Charlemagne Father of the Continent. The Ideology of the European Christian Empire
By Fabian Istvan
Apulum, Vol. 43:2 (2006)
Abstract: The aim of this paper is to deal with the aspects concerning the so called “European ideology” of Charles the Great, and to reveal the social, economic, and religious aspects of the “Christian Empire”. Did ever Charles the Great had such a modern European ideology or it is just about a forced modernization of his ideas. The truth is that although the Frank leader was an exquisite ruler he was nothing more than a medieval king who reigned through force and diplomacy.
Introduction: The first state, which managed to accomplish a permanent administrative system on European territory, was the Roman Empire. Having its center in Italy the Romans tried, and succeeded, in creating a continental wide union. The line of the Danube, Greece, Egypt, the British Islands and Germany represented the borders of Roman “Europe”. Much later, the integration of the western part of Europe was realized by the Frank state. The nucleus of the European Union contemporary to us was set up on this administrative and territorial unit of the early Middle Ages.
From the very beginning, we must specify the fact that the historiographies of both founder nations of the E.U.; respectively the French and the Germans, for about 150 years searched their roots in the Carolingian Empire. In a period in which the national ideals found their resources in the historic past, the evolution of the Frank Empire was considered as “personal” by both nations. The French searched in the history of the Carolingian Empire the roots of their national unity and in the evolution of the Frank-Gallic- Roman population the spring of the French nation. On the other hand, the German national ideology remembered with nostalgia the Empire of the VIII-IX centuries, Charlemagne being considered the first German emperor, who by the unification of the Germanic peoples created the basis of the Holy Roman-German Empire.