Seeing how the Romans were never capable of truly conquering Western Europe's Germanic groups, they had instead opted for a "can't beat 'em, join 'em" philosophy, allowing the Germans and Celts to simply join Rome with some impressive rewards such as great pay and citizenship with benefits. However, Charlemagne was actually able to conquer just about everyone around him with brutality, and adopting his dearly deceased father's policy of Christianization of Pagan cultures, he also forcibly Christianized everyone he conquered.
REIGN OF BLOOD: Charlemagne's reign was one of blood and oppression, since many of these cultural groups often rebelled or put up a stiff "fight to the death" resistance. It's sad because Charlemagne also forced those cultures that he conquered to become Christian or face some stiff penalties, including execution. The problem with this is that forcing Christianity is not possible, since the human heart cannot be forced into anything. A person cannot kill an idea or philosophy, and more often than not, killing people for such philosophies only creates martyrs and victimizes the group, making the survivors bitter and more resistant. With such stiff governmental and religious oppression, Charlemagne was forced to deal with rebellions all over the empire after his brother and father died, but nevertheless, Charlemagne ascended to the throne as undisputed emperor and reigned in blood and war. Charlemagne was a conqueror and little else. If you browse around other blogs and history sites it'll become clear that many people have "most evil men" lists for historical people that are renowned for truly evil reigns of power. Obviously, Charlemagne is near the top of these lists on the majority of them since he was no different than Hitler or other awful power mongers, with the exception that he did not persecute a single culture or religion, he persecuted and slaughtered everyone.
|Pope Leo III|
|I don't care what anyone says-- the Vikings did|
not wear winged or horned helms in battle!
The only purpose a helm like that would
serve is as a handhold for an enemy
to slit your throat (yes, not good!)