Weird History
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Things You Didn't Know About Charlemagne, King of the Franks

Updated January 5, 2021 31.7k views20 items

Who was Charlemagne? The Holy Roman Emperor and King of the Franks was a great and fair ruler if you compare him to the more barbaric kings we all learned about in school. You'll be hard-pressed to find stories or letters documenting him ordering beheadings or murders. Instead, history books detailing the life of Charlemagne feature all kinds of information on how fair and kind he was, both as a person and a ruler. Charlemagne led the charge in educating his people and expanding Christianity throughout his lands. This part of Europe is said to have flourished under his command.

We know a lot about what type of man he was and how he ruled, but his personal history is not entirely known. There is no ultimate Charlemagne biography telling all his secrets. We do not know where he was born and there is no definite number as to how many wives and children he had. What we do know is that he created trial by jury, improved trade by getting rid of gold as currency, and was fair to everyone no matter what class they were. It is even said he had a fantastic memory and addressed everyone by name. Who can say that doesn't sound like a great king?

Take a look at the most interesting facts about Charlemagne below and see how this king ruled in his day. You might be surprised by his life and will quickly realize he was a lot more than just another king whose name you never learned to spell.
  • He Loved His Daughters So Much He Wouldn't Let Them Marry
    Photo: Unknown author / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

    He Loved His Daughters So Much He Wouldn't Let Them Marry

    Of his approximately 18 children, many were daughters. He loved them so much that he even prohibited them from marrying while he was still alive.
  • His Real Name Was Karl

    That's right. The King of the Franks had many names, among them "Karl der Grosse" and "Father of Europe."
  • Charlemagne Had Lots Of Wives And As Many As 18 Children
    Photo: Talbot Master / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

    Charlemagne Had Lots Of Wives And As Many As 18 Children

    Charlemagne had multiple wives and mistresses and possibly as many as 18 children. However, he was reportedly a great father and made sure his children had proper education.
  • The Location Of His Birth Is Unknown
    Photo: Friedrich Kaulbach / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

    The Location Of His Birth Is Unknown

    Charlemagne was born in 742 but the exact location of his birth is unknown. Some historians believe he could have been born in present day Germany or Belgium, but it cannot be confirmed.