Monday, 20 June 2016

The Golden Age of the Franks (751-843 AD) – part 1

Originally published in Slingshot issue 273, November 2010 / the magazine of the Society of Ancients


After the Roman Empire had collapsed in Western Europe, the Franks managed to build a large kingdom of their own, starting with the conquests of Clovis at around 500 AD.  Under Charlemagne the Frankish realm would include modern France, the Benelux, Switzerland, Austria, most of modern Germany, two-thirds of Italy, Slovenia, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, much of Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as a small part of northern Spain.
By the ninth century, the Franks had established such an important position in Europe that in the Muslim world Western Europe was known as Frangistan (“Land of the Franks”).  During the period of the Crusades, Muslims referred to a Westerner as al-Faranj, irrespective of whether he was a Frank or not.

Origins of the Franks

The term Franks (“the free ones” or “the bold ones”) originated in the third century AD and was used as a collective label for an alliance of the Germanic tribes of the Amsivarii, Bructeri, Batavi, Chamavi, Chatti, Chattuarii, Salii, Sugambri, Tencteri, Tungri and Usipii. 
Having united to fight the Romans more effectively, the Franks ultimately sided with their enemies of old in the last major military operation of the Western Roman Empire: the battle against the Huns near Châlons in 451 AD, also known as the Battle of the Catalaunian Plains, or the Battle of the Campus Mauriacus. 
Here, a coalition of Franks, Visigoths, Burgundians, Alani, Saxons, Armoricans and Sarmatians led by the Roman commander Flavius Aetius faced the troops of Attila, who had allied with the Ostrogoths, Gepids, Rugians, Scirii, Thuringians, Scythians, Bastarnae, Taifals and Alamanni.

The Merovingians (448-751 AD)
The Merovingian dynasty is named after the semi-legendary dux Merovech, who led the Salian Franks in the Battle against the Huns.  His famous grandson Chlodwig I (better known as Clovis) was the first king of the Franks who made it to the hall of fame. 
Allegedly Clovis (r. 482 - 511 AD) converted to Christianity, after having defeated the Alamanni in the Battle of Zülpich, 40 km southwest of Cologne in 496 AD.  Similar to the conversion of the Roman emperor Constantine the Great, who had turned Christian after the Battle of the Milvian Bridge, Clovis’ adoption of the Christian faith would have a great impact on the position of the Church and its future role in Western Society.
Clovis tripled the size of the Frankish realm (Francia), which until then had only consisted of northern France, the Low Countries and the Rhineland, by adding Swabia, Neustria and Aquitaine.  Since Germanic nobles would traditionally not allow their kings to become too powerful, the creation of a supreme ruler was prevented.  The Germanic legal tradition of the divisio regnorum (the division of the land between the sons of a dux or a king) made establishment of a strong and stable central power even more difficult.  This tradition and the subsequent constant infighting between clans and factions had also hindered the Germanic Langobards to establish a stable rule in Italy.As a result, hardly any Merovingian king after Clovis would play a very prominent role, since the early Frankish Kingdom lived in a state of continued civil war, plunder, famines and plagues.  Most of the Merovingian kings in the late sixth century and early seventh century died a violent death.

In the end, a great number of laws and edicts enacted during the 45-year reign of Chlothar II (d. 629 AD), had weakened the power of the Merovingian kings to such an extent, that it prepared the way for the rise of the Mayors of the Palace (maior domus) and would reduce the Merovingians to mere puppet kings.

The edict of Paris issued in 614 AD, for instance, standardised orderly appointments to ecclesiastic and secular offices. Very significantly, it stipulated that Jews be excluded from civil employment for the Crown, leaving all such appointments now to the Frankish nobility.  As an interesting side-effect, this placed all literacy under ecclesiastical control, boosting the importance of role of the Church and its steadily growing number of monasteries. Furthermore, the edict granted the right to bishops to depose poor judges and to obtain tax cuts and exemptions.

