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Carloman died prematurely, however, and in only Charles remained as king. A king of enormous prestige, Charles is. Cleverly, the cunning Pepin arranged to be crowned king by the pope Zacharias.


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Pepin conquered a part of northern Italy from the Lombards in 7 5 6. Those territories were yielded to the. He became a legendary sovereign throughout medieval Europe. With the Church's support, he pursued a policy of. Castles and Fortified Cities of Medieval Europe In 7 8 7 , he launched a successful war against the pagan Avars in the Danube region, but his efforts to drive the Saracens off of Spain were in vain. He conquered Bavaria, Belgium, Netherlands and Luxembourg in 7 8 8.

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By the end of the 8th century, the period of conquest was complete, and Charlemagne had reconstituted the Ancient western Roman Empire, along with a wide part of northern and central Germany, but without the British Isles and French Brittany. In 8 0 5 , the Avars of the Danube, who could have been a threat to Bavaria, were contained by the eastern march, the Ostmark, which later became Osterreich Austria. At the head of each march Charlemagne delegated a Markgraf a term that gave us the words margrave and marquis.

Richard the Lionheart

Indeed, the emperor had no permanent army; according to the traditional Germanic law, armed forces were raised for every campaign in spring and summer. Charlemagne, as a Frankish warlord, had the right to call up all free men for an expedition. Because of its huge dimensions, its varied pastiche of Germanic laws, its patchwork of populations, and its poor fiscal and administrative structure, the Carolingian empire was a vulnerable construction.

These powerful officers represented the emperor; they were appointed and dismissed by him and had large juridical, fiscal, administrative, and of course military and police power in their territories. At the regional level they in turn delegated a part of their power to local gentry, barons, viscounts and lords. Recall, however, that the emperor had a poor fiscal administration and consequently no money; hence he could not regularly pay his officials. On the other hand, land and agriculture were the only wealth in a rural world.

All imperial servants were regularly inspected and controlled by officers called missi dominici literally meaning sent by the master. Actually, however, the system was the great weakness of Charlemagne's empire. Though himself a brutal warrior, Charlemagne sought to bring spirituality, morality and education to his warriors, clergy and populations. At all levels, however the effects of the Carolingian Renaissance were only moderate. Wars were fought on the borders of the empire by.

The tradition, recruitment and structure of the Carolingian army was unsuitable for fixed garrisons in permanent fortifications. Therefore military architecture fell into full decay. Existing works and urban fortifications dating from the Roman time were maintained little or not at all. Charlemagne allowed the dismantling of defense works so that stones from fortifications could be used to build churches, notably in Langres, Verdun, Reims, Melun, Frankfurt or Ratisbon, for example.

Only a few border fortresses and frontier strongholds were erected or maintained in the marches to serve as offensive bases. It is rather difficult to know what they looked like, since documents are lacking and works were later demolished or rebuilt. We may suppose, however, that they were in the Roman-Germanic tradition with stone walls, earth entrenchments, stockades and ditches. If the land frontiers of Charlemagne's empire were rather well held owing to the marches, the maritime facade North Sea, Channel and Atlantic Ocean was poorly defended and vulnerable.

Against them the emperor was powerless because he had no naval force. Charlemagne ordered the installation of fortified surveillance posts on the coasts, near the harbors and by the river-mouths. Those posts, however, were probably not numerous and were not likely strong enough to secure the coast. Charlemagne's empire did not survive long. Unity was maintained with difficulty by his son Louis the Pious from to 8 4 0 , but after Louis's death, his three sons and successors quarreled and fought among themselves.

The result of these fratricidal struggles was the partition of the huge empire by the treaty of Verdun in 8 4 3. Charles the Bald became king of the western part, which would become France; Ludwig the German became king of the eastern part east of the river Rhine , which would give birth to Germany.

By 8 7 0 Lothar's territories had ceased to exist, but his name can be still found today in the French province Lotharingia or Lorraine. The division of the Carolingian Empire marked the end of an era, the end of united Europe. In the 9th century they sailed south and conquered the northern part of the British Isles. Their long, swift, high-prowed ships could penetrate deep in the hinterland to ascend rivers, from which they launched mobile surprise raids.

As early as 8 0 9 , the prosperous port of Dorestad in the Netherlands was attacked. Chronicles mention Viking aggressions in Rouen in and Nantes in 8 4 4. Spain was raided in 8 4 4 , Bordeaux was besieged in 8 4 8 , Paris was a target in 8 4 5 , 8 5 6 and They sailed the Rhine in and looted Nimegue, Cologne and Bonn. In 8 8 6 , a huge fleet of Viking ships ransomed Paris and looted the rich provinces of Champagne and Burgundy.

Richard the Lionheart

But were they really that bad? Were they exclusively responsible for all crimes, thefts, murders and pillages of the time? Actually, whenever and wherever they were given the opportunity, the Vikings appear to have been rather peaceful merchants, peasants and good administrators. Progressively the Norsemen converted from vagabond looters to sedentary settlers. By the treaty of Saint-Clairsur-Epte in , the Carolingian king of France, Charles the Simple 8 9 3 - 9 2 2 , yielded the Viking chief, Rollo, a vast territory in the region of Rouen.

Carolingian horseman. The Carolingian time saw the beginning of the supremacy of the cavalry on the battlefield. The horseshoe increased the animal's capacity, and speed and mastery over the horse were increased with the use of spurs attached to the rider's feet.


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Armament consisted of a lance, a long right sword and a battle-ax. Castle Valkhofin Nimegue Netherlands.

Nimegue Nijmegen in Dutch was situated in the province of Gelderland. The city was the capital of the Batave tribe, then a Roman castrum called Noviomagus Batavorum on the Rhine limes. The castle and the city were ravaged by the Norsemen in The German emperor Friedrich Barbarossa ordered the reconstruction of the Valkhof in ; the castle served as residence for the dukes of Gelderland throughout the Middle Ages.

The Valkhof was destroyed by the French in The Norman territories became the rich duchy of Normandy. In the 11th century, the Normans settled down in Britain, Sicily and southern Italy.

Richard I of England - New World Encyclopedia

Norman fortification was characterized by the use of earth entrenchments and wooden palisades. In 9 5 5 , however, the Mag-. Viking boat.

The Norman ship, called drakkar, langskip, karve or knarr according to its size, could sail with its unique mast or be moved by oars. The system had many forms, which evolved over time and varied according to region. In a climate of state dissolu-. The German part became the Holy Roman empire created by Otto the Great, who was crowned emperor in 9 6 2. The feudal system—or, more accurately, absence of system—was actually an improvisation resulting from the. View of a Scandinavian fortified round village.

Living accommodations, stores, stables, workshops and other buildings were placed inside the round enclosure. Vassalage meant the swearing of an.

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Authority and power were thus available to whoever could seize and keep them. This being the case, local wars and small conflicts were numerous even after the Scandinavian invasions had ceased. Feudalism spread from its birthplace in France to other European countries and in particular to Germany, Italy, England and northern Spain. The fief was granted by a mighty lord, called a suzerain, to a subordinate, called a vassal. Both parties owed one another council and help, which was principally in the form of armed service, called ost.