Saturday, January 1, 2000

"Charlemagne's Correct Place in History"

Original document (.pdf) [], intro ( []

- Page breaks are not included on this page, please refer to the original document for page numbers.
- Notes by the author are marked in parentheses with initials GH (Gunnar Heinsohn), as presented in the original document.
- Highlights in red and/or bold are as placed by the author Gunnar Heinsohn.


Thesis -
For nearly a quarter century, Charlemagne’s very existence has been called into doubt by the Illig-school of chronology criticism. This challenge to Charlemagne’s historicity is based on the fact that archaeological strata for his Franks, as well as for their Saxon arch-enemies, are extremely difficult to locate. Therefore, mainstream historians cannot present convincing archaeological proof for keeping Charlemagne in the history books. Neither, however, can the experts rule out Europe's most famous monarch because hard evidence in the form of coins does exist. These coins are sometimes surprising because they may be found lumped together with Roman coins that are 700 years older. The coins also show Germanic rulers crowned with Roman imperial diadems. The dissidents who deny Charlemagne’s existence and the mainstream historians who defend it are therefore locked in a stalemate. Because, beyond all their disagreements, they share two profound convictions: (1) One must not search for Charlemagne within the Roman period. (2) The classical Roman period precedes the events of the Ottonian period of the later 10th century by a lengthy expanse of time. Yet, immediately beneath strata of the mid-10th c. stratigraphy shows the Roman period coming to a catastrophic end. It is in that Roman period of the 8th-10th c., currently dated to the 1st-3rd c. or to the 4th-6th CE, where hard evidence of Carolingians, Franks, Saxons etc. is plentiful and where their Roman iconography and art makes sense. Charlemagne blossoms in the later 9th c. and dies at the beginning of the 10th c. CE in a millennium of whose 1000 years only some 300 - at any individual site - can provide building strata in the ground.

- I. Charlemagne’s residence at Ingelheim of the 8th/9th c. CE in Roman design of the 1st/2nd c. CE
- II. Three Questions: Is it correct to claim that Charlemagne never existed? Does Charlemagne’s residence at Ingelheim belong
in the 8th/9th c. or 5th/6th c. CE? Or is it a building of the Roman period that, everywhere, must be dated 700 years later?
- III. Did Pepin infect his son, Charlemagne, with his passion for everything Roman? Did Pepin even live in the Roman era?
- IV. Saxons as arch-enemies of the Carolingians, did they roam in Roman period strata, too? 43
- Summary
- Bibliography

Thanks for editorial help go to Clark Whelton (New York). Suggestions also came from Jan Beaufort (Bielefeld), Forrest Bishop (Seattle), Ewald Ernst (Horn), Peter Mikolasch (Wien), Frank Wallace (Toronto), and Peter Winzeler (Bern/Biel).


Part I. Charlemagne’s Residence at Ingelheim of the 8th/9th c. CE in Roman Design of the 1st/2nd c. CE.

Charlemagne (“768-814” CE) is the most towering and intensively researched figure in all of European history. Yet, even today he still surprises even the most erudite scholars of history and archaeology. Historians are convinced that he was made Imperator Augustus on Christmas day in “800” CE. Archaeologists would not dare to deviate from that sanctified number by even one week.
Location of Ingelheim in Germany, maps from [], []

However, in the most comprehensive excavations of a Carolingian residence, the palace at Ingelheim (occupied from the 8th to the 10 th c. CE), they are staggered by a building complex that – down to the water supply, and up to the roofing – was “based on antique designs” (Research 2009), and, therefore, appears to be a reincarnation of 700-year-older Roman outlines from the 1st to 3rd c. CE.
Confirmed Carolingian parts (red) of the Ingelheim complex (145 x 110 m) of
8th to 10th c. CE built in the style of a Roman villa of the 1st to 3rd c. CE.
The 10th c. Ottonian church, built after damage had been inflicted on the Carolingian residence, is shown in blue. Diagram from ( [].

Roman style Ingelheim building complex projected on the modern town. []

The archaeological team active at Ingelheim's Carolingian palace (dated to the 8th-10th c. CE) is stunned by this re-creation of a 700 year earlier Roman design. Its general layout, as reconstructed by the excavators, and the juxtaposition of the buildings, are similar to Roman villa and palace architecture. It is “typified by a semicircular building and a royal hall built on the model of antique basilicas. […] A 7-kilometre-long water channel built in the Roman style served to supply the water. […] The architecture and architectural sculpture show the influence of antique predecessors” (see Early Middle Ages 2009).

Charlemagne “began two palaces of beautiful workmanship - one near his manor called Ingelheim, not far from Mayence; the other at Nimeguen, on the Waal“ (Einhard, The Life of Charlemagne,, [] )

Reconstructions (after the most recent excavations) of the Ingelheim villa (8th-10th c.CE) in 1st-3rd c. CE Roman style, from ( [], and ( []

No less Roman in appearance than the general complex, Ingelheim’s basilica was even adorned with Egyptian porphyry marble: “The Aula regia is a large, rectangular single-nave building [6.5 m x 40.5 m; GH] / Of the precious furnishings 3,000 fragments of painted plaster from the walls have been discovered, as well as marble and porphyry floor slabs, which once were part of a geometrically shaped and decorative floor (Opus sectile). […] [This] throne hall in Ingelheim is in the tradition of antique and late antique palatial aula (Aula regia 2009). Its roof was covered with “tiles formed in the ancient Roman way” (Geißler 2014).

A reconstruction of Ingelheim’s Roman style Aula regia, regarded as a sensation for being the only such building of the 800s CE (apart from Aachen). Image from ( []

Reconstruction of the apsis in Ingelheim’s Roman style Aula regia.  Image from ( []

Ingelheim’s most sensational Roman building, of course, is the 89m-wide exedra: “The semicircular building clearly shows the significance of antique models for the Carolingian building plan. This building by Charlemagne is the only one of its kind in medieval architecture” (Semicircular 2009).

Reconstructon of Charlemagne’s Aachen residence (outline resembles a 2nd c. Roman villa succeeding a slightly earlier building stage) with an equally Roman style Aula regia (“Königshalle“) of the Ingelheim type. Like the Ingelheim residence, the Aachen residence, too, puts Charlemagne in a Roman context. Like in Ingelheim, the church (“Pfalzkapelle“) is a post-catastrophic building because it cuts across a Roman ruin underneath. The chapel was probably built by Theudebert I [533ff.=post-930s] with the gold funds received from Justinian, as well as from his Gothic foes, Heinsohn 2012a). It sits on the ruins of a Roman bath that (again like Ingelheim’s Roman style residence) had suffered serious damage (Schaub 2010, 28). Image from ( [].

