Medieval Anglo-Saxons and Continental Europeans
Historical Novels Set Between A.D. 500 - 1066
We must now consider the longest and most desperate of Charlemagne’s wars—that waged against the Saxons, which began before his campaign against Desiderius and lasted not less than thirty-three years.
A bitter race antagonism had long prevailed between the Franks and the Saxons. As already related, the latter had been subjugated by Charlemagne’s predecessors and forced to pay tribute. Saxony extended along both sides of the Weser, westerly to the vicinity of the lower Rhine, southwesterly to the Harz and the Unstrut, and northerly to the ocean, except the country occupied by the Frisians. Four races inhabited Saxony—the Westphalians, living between the Weser and the Issel; the Eastphalians, on the right bank of the Weser to the Elbe; the Eugen, between both these; and the Northmen, or Nordalbingi, who lived on both sides of the Elbe. “Phalen” or “Falen” means a great plain, and one of these names (Westphalia) is in use to-day.
Charlemagne (c.742-814), also known as Karl and Charles the Great, was a medieval emperor who ruled much of Western Europe from 768 to 814. In 771, Charlemagne became king of the Franks, a Germanic tribe in present-day Belgium, France, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and western Germany. He embarked on a mission to unite all Germanic peoples into one kingdom, and convert his subjects to Christianity. A skilled military strategist, he spent much of his reign engaged in warfare in order to accomplish his goals. In 800, Pope Leo III (750-816) crowned Charlemagne emperor of the Romans. In this role, he encouraged the Carolingian Renaissance, a cultural and intellectual revival in Europe. When he died in 814, Charlemagne’s empire encompassed much of Western Europe, and he had also ensured the survival of Christianity in the West. Today, Charlemagne is referred to by some as the father of Europe.