Finally, Ohnsorge points out that in the spring of at Aachen Charles crowned his only surviving son, Louis, as the emperor without recourse to Rome with only the acclamation of his Franks. The form in which this acclamation was offered was Frankish-Christian rather than Roman. This implies both independence from Rome and a Frankish non-Roman understanding of empire.
Charlemagne used these circumstances to claim that he was the renewer of the Roman Empire, which had declined under the Byzantines. In his official charters, Charles preferred the style Karolus serenissimus Augustus a Deo coronatus magnus pacificus imperator Romanum gubernans imperium  "Charles, most serene Augustus crowned by God, the great, peaceful emperor ruling the Roman empire" to the more direct Imperator Romanorum "Emperor of the Romans". The title of Emperor remained in the Carolingian family for years to come, but divisions of territory and in-fighting over supremacy of the Frankish state weakened its significance.
When the family of Charles ceased to produce worthy heirs, the Pope gladly crowned whichever Italian magnate could best protect him from his local enemies. The empire would remain in continuous existence for nearly a millennium, as the Holy Roman Empire, a true imperial successor to Charles. The iconoclasm of the Byzantine Isaurian Dynasty was endorsed by the Franks.
The council was not recognised by Charlemagne since no Frankish emissaries had been invited, even though Charlemagne ruled more than three provinces of the classical Roman empire and was considered equal in rank to the Byzantine emperor. And while the Pope supported the reintroduction of the iconic veneration, he politically digressed from Byzantium.
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Thus, Charlemagne's assumption of the imperial title was not a usurpation in the eyes of the Franks or Italians. It was, however, seen as such in Byzantium, where it was protested by Irene and her successor Nikephoros I —neither of whom had any great effect in enforcing their protests. These regions remained outside of Frankish hands until , when the Venetians, torn by infighting, transferred their allegiance to the Iron Crown of Pippin, Charles' son.
The Pax Nicephori ended. Nicephorus ravaged the coasts with a fleet, initiating the only instance of war between the Byzantines and the Franks. The conflict lasted until when the pro-Byzantine party in Venice gave their city back to the Byzantine Emperor, and the two emperors of Europe made peace: Charlemagne received the Istrian peninsula and in the emperor Michael I Rangabe recognised his status as Emperor,  although not necessarily as "Emperor of the Romans".
After the conquest of Nordalbingia, the Frankish frontier was brought into contact with Scandinavia. In , the king of the Danes, Godfred , expanded the vast Danevirke across the isthmus of Schleswig. The Danevirke protected Danish land and gave Godfred the opportunity to harass Frisia and Flanders with pirate raids.
He also subdued the Frank-allied Veleti and fought the Abotrites. Godfred invaded Frisia, joked of visiting Aachen, but was murdered before he could do any more, either by a Frankish assassin or by one of his own men. Godfred was succeeded by his nephew Hemming , who concluded the Treaty of Heiligen with Charlemagne in late In , Charlemagne called Louis the Pious , king of Aquitaine , his only surviving legitimate son, to his court. There Charlemagne crowned his son as co-emperor and sent him back to Aquitaine. He then spent the autumn hunting before returning to Aachen on 1 November.
In January, he fell ill with pleurisy. He died January twenty-eighth, the seventh day from the time that he took to his bed, at nine o'clock in the morning, after partaking of the Holy Communion , in the seventy-second year of his age and the forty-seventh of his reign. He was buried that same day, in Aachen Cathedral , although the cold weather and the nature of his illness made such a hurried burial unnecessary. The earliest surviving planctus , the Planctus de obitu Karoli , was composed by a monk of Bobbio , which he had patronised. In , Emperor Frederick I re-opened the tomb again and placed the emperor in a sarcophagus beneath the floor of the cathedral.
Charlemagne's death emotionally affected many of his subjects, particularly those of the literary clique who had surrounded him at Aachen. An anonymous monk of Bobbio lamented: . From the lands where the sun rises to western shores, people are crying and wailing O Christ, you who govern the heavenly host, grant a peaceful place to Charles in your kingdom. Alas for miserable me.
Louis succeeded him as Charles had intended. He left a testament allocating his assets in that was not updated prior to his death. His empire lasted only another generation in its entirety; its division, according to custom, between Louis's own sons after their father's death laid the foundation for the modern states of Germany and France.
The Carolingian king exercised the bannum , the right to rule and command. Under the Franks , it was a royal prerogative but could be delegated. As an administrator, Charlemagne stands out for his many reforms: monetary , governmental, military, cultural and ecclesiastical. He is the main protagonist of the "Carolingian Renaissance". Charlemagne's success rested primarily on novel siege technologies and excellent logistics  rather than the long-claimed " cavalry revolution" led by Charles Martel in s. However, the stirrup , which made the "shock cavalry" lance charge possible, was not introduced to the Frankish kingdom until the late eighth century.
Horses were used extensively by the Frankish military because they provided a quick, long-distance method of transporting troops , which was critical to building and maintaining the large empire.
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Charlemagne had an important role in determining Europe's immediate economic future. Pursuing his father's reforms, Charlemagne abolished the monetary system based on the gold sou. Instead, he and the Anglo-Saxon King Offa of Mercia took up Pippin's system for pragmatic reasons, notably a shortage of the metal.
