On the day of the Nativity, the king entered the church of Saint Peter, exactly at the moment when the great mass was being celebrated. As he bent down in prayer in front of the altar, the apostle Leo placed the imperial crown on his head. Then the people began to shout: "May Charlemagne, Augustus, crowned by God, peaceful emperor of the Romans, live and be victorious." After the people had praised him, the pope adorned [In RFA, adoratus] him and clothed him with imperial garments, according to the custom of ancient princes. He put aside the title of patrician, and from then on was called emperor and Augustus. After a few days, he ordered those who had deposed the apostle to be brought before him. They were tried and sentenced, according to Roman law, to lose their heads. But the apostle begged the emperor to spare their lives and limbs, and he did; however, they were condemned to exile for the enormity of their crime. The nomenclator [in charge of recording and calling to the Pope's table] Paschal and the treasurer Campulus were conspirators in this affair, as were many other high-ranking Romans, and they received the same sentence as those who did the actual deed. All winter the emperor remained in the city to do what was necessary, and to reform the state of the community, not only of the city, but whatever pertained to the papacy and to the whole land of Italy. He scarcely did anything else the whole winter. Afterwards, he sent his son Pepin with a large part of his army into the duchy of Benevento.

After celebrating the Resurrection, on the seventh calends of May (25 April) the emperor left Rome and went to Spoleto. While he was staying there, in the same month,there was a great earthquake, in the second hour of the night. Throughout all of Italy there was a storm so great that the cities and even the mountains trembled. This quake made the church of Saint Paul in Rome tremble so much that a great part of the wooden frame and of the roof fell down. At the same time quakes struck several places in Germany, beyond the Rhine, and some places in France, and there was a great pestilence that year, because the weather was damp and unseasonable.

The emperor left Spoleto and went to Ravenna. There he was told that the emissaries of Harun, the king of Persia, had arrived at the port of Pisa. He sent men to meet them between Vercelli and Ivrea [A mistranslation of quibus obviam mittens, inter Vercellos et Eporediam eos sibi fecit praesentari, in RFA]. There were two emissaries, each from a different nobleman. The one who had been sent by Harun, the king of Persia, was a Persian, born in the Orient, the other was a Saracen, born in Africa, sent by the emir Abraham. When they were brought before the king, the emissary from Harun, the king of Persia, said that Isaac the Jew, whom Charlemagne had sent to Harun four years ago, with two other emissaries, Lantfrid and Sigimund, had returned, bearing great gifts. But Lantfrid and Sigimund had died on the trip. Then the emperor sent Ercanbald, his notary, to Liguria to prepare the boats on which the elephant and the other gifts might be brought back. The emissary of the king of Africa brought many fine presents, among which were the body of saint Cyprian, the martyred bishop of Carthage, the body of saint Speratus, the first martyr of Scillitaine, and the head of saint Panthaleon [This last sentence is not in RFA, but is in Chronique d'Adon, RHGF V, p. 322]. The king celebrated the holiday of saint John the Baptist in the city of Ivrea, then crossed the mountains and returned to France.

In that year, Barcelona, a city in Spain that had been under siege for two years, was captured. Zatun, the head of the city, and several other Saracens were captured. Another city in Lombardy, named Theate (Chieti), was captured, destroyed and burned, along with many castles which belonged to this city, some of which were taken by force, and others simply surrendered. Roselins [In RFA, Roselmus], the provost of this city, was captured, and he and Zatun were brought before the king and sentenced to exile.

In the month of October of the same year, the Jew Isaac, whom the emperor had sent to the king of Persia. arrived in the port of Venus (near Genoa). He presented to the emperor an elephant and many other rich presents. Because severe snows prevented him from crossing the mountains, the emperor made him remain for the whole winter in Vercelli, while he himself went back to Aix-la-Chapelle and there celebrated the Nativity of Our Lord.

At that time the empress Helena of Constantinople [again, Primat translates as "Helen," the Latin, Herena imperatrix, "Irene."] sent an emissary named Leo, to ratify a peace between the French and the Greeks. When he wished to leave the court, the emperor sent with him an emissary named Jesse, the bishop of Amiens, to continue the negotiations with the empress, and he also sent with him count Helmgaud.

The emperor celebrated Easter at Aix-la-Chapelle. In the month of June that year, Isaac the Jew reached the emperor, bringing the elephant that he had kept in Lombardy for the winter [The British Museum ms. gives the elephant's name: Abulabas, as does RFA].

At this point two cities in Lombardy, Ortona and Lucera, which had held out against the emperor for a long time, were captured. Lucera was taken by a powerful assault, for it was attacked by many men [RFA attributes the fall to the length of the siege, not to the number of attackers]. The emperor remained in the forest of Ardennes for the entire summer, hunting wild animals. He sent his army against the Saxons, and they laid waste all the land beyond the river Elbe [In RFA the army is composed of Saxons].

At the same time, duke Grimoald, the duke of Benevento, captured Winigis, the duke of Spoleto, in the city of Nuchiere (Lucera), holding him a prisoner, while treating him honorably. That winter there was an earthquake in the area of Aix-la-Chapelle, followed by disease and death. There the king celebrated the Nativity that year.

Winigis, whom Grimoald, the duke of Benevento had captured, as we said, was released.

At this point the emissaries whom the emperor had sent to Constantinople returned; they were accompanied by emissaries from Nicephorus, the emperor who ruled the empire, for the Greeks had deposed Helen (Irene), the empress [31 0ct 802], after the messengers from emperor Charlemagne arrived. These emissaries were named Michael, Peter, and .[RFA gives their functions too, respectively bishop, abbot, and candidatus -- member of elite bodyguard for emperor]. When they reached the emperor, he was in Germany, on the shore of the Saale river, in a place called Salz. They offered in writing the proposal for peace for which they had come, and when they had stayed at court as long as they wished, they returned to Constantinople, carrying to their lord the letter of the emperor Charlemagne. Then the emperor went to Bavaria, put things in order in Pannonia, and, in the month of December, returned to Aix-la-Chapelle. There he remained for the winter, celebrating the Nativity.


When spring returned and fighting could begin, the emperor assembled his army to fight in Saxony. He invaded the land with a large force, compelling all the Saxons who lived beyond the Elbe, together with their wives and children, to move into France. He gave their land to another group of people, called the Obodrites. From these people, some say the Brabantians and Flemings are descended, and some still speak this same language [The last sentence is Primat's addition.]

At this point Godofrid, the king of Denmark, arrived, with a large army and a large fleet, at a place called Ylietrop [Sliesthorp in RFA; Schleswig], for he had previously promised the emperor to come to a meeting with him. But he did not keep his agreement, following the advice of his men, and he did not come. The emperor waited for him at the Elbe, at a place called Holdimist (Hollenstedt), and when he saw that he would not come, he sent emissaries to order him to give up the fugitives. Since this happened towards the middle of September, the emperor returned to the city of Cologne, where he dismissed his army, went off to go hunting in the forest of the Ardennes, and then returned to Aix-la-Chapelle. Meanwhile, news arrived that the Apostle had sent word that he wished to celebrate the Nativity with him wherever that might be feasible. The emperor was very happy with this news, and sent his son Charles to Saint Maurice (in Switzerland) to give him an honorable welcome. He himself went to Rheims to meet him, bringing him to the city of Quierzy, where they celebrated the Nativity. From there they went to Aix-la-Chapelle. He remained part of the winter at court, much honored by the emperor with gifts and jewels, and when he wished to return, the emperor had him brought back through Bavaria to Ravenna, because it pleased him to return through these regions. The Apostle had come to see the emperor because word had spread, and the emperor too had heard, that the blood of Our Lord had been found in the city of Mantua. The emperor had asked him to ascertain the truth of the matter. The apostle, finding an occassion to leave, went into Lombardy, to look into the truth of these reports. But the history does not tell what were the results of this investigation.

A short time later, Capcan [a title, not a proper name, like "khan."] the prince of the Juns, came to the emperor, because his people were in need, and he asked the emperor for land for himself and his people to inhabit, between Carmintha (Perronell) and Sabaria (Szombethely); they could no longer live in their own land because of the attacks and wars made against them by the Slavs. The emperor received him graciously, especially because he was a good Christian, granting his request, and bestowing gifts upon him. Then he left, but he did not live long after he returned to his people. The khagan, who was the ruler of the Huns after him, asked the emperor, through one of his princes, for the same honor and power that his predecessor had been granted, and the emperor willingly gave him what he asked for, wishing him to hold the responsibility and power for the whole kingdom, according to the ancient customs of the country.

In that same year (806), the king assembled an army, and assigned his son Charles to lead it against the Slavs who were called Bohemians. He laid waste all their land, and killed their prince, who was named Becho [Lecho in some mss. of RFA, Lecho in others.] Then he returned to his father in the forest of the Vosges, in a place which was called Champs, for the emperor had left Aix-la-Chapelle in the month of August [July in RFA; perhaps "for the month of August" is what Primat assumes.] and had gone to this forest through the city of Metz and of Thionville. When the army which his son Charles had led into Slavonia had departed, he returned to spend the winter in Thionville. There his two children, Pepin and Louis came to him, and celebrated the Nativity.

After the holiday, two dukes from Venice, Willeri and Beatus, came to him, as did another duke of Zara, whose name was Paul, and Donatus, the bishop of that same city. They were emissaries from the Dalmatians, and they brought gifts and presents. The emperor set in order, according to his own wishes, the affairs of the people of Venice and of Dalmatia. After the emissaries had left, he convoked a general meeting of the barons to establish peace and harmony between his two sons, and to apportion land to each, if they happened to survive him. Wills and documents were drawn up to keep peace and harmony between his sons, and they were confirmed by oaths from all the barons. Then (806) the emperor had a document written and sent to the Pope, for him to ratify with his seal and signature, and the apostle did this willingly, doing exactly as the emperor had asked.

After this meeting, the emperor left Thionville, sending his sons each to his own kingdom, Louis to Aquitaine, and Pepin to Lombardy. Charles went by boat down the Rhine and the Moselle, as far as the city of Nimegue [blank in the ms; Viard supplies Nimegue from RFA]. There he celebrated the fortieth (Lent), and the Resurrection. After a short time he went to Aix-la-Chapelle and assembled his army. He put his son Charles in charge of the army, to fight in Slavonia against a people called the Sorbs, who lived on the banks of the Elbe. After a great battle, Miliduoch, the leader of the Slavs was killed. The French built two castles on this campaign, on on the bank of the Saale, and the other on the Elbe. When Charles had defeated and subdued the Slavs, he returned, with his entire army to his father, who was then on the bank of the Meuse, at a place called Seilles. In that same year the emperor assembled a great army in Bavaria, in Germany, and in Burgundy, and sent them into a land called Bohemia. He destroyed a great part of this land by fire and slaughter, then returned, having suffered no damage or harm to his own troops.

In that year, he sent Pepin, the king of Lombardy, against the Moors, in the island of Corsica; they had often, one might say habitually, destroyed this country. However, they did not wait for him, but instead left when they heard that this fleet was coming. Hadumar, the count of the city of Genoa, was killed there, however, because he made a foolish attack on them.

At that time, the people of Navarre and of Pamplona converted to the Saracen belief, but they repented and returned to the faith of holy Church [RFA gives different sense of the time involved.]

Nicephorus, the emperor of Constantinople, sent a large fleet, under the command of Nicetas, one of his princes, to recover, if possible, the island of Dalmatia. The emissaries who had been sent to the king [Primat misses the fact that they were sent to the king of Persia] almost four years previously, returned from Greece then through the Greek fleet [i.e., without being perceived]. In that year the emperor celebrated the Nativity of Our Lord at Aix-la-Chapelle.


