King Charlemagne, Charles the Great

Compiled by D. A. Sharpe





Charlemagne is thought to have been born April 2, 742 AD at Ingelheim, Rheinhessen, Hessen-Darmstadt, Prussia.  He is called Charlemagne, Charles the Great, due to his great height.  He was King of the Franks and Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire.  He lived till 814 AD.


Charlemagne is the 38th great grandfather of U. S. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, my half eighth cousin.  Roosevelt is the 18th cousin, four times removed to my son-in-law, Steven O. Westmoreland.  


Charlemagne is the 11th great grandfather of Edward Southworth, the first husband of Alice Carpenter, my seven times great grandmother through her second marriage, which was to Governor William Bradford.  Edward Southworth also is my 25th cousin, eight times removed.


Charlemagne is the 34th great grandfather of President John Quincy Adams, my 31st cousin, twice removed.  Our ancestors in common are Ragnvald I (died in 890 AD) and his wife, Hild, who were the 28th great grandparents to John Quincy Adams.


In addition, King Charlemagne is the 41st great grandfather of Steven Otis Westmoreland, the dashing young man who married our daughter, Tiffany Lenn Sharpe!  This co-mingling of families made our daughter a thirty-fourth cousin, four times removed from her husband prior to their marriage.  Another family tie is that Charlemagne shares the same birthday as my wife, Suzanne Margaret Boggess Sharpe.  However, Charlemagne is the 38th great grandfather of our sons, Taylor Marcus Sharpe & Todd Wittman Sharpe, as well as our previously mentioned daughter, Tiffany Lenn Shape.   Looking at the charts in that way, Tiffany is the 38th cousin, 4 times removed from her husband, Steve O. Westmoreland.  


We can learn about Charlemagne easily from public domain information on the Internet.  Here is a sample:


"He was six feet four inches tall, and built to scale.  He had beautiful white hair, animated eyes, a powerful nose... a presence' always stately and dignified.'  He was temperate in eating and drinking, abominated drunkenness, and kept in good health despite every exposure and hardship."  This quote is from Eginhardt (the King's secretary) describing Charlemagne


Charlemagne (Charles the Great) was born on April 2, 742 in Northern Europe.  "By the sword and the cross," he became master of Western Europe.  Through his enlightened leadership, the roots of learning and order were restored to Medieval Europe.


In 768, when Charlemagne was 26, he and his brother Carloman inherited the kingdom of the Franks.  In 771 Carloman died, and Charlemagne became sole ruler of the kingdom.  At that time, the Franks were falling back into barbarian ways, neglecting their education and religion.  The Saxons of northern Europe were still pagans.  In the south, the Roman Catholic church was asserting its power to recover land confiscated by the Lombard kingdom of Italy.  Europe was in turmoil.


Charlemagne was determined to strengthen his realm and to bring order to Europe.  In 772 he launched a 30-year military campaign to accomplish this objective.  By 800 Charlemagne was the undisputed ruler of Western Europe.  His vast realm encompassed what are now France, Switzerland, Belgium, and The Netherlands.  It included half of present-day Italy and Germany, and parts of Austria and Spain.  By establishing a central government over Western Europe, Charlemagne restored much of the unity of the old Roman Empire and paved the way for the development of modern Europe.


On Christmas Day in 800, while Charlemagne knelt in prayer in Saint Peter's Cathedral in Rome, Pope Leo III placed a golden crown on the bowed head of the king.  Charlemagne is said to have been surprised by the coronation, declaring that he would not have come into the church had he known the pope's plan.  However, some historians say the pope would not have dared to act without Charlemagne's knowledge.


Charlemagne learned to read Latin and some Greek, but apparently did not master writing.  At meals, instead of having jesters perform, he listened to visiting scholars read from learned works.  Charlemagne believed that government should be for the benefit of the governed.  He was a tireless reformer who tried to improve his peoples' lives.  He established money standards to encourage commerce, urged better farming methods, and worked to spread education and Christianity.  I give thanks for the description above provided through the web site at:



Another more detailed telling of the life and effects of King Charlemagne:


Durant, Will. "King Charlemagne", History of Civilization Vol III, The Age of Faith.  Electronic version in the Knighthood, Tournaments & Chivalry Resource Library, Ed. Brian R. Price.



Here is a replica of the crown Charlemagne was said to have worn. 













Genealogical compilation by:


Dwight Albert (D. A.) Sharpe

805 Derting Road East

Aurora, TX 76078-3712