In this lecture, Professor Freedman discusses the crisis and decline of Charlemagne's empire. Increasingly faced with external threats -- particularly the Viking invasions -- the Carolingian Empire ultimately collapsed from internal causes, because its rulers were unable effectively to manage such a large empire. In the absence of strong social infrastructure and an idea of loyalty to the ruler, government servants strove to make their positions hereditary and nobles sought to set up independent kingdoms. Although it only lasted for a short time, the Carolingian Empire helped shape the face of Europe, especially through the partitions of the Treaty of Verdun which created territories roughly equivalent to France and Germany.
Major developments in the political, social, and religious history of Western Europe from the accession of Diocletian to the feudal transformation. Topics include the conversion of Europe to Christianity, the fall of the Roman Empire, the rise of Islam and the Arabs, the "Dark Ages," Charlemagne and the Carolingian renaissance, and the Viking and Hungarian invasions.
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