On the fourth calends of September [the fourth nones in RFA] of the previous year, there was an eclipse of the moon. The sun was in the sixteenth part of the sign of Virgo, and the moon in the sixteenth part of the sign of Pisces.[These are the first references to an astronomical apparatus; the Astronomer, then, did not introduce this interest, but merely showed more interest than previous chroniclers.] In that year, exactly on the second calends of February, the moon was in the seventeenth, when the star of Jove was seen passing through it (the moon). On the third Ides of February, there was an eclipse of the sun at noon (11 February, 807, 10:30 in the morning); each star was in the twenty-fifth of the sign of Aquarius. There was another eclipse of the moon on the fourth calends of March (16 February, 807, 2:30 in the morning), and companies [In the Latin, "battle lines," acies] of remarkable size appeared in the sky. The sun was in the eleventh part of Pisces and the moon in the eleventh part of Virgo, for the star of Mercury was seen in the body of the sun, like a small black spot, on the sixteenth calends of April (17 March), which a bit earlier had been in the center of this same star [a misunderstanding: it appears as a spot a bit above the middle of the sun). It appeared this way for seven days, but could not be seen when it entered or left, because of clouds. There was another eclipse of the moon in the month of August, on the eleventh calends of September [22 August, although the established date is 21 August, 11 in the evening.] in the third hour of the night, while the sun was in the fifth part of Virgo, and the moon in the fifth part of Pisces. Thus the moon was darkened three times and the sun once, from September the previous year until the next September.

Radbert, whom the emperor had sent as an emissary to the East, died while returning. At this point, the emissary of the king of Persia, Abdallah, came to the emperor, accompanied by two monks, George and Felix, who were emissaries of Thomas, the patriarch of Jerusalem. Abdallah, the emissary of the king of Persia, brought gifts and presents from his lord, including tents, pavillions, and a curtain that was very large and beautiful, made of fine silk, inclduing the strings, embroidered with many colors. He also brought rich, expensive. silken robes, and vessels filled with balm, lectuaries of fine, aromatic spices. Among other presents, he sent a brass clock, made with remarkable skill. In this clock, the 12 hours of the day were arranged, with small brass hammers which, at the end of the hour, fell on a drum and made it resonate melodiously. There were many other intricacies in this clock, which would take too long to describe, for, at the end of 12 hours, twelve knights came out of twelve windows which they open by coming out, and close when they re-enter. Among other presents, they brought two brass candelabra, large, and intricately worked. All of these gifts were presented to the emperor in his palace at Aix-la-Chapelle. The emperor entertained the emissary and the two monks who had come from Thomas, the patriarch of Jerusalem, for a while, and at their departure honored them with rich gifts, ordering that they be conducted to Italy, to await a convenient time for traveling.

In the same year, the emperor sent Burchard, one of the princes of his palace, with a large fleet to defend the island of Corsica against the Moors, who often, and regularly ravaged this island. As usual, they came from bases in Spain, stopping first in Sardinia. They fought the natives, but were defeated, losing 3000 men. From there they went full sail to the island of Corsica. When they arrived, they found count Burchard with his fleet ready to fight. They fought, and the Moors were defeated, losing many of their men, while count Burchard captured 13 of their ships. That year fortune went entirely against them, everywhere they went. Among themselves they said that this was because they had, the previous year, captured 60 monks in the island of Pantelleria and sold them in Spain. Some of the monks later returned to their own country, through the generosity of the emperor of the country.

At this point, the patrician Nicethes (Niceras), who was staying in Venice at that time, with the entire fleet of the Emperor of Constantinople, made peace with Pepin, the king of Lombardy. They made a treaty with each other which was to last until the following August; then he returned to Constantinople. Charles, the emperor, celebrated the Nativity at Aix-la-Chapelle.

In this year (808) the winter was unseasonable, and filled with pestilence. In the spring, the emperor returned to the city of Noion (Nimegue), where he celebrated Lent (the fast of the holy 40th) and Easter, and then returned to Aix-la-Chapelle. There he was told that Godofrid, the king of Denmark, had invaded the land of the Obodrites, who were allies of his, and were under his protection. To take care of this problem, he sent his son Charles, with a large army of French and Saxons, to the Elbe, ordering him to resist this insane king if he tried to invade Saxony. But things turned out otherwise, for he held a large section of the Elbe, captured some castles in Slavonia, and finally returned to Denmark, having suffered great losses. He also drove out Drogo (Thrasco), duke of the Obodrites, who had no confidence in his ordinary soldiers, and had hanged another duke, named Godelaib (Gottlieb, presumably), and made two parts of the country tributary. However, he lost a great part of his army, and the best men that he had, including Reginold, one of his nephews, his brother's son, and several other nobles of his own country, who were killed in an assault on a castle. Charles, the emperor's son, whom he had sent against him, had a bridge built across the Elbe. He led his army as quickly as possible against two groups of people, who were called the Linones and Smeldingi, because these two groups had submitted to the Danes, and formed an alliance with them. He destroyed their land, crossed back over the Elbe, and returned to Saxony.

The Slavs, out of their ancient hatred of the Obodrites, willingly joined the army that king Godofrid led against the Obodrites, and they returned to their territories as soon as they were able. But before he returned with his army, king Godofrid destroyed a castle named Empores [not a castle, but a trading place, emporium, in RFA.] which was called Reric in the Danish tongue. This castle was of great use in this area for the exchange of merchandise, and for ships, and its great traffic produced great tribute. King Godofrid took the merchants of the country with him, sailing to a port named Nestrop[Sliesthorp; Schleswig today]. While he was there he built a wall to enclose the part of his kingdom that faced Saxony, along the borders of the two kingdoms, so that this enclosure would begin in the east at a bay called Ostalsar (Baltic) and proceed westward toward the sea (North Sea). This rampart ran along the northern bank of a river called the Egidores (Eider), and it had only one gate, through which men on foot and on horse, as well as wagons might enter and leave. He left the task to his dukes and princes, and then returned to his own country.


Meanwhile it happened that Radulph [Eardulf or Ardulf in RFA], the king of the Northumbrians, was driven out of the British Isles. He came to the emperor as an exile from his kingdom, told the reason for his coming, and the emperor had him taken to Rome. From there he returned to his own country, conducted by emissaries of the emperor and the apostle, and he was restored to his kingdom. The emissary of the apostle Leo was named Adulph (Ardulfus in RFA), a deacon born in Saxony, and the emperor's emissaries were two abbots, Horfride (Hruotfrid) the notary, and Nanthar, abbot of Saint-Omer. At this point the emperor had his envoys build two castles on the Elbe, and placed good troops in them as a defense against the attacks of the Slavs. Then he returned to Aix-la-Chapelle to spend the winter, celebrating the Nativity and the Resurrection there.

[809] The emperor of Constantinople and the Greeks, who were always competing with the Latins for the title and control of the empire, sent a fleet to destroy the land of Italy [the analysis of motives and purposes is Primat's]. First it arrived and prepared for battle in Dalmatia and then in Venice. while it was winter there, part of the fleet went to an island named Commeacle (Comacchio today, in the Adriatic), and fought against the men who garrisoned this island. The Greeks were defeated and chased back to Venice. The leader of this navy, whose name was Paul, worked hard to establish a peaceful alliance between the French and the Greeks, as he had been ordered to do. But he left before accomplishing the task, because he saw that two Venetian dukes, Willeri and Beatus, were trying to thwart his intentions, and were preparing ambushes by means of which to capture him.

Meanwhile, Louis, one of the emperor's sons, who was king of Aquitaine, assembled his army and invaded Spain. He laid siege to Tortosa, a city on the Ebro river. He kept the siege up for a while, and when he saw that he could not take the city without an exceedingly long siege, he returned to Aquitaine.

After Cardulf (Ardulf), the king of Northumbria, was put back in his kingdom by the emissaries of the apostle and of the emperor, as the story previously indicated, one of these emissaries, whose name was Ardulf (Aldulf), was captured by pirates as he was returning; all the others escaped without being harmed. He was brought to Britain and ransomed by one of king Kenwulf's men, and the king [Kenwulf was king of Mercia, 796-819] freed him and sent him back to Rome.

An incident. Populania, A Tuscan city situated on the sea, was pillaged at this time by a group of Greeks calls Orobiotae.

An incident.. At this point a group of people called the Moors came from Spain, invaded the island of Cyprus and destroyed a city on Easter day, leaving no one alive except for the bishop of the town and some sick old people.

Meanwhile, Godofrid, the king of Denmark, let the emperor know, through some merchants, that he had heard of the emperor's anger towards him, because he had fought against the Obodrites in the previous year, taking revenge for wrongs that had been done to him. He said that he would willingly clear himself of this charge before Charlemagne, and would clearly show that the Obodrites had broken pledges they had made to him before he went to war against them, and he would ask that a meeting take place, including the two of them, and the princes of the territories beyond the Elbe, on the border of the two kingdoms, so that the case might be argued there, in front of everyone, and whoever was in the wrong might make amends, according to the judgement of the barons. The emperor did not refuse to call the meeting, but agreed to it willingly. The two princes met beyond the Elbe on the day chosen, together with the barons of each side, at a place called Badenflot. The Danes levied many charges at the Obodrites, and the Obodrites did the same for the Danes, in the presence of the emperor and the barons of France, but both sides left without getting anything done, and the case remained unfinished. Then Thrasco, the duke of the Obodrites, assembled his army and called the Saxons to help them against the Wilzi; they laid waste their land and their villages with fire and slaughter, and then made an alliance with king Godofrid, giving his own son as hostage [Primat has reversed the order of events here; first the alliance and giving of hostages took place, then the attack on the Wilzi followed.] When he returned to his own land, he again assembled a very large army, asked the Saxons for more help than they had previously given, and then destroyed the largest and the most important city of the country of the Smeldingi. These expeditions made him so arrogant that he forcefully compelled all those who had abandoned him to return and submit to his authority.

The emperor then left the Ardennes and returned to Aix-la-Chapelle. The following November he assembled a council of bishops, where the question of the procession of the Holy Spirit was dealt with. John, a monk from Jerusalem, first made the proposal. The discussion left the issue still in in dispute, and the question was sent to Pope Leo in Rome, for him to make a decision. The matter was brought to Rome by a bishop named Bernard, and by Adam (Adalard), the abbot of Saint Peter of Corbie. At this council, other questions about the church and about the conversion of ministers who serve Our Lord in the offices of the church were discussed. But nothing definite was decided, for the questions seemed to be too difficult.

The emperor [VKM 26.] so loved and honored Holy Church that he always supported and honored it in every way, and he decorated the churches with vessels of gold and silver, with precious stones and silk. [The silk is, again, Primat's addition.] He wanted the services of the church performed in appropriate garments, nor did he wish even the porters of the church to perform their duties in ordinary clothing. At Aix-la-Chapelle he built a very large, very beautiful church in honor of Our Lady; he had the marble for the columns brought from Rome and from Ravenna. He was very disturbed if the singing and the services of the churches of France were not in accord with those of the church of Rome, and because he wanted to drink from the source of the stream, he sent two clerks to Rome to learn the Roman way of chanting. [Check MGH, Script II, p. 374.] They returned when they had learned it, and they introduced it first in the church at Metz, and then in the other churches of France. He had such concern for the poor of Our Lord, that he supported not only those of his own kingdom, but those who lived in Africa, in Egypt, and in Syria, and especially those of Jerusalem. All of these were supported and comforted by his alms. And for this reason the kings of Egypt and Persia and other pagan lands especially loved him and honored him. He, in turn, wanted friendship and alliances with them, for the benefit of the poor Christians who went begging in the pagan lands. Throughout his entire kingdom and empire he saw to it that his ministers carried out justice correctly, and he had twenty-nine chapters of laws drawn up and compiled.

The emperor [Primat now returns to RFA for 809.] heard much about the arrogance and pride of Godofrid, the king of Denmark. His response was to plan building a city beyond the Elbe, garrisoning it with Frenchmen, to resist the invasions and assaults of foreign nations. To accomplish this, workers were recruited from France and from Germany; they were supplied with whatever arms were needed, and with the equipment necessary for the task, and the order was given that they be brought through Frisia to the chosen spot where this city was to be built. When the right spot for the task was found, the emperor ordered count Egbert to take charge of the project, to cross the Elbe and undertake and direct the building of the city. The spot was on a river called the Strurie (Stor), and, in the language of the country, "Essephet." Count Egbert and the counts of the country undertook and directed the construction of the city, and they began to fortify it on the first Ides of March. At this point Thrasco, the duke of the Obodrites, was treacherously killed, in a castle named Reric, probably by Godofrid's men.


