This is the assignment page for the topic "The Coronation of Charlemagne and the Beginnings of Europe as a World Region" for J. B. Owens's sections of the lower-division undergraduate course, History 101, Foundation of Western Civilization. The sole purpose of this page and all of the pages linked to it is to provide an orientation for those students enrolled in History 101.

You may return to the course main page or to the course syllabus.


History 101, The Foundation of Western Civilization, is one of the World Regions courses, three of which must be taken by all History majors and minors, and it can be used to satisfy Goal 10A of ISU's General Education Requirements. History 101 is also a component of some other student programs. For those students who consistently do the required work in the proper way, there will be two types of outcome: 1) increased knowledge and understanding; 2) enhanced cognitive and expressive skills.

  1. At the end of the term, students should understand:
    1. The development of Europe as a world region from its beginnings in the 8th century of the Christian Era to about A.D. 1700.
    2. The use by this world region's leaders of the surviving works of ancient Greeks, Romans, and Christians in formulating responses to their own problems.
    3. The impact of interactions with other regions of the world.

  1. Students should not think of this course as a task to be checked off on their way toward graduation. The course is part of a process which, upon graduation, should leave students in confident possession of skills of thought and expression that can be utilized in achieving professional and personal goals. For example, the culmination of the programs for HISTORY MAJORS is History 491, "Seminar," in which each student must undertake a creative, original research project and present the results. To get to the point where they can do such work, students must learn to pose important historical questions, to discover in primary and secondary sources the information necessary to answer these questions, to formulate hypotheses based on this information and defend them, and to present coherently in writing the final thesis and its defense.

This course is designed as a beginning of this process of cognitive and expressive development. You will have an opportunity to learn how to discover information from primary and secondary sources. PRIMARY SOURCES are those that were produced in the historical period being studied. SECONDARY SOURCES are those more recent works written to explain to you earlier periods, such as the book by Kishlansky et al you have purchased for this course.

For each course topic, you will find an assignment page like this one. Treat the questions as DISCOVERY QUESTIONS to focus your quest for information in the primary and secondary sources you are assigned to read. As you acquire information to answer a question, try to formulate hypotheses you think you could defend on the basis of what you have learned about the subject. If you engage in this process on a regular basis, keeping to the course's schedule, you will do beautifully.

The Coronation of Charlemagne and the Beginnings of Europe as a World Region

ID: Papacy/Pope, Charlemagne (r. 768-814; emperor, 25 December 800), Pope Gregory I, the Great (r. 590-604), Islam, Muslim, Dar- al-Islam, Dar-al-Harb, jihad, Herodotus (ca. 480 - ca. 420 BCE), Visigoths, Clovis (r. 481-511), Merovingian Franks, Carolingian Franks, Charles Martel (r. 714- 741), Clement (Willibrord; ca. 658-739), Utrecht, Boniface (Wynfrith of Crediton; ca. 675-754/755), Fulda, Battle of Poitiers-Tours (732), Pepin [Pippin] the Short (r. 741-768; king, 751), Donation of Pepin (756), Lombards, iconoclasm, Constantinople

  1. What was Pope Gregory the Great's program to improve Church organization?
  2. Why was the religious movement begun by Muhammad so important to the Franks?
  3. Why were the Carolingian Franks so interested in Church reform?
  4. Why did Carolingian leaders give such enthusiastic support to the Church reform movement led by Clement and Boniface?
  5. Why were Carolingian leaders more willing to accept a close relationship with the Latin-Rite Church than were earlier Germanic rulers?
  6. Why did Charlemagne take such an interest in the promotion of literacy?
  7. Why did the Pope want to crown a Germanic Emperor in 800?
  8. Why did the Pope crown Charlemagne as Emperor?
  9. What was the significance of the crowning of Charlemagne in 800?
  10. What historical developments made possible the beginnings of a distinctive European identity in the 8th century?
  11. Why would those who initially developed the concept of a distinctive European identity characterize the other peoples of the world in terms derived ultimately from the work of Herodotus, who lived in the Fifth Century BCE?
  12. Why did Einhard, in his Life of Charlemagne, stress Charlemagne's role as special protector of the Holy Land?
  13. Why did Einhard stress Charlemagne's concern for the well-being of Christians in those places that were then controlled by Muslims?
  14. Why did Einhard stress Charlemagne's desire to restore the authority of Rome and its bishop's church to its former level?
  15. Why did Einhard discuss Charlemagne's concern for the reform of the laws just after telling how he became Emperor?
  16. Why did the Monk of St. Gall wish Alcuin's pupils to be considered the "...equal of ancient Romans or Athenians"?
  17. On what principles of church organization and leadership was the Liber Pontificalis account of Charlemagne's coronation developed?


Owens, iii-iv; "Introduction to Doing Well," chapter 1; Kishlansky, 2-3, 55 (on Herodotus), 123-126, 150-163 (on the Franks and other Germanic confederations), 128-129, 135-136 (on iconoclasm), 136-142 (on Islam) [also note the index in Kishlansky, at the end and numbered I-1 to I-25, and the list of maps and primary sources, pp. xiii-xvii].

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All contents copyright © 1995-2006.
J. B. Owens 
All rights reserved. 
Revised: 9 May 2006