The reign of Theuderich III (d. 691 AD) would effectively prove to be the end of the power of the Merovingian dynasty.  In a final power struggle, Mayor of the Palace Pippin II, also known as Pippin the Middle, defeated the Merovingian king in the Battle of Tertry in 687 AD, after which Pippin called himself “Duke and Prince of the Franks”.  This event signifies the de facto beginning of Pippin’s reign, though further puppet kings continued to be put on the throne.
At Pippin’s death in 714 AD, the Frankish realm plunged into civil war.  Eventually, Pippin’s illegitimate son Charles Martel (“The Hammer”), also a Mayor of the Palace, raised a puppet king of his own and defeated all rivals in a battle near Soissons, forcing them to go into hiding.  As of that point in time, the Merovingian kings had been definitively sidelined and Charles and his Carolingian heirs effectively ruled the Franks as viceroys (subreguli).

The Carolingians

Charles Martel (r. 718-741 AD)
The term “Carolingian” derives
 from the Latinised name of Charles “Carolus” Martel ("The Hammer"), the grandfather of Charlemagne, who as a maior domus laid the groundwork for the Carolingian Empire.  In the male line of this dynasty, the names Karlaz (Carolus) and Carloman were very frequently used. 
Charles Martel

Before he died in 741 AD, Charles Martel had successfully fought the Neustrians, Alamanni, Frisians, Saxons, Thuringians, Bavarians, Burgundians, Aquitanians and the inhabitants of Provence and was the first European ruler to systematically fight the Saracens.  These had started to make their first forays into Spain in 710 AD and invaded the Iberian Peninsula one year later.  By 715 AD the Muslims had occupied all important Iberian cities. In 720 AD they crossed the Pyrenees and occupied Narbonne.  In 732 AD Charles Martel drove the Saracens back to Spain and waged further battles against them in 735, 736, 737 and 739 AD.

Pippin III (r. 751-768 AD)  
Charles Martel’s son Pippin III (The Younger, also called The Short) was the first Carolingian king, ruling from 751 to 768 AD, after having officially deposed and succeeded the last Merovingian puppet king Childeric III. Childeric was tonsured and confined to a monastery, a very common and bloodless way of sidelining political rivals in those days.
This bloodless palace revolution had the consent of the Pope, who hoped that in exchange Pippin would support him in his struggles with the Langobards. The Pope’s official recognition of Pippin’s kingship is illustrative for the growing powerbase of the Church. When Pippin was anointed king in Soissons in 751 AD by the archbishop of Mainz Boniface, the Frankish realm had developed into a major political power in Europe, with the Byzantine Roman Empire and the Langobard Kingdom as its most important rivals.
As a maior domus Pippin waged battles against the Alamanni and the Bavarians, together with his brother Carloman and conquered Septimania, the coastal area between Nîmes and the eastern Pyrenees. When after 6 years of joint rule Carloman also abdicated to become a monk in the Abbey of Montecassino, Pippin was sole ruler of the Frankish Empire.
It is unclear whether Carloman’s abdication was a voluntary move, but there are indications that this was not the case. Although the official contemporary documents state that it was Carloman’s own decision, the fact that Carloman’s children were excluded from all further succession rights, makes this very unlikely.
Carloman was transferred to a monastery in Vienne, when he tried to agitate against the political alliance between the Pope and Pippin in 754 AD, apparently induced by King Aistulf of the Langobards.  Here he died only a few months later, in the care (or perhaps rather due to the care) of his brother’s wife Bertrada.  Honi soit qui mal y pense and Carloman’s body was immediately transferred back to Italy, where he was buried with much pomp and circumstance in the Abbey of Montecassino, from which he had only recently been evicted.
After Carloman’s unsuccessful attempt to interfere in the alliance between his brother and Pope Stephen II, the latter travelled to Francia in 755 AD, where he confirmed Pippin’s kingship of the entire Frankish Empire and declared him Patricius Romanorum (protector of the Romans) in the Basilica of St. Denis.  During the same ceremony, Pippin’s young sons Carloman and Charles were anointed king of the Franks.
In return for the Pope’s support, Pippin promised to “donate” the Pope the Exarchate of Ravenna, as well as the so-called Pentapolis (Rimini, Pesano, Faro, Senigallia, Ancona), which the Langobards had seized from the Byzantines in 751 AD, thus laying the foundation for the Papal States.  This “donation” clearly implied, of course, that Pippin would need to wage war with King Aistulf of the Langobards in order to be able to execute his promise.  Being a man of his word, however, and probably also in need of new sources of income, Pippin honoured his promise immediately and accompanied the Pope with his army back to Italy in the spring of 755 AD.