At this time Aureolus, a count who lived on the border of Spain and France, beyond the Pyrenees, between Huesca and Saragossa, died. Amorez, the provost of Saragossa, quickly took his place, and took over his castles with his own men. He sent emissaries to the emperor, telling him that he wished to submit to his authority, together with all his possessions. He asked for a meeting with the emperor's men who guarded the borders of Spain, and he promised the emperor's emissaries, who had been sent to him on this business, that he would do what he promised to do at this meeting. The meeting was held, but the task was not accomplished, for reasons about which the history does not speak.

At this time, there was an eclipse of the moon, on the seventh calends of January (26 December, 809).

[810] The Spanish Moors assembled a fleet, and invaded first the kingdom of Sardinia, and then the island of Corsica, capturing it and laying it waste, because they found no defenders.

Pepin, the eldest son of the emperor, who was the king of Lombardy, laid siege, by sea and by land, to the city of Venice, on the advice of some of the leading men of the city itself [Primat's par le conseil d'aucuns des plus granz de la cite meesmes is considerably less judgmental than RFA's perfidia ducum Veneticorum]. He captured the city and all of its belongings, and took it as his own [Chronicle of Andre Dandolo, Muratori XII, col. 158, describes his expedition as an utter failure.] Afterwards, he led this same fleet on a raiding expedition along the coast of the Dalmatian sea. But Paul, who was the leader of the eastern fleet, which the emperor of Constantinople had sent to destroy Italy, came up against him to aid the Dalmatians. King Pepin therefore turned his fleet around without doing anything more. At this time Hruodtrude, the emperor's eldest daughter, died, on the eighth Ides of June (6 June 810).

At this point, the emperor was still at Aix-la-Chapelle, and he intended to fight Godofrid, the king of Denmark, when news was brought to him that the Danish fleet of two hundred ships had arrived in Frisia, and was still there. He had already ravaged all the islands along the shores of Frisia, and had fought three battles against the Frisians, which the Danes won. The Frisian had become their tributaries, having paid them 100 pounds of silver, with which the Danes had been able to return home. The report that Godofrid had led this fleet into Frisia turned out to be true, and the emperor was very disturbed by it; determined to avenge this humiliation, he immediately sent his runners through all the provinces of his empire to assemble his army. He himself led as many men as he could gather across the Rhine, to await his army on the shores of Lippie (Lippeham). While he was waiting there, the elephant that Harun, the king of Persia had given him, died. Finally, when his army had assembled, he moved as quickly as possible, directly to the Aller river, on whose banks he set up his tents, at the place where the Aller and the Weser meet. There he remained, to hear news of his enemies and of the threats of Godofrid, the king of the Danes. This king had become so inflated with arrogance and so full of vain glory because of his victory over the Frisians, that he boastfully said that he would fight against the emperor on the appointed day, on the field of battle (implied, in single combat).

While the emperor was staying in this place, news from various places reached him, informing him that the Danish fleet, which had ravaged Frisia, had returned, and that king Godofrid had been killed by one of his own servants (retainers, men), but the history tells nothing of the motivation and the manner of his death. The emperor was also told that the Wilzi had captured the castle of Hobuki, which is situated on the bank of the Elbe. In the castle were Odo, the emperor's emissary, and several east Saxons. In addition, he was told that his son Pepin, the king of Lombardy, had passed from this world on the eighth Ides of June (8 July, 810), and finally he was told that two delegations from two different groups had arrived on a peace mission; one was from the emperor of Constantinople, and the other from the almansor of Cordova in Spain. He received these messengers, then arranged affairs in Saxony as well as he could at the moment, and then he returned to France. So many cattle died on this expedition that scarcely one remained alive, and not only there, but this disease struck every kind of animal through all the provinces of the empire [Viard points out that Annales Laur., MGH I.121, says that the disease struck human beings also]. In the month of October, the emperor came to Aix-la-Chapelle, heard the emissaries mentioneds above, and established peace and friendship with Nicephorus, the emperor of Constantinople, and with Abul Aas, the king of Cordova. He granted the city of Venice, which his son Pepin, the king of Lombardy, had captured the year before, to the emperor of Constantinople, and he received from Abul Aas, the king of Cordova, count Haimric, whom the Saracens had captured in Spain a long time before.

Nicephorus, the emperor of Constantinople, very much wanted to establish peace and friendship with the emperor, as his predecessors, Michael and Leo had [Primat here selectively borrows from VKM xvi, reducing the suspicions of the Greeks, and excising the proverb, given by Einhard in Greek, "If you have a Frank as a friend, he is not your neighbor.] They often unilaterally sent emissaries to establish peace and alliances, probably more out of fear than out of love. Because he had taken the name of emperor. they feared that he wished to take their empire from them. At that time the self-esteem and power of the French were so great that the Greeks feared them.

An incident.. In this year eclipses of the sun and the moon occured twice; solar eclipses on the seventh Ides of June, 5 July [although the Art de verifier les dates gives 7 July] and on the second calends of December (30 November, 810); lunar eclipses on the eleventh calends of June (20 June) and on the eighteenth calends of January (14 December). In that year the Moors came from Spain and laid waste the island of Corsica.

An incident. Abd ar-Rahman, the son of Abul Aas, the king of Cordova, drove Amorez from the city of Saragossa, and he was forced to seek refuge in Huesca.

After the death of Godofrid, the king of Denmark, Hemming, the son of his brother took over the kingdom, and he ratified peace and alliances with the emperor Charlemagne.

Arsafius, the emissary of the emperor of Constantinople, took leave of the court, and the emperor sent with him his own emissaries, to complete the task begun by [Arsafius. RFA, 811]. The names of the emissaries were: Haido, bishop of Basle; Hugo, count of Tours; Aio, a Lombard born in the city of Aquilea (Friuli); Willeri, duke of Venice; and Leo (a spatarius), a Sicilian. The emperor sent Leo back to his country of his own will, for he had fled to him ten years before, when Charles was at Rome. The other, whose name was Aio (V. seems to have missed the error here -- Willeri is meant), was ordered to return to his lord in Constantinople, who had stripped him of his honors and possessions for his misdeeds.


The peace arranged betweend the emperor and Hemming, the king of Denmark, was only sworn (in armis iurata, "sworn on arms" in RFA); it could not be ratified in any other way at that time except by oath, because the participants could not easily meet, because the winter was harsh, and the roads perilous to travel. But when spring returned ten [12 in all mss of RFA; Primat leaves out Meginhard and RFA does not give the name of the twelfth] noblemen from each side met, according to agreement, at the river Eider. There the peace was confirmed by oath and with hostages, according to the customs of each country. The names of the men sent by the emperor were: count Walach, son of Bernard; count Vodo (Odo); count Burchard; count Unroch; count Bernard; count Egbert; count Theothari; count Abo; count Osdag; and count Wigman. Among the Danes were Hankwin and Angandeo, king Hemming's brothers, and the others were the noblest of their race: Osfrid, surnamed Turdimulo; Warstein; Suomi; Urm; Osfrid son of Heiligen; Osfrid of Schonen; Aowin and Hebbi.

When the emperor had established peace with the Danes, and had held a general meeting, as was his custom, at Aix-la-Chapelle, he divided his army into three parts and sent them into three parts of his kingdom: one went beyond the Elbe to devastate the country, rebuilding the castle of Hohbuoki, on the Elbe, which the Wilzi had destroyed in the previous year. He sent the second group into Pannonia, to end the war with the Huns, and the third group he sent to Britanny, to punish the disloyalty of the people of that country. From all three parts of the kingdom they returned victorious, with great booty taken from their enemies.

[VKM xiii] The Huns, who are sometimes called the Avars, had fought the French so long that their numbers and strength were depleted, and they who were accustomed to invading other nations and fighting for glory were now no longer able to defend themselves, for all their fine nobility had fallen and died in the last war. All the treasure and all the wealth that they had amassed and acquired by great victories fell into the hands of the French. There is no record that any victory had ever enriched the French with so many different kinds of wealth [Einhard's remarks that the French had previously seemed paupers, and that the deprivation of the Huns was in some sense just, are dropped by Primat]. The Huns were so enfeebled that they were unable to withstand the assaults and the attacks of the Slavs, but asked the emperor for a land named Sabaria in which to live. There they lived, under French control, without a king or kingdom (see RFA 805).

(VKM xxviii) The emperor patiently endured the great indignation and envy that the Greeks and the emperor of Constantinople secretly bore towards him, although they had made alliances with him for the dignity and for the name of the empire, for they were so arrogant that they thought no one should bear the name of emperor except them. Because they feared him, they often formed alliances with him.

(RFA 811) The emperor went to Boulogne-on-the-sea to see the fleet that he had ordered to be built the previous year. He had his men restore a tower which had been built in ancient days above the port to direct ships wandering on the sea, and he ordered that the light be kindled every night on its top, so that wanderers might guide themselves by the brightness of its flame. Some say that Julius Caesar had it built after he had conquered France, to cross over to England, and he called it the Tower of Ordre [this sentence is Primat's addition.] From Boulogne he went to the city of Ghent, which is on the Scheldt river. There he saw the ships and gallies which had been built for the fleet mentioned above. He returned to Aix-la-Chapelle in the middle of November, but before he reached it, he met Aowin and Hebbi, emissaries of the Danish king Hemming, who were carrying gifts and words of friendship and peace. Other emissaries from Slavonia awaited him at Aix-la-Chapelle: Kanizances (a title, not a proper name), prince of the Huns, Thuduti (thun, also a title) and many other noblemen of the Slavs who live on the Danube. They all presented themselves before the emperor on the orders of the leaders of armies that had been sent into Pannonia.

Meanwhile, Charles died, the eldest of the emperor's sons, on the second Ides of December (RFA gives second nones of December, or 4 dec 811). That winter the emperor remained at Aix-la-Chapelle.

An incident. (RFA 812) At this time Hemming, the king of the Danes, died. Sigifrid, the nephew of of king Godofrid who had ruled before Hemming, and Anulo, the nephew of Heriold (Primat leaves out what RFA gives, that he is also the nephew of the former king), fought for the kingdom. They were unable to agree on which of them would rule; they gather their armies and fought. In this battle both were killed, and Anulo's side won, making his two brothers, Heriold and Reginfrid kings. The defeated side agreed to this because they did not have the power to resist. In this battle, 10,940 men died.

At this time, Nicephorus, the emperor of Constantinople, was killed in the war that he was waging against the Bulgarians. He had won many a noble victory and many a great battle in his time. One of his sons-in-law, whose name was Michael, then became emperor, and he received the emissaries whom Charles had sent in the time of Nicephorus, and he gave them permission to leave. He sent his own emissaries, bishop Michael, and Theodone (Theognostus) and Arsafius (the latter two in RFA are given the title of protospatharius), to ratify the peace and alliance. They came into the presence of the king at Aix-la-Chapelle, bowed very low, and called him, in the Greek language, Basileus, which was the appropriate salutation in their society. They received from him the treaty in writing, and took leave, returning by way of Rome. They received a written form of these agreements from the apostle Leo, who ratified them with his seal, in the church of Saint Peter.

When the emperor convoked a meeting at Aix-la-Chapelle, he sent his grandson Bernard, the son of his own son, king Pepin, to Lombardy, and because fleets from Spain and Africa were said to be on their way to ravage Italy, he ordered Wala, the son of his uncle Bernard, to remain constantly with his grandson, until the report could be determined true or false. However, it turned out to be true that the fleet came as rumor had purported; one part came to Sardina another to Corsica.

An incident. At the same time, the fleet of a group of Danes who were called Normans arrived at an island in the sea called Yslande (Ireland), and they marched against the Scots (Irish). They fought with the people of the country and were defeated; some of the Danes were killed, and the others fled, with great losses, to their own country.

Peace and harmony were established between the emperor and Abul Aas, a Saracen king, and between him and Grimoald, the duke of Benevento, on condition that he become the emepror's liege, and that he would pay each year, as tribute, 25,000 sous (soldi) of gold.

