Charlemagne: Uniting Europe in the Medieval Period - Essay Sample

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  4
Wordcount:  939 Words
Date:  2023-04-06


Also identified as "Charles the Great", Charlemagne was a great ruler during the medieval period whose rule extended over a large part of Western Europe and lasted for about 56 years. Charlemagne served as the Frankish king, a Germanic ethnic group in what is today Netherlands, Belgium, France, Switzerland, and Luxembourg (Sullivan, n.p). One of the outstanding achievements by Charlemagne includes the ability to unite a wider part of Europe, especially by restoring the Roman Empire and being its first ruler, as well as overseeing intellectual and cultural resurgence. Under his rule, Charlemagne took an interest in scholarship, an element that saw him order his children and grandchildren to seek education (Nelson, 129). He also used scholars to promote art at the court and for self-education. This paper provides a detailed discussion of why Charlemagne maintained a large group of scholars in his court.

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Reasons for Having Many Scholars

Before his rule during the Carolingian Renaissance, Western Europe had been characterized by a period of sluggishness and corruption in art and intellectual development. Charlemagne sought to change the situation and bring something new in these fields. As a result, he brought many scholars to his courts in an attempt and aspiration to revive artistic intelligence and literacy nourishment in the kingdom (Davis, 15). He wanted to use the scholars to make Rome the center of recovery for the lost pride in philosophical writings, architecture, and art. Due to the need to recover the works of ancient scholars, Charlemagne entitled the new scholars with the responsibility of transcribing ancient works.

The scholars would also play a crucial role in developing written documents, which was meant to expand communication between the local government units and his court, especially when dealing with administrative issues. The scholars developed and propagated the new Carolingian minuscule style of writing, which played a vital role in simplifying copying and writing (Winsor, 7). The scholars in Charlemagne's court were responsible for writing and dispatching his capitularies all over the kingdom to inform the residents about his resolve and how the kingdom programs would be performed. Moreover, Charlemagne wanted to use the scholars to expand the curriculum in the kingdom to offer a comprehensive education founded on the customary liberal arts.

Charlemagne's administered Western Europe through the church, and his rule was felt across an extensive territory. The monks and priests would ensure his administration was felt at the lowest level and who would report to him directly. However, these monks and priests were just laymen and who only spent their lives in handling basic religious activities and common society issues (Winsor, 3). In ensuring effective governance, Charlemagne had to use the scholars to educate these monks and priests in the monasteries. Charlemagne hired a large group of scholars to educate these church leaders on how to govern the territory, collect taxes, with the local population as well as communicate with his subjects.

Another reason why Charles the great hired many scholars were the desire he had to restore the scholarship in his empire. He yearned to continue with his father's legacy of having teachers to educate the young generation. The desire saw him establish a learning facility in his court, where he appointed Alcuin as the headteacher whom he considered the most learned man in his generation (Gudek, n.p). Scholars from different corners of Europe, including England, Ireland, Italy, and Spain, came to the court. The scholars visited dioceses and monasteries where they structured local schools, built libraries, and involved themselves in transcribing old writings. The scholars in the court would play a crucial role in creating a new revolution of educated people in the empire. Additionally, a large number of scholars in the court would be responsible for producing textbooks, which would help improve the literacy levels in the kingdom as well as deliver the rudimentary tenets of faith (Davis 166). The scholars also developed books that facilitated a more in-depth study of Christianity, including the Latin writings and classical fathers.

Charlemagne's rule extended over a wide territory, an aspect that saw him govern different people, societies, and even cultural groups under the Roman Empire. Some of the groups existing under his administration included the Gauls, Spanish, Romans, Jews, and several Germanic tribes. Charlemagne hired scholars from every group of these populations and who would work in his courts (Gudek, n.p). The scholars played the role of advisors to the king to help him govern the territory with much ease. Charlemagne relied on the advice from these scholars, especially on the application of laws to ensure that the different groups would accept his rule without destabilizing things. Not only did the scholars offer advice on administration but also on trade to ensure that the economic conditions encourage business throughout the empire.


By surrounding himself with many scholars, Charlemagne managed to improve personal literacy and that of other populations in the empire. As a result, his kingdom became stronger and united since everything was done in an orderly manner. Under his administration, the kingdom achieved a significant milestone in art, education, architecture, and leadership, all through education.

Works Cited

Davis, Jennifer R. Charlemagne's practice of empire. Cambridge University Press, 2015.

Gudek, Tea S. "Charlemagne: Carolingian Renaissance - Third Part." Medieval Wall | Medieval Wall is a Blog About Art, Culture, and History of Middle Ages, 22 Aug. 2010,

Nelson, Jinty. "Charlemagne and Europe." The Guardian (2014): 22.

Sullivan, Richard E. "Court and Administration." Encyclopedia Britannica, 24 Jan. 2020,

Winsor, Christopher. "Charlemagne, Patron of Scholars: Examining the Role of Carolingian Learning and the Motives Behind Einhard's Portrayal of the Emperor." Buried Text: Publications in History and Archaeology 1.1 (2018).

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Charlemagne: Uniting Europe in the Medieval Period - Essay Sample. (2023, Apr 06). Retrieved from

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