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By J. Muldoon

Empire is an evocative, but little tested, observe. it may suggest the domination of titanic territories, a Christian global order, a corrupt type of govt, or a humanitarian endeavour. Historians relegate the concept that of empire to the pre-modern global, selecting the kingdom because the attribute political kind of the fashionable international. This publication examines the diversity of meanings attributed to the idea that of empire within the medieval and early sleek international, demonstrating how the thoughts of empire and kingdom built in parallel, no longer sequentially.

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48 Nevertheless, the vast extent of the territories involved precluded any centralized imperial government. If Charlemagne and Leo III had intended to recreate in some fashion the ancient Roman Empire, they failed. A glance at the territories involved makes it quite clear that Charlemagne’s empire had little relation to the empire of Augustus. It might be argued, however, that, from the papal perspective, the concept of imperium that undergirded the Carolingian empire was the Roman notion of imperium as power or jurisdiction in a non-territorial sense.

14 In the first place, there was the role of the pope. 15 Furthermore, the pope appears to have acted only as an agent in the coronation, not as the possessor of a superior authority. A superior would not have prostrated himself before his inferior. Did the annalist believe that it was Charlemagne’s great military achievements that justified his assumption of the imperial title? Was the pope only serving as the representative of the Roman people when he placed the crown on Charles’s head? Indeed, the role of the Roman people as the annalist described it provided another puzzle.

Above all, the notion of the empire as universal or, at the least coterminous with Christendom, was fading though it had not disappeared. The existence of the Eastern Empire alone suggested that at the very least the identification of the western empire with Christendom was not unchallenged. 104 The decline in the significance of the empire for the Carolingians reflects the decline of real Carolingian power. If Charlemagne’s Carolingian Empire to the Holy Roman Empire 43 imperial title rested on the fact of his power in Francia and in Italy, and on his conquests in the north and east, then the subsequent weakness of his heirs meant that the imperial title was improperly applied to them.

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