Octagon at Aachen (dark grey) cuts across the ruins of one of the Roman baths of Aquis grana. The massive parts of the Roman foundations underneath the octagon have been partly repaired to stabilize the new floor. There is no doubt that the octagon chapel is later than the villa compound. The author has suggested Theudebert I (533-547), ruling after the Carolingians, as the chapel’s paymaster (Heinsohn 2012a). Aachen’s buildings of the Roman period, therefore, provide the only possible living space for Charlemagne. Underneath the Octagon Frankish tombs were found indicating too that Aachen’s Roman period provides the only option for accomodating the Carolingian period.
Herberge = Guest haus (mansio). Münsterthermen = Roman hotbath of unknown name under Octagon. Map from ( []

The interior of the Ingelheim exedra was partitioned into six halls. Six towers adorned the exterior. On the inside “was a colonnnade with antique and antique-like decoration” (Semicircular 2009). How could an antique hall be built in the 9th c. CE? Moreover, how could Charlemagne dare to leave all this splendour unprotected? Like a Roman villa really dating from the 2nd and not from the 9th c. CE, the “Carolingian building of the Kaiserpfalz in Ingelheim was not fortified. Nor was it built on a naturally protected site, which was usually necessary and customary when building castles” (Fortifications 2009). It was as if Charlemagne did not understand the vagaries of his own period, and was behaving like a senator still living in the Roman Empire. He insisted on Roman rooftiles but forgot the defenses. Was he not just great but also insane?

Reconstruction of Roman style Exedra (semi-circular building measuring 89 m across), regarded as a sensation for being the only such building of the 800s CE. Image from ( [].

Reconstruction of the Ingelheim building complex with the Exedra’s exterior. Image from ( [], more info about the artist [] [].

Emperor Nero (54-68 CE) had many exedrae incorporated in his Domus Aurea complex. No wonder an exedra of Emperor Traianus (98-117) at his famous Roman market was seen as the inspiration for Charlemagne’s exedra some 700 years later (Rauch 1960, 9). Closer to Ingelheim, of course, is the exedra (135m wide as opposed to Ingelheim’s 89 m wide) in Cologne’s 2nd c. Roman period. It, too, was proposed (Schütte 2000, 204) as an inspiration for Charlemagne’s complex with the aula opposite the exedra. Exedra of Traianus market (98-117) seen as inspiration for Charlemagne’s exedra 700 years later. Photograph from ( [].

Exedra on Cologne’s Roman period forum [2nd c. CE]. Image from ( []

What fits perfectly into 1st/2nd c. CE centers of major Roman cities or, on a smaller scale, villas of the wealthy in the Roman countryside (see Villa dei Quintili below), does look completely out of place in the 8th/9th c. of the barbarian Middle Ages 700 years later.
Villa dei Quintili of the 150s/160s CE (expropriated by Commodus in 182 CE). Ruins with exedra (front). Image from (

Arrangement of columns in Ingelheim’s exedra that are dated 8th/9th but also 2nd c. CE. Image from ( [].

Yet, the confusion does not end there. Ingelheim’s excavators not only believe that a classical design was adopted 700 years later, they also see genuine 700-year-old Roman columns, capitals, floor slabs, architravs etc. from the 2nd c. re-used by Charlemagne. (Grewe 1999a, 100 ff.). That’s why they report “antique and antique-like decoration” (Semicircular 2009). It is time to ask why the Ingelheim complex is not dated right away to the 1st-3rd c. CE? “The historical sources describe the venue as a ‘villa’, whereas the document from 807 confirmed the status as ‘... Inghilinhaim palatio nostro’. The itinerary of Louis the Pious shows that he stayed there 10 times between 817 and 840, including five imperial assemblies and four receptions for envoys” (Early Middle Ages 2009). It is true that written sources are sometimes untrustworthy. But why would someone mention Ingelheim together with Charlemagne or Louis the Pious if they had no relation with that place? Therefore, a Charlemagne gold coin found in 1996 was seen as a welcome confirmation of the written material. Yet, it also caused surprise by the imperial diadem worn by Charles making him look like a junior partner of Rome.

D(ominus) N(oster) KARLUS IMP(erator) AUG(ustus) REX F(rancorum) ET L(angobardorum). ARELATO (Mint ARLES). GOLD-SOLIDUS found 1996 at Ingelheim.
Photos from ( []

Although Ingelheim’s gold solidus is – so far – the single piece of its kind, nobody doubts the minting of Carolingian coins in Arelato (Arles).
CARLUS REX FR[ANCORUM]. Reverse with ARELATO (for mint in Arles)
Photos from ( []

More important than the Carolingian coins from Arles (Arelato) found at Ingelheim and elsewhere is the uncontested continuation of the Ingelheim villa by Ottonians, the regnal successors of the Carolingians, in the 10th century. If they did not hesitate to use a Roman-looking Ingelheim as a residence, why should their predecessors – chronologically even closer to ancient Rome – have rejected it? It is true that some destruction must have happened in the early 10th c. CE when the Carolingian dynasty came to an end. Thus the continuation follows after some serious event that is not mentioned in the sources. That conflagration required extensive repairs that were accompanied by the erection of a new church: “Numerous findings indicate renovation to and extension of the Pfalz buildings in the 10th century. Dendochronical tests show that the felling date of the wooden scaffolding in the king’s hall was in the second half of the 10th century, probably 986.6 To the east of the king’s hall a single-nave church was built – now the Saalkirche” (see Early Middle Ages 2009).
To summarize, the archaeologists agree that Ingelheim gives the appearance of a Roman villa of the first centuries CE that actually belongs to the last centuries of the first millennium CE. Can it get more complicated? One only has to look at the man-made tunnel (6.800 m long; discovered 1847) that has supplied Ingelheim with water (details see Haupt 2007).

Section of Ingelheim’s subterranean water tunnel (discovered in 1847; 6.8 km; 1.1 m interior height) dug out in 1906. Photo from ( [], compare to a recent cut through Ingelheim’s subterranean water tunnel made waterproof by hydraulic Roman mortar, opus signinum. Photo from ( [] which now shows this photo instead at the link [].

