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In 772 he launched a thirty-year campaign to conquer and Christianize the powerful pagan Saxons in the north which resulted in the systematic expansion of his dream for a Christian empire.
He also subdued the Avars, a huge Tatar tribe on the Danube, and compelled the rebellious Bavarian dukes to submit to him.
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Charlemagne, and especially Alcuin, were convinced that it was not enough to establish Augustine’s City of God through imperial conquest alone.
The most efficient way to save souls was to reform the Church—those who professed to know how.
This seems to have originated, once again, with Charlemagne’s well-intentioned understanding of the Augustinian notion that the king was responsible to God for his subjects’ spiritual welfare. Charlemagne began his long regal career at the age of 30 when he became the sole ruler of the kingdom of the Franks in 771.
At that time the northern half of Europe was still pagan and lawless; in the south, the Roman Catholic church was striving to assert its power against the Lombard kingdom in Italy; and in Charlemagne’s own realm, the Franks were falling back into barbarian ways, neglecting their education and religion. -814) to strengthen his realm and to bring Christian order to Europe.
Wherefore if the true God is worshiped it is advantageous that good men should long reign both far and wide.
After all, Europe badly needed a conquering strong man like David of old, who could exercise wisdom and discernment in the sustainment of God’s new Jerusalem on earth.
This research effort will also endeavor to uncover the motivational factors and purposes underlying Charlemagne’s conquests.
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