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J.L. Nelson: Charlemagne’s Superstate, 15 April 2004

by Matthias Becher, translated by David Bachrach.
Yale, 170 pp., £16.95, September 2003, 0 300 09796 4
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... In the summer of 782, ‘4500 Saxon prisoners were beheaded on a single day at Verden on the River Aller in northern Saxony, on the orders of Charlemagne, King of the Franks.’ So, bluntly, reported the author of the Royal Frankish Annals, the main Frankish narrative for the period, which were written up in 790 or so. By the time those annals had been put into print at Cologne in 1521, Charlemagne had come to be venerated as a saint, and also, with more historical justification, celebrated as the founder of both France and Germany ...

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