What Makes Saul and Charlemagne Good Kings or Choices for Kings?
As indicated by Einhard, Charlemagne was a man of all talents but few beliefs and traits truly molded him.
In 769 they joined forces to deal with a rebellion in Aquitaine: Carloman did virtually nothing, and Charlemagne subdued the rebellion most effectively without his help. This caused considerable friction between the brothers which their mother, Berthrada, smoothed over until Carloman's death in 771. Like his father and his grandfather before him, Charlemagne broadened and consolidated the Frankish nation through force of arms. His conflicts with Lombardy, Bavaria, and the Saxons not only expanded his national holdings but also served to strengthen the Frankish military and keep the aggressive warrior class occupied. Moreover, his numerous and impressive victories, especially his crushing of tribal rebellions in Saxony, gained Charlemagne the enormous respect of his nobility as well as the awe and even the fear of his people. Few would defy such a fierce and powerful military leader.
He could not escape the culture and traditions of the Germanic people. There are two things that he took from the culture and traditions of the Germans. First of all it is the passion for learning. Secondly, it is the passion for their gods. As a result Charlemagne made a declaration that his subjects will not only be men and women of good character they must also be wise and knowledgeable and this can only be achieved through education. The Germans, like the Saxons were very much devoted to their gods and this early understanding of religion greatly influenced Charlemagne when he became a Christian. He wanted the same veneration to be channeled towards the promulgation of Christianity and so in Capitulary for Saxony he made the following edict “It was pleasing to all that the churches of Christ, which are now being built in Saxony and consecrated to God, should not have less, but greater and more illustrious honor, than the fanes of the idols had had” (Halsall, 1996, p.1). This was his mindset throughout his reign. For we desire you to be, as it is fitting that soldiers of the church should be, devout in mind, learned in discourse, chaste in conduct and eloquent in speech, so that whosoever shall seek to see you out of reverence of God, or on account of your reputation for holy conduct, just as he is edified by your appearance, may also be instructed by your wisdom, which he has learned from your reading or singing, and may go away joyfully giving thanks to omnipotent God (Salhall, 1996, p.1).
Salhall, Paul. Medieval Sourcebook: Charlemagne: Summons to Army c. 804-11. Fordham University. June 1996. Web.
Salhall, Paul. Medieval Sourcebook: Charlemagne: Capitulary for Saxony 775-790. Fordham University. June 1996. Web.