Important Rulers of the Early Middle-Ages

Constantine VII. "The Purpleborn" - * 905, † 959

Until 944 Constantine was kept away from the throne by Romanos I., his father in law. He wrote historical treatises (ceremony books) and scientific excerpts. He reformed the current scripture style from Majuscle to the new Byzantinean Minuscle. For his son, he compiled the textbook 'De administratione Imperii', where a number of contradictions against the 'Cronilce of Theopanes' and the western records can be found.

Theoderic the Great - * ~545, † 526

King of the Ostrogotes from the Amalan dynasty. In Italy he could conquer an own realm, acknowledged by the Emperor at Byzantium. He was married to Autofleda, the sister of Clovis I. The 30th anniversary of his reign, he celebrated at Rome in the year 500 A.D.

Chlovis the Great - * 466, † 511

Chlovis I., started as a ruler of the Salfranks around Tournai. He subdued the Franc tribes and conquered the rest of Gallia. In 498 he adopted the Catholic creed and was christened at Reims. After his death his four sons Theuderich, Chlodomer, Childebert and Chlothar broke the realm apart an took their see at Reims, Orléans, Paris and Soissons.

Charlemagne - * 747, † 814

Early in the year 1000 C.E. the Emperor Otto III. visited Aachen. Here, says the tradition, he uncovered the relics of his ancester Charlemagne. Otto removed the burial objects and extracted a tooth from the skull. He replaced the missing nose of the dead by a gold sheet, before he left the crypt.The rememberance  for Charlemagne as the most popualr ruler of the Francians persisted over the centuries. However, physical  evidence for his person and his activities is virtually non-existent. Noticeable are the biographical parallels with Theoderic (Italy, Rome) and Clovis I. (conquests of Francia, Christianisation). The well-known KRLS-Signum and the coins attributed to Charlemagne have been assigned likewise to Charles III. Simplex.

Austrapius, Charl of the Menapians - * 440, † 508

Austrapius was the last Charl (King, 'Earl') to rule over the Menapian people. This tribe had settled around  the villages of Cassel and Tournai in southern Belgium since the times of Julius Cesar. Disprived of power by Clovis I. the Menapians and their former king were relocated into the Haspengau in eastern Belgium around the cities of  Landen, Tongern, Heerstal and Aachen.

Carolus IV. Nazon - * 480, † 516

Although the son of the former king Austrapius, Carolus was the only one of Clovis's potential successors who survived the massacres in 510. His (nick-) name 'Charly the Nose' may seen as a hint that his nose was cut off to make him uneligible as a ruler.

Pippin I. the Elder - * 576, † 639

Pippin I. was great- grandchild of Carolus Nazon. Together with Arnulf of Metz, he is said to have installed the young Chlothar II. on the throne. He was the first in the long row of Carolingian Majordomo (Home Master, 'Heimerich') wich eventually substituded the Meroving kings.

Karl III. "Simplex" - * 879, † 929

At first excluded from the succession on the throne, he became coronated king of western Francia in 893 at Reims. After the occupation of Lorraine in 911, his reign became extended. When he lost the battle at Soissons he was captured and imprisoned for the rest of his days. 

Heinrich I. - * 876, † 936

Heinrich I. ('majordomo') was the son of count Otto the Illustrious. In 919 he was elected as king of Saxonia at Fritzlar. Thietmar of Merseburg denotes him as 'nepos' and 'proximus' of Karl III., indicating a close relation by blood. If Heinrich and Karl were both sons of the Otto the Illustrious, there will be a direct descendence between Otto III., the great-grandchild of Heinrich and the the recovered 'Charlemagne'. Without this link, Otto's action at Aachen would be difficult to understand.

Otto III. - * 980, † 1002

Otto III. was the great-grandchild of Heinrich I. He began his reign in 983 and became ruler of the Holy Roman Empire from 996 until 1002. His predominant intention was the Renovatio imperii Romanorum. In 998 he requested Pope Gregory V., his cousin 'to purge the centuries'. Early in the year 1000 he presented the remains of his ancestor Càrolus, making thus the original (short) chronology inconceivable.

More detailed biographies can be found in textbooks or under

H.-E. Korth  11/2008