This subterranean vaulted structure is 150-170 cm high (interior: 110 cm), and was made waterproof by opus signinum, a special Roman hydraulic mortar of 5 to 20 mm thickness (Haupt 2007). Because of Ingelheim’s sophisticated mortar the author has identied it as a Roman structure early on (Heinsohn 2001a; confirmed also by Illig/Lelarge 2001).
Whereas the villa is seen as an 8th-10th building modeled after a 1st-3rd c. Roman design, its water supply was even attributed to three different periods – Antiquity (Saalwächter 1966, 65 ff.), Late Antiquity (Rauch 1976, 8f.), and Early Middle Ages (C14-dated; Haupt 2007, 188 f.): “This watering system in Ingelheim is a unique technical monument, impressively confirming the traditional engineering feats from the days of ancient Romans to the early Middle Ages“ (Water 2007). Since this marvellous “hydro-technical installation was obviously built in Roman technique, until most recently it was believed that it dates to that period but was later used in the Carolingian period too” (Faul 2010; da die hydrotechnische Anlage augenfällig in römischer Bauweise errichtet wurde, nahm man bis in die jüngere Zeit irrig an, sie müsse aus eben dieser Epoche stammen, eine, die man in karolingischer Zeit weiter benutzt).
Three dates for just one Roman style water tunnel leading to Ingelheim’s villa.
- 1st-3rd c. CE Roman Antiquity.
- 4th-6th c. CE Roman Late Antiquity used again Early Middle Ages of 8th-10th c. CE.
- 8th-10th c. CE Early Middle Ages employing ancient Roman techniques.
Ingelheim’s water tunnel makes three periods appear like just one. Though that may sound bizarre, very learned scholars – by assigning those three periods to the marvellous hydraulic structure – have demonstrated that it is very difficult to tell these three periods apart. In the end it was not C14 dating alone that settled the case for the 8th-10th c. CE. It was the simple absence of any earlier villa – be it 1st-3rd c. CE or 4th-6th c. CE – to which the tunnel could have transported water (Geißler 2012).
Once the excavators were convinced that the Ingelheim villa was not a Roman villa but a villa that only imitated the design, technologies and materials of Roman villas, they had to come up with an explantion of Charlemagne’s strange passion for impressing his contemporaries, who were barely surviving in harsh medieval dwellings, as a second coming of Traianus. That emperor – 700 years earlier – had turned today’s Nijmegen into Ulpia Noviomago where another Charlemagne residence, his second most important secular building, was erected, although in all of Nijmegen’s 1st milleneniu CE only Roman period structures have been found so far.
The Ingelheim experts certainly are aware of the absence of any non-Roman material attributable to Charlemagne. They also know that Nijmegen’s Roman structures are dated to the beginning and not the end of the 1st millennium CE. Yet, they do not budge. They stand by the paradox that they have a genuine Roman villa that only existed in the 8th to 10th c. CE. If, they could add, you want to keep Charlemagne and his Ingelheim residence in the history books you must let him keep his non-medieval but very Roman villa.
The “significance of antique models for the Carolingian building plan“ is seen as an outflow of Charlemagne’s outstanding admiration for the Roman Empire and his determination to recreate it. Because it was the empire’s largest extension in the early 2nd c. CE that he had idealized the most, he could not allow fortifications for his villa. After all, the wealthy villas 700 years earlier also could manage without walls. However, the Ingelheim excavators know very well that their own location does not exhibit earlier (lower) strata with 1st-3rd c. CE Roman structures that experience a second coming higher up in the stratigraphy. Actually, there is not a single site anywhere that provides a sequence that would lend credibility to the concept of a renaissance. It would have to look as follows:
Stratigraphy - neither found at Ingelheim or at any other individual site – required to lend credibility to the concept of a rebirth (renaissance or second coming) of 700 year older classical Roman forms -
- 8th-10th c. CE: Second coming (or renaissance) of a strata sequence with classical Roman buildings.
- 4th- 7th c. CE: Strata sequence without classical Roman buildings of 1st-3rd c. style.
- 1st- 3rd c. CE: Strata sequence with first period of classical Roman buildings.

Of course, there are numerous sites that have strata with classical Roman buildings of the 1st-3rd c. CE. There are sites where such structures are attributed to the 4th-7th c. CE. Moreover, there is one site alone, Ingelheim, where such structures are dated 8th-10th c. CE. Yet, nowhere was ever found a site that exhibits two, not to mention three, periods of some three centuries of which the later would reincarnate the styles of the former (see already Heinsohn 2013 a).
Still, Ingelheim is the most extreme case of a Roman residence started as late as the 8th/9th c. CE. The excavators know about that exalted state. They are not necessarily happy about it because they cannot find, in the same 8th-10th c. period, the villae rusticae (agricultural estates) required for producing food for Charlemagne and his entourage. Villae rusticae, however, are quite plentiful around Ingelheim (Geißler 2011) – nearly all of them buried under the earth. Yet, they are either dated to the 1st-3rd c. or to the 4th- 6th/7th c. CE period. Therefore, it is not really clear how the legendary appetite of the Frankish nobles was satisfied in 8th-10th c. Ingelheim. To solve that problem, one would have to show that lots of lesser aristocrats were inspired by Charlemagne’s daring re-creation of 700 year old techniques. Of course, one would expect some progress in estate building and food production. However, as an homage by proud conservatives to an empire long deceased, Charlemagne would have been pleased by such like-minded folk. Technical progress would have to be foregone. Yet, who would have cared as long as such exquisite traditionalism secured meat for the table.

Part II. Three Questions:
- Is it correct to Claim that Charlemagne Never Existed?
- Does Charlemagne’s Residence at Ingelheim Belong in the 8th/9th c. or 5th/6th c. CE?
- Or is it a Building of the Roman Period that, Everywhere, Must be Dated 700 Years Later?

Not everybody compliments Ingelheim’s excavators for their unique claim that a 1st-3rd c. Roman-style building was re-created by 8th-10th c. Carolingians. Heribert Illig – the most prominent opponent of Charlemagne’s historicity – claims that Ingelheim not only looks Roman but is Roman – although not from the 1st-3rd but from the 4th-7th c. CE. Illig thereby leaves no stratum to accommodate Charlemagne in the 8th/9th c. CE (Illig/Niemitz 1991, Illig 1996; 2011). For Illig, this nearly super-human ruler, along with all Carolingians of the 8th and 9th c. and the timespan of roughly 600-900 CE, are phantoms. The sources referring to Carolingian families and their wars, as well as to their residences at Ingelheim and Nijmegen, are mere fairy tales. Illig will only admit that so far it is not understood for what purpose these stories have been concocted. Yet, there are the coins.


Dominus Noster Karlus Imperator Augustus Rex Francorum et Langobardorum.
( []:
- Obverse: D N KARLVS IMP AVG REX F ET L [Dominus Noster Karlus Imperator Augustus
Rex Francorum et Langobardorum].
- Reverse: XPICTIANA RELIGIO [Christiana Religio].

