Charles / Carolus Magnus / Karl der Große, Rex Francorum & Imperator Romanorum - Charles / Carolus Magnus / Karl der Große, Rex Francorum & Imperator Romanorum is your 34th great grandfather

Started by Aimee C. Speidel von Ofterdingen on Sunday, July 21, 2013
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Sharon, you've been our "team leader" on Charlemagne for so long, no doubt you've already heard every possible "solution" to the naming problem.

My personal preferences are a bit different than yours, but my bottom line test for any profile and any solution is whether the information is actually wrong or whether it's just a question of presenting the same info in another way that something likes better. If the argument is just about personal preferences, I move on to more interesting topics ;)

One of the underlying problems here is that Charlemagne's and his grandfather Charles Martel's "real names" are unknown and probably unrecoverable.

They spoke a Germanic language so it must have been something close to Carl. I've seen the suggestion that it might have been Carol. There are two arguments for that. First, we know the normal way of Latinizing Germanic names was to add a -us ending. The Latin form of their name is Carolus, so it is plausible their name was Carol. Second, the modern Dutch form is Karel and the Old Dutch form is Carel. The Old Low Franconian language spoken by the Franks is thought to be the primary ancestor of modern Dutch, and Dutch is often used to reconstruct Old Low Franconian.

A related problem is both men lived their lives on a public stage in an "international" world where they governed people who spoke many different but related dialects. So, the idea of a "real name" is elusive. In the days before language and name standardization they probably would have identified with many variant forms of their name in a way that would not be possible for someone who lived later, after standardization.

As an aside, I wrote a college paper where I wanted to find some variant forms of Charlemagne's name from the Chansons de Geste (about 250 years later, and written in medieval French). I came up with Carle, Carlemagne, Carlemagnes, Carles, Carlon, Carlun, Charle, Charlun, Karle, Karlemagne, and Karlon). For Charles Martel, I have Karleh, which I think is what the Arabs called him. There were probably others but this list was enough for my purpose at the time. Taken together these are all indications of a dialectal variation around an unknown original.

This is all prep for a different topic. The point is that when we think about how to record Charles Martel and Charlemagne we can't fall back on the idea of real name. We don't know what it was.

Old man, alten Mannes, gubbe, gérontas, =ger, ker, Car, Gar, "CORE", Karl, Karol = mature man, related word with same origin, Kernel, Core, Corn.

And yes, in my mind Karol are fully compatible in the development of names as with Gerald, but who really cares?

I've read all your replies...

Suggestion ..... What IF we just use BIRTH NAMES ONLY in Latin ?

The argument about " Rex Francorum & Imperator Romanoruorm" or as I see it was as " Imperator Augustus Romanum gubernans Imperium (emperor Augustus governing the Roman empire) was given to him much later on in life.

Continuing my thoughts ...

Sharon, I wonder if we should consider changing our strategy for names. At least in this highly visible part of the tree.

You pointed out that name issues always come down to resolving both vertical issues (across time) and horizontal issues (across languages). I would add a 3rd axis -- across Geni's arc of development ;)

When we developed the current strategy we didn't have the benefit of Geni's multi-language names. Then, when we got multi-language names, we didn't spend much time looking at a problem like Charlemagne.

A strategy I've been playing with (in little out of the way profiles where I won't create a mass hysteria) is to use the language fields to reflect the modern language form in each language. That is, give up the idea of using the same "real" name for every language. Medieval profiles only. Multi-national profiles only.

So, Charlemagne's English name would be Charles the Great . His French name would be Charles le Grand. His German name would be Karl der Große. His Dutch name would be Karel de Grote. His Portuguese name would be Carlos Magno. And, of course, his Latin name would be Carolus Magnus.

No last name in any language.

Then, in the suffix field we would put the different forms of Emperor of the Romans, each in the corresponding language. (We'd leave out King of the Franks, because for the sake of brevity we really only need each person's highest title.)
As you know, I'm part of the purist faction on Geni. Generally, I want to see the same original, real name across all language fields because a person's real name doesn't usually change.

