After the fall of Rome, political unity in Western Europe disintegrated, and there emerged a series of barbarian kingdoms. The rise of different customs and beliefs, such as Islam, led to conflict within the kingdom of the Franks. Charles Martel, a Frankish Palace Mayor from 714 to 741, began vigorous fighting against opposing groups. His defeat of a contingent of Arabian cavalry in the battles of Poitiers and Tours marked the beginning of the Carolingian Empire. Years later, amidst the continuous unrest and void of absolute power, a significant figure surfaced. Charlemagne - grandson of Charles Martel and later known as Charles "the Great" - emerged as a warrior, obtaining most of his achievements through skillful warfare.
King Pepin the Short, father of Charlemagne and Carloman, reigned over nearly all of modern Europe until his death in 768. Upon his death, his land was divided between his two sons. Merely three years later, Carloman died unexpectedly and Charlemagne received his father's territory in its entirety. The Frankish kingdom was once again united under one ruler, Charlemagne, the "unconquered and unconquerable" (Notker 158). .
The knowledge of the life and reign of Charlemagne in this book is obtained from the compilation of two pseudo-biographies, the Vita Caroli by Einhard and De Carolo Magno by the Monk of Saint Gall. The first part of the book, written by Einhard, presents itself as a eulogy to Charlemagne. In a time of personal despair, Einhard was taken in and given a job by Charlemagne. He was a member of the King's court for over twenty-three years, developing over time an intimate relationship with Charlemagne. His lavish account of the King and his accomplishments is believed to be out of gratitude; whereas, the aim of the Monk of Saint Gall, also known as Notker the Stammerer, was to inspire Charles the Fat. Charles the Fat was the grandson of Charlemagne.