Of course, one may call all these coins falsifications. Yet, Illig (1996, 152) himself does not negate them all but only terms them “very, very rare“. His most ardent defenders, too, stop short of denial. They may suspect one or two items (one example is shown on next page) as fakes (Zeising 1999). Yet, nobody has dared to label the entire collection of more than 15.000 Carolingian coins, dated between 750 and 924 CE (Depeyrot 1998, 84), as forgeries. The treasure of Fécamp alone, discovered in 1963, contained some 1400 Carolingian pieces (Oberhofer 2013). And even doubts concerning a few pieces have won no serious followers.

Claims of falsification of this item (Zeising 1999) have not convinced numismatic specialists.

- {addition not in original version of this report} []: Obverse of a Charlemagne denier (a silver coin) coined in Frankfurt from 812 to 814, today at the Cabinet des Médailles in Paris.

Mainstream scholars demand that Illig and his defenders provide reasonable explanations for thousands of Carolingian coins found from Norway (Kaupang; Blackburn 2005) or Poland (Truso; Bogucki 2012) down to France. Give us proof for a conspiracy among hundreds of archaelogists who are not even in contact with each other. Who could have hidden numerous coins in settlements, the majority of which had disappeared under soil to be forgotten up to the 19th and 20th centuries? Why would such secretive conspirators forge coins depicting medieval rulers that show portraits of Carolingians in the outfits of Roman emperors with laurel wreaths and imperial togas?

( []:

To answer such questions, Illig’s defenders usually refer to an article written by this author (Heinsohn 2001b) in which he assigned all Carolus coins to the last 18 years of Charles the Simple (879-929), i.e. after Illig’s phantom period from 614-911 CE. The author claimed this last imperial Carolingian as the undisputably genuine ruler after whose deeds all the stories about larger than life Carolus emperors were modelled. Shielding themselves with that theory, the scholars on Illig’s side, then, turn on mainstream scholars with the demand that they show at least one medieval Carolingian castle with dungeon and belfry tower before they would even consider the existence of Carolingians. Here, mainstream, is cornered and cannot provide a satisfactory answer.




( []. Attributed to Sceau de Charles le gros, aka CHARLES THE FAT (878-888). Seal image hardly distinguishable from Charlemagne pieces.

However, this author, correcting flaws in his 2011 article, must come to the defense of mainstream scholars by pointing out that even for Charles the Simple nobody – including Illig and his defenders – can anywhere show a medieval castle with dungeon and belfry, although his huge realm with coins minted from Barcelona (Catalonia) to Bonn (Germany) could have accommodated thousands of such residences. Moreover, why would a 10th c. CE Carolingian ruler present himself in the disguise of a 1st-3rd c. Roman emperor with diadem and imperial toga? Thus, any attempt to negate the uncontestable pro-Carolingian evidence in the form of thousands of Carolingian coins by attributing them to another Charles would automatically turn that ruler, too, into a figure as impressive as Charlemagne requiring his own residences (well seen by Winzeler 2009).
To keep a new towering Charles in the textbooks just to purge them of Charlemagne would end in the same type of joke that Shakespeare’s works were written by a completely different, albeit as yet unknown, person using the same name. Such a doppelgaenger too would require all the material essentials of an uncontestable reality. How can one, because of the absence of architecture attributable to him, eliminate Charlemagne but keep Charles the Simple, who suffers the same shortcomings?
And yet the author has to come to the defense of Illig, too. Of course, there is no way to deny the Carolingian coins or to neutralize them by pushing them all into the pockets of another Charles. But the circumstances in which Carolingian coins are found tell a story that does fit well with the identification of Ingelheim as a Roman, and not a medieval, residence. Carolingian 9th c. coins are, e.g. at Truso (Poland), lumped together with Roman coins 700 years older, and with 700 year older Roman millefiori glass beads (Jagodzinski 2010, 102). Coins of Charlemagne’s son, Louis the Pious (814-840), turned into amulets because of the cross symbol (Jagodzinski 2010, 101, 164), are found at Truso with 2nd c. CE Roman coins of Antoninus Pius (emperor 138-161) and Commodus [emperor 180-192] (Bogucki 2012, 62; see Heinsohn 2014). While at Ingelheim a Roman residence has revealed a Charlemagne coin together with Roman coins (Geißler n y; Mendelssohn 2011), Truso has a Carolingian Louis the Pious coin combined with Roman coins, too. Of course, Roman buildings in the design of the 1st-3rd c. CE cannot be expected east of the Vistula River. However, Roman stone objects of that period have been found at Truso (Szydlowski 2012, 267) together with Roman as well as Carolingian coinage dated some 700 years apart.

Coins of Louis the Pious (778-840), son of Charlemagne.
Gold solidus ( []

XPISTIANA RELIGIO denier, silver, found at Truso (Poland), ( []

Thus, Charles the “Imperial” has plenty of “Romanness” to him. It is highly ironic that the otherwise uttterly antagonistic pro-Charlemagne and contra-Charlemagne scholars agree that, whatever the outcome of their controversy, Carolingians do not belong to the Roman period. They may call the Ingelheim residence an 8th-10th c. copy of a 1st-3rd c. Roman design (mainstream) or a 4th-6th c. Roman original (dissidents). Yet, they will neither look for Carolingians in the imperial epoch of 1st-3rd c. nor in the period that is called Late Antiquity and dated to 4th-6th c. CE. They can only see a non-Roman 8th-10th c. or nothing at all. A Roman 8th-10th century or a Charlemagne living in the Roman period remain absolutely unimaginable.

The obvious Romanness of Carolingian IMP AUG coin portraits remains a stumbling block that neither mainstream nor the Illig dissidents can handle. Of course, mainstream will throw in the famous Restitutio Imperii as the Carolingian rationale. Yet, the other side would justifiably neutralize that view by pointing out that the sudden 9th c. rebirth of 2nd c. Roman high tech sounds deeply implausible since – after that brief flash – one has to wait to the 11th/12th c. Romanesque period or much longer (for cement, hydraulic mortar etc.) to see such innovative features again. They would see their claim confirmed that the architectural splendor of Charelmagne’s 9th c. Ingelheim is Roman through and through, i.e., that there is a phantom period (614-911) between their Late Antiquity’s 6th/7th c. and the 10th c. of the Ottonians.

Signatures of IMP AUG Carolus personae (Heinsohn 2001b) -
- Two signatures of Charlemagne. (Baumann et al. 1965-1968 ; cover ; Hägermann 2000 ; cover)

- Coin signature of Charles the Bald (left) []; Charles the Fat (right) ( []

- Two signatures of Charles the Simple (Lauer 1949, table III.)

