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Charlemagne's Military Expansion

            Einhard portrays Charlemagne extremely successful in expanding his empire, especially when it came to using military force. After reading Einhard's version, it appears that he is saying that Charles was effective in expanding his empire because he was a powerful and determined military leader who did whatever it took to win the war. He also demonstrates how Charlemagne used his military's dominant reputation to intimidate his opponent to avoid war all together. Notker also discusses Charles' pursuit of expanding his empire. He seems to agree with what Einhard had to say about Charlemagne being able to intimidate his enemy and therefore it wasn't always necessary to go to battle. He also talks about how when he was forced to go to war, he was not afraid to do so. In addition to agreeing with what Einhard said, Notker brings up the fact that Charlemagne used his Christian religion as a guide during times of war. .
             One of the first wars that Einhard mentions is the one with the Saxons. He presents this war as the longest, most vicious and difficult war that the Franks, Charlemagne's people, were involved in under Charles' rule1. Conflicts involving murder, robbery and arson occurred on a daily basis between the Saxons and Frank. These conflicts, along with Charlemagne's attempt to impose the Christian religion on the Saxons, led to the start of the war which lasted roughly thirty years. Several times it appeared as though the Saxons had been defeated and the war had come to an end. They would promise loyalty to the King and agree to his criteria that they would be required to live by. However, over and over again they would go back on these assurances and return to their old ways. Charles continued the war until the Saxons were finally too weak to even attempt another revolt and were forced to pledge and actually keep their alliance to the King. It appears that Einhard is saying that if Charlemagne had not continually attacked the Saxons when they betrayed him, he would have seemed weak to other nations that he was trying to conquer.

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