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(Latin Carolus Magnus, Charles the Great) (742–814) King of the Franks (768–814) and Holy Roman emperor (as Charles I) (800–14). He created an empire by conquering and Christianizing the Saxons (772–77; 782–85), Lombards (774), and Avars (791–99), and restoring areas of Italy to the pope. His coronation by Pope Leo III in Rome on Christmas Day, 800, is taken as having inaugurated the Holy Roman Empire. He gave government new moral drive and religious responsibility, and encouraged commerce and agriculture. A well-educated man, he promoted the arts and education and under Alcuin his principal court at Aachen became a major centre of learning. The political cohesion of his empire did not last, but the influence of his scholars persisted in the Carolingian Renaissance.

Subjects: History.

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