A Carolingian Charles in his IMPERATOR AUGUSTUS persona – if he is called Great, Bald, Fat, or Simple – definitely stands for an extraordinary and powerful Carolus. The signatures and coins of the different personae are indistiguishable. Charles the Simple, is therefore, painted as a shamelessly cheap imitator, and, even, an impostor, for claiming Charlemagne’s achievements as his own. In actual fact, one has divided the material belonging to just one person among different rulers, turning them into lookalikes. Therefore, this author still defends his identification of Charles the Simple as one of the alter egos of the one and only IMPERATOR AUGUSTUS, who ruled under the name of Carolus. After all, most of the Carolus emperors supposedly ruling from Rome to the borders of Scandinavia have not left a single image – either on seals or on coins.

Major Carolus rulers that have left not a single image, not to speak of a castle in medieval design.
- CHARLES MARTEL (714-741; Charles of Herstal; Charles the Hammer). So far no image found or even attributed.
- CARLOMAN (741-747; Son of Charles Martel). So far no image found or even attributed.
- CHARLES THE YOUNGER (788-811; son of Charlemagne). So far no image found or even attributed.
- CAROLUS SIMPLEX (898-929) CHARLES THE SIMPLE (THE STRAIGHTFORWARD). So far no image found or even attributed.

CARLUS RE (=Charles King). Attributed to CHARLES THE BALD (843-877). Coin only bears „re“ (rex), i.e. no emperor, title that would also go with a young Charlemagne. ( [].

CARLUS RE (=Charles King). Attributed to CHARLES THE BALD (843-877). Coin only bears „re“ (rex) title that would also go with a young Charlemagne. ( []

The remaining images assigned to Carolus rulers other than Charlemagne may still be challenged and assigned to him, too. Yet, the author has not come to a final view on how many Carolinginan Carolus rulers have to be retained. This essay is focused on the general time span of the Carolingians to establish their environment out of which a detailed historiography can follow. One must not forget that even for the greatest Charles, Charlemagne, we have – apart from Aachen – only one tangible residence. It is the Ingelheim villa that looks like a Roman villa of the first centuries CE, although the excavators insist on a 700 year older copy.

Seal attributed to CHARLES THE BALD (843-877) that might also fit Charlemagne ( []

Seal attributed to CHARLES THE BALD (843-877; (text remade) would also fit Charlemagne. ( []

Portrait of a prince (center) from an illumination on parchment dated to 870 but resembling styles of a century later. It was attributed to Charlemagne but is currently believed to show Charles the Bald. ( [].

The years 825/850 to 930/950 are, if it comes to buildings, even darker than earlier stretches of Carolingian history, as observed long ago by Gregorovius (1988) or Panofsky (1960) . It is in that dubious period that the only extant painted portait (illumination on parchment) of an imperial Charles is dated (to ca. 870 CE). For a long time it was attributed to Charlemagne. Momentarily it is assigned to Charles the Bald. (“Autrefois identifié à Charlemagne. Aujourd'hui identifié généralement plutôt à Charles le Chauve“; []). Many art historians (see prominent examples in Illig 1996, 281-301) have always seen that so-called Carolingian book illuminations are indistinguishable from Ottonian ones beginning, at the earliest, around the 950s CE.
For any of the non-Charlemagne, Carolus Carolingians, nobody even claims the erection of a palace in Roman design, not to speak of a medieval castle with dungeon and belfry. Thus, the more Carolus emperors we want to keep in our history books the more imperial residences we would have to present. We already know that they cannot be found in medieval strata. On the other hand, it is not very probable that they did not command appropriate habitats. The question is where to look for them. Could the netherworld provide an additional clue?
The Franks of the 8th/9th c. are regarded as thoroughly christianised because – after Salian Fanks had converted already before 384 CE – King Chlodwig (466-511) adopted Catholicism in 496 CE. Therefore, excavators recently analysing the contents of 96 Carolingian burials from 86 different locations (dated 751-911, but mostly from the time of Charlemagne and Louis the Pious), were shocked by an extremely widespread practice resembling Charon’s obol. That payment was used as a means of bribing the legendary ferryman for passage across the Styx, the river that divided the world of the living from the world of the dead:
“From the majority of the researched graves in the Carolingian Empire comes only one silver coin , which – if properly recorded – was placed either in the mouth or close to the head or at the hand, and, therefore close to the upper thigh. These single coins were thus found in the typical position of the so-called Charon’s obol that, from antiquity to the late Roman period and may be even into Merovingian times, so that they could pay on their journey to the underworld, Charon the ferryman for the trip across the Styx " (Schulze-Dörrlamm 2012; see also Beaufort 2014).

Extension of Carolingian burials (751-911) containing silver deniers resembling Charon’s obol, and/or smalls sums of many for the afterlife, both practices as pagan, i.e., non-Christian.
(Schulze-Dörrlamm 2012, 343.)

The presence of such a pagan praxis is difficult to accept. The researchers, therefore, postulate that it merely resembles an archaic cult but must not be confused with it because most of the Carolingian coins used for that purpose carry Greek cross symbols.
Of course, cross or no cross, the practice would easily fit the Roman period. Yet there are simply too many centuries between the Carolingians and that distant past. However, scholars are surprised to find ancient Roman bronze coins many centuries later in 8th c. graves excavated in Romania (Schulze-Dörrlamm 2012, 339, footnote 2). Again, nothing can be made of such precious evidence because the placement of Carolingians and their contemporaries into the Roman period just sounds too bizarre to enter anybody’s mind. Who could blame mainstream when, for once, even the dissidents go along?
A sober look at the evidence, however, reveals Roman-style palaces in the Carolingian period. Supposedly, they were copied 700 years later with the clearcut intention of demonstrating a determination to re-create the Roman empire (Restitutio Imperii). The no less archaic Roman burial rites, however, shall not be seen as an expression of admiration for the splendour that had passed so many centuries earlier. Pagan architecture yes, pagan burial practices no. Scholars are confused. On the face of it, Carolingians lived like residents of the Roman period and died like residents of the Roman period. Is there more evidence that they shared the same era? Can Charlemagne’s father, Pepin, provide additional clues to the Romanness of the Carolingians?

Part III. Did Pepin Infect his Son, Charlemagne, with his Passion for Everything Roman? Did Pepin Even Live in the Roman Era?

There have been, so we are told, two Frankish lords by the name of Pepin in the territory of Civitas Tungrorum (roughly the diocese of Liège). Each had a son named Charles. One was Charles Martel, the other Charlemagne. Each Charles waged one war against the Saracens on the French-Spanish border, and ten wars against the Saxons. Only Charlemagne’s ten Saxon wars are dated yearwise (772 [2x], 773, 775, 782 [2x], 783, 789, 792, 804). This author sees both Pepins, as well as both Charles’, as alter egos.