The gold shortage was a direct consequence of the conclusion of peace with Byzantium, which resulted in ceding Venice and Sicily to the East and losing their trade routes to Africa. The resulting standardisation economically harmonised and unified the complex array of currencies that had been in use at the commencement of his reign, thus simplifying trade and commerce. Charlemagne established a new standard, the livre carolinienne from the Latin libra , the modern pound , which was based upon a pound of silver—a unit of both money and weight—worth 20 sous from the Latin solidus [which was primarily an accounting device and never actually minted], the modern shilling or deniers from the Latin denarius , the modern penny.
During this period, the livre and the sou were counting units; only the denier was a coin of the realm. Charlemagne instituted principles for accounting practice by means of the Capitulare de villis of , which laid down strict rules for the way in which incomes and expenses were to be recorded. Charlemagne applied this system to much of the European continent, and Offa's standard was voluntarily adopted by much of England.
After Charlemagne's death, continental coinage degraded, and most of Europe resorted to using the continued high-quality English coin until about Early in Charlemagne's rule he tacitly allowed Jews to monopolise money lending. At the time, lending of money for interest was proscribed in because it violated Church law. Charlemagne introduced the Capitulary for the Jews , a prohibition on Jews engaging in money-lending due to the religious convictions of the majority of his constituents, in essence banning it across the board, a reversal of his earlier recorded general policy.
His Capitulary for the Jews , however, was not representative of his overall economic relationship or attitude towards the Frankish Jews, and certainly not his earlier relationship with them, which evolved over his life.
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His personal physician, for example, was Jewish,  and he employed one Jew, Isaac, who was his personal representative to the Muslim caliphate of Baghdad. Part of Charlemagne's success as a warrior, an administrator and ruler can be traced to his admiration for learning and education. His reign is often referred to as the Carolingian Renaissance because of the flowering of scholarship, literature, art and architecture that characterise it.
Charlemagne came into contact with the culture and learning of other countries especially Moorish Spain, Anglo-Saxon England,  and Lombard Italy due to his vast conquests. He greatly increased the provision of monastic schools and scriptoria centres for book-copying in Francia. Charlemagne was a lover of books, sometimes having them read to him during meals. He was thought to enjoy the works of Augustine of Hippo. It also played a part in creating a royal library that contained in-depth works on language and Christian faith.
Charlemagne encouraged clerics to translate Christian creeds and prayers into their respective vernaculars as well to teach grammar and music. Due to the increased interest of intellectual pursuits and the urging of their king, the monks accomplished so much copying that almost every manuscript from that time was preserved. At the same time, at the urging of their king, scholars were producing more secular books on many subjects, including history, poetry, art, music, law, theology, etc. Due to the increased number of titles, private libraries flourished.
These were mainly supported by aristocrats and churchmen who could afford to sustain them. At Charlemagne's court, a library was founded and a number of copies of books were produced, to be distributed by Charlemagne. Books were so in demand during Charlemagne's time that these libraries lent out some books, but only if that borrower offered valuable collateral in return. Most of the surviving works of classical Latin were copied and preserved by Carolingian scholars.
Indeed, the earliest manuscripts available for many ancient texts are Carolingian. It is almost certain that a text which survived to the Carolingian age survives still. Charlemagne promoted the liberal arts at court, ordering that his children and grandchildren be well-educated, and even studying himself in a time when even leaders who promoted education did not take time to learn themselves under the tutelage of Peter of Pisa, from whom he learned grammar; Alcuin, with whom he studied rhetoric, dialectic logic , and astronomy he was particularly interested in the movements of the stars ; and Einhard, who tutored him in arithmetic.
His great scholarly failure, as Einhard relates, was his inability to write: when in his old age he attempted to learn—practising the formation of letters in his bed during his free time on books and wax tablets he hid under his pillow—"his effort came too late in life and achieved little success", and his ability to read—which Einhard is silent about, and which no contemporary source supports—has also been called into question.
In , Charlemagne enlarged the hostel at the Muristan in Jerusalem and added a library to it. He certainly had not been personally in Jerusalem. Charlemagne expanded the reform Church's programme unlike his father, Pippin, and uncle, Carloman. The deepening of the spiritual life was later to be seen as central to public policy and royal governance.
His reform focused on strengthening the church's power structure, improving clergy's skill and moral quality, standardising liturgical practices, improvements on the basic tenets of the faith and the rooting out of paganism. His authority extended over church and state. He could discipline clerics, control ecclesiastical property and define orthodox doctrine.
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Despite the harsh legislation and sudden change, he had developed support from clergy who approved his desire to deepen the piety and morals of his subjects. In —, Charlemagne called a church council in Aachen , which confirmed the unanimous belief in the West that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son ex Patre Filioque and sanctioned inclusion in the Nicene Creed of the phrase Filioque and the Son.
The Pope, while affirming the doctrine and approving its use in teaching, opposed its inclusion in the text of the Creed as adopted in the First Council of Constantinople.
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Stressing his opposition, the Pope had the original text inscribed in Greek and Latin on two heavy shields that were displayed in Saint Peter's Basilica. During Charles' reign, the Roman half uncial script and its cursive version, which had given rise to various continental minuscule scripts, were combined with features from the insular scripts in use in Irish and English monasteries.
Carolingian minuscule was created partly under the patronage of Charlemagne. Alcuin , who ran the palace school and scriptorium at Aachen, was probably a chief influence.