747 (2nd April)
King Charles the Great of the Franks, known as Charlemagne, was born to Pepin the Short
and Bertrada probably in Aachen. He was named Charles by his parents but is better known by the name Charlemagne (Charles the Great). The name Charlemagne may have been used during his life but was first recorded around the year 900. Charlemagne’s father had been elected Mayor of the Royal Palace and was responsible for the running of the Palace.
Pepin the Short became King of the Franks. He had persuaded Pope Zachary to depose Childeric III on the grounds that the man with power should be king rather than the one with royal lineage.
Charles’s brother, Carloman was born to Pepin the Short and Bertrada.
Pepin the Short gave his support to Stephen II who was seeking to become the new Pope.
Pepin the Short took his two sons to St Denis near Paris, where they were blessed by Pope Stephen II. The Pope announced that all future Kings of the Franks should be of Pepin’s line.
Charles’s brother, Pepin was born to Pepin the Short and Bertrada.
Charles’s sister, Gisela was born to Pepin the Short and Bertrada.
Charles began a relationship with Himiltrude. It is unclear whether or not the couple married.
768 (24th September)
Pepin the Short died. Charles and his brother Carloman ruled jointly as King Charles II and King Carloman I.
A son, Pepin the Hunchback, was born to Charles and Himiltrude.
Aquitaine and Gascony rebelled against the rule of Charlemagne and his brother. Carloman declined to go to war but Charlemagne wanted to put down the rebellion. He was successful in exerting his rule over the two regions but relations with his brother Carloman were strained.
Charles put aside Himiltrude and married Desiderata, daughter of Desiderius King of the Lombards. The marriage was made to seal a treaty between Charlemagne and Duke Tassilo III of Bavaria.
The marriage of Charles the Great and Desiderata was annulled and the young lady was returned to her father. Desiderius was furious and vowed to join Carloman against Charlemagne.
Charles married Hildegard of Vinzgouw, daughter of Gerold of Kraichgau.
771 (4th December)
Charles’s brother Carloman died and Charlemagne became sole ruler of the Franks, ignoring the inheritance rights of Carloman’s children. Carloman’s widow sought sanctury for herself and her children with Desiderius. Charlemagne now began a campaign to unite all Germanic peoples into a Christian kingdom under his rule.
A son, Charles, known as Charles the Younger, was born to Charlemagne and Hildegard of Vinzgouw.
Charlemagne launched a campaign into Saxony. The Saxons were pagans and had made a number of raids into the Frankish kingdom. Charlemagne wanted to subdue them and also convert them to Christianity.
772 (1st February)
Adrian I became Pope after the death of Stephen III.
Desiderius of the Lombards invaded the Papal lands. Pope Adrian I asked Charlemagne for help to defeat the invader.
A son, Carloman, was born to Charlemagne and Hildegard of Vinzgouw.
Siege of Pavia
Charlemagne placed the Lombard city of Pavia under siege.
A daughter, Adalhaid, was born to Charles and Hildegard of Vinzgouw. She died the same year.
774 (10th July)
Siege of Pavia
The city of Pavia fell to Charlemagne and Desiderius was defeated.
774 (10th July)
Desiderius was banished and Charlemagne became King of the Lombards.
A daughter, Rotrude, was born to Charlemagne and Hildegard of Vinzgouw.
Following Charles the Great’s conquest of Lombardy, the Duke of Spoleto, Hildeprand, proclaimed the independence of the Duchy. However, Charlemagne refused to transfer authority to Hildeprand and rather than fight, the Duke submitted to Charlemagne.
778 (16th April)
Twin sons, Louis and Lothair, were born to Charlemagne and Hildegard of Vinzgouw.
778 (15th August)
Battle of Roncevaux Pass
Charlemagne’s Frankish invading army were defeated by a large force of Basques. The Basques had attacked in retaliation for Charlemagne destroying the city walls of Pamplona. Charlemagne was forced to retreat.
A daughter, Bertha, was born to Charlemagne and Hildegard of Vinzgouw.
Charlemagne’s son, Lothair, died.
A daughter, Gisela, was born to Charlemagne and Hildegard of Vinzgouw.
Charlemagne visited Rome with his sons, Carloman aged 8 years and Louis aged 3 years. Carloman was re-christened and given the name Pepin by the Pope. He was crowned King Pepin of Italy in the same ceremony. Louis was made King of Aquitaine at the same time. The boys were then sent to their respective kingdoms where they were raised by regents.
A daughter, Hildegarde, was born to Charlemagne and Hildegard of Vinzgouw.
Massacre of Verden
The Saxons had staged a rebellion against Charles the Great and won a victory at the Battle of the Suntel. Charlemagne, determined to put down the rebellion, ordered that 4,500 Saxons be executed. Those chosen were executed in a single day at Verden.
Charlemagne’s daughter, Hildegarde, died.
783 (30th April)
Hildegard of Vinzgouw Charles’s wife, died.
783 (12th July)
Charles’s mother died.
Charles married Fastrada, daughter of Count Rudolph.
A daughter Theodrada was born to Charles and Fastrada.
Widukind of Saxony submitted to Charlemagne and agreed to be baptised.
A daughter Hiltrude was born to Charles and Fastrada.
Charlemagne attempted to take Benevento in southern Italy. He managed to gain the submission of Duke Arechis II but he died soon afterwards and his successor Grimoald III declared Benevento independant. Charlemagne was unable to retake the duchy.
Charlemagne annexed Bavaria, adding it to his Empire.
Charlemagne issued this legislation which set out educational and ecclesiastical reform throughout the Frankish kingdom.
Charles the Great invaded the Avarian territories (east of Bavaria). The Avar people did not fight but retreated to Pannonia (Hungary) allowing Charlemagne to extend his border east without fighting.
Charlemagne banished his son Pepin the Hunchback to Prum Abbey after he had joined a rebellion against his father.
Charles’s wife, Fastrada, died at frankfurt.
Charles married Luitgard, the daughter of a German count.
Charlemagne’s son Pepin, King of Italy, invaded Pannonia (Hungary). Local Slav’s, who wanted the Avars gone, joined Pepin. The Avars royal palace known as The Ring was sacked and the Avars were forced to retreat beyond the River Tisza.
Charlemagne’s son, Louis, took Barcelona after placing it under siege.
The Franks invaded Croatia and lay siege to Trsat. However, the siege was resisted and the Franks were defeated. But, during the fighting much of the city had been destroyed and Dalmatian Croatia accepted the overlordship of Charlemagne rather than continue fighting.
800 (4th June)
Charles’s wife, Luitgard, died.
800 (25th December)
Charles the Great was crowned Emperor of the Romans by Pope Leo III.
Charlemagne sent his eldest son, Charles the Younger, to Bohemia (Czechia) to subdue the Slavs.
Charlemagne drew up his will. He nominated Charles the Younger to be ruler of Austrasia, Neustria, Burgundy, Saxony and Thuringia. His son Pepin was to rule Italy, Bavaria and Swabia while Louis would govern Aquitaine, the Spanish March (Basque region of Spain) and Provence.
Charlemagne’s daughter, Gisela, died.
810 (6th June)
Charlemagne’s daughter, Rotrude, died.
810 (8th July)
Charlemagne’s son, Carloman (Pepin), died.
811 (4th December)
Charlemagne’s son, Charles the Younger, died.
Charlemagne crowned his only surviving son, Louis, as co-Emperor and co-King of the Franks.
814 (28th January)
Charlemagne died at Aachen, Francia. He was succeeded by his son Louis. He was buried in Aachen Cathedral.