Portrait of Charlemagne, whom the Song of Roland names the King with the Grizzly Beard.--Fac-simile of an Engraving of the End of the Sixteenth Century.
Charlemagne was the first who recognised that social union, so admirable an example of which was furnished by Roman organization, and who was able, with the very elements of confusion and disorder to which he succeeded, to unite, direct, and consolidate diverging and opposite forces, to establish and regulate public administrations, to found and build towns, and to form and reconstruct almost a new world. We hear of him assigning to each his place, creating for all a common interest, making of a crowd of small and scattered peoples a great and powerful nation; in a word, rekindling the beacon of ancient civilisation. When he died, after a most active and glorious reign of forty-five years, he left an immense empire in the most perfect state of peace
Sandal and Buskin of Charlemagne.--From the Abbey of St. Denis.
King Charlemagne receiving the Oath of Fidelity and Homage from one of his great Feudatories or High Barons
Originally, the possession of a benefice or fief meant no more than the privilege of enjoying the profits derived from the land, a concession which made the holder dependent upon the proprietor. He was in fact his "man," to whom he owed homage, service in case of war, and assistance in any suit the proprietor might have before the King's tribunal.