At this point the emperor sent his army against a people called the Wilzi, who made peace and gave hostages. Heriold and Reginfrid, kings of Denmark, sent emissaries to ask for peace and harmony; they also asked that the emperor permit their brother, Hemming, whom he had held with him, back home.

In that year there was an eclipse of the sun, on the first Ides of May (15th of May, though the 14th seems the correct date) between noon and the hour of nones (in RFA, simply post meridiem).


The emperor, who was very eager to maintain and to increase the integrity of holy Church, had the ancient writings of the holy Fathers examined, and had his deacon, Paul, draw lessons from them, which related to every holiday throughout the year and compile a collection of them.

He had a general council meet at Aix-la-Chapelle, in the year of the Incarnation 809, where the procession of the Holy Spirit was discussed, and how the rule of the holy Christian faith definitely affirms that the Holy Spirit comes from the Father and from the Son equally, without creation and without geneation, consubstantial and coeternal. St. John teaches us the name and the manner of the procession of the Holy Spirit when he says: "The Angel showed me a river of living water, shining like crystal, which flowed from the throne of God and of the lamb.

(RFA 813) That winter the emperor remained at Aix-la-Chapelle. In the spring he sent Amalhar, bishop of Treves (Trier), and an abbot named Peter, to Michael, emperor of Constantinople, to ratify agreements. He called a general meeting, summoned his son Louis, the king of Aquitaine, placed the imperial crown on his head, in the presence of all his barons, and made him co-ruler and companion of the empire. To Bernard, his grandson, who was the son of his son Pepin, he gave the kingdom of Lombardy and wished [vot is effectively a command here] him to be called king.

Then he ordered councils to meet throughout France, to improve the condition of holy Church. One was held in the city of Mainz, a second in the city of Rheims, the third in the city of Chalon in Burgundy, the fourth in the city of Tours, and the fifth in the city of Arles the White. Then he had the corrections and the decisions which had been made at each of the concils recited aloud at an open meeting of the barons. Anyone who wants to find copies of them will be able to find them in the five cities mentioned above, although copies have also been kept in the archives of the palace. Several barons of France and of Saxony were sent from this meeting beyond the ELbe, to the borders of the Normans, who had asked the emperor for peace, and for the return of Hemming, the brother of their king. At the agreed-upon place they met, sixteen on each side, ratifying the peace that already existed between them by oath, and the Danes received the brother of their king. At that time, the two kings were not in their own country, but had gone off to fight in a country called Westarfolda (southeast Jutland according to Viard; southern Norway according to translators of RFA). This region is at the furthest edges of the kingdom, between the west and the north, towards the edge of Britain, facing north. The people and the princes of that country had no wish to obey them, or to submit as subjects to them. However, when they were conquered, they returned to their country, and received their brother, whom the emperor had returned to them. But soon after they returned, the sons of king Godofrid who had reigned before them, and several other Danish noblemen, who had been in exile in other countries, prepared for battle. The mass of people throughout the kingdom, as well as a great many other people who rushed to them from all parts (of Danish territory, in RFA), supported the two kings. They fought and easily drove them out of the kingdom.

The Moors of Spain, who had ravaged the island of Corsica, were sailing back when Irmingar, the count of Spolitaine (Ampurias actually, in Spain), set a trap for them at a strait (another error by Primat, for Majorca), capturing eight of their ships, in which he found 500 Corsicans, whom they were taking as prisoners. Determined to avenge this humiliation, the Moors then got together and invaded Tuscany, laying waste a city named Cencelles (Civita-Vecchia), and another in the province of Narbonne, called Nice. Then they invaded Sardinia, fought the inhabitants, and were defeated and compelled to flee, with great losses.

An incident. Michael, the emperor of Constantinople, at this time fought against a group called the Bulgars. Because fortune was against him in this battle, and he could not defeat his enemies, he became desperate. He returned to Constantinople, gave up the empire, and became a monk. Leo, the son of the patrician Bardas, then took the office of emperor (10 July, 813).

After these events, Krum, the king of the Bulgars, became very arrogant, for he had killed Nicephorus, the emperor of Constantinople, two years before, defeating the emperor Michael as well, driving him out of Moesia. He led his army before the walls of the city of Constantinople, placing his tents before the gates. One day he rode out, foolishly, before the walls of the city, without taking the necessary precautions. When emperor Leo saw him, he made a sudden sortie, as a result of which king Krum was seriously wounded, and he fled back to his own country, with his entire army.

[VKM xvii] The emperor prepared a fleet against the Normans, ordering ships and other vessels to be built along the rivers of France and Germany that flow north to the sea. And because these people often fought in the border areas of France along the rivers, he had strongholds built and garrisoned at the ports and entrances to the rivers, so that neither the Normans nor other thieves might enter. He did the same for the province of Narbonne, along the banks of the rivers to the south, and along the coast of Italy, as far as Rome, to guard against the Moors, who were preparing ships to destroy these lands. In this way he protected all these countries from serious damage -- Lombardy from the Moors, and France and Germany from the Normans -- so that, in his time, no harm was done, except that the Moors once did destroy a city in Etruria, whose name was Cencelles (Civita-Vecchia), and the Normans ravaged some islands in Frisia, just off the coast of France and Germany [the location in VKM is merely Germanico litori contiguae -- clearly Primat has territorial imperative constantly in mind).




[VKM xvii] As eager and effective as the emperor was in adding to his kingdom, and overcoming his enemies, and as relentless as he was in fighting in all parts of the world at the same time, nevertheless he was not slow to pursue works of charity, for he built churches and abbeys in different places, to the honor of God, and to the profit of his soul. Some he began, and some he finished. Among others, he built the church of Aix-la-Chapelle, a miraculous work, in honor of Our Lady, Saint Mary. In the city of Mainz, he built a bridge over the Rhine, fifty (500 in the Latin, and in reality) paces long, for the river is that wide at that spot. But the bridge burned the year before he died, and he did not have the time before his death to rebuild it. He had intended to rebuild it entirely out of stone. He began work on different palaces in different places, and each was remarkably well made, at great expense. One he built near the city of Mainz, in a town called Ingelheim, and another in the city ("of Nimegue" missing from the text), on the river Vahalam (Wahal). He issued orders throughout his kingdom to the bishops and others in charge of them, that the churches and abbeys that were worn out with age be restored and rebuilt. To prevent this order from being neglected, he sent emissaries to carry out his orders.

The first of his wives was the daughter of Desiderius, the king of Lombardy, whom he married at the urging of his mother, queen Bertha. Afterwards he abandoned her, although no one knows why. Then he married another, whose name was Hildigard, a Saxon woman of very noble lineage, with whom he had three sons -- Charles, Pepin, and Louis -- and the same number of daughters -- Rotrude, Bertha, and Gisela. He had three other daughters: Theoderada, Hiltrude, and Rothaide. The first two were born by his wife Fastrada, and the third by a concubine, of whom the history says nothing. The third of his wives was named Luitgard, but she produced no heir. After her death, he had three concubines: a Saxon named Gersvinda, who produced a daughter named Adaltrude; Regina, who bore him two sons, Drogo and Hugo; Adallinda, who bore a son named Thierry (Theodoric).

He kept his mother, queen Bertha, with him, and honored her greatly. He had such great respect for her that he never, all her life, had angry words with her, except when he abandoned the daughter of Desiderius, king of Pavia, whom she had advised him to marry. Soon after the death of her daughter-in-law Hildigard, Bertrada died, full of years, having seen the lineage of her son multiply in the palace, with many sons and daughters issuing from him [In VKM, grandson and granddaughters] The emperor had her body carried to the church of Saint Denis in France, and buried there with great ceremony, side-by-side with her father, king Pepin. The emperor had a sister, whose name was Gisela; she lived a holy life, having taking the vow of chastity when a child. The emperor loved her very much, and treated her with great honor [Einhard goes further: quam similiter ut matrem magna coluit pietate, but Primat, apparently, does not approve.] She died before her mother, and was buried in the nunnery where she had lived 810; odd that Viard does not point out that, since Bertrada died in 783, Prim[at has a problem here; Einhard says that Gisela died a few years before Charles]. The emperor had all his children, both the sons and the daughters, trained in the liberal arts, as he himself had been trained. When the sons were old enough to endure the difficulties of riding a horse, he made them learn the use of arms and the sport of hunting, according to the French custom. He had his daughters trained in every kind of worthy behavior, ordering that they learn to spin and to weave silk, so that they would not abandon themselves to sloth. Of all his sons, he lost only two in his own lifetime, Charles the eldest, and Pepin, the king of Lombardy; he also lost his eldest daughter, Rotrude, whom Constantine, the emperor of the Greeks, had married. Pepin left behind him a son, named Bernard, and five daughters: Adelhaid, Atula, Gundrada, Berthaid, and Theoderada. After the death of their father, the emperor showed great pity and love for the children, for he let the son take over the father's reign (813), and he had the daughters taken care of and brought up in the palace, like his own children. He patiently endured the death of his two sons, and of his daughter, the empress of Constantinople, in the greatness of his heart. Nevertheless, the pity and love that he felt for them compelled him to weep.

At this time, the apostle Hadrian died. The emperor loved him so much that when he heard of his death, he was as grief-stricken as though he had lost his own brother, or his most precious child. He was considerate of his friends, welcoming them eagerly, watching over those whom he loved carefully and lovingly [Halphen points out Einhard's attempt here to outdo Suetonius' Augustus, who was more fastidious about making friends.] He always was so concerned for his children that he never ate without them, nor rode his horse unless he were off fighting in a foreign country. His sons rode along with him, and his daughters rode further back, but always with a large group of foot-soldiers and cavalry especially appointed to watch over them. They were very beautiful, and he loved them very much; it was remarkable that he would not let them marry, except for the eldest, who was given to Constantine, the emperor of the Greeks. He watched over them always, keeping them in his palace until he died, for he said that he could not live without them. If, at times, he heard rumors about them, he had a heart so patient and kind, that he behaved as though he had no suspicions.

He had a son named Pepin, [VKM xx.] by a woman to whom he was not married; of his deeds, the history says nothing. He face was handsome, but his body ugly, because of a lump on his back. While the king was in Bavaria for the winter [the summer, according to RFA; Primat here follows Einhard's error], preparing to fight the Huns, Pepin conspired against his father, together with some other French barons who had provoked him with the vain hope of taking over the kingdom. The king learned of the treachery, and condemned the traitors, according to the law, to decapitation [Einhard does not mention the specific penalty; RFA for 792 gives both the sword and hanging.] He had his son's hair cut, and Pepin, at his own request, was placed in a monastery. Before this treachery, there had been an even greater conspiracy against Charlemagne, and when it was discovered, he caught the traitors and put out the eyes of some of them, condemning others to exile. Only three were killed, because they tried to defend themselves, and there was no other way to capture them. Some thought that queen Fastrada was responsible for the two conspiracies, and that the emperor's natural kindness had been turned aside when he consented to the brutal words of the queen. For his natural benignity was well known, and he had the love and good wishes of everyone. Never in his life, neither in his kingdom nor in foreign lands, could anyone say that he had committed an act of cruelty without cause.


He was a man full of great love towards foreigners, and especially towards pilgrims, whom he welcomed eagerly. So many of them came, and so often, that their numbers became a burden not only to the palace, but to the whole kingdom of France. But the good king, who gained a good reputation for this throughout the world, paid no attention to the difficulties, and awaited his reward from God.

