What if Charlemagne married Irene?

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What if Charlemagne married Irene?

Post by GrandMarshalSoult on Tue Nov 21, 2017 8:20 am

Irene was the Byzantine Empress, if Charlemagne married her, he did propose, it would've united east and west, thoughts, a new version of the roman empire?
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Re: What if Charlemagne married Irene?

Post by Thorfinn Karlsefni on Mon Jan 08, 2018 12:07 am

I thought it was Irene who proposed to Charlemagne...?

Anyway, yeah, I think that was the theory at the time. They might reunite East and West. That would have created a formidable opponent to the Arab Caliphates - at least on paper.

The real threat would have been to the authority of the Pope. The Eastern (Orthodox) church at that time was still under the Emperor, whereas the Western (Roman) church was under the Pope (who declared Charlemagne the new Emperor). An early Investiture Crisis might have ensued.

All these Medieval states and Empires in reality only wielded as much power as their most intelligent general, and the extent of that power only reached to where his particular army could march (or sail if you weren't Charlemagne, who didn't have much of a navy).

Ultimately, I don't know that history would have turned out much differently. The East and West were too different by Constantine's day to achieve permanent unity. As much as the people of the city of Rome may have cheered the return of the Legions under Belasarius in Justinian's reconquest, the sentiment was hardly shared by the power elites either East or West. A permanent reunification would have involved a strong dictator like a Julius Ceasar or a Basil the 2nd crushing all resistance at every level. A Medieval marriage alliance would have been interesting, but I doubt it would have lasted.
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Re: What if Charlemagne married Irene?

Post by GrandMarshalSoult on Mon Jan 08, 2018 6:02 am

Thorfinn Karlsefni wrote:I thought it was Irene who proposed to Charlemagne...?

Anyway, yeah, I think that was the theory at the time. They might reunite East and West. That would have created a formidable opponent to the Arab Caliphates - at least on paper.

The real threat would have been to the authority of the Pope. The Eastern (Orthodox) church at that time was still under the Emperor, whereas the Western (Roman) church was under the Pope (who declared Charlemagne the new Emperor). An early Investiture Crisis might have ensued.

All these Medieval states and Empires in reality only wielded as much power as their most intelligent general, and the extent of that power only reached to where his particular army could march (or sail if you weren't Charlemagne, who didn't have much of a navy).

Ultimately, I don't know that history would have turned out much differently. The East and West were too different by Constantine's day to achieve permanent unity. As much as the people of the city of Rome may have cheered the return of the Legions under Belasarius in Justinian's reconquest, the sentiment was hardly shared by the power elites either East or West. A permanent reunification would have involved a strong dictator like a Julius Ceasar or a Basil the 2nd crushing all resistance at every level. A Medieval marriage alliance would have been interesting, but I doubt it would have lasted.
Yeah It wouldn't last, the Vikings didn't arrive in France until 843 and the Magyars slightly later. with those threats it might've ripped east and west apart, the Churches were the big problem, Charlemagne and the Holy roman Empire was considered a betrayal of the east.
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