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On His Death Bed
It is about 7 AM in the dawn bathed, green hills of Aachen. The Emperor of the Franks, Charlemagne, is lying in his bed dying of pleurisy. He fell ill seven days ago and has since taken to his bed, and withered to a weak, weak man. He once stood incredibly tall and great for his time, at 6' 2". His presence frightened people, which allowed for him to become a great king, and rule over great lands.
Last Year, knowing his end will soon come, Charles the Great called his son Louis the Pious to his throne. There Louis was made co-emperor with a crown set upon his head by Charlemagne himself. After that Louis was sent back to Aquitaine and Charlemagne spent the fall hunting. In January he returned to Aachen ill and depressed about his future.
To Charlemagne, this final moment, in late January of 814, was his last. He would never see his son or his empire ever again. Darkness and eternal sleep was waiting for him. One more breath, he thought, and he'd die. How he was severely mistaken.
On Christmas 814 Charlemagne held lands from Spain to Poland, and from Denmark to Italy. He had recovered greatly and is in great shape for 72. His son helps him in battle too. He is now dealing with the decision to push north into Britannia or to defend his lands from Ummayads in Spain. Before we get into all of that, let's see a timeline from his recovery to now.
January 28, 814- Charlemagne dies of pleurisy.
January 29- Charlemagne survives his illness.
January 30- He talks for the first time
February 2- He takes a horse ride around Aachen.
February 6- Charlemagne makes plans to push into Spain.
March 15- Charlemagne rides on horseback with his men into north eastern Spain. After a six week conquest he claims a good chunk of Spain.
June 26- Charlemagne claims undeveloped land in Prussia and Denmark, as he fancies the green and forested environment.July 10- Charlemagne and his son Louis meet again for the first time after his illness. Charlemagne decides to take Normandy and Brittany in France.
July 12- Charlemagne quickly rides into Brittany and claims the land. He meets small opposition by Pagan tribes.
September 11- Charlemagne pushes down into Italy, easily absorbing the papal states with Leo's permission. He meets small Lombard forces near Rome but dispatches them as quickly as the pagans.
September 30- Leo falls from his horse on a casual ride near Milan. He is injured severely.
October 1- Charlemagne sends a doctor to aid Leo.
October 7- Despite the doctors best efforts, Leo dies of blood loss and infection.
November 30- Charlemagne celebrates his 72nd birthday.
Britannia and Spain
On January 28, 815 (a year after Charlemagne dies in OTL) the still alive Charlemagne and is sailing towards the lands of England. He wants to establish a city when he gets there, maybe a trading post also. He left his son in charge of defending Spain, as the Ummayad force was growing stronger and stronger there. Luckily Luois was well prepared and armed and was able to push the Muslims away from central Spain in late April.
January 30, 815- Charlemagne and 50 men reach Kent in England.
February 4- Charlemagne sets out north into Britannia.
February 5- Louis defends Biscay from advancing Ummayads.
February 15- Charlemagne reaches an abandoned Londinium.
March 6- Charlemagne officially claims the lands of southern England, as authorized by the Documento Edinburgi.
March 31- Louis advances in Spain and claims the central region of Badajoz.
April 19- Charlemagne returns to Aachen.
April 29- Louis advances again into southern Spain.
April 30- May 6- The Ummayads lead a siege into Louis's fort in Granada. After a long, bloody battle Louis succeeds and captures Granada.
The Balkans and Eastern Europe
June 12 is the day that Charlemagne and his son lead their men into the Byzantine Empire. This empire is what remains of the long-gone Roman Empire, which expired almost 400 years previous. In the 800's, Byzantium still holds Anatolia, Greece, and Egypt.
June 12, 815- Charlemagne and Louis venture into the Balkans.
June 30- Charlemagne establishes a colony in Albania
July 4- Louis travels down into mountainous, dry Greece.
July 14- Louis establishes a trading post near Athens.
August 8- Charlemagne travels into Athens to meet Byzantine Emperor Leo V.
September 31- Charlemagne builds many schools and clinics around eastern Europe and in Byzantium.
October 7- Charlemagne lends 200 soldiers to Leo V.
October 21- Charlemagne returns to Aachen with his son, his year long campaign successful.
Most historians consider the 1400s to be the start of the great Renaissance. A revival of the arts, music, and education, as well as health, science, and astronomy. Before this time period, Europe experienced an almost thousand year period of dark intellectual people and conscious. This was known as the Dark Ages.
When Charlemagne was young, he created many schools and clinics, creating his own Carolingian Renaissance. But when he died, so did his Renaissance, and Europe drifted back into stupidity for another 600 years.
That was in our timeline.
But because Charlemagne never died in 814, he carried on to create many schools, universities, libraries, clinics, and towns.Let's go to the year 825: Charlemagne is growing old, at 83, but still is very healthy due to numerous medical advancements. He holds a happy, unified empire from Spain to Ukraine, and from Scandinavia to Crimea.
From the years 815 to 825, Charlemagne built many, many, many schools throughout Europe and Byzantium. The schools taught history, geography, science, anatomy, Latin, English, French, and German. He also built clinics. Not only did these places give a wealth of medicines, treatments and education to people, it also gave them jobs and an income. No longer were people glued to feudal lords, not knowing of the world around them. There was a growth in population and population growth. Before Charlemagne people lived to an average of 45 years, but in 825 they lived an average of 79 years.
Many cities like Paris and London, Cologne and Aachen, had a growing population, destined to reach hundreds of thousands of people.
Along with the revival of the arts and education, advances in security and protection came along too. Before Charlemagne, many people relied on feudal lords to protect them and shield them from thieves, murderers, and assassins. Knights came along to do work for lords, but they were frequently caught not doing their job.
In OTL Leo V is assassinated in 820 by supporters of one of his generals. But with the widespread guard system in our timeline, Custodes pacis, Leo V was saved as the plot was foiled and his general and the supporters were executed in Constantinople.
The guard system was set up in a network of stations and houses all over Europe, England, and Byzantium. Many people began to feel safer and started to move away from their feudal lords, and some became guards.