Civitas Tungrorum/Toxandria (Taxandria, Toxiandria etc.): Heartland of Pepin, Lord of Herstal and father of Charlemagne.
Frankish Duchy (919 CE ff.) of Toxandria with Herstal and Jupille (northeast of Liège) ( []

Herstal (northeast of Liège), estate of Pepin, connected in Roman times up to the 230s CE by a stone bridge to Jupille. ( []

Eleven times, between 770 and 784, Charlemagne took residence at Herstal. Against the view of dissidents, this author claims that the existence of at least one Carolingian Pepin as well as at least one Carolingian Charles (Martel/Magne) residing at Herstal is beyond doubt. The two were real, and so were their coins. Yet, the Illig school, with all due right, insists that at least one brick or column must be attributable to at least one Pepin building at Herstal or elsewhere else.

Father, Pepin of Herstal:
( []

Son, Charlemagne: CAROLUS R [EX F [RANCORUM] []

The search for habitats of the Pepins’ (if there were two such kings) and their sons named Charles (if there were two of them) around Herstal has been extensive. After all, already in the 7th century the name of Herstal (also Héristal) had been bestowed upon Pepin, making him Pippinus, Lord of Héristal. He is believed to have served as maior domus (mayor of the palace) under the Merovingian Frankish king Theuderic (counted as the third king of that name and dated 675-691). Pepin had chosen the Herstal site as his family’s main residence because it was strategically located between cities that had been of major importance since Roman times, Tongeren (Atuatuca Tungrorum), Maastricht (Mosae Traiectum), and Liège (Leodicum). The result of all the research, however, disappointed everybody: “The royal as well as the imperial presence at Herstal has not left a single uncontestable trace” (Joris 1973; la présence royale et impériale à Herstal n’a laissé aucune trace matérielle indubitable). Therefore, Jupille-sur-Meuse, an even larger estate on the other side of the river, has (since the 19th c.) been very carefully explored too. The result was no less devastating:
“Sources dating from the eighth century indicate the presence of a residence of Carolingian monarchs [at Jupille]. It should be noted that to date, although the Roman remains are evident, one still has not discovered any significant traces of a Frankish presence, be it Merovingian or Carolingian. A [Carolingian] palace should have existed at Jupille in the 8th c. CE. where Pepin II [635/45-714; father of Charles Martel], called Lord of Herstal, spent his life, and where, according to some sources, died in 714 CE Pepin III, the Short (714-768; father of Charlemagne]. Charlemagne stayed there in 759 or 760. This palace / was – a contested view – the birthplace of Charlemagne” (Jupille 2013; see also Beaufort 2014).
Yet, a majestic Roman villa rustica was discovered at a commanding position at Jupilles. No sources indicating its ownership have ever been found. The villa was heavily damaged and abandoned at the beginning of the 3rd. c. CE.
Jupille’s “Roman villa was located on a hill overlooking the river Meuse at the meeting point between the river and the important Roman road Tongre-Trier still called ‘Way of Ardennes’. The next closest ford was at Maastricht (Mosae Traiectum) on the Roman main road Tongeren - Aix-la-Chapelle [Aachen] - Cologne. The first excavations in 1872 have uncovered remains of a Gallo-Roman villa dating probably from the first and second century CE. The coins found are of Domitian (81-96), Antoninus Pius (138-161), Septimius Severus ( 193-211), and Maximinus Thrax (235-238)” (Jupilles 2013).

Roman Civitas Tongrorum and Toxandria in the period of the Franks (4th-10th c. CE) who, strangely, still employed the Roman name Toxandria, and, even more of a surprise, have left no dwellings or palaces on top of the Roman towns and villae rusticae that were ruined at the beginning of the 3rd c. CE. (Ingelheim is located close to Mogontiacum/Mainz.) ( []

The situation is a paradox. The villa at Ingelheim is accepted as a residence of Charlemagne. It is seen as a building of Roman design and Roman technology of the first three centuries of the 1st millennium CE, apparently built -- for sentimental reasons – in the last three centuries of the 1st millennium CE. At Jupilles we have a Roman villa that cannot be accepted as Carolingian although it, too, was built in 1st-3rd c. Roman style. It fails the Carolongian test because it is not a 700 year later copy in an 1st-3rd c. style but an original of the very same 1st-3rd c. CE period. It is easier to accept a copy whose realization must be considered a technological miracle than an original that may be a masterpiece but which lacks the miraculous touch of being 700 years out of synch.
Okay, the reader may think, but that is a villa at Jupilles. Pepin was the Lord of Herstal. It is understood that there, too, nothing was found resembling a Carolingian medieval castle with dungeon and belfry. Yet, they must have come up with something. And they did. Two Roman villae rusticae were found at Herstal. They were huge latifundiae that required a lot of workers to keep them going. Because well-cut stones from a Roman bridge had been re-used in the churches of Herstal and Jupilles, it is believed that, up to the 3rd c. CE, the entire area on both sides of the river must have formed one connected property of a very wealthy clan.
The Carolingians, capable of copying a Roman villa at Ingelheim, did not have the technology to repair the Roman bridge between Herstal and Jupilles. Thus, in their very heartland they appear to have lived under the open sky. Moreover, between October and May they could not cross the river because the water over the ford was too deep. That illustrates a strangely passive fate for powerful rulers like Pepin, and Charlemagne who had lived in Herstal for some 15 years. The enigma of empty spaces in Carolingian heartlands grows even bigger when the entire territory of Roman Toxandria is taken into account. As late as in the 7th/8th century, Franks have left no traces of settlement there, even though so-called Salian Franks had already been invited as foederati in the 4th century under Emperor Julianus (361-363), as reported by Ammianus Marcellinus. These Salian Franks with no archaeological traces became Christians under Saint Servatius (+384). In 448, Aetius (from 433-454, the empire’s strongman in the West) called upon the Salian Franks from Toxiandria to provide troops against the Goths and Huns. These 5th c. Franks left just as few traces as their 4th c. predecessors and their 6th-10th c. successors. Toxandria’s 1st millennium CE falls short by some 700 out of the 1,000 years expected for it.
The idea that Franks lived at Toxandria between the 4th and the 10th c. CE is not derived from stratigraphy but from an unquestioned chronology. Because of the adherence to the common dating scheme, bewildering lacunae and missing synchronisms arise even between Frankish sites as close to each other as Ingelheim and Herstal/Jupille.

[Chronological Table]:

1st mill. CE stratigraphy and chronology of Ingelheim.
Villa in 1st-3rd c. CE Roman style during the 8th-10th c. CE ends in destruction.
Seven centuries missing between the 1st and the 8th c. CE.

