Charlemagne by Alessandro Barbero
Father of a Continent

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Synopsis

The most important study of Charlemagne in a generation, this biography by distinguished medievalist Alessandro Barbero illuminates both the man and the world in which he lived. Charles the Great—Charlemagne—reigned from a.d. 768 to a.d. 814. At the time if his death, his empire stretched across Europe to include Bavaria, Saxony, parts of Spain, and Italy. With a remarkable grasp of detail and a sweeping knowledge of Carolingian institutions and economy, Barbero not only brings Charlemagne to life with accounts of his physical appearance, tastes and habits, family life, and ideas and actions but also conveys what it meant to be king of the Franks and, later, emperor. He recounts how Charlemagne ruled his empire, kept justice, and waged wars. He vividly describes the nature of everyday life at that time, how the economy functioned, and how Christians perceived their religion. Barbero's absorbing analysis of how concepts of slavery and freedom were subtly altered as feudal relations began to grow underscores the dramatic changes that the emperor's wars brought to the political landscape. Engaging and informed by deep scholarship, this latest account provides a new and richer context for considering one of history's most fascinating personalities.
 

About Alessandro Barbero

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Alessandro Barbero is Professor of Medieval History at the University of Piemonte Orientale, Italy. In addition to writing about medieval society and culture, he is the author of the historical novel Bella vita e guerre altrui di Mr. Pyle, gentiluomo, which won the Strega Prize in 1996. Over a period of twelve years, Allan Cameron has translated some twenty books on history, philosophy, and other academic disciplines, including works by leading Italian philosopher Norberto Bobbio and President of the European Commission Romano Prodi.
 
Published September 10, 2004 by University of California Press. 426 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Travel. Non-fiction

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Publishers Weekly

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Charles the Great, crowned emperor by the pope on Christmas Day A.D. 800, has at least three claims to be the progenitor of Europe. First, as this excellent translation of Barbero's text indica

Jun 07 2004 | Read Full Review of Charlemagne: Father of a Cont...

Publishers Weekly

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And third, as Italian medievalist Barbero makes quite clear, Charlemagne paved the way for brutal forms of Western colonial aggression conducted in the name of religion.

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Project MUSE

An updated, English-language biography of Charles the Great would be a welcome addition to the modern canon on the mighty Carolingian king and emperor, as the best recent efforts to tackle the subject have been in French (Jean Favier, Charlemagne, 1999) and German (Dieter Hägermann, Karl der Gros...

| Read Full Review of Charlemagne: Father of a Cont...

Project MUSE

An updated, English-language biography of Charles the Great would be a welcome addition to the modern canon on the mighty Carolingian king and emperor, as the best recent efforts to tackle the subject have been in French (Jean Favier, Charlemagne, 1999) and German (Dieter Hägermann, Karl der Gros...

| Read Full Review of Charlemagne: Father of a Cont...

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