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Charlemagne and the Carolingian Empire, 768-814

2. Expansion

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About this Lecture


In this module, we think about Charlemagne’s territorial conquests—the extent to which the expansion of the Empire was planned, and his motives for doing so. In particular, we consider his consolidation of Aquitaine, as well as his campaigns in Saxony, Lombardy, Bavaria, and the Spanish March.


In the course, Professor Rosamond McKitterick (University of Cambridge) explores the rule of Charlemagne and the Carolingian Empire. The course begins by considering the sources available for historians of the period—including Charlemagne’s letters and charters, but also contemporary accounts of his life. After that, we turn to the expansion of the Empire, including Charlemagne’s campaigns against the Saxons and Lombards, before thinking about his relationship with the Pope, his coronation as Holy Roman Emperor on Christmas Day, 800 AD, and his plans for the succession. In the fourth module, we think about how Charlemagne governed his vast territories so successfully, before turning to Carolingian culture and learning in the final module.


Rosamond McKitterick received the degrees of M.A., Ph.D., and Litt.D. from the University of Cambridge and also studied for a year (1974-5) at the University of Munich. She was promoted to a Personal Chair in 1997 and since 1999 she has held the Chair in Medieval History in the University of Cambridge's Faculty of History. She is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society and of the Royal Society of Arts, Manufacturing and Commerce, a Korrespondierendes Mitglied of the Monumenta Germaniae Historica and of the Austrian Academy of Sciences, and a Corresponding Fellow of the medieval Academy of America. In 2002 she was the Hugh Balsdon Fellow at the British School at Rome and in 2005-6 Fellow-in-Residence at the Netherlands Institute of Advanced Study. In 2010 she was awarded the International Dr A.H. Heiniken Prize in History. She has presented many conference papers and lectures at universities in Britain, Continental Europe, North America and Australia. Her current work within the field of the early medieval history of Europe focusses on the degree to which a people’s knowledge and use of the past is an important formative element of political identity, as well as a means of articulating it. This interest in a people’s (re)construction, knowledge and use of the past is also part or her longstanding research on the role of the written word and books in the exertion of cultural influence.

Cite this Lecture

APA style

McKitterick, R. (2018, August 15). Charlemagne and the Carolingian Empire, 768-814 - Expansion [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

McKitterick, R. "Charlemagne and the Carolingian Empire, 768-814 – Expansion." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 15 Aug 2018,