1st mill. CE stratigraphy and chronology of Herstal/Jupille.
Seven centuries missing between the 3rd and the 10th c. CE.
1st-3rd c. CE Roman period villae rusticae ends in destruction
[End Chronological Table]:

Yet, there are not only buildings of 1st-3rd c. Roman style in the 9th/10th c. a là Ingelheim. There are also Roman cities, like Bagacum (modern Bavay), flourishing in the first centuries of the 1st millennium CE, where, under the debris that had buried the ancient forum, archaeologists made “the discovery of ceramics from the 9th and 10th centuries” (Bavay 2014, pointed out by J. Beaufort).

Ruins and reconstruction of 2nd c. forum of Bagacum (Bavay) where 9th/10th c. pottery was excavated. ( []

( []

Yet, there are no buildings for Carolingians in the 9th/10th c. period at Bagacum. The archaeologists cannot make sense of this most awkward situation: “The history of the town during this [Carolingian] period is unclear” (Bavay 2014). If they still want to accommodate Carolingians at Bagacum they have to house them in the Roman strata that – like the forgotten Roman roads re-discovered by modern aerial reconnaissance – were buried under soil early in the 3rd c. CE.

View of Roman ruins at Bavay catastrophically buried under mud later turned into soil. ( [].

Early Roman roads in Frankish territory. (

And yet, “the area bordering the Civitas Tungrorum on the east, also along the Rhine, became the territory of the Ripuarian [Eastern] Franks. Eventually, the whole of the area of the old civitas became the central area of occupation of the Salian Franks. It was from here that their Merovingian and Carolingian dynasties proceeded to conquer a large part of Western Europe“ (Civitas 2013). How could they have achieved such results with no dwellings to live in and no roads to march on? To put the question differently, if Roman period strata provide the only possible location for Carolingian residences and coins, how can we identify the time-spans, slots, and events in Roman history where the Franks can be slipped in? Frankish tribes known as Ampsivarii, Bructeri, Chamavi, Chattuarii, or Sugambri go to war against the Romans from the times of Augustus (31 BCE-14 CE) to the end of the 1st c. CE when, it is assumed, they disappear from the earth: “The Sugambri, e.g., at the beginning of the 1st c. CE, disappeared out of history for good because of Roman interventions” (Goetz/Welwei 1995, I, 10). Yet, some three centuries later, at the beginning of the 4th c. CE, under Constantine the Great (306-337 CE), the Frankish Sugambri are back in full armour (mentioned as such in the Panegyricus Nazarii dictus Constantino imperatori; cf. in detail Heinsohn 2013c, ch. XIa). The researchers are unable to make sense of that unexpected rebirth out of nothing. They solve the riddle by recognizing 1st c. Sugambri as real whereas the 4th c. Sugmabri have their Frankishness denied by turning them into a mere “literary topos“ (Heinrichs 2005, 127).
There are numerous examples of tribal disappearances during Rome’s early imperial period (ca. 1-230), and reapperances some 300 years later in Late Antquity (ca. 290-520). Eventually they have a third run – characterized by similar events – in the Early Middle Ages (ca. 610-840 or ca. 700-930). The author has tried to show how these three blocks of time have left – in any individual site – just one block of strata covering some 230 years that were employed to give the 1st millennium CE a thousand years (Heinsohn 2013a; 2013b; 2014). Matching chronology to stratigraphy (versus the other way round) deletes the 700 years that mysteriously separate Charlemagne’s 9th c. residences at Aachen or Ingelheim from their 2nd c. Roman design. Whenever the Romans existed the Franks have been alive and active too. The idea that the “Franks were not part of the early Germanic nations“ (Becher 2011, 23) is burnt into the minds of historians. Yet, it is derived by moving the sources pertaining to Franks 300 or even 700 years away from where they belong. Thus, the three parallel time-blocks now found in our history books in a chronological sequence must be brought back to their stratigraphical position.

[Chronological Table]:
Proposed contemporaneity of the three periods –– now stretched over 700 years –– that all end in massive damage (230s; 530s; 930s). They are found at the same stratigaphic depth, and must, therefore, end simultaneously in the 230s CE (being also the 520s and 930s; dates rounded).

Roman WEST: 1 to 230s.
(fights Sugambrian Franks, ends in 230s Empire catastrophe with dark earth plus Pelusium Plague, and is succeeded by baptistries for mass conversion to Christianity).

Roman EAST: 290s (=1) to 520s (=230s).
(fights Sugambrian Franks, ends under Justinian’s comet, Allah’s elephant stones plus a Pelusium Plague, and is succeeded by baptistries for Christianisation).

NORTH and EAST: 6th/7th c.[=1] to 930s[=230s]
(ends, e.g., in the wiping out of Slavic tribal centers, also resulting in damages at Charlemagne’s Roman villlas at Ingelheim and Aachen, and is succeeded by baptistries at Aachen by Theudebert’s Octagon (530s=930s) for Christianisation in Slavic and Scandinavian territories).
[End Chronological Table]:

By parallelizing the first two time blocks (1-230s; 290-520s), after removing an artificial separation of 284 years between the Diocletian-period and Octavian (Beaufort 2013), events and time slots fitting Roman period Carolingians become visible (marked in green). Yet, this table is still work in progress. Its underlying assumption that at least the time-span of 1-230s CE contains reliable history may have to be debated, too. The author, for the time being, works with the 230-year sequence. Yet, he is well aware that it contains intriguing parallels, too (e.g., between the crisis during the time of Marcus Aurelius/Commodus (161-192) and the circumstances of the Third-Century-Crisis). Yet, whatever the details of the packing, there always remains only one package of Roman history with millefiori glass and porphyry. There is no second (Late Antiquity), and also no third coming (Early Middle Ages) of Roman marble splendour.

