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Charlemagne's Travels and the

Carolingian Empire in 814


Link to Chronology entry for Charlemagne


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Charlemagne (742 - 768 - 814 (72)), accompanied by his court, certainly got around central and eastern Europe and Italy,

 but not the west of France, as shown in this map in "Early Medieval Art" by Lawrence Nees

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Charlemagne (742 - 768 - 814 (72)) was crowned (inaugural) Holy Roman Emperor on Christmas Day AD800




This little statuette, only 27 cm high, is dwarfed by its display case and surroundings in the Louvre in Paris.  There is a school of thought that the king is in fact Charlemagne's grandson, and that the horse is much younger than the rider - but whoever it is it's the only contemporaneous lifelike image of anyone from the early Middle Ages still in existence.  Interestingly our man was not using stirrups, which probably originated in China in the early ADs, and spread across Asia to Europe in the 500s and 600s.  By the 700s they were in much more general use in Europe and one would have expected a serious frequent traveller to have discovered their advantages.  The big stirrup leap forward came with the Mongol cavalry and bowmen in the 1100s.   


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