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Charlemagne: Father of Europe

Examine the life and times of Charlemagne and consider how history has shaped his story to serve various causes and agendas. Who was this ruler many call the “Father of Europe”?

Charlemagne: Father of Europe is rated 4.3 out of 5 by 48.
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Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent course! This course exceeded my expectations. I have taken all of Prof. Daileader's Teaching Company courses on the Middle Ages and thought they were terrific. Nevertheless, I wasn't sure that 12 lectures on Charlemagne would hold my interest throughout. I could not have been more wrong. Prof. Daileader brings Charlemagne to life through these focused, well-presented lectures and provides an in-depth, warts and all examination of an historical figure who was far more complex and far more consequential than I had previously appreciated. A truly great learning experience. Video is preferred but audio works. Highly recommended!
Date published: 2022-06-16
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Developmental I liked learning the effort to save religion. A ruler of beliefs can still have ramifications today.
Date published: 2022-06-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Absorbing and informative I always enjoy Professor Daileader's courses on the Middle Ages. As always this one was carefully prepared and beautifully presented, with a touch of his subtle humor.
Date published: 2022-05-30
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Very understandable I enjoy watching this with a friend. Amazing window into the history of this time period.
Date published: 2022-05-27
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Good Overview of Charlemange The course gave details, but so far (I'm not finished with course) it has not shown me how Charlemagne fits in with overall European history.
Date published: 2022-05-13
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Presentation lacking The professor appeared to suffer from a sinus infection or worse throughout the recording of the course. The nasal and speech impediments overshadowed the content as I tried to listen. The subject matter is interesting, for sure. Felt a bit padded even to a novice such as myself. One of the professor's other Great Courses on the Early Middle Ages did not suffer these deficiencies and was really terrific. But not this one.
Date published: 2022-05-13
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Lots of Information! I admire the presenter for the knowledge he displayed of his subject matter. However, I thought that the course was a little long and repetitive. I am not a history fanatic so maybe that was the problem. I did find the course very interesting.
Date published: 2022-05-09
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Very interesting course Contains much information about Charlemagne that I hadn't come across after years of study. Very glad I decided to take the course. Since Charlemagne contributed greatly to logistics of large land forces, it would have been nice to see how his strategies made his vast conquests possible.
Date published: 2022-05-03
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Overview

In Charlemagne: Father of Europe, you will look back on Charlemagne’s rule and the way his dynasty and its influence would affect the world in the centuries that would follow. Join Professor Philip Daileader of William & Mary for this 12-lecture historical journey into the life, times, and complicated legacy of the ruler known as the pater Europae.

About

Philip Daileader

Making courses over the years has been an honor, and I'd like to think that as The Teaching Company has grown and developed, I've developed with it.

INSTITUTION

William & Mary

Philip Daileader is a Professor of History at William & Mary. He earned his BA in History from Johns Hopkins University and his MA and PhD in History from Harvard University. Philip has won multiple teaching awards throughout his career. As a graduate student, he was a four-time recipient of the Certificate of Distinction in Teaching from the Derek Bok Center for Teaching and Learning, and in 2016, William & Mary awarded him the Thomas A. Graves, Jr. Award for Sustained Excellence in Teaching. In 2012, The Princeton Review named him one of the 300 best professors in the United States.

Philip is the author of two historical monographs: True Citizens: Violence, Memory, and Identity in the Medieval Community of Perpignan, 1162–1397, which appeared in French translation in 2004, and Saint Vincent Ferrer, His World and Life: Religion and Society in Late Medieval Europe, which appeared in Spanish and Catalan translations in 2019 and won the 2018 La corónica International Book Award for the best monograph published on medieval Hispanic languages, literatures, and cultures. Philip is the coeditor of French Historians 1900–2000: New Historical Writing in Twentieth-Century France, and his articles have been published in journals including Speculum, Annales du Midi, and Archivum Historiae Pontificiae.

By This Professor

The Early Middle Ages
854
Charlemagne: Father of Europe
854
Charlemagne: Father of Europe

Trailer

The Making of Emperor Charles the Great

01: The Making of Emperor Charles the Great

Meet Charles the Great, the Carolingian king who would become Charlemagne. Why was Charlemagne’s rule so different than the kings who came before him? How did the political and religious climate of Western Europe shape his kingship and his imperial ambitions? Why is there so much controversy about his reputation? Start your search for answers here.