After his defeat, King Aistulf managed to narrowly escape alive and to retreat with the remains of the Langobard army to Pavia.  When Pippin started to ravage the surrounding regions, Aistulf reluctantly offered to relinquish the territories claimed on behalf of the Pope and to pay annual tributes to the Franks.
As soon as Pippin had crossed the Alps again, however, Aistulf broke his vows, which made Pippin return to Italy in 756 AD, where he defeated the Langobards decisively and imposed even harsher terms and conditions than those of the year before.
When the Franks captured Narbonne in 759 AD, the Saracens, who had crossed the Pyrenees once more, were driven out of Gallia.  After this victory the Franks thoroughly plundered this once so prosperous area. Between 760 and 768 AD Pippin subdued Aquitania in eight campaigns, where he destroyed many castles, villages and towns.  His eldest son Charles (not “lemagne” yet) accompanied Pippin on his campaigns, where he learned the tricks of the trade.

Charlemagne (r. 768-814 AD)
When Pippin died, his kingdom was divided between his two sons Charles and Carloman.  Carloman suddenly died of a disease in 771 AD, which probably prevented the outbreak of a civil war, since the relationship between the two brothers was rather tense.  Directly after the news of Carloman’s demise, Charles swiftly capitalised upon his brother’s death.  Accompanied by a sizeable scara of mounted troops he left for his brother’s palatium near Laon to arrest Carloman’s young family.
His sister-in-law, however, had had a hunch of what might be in store for her, and had already left in the company of a number of Carloman’s prominent magnati to seek the protection of King Desiderius of the Langobards.  Charles ordered Carloman’s remaining magnati to swear allegiance to him as their new king, after which the entire territory of Pippin III was once more united under one ruler. 

The Saxons and the Langobards 
Shortly afterwards Charles started a long series of bloody wars with the Saxons, which would last for more than 30 years. After a dozen major campaigns, Saxonia was finally conquered and pacified in 804 AD.  During the long period of the Saxon wars, Charles found time for other military campaigns as well. 
When the Pope induced him to invade Italy in 774 AD, because he was once more being threatened by the Langobards, the new Patricius Romanorum came to the rescue without much delay.  This time, however, he dealt with this nuisance more thoroughly by simply incorporating the Langobard Kingdom in the Frankish Empire.  King Desiderius was tonsured and confined in a monastery, together with the rest his family.  While in Italy, Charles had his brother’s young family arrested, who were still hiding in Verona. There are no records as to what became of them.
Denier of Charlemagne

In 776 AD Charles put down the revolt of the Langobard Duke Rotgaud of Friuli, who had become aggravated beyond endurance by the constant territorial claims of the Pope and in 778 AD crossed the Pyrenees into Spain, which had been occupied by the Saracens since 711 AD.  Penetrating as far as Saragossa, he failed to take this town and decided to return to Francia.  On his way north, he subdued the Basques, took Pamplona and levelled its walls.  

During his retreat to Francia, the Basques destroyed his rearguard in the Pyrenees near Roncesvalles.  The Frankish commander Count Hruodland (Roland) perished with his men, which event is later poetically remembered in La Chanson de Roland.  In 801-803 AD Charles’s army returned to Spain, took Barcelona and annexed part of the Emirate of Cordoba.

