Charlemagne and the Carolingian Art of War

Empires: A History of Mankind’s Imperial Past

The founder of the Carolingian empire, Charlemagne, is often called the “father of Europe.” For the French and German people alike, he’s a little bit like a medieval George Washington. But unlike Washington, Charlemagne was not just statesman and general. He was an empire-builder living in a very different time, when might made right.

There is no single battle or campaign that earned Charlemagne his place in history. No fight against overwhelming odds or swift toppling of another empire. Instead, Charlemagne’s inclusion in the pantheon of military greats was earned through the scope and scale of his conquests, incremental as they were.

It is a certain brand of sheer persistence and unending patience that forged Charlemagne’s reputation as conqueror. That is the essence of why you hear as unlikely a source as Mike Tyson rank him alongside Alexander the Great and Napoleon.

Theme track used: The Age of Empire (Zero Project), re-composed by Stavros Stavrou

Audio used: Mike Tyson in Sugar Ray Leonard interview

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