He was a tall, strong man [VKM xxii.], whose height was seven times the length of his foot, with a round head and large, bright eyes, that shone, when he got angry, like carbuncles [Viard adds the figure of the carbuncle to Einhard's description, who in turn, at this point is borrowing from Suetonius' portrait of Tiberius and Julius Caesar]. He had a large, straight nose, that was a bit long, dark hair [Brune, in spite of its being white in Einhard, who also says nothing about Charlemagne's complexion], a ruddy face, with a happy, agreeable expression [At this point, Primat dips into Turpin xx for three sentences; he will repeat them later, defending the repetition in what might easily qualify as an example of deception]. His strength was so great that he could easily stretch four iron horse chains all together, and he could lift an armed knight completely off the ground with one hand. With his sword Joiouse, he could cut a totally armed knight [When Primat repeats this material he will expand it, apparently realizing that he had not been sufficiently clear at this point]. All his limbs were well-formed; he was six spans around the waist, without counting the part of the belt that goes beyond the buckle. Standing or seated, no one had an air of greater authority, although his head was somewhat small [Einhard says that his neck was thick and short], and his stomach was quite fat. But the size and proportion of his other limbs concealed these flaws. He walked briskly, and seemed a great and noble man in all his behavior. His voice was clear, and seemed clearer because it did not go with his appearance. His health was good until the last four years of his life, when he began to contract fevers and other illnesses; towards the end he began to limp. From then on he paid more attention to his own wishes than to the advice of his doctors; that was too bad, because he died before his time (Primat's opinion). He was cross that they made him eat boiled meat rather than the roasts that he enjoyed, and customarily ate.

He usually rode or hunted in the French style; scarcely any nation knows as much about hunting as the French. He took pleasure in thermal baths, and swam in them better than anyone else. For this purpose, he had such a bath built at Aix-la-Chapelle, where he lived until his death. He made his sons bathe with him, and not only his sons, but his barons and friends, and sometimes the great crowd of servants who guarded him, so that sometimes at least 100 men were together in the bath with him at one time.

He wore clothing in the French style. Next to his skin he wore linen shirts and drawers; on top of that he wore a tunic lined with silk, and on his feets shoes and stockings. In the winter he wore a garment made of the skins of an otter or an ermine. He always had a sword at his side, with a gold or silver pommel, and with a silken belt. He wore two swords (an error; Primat saw geminato where Einhard had written gemmato), especially at the great holidays, or when foreign emissaries had to present themselves to him. He did not like to wear exotic costumes, no matter how beautiful they were, except once, when he wore a tunic and a mantle of Roman style, at the request of the apostle Hadrian (Einhard's second instance surpressed by Primat; pope Leo made the same request, successfully). But at the great and solemn holidays, he wore a garment woven of gold, and shoes with precious jewels, and a golden crown, adorned with rich jewels on his head. On other days there was little difference between his clothing and that of ordinary people.

In eating and drinking he was temperate, but more restrained about wine than food, because he had a remarkable hatred of drunkenness in anyone. He could not restrain himself as easily with food as with wine, and he complained at times that fasting was painful for him. On the great holidays he ate little (misunderstanding of Einhard's Convivabatur rarissime, et hoc praecipuis tantum festivitatibus, "he rarely gave banquets"), but held court and entertained many different kinds of people. Usually he was served with only four courses, not counting the roast meat that the hunters served him, which he ate with more pleasure than anything else. While he ate, he listened to someone read some romance, or old stories of ancient rulers. He gladly listened to the books of saint Augustine, and especially those called by the title, Of the City of God. He was so restrained in drinking wine or other beverages, that he rarely drank more than three times at a meal. In summer, after the meal, he would eat some fruit, a pear or an apple, and then drink once. Then he would undress, take off his shoes, and sleep or rest for two or three hours. During the long winter nights (Einhard merely says noctibus), he was in the habit of interrupting his sleep four or five times in the same night, not only remaining awake (the rest of this sentence is a new sentence in Halphen's edition of Einhard) but putting on his shoes and getting dressed, and receiving his friends. If the seneschal of the palace had a plea that could not be settled without him, he had the disputants called in, if they were present, and gave a decision according to his understanding of the case. It often happened that he handled not merely one case, but everything which needed to be decided the next day before him in the palace (not exactly what is in Einhard).

He was eloquent, and could easily put into words whatever he wanted to say. He knew not only French, but several other languages that he had learned as a child ("as a child" is Primat's addition). Among these languages was Latin, which he spoke as easily as he did French. Greek he understood better than he spoke it. His words were so eloquent and wise that he seemed like a great cleric and great teacher (Primat's que il sembloit que ce fust uns granz clers et uns granz maistres is a considerable expansion, and panegyric distortion, of Einhard's dicaculus, which suggests prolixity, and imitates Suetonius' description of the rhetorical powers of Vespasian and Caligula). He was truly a cleric (more than what Einhard says), for he had been trained in the liberal arts, as we shall tell you later. (next two sentences from VKM ii) He himself knew and wrote down various songs that were sung about the deeds and wars of ancient kings. He gave names to the twelve months in the Germanic language, and gave names to the twelve winds, which previously had had only four names (here Primat refrains from mentioning the grammar Einhard attributes to Charlemagne; in the next paragraph he plays down the emperor's knowledge of rhetoric and grammar again)


[VKM xxv] He held the great clerics and masters of liberal arts in high esteem; he loved the arts and the teachers, because he knew something about them, having studied them in his youth. (Monk of St.-Gall, De Gestis Karoli Magni, I.i) In his day, the study of theology and philosophy had been largely forgotten, and the study of divinity entirely interrupted. In his day it happened that two Irish monks arrived in France, together with some British merchants. These monks were remarkably wise, both in practical matters, and in divine scripture. They were fine men, who brought no other merchandise than the desire that the world be taught what they knew. For this purpose, they cried out to the people every day: "If anyone wishes to obtain wisdom, come and learn from us." They shouted so long and with such perseverance everywhere they went, that everyone was amazed, and thought them mad.

The emperor, who always loved wisdom, heard of them, and quickly sent for them. When they came before him, he asked them if it was true that they had wisdom. They replied that they did, and were ready to give it and teach it, in the name of God, to whoever wanted it. Then the emperor asked what wages they wanted for doing this, and they replied that they wanted nothing beyond places appropriate for conducting the activity, and sensitive, intelligent, souls, free from sin, and enough food to maintain their bodies, without which no one can live in this mortal life. When the emperor heard this, he was filled with overwhelming joy, for it was something that he very much wanted. First he kept them with him for a while, until he had to go off to fight against his enemies in foreign lands. Then he ordered one of them, whose name was Clement, to remain at Paris. The emperor then recruited children, sons of aristocrats, as well as those of middle and lower classes, and ordered that they be given whatever they needed; he had places built and schools constructed in which they might learn. The other monk he sent into Lombardy, giving him the abbey of Saint Augustin, near the city of Pavia, so that everyone who wished to learn wisdom might go to him in this place.

(Monk of St-Gall, I.ii) When Albin, an Englishman whose surname was Alcuin, heard that the emperor had given such a welcom to religious and wise men who came to him, he found a boat and came to France. This was not surprising, since he had been a disciple of the very wise man Bede, who, second only to saint Gregory, was the finest expositor of holy Writ. As long as he lived, the emperor kept Alcuin with him, except when he had to go to war against his enemies. He gave him the abbey of Saint Martin at Tours, that he might live there and teach those who wanted to learn, until the emperor returned. He so increased and multiplied his learning at Paris and throughout the entire realm of France that, thank God, the fountain of learning and of wisdom is at Paris, as it was once at Athens and at Rome. (VKM xxv) Even as Alcuin was a great philosopher and a remarkable teacher in Scripture, so was his life lofty and adorned with virtuous deeds. From him the emperor learned much of the liberal arts, but his teacher in grammar was Peter the Pisan. The emperor had the greatest respect for Alcuin, calling him his master, and himself his disciple. The emperor studied the art of astronomy and the path of the stars more than any other science.

(VKM xxvi) He cultivated and guarded the Christian faith in a worthy and holy fashion. In the church that he built at Aix-la-Chapelle, in honor of Our Lady, he placed columns of marble that he had brought from the city of Rome and from Ravenna, because he could not get them elsewhere. He went to church in the morning and in the evening, and at night he went to matins eagerly, and he constantly saw to it that the services of holy Church were conducted with great reverence. He urged the priest to permit nothing improper or filthy [here Primat makes things less specific, by dropping Einhard's aut inferri aut in ea remanere, which indicates that Charles was concerned with what was carried into the church, and perhaps even stored there). He changed the style of singing and reading, having studied both, but he never read aloud in church or sung, except occassionally in chorus, and then in a low voice.

(VKM xxvii) He had greater love and reverence for the church of Saint Peter in Rome than for any other place, and he gave it many rich gifts of gold and of silver, and of silks (again Primat adds silk, where Einhard has none), and precious jewels. He often sent large gifts to the apostle himself. During his whole reign as emperor, he took great pains to keep the city of Rome in the same lofty position of authority that it had held in antiquity. In the forty-seven years that he reigned, he visited Rome only four times. (VKM xxviii) The reason for his last visit was that the church's authority was deeply troubled, because the Romans had treated the apostle Leo very badly, gouging out his eyes and tearing out his tongue. But Our Lord miraculously restored his eyes and tongue, as the history more clearly describes it elsewhere. The king remained there the whole winter. He did not accept the title of emperor willingly; on the day of his coronation he said that, had he known the Apostle's intentions, even though it was a high and solemn holiday, he never would have entered the church.

An incident. At that time there were monks in the church of Saint Martin of Tours, as saint Odo relates. These monks lived a life of pleasure, wearing robes of silk and golden shoes. Our Lord clearly showed that he was displeased with their lives, for two angels entered the dormitory where they were asleep, one holding a naked sword, with which he killed the monk to whom the other angel pointed with his finger. One of the monks, who was not asleep, escaped. He said to the angel who held the sword: "I conjure you by God the All Powerful not to kill me," and thus he escaped. The emperor then gave this church to Alcuin, his teacher, of whom we spoke above; he became its abbot, and governed it for the rest of his life.


(The following chapters, Charlemagne's trip to Jerusalem, are legendary, and are translated from BN f.l. 12710; see Castets' edition of Iter Hierosolymitanum in Revue des langues romanes XXXVI (1892), pp. 417-474) In the time of this prince, a great persecution of Christians took place in the land beyond the sea, for the Saracens invaded the land of Syria, captured the city of Jerusalem, violated the holy sepulchre, and drove out the patriarch, who was a man of great sanctity and perfect belief. However, he escaped from their hands, together with some others, with the aid of Our Lord, and fled to Constantinople. Tearfully he told Constantine (IV, d. 14 sept 775) the emperor, and his son Leo (IV, d. 8 sept 780), of the great suffering and persecution that had taken place in the land beyond the sea, how the villainous Saracens had captured the city, soiled and violated the holy sepulchre and the other holy places in the city, how they had captured the cities and the castles of the kingdom of Jerusalem, ravaging the fields, killing some of the people, and leading others away into captivity; they heaped such abuse on Our Lord, and so persecuted his people, that there was no good Christian whose heart was not full of grief and anger. The emperor was unhappy at this news; things were finally settled by a vision which came to the emperor Constantine, which we shall speak about later, that directed him to inform Charlemagne, the emperor of the Romans, about this grievous misfortune. For his great reputation for behavior and deeds had spread throughout the East. Four emissaries were chosen to carry out this task, of whom two were Christian and two Hebrew. The two Christians were John, bishop of Neapolis (Neapolis, today Nablus; no such figure), and David, archpriest of the church of Jerusalem. John was a pious man, simple as a dove, and David was loyal, just, and full of fear of Our Lord. The two other emissaries, who were Hebrew, were named Isaac and Samuel. Isaac was a man of great purity and great understanding in his law, and Samuel was a bishop of their law, and very pious in their manner, wise, and fluent in two kinds of language. The two Christians, John and David, carried charters in which orders had been written by the hand of the patriarch John, and sealed by the order of the emperor Constantine; the two Hebrews carried the emperor's charter, sealed with his own seal, but each contained the same message. Essentially what the document sent by the patriarch John said was: "John, servant of the servants of God, patriarch of Jerusalem [during the reign of Charlemagne, no patriarch of such name was in Jerusalem], and Constantine, empire of the East, to the very noble king of the West, Charlemagne the Great, powerful conqueror and always August, may the empire and the realm be with Our Lord. Amen.

