Charlemagne was the first leader since the fall of the Roman Empire to achieve a unifying rule across much of Europe as he paved the way for all future European empire builders to draw inspiration from his methodology to achieve greater dictatorships. At a time when Europe was fragmented by tribal rulers whose savagery matched their lack of organisation an opportunity was there for the taking for an ambitious leader like Charlemagne who was equipped with the military strategies to satisfy his lust for power and domination.
After the death of his father Pepin the Short he shared rule for 3 years with his brother Carloman until his siblings sudden and unexpected death in 771ad. For the next 30 years Charlemagne was in a perpetual war across multiple European fronts as he expanded his power base as the King of the Franks by conquering the kingdom of the Lombard's in northern Italy, Saxony to the east and Bohemia.
It was a blood thirsty campaign both on and off the battlefield as the vanquished survivors were expected to convert to Roman catholicism or face execution. In one infamous incident he oversaw the "Massacre of Verden" where 4,500 Saxons were decapitated for refusing to convert to Christianity. On 10th July 774 he was crowned the King Of The Lombard's and by the turn of the century he even gained the title of the First Holy Roman Emperor such was the extent of his power base and allegiance to the papacy.
As an administrator he was equally adept as he was on the battle field as his wide ranging reforms became appreciated by the people of Europe. His legal reforms were stern when it came to religion but he was smart enough to allow local laws to be respected in each of his conquered territories. He standardised language and introduced education which would use Latin as its basic form of learning and communication.
The standardisation continued with money, weights, measures and taxes all coming into line across his territories. As a soldier he led from the front and he cut an intimidating figure as he stood at 6' 4" (1.93m) which was far taller than the nutritionally deprived enemies he faced on the battlefield who averaged about 5' 5" (1.65m).
He surrounded himself with educated people and encouraged art and literature for which history has rewarded his contribution to the people with the term the "Carolingian Renaissance" which was the first of the three great medieval renaissances. As a ruler he was well respected and he tried to be fair to his subjects once they came under his dominion. He made some memorable speeches and was good for a one liner so here is my compilation of 17 of the best Charlemagne quotes