'Excellent and thought-provoking ... tells the story of an iconic figure for the new Europe' Tom Shippey, Times Literary Supplement.
'A magisterial survey of the great European emperor, of the Latin culture of his court and the political extent of his domains' A.N. Wilson, Observer.
'This scholarly and meticulously researched biography is a book one really does want to read' Simon Heffer, Sunday Telegraph.
'a substantial and worthwhile volume ... a valuable book' Journal of Ecclesiastical History.
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From the Inside Flap
The achievements and legacy of the emperor Charlemagne have had an enduring impact on Europe's history and civilization for over a thousand years. Crowned a king of the Franks in 768, he expanded their kingdom into an imperial order that incorporated much of western and central Europe. Charlemagne recreated a single Christian imperium in the heartlands of the western Roman empire for the first time since the decline and fall of that power in the fifth century. After his imperial coronation in 800, Charlemagne was seen as a rival, in both power and majesty, to the Byzantine Emperor in Constantinople. The military campaigns and programmes of reform inspired by Charlemagne make him a defining figure in the history of the Middle Ages, and of western Europe as a whole. Charlemagne's empire, and the cultural golden age that is associated with it, encouraged the development of a common European identity. In this magisterial new study, Hywel Williams explores every facet of the rule and legacy of one of the most remarkable rulers in European history. Williams reveals how the Carolingian dynasty ensured the evolution of Roman imperial culture into the Christian civilisation of Charlemagne's time. Both in its sweep and its detail, Emperor of the West is a major contribution to early medieval history and is essential reading for anyone interested in the wider history of Europe.