Charlemagne Revives Latin Learning

Charlemagne hoped to make his capital at Aachen (AH kun) a “second Rome.” To achieve this goal, he made a determined effort to revive Latin learning.

Charlemagne could read but not write. He is said to have kept a slate by his bed so that he could practice making letters. For him, education also served to strengthen his empire as he saw the need for records and clear reports.

To ensure a supply of educated officials, Charlemagne set up a palace school and brought scholars there from all over. He asked a famous scholar, Alcuin of York, to run his palace school. There, scholars were set to work copying ancient manuscripts including the Bible and Latin works of history and science.

Charlemagne's Legacy

Although Charlemagne's empire crumbled, the great Frankish ruler left a lasting legacy. He extended Christian civilization into northern Europe and furthered the blending of Germanic, Roman, and Christian traditions. He also set up a system for strong, efficient government. Later medieval rulers looked to his example when they tried to strengthen their own kingdoms.

New Invasions Pound Europe

After Charlemagne died in 814, his son Louis I took the throne. Later, Louis's sons battled for power. Finally, in 843, Charlemagne's grandsons drew up the Treaty of Verdun, which split the empire into three regions. The empire was divided just at a time when these lands were faced with new waves of invasions.

Three Sources of Attack

Between about 700 to about 1000, Western Europe was battered by invaders from other lands. Muslims, Magyars, and Vikings conquered lands across the region. Even after their defeat at Tours in 732, Muslim forces kept up their pressure on Europe. In the late 800s, they conquered the island of Sicily, which became a thriving center of Muslim culture. Not until the 900s, when power struggles erupted in the Middle East, did Muslim attacks finally subside.

About 900, a new wave of nomadic people, the Magyars, overran Eastern Europe and attacked the Byzantine empire. They moved on to plunder Germany, parts of France, and Italy. Finally, after about 50 years, they were turned back and settled in what is today Hungary.

A map shows invasions of Europe, from 700 to 1000.
Image Long Description

Analyze Maps

Use the map to find total distances the invaders traveled and number of routes taken. Rank the invaders from longest to shortest total distances traveled and most to least routes taken.


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Table of Contents

World History Topic 1 Origins of Civilization (Prehistory–300 B.C.) Topic 2 The Ancient Middle East and Egypt (3200 B.C.–500 B.C.) Topic 3 Ancient India and China (2600 B.C.–A.D. 550) Topic 4 The Americas (Prehistory–A.D. 1570) Topic 5 Ancient Greece (1750 B.C.–133 B.C.) Topic 6 Ancient Rome and the Origins of Christianity (509 B.C.-A.D. 476) Topic 7 Medieval Christian Europe (330–1450) Topic 8 The Muslim World and Africa (730 B.C.-A.D. 1500) Topic 9 Civilizations of Asia (500–1650) Topic 10 The Renaissance and Reformation (1300–1650) Topic 11 New Global Connections (1415–1796) Topic 12 Absolutism and Revolution Topic 13 The Industrial Revolution Topic 14 Nationalism and the Spread of Democracy (1790–1914) Topic 15 The Age of Imperialism (1800–1914) Topic 16 World War I and the Russian Revolution (1914–1924) Topic 17 The World Between the Wars (1910–1939) Topic 18 World War II (1930–1945) Topic 19 The Cold War Era (1945–1991) Topic 20 New Nations Emerge (1945–Present) Topic 21 The World Today (1980-Present) United States Constitution Primary Sources 21st Century Skills Atlas Glossary Index Acknowledgments