During a Reichstag (General Assembly) in Ingelheim near Mainz in 788 AD, Charles conveniently accused his cousin and long-standing political rival of his, Duke Tassilo of Bavaria, of herizliz (desertion from the Frankish army), a crime Tassilo was supposed to have committed during a campaign of Charles’s father Pippin in Aquitania 25 years earlier (!). The punishment was the usual confinement to a monastery, both for Tassilo and his family.

Other enemies
During the many campaigns against the Saxons, Charles’s armies gradually also began to join battle with people living even further to the east, the Obodrites (Abotrites), the Wiltzes (Veleti), the Wends, the Sorbs, the Avars and more to the south, the Slavs.  The Avars, who had invaded Friuli and Bavaria in 788, were obliterated in a number of devastating campaigns between 791 and 803 AD and their treasures, accumulated over the centuries, transported back to Aachen.  Here they were distributed among Charles’s followers and donated to foreign rulers. In the west battles were won against the Bretons in 786 and 799 AD.  A year later the Breton leader met with Charles at Tours and offers his allegiance to Charles, though in 811 AD they were in revolt once more.

Since the reconquest of Italy in the sixth century by Emperor Justinian, Rome had been part of the Byzantine Empire, but rivalries between the Pope in the West and the Patriarch of Constantinople in the East often created sizeable problems.
Imperial attempts to reach compromises had made matters only worse.  After having been in a series of intense conflicts with Byzantium for the past seventy years, and seeing that the Frankish rulers were more likely to cooperate with him than the Byzantines, the Pope tried to sideline the Byzantine Emperor by creating a new Emperor.  His chance came in 799 AD, when Pope Leo III had to flee to Charles’s palatium in Paderborn, having been mistreated by Roman rivals, who had tried to tear out his tongue and put out his eyes.  To restore order, the King of the Franks and the Langobards agreed to travel to Rome to restore Leo to the throne.  Here, in a clever political manoeuvre, Leo crowned him Imperator Romanorum in the St. Peter Basilica.

Charlemagne crowned emperor by Pope Leo III
By bestowing the imperial crown upon the Frankish king, the Pope shrewdly arrogated himself the right to appoint the Roman Emperor, while simultaneously granting himself implicit superiority over the Emperor that he had created.  As an additional argument for his cunning move, Pope Leo argued that he considered the Byzantine throne to be vacant, since Empress Irene was ruling on behalf of her underage son.  Therefore, the Pope was of the opinion that Charles’s title did not collide with that of the Roman Emperor in Constantinople.  Though the assumption of the imperial title was a clear usurpation in the eyes of the Byzantines, they chose not to undertake anything against it.
However, the constant fights between the Pope of Rome and the Patriarch of Constantinople would eventually lead to the so-called Great Schism in 1054 AD, when the Eastern Church adopted the name Orthodox to emphasize its commitment to traditions and its resistance to change.

The Danes
In the north, Godefred, king of the Danes, who had watched the reduction of the Saxons, Obodrites and the Wiltzes, decided to build an immense earthen rampart south of the river Eider from the Baltic to the North Sea, known as the Danework.  In 808 AD the Danish king even went in the offensive and mounted a campaign against the Franks, sending an enormous fleet to ravage the Frisian Islands in 810 AD.  Charles, now in his early sixties, marched northward to meet Godefred at Verden, but before the two forces could join battle, the Danish leader was murdered by his own men.
The Danevirke / Danework

