.
75px
Coat of Arms of the Mexican Empire adopted by Maximilian I in 1864
Current personal arms of the head of the house of Habsburg, claiming only the personal title of Archduke

The Habsburg dynasty achieved its highest position when Charles V was elected Holy Roman Emperor.

In the early 15th century, Strasbourg-based chronicler Jakob Twinger von Königshofen asserted that Charlemagne had mastered six languages, even though he had a preference for German.

Depiction of the Ottonian family tree in a 13th-century manuscript of the Chronica sancti Pantaleonis. The founder of the dynasty Liudolf, Duke of Saxony is at the top center

Ottonian dynasty

Depiction of the Ottonian family tree in a 13th-century manuscript of the Chronica sancti Pantaleonis. The founder of the dynasty Liudolf, Duke of Saxony is at the top center
Gandersheim Abbey Church
Former collegiate church of St. Servatius in Quedlinburg, founded in 936 by King Otto I, at the request of his mother Queen Matilda, in honour of her late husband, Otto's father, King Henry the Fowler, and as his memorial
Detail from the monument to Emperor Henry II, built over his tomb in Bamberg Cathedral more than 350 years after his death.
Ottonian family tree

The Ottonian dynasty (Ottonen) was a Saxon dynasty of German monarchs (919–1024), named after three of its kings and Holy Roman Emperors named Otto, especially its first Emperor Otto I.

His ancestors probably acted as ministeriales in the Saxon stem duchy, which had been incorporated into the Carolingian Empire after the Saxon Wars of Charlemagne.

St. Peter's Basilica, the largest Catholic church in the world

Catholic Church

Largest Christian church, with 1.3 billion baptised Catholics worldwide.

Largest Christian church, with 1.3 billion baptised Catholics worldwide.

St. Peter's Basilica, the largest Catholic church in the world
The first use of the term "Catholic Church" (literally meaning "universal church") was by the church father Saint Ignatius of Antioch in his Letter to the Smyrnaeans (c. 110 AD). Ignatius of Antioch is also attributed the earliest recorded use of the term "Christianity" (Χριστιανισμός) c. 100 AD. He died in Rome, with his relics located in the Basilica of San Clemente al Laterano.
This fresco (1481–82) by Pietro Perugino in the Sistine Chapel shows Jesus giving the keys of heaven to Saint Peter.
The Last Supper, a late 1490s mural painting by Leonardo da Vinci, depicting the last supper of Jesus and his twelve apostles on the eve of his crucifixion. Most apostles are buried in Rome, including Saint Peter.
Jesus' commission to Saint Peter
19th-century drawing by Henry William Brewer of Old Saint Peter's Basilica, originally built in 318 by Emperor Constantine
Chartres Cathedral, completed 1220
The Renaissance period was a golden age for Catholic art. Pictured: the Sistine Chapel ceiling painted by Michelangelo
Ruins of the Jesuit Reduction at São Miguel das Missões in Brazil
While, since the 1960s, Pope Pius XII has been accused of not having done enough to shelter Jews from the Holocaust, his defenders claim he secretly encouraged individual Catholic resistance groups, such as that led by priest Heinrich Maier. Maier helped the allies fight against the V-2, which was produced by concentration camp prisoners.
Members of the Canadian Royal 22e Regiment in audience with Pope Pius XII, following the Liberation of Rome in 1944 during World War II
Bishops listen during the Second Vatican Council
Pope John Paul II was credited as a major influence to the end of the Cold War and the fall of communism. Here with U.S. President Ronald Reagan and his wife, Nancy, in 1982.
Francis is the 266th and current pope of the Catholic Church, a title he holds ex officio as bishop of Rome, and sovereign of Vatican City. He was elected in the 2013 papal conclave.
C. 1210 manuscript version of the traditional Shield of the Trinity theological diagram
The Blessed Virgin Mary is highly regarded in the Catholic Church, proclaiming her as Mother of God, free from original sin and an intercessor.
Mass at the Grotto at Lourdes, France. The chalice is displayed to the people immediately after the consecration of the wine.
Baptism of Augustine of Hippo as represented in a sculptural group in Troyes Cathedral (1549), France
Pope Benedict XVI celebrates the Eucharist at the canonisation of Frei Galvão in São Paulo, Brazil on 11 May 2007
A Catholic believer prays in a church in Mexico
The Seven Sacraments Altarpiece triptych painting of Extreme Unction (Anointing of the Sick) with oil being administered by a priest during last rites. Rogier van der Weyden, c. 1445.
Priests lay their hands on the ordinands during the rite of ordination.
Wedding mass in the Philippines
Catholic religious objects – Holy Bible, crucifix and rosary
East Syrian Rite wedding crowning celebrated by a bishop of the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church in India, one of the 23 Eastern Catholic Churches in full communion with the pope and the Catholic Church.
Saint Teresa of Calcutta advocated for the sick, the poor and the needy by practicing the acts of corporal works of mercy.
Allegory of chastity by Hans Memling
Pope Paul VI issued Humanae vitae on 25 July 1968.

This led to the Investiture Controversy between the church and the Holy Roman Emperors, over which had the authority to appoint bishops and popes.

The studia conventualia and studia generalia of the mendicant orders played a large role in the transformation of Church-sponsored cathedral schools and palace schools, such as that of Charlemagne at Aachen, into the prominent universities of Europe.

A golden bust of Frederick I, given to his godfather Count Otto of Cappenberg in 1171. It was used as a reliquary in Cappenberg Abbey and is said in the deed of the gift to have been made "in the likeness of the emperor".

Frederick I, Holy Roman Emperor

A golden bust of Frederick I, given to his godfather Count Otto of Cappenberg in 1171. It was used as a reliquary in Cappenberg Abbey and is said in the deed of the gift to have been made "in the likeness of the emperor".
Crusaders besieging Damascus in 1148
13th-century stained glass image of Frederick I, Strasbourg Cathedral
Penny or denier with Emperor Frederick I Barbarossa, struck in Nijmegen
Wax seal of Frederick I, used in the imperial residence of Pfalz Wimpfen
Frederick's so-called baptismal cup, silver, partly gilded, Aachen 1160
The Barbarossa Chandelier in Aachen Cathedral was donated by Frederick sometime after 1165 as a tribute to Charlemagne.
Frederick Barbarossa, middle, flanked by two of his children, King Henry VI (left) and Duke Frederick VI (right). From the Historia Welforum
The now secularised St Peter's Church at Petersberg Citadel, Erfurt, where Henry the Lion submitted to Barbarossa in 1181
Path of the Third Crusade, Frederick Barbarossa's path in red
Frederick Barbarossa depicted during the Third Crusade
Barbarossa drowns in the Saleph, from the Gotha Manuscript of the Saxon World Chronicle
A German expedition led by Johann Nepomuk Sepp to excavate the bones from the ruins of the Crusader Cathedral of Tyre, 1879
The Frederick Barbarossa Memorial, near Silifke in Mersin Province, southern Turkey. The text explains in Turkish and German how Frederick drowned nearby.
Frederick Barbarossa as a crusader, miniature from a copy of the Historia Hierosolymitana, 1188
Frederick sends out the boy to see whether the ravens still fly.

Frederick Barbarossa (December 1122 – 10 June 1190), also known as Frederick I (Friedrich I, Federico I), was the Holy Roman Emperor from 1155 until his death 35 years later.

Eager to restore the Empire to the position it had occupied under Charlemagne and Otto I the Great, the new king saw clearly that the restoration of order in Germany was a necessary preliminary to the enforcement of the imperial rights in Italy.