The grace of the teaching of the apostles, resplendent with the great brightness of peace, has come down to us, having spread grace and joy in the hearts of good Christians, who should forever praise Our Lord. We ourselves recognize that we should particularly proclaim and more abundantly acknowledge his grace and mercy. We take great pleasure in Our Lord, having learned of his behavior and deeds, for which we must give praise to God for his goodness and for his patience. Therefore your efforts and your deeds have ended well, because you love peace in your heart. And because you have looked for it you have found it, and when you have found it, you preserve it in sovereign love. Therefore, very dear sir, know that the pagans have done very great, humiliating damage to Our Lord, in the region of Jerusalem, that no Christian should tolerate. I myself have been driven from the see which lord saint James was first to occupy, by the commandment of Our Lord, and many Christians have been killed and enslaved. And what is more painful, the sepulcher of Our Lord has been soiled and befouled by the hands of Saracens. For these losses, and others like them, we must write, asking you to perform your Christian duty, you who are such a powerful prince, that all these things can easily be set right by you, with the aid of Our Lord. And therefore we have sent this document to you, who are the most powerful and most famous of all Christian princes, that you may restore the honor of all your brothers, prelates and princes not only of your provinces, but of all those that border upon your lands, and which are joined to you in close friendship. In addition, everyone knows that whoever is unwilling to help us will receive a painful sentence at the great judgement, and everyone may know that he has no constancy who permits the sepulchre in which Our Savior lay for three days and three nights for our redemption to be so villainously treated by these criminal pagans. No one should think that refusing aid to Our Lord, in this great need, will go unpunished. For it is arrogant and neglectful of Our Lord not to avenge and alter what is shamefully opposed to holy Church. What more should I say to you? I might describe much more suffering like this, but grief and tears prevent us" (in fact, Primat suppresses some more at this point).

This is what the document composed by the patriarch John and carried by the two Christians, contained. The one composed by the emperor Constantine, that the two Hebrews carried, said: (in ms lat. 12710, the document opens with what Viard describes as a "langage imaginaire":

Ayas anna bonac saa casabri milac pholi ansuau bemuni segen lamichel bercelni fade abraxion faavotium. Hoc est: Constantinus imperator et Leo filius ejus eque imperator et rex Orientalium omnium minimus et vix imperator dici dignus, etc.)

"Constantine and Leo, his son, emperor and king of the Orient, less than all and scarcely worthy to be called emperor, to the very famous king of the West, Charlemagne the Great, may your power and authority be blessed. Amen.

O you, very dear friend, Charlemagne the Great, when you have read these words, understand that I have not written to you out of cowardice. I do not ask for your help because I have too few men and knights, for I have several times been victorious over the pagans with fewer knights and men than I now have, and have driven them, three or four times, out of Jerusalem after they had captured it, and I have defeated them six times in the field, with the aid of Our Lord, capturing and killing many of them. What more should I say? You certainly should believe that you are being urged by God, through me, not because of my merits, but by your own, to perform such a great task. For a vision recently came to me in the night, while I was thinking of how to attack the Saracens. While I was thinking, and praying to Our Lord to send me help, I suddenly saw a young man standing before my bed, calling me gently by my name; he touched me lightly, and said: "Constantine, you have asked aid of Our Lord in the task you have undertaken. He orders you, through me, to call for help upon Charlemagne the Great, king of France, defender of the faith and peace of the holy Church." Then he showed me a knight armed in a coat of mail, with a shield around his neck, a red-tipped sword bound to his belt, a white lance in his fist, whose head seemed sometimes to burn, and he held in his hand a golden helmet. He seemed old, with a long beard, a beautiful face, and very tall; his head was white and hoary, and his eyes shone like the stars. All of this was clearly done by the will of God. And because we have found out what kind of man you are, what your behavior and your deeds are, we rejoice in Our Lord, and give thanks to him for your miraculous deeds, for your humility and patience. Therefore I have firm hopes that the task will be carried to a successful conclusion by your merits and accomplishments, for you are the defender of the peace, and seek it with great desire, and when you have found it, you protect it and nourish it with great love and charity. Know, therefore, very dear sir, that the pagans have done shameful damage to God in Jerusalem, that no faithful Christian could long tolerate it. But you might easily correct all of this, with the aid of Our Lord. And in order that it might not seem that we wished to detract from the merits of your charity, we write to you, whom God has selected above all others. What more should I say? There are many reasons why you should quickly obey the commandments of Our Lord. Who is there who must not quickly do what God commands? Hurry, then, noble Augustus, to fulfill the will and the command of Our Lord, that you may not long be guilty, for he who goes against God's commandments cannot escape the sin of disobedience.


The emissaries traveled until they reached the city of Rheims. They went straight to Paris, where they thought they would find the emperor, as they had been made to understand along the way. They were told that he was not there, but had led his army into Auvergne to fight some pirates. They remained in Paris two days, to rest, especially because John, the bishop of Neapolis, one of the Christian emissaries, was a bit sick in the chest and in the head. They resumed the journey happily when he had recovered, going directly to the castle of Saint Denis in France. There they heard that the emperor had captured the castle he had gone there to take, and had almost returned to Paris. When they had rested three days at Saint Denis, they set out on the road, and arrived at Paris. They presented themselves before the emperor as soon as they entered the city. They genuflected respectfully, and then offered to him the charters that they carried. The emperor accepted them, broke the seals, and read them very quickly (moult legierement is a clearly inadequate translation of et cum taciturnitate bene perscrutatis) without saying a word. Then he saw clearly and understood that God had chosen him to carry out the task, and that the fame of his deeds and of his worth had spread to the East. He was very happy in his heart, but he began to cry with grief that the pagans had captured the holy city of Jerusalem, and befouled the holy sepulchre. He saw clearly that those around him were asking each other what the charters might have said to have made the emperor so very sad. Then he summoned Turpin, the archbishop of Rheims (753-800), and ordered him to explain, in French, the meaning of the charters to everyone. The messages were the same in all the charters, as you have heard, and when he had read them out clearly in front of everyone, they all began to offer advice to the emperor, crying out with a single voice: "King, if you think that we are too tired and worn out to endure the labor of a long journey, we are willing, and we promise God that if you, who are our earthly sovereign, refuse to come with us, and if you do not wish to lead us, we shall go tomorrow at the break of day with the emissaries, for it seems to us that nothing can harm us, with God as our guide."

The emperor was very happy that they all agreed, as if with one will, with what he wanted to do. He quickly proclaimed throughout the kingdom that all those who could bear arms should prepare to go with him to fight the Saracens in the East; all those who would not obey this order, and their heirs forever, were to give four deniers a piece in the name of bondage.

What more should I tell you? Charlemagne put together, out of many different kinds of people, and in a very short time, an army larger and stronger than any that had ever existed before. The emperor and all his army set out on the journey; we cannot relate all the adventures that happened to them on the way, for it would take too long. But we shall relate one incident that happened to the emperor, because it is worthy of being remembered.

On the way to Jerusalem, there is a forest through which it takes two days to travel; it is filled with many kinds of wild animals -- griffons, bears, lions, lynxes, tigers, and many other kinds of wild animals -- which naturally desire human blood, and they eat human beings, especially when they are hungry. The king and his men entered the forest; in the morning they got ready, thinking to traverse it in a single day. They traveled all day, until vespers, while the forest, heavily shaded by its many trees, began to get even darker as daylight dwindled. They lost their way, and began to wander through the mountains and valleys in the forest. Men and horses became weary and worn out, both by the rain which fell upon them, and by the anxiety of not knowing which way to turn. When the night became completely dark, the emperor and his army pitched their tents.

After part of the night had passed, the emperor, who was not asleep, lay in his tent; he began to recite these verses of the Psalter, for he could read well: Deduc me Domine in semita mandatorum tuorum, etc., which means, in French: "Dear lord, lead me in the path of your commandments," and he recited the rest of the psalm. While the emperor was speaking these words, the voice of a bird was heard, loud, and near his bed. Those sleeping near the emperor wake up, startled and frightened, and said that when birds spoke with human reason, this was the sign of a great miracle which was about to happen, People have said that the Greeks teach certain birds their language, in order for them to greet the emperors, and their words are like this: Chere, Basileu anichos (aniktos, V. suggests, where 12710 makes the same error); in Latin, this means: Salve Cesar invictissime, and in French, "May God save you, greatly victorious emperor." Because the bird replied so clearly to the emperor's prayer in Latin, one cannot doubt that it was sent by God to lead the emperor and his army on the right path. When they got up, they followed the bird along a path that led them to the correct road that they had lost. Pilgrims who still take this road to Jerusalem say that they have sometimes heard the birds of this country speak in this way, and moreover, the peasants and country people testify that, since the time that Charlemagne the great passed through their land on this road, this kind of bird no longer sang its usual song.


The army continued to travel until it reached Constantinople, where it was received joyfully and honorable by the emperor and by the people, needless to say. The two emperors and their armies went on to the city of Jerusalem, where they killed the Saracens, pursuing them, and delivering the city and the entire kingdom from the pagans. They returned to the patriarch and to Christianity what they had lost, and when the city and the entire country was restored to good order, the emperor Charlemagne asked permission to leave of the emperor of Greece, in order to return to France. But he, who was wise and considerate in these matters, did not want Charlemagne and his men to leave without taking something from him. Therefore he asked him that he remain, out of friendship and love, until the next day, if he did not wish to stay any longer. And he, who was as gentle as a lamb, replied with a glad heart that he would do what he wished, and would remain three more days, if he wished, for he thought that the emperor wanted to keep him because he needed him and his troops for some battle. But that is not what he wanted him for; he only wanted to do him honor.

Thus he remained a day, and the next day, before dawn, he prepared his army to return to France. Humbly and piously he took leave of the patriarch, of the bishops of the country, of the emperor, and of the princes of the land. But the emperor of Constantinople had already prepared, in front of the main gate of the city, in a large open space directly on the path of the emperor and his people, all kinds of rich gifts: horses, birds of prey, robes, and silks of various colors, and glorious precious jewels.

When the emperor Charlemagne saw that he had prepared such gifts, he sent for his barons and prelates, and consulted with them on what to do: should he or should he not take what the emperor of Constantinople had prepared for him? He did not have the heart or the will to take what the emperor was offering him, but he wanted to act in accordance with the advice of his own people. All the princes and prelates then replied that nothing should be taken, because it would then seem that they had come there to be paid for their trip and efforts, and it would seem that they had not made a pilgrimage to deliver the holy city from the hand of the Saracens, out of devotion and love for Our Lord, but that they had done this to acquire riches. Charles himself, who had such great renown for goodness throughout the world, would then be defamed, for it would be said that he would not come there out of piety, but out of greed, to acquire another land and another kingdom, and to pile up treasures and wealth.

The emperor was very happy when he heard this advice, which corresponded exactly to what he wanted and had intended in his heart. Then he quietly ordered that the leaders of the army be told to hurry by the gifts, and he ordered those who led the individual divisions to give orders, each in his own language, to his men, for they had people from different countries, that no one should dare place a hand on anything offered, and that no one should cast a coveitous eye on anything. Thus the emperor had trained and admonished them before they went out of the city.

Then they all moved out in order, and when they came to the place, they found everything as it had been described; they came close enough to pick whatever rich gifts were piled up there. Then Constantine, the emperor of the East, called to Charlemagne, the emperor of France, and said to him: "Sir, dear friend, king of France and august emperor, I humbly beseach you, out of friendship and love, that you choose and take for yourself and your men whatever of the riches here piled up may please you, and it would please me very much if you took it all." Then the emperor Charlemagne replied that he would not do so, for he and his men had come there to acquire celestial, not terrestial riches, and they had endured the hardships of the trip with good will, to acquire Our Lord's grace, not wordly glory.

