Perse Studio

Independent-learning super-curriculum projects: reading, research and ideas shared by Perse students

What claim does Charlemagne have to the accolade ‘Father of Europe’?

Rupert G, Y12

The term Europae Pater, from which the modern accolade ‘Father of Europe’ has been translated, originates from an anonymously-authored manuscript written c. 800 AD. Known as Karolus Magnus et Leo Papa it tells of the dramatic flight from Rome of Pope Leo III and his meeting with the omnipotent King of the Franks, Charlemagne, at Paderborn (giving rise to its other name, the Paderborn Epic). Charlemagne was born sometime in the 740s, son of Pepin the Short. Pepin’s deposition of the ‘do nothing’ Merovingian dynasty in 751 allowed Charlemagne to succeed his father as King of the Franks from 768 until his death in 814. Charlemagne’s empire was enhanced by the wars of his reign until he reigned most of modern western Europe. The aforementioned meeting of Leo and Charles would eventually result in the coronation of Charlemagne as Imperator Romanorum (800AD) and cement his position within the European myth. Such is the power of the legacy he left behind, that he continues to appear as an icon of European politics to this day.

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