This is an novel book. The Age of Charlemagne is the watershed of the history of the present era. The rough barbarian flood that poured over Western Europe reaches in that age a turning point of which Charlemagne is eminently the incarnation. The primitive physical features of the barbarian begin to be blunted, or toned down by a new force that has lain latent in him, but that only then begins to step into activity--the spiritual, the intellectual powers. The Age of Charlemagne is the age of the first conflict between the intellectual and the brute in the principal branches of the races that occupied Europe. The conflict raged on a national scale, and it raged in each particular individual. The colossal stature, physical and mental, of Charlemagne himself typifies the epoch. Brute instincts of the most primitive and savage, intellectual aspirations of the loftiest are intermingled, each contends for supremacy--and alternately wins it, in the monarch, in his court and in his people.