But here we have several problems. First, Charlemagne's real name is unknown. Second, he is a very famous ancestor for many people and each of them will prefer his name in their own language.

Also, we have a problem from Geni's implementation of multi-language names. On Profile View we don't see the forms in other languages unless they are different from our preferred language. And, we really do want to see -- for Charlemagne at least -- all those different forms.

And, we don't see the display names in different languages. So, if I'm viewing Charlemagne in English I would not see the Latin title Imperator Romanorum from the Latin suffix field or from the Latin display name field unless I open the profile to edit it.

Following through on this idea, we would set the display names for each language so people who are set to work in that language would see the familiar form. This is a fancy way of saying Charlemagne's English and French display names would still be Charlemagne so we don't upset people who think that's his only real name ;)

This must all be a pain for you and for everyone else interested in Charlemagne (and Charles Martel) because we've discussed this in so much detail over so many years, it is exhausting to go through it all again.

I made some changes to Charles Martel as a practical way of illustrating these suggestions without triggering trauma over Charlemagne. Everything can be easily changed back if this is not what we want to do.


1, Wikipedia is not the only site that comes up on google search ... LOL

2, I never said to use Charlemagne as just his name... Charles I ( in any language ) was his BIRTH NAME! NO LAST NAME

3, Imperator Augustus Romanum gubernans Imperium WAS the title Charles used. It means ( Most serene Augustus crowned by God, great peaceful emperor governing the empire of the Romans)


I also brought up the question regarding ""Rex Francorum & Imperator Romanorum""" because it is incorrect. You can argue with me all you want.

Even Wikipedia has the Latin name

""KAROLVS IMP AVG (Karolus Imperator Augustus) (Latin)"""

I don't understand where """Rex Francorum & Imperator Romanorum""" came from, but if you all want to be politely correct or "as close to his real name "... then get rid of his title all together.. He was not born with it. How hard is that to understand ?
Either get it right or lose it .. your choice

Dorothy, we don't know his birth name. No one does. T he only contemporary evidence is the Latin form of a name we presume was his birth name. I wish I could convince you to look outside the secondary sources to the actual evidence. You would see a great variety of forms and usages. Charlemagne and others of his time were not consistent. There is not just a single authoritative usage.

Moreover, as I said above, there is an important difference between titles and styles. This might seem like a minor point if you don't have experience working with medieval documents but in fact it's the beginning point for getting a real understanding of why usages are so varied.

Wikipedia is a good source. Heraldica is a good source. Fordham is a good source. (I took some of my medieval history classes at Fordham.) But, I think you do not realize you are bringing simplistic, written for mass consumption sources to a higher level discussion.

You want to argue that "serenissimus Augustus a Deo coronatus, magnus pacificus Imperator Romanorum gubernans Imperium" is a title, when really it's a style formulated around the title "Imperator Romanorum" (for which you think there is no evidence.)

If you need a good academic citation for the problem of usage, see Jennifer R. Davis, Charlemagne's Practice of Empire (Cambridge Univ. Pr., 2015) -- "In Rome at the very end of 800, Charlemagne became an emperor, heir to centuries of Roman traditions. Yet, despite his assumption of the imperial office in 800, Charlemagne continued o use the title rex Francorum throughout his life. Unlike his son Louis the Pious who more consistently styled himself emperor, Charlemagne remained both rex and imperator. Moreover, the precise titles used to refer to Charlemagne were not consistent, and neither the requirements of particular genres nor change over time can fully account for the variations. The one exception, the one title used persistently throughout the reign, is rex Francorum. This is not just a matter of language, but raises some essential questions about how Charlemagne and his court understood his rule and about developments over time during the reign." (pp. 347-48)

When a source like Wikipedia says "At Mass, on Christmas Day (25 December), when Charlemagne knelt at the altar to pray, the Pope crowned him Imperator Romanorum ("Emperor of the Romans") in Saint Peter's Basilica", or when Heraldica says "Leo III bestowed on him the title of Imperator", they (and the scholarship on which they base those statements) are integrating a wide variety of forms and evidences from charters, necrologies, diplomatic correspondence, etc.)

