Charlemagne and the saxon war essay

The Saxon assault on church property put Charlemagne on the defensive as the royal protector of Christianity. The fact that Charlemagne destroyed the religious site left intact by earlier Frankish Charlemagne and the saxon war essay marks the beginning a new strategy of engagement with the Saxons.

Was Charlemagne a Mass Murderer?

The Franks were so irritated by these incidents that they decided the time had come to stop responding to individual incidents and to open a full-scale war against the Saxons. Murder, robbery and arson were of constant occurrence on both sides. In the first event, Charlemagne succeeded in destroying a pagan holy place because God sent a miracle of water as help for the Christian Franks.

After defeating the Moabites, David, with whom Charles liked to compare himself, had the prisoners stretch out on the ground, and two out of three were killed.

A great drought occurred so that there was no water in the place where the Irminsul stood. The Saxons, like almost all the peoples living in Germany, are ferocious by nature. Such later sources must be treated with caution; sources contemporary with the Saxon war do not clarify whether the Irminsul was a carved column or a natural tree.

Charlemagne saw himself as a new Constantine, emulating the first Christian emperor by naming a Frankish stronghold Karlsburg after himself, as the earlier emperor had done with Constantinople. Unlike the RFA, Einhard gives Charlemagne a clear motive for his first offensive against the Saxons by asserting that the Saxons provoked the war: The central argument proposed is that, over the long course of the war, Charlemagne increasingly sought a complete erasure of Saxon pagan identity.

The RFA report his actions: They are much given to devil worship and they are hostile to our religion. Jinty Nelson, one of the leading scholars of the Early Middle Ages, offers this explanation: Pepin himself led forces into Saxony inand The Saxons began to attack this church with great determination, trying one way or another to burn it.

So what was it? Their Frankish conquerors spoke a tongue derived from late Latin. A famous massacre at Verden inwhere an angry Charlemagne was described by the royal Frankish annals as seeking revenge for the killing of some of his nobles in a battle, seems to have been motivated most strongly by the lust for conquest.

The glorious king wished to remain there two or three days in order to destroy the temple completely, but they had no water.

Or was this a brutal act of ethnic-cleansing that has left a terrible mark on the man who is credited with re-establishing Western Europe after the fall of the Roman Empire?

Then all the Saxons came together again, submitted to the authority of the Lord King, and surrendered the evildoers who were chiefly responsible for this revolt to be put to death — four thousand five hundred of them.

However, soon after the death of his brother and co-ruler Carloman, Charlemagne decided to invade Saxony. It would be in that the first recorded Viking attack occurred. It stated, among other provisions of enforced Christianization, that anyone who refused to be baptized should be put to death.

It seems unlikely that such an event would have been imagined by the writer considering how ferocious the warfare was between the Saxons and Franks.

Charlemagne vs. the Saxons

Meanwhile, in his book Charlemagne: Suddenly at noon, through the grace of God, while the army rested and nobody knew what was happening, so much water poured forth in a stream that the whole army had enough. They offer an official history covering the years towith events after around written down contemporaneously.

Charlemagne responded by gathering his forces and returning to Saxony, where he unleashed his massacre at Verden. They think it no dishonor to violate and transgress the laws of God and man. The reasons why the massacre was carried are also debated. He was educated at the Fulda monastery founded by Saint Boniface, the martyred missionary who was of such symbolic importance to both the Christian Charlemagne and the pagan Saxons.

Crites The coronation of Charlemagne entwined state and church from his day to ours Christopher Fee Charlemagne founded it. The destruction of the Saxon sanctuary was enough of an event for news of it to fairly quickly travel as far as England. The story of the Massacre of Verden again become a major issue in the 19th and early 20th centuries, in particular for German historians who even had to reconcile the Charlemagne who built their country into an empire and the Charlemagne who killed thousands of prisoners in a single day.

This, too, was part of the Old Testament from which the king drew inspiration, and it is difficult not to discern a practical and cruelly coherent application of that model in the massacre of Verden. He was neither a member of the royal court nor an eyewitness to the events he describes.

And when it was all over, Charlemagne himself published a document see p.A campaign, especially as most of them were conducted in the summer, in harvesting and planting season, was an expensive undertaking. To finance this, the army was rewarded in war booty.

It is described in an entry for Charlemagne’s early Saxon Wars fromhow “gold and silver”4 were carried off from the destroyed sanctuary of Irminsul. Charlemagne and the Saxon War - Every historian interprets the past differently and with distinctive perspectives, resulting in many sides to one story.

Often the reader must decide which perspective is more logical, likely, or coherent.


The life of Charlemagne was interesting to historians because it was filled with many vigorous wars that he fought including the infamous Saxon War. From the beginning of his life, Charlemagne was destined to rule a nation and lead his people.

Was Charlemagne a Mass Murderer? February 2, by When he heard of this, the Lord King Charles rushed to the place with all the Franks he could gather on short notice and advanced to where the Aller flows into the Weser.

After brief surveys of primary sources used, early Carolingian-Saxon conflicts, material goals of the Frankish invasions, and Charlemagne’s religious motivation, this article provides a narrative of the Saxon war that focuses on religio-cultural elements.

Emphasis is placed on five key events: the. Charlemagne life form the individual law of the regime of Francia, he stretched out his territory through subjugation. He conquered the Lombards in northern Italy, acquired Bavaria, and campaigned in Spain and Hungary. Charles used unsympathetic actions in subduing the Saxons and practically exterminating the Avars of present-day Austria.

Charlemagne and the saxon war essay
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