In this way the two emperors strove in a battle of love and friendship. One continually urged the other to take his wealth in love, and the other refused to change his mind. The emperor of the East argued that he and his people would be greatly dishonored, and Charles would not be behaving properly, if he did not take something, but returned to France without any gifts. He also said that he should take some jewels, not as a reward for his work, but to show to the people of his country, when he returned, as a sign of Our Lord's pity, and as testimony that he had been in the East. The emperor Charlemagne had thought the previous night, as he said in the morning to his barons, about whether he should bring back to the West some relics, which would bring the people closer to God, and might stimulate love and piety. Therefore he replied to the emperor Constantine in this way: "I know very well that the Holy Spirit makes you say this, for I myself had the same thought last night, and I desire it with all my heart. But I do not intend to take any of the things that you have gathered here, because I would immediately be suspected of covetousness, not love, by doing so. But it would be appropriate for me to bring back to the people of the West some models of piety, and therefore I will agree to your request, if you will hear my request to choose something which can be carried back properly, and with dignity." Then the emperor Constantine, who wanted to hear his request, replied, granting him whatever he might want. Then the emperor Charlemagne revealed his heart's desire, and said: "I ask that you you grant me the cloak of the passion that Our Lord Jesus Christ suffered on the cross for us sinners, so that those who live in the West, who cannot come to Jerusalem for the remission of their sins, may have and look upon with their own eyes some memorial of the passion of Jesus Christ, by means of which their hearts may be softenend by pure devotion, and pity and compassion for the death of Our Lord may bring them to the fruit of penitence."


The emperor was very pleased with this request, and courteously granted it, as well as other things, if Charles would take them. They parted, and the emperor Charlemagne returned to his archbishops, bishops, abbots, monks, and other clerics, and to those of his princes who were wisest, and asked them how the holy reliques should be treated and handled with the utmost propriety and devotion, and the emperor of Constantinople returned to his clergy and barons to ask where these holy relics were kept, for he did not yet know where saint Helen, who was the mother of the first Constantine, had put this holy treasure.

They replied: "Sir, if you wish to touch, and to take part of the cloak of Our Savior, it would be proper to wash and clean the house of faith, that is, the hearts of our sinners, with the brooms of true confession, so that the thorns and thistles of our breasts be extricated and destroyed by a fast of three days, and the granaries of our hearts be filled with the fruit of true penitence, and then one may worthily approach the holy relics." The emperor Constantine praised this advice highly, and ordered that it be carried out.

The clergy and the barons went and pointed out the place where the holy relics were, and found them. The emperor then chose twelve people to handle the relics, but first ordered them to fast for three days. When these things were done, the two emperors came to the place of confession where the holy relics had been placed. As soon as the emperor entered, he humbly fell to his knees on the floor and offered a heartfelt confession of his sins to a holy archbishop named Ebroins, and he ordered his men to do the same. When everyone had confessed, the clergy, both Easter and Western, began piously to sing psalms and litanies. While they were singing, the twelve holy men who had been chosen for the task, prepared the open the holy memorial of our redemption. Before touching the place of the holy relics, they asked themselves who should be the first to put forth his hand. Then they all began to shout, as though inspired by the Holy Spirit, that the holy relics which had touched the head of Our Lord had been brought forth, because Jesus Christ, who will deliver us from death, is our head. At this point, a Greek bishop of the city of Neapolis, whose name was Daniel, a man who had behaved honorably in his life, devoutly weeping, took the vessel containing the holy crown, and when he had unlocked and opened it, such a great, sweet smell arose and spread over everyone present, that it seemed that they were in the earthly paradise.

Charlemagne, the emperor, fell to his knees and prayed devoutly to God: "All-powerful God, who created the world, and measured the sky and the earth and the sea and everything they contain, in your hand, who sit on the throne of your majesty above the cherubim and all the orders of the sky, and who thunders in the clouds marvellously and powerfully, I beg you to accept the prayer of your servant. I ask, devout and humble in the presence of you majesty, dear God, that you see to it that I may carry part of this holy cloak, and that you will show visibly and sensibly to these people who are present, the miracles of your glorious passion, so that I may show truly and without doubt, to the people of the West, your cloak, in such a way that unbelievers may no longer doubt your genuine, bodily suffering for us, in the flesh of our frail humanity. on the holy cross. You are the lord of all, and made all things in the beginning (literally, "before they were"). Into the deep lake of the pit of hell you plunged the evil angels who sinned against you in their pride. There they will be perpetually in torment, I beg you, sir, to deign to incline the ears of your pity to the prayers of a sinner like me, and that you grant my request.

When the emperor had finished his prayer, Our Lord clearly showed that he had heard his prayer by a miracle, which should be described; a dew descended from the sky, which watered the wood of the holy crown, so that the thorns flowered and gave off an odor so great and so sweet, that those who were in the temple prayed to Our Lord that they might remain here always, and that this odor might never depart. They were in more pleasure than they imagined could ever be in this corporeal world. The brightness and miraculous splendor with the temple were so great that each thought himself dressed in a celestial robe. Those who were sick suffered none of their previous pain, but thought themselves cured, as though they were in Paradise. The emperor Charlemagne arose from prayer as though he were arising from sleep, very happy with the miracle and the vision. Then he began to speak, in the words of David the prophet, this passage from the Psalter: Exaudi Domine vocem meam qua clamavi ad te miserere mei et exaudi me, etc., which means, in French: "Dear God, hear the voice with which I cry out to you, have mercy on me, and hear my prayers." He recited many other psalms until he reached the end of the Psalter. The prelates and all the clergy sung, with great devotion, Te Deum laudamus. When they had finished praising the miracle, the emperor finished his prayer, and said: Inclina aurem tuam mihi Domine, et exaudi verba mea, etc., which means, in French: "Sir, bend your ears to me, and hear my words."


Our Lord showed great grace to the emperor Charlemagne at this time, for he who took on for us human flesh, and willingly endured these and other pains for us, wanted to answer his prayers, and the prayers of those of good heart, by performing miracles. To prevent doubt about his existence in the world, he wanted to certify the truth by an astonishing miracle; exactly at the point that the above-mentioned bishop Daniel was about to cut the holy wood of the crown with a scissors, the wood, which had been without earthly water for a very long time, now damp with the dew that descended from heaven, seemed as green as the day that it was cut from the earth, as miraculously as Aaron's rod, which had long been dry, flourished. Who would now be so unbelieving as so alienated from faith and understanding that he would dare to doubt that this wood was the wood on which Our Savior deigned to suffer the day of his glorious passion for us? Everyone was astonished and amazed at the great miracles which they looked upon. More than anyone else, Charlemagne, the emperor of the West, was joyful and ardent with devotion; he had fasted for three days, and had genuflected so many times on his bare knees that his knees and elbows were torn.

He was very much afraid that the blossoms of the holy crown's thorns, which had flowered by means of this miracle, might fall to the ground and be crushed by the multitude. Therefore he cut a piece of red cloth that he had prepared for the relics, wrapped them carefully in it, and put them in his right glove; then he prepared another in which to put the sacred thorns which had been blessed by the blood of Jesus Christ. He gave the glove with the flowers to be looked after by archbishop Ebroin; but they both wept so copiously that I don't know whose eyes were more filled with tears. Thinking that the archbishop had it safely in hand, the emperor let the glove go; Ebroin, who was praying, turned around for an instant to look at the miracles, at the moment that the emperor offered him the glove. But he turned back so quickly to pray even more eagerly than before, that he did not look at the emperor, and he did not take the glove. Then a new miracle happened, for the glove remained utterly suspended in air for the space of an hour.

Then, when the emperor had wrapped up the thorns properly and put them safely away, and his eyes were dry and he could see again, he turned to archbishop Ebroin to ask for the glove which he thought he had given him. But when he saw the glove suspended in the air, and wanted to ask the archbishop what this might be, he was unable to ask the question, because his sobs and tears of joy at the miracle which Our Lord was performing prevented him from speaking; nor could have he heard any answer. He was very much afraid that he had displeased Our Lord by placing the holy flowers in his glove, and therefore he asked the archbishop where he had placed the glove, and how it had come to be in its present position, and he replied that he had neither seen it nor taken it. Then the emperor took the glove, nnd withdrew the piece of cloth in which he had wrapped the flowers. He took off the cloth to arrange the relics more appropriately, but he found that they had been turned into manna by the power of Our Lord. Then he was filled with great joy, and he began to say, in the words of the prophet David: Quam magnificata sunt opera tua Domine, which is to say: "Dear Lord, who great and wonderful are your words." He then wrapped the manna in the cloth, which has been kept carefully until our own day in the church of Saint Denis of France, together with part of the other manna which God sent to the sons of Israel when they were in the desert. While those inside were filled with joy and delight at the miracles they were seeing, those who were outside hurled themselves at the gates, loudly shouting to be admitted. Finally some of the gates were opened, and some were broken open. Great mobs entered, giving thanks to God, and saying: "Today is certainly the day of the resurrection," and then: Hec est dies quam fecit Dominus, exultemus et letemur in ea," which means, in French: "Today is the day that God made, on which we shall be glad and content." The emperor Charlemagne exhorted everyone to give thanks to God, and he himself spoke the words of the prophet David: Cantate Domino canticum novum quia mirabilia fecit, which means: "Sing a new song to God, for he has made miracles." For this, dear Lord, we should give thanks to God for his thoughtfulness, who has deigned to visit his people today (some problem with the punctuation here). In this way they gave praise to Jesus Christ, and they continued to sing psalms from the Psalter.


They left this place and went along singing, until they reached the place where the other relics were. Bishop Daniel, who had been chosen to do this, took the holy nail and carried it aloft to the emperor Charlemagne. At this point, we should not be silent about another miracle that Our Lord, in his mercy wished to perform; as soon as the holy thorns blossomed, as you have heard, an odor quickly spread of such miraculous sweetness that it not only filled the temple, but the entire city. It was of such great power, that three hundred and one invalids [see Gueneé on numbers in medieval histories] were cured, in one hour, of various illnesses, and they all affirmed that they had been cured within the same hour. One of the invalids, who was the three hundred and first, had been ill nearly twenty years (in the Montpellier ms., 20 years and three months), with three different kinds of maladies, for he had lost his sight, his hearing, and then his speech; he said that he first got his sight back, then his hearing, and then his speech, by the power of Our Lord. When the two emperors and the people heard this, they glorified Our Lord, and said, in the words of the prophet David: Omnes gentes plaudite manibus, etc., which means, in French: "Rejoice, all people, sing to God in a voice of joy, for Our Lord is great and worthy of great praise, nor is there any end of his greatness, and he gives joy to those who place their hope in him." And then they sang this psalm: Suscepimus Deus misericordiam tuam in medio templi tui, "Lord God, we have received your mercy in the middle of your temple." The three hundred and first to be cured, whom we told you about earlier, testified about his cure, and particularly about its order, which followed the sequence of the three miracles: when the thorns of the holy crown were taken out, he recovered his sight; when the holy crown was cut, he recovered his hearing; and when the holy thorns blossomed, he recovered his speech. When the holy nail was raised aloft, this same miracle, and others as well, happened to several people. Because we cannot relate all the miracles that took place on this day, we must omit some of them, to avoid confusion.

But there is one, which happened to a child, which we cannot omit. The child's left hand, and his entire left side had been without feeling from the day he was born; as a result, the limbs of his right side were also partially paralysed. But, at the moment the holy nail was taken out of its alabaster vessel, and it touched the air, the child recovered his full health, and went running off to the church, praising and glorifying Our Lord, while telling the story of how he had been cured. He lay in bed, around the hour of nones, neither sleeping nor clearly awake. It seemed to him that he saw near him a white and hoary blacksmith, who touched him between his feet and his left hand with a lance and an iron nail; when the child related this, the priests began to sing loudly, Te Deum laudamus, and the emperor Charlemagne began to sing the words of the prophet David: Manus tue, Domine, fecerunt me et plasmaverunt me; da mihi intellectum ut discam mandata tua, and many other psalms from the Psalter. In French, this means: "Dear Lord God, your hands have made and shaped me, give me understanding that I may learn your commandments, and I may show to the people of the West the memory of your glorious passion."

All the holy relics were placed in several sacks, each by itself, and then they were all placed together in a large oxhide sack that the emperor carried attached to his neck; there were the crown of thorns, the holy nail, a piece of wood from the holy cross, the napkin of Our Lord, the chemise that Our Lady wore when she painlessly bore Our Saviour, and the belt with which she wrapped Jesus Christ in the cradle, the right arm of saint Simeon, with which he received Our Saviour on the day that he was brought to the temple.


