The European identity

As the European Union continues to struggle somewhat to create a sense of Europe-wide identity and solidarity, it may be helpful from time to time to look into European history. Today, October 9, is a key date in that respect: on this day in 768 Carolus Martel was crowned King of the Franks (initially as joint ruler with his brother, Carloman), and in the course of his reign he expanded his kingdom’s ambitions and influence, until on Christmas Day in 800 he was crowned Imperator Romanorum (Emperor of Rome) by Pope Leo III. He became known as Charlemagne, or Karl der Große (Charles the Great).

Charlemagne is viewed historically as having founded royal dynasties of France, Germany and the Holy Roman Empire. He united people of different languages and nations. He created a new economic order and established a reformed administration, and during his rule there was a major cultural renaissance. He was also an educational reformer.

It is sometimes suggested that the hesitancy of the modern European project is due to the greyness of its ambitions: an efficient economic order and appropriate levels of competition. It may be easier to capture people’s imagination with a more varied programme and a greater sense of history and culture. The reign of Charlemagne would not be a bad place to start.

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4 Comments on “The European identity”

  1. Vincent Says:

    Well why not go back a bit further and centre it on the La Tene culture of the Celts. There are one hell of a lot more cultural references to support this move that one sitting in Aachen and based on the ethnic-cleansing Franks.

  2. Iainmacl Says:

    Alhhough some may have to overcome prejudices. See the maps at the bottom of this article, for example.

  3. Al Says:

    No Founding Fathers
    No Federalist or Anti Federalist papers
    No Declarations

    Having read the Gestang Constitution and its veneration of history, it seems inevitable that the project will fail.
    History is our burden here.

  4. anna notaro Says:

    Ferdinand is right to recall that Charlemagne was an educational reformer, education is exactly the field we should cultivate in order to move closer to a European-wide sense of understanding and solidarity, as educators the future of the european project rests much on our shoulders!

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