For example, Charlemagne's biographer Einhard says "he received the titles of Emperor and Augustus" (Quo tempore imperatoris et augusti nomen accepit). You want to argue this is a single title (IMP AVG) based on a coin illustrated at Wikipedia. But experts notice that Einhard says explicitly they are two titles. They look at other usages of both titles, in Charlemagne's time, and earlier and later, to get a cultural context. In fact, the inscription KAROLVS IMP AVG stands for "Karolus Imperator et Augustus.

Experts will also notice how carefully Einhard says only "Imperator" and not "Imperator Romanorum". Later in the same passage he says, "Invidiam tamen suscepti nominis, Romanis imperatoribus super hoc indignantibus, magna tulit patientia (Even so, he very patiently bore the scorn shown by the Roman emperors for him assuming these titles, which they took very ill.)

If you don't know the diplomatic background here, you might miss the elegance of Einhard's phrasing. In the beginning stages of the dispute the Pope and Charlemagne) argued that Pope had the authority to appoint and crown an Imperator Romanorum and that Charlemagne was qualified to have the title in part because the Franks belonged to the same gens (people, tribe) as the Romans. In the end, the emperor in Constantinople agreed to recognize Charlemagne as Imperator but not as Imperator Romanorum. Einhard captures this beautifully when he says Charlemagne accepted the titles Imperator and Augustus, but the Roman Emperors were angry. Einhard is writing after these events, knowing Charlemagne failed to secure recognition as Imperator Romanorum.

I'm good to remove the Romanorum, if you think that's better, Justin.

Sharon, I'm pretty much an agnostic on Imperator or Imperator Romanorum. The debate shows how subjective history can be. Charlemagne thought he was Imperator Romanorum (and Augustus). The Byzantine Emperor disagreed. For the sake of diplomacy Charlemagne was careful where and how he employed the title. Within his own kingdom he pulled out the full display. Internationally, he was more circumspect (though not afraid to press his arguments).

We could, of course, always rename Anglo-Saxon Kings "Beloved" or "Darling" ("dryhtan") since that is how they were addressed. And I rather like calling Edgar "Emperor of the United Nations" "cunctarum nationum" since that is how he styles himself in one charter (partially forged, perhaps, but the preamble seems correct)


LOL. Mark, you can't know how much I wish I had thought of that analogy. You've made the point more effectively in a few short lines than I did with a page of preaching.

So, it's 'Beloved Charlemagne' then? :-)

as to Romanorum - they do say that history is just that which your peers will let you get away with saying :-)

Sharon Where do you get your information from?

First of all Charles Martel , Martel literally means "a small hammer" I've spent the last few days watching and reading up on him and other family members . Charles kept the nick name "the hammer" after defeating the Islamic advance.

Secondly.. His wife as you have it on Geni "Rotrude" Did in fact have known parents, but you have them as unknown. Why?

There are two possibility's for her father...

1 Saint Leudwinus, Count of Treves
2,_Count_of_Hesbaye Lambert, Count of Hesbaye

Perhaps they are the same person I'm not quite sure of this. Maybe on the French or German Wikipedia sites it may even show up differently. I never checked.

As for the discussion regarding my claim that his title was Imperator Augustus Romanum gubernans .... It was even stamped on his coins
Maybe his BIRTH title was "Rex Francorum & Imperator Romanorum" I am not quite sure of this either. And in that case leave it as is as posted.

BTW Charles Martel was the illegitimate son of Alpaide of Austrasia his fathers "Pepin II of Herstal" second wife


Alpaida (also Alphaida, Alpoïde, Elphide, Elfide, Chalpaida; ca. 654 – ca. 714) was a noblewoman of the House of Pepin, who hailed from the Liège area.[1][2] The daughter of Alberic of Austrasia and Adèle of Poiters, she was Pepin II's (635 or 640 – December 16, 714) second wife and mother to two sons, Charles Martel (Charles the Hammer) (d. October 22, 741) and Childebrand (678–751).[3]

You also have written on his profile page that Charles was a just "Mayor of the Palace" but he was born Duke and Prince of the Franks . Mayor of the Palace was a title given to him later on in life.

