28 January 2022

Charlemagne - A New Emperor for the Romans

I shared this video recently, but since it's his Feast Day, here it is again.

The coronation of Charlemagne as emperor: On Christmas day, 800, crowds of Romans, Franks, Bavarians, Lombards, Goths, Basques, and some visiting Anglo-Saxons and Greeks all packed into the great cathedral of Saint Peter’s. Near the front of the altar stood Charlemagne's sons and daughters, the royal Frankish princes and princesses. At the front of the altar stood Charles himself, garbed in a Roman tunic and cloak, with a belt of gold and jeweled sandals. In the midst of mass, Pope Leo crowned Charlemagne as emperor. The gathered crowd cried out in proclamation of the coronation: “Long life and victory to Charles Augustus, crowned by God the great and pacific emperor of the Romans!” The Pope then prostrated himself before Charles and kissed the hem of his cloak in the traditional ritual of the Roman Empire.

For some, this was the old Roman Empire reborn. For others, this was the dawn of a new empire – the Germanic Holy Roman Empire. Undoubtedly, Charlemagne had brought the west to new heights of power after centuries of obscurity. His reign would come to define the western Middle Ages.

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