How did Charlemagne Build and Govern his Empire?
Charlemagne was one of the most successful rulers of his time period. How did he build and govern his empire the way he did? He used a combination of his personal charisma and intelligence, the feudal system, the Church, and war in order to create the greatest Empire since the time of the Romans. His dislike of corruption, and his power in battle all contributed to his success as Emperor.
Charlemagne himself was the key to his own success. He himself was a charismatic man, with an incredible amount of vital energy, and a desire to do well. An example of this was that he studied a lot, and made "heroic efforts" to learn to write, according to Einhard, his biographer. As we will see later on, education was a major part of Charlemagne's regime. He also was an honest and normal person, and disliked the regal trappings of his court.
When at home, he would generally wear simple clothes.
Charlemagne tried to preserve the commerce in his Empire-to-be, for he felt that trade was important, because the money that it generated helped the people live better and more comfortable lives. He made laws and decrees, by which "the fairs were protected, weights and measures and prices were regulated, tolls were moderated, and roads and bridges were built or repaired" (Duran, 465). He also protected the Jews for the same reason: they were the only link between his Empire, and that of the East, whose trade he needed.
He also attempted to fend off the onslaught of serfdom; the circumstances, and the declining economy in Northern Europe, thwarted him. He believed that people should not be kept against their will, and so the facts that serfdom blossomed, and that even slavery appeared...