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  • Print publication year: 2020
  • Online publication date: June 2020

10 - Leo III and Charlemagne


One of the very last acts of a century that had witnessed so much change in Rome took place in the church of Saint Peter’s on 25 December 800, namely the coronation of Charlemagne as ‘emperor of the Romans’, although what precisely that phrase was intended to mean is not specified.1 Perhaps most importantly, the ceremony was performed by the pope, establishing a practice that would endure for a millennium. In political terms, the transition from the old order was now fully complete: the bishops of Rome had emerged victorious.