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review King and Emperor

King and Emperor

Charles king of the Franks is one of the most remarkable figures ever to rule a European super state That is why he is so often called 'Charles the Great' by the French 'Charlemagne' and by the Germans 'Karl der Grosse' His strength of character was felt to be remarkable from early in his long reign Warfare and accident vermin and weather have destroyed much of the evidence for his rule in the twelve centuries since his death but a remarkable amount sti. 4 A Scholarly Biography of Charlemagne s LifeThis work by Janet L Nelson represents a thorough scholarly biography of Charlemagne Nelson s understanding and familiarity with the source material shines through in this book in which Charlemagne is stripped back from the years of mythologising and idolising that has ocurred since his death Charlemagne is presented as distinctly human and this book is the first time I have felt I could reasonably understand Charlemagne as the man he was not the man he has since been painted to be Moreover Nelson is excellent in her discussions of Charlemagne s wives in particular rescuing Fastrada from the commonplace assumption that she was cruel Nelson is very strong in her dissection of the source material After reading this book I am now much familiar with the sources that we rely on to understand Charlemagne the authors motivations their proximity to Charlemagne However it can be a challenge to deftly weave critical discussion of sources with a fluid narrative and at times this book leans a little on the dry side Nelson does not speculate instead focussing on what we do know or can be reasonably inferred from the sources The downside to this is that some of the interesting episodes from Charlemagne s life are glossed over for example the 792AD rebellion of Charlemagne s eldest son Pippin receives only 3 pages of discussion whereas Charlemagne s canal building project which follows receives double that Personally as a general reader rather than a historian I would have preferred on the interesting bits of Charlemagne s reign but a academic reader may not mindOverall this is an excellent biography and I would recommend it to an informed reader but not as an introduction

Read Ô eBook, PDF or Kindle ePUB Î Janet L. Nelson

Ll survivesJanet L Nelson's wonderful new book brings together everything we know about Charlemagne and sifts through the evidence to come as close as we can to understanding the man and his motives Nelson has an extraordinary knowledge of the sources and much of the book is a sort of detective story prying into and interpreting fascinating material and often obdurate scraps from prayerbooks to skeletons gossip to artworkAbove all Charles's legacy lies. In the introduction the author states that there are many books that offer excellent narratives of Charles s reign I probably would have been better off reading one of those than this scholarly work Nelson s account of Charles s life is highly detailed and referenced While that adds to the authenticity of the account it broke the flow of the type of story of Charlemagne s life I was hoping to read Through the many charters and documents that survive his reign it was clear the Charles was an adept military general politician and leader He created an empire that spanned most of Europe through wars treaties marriages and collaborations with Popes Charles fathered 19 children through multiple wives and mistresses and while he didn t necessarily keep them all happy all of the time he adroitly managed family issues while he managed his kingdom Charles felt it was as important for his daughters to be educated as well as his sons not a common practice at the time Several of his sons served as generals and kings and his daughters helped forge important alliances that strengthened the kingdom It was fascinating to read the record of his reign even if it was at time overwhelming to the casual non academic reader

Janet L. Nelson Î 7 characters

In his deeds and their continuing resonance as he shaped duchies and counties rebuilt and founded towns and monasteries and consciously set himself up not just as King of the Franks but as the new 'Emperor governing the Roman Empire' His successors in some ways to the present day have struggled to interpret misinterpret copy or subvert Charlemagne's legacy Nelson gets us as close as we can ever hope to come to the real figure as understood in his own ti. Very thorough but hardly entertaining A good source for scolars Laymen better read a accessible book


8 thoughts on “King and Emperor

  1. says:

    Reading the biography of Charlesmagne reminded me why I loved my early medieval course at university so much and also reminded me why I then specialised in modern history Janet Nelson has undertaken a considerable work of love and dedication to put together a 500 page biography of the greatest of the early medieval king

  2. says:

    4 A Scholarly Biography of Charlemagne's LifeThis work by Janet L Nelson represents a thorough scholarly biography of Charlemagne Nelson's understanding and familiarity with the source material shines through in this book i

  3. says:

    Overall this

  4. says:

    In the introduction the author states that there are many books that offer excellent narratives of Charles's reign I probably would have been better off reading one of those than this scholarly work Nelson's account of Charles's life is highly detailed and referenced While that adds to the authenticity of the account it broke the flow of the

  5. says:

    Very thorough but hardly entertaining A good source for scolars Laymen better read a accessible book

  6. says:

    This is a superb scholarly biography of one of the dominant political figures of the Western world Dr Nelson certainly has a prodigious understa

  7. says:

    A heavy read but great biography of Charlemagne through a review of the primary sources I felt as though taken back to the 700800s a few times Maybe not for everybody but I learned a lot about Karl his family his wars with the Saxons and Avars and this period of the history of Francia and early Germany

  8. says:

    Very thoroughly researched but something of a patchy read Parts were interesting exciting and thrilling while others were almost viscous in their dullness too much listing of intricate details imoOverall a good worthwhile

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