31 min
Charlemagne as Heir and King, 748–800

02: Charlemagne as Heir and King, 748–800

To get the full picture of Charlemagne as both man and king, Professor Daileader takes you back to the formative years of Charlemagne’s life before he ascended to the imperial throne. As you look back on this period, you will also discover the way historians are constantly discovering and reevaluating information to create a clearer picture of this time in European history.

31 min
Charlemagne as Emperor, 800–814

03: Charlemagne as Emperor, 800–814

Charlemagne’s ascension to emperor at the age of 52 ushered in a new era in Europe. You will see how Charlemagne’s rule altered the European landscape and how this transformation shaped his reputation for generations to come. You will also see how hindsight can shape history in interesting—and not always terribly accurate—ways.

31 min
Charlemagne as Head of Family and Dynasty

04: Charlemagne as Head of Family and Dynasty

Although he was “Father of Europe,” Charlemagne was also the father of at least 19 children. Charlemagne’s family life powerfully affected all aspects of his life, and it influenced how future generations regarded him, both as a leader and as a person. As you will see, the king’s relations with his wives and children had important and long-lasting political repercussions.

30 min
Charlemagne as War Leader

05: Charlemagne as War Leader

As king and then as emperor, Charlemagne united disparate kingdoms in Europe through warfare, and many of his early victories helped to shape his image well into the future. Why was Charlemagne so often at war? What kinds of tactics and strategies did he use to win? And how did medieval social structures affect his choices?

32 min
Charlemagne as Ruler: Justice and Salvation

06: Charlemagne as Ruler: Justice and Salvation

Success in dynastic politics and war brought Charlemagne power. But what did Charlemagne do with this power? How did Charlemagne govern the territories under his control? First, consider the place of Charlemagne’s government in the broader sweep of European history. Then, see how Charlemagne governed in the pursuit of lofty goals, focused especially on secular justice and spiritual salvation.

32 min
Charlemagne’s World: Britain to Baghdad

07: Charlemagne’s World: Britain to Baghdad

Turn to Charlemagne’s relations with the rulers and peoples beyond his empire, stretching from Britain to Baghdad. Charlemagne’s reputation for greatness has often rested on his diplomacy as much as anything else. So, how did Charlemagne’s kingdom fit into the larger world? And how did his diplomatic relationships shape both his reputation and the political landscape of Europe and beyond?

33 min
Charlemagne as Patron of a Renaissance

08: Charlemagne as Patron of a Renaissance

Significant contributors to the notion of Charlemagne as “Father of Europe” are the scholarly and educational activities that he promoted. Charlemagne’s reign falls into the period many consider part of the “dark ages” in Europe—but were they truly as intellectually dark as some suggest? Here, examine Charlemagne’s contributions to what is called the Carolingian Renaissance.

33 min
Charlemagne as Religious Reformer

09: Charlemagne as Religious Reformer

Turn now to Charlemagne’s religious faith, which was fervent in many respects, but relaxed in others. Explore Charlemagne’s relationships with religious authorities—especially the papacy—which had a particularly strong impact on his later reputation. Also, look closely at the religious reforms that Charlemagne sought to institute throughout his reign.

33 min
Charlemagne in Medieval Legend

10: Charlemagne in Medieval Legend

Charlemagne mattered to later generations for many reasons: his complex and colorful family life; his military success; his aspirations in matters of government, education, and the Christian faith; and his international standing. However, to fully understand his significance, you will examine Charlemagne as others remembered him—or imagined him to have been.

32 min
Claims to Charlemagne across History

11: Claims to Charlemagne across History

Memories of Charlemagne have influenced 12 centuries of subsequent history. Here, you will look at the broad spectrum of historical opinion on Charlemagne from both his most ardent fans and his greatest detractors. You’ll note that as times changed, the ways in which people used and understood Charlemagne also evolved.

35 min
The Enduring Fascination with Charlemagne

12: The Enduring Fascination with Charlemagne

Now that you know more about Charlemagne himself and the role that his memory played in subsequent European history, consider more closely the question of whether, and to what extent, Charlemagne merits the title “Father of Europe.” And complete your picture of his life and his reign by reexamining how Charlemagne saw himself.

34 min