The Franks' Imagined Empire
Chapter 4 opens by considering what was meant by ‘empire’ in the early Middle Ages. The ninth‐century Franks fundamentally defined the idea for subsequent generations, positing themselves inclusively as a populus christianus (Christian people). This idea survived, in large part, because it was adopted and spread in the different legends of the Christian Last Emperor—each, in their own way, tremendously popular in the tenth- and eleventh‐century West. The Charlemagne and Last Emperor legends began to merge. Sacred history was now framed by the Franks, the standard-bearers of Christian imperial glory in both past and future.
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