Alongside this lon
g list of battles, Charles was engaged in diplomatic relations with the Byzantine Empire, with Offa, King of Mercia, Eardulf, King of Northumbria and with Harun-ar-Rachid (in English Aaron the Upright) the fifth of the ‘Abbasid caliphs of Bagdad. 
Charles’s empire remained intact until 843 AD, even though his son and successor Louis (Lewis, or Chlodwig) the Pious had to deal with three civil wars during his 26-year reign that follows. When Louis died in 840 AD, another three-year period of war followed and the empire was eventually divided among Louis’s three sons in the Treaty of Verdun in 843 AD.
Lothair (Chlothar) received Middle Francia, the central portion of the empire, which extends from the Low Lands to Italy. Louis the German received East Francia, the precursor of the Holy Roman Empire and Charles the Bald received West Francia, which later became France. 
Thirty years later when Lothair died, after another period of disputes and armed conflicts, the Carolingian Empire was re-divided between the two surviving sons of Louis the Pious, Louis the German and Charles the Bald. This division in the Treaty of Meersen in 870 AD created the basis for the modern states of France and Germany, which would be involved in further armed mutual conflicts for another 1100 years.
The Carolingians continued to rule in East Francia until 911 AD.  In West Francia they ruled intermittently until 987 AD, when with the coronation of Robert II of France as junior co-ruler of Hugh Capet, the Capetian dynasty finally supplanted Carolingian rule.

The World of the Carolingians

Due to the size of the F
rankish Empire, its population was very diverse and communicated in a large number of different languages and dialects, which broadly belonged to either the Latin-based lingua romana or frencisg, or to the Germanic lingua theotisca (theodisk or diutisk, “the language of the people”, from which the words Deutsch and Dutch derive).  For the entire empire the lingua franca, a term coined by the Arabs of Spain, referring to the roman dialects of the western Franks, was Latin or latine. 
The Basques and the Bretons spoke their own language, as many of them still do until today.  The Aquitanians and a larger part of the population of Francia and Italy spoke lingua romana.  In northern France, the Low Countries and the whole of Germany theodisk was spoken, which was also the mother tongue of Charlemagne and his forebears.  In many theodisk speaking areas there were frencisg speaking enclaves, both in northern France and western Germany. 
Frankish rulers were usually at least bilingual. Charles spoke theodisk, frencisg and Latin and started to develop a uniform grammar for theodisk, which has not survived. 

The Ruling Classes
The Fran
kish kin
gs ruled their realm with a small number of, mostly austrasian, noble families, estimated at a total of 27.  Austrasia was one of the original Frankish heartlands, with Metz as a capital.  These families were referred to as the magnati, optimates, primores, sublimes, illustres, maiores or potentes and for the next few centuries, it was from this elite that candidates for the most important secular and clerical offices were recruited.
King and rulers were very much dependent on the loyalty of their followers and servants.  Though the duty of loyalty to the lord was a moral obligation and considered a virtue of nobility per se, this loyalty had to be gained and, once gained, it had to be regularly confirmed with an oath of allegiance, since it was not uncommon for allegiances to change, depending on the circumstances, or for opportunistic reasons.
Family clans regularly fought each other and were not interested in common welfare. They were mainly interested in the advancement of their family, the accumulation of offices and the increase of their possessions.  As a result, Frankish nobles disposed of large tracts of land and many estates, which had been acquired through conquests, donations and purchases.
Being part of the Church, and also because abbots were often recruited from noble families, some abbeys were incredibly rich in property. The Abbey of Saint-Germain-des-Prés, for instance, held over 30,000 hectares of land, the Abbey of Fulda almost 15,000 hectares.
Einhard, Charlemagne's biographer


Until 740 AD, just before the start of the Carolingian Age, Europe had been regularly hit by a number of plagues, especially in the areas around the Mediterranean, which severely reduced the population. In the eighth century the total Mediterranean population had virtually been halved to around 25 million people, with 90% of the population living directly off the land.  As a result, Europe was very thinly populated in the days of the Carolingians and some areas were not populated at all.
Rome, which used to have on to two million inhabitants in Antiquity, and still had around 250,000 inhabitants in Late Antiquity, had dwindled to 20,000 inhabitants in the eighth century.  The population of Trier, which used to be largest town north of the Alps, had dropped from over 200,000 to just 1,000 inhabitants.
In northern Europe, northern France and southern Belgium were the most densely populated areas in the eighth century with 34 to 39 inhabitants per square kilometre.  Here there were also a relatively large number of villages and towns, with high particularly concentrations in the Paris region (St. Germain-des-Prés and St. Denis) and the Ghent region in Flanders.  Metz had 6,000 inhabitants, Arras 5,000 and Paris 4,000.  Around Lille lived 9 to 12 inhabitants per square kilometre.

