The Imperial Coronation of Charlemagne

At the beginning of the ninth century, Charlemagne—already the master of Western Europe—was crowned by a calculating Pope as the supreme sovereign of the Christian world. Peter Munz asks what the real significance of his new title really was?

Charlemagne and the Pope:  In 772, when Pope Adrian I was threatened by invaders, the king rushed to Rome to provide assistance. Shown here, the pope asks Charlemagne for help at a meeting near Rome.On Christmas Day of the year 800, there took place an imposing ceremony in the basilica of St. Peter in Rome. Charles, the King of the Franks, also known as Charlemagne, had come to hear the Mass that was to be celebrated by Pope Leo III in the large basilica. When Charles rose from prayer in front of the altar, Leo placed a precious crown on his head, and the large crowd that was present in the church acclaimed Charles thus:

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