The emperor Charlemagne now took leave of the emperor Constantine, and of the Eastern clergymen, with great love and devotion, undertaking a joyful return. He and his army reached a castle named Ligmedon [Duratium in lat. 12710, Ligmedon in Montpellier ms]. Many miracles occurred on the trip, after they left Jerusalem and Constantinople, which I do not wish to relate here. The emperor entered the castle named above, and was led to a church, as was proper, in which to place and protect the holy relics that he carried in a leather sack around his neck, like a scarf. The archbishop, the bishops, abbots, monks, archdeacons and deacons, as well as other worthy people who had been chosen for this purpose, carried other kinds of relics in sacks and in other containers.

In this castle there was a bailiff named Salathiel, who had a son in his home, who was much tormented by several kinds of illnesses. The father had him carried before the emperor as Charles was going to church. The child's mother, whose name was Maia, was greatly concerned to carry the child before the emperor, because she had heard of the power of what Our Lord was doing and had done throughout this journey, in the city of Neapolis, and in other cities, towns, and castles. The child departed from this world. He was carried before the emperor, and the mother and the father began to cry out and to lament terribly, and the said to the emperor: "Sweet king, aid and comfort your servants; we have only one son, who has been tormented by many different ailments. He lost his eyesight because of a weakness in his head; he has a long, ulcerous nose, paralyzed hands and feet, and he is tormented every day by dropsy. His suffering is so great that it drives him out of his mind, so that everyone says that he is insane. We have brought him here before you in the hope that he will be healed by the power of the holy relics, for we know that you are carrying part of the holy crown, the shroud of Our Lord, the holy chemise of Our Lady, the swaddling bands of the cradle of her sweet son, and the right hand of the good old man, saint Simeon, and many other holy relics. Because news of the many miraculously cured illnesses which have happened on your journey has reached us, we have hope that our son will recover his bodily health and firmness of religious belief in his soul. But he is dead, for which we grieve, and beg you to come near his body."

When the emperor saw the father and the mother of the child grieving so, he felt great pity for them, and great sympathy for their pain. He quickly got down from his white mule, and the father and mother of the child began to cry out: "Great emperor Charles, we beg that you show pity and mercy on us today. You should no hesitate to display the miracles of Our Lord, which are so certain that one may truly believe that they are accomplished before they have happened. We believe with all our hearts that if the body of our child is touched by the part of the holy cross that you carry, he will return to life, or at least his soul will rest in glory forever."

Then the emperor took the leather scarf in which the holy relics had been honorably placed, and approached the bier where the body of the child lay without its soul. As soon as he raised his arms, and only the shadow of the sack touched the body, such a great stink arose from it that the emperor and all those around him were unable to endure it, no matter how far from the body they were. Finally, bishop Ebroin, a man of great sanctity, and Guibert, the archdeacon, a man of great belief, Joel, bishop of Geront, and Gelasius, a Greek subdeacon, born of the highest nobility in Thebes, a man of belief and holy simplicity, all these men begged the emperor to go closer to the bier, and Gelasius, the Greek deacon, who clearly felt the power of Our Lord descending at the moment, took the vessel in which the holy relics were from the emperor's hands, and ran up to the dead body, and as he hastened to apply the piece of the true cross, he placed the vessel on the bier where the dead child lay. The touch revived the child, whose name was Thomas, and he leaped up, hale and hearty, in front of the emperor and his father and mother, in the presence of everyone, as if he had just awakened from sleep.


Everyone in the castle and in the country was overjoyed, and deeply moved by the miracle, and they gave thanks and praise to Our Lord, flocking in great numbers from everywhere to the church. Some brought their sick, others led them on foot, others had them brought on beds and in litters, and the power of Our Lord was so great, that within an hour forty-nine men and women were cured of various ailments.

The emperor remained in this castle six months and one day, to rest his army, during which time the power of Our Lord never ceased performing miracles, though it would take a long time to describe those that took place while the emperor was there. A countless number of blind people recovered their sight there; twelve demoniacs were freed from the devil; eight lepers were cured; fifteen paralytics recovered their full health; thirteen cripples were healed; thirty who had lost their arms (in some mss., mutes) and fifty-two hunchbacks were cured; unnumbered feverish people, sixty-five mutes; several with infected throats, called acroheles; a widow and her daughter, both of whom had gone insane; a matron of the city of Liege, who had been brought there with her hands tied behind her back; and several other people, men and women, from neighboring villages, who had been tormented by various maladies, were all cured by the power of Our Lord, and returned hale and hearty to their homes; in addition, thirty-one [in lat. 12710, twenty-one.] cripples, with paralyzed legs, recovered their full health.

The emperor had part of this castle repaired and rebuilt while he stayed there. Nearly all the deeds he accomplished beyond the Rhine in his time were written clearly there. After he had stayed there six months and one day, as we have already said, to rest his army, but particularly for the great miracles that divine power brought about in this place, he set out on the road, and returned to Aix-la-Chapelle, where he had an elaborate, costly church constructed, in honor of Our Lady, saint Mary. In the church he reverently placed the holy relics, and then sent his runners throughout the world, to call everyone to Aix-la-Chapelle, on the ides of June, to see the holy relics that he had brought from Jerusalem and Constantinople: i.e., eight of the thorns from the holy crown that Our Lord had on his head the day of his passion, and a piece of the wood from which they were taken, and one of the holy nails, and a piece of wood from the holy cross, the holy shroud in which he was wrapped in the sepulchre, the chemise of Our Lady, which she wore at the time of the glorious birth, and the right arm of saint Simeon, with which he received Our Lord in the temple on the day of the Chandelor, and many other precious relics. A short time after he had sent out the call, an innummerable crowd of people assembled. On the appointed day, that is, the second Wednesday of June, the emperor consulted with the archbishops, bishops, abbots, and other important people, about what to do. Because the crowd of people was so great that no one could count them, he had the prelates preach in thirty different places, urging the people to confess and repent their sins before approaching the holy relics.


On the appointed day, the prelates and the people assembled, and the emperor uncovered the relics to show to the people. The prelates and the holy men preached sermons in thirty places, and the emperor there established Lendit in agreement with the group of prelates who were present, on the fourth fasting holiday during the second week of June). It was appropriate to establish it at the time of fasting, since no one should touch a holy relic unless he has fasted, is sober, and sanctified by confess and penance. Because we have her mentioned remission of sins, let us describe and speak of the mercy and indulgence for sins that was established there. The prelates who were there established this pardon, that whoever came to this Lendit, at the time we have mentioned, to worship the holy relics, and had confessed and done penance for his sins, would receive remission for his sins, whatever they were, and furthermore, his wife and his friends might share the fruit of his journeyto the degree that they were able. This was established by all the prelates who were there, archbishops, bishops and abbots, whose names follow ["La liste...est absolument fantaiste," Viard, p.194, n.1.].

First, the apostle Leo; Turpin, archbishop of Rheims; Justin, archbishop of Lyon; John, archbishop of .....(Laon, apparently); Arnulf, archbishop of Tours; Peter, archbishop of Melan; Hors, archbishop of Ravenna; Theodore, archbishop of Panthapole in Libya; Naimbert, archbishop of Sens; Gobert, archbishop of Bourges; Erimouz, archbishop of Rouen; Achillas, archbishop of Alexandria; Theophilus, patriarch of Antioch; Wibert, bishop of Saintes; Girbert, bishop of Orleans; John, bishop of Avroes (Evreux); Gifroiz, bishop of Noion; Israel, bishop of Metz;; Rudoph, bishop of Cambrai; Gobert, bishop off Troyes; Richard, bishop of Amiens; Rotarz, a bishop of Flanders; Gerions, bishop of Verziaux; Eusebius, bishop of Boulogne; Stephen, bishop of Augusta; Macarius, bishop of Belgium; Fromont, bishop of Liege; Robert, bishop of Soissons; Antonius, bishop of Plaisence; Torpus, bishop of Pisa; Desiderius, bishop of Lengres; Lucin, bishop of Angiers; Philip, archbishop of Cologne; Lupitius, bishop of Valence; and Fortunatus, archdeacon of this same church. These last two placed the shroud of Our Lord on the body of a dead man, who immediately came back to life. Our Lord wished to perform this miracle before his people, as I believe, that he might be the light of faith and belief to those now alive and to those who would come after. All those who were present, as well as those we are about to name, said that they had seen a miracle, and that it was a work of God.

Abbots: Forrez, the abbot of Saint Denis in France; Floriens, abbot of Saint Bendedict of Montecassino; Lupicin, abbot of Lyon; Sergius, abbot of Angers, and Sergius, abbot of Rheims; John, abbot of Chalon; Pierre, abbot of Nivele; Aubert, abbot of Saint Quentin en l'isle; Carbonel, abbot of Limedon; Rabodus, monk of Saint Prajet, and Guy, dean of this same place.

Prelates: Antonius, bishop of Verdun; Pontius, bishop of Alle; Nicholas, archbishop of Vienne, and Soldan, his archdeacon; Dascus, bishop of toulouse; Macarius, bishop of Tret, and Antonius, one of his archdeacons; Raimbaut, bishop of Marseille; Rigomer, bishop of Miauz. All the prelates named here, and many other worthy persons confirmed with their seals the agreement that the emperor established, and remained there one month and three days, to watch over the holy relics, for the honor of God, and for the good of the people.

Before they left, the emperor made a request of them, saying: "Lords, all you who have assembled here, and you first, lord apostle of the church of Rome, who are the head of all Christianity, and all of you, prelates, archbishops, bishops and abbots, I ask that you grant me a gift." To which Turpin, the archbishop of Rheims, replied: "Dear emperor and lord, whatever it will please you to ask, we shall grant with good will and with all our hearts." He replied: "I want you to excommunicate and sever from the company of God and of holy Church, here in front of everyone, all those who, at my death, prevent or interfere with the process of carrying my body to Aix-la-Chapelle, to be buried there; for I wish to be given a burial there, above all other places, that will be proper for a king and emperor." The apostle and all the other prelates assembled there obeyed the emperor's request. Each then left for his own country, gratefully praising the king who reigns and who will reign forever and forever. Amen.

At this point, one may ask how the relics and the market of Lendit were brought to France, for the relics are in the church of Saint Denis, and the market of Lendit is located between Saint Denis and Paris (Lendit originated no earlier than 1109 -- V.). Here are the reasons: Charlemagne the great, of whom we have spoken and shall speak more afterwards, had a son, whose name was Louis the pious, who was king and emperor. Louis had four sons, by different women: Lothar, Pepin, Louis, and Charles. Charles was their brother through their father only, since he was the son of queen Judith, his father's last wife. After the death of the father, the kingdom was divided among the four brothers. Lothar received the empire of Germany, Louis the kingdom of Aquitaine and of Burgundy, Pepin that of Lombardy, [according to Viard, Primat departs from the Latin text here, to make errors, confusing Louis the German with his father, and Pepin, Louis' son, with Pepin, Charlemagne's son; however, the Montpellier ms. corresponds to Primat] and Charles, the youngest, the kingdom of France. Contention arose among the brothers, and three of fought Charles (the Bald) out of envy, because it seemed to them that he had the noblest kingdom. They brought a powerful army against him, and he made vigorous preparations to resist them.

At that time, the church of Saint Denis was covered with silver above the martyrs' tomb; because the king was not yet so wealthy that he could raise an army without help, he came to Saint Denis. He said to the assembled group and to their abbot: "Dear sir, I need money to fight my wars, and you have a silver roof above your church, which does you little good. I shall take it, if you please, and if God grants me victory over my enemies, I shall reward you generously, and replace the roof with its equal, or with something better." The abbot and his clergy replied: "Sir, do what pleases you; whatever you wish is at your disposal." The king took the silver [see Gr Ch II, 188-189, for this task performed in 652, by Clovis II], led his army against his enemies, and won victory, through the power of Our Lord. He did not forget the agreement he had made with the abbey and his convent, but came back to the church, and said to them: "Gentlemen, I am ready to do what I promised, and if you agree to take in exchange the relics of the market of Lendit that my grandfather, the great Charlemagne, established at Aix-la-Chapelle, I shall give you the relics and the market forever, and I shall establish it here generously, and according to the privileges that it enjoys there." They consulted among themselves, and decided to accept the relics and the market of Lendit, which was brought to France in this way.