In The Garden of Charlemagne

Medieval Horticulture, Part 2: In The Garden of Charlemagne
A sequel to: Medieval Horticulture, Part 1: Monastic Herbalism

In 476 A.D. the Emperor Romulus Augustus was overthrown by the germanic hordes and any order that the Roman Empire had brought to Europe for centuries was finished.  The fall of Rome in the west would cast the former territories of the Empire into centuries of ignorance and squalor, we are told, particularly the areas farthest from it.  This is the accepted history, and it is an enormous oversimplification.

Landtag beraet ueber Klage des Freistaats gegen den Laenderfinanzausgleich
“Imperial Coronation of Charlemagne”  by Friedrich Kaulbach, 1861

Just a few decades later, after all, one of the germanic tribes, the Franks, were unified under one king, named Clovis I. Unlike the other tribes, which were mainly Arian, the Franks were Catholic due to Clovis’ wife insistence and his conversion on Christmas Day in 508 A.D.. The germanic tribes would continue their chaotic rule over much of the former Empire in the west, for a time, but in 768 A.D. a man named Charles rose to lead the Franks and re-establish order. Charles would go on to conquer the other tribes, and became Holy Roman Emperor. Even during his life he was referred to as “Charles the Great” which translates in French, of course, to Charlemagne.

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