[Chronological Table]:

Early Medieval 8th-10th c. Carolingian events and time slots (Saxon items in brown) after re-establishing the contemporaneity of 4th-6th c. Late Antiquity and 1st-3rd c. Antiquity. Selected contemporary rulers now dated some 284 years apart. (Late Antiquity emperors in bold letters; Heinsohn 2012b; 2013c; Beaufort 2013; 2014)

Rulers residing in Rome.
STRATIGRAPHICALLY AFTER 930s CE (with Fimbulwinter Catastrophe [Gunn 2000])
- (222-235): Severus Alexander. 230s crisis of Empire+plague.
- (218-222): Elagabal, last emperor residing on Palatine.
- (211-217): Caracalla, last emperor buried in Rome; Rhine-Frank Louis The Pious.
- (193-211): Septimus Severus. STRATIGRAPHICALLY 10th CENTURY CE
- (180-192): Commodus.
- (161-180): Rhine-Frank Martel = Charlemagne (Pope Leo). Marcus Aurelius needs settlers and help against Moors marching on France after the conquest of Spain (plague, cosmic omens) > Pepin. Asian Iazyges + Germanic Quadi invade. 
- (138-161): Antoninus Pius.
- (117-138): Hadrian, helps Londinium.
- (96-98): Nerva.
- (81-96): Domitian. Servius Cornelius Salvidienus; Orfitus
- (82 office): Franks ca. 74 CE as Foederati in Civitas Tongrorum, expand into Toxandria, secure Rhine (against Saxons?).
- (69-81): Titus.
- (69-79): Vespasian crushes Batavians, needs news Foederati to secure Rhine territories.
- (54-68): Nero.
- Sugambri - Franks fight Rome. Franks not yet Foederati.
- (41-54): Claudius retakes England.
- (37-41): Caligula.
- (14-37): Tiberius.
- (22-28): Maxentius (306-312; outside Rome)
- (0-14): Gaius Caesar (formerly Octavian), receives embassies of Celtic Briton King Cunebeline.
- (-8/-2): Briton Cunebeline recognized by Rome; Probus (276-282) crushes London's Bononus.
- Gaius Caesar (formerly Octavian) (-12/ 0): STRATIGRAPHICALLY 8th CENTURY CE
- (-14/-9): Aurelian (270-275)
- (-30/-12): Gaius Caesar (formerly Octavian), up to taking position of Pontifex Maximus when he disappears from public life)
- (-44/-31) Gaius Caesar (formerly Octavian).
- (-59/-44) Iulius Caesar attacks England.
- (-69/-48): Gnaeius Pompeius. STRATIGRAPHICALLY 7th CENTURY CE

Rulers residing outside Rome (Treves, Mediolanum, Sirmium, Nikomedia, Antiochia etc.; Barnes 1982).
- Justinian (after 530s; Hagia Sophia) + Merovingian partners.
- (533-547=post930s): Theudebert I, builds Aachen's Octagon.
- (527-530s) Justinian. Comet + plague + Allah’s elephant rocks.
- (518-527): Justin. Franks defend Empire against Saxons.
- (207-234): Anastasios (491-518). Clovis I, Salian Frank, takes Atuatuca Tungorum.
- (190-207): Zenon (474-491).
- (190-196): Iulius Nepos (474-480).
- (173-190): Leo I (457-474).
- (173-177): Maiorian (457-461). / Leo (440-461) Rome's Bishop.  
- (166-173): Aetius (433-454), Empire's strongman calls Salian Franks (448 = 164) to help against Goths and Huns.  
- (166-173): Marcian (450-457). Huns + Goths invade.
- (141-171): Valentinian III (425-455).
- (124-166): Theodosius II (408-450). Rhine-Franks secure Trier.
- (111-139): Honorius (395-423), rejects helps for Londinium.
- (111-124): Arcadius (395-408). Saxons fight Celts.
- (95-111): Theodosius I (379-395). Rhine-Franks advance.
- (91-108): Valentinian II (375-392).
- (80-91):Valentian I (364-375).
- (80-94): Valens (364-378).
- Orfitus (270-369), praefectus urbi according to Ammianus Marcellinus who also reports Julian's settlement of Salian Franks as Foederati in Toxandria in 358 CE.
- (79-80): Iovian (363-364).
- (77-79): Iulian (361-363).
- (53-77): Constantius II (337-361).
- (53-66): Constans (337-350).
- (53-56): Constantine II (337-340).
- (22-53): Constantine the Great (306-337). Re-born Sugabri. Two Franks, Merogaisus and Ascaricus, thrown to the lions in Treves Arena.
- (24-40): Licinius (308-324).
- (26-29): Maximinus Daia (310-313).
- (21-27): Galerius (305-311).
- (0-21): Diocletian (284-305). Saxons compete for England. 294 Franks repelled from Batavia.
- (-25/-15): Postumus (260-269).
- (-24/-17): Odoenathus (263-267).
- (-31/-16): Gallienus (253-268).
- (-31/-24): Valerian (243-260).
- (-35/-33): Decius (249-251).
- (-40/-35): Philippus Arabs (244-249).
- (-44/-30): Marcus Antonius.
- (-46/-40): Marcus Antonius Gordianus (238-44).
- (-69/-53): Crassus. Rise of pre-Jesus Essenes / Chrestianoi (the "Just"), their anti-Sacrifice + anti-Imperial militancy (War Scroll) provokes persecutions.
[End Chronological Table]:

Frankish Sugambri, at war with Rome in the early first century, have, after substracting 284 (give or take a few) years, their equivalent in Franks going to war against Constantine the Great, who experiences the mysterious rebirth of the Sugambri. A Frankish leader by the name of Merogaisus, thrown by Constantine to the lions, of course, reminds one of the idolized early Merovingian leader, Merowech (momentarily dated to the mid-5th c. CE). Frankish realm centered on Roman Atuatuca Tungorum (Tongres) inside the Roman Empire since 74=358 CE.
Map from ( []:

The first Franko-Roman cooperation may be dated to the year 74 CE (if 358-284) when the later (361-363) emperor Julian permitted so-called Salian Franks to settle in Toxandria from where, since 104 CE (if 388-284), they expanded south of the Meuse river to take over Civitas Tungrorum. In 74 CE, after the bloody victory (70 CE) against the Batavians, and the chaos of the Four-Emperors-Year 69 CE, brought to end by Vespasian (69-79), fresh foederati are welcomed to stabilize and resettle the territory. Many new castra are erected (against Saxons east of the Rhine?). From 83-85 CE Domitian organizes an operation against Chatti, who become members of the association of Frankish tribes in the 2nd [=5th] c. CE). The Chatti receive help from the Cheruskans led by their king named, in Latin, Chariomerus. That name could be read as CARLO-MER, kind of a Carolingian first (see also Beaufort 2014). Atuatuca Tungorum (modern Tongeren), one of the largest Roman cities in the area (136 ha, with walls 4.500 meters long, 6 meters high, and 2 meters wide), serves as the Salian capital of an Imperium Francorum within the Imperium Romanum. From here the resistance against Frisians and Saxons, Rome’s competitors for England, has been coordinated.
East of the Salian Franks, since 104 CE (if 388-284), the Rhine Franks expand. They are also known as Ripuarians although ethnically they are not different from Salian Franks. Jordanes, interestingly, calls them Riparioli, meaning a corps of auxiliaries. That denomination may rather indicate a Franko-Roman partnership than a hostile antagonism. Much later the Rhine (or Eastern) Franks can secure the eminent Roman city of Treves (Trier; in 151 CE, if 435-284) and, finