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Charlemagne (January 29 745January 28, 814) was king of the Franks from 768, and became the first Holy Roman Emperor in 800. His conquests expanded his empire to cover much of western and central Europe, and his encouragement of learning helped to create the Carolingian Renaissance.


  • Quamvis enim melius sit benefacere quam nosse, prius tamen est nosse quam facere.
    • Right action is better than knowledge; but in order to do what is right, we must know what is right.
    • "De Litteris Colendis", in Jean-Barthélemy Hauréau De la philosophie scolastique (1850) p. 10; translation from T. H. Huxley Science and Education ([1893] 2007) p. 132
  • O utinam haberem duodecim clericos ita doctos, omnique sapientia sic perfecte instructos, ut fuerunt Hieronimus et Augustinus.
    • If only I could have a dozen churchmen as wise and as well taught in all human knowledge as were Jerome and Augustine!
    • Notker the Stammerer De Carolo Magno, Bk. 1, sect. 9; translation from Einhard and Notker the Stammerer (trans. Lewis Thorpe) Two Lives of Charlemagne (1969) p. 102.
    • In conversation with his minister Alcuin, who replied, "Creator coeli et terrae similes illis plures non habuit, et tu vis habere duodecim (The Maker of heaven and earth Himself has very few scholars worth comparing with these men, and yet you expect to find a dozen!)".


  • Let my armies be the rocks and the trees and the birds in the sky.
  • Make us eternal truths receive,
    And practice all that we believe;
    Give us Thyself that we may see
    The Father and the Son by Thee.
    • Reported in Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895), p. 320, but not found before publication in Wentworth Dillon, 4th Earl of Roscommon, A collection of divine hymns and poems upon several occasions (1719), p. 192, attributed as a translation by John Dryden of Veni, Creator Spiritus, Stanza VI.

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