The collection of territories in Western Europe ruled by the family of Charlemagne (768–814 ad) from whom the dynasty took its name. Charlemagne's ancestors, Frankish aristocrats, fought their way to supreme power under the Merovingian kings, the last of whom was deposed by Charlemagne's father Pepin III in 751. Under Charlemagne, the empire covered modern-day France, part of Spain, Germany to the River Elbe, and much of Italy. Charlemagne was crowned Emperor of the West by Pope Leo III in 800 and made his court a centre of learning (the “Carolingian Renaissance”). After the division of the empire by the Treaty of Verdun in 843, civil war among the Carolingians, Viking raids, and the ambitions of rival families subjected the empire to intolerable strains. Nevertheless, Carolingians reigned in Germany till 911 and in France till 987 and they left behind a prestige which later kings of the Middle Ages sought to emulate.
Subjects: Archaeology — World History.