If you want to use Latin within there names read this

He was not born Duke and Prince of the Franks. It's a title he gave himself.

I'm the one who made that change, and I've expected a discussion. On Geni we "normally" use only the highest title. It's an encyclopedic convention to avoid listing every title and rank.

In this case there is an interesting question of subjective interpretation. Which is the higher title? Mayor of the Palace? Or Duke and Prince of the Franks?

As Mayor of the Palace he was effectively regent for the Merovingian kings, as his father before him. As Duke and Prince of the Franks he was what we would now call Commander in Chief of the Frankish army. (Remember, "Duke" and "Prince" did not have the meaning then that we now assign to them.)

Before I edited the fields for consistency, they were a mishmash. Some of the language tabs using one title, some using the other, and some using both. I don't think that is a good implementation of the multi-language feature.

It would be just as easy to swap out Mayor of the Palace for Duke and Prince -- if everyone likes that better.

On the ancestry of Rotrude --

Dorothy, please take time to read the profile before you start weighing in. Rotrude's profile clearly documents the reasons her parents are unknown. Her parents are not attested in contemporary sources. There are five different theories. There is no agreement among experts. Ergo, unknown.

Dorothy, please read the Curator notes on profiles, and consult the Discussions and projects in this area for sources we have used before you post.

Your point about the translation of Martel appears to contradict nothing that has been said in this discussion, although your disparaging tone suggests that you think it does?

Rotrude has a clear Curator Note.

I'm getting a little tired of your public and private insults and then private retractions and apologies, so I'm going to step away from responding to you here.

Dorothy, it's clear you would be more comfortable with a dumbed-down version. I don't think Geni is the right site for you. I think you would be more comfortable with a site where you can have your own version and not have to trouble with the inconvenient opinions of experts. There are many people here who are happy to donate time to help users come up to speed, but if you want to use poor secondary sources to keep arguing even after getting an explanation, I don't see what benefit you are getting.

Thanks for weighing in on Charles Martel's names, Justin. I understood what you'd done with the title and was fine with it, so didn't comment.

Re =in this case there is an interesting question of subjective interpretation. Which is the higher title? Mayor of the Palace? Or Duke and Prince of the Franks?
As Mayor of the Palace he was effectively regent for the Merovingian kings, as his father before him. As Duke and Prince of the Franks he was what we would now call Commander in Chief of the Frankish army. (Remember, "Duke" and "Prince" did not have the meaning then that we now assign to them.)=

That's an interesting Discussion - whichever one we decide is more useful (I'd go for Mayor as being the most well known), it would be good to have this info available in a Discussion from his profile or on the Overview.

Sharon, I'll be content either way although I have a personal preference for Mayor of the Palace because it emphasizes continuity with his predecessors. Also, I think (as you say) it is more familiar to more people. The result of generations of historiography and pedagogy. Finally, I see Mayor of the Palace as reflecting his civil authority while Duke and Prince is just a chapter in his life, albeit one that helped ease his descendants onto the throne.


I agree, Justin Durand and Sharon Doubell -- Mayor of the Palace.

Please do not insult my intelligence!

I am NOT the one wanting.....


Sharon Doubell C

10/14/2016 at 3:34 AM

"""The profile name is an attempt to get as close an approximation of names from the time as we can. """""

That was what you decided to do. It's not mandatory on this sites or written as a rule
That is what YOU ALL as Curators want.

I have been a member for Geni since 2008 , I have see all these same profiles many , many times over the years.... You and Sharon made these changes this year.

It's you that are making more trouble than what it's worth with the name changes NOT ME!

You say I use " poor secondary sources to keep arguing " LMAO ... WOW unbelievable .

From what I can gather from reading profile information on profiles managed by some of you.

Are you aware that the majority of that information came from Wikipedia and many other sources? ......Obviously NOT!

