The Early Middle Ages. The Carolingian Empire

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Information about The Early Middle Ages. The Carolingian Empire

Published on September 19, 2013

Author: chusteacher



Created by María Jesús Campos, teacher of Social Studies, Geography and History in a bilingual section in Madrid


THE FALL OF THE WESTERN ROMAN EMPIRE The fall of the Western Roman Empire after the conquest of Rome by the Ostrogoths in the year 476 A.D. meant the break-up of Mediterranean unity and the arose of new powers and civilizations as the Germanic Kingdoms, the Byzantine Empire and the Islamic


THE GERMANIC KINGDOMS: THE FRANKISH KINGDOM  After the fall of the Western Roman Empire, the Franks expelled the Visigoths from Gaul and established there the Frankish Kingdom.

 But Frankish kings were weak so they handed power over to officials called Mayors of the Palace.  One of the most important mayors was Charles Martel because he strengthened the frontiers and stopped the Muslims from invading the Frankish kingdom.

 Charles Martel’s son, Pippin the Short was mayor of the palace until he deposed the last Frankish monarch and became king himself.  He was annointed by the Pope. In exchange, Pippin gave the Pope the lands he had conquered in Italy to the Lombards. Those lands became the Papal States.

THE CAROLINGIAN EMPIRE  Pippin’s son, Charlemagne, succeeded him. He was an able military leader that wanted to unite the Germanic tribes into a single Christian state and restore the Western Roman Empire.  He conquered the Lombard kingdom in Italy, annexed Bavaria and the Danube, defeated the Saxons and attacked the Muslims in Spain capturing the northeast section of the Iberian Peninsula.  The Pope annointed Charlemagne as emperor. The Carolingian Empire showed itself as the successor of the Western Roman Empire. This angered the Byzantine Empire.


THE CAROLINGIAN EMPIRE: GOVERNMENT  The empire was divided into:  Counties ruled by counts who were usually men of noble families.  Marches ruled by margraves who were counts and military men as this territories were located in frontier areas.

THE CAROLINGIAN EMPIRE: CULTURE  The reign of Charlemagne is distinguished as a time of culture.  A lot of buildings and churches were built reflecting both Roman and Byzantine influence.  The emperor established centers of learning, libraries and famous scriptorium so that ancient manuscripts could be preserved an copied by monks.

The Decline of the Carolingian Empire  After Charlemagne, his son Louis the Pious was crowned emperor. He was a weak leader that could not hold together the vast territories.  He divided the empire among his three sons: Charles, Louis and Lothair. They signed the Treaty of Verdun, which divided the empire into three kingdoms.  Nevertheless, they soon began to fight over the lands. Civil wars and poor leadership weakened the empire until it could not longer resist foreign invasions. The last Carolingian emperor was deposed by the Vikings.

Developed by María Jesús Campos Chusteacher wikiteacher

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