Holland and northern Belgium had 20 inhabitants per square kilometre, whereas Germany had 4 to 5 inhabitants per square kilometre.  The area that is now modern France was the most densely populated part of Europe. Reliable estimates as to the total population of France, however, are very difficult to make.
As from 740 AD Europe would largely remain plague-free until October 1347, when Genoese trading ships coming from the Black Sea port of Caffa, now Feodosiya in the Crimea, put into the harbour of Messina in Sicily with dead and dying men at the oars.

Landscape and Weather
The Carolingian landscape was for a large part a natural landscape consisting mainly of woods, on the average for more than 40% and in some regions up to 80%.  The larger part of these woods was royal land, protected by the king as hunting reserves (forestes).  Some of these forests consisted not only of woods, but included also uncultivated land, pasture, heath, moor, and even arable land.
Clearances took place all around from the beginning of the eighth century and continued well into the ninth century.  This phenomenon may be related to Charlemagne’s military operations.
Whereas modern France, Germany and the Benelux were heavily covered with woods, in Italy there was much less dense woodland, except in some regions like the northern fringes of the plain of the river Po, the Ligurian and Tuscan Appenines, the Abruzzes and the pine woods in Calabria.
The climate in the eighth and ninth century was on average 2 to 3 degrees Centigrade warmer than today.  Winter was regarded as a terrible season in which all activities were stopped. In this season travel and military campaigns were also extraordinarily difficult, though not excluded.
The Vikings, for example, chose to attack Paris in the winter of 861 AD.  Some winters were recorded as mild, others as extremely cold, very much like the winters of today.
Natural disasters, such as storms, droughts, torrential rains and the subsequent flooding of rivers also occurred on a regular basis.  In 858 AD the river Meuse flooded so badly that it swept a number of stone houses away.
Although the ecclesiastical New Year started on 25th December (not on 1st January), for most people the real New Year did not begin until spring had arrived.
The cultural landscape in Carolingian times was not very urbanised and towns only occupied a relatively small part of the soil. Europe had ceased to have a city culture and farms had become the dominating settlements, around which villages developed.
At the end of the third century, Roman towns had started to shrink and had developed into a so-called città ad isole (town consisting of islands), with new stone walls built around them.  Suburbs, artisanal quarters and other peripheral elements were left outside the walls.  Many sectors had become ruins and ancient monuments became fields and were used as pastures for animals, not only outside, but also inside the new walls.  The old public buildings decayed, became part of the defensive construct and were sometimes subdivided and used as private dwellings.  In most towns, the old Roman wall lost its significance, fell in ruins and the transition between town and countryside became vaguer.  As a consequence, the centre of the town often shifted away from its former location.
A good example of this development is Rome.  Though its number of inhabitants had been reduced to 10% of that in Late Antiquity and to 1% of the number during its heyday, it was still the most densely populated and largest town of Western Europe.  Its inhabitants had abandoned the hills, and had started to settle the Field of Mars and the borders of the Tiber, in spite of the constant threat of floods. Only the Caelian Hill, where the Pope resided in his Lateran Palace, as well as the Vatican Hill were still inhabited. The abandoned hills had become the home for Greek and Latin monasteries.
Since the Imperial Palace on the Palatine Hill had become uninhabitable, the kings and their entourage that came to pay a visit to the Pope were housed in the adjoining buildings of the St. Peter Basilica, which lay outside the walls on the Vatican Hill.