My sources come from history books and many other sites from all over the internet.


You cant distinguish """ birth from Political titles""" nor can you do any research past this site ",%20Kings.htm#_ftn84"

News flash... there are many other sources to use.

FYI ....THIS IS NOT MY PRIMARY SITE TO BUILD MY FAMILY TREE and for good reason. Geni is very inaccurate on many levels. I can point out many blunders ( not that you'd listen to me) that I've come across on this site. Explain how a father is the son of his own son? Yes that's what on this site many times over. That in it's self messes up the relationship calculations no?. Or how someone born in the mid 800s has a an aunt born in mid 600's

All I asked in the beginning of this discussion was....

Dorothy Jane Smid PRO

10/13/2016 at 9:58 PM
Report | Delete

Whats with the name "Karolus 'Magnus' Roi des Francs, Rex Francorum & Imperator Romanorum" ?

He was either called ....

Charlemagne (Latin: Carolus Magnus, English: Charles the Great, German: Karl der Große, Dutch: Karel de Grote) or he was most commonly known as "Charlemagne
HOLY ROMAN EMPEROR" or KIng Charlemagne

There are over 1005 Managers on just Charlemagne profile anlong . Have you even thought to as them what should be posted as his name NO!!!!! it's just what Sharon and Justin want.

Jean Paul Ancey added his profile on January 25, 2007 Did you discus with that person what he should be called... NO!!!! you just took it upon yourselves to change it to what ever makes you two feel better. There is NO disusing anything with you two. It's either your way or no way from what I can read.

Sad thing is It didn't need changing at all.

Just my 2 cents so please feel free to ignore ...

1) I'm using this site as a learning tool and appreciate ACCURACY; and

2) I don't believe we should change anyone's name for the times or ease of use ... how would I learn if that were the case?

Could one of you curators that manage this profile please fix some possible mistaken identity merge?

Charles MP 100

French: Charles, le Chauve


June 13, 823
Frankfurt, Darmstadt, Hesse, Germany

October 6, 877 (54)
Mont Cenis, Brides-les-Bains, Savoie, Rhone-Alpes, France (Died while crossing the pass of Mont Cenis)

Place of Burial:
Basilica Cathedral of Saint Denis, Saint-Denis, Seine-Saint-Denis, Île-de-France, France

Immediate Family:

Son of Louis I, The Pious and Judith of Bavaria
Husband of Adelaide De Tours; Alpais; Ermentrude of Orléans, queen of the Franks and Richildis Richaut d'Ardennes, de Provence
Father of Judith, countess of Flanders; Louis II "the Stammerer", king of the West Franks; Lucretia van West-Francië; Gisela; Godelhide of the Holy Roman Empire and 16 others
Brother of Adelaide De Tours and Gisela of Cysoing, daughter of Louis and Judith
Half brother of Emperor Lothair I; Pépin I, king of Aquitaine; Berta; Hildegarde d'Aquitaine, Abbesse de Saint-Jean-de-Laon; Louis II, 'The German'; Adelaide De Tours; Rotrude, daughter of Louis I the Pious and Ermengard; Arnoul and Alpaïs de Paris, Abbesse de St-Pierre de Reims « less

How can Alpais; Ermentrude of Orléans, queen of the Franks born 635 died 714 BE WIFE OF Charles II "the Bald", Western Emperor ??????

It's been made MP status by Sharon Doubell .. would you mind kindly and fix this as curator of her profile?

I am just trying to find some questionable mistakes and pointing them to you .. It may have been merged by mistake. There are more like this but I will bring that up with the profile managers at a later date.

Please provide a link to the specific profile.

Never mind. I found it. You are talking about Alpais

The profile has been hosed by an enthusiastic user. I undid the merge, which corrected some but not all of the problems it introduced. Geni is temporarily preventing me from making further corrections. I'll give the system some time to catch up.

In the future when you see a problem like this, I suggest you do not jump in and start making unwarranted accusations. Instead, start a discussion ***from the profile*** to ask for help fixing it. This is exactly why we have curators.

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