St. Peter's basilica in Rome, as it may have looked in the 9th century AD

Pilgrims were housed in hostels, hospicia and oratoria around the Vatican. Frequent visitors such as the Frisians, Anglosaxons, Franks and Langobards had established their own scholae there.
In general, the portions of Roman towns that had remained intact typically contained a major church, as well as a few public buildings and town-homes for the aristocracy.  Few buildings of importance were built in stone, most were of wood.
This process had gone on until the seventh century, when churches and newly founded abbeys were built on the ruins of the Roman buildings and with stones from them, either on the same spot, or farther away in the suburban zone.  Around them new quarters arose, such as Saint Rémi , 400 m. before the gates of Reims, Saint Vaast, 300 m. from old Arras (Atrebatum), Saint Martin next to Tours, Saint Médard opposite Soissons, across the river Aisne. On the right bank of the Seine opposite Paris many churches and abbeys were built, laying the foundation for Mediaeval Paris.
However, in the eighth and ninth century towns started a new Renaissance.  The majority of towns were still of Roman origin, with the exception of the regions east of the Rhine.  New towns were mostly emporia, or trading stations. At the end of the eighth century intense building activity could be seen around the cathedrals in many episcopal cities like Metz, Lyon, Vienne, Le Mans and others. This was mainly provoked by the new regulations prescribed by Chrodegang, archbishop of Metz in 754 AD, and which were imposed as of 768 throughout the Frankish kingdom by Charlemagne.  As a result, ruralisation came to a halt, but no new walls were built, which is an indication for a period of relative internal peace and political stability.  
In the second half of the ninth century, however, the old Roman walls of certain towns were restored against possible attacks of the Vikings and many abbeys were walled for the same reason. 

Sources and further Reading

  • Annales regni francorum (741-829 AD)
  • Regesta Chronologico-Diplomatica Karolorum, Die Urkunden sämmtlicher Karolinger, Dr. Johann Friedrich Böhmer, Franz Varrentrapp, Frankfurt am Main, 1833
  • Binding, Günther, Deutsche Königspfalzen von Karl dem Grossen bis Friedrich II (765-1240), Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, Darmstadt, 1996
  • Breuers, Dieter, Ritter, Mönch und Bauersleut, Bastei Lübbe Taschenbuch, 2007
  • Borst, Arno, Computus, Deutsche Taschenbuch Verlag, München, 1999
  • Borst, Otto, Alltagsleben im Mittelalter, Insel Verlag, Frankfurt, 1983
  • Braunfels, Wolfgang, Karl der Große, Rowohlt Taschenbuch Verlag, Hamburg 1996
  • Coupland, Simon, Carolingian Arms and Armor in the Ninth Century, in Viator, Medieval and Renaissance Studies v. 21 (1990)
  • De Wismes, Armel, Génealogie des Rois de France, Editions Artaud Frères, Nantes
  • Gimpel, Jean, The Medieval Machine, the Industrial Revolution of the Middle Ages, Penguin Books, New York, 1977
  • Grant, Michael, Die Welt des Frühen Mittealters, Jan Thorbecke Verlag, Ostfildern, 2003
  • Hägermann, Dieter, Karl der Grosse, Biographie, List Taschenbuch, 2003
  • McKitterick, Rosamund, Charlemagne, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge 2008
  • Nicolle, David, The Age of Charlemagne, Men-at-Arms Series 150, Osprey Publishing, Oxford 1984
  • Riché, Pierre, Die Welt der Karolinger, Philipp Reclam jun. Stuttgart, 1999
  • Silver, Caroline, Guide to the Horses of the World, Elsevier Publishing Projects, Lausanne, 1976
  • Thorpe, Lewis, Einhard and Notker the Stammerer, Two Lives of Charlemagne, Penguin Classics, 1969
  • Trapp, Wolfgang, Kleines Handbuch der Maße, Zahlen, Gewichte und der Zeitrechnung,Philipp Reclam jun. Stuttgart, 2001
  • Verhulst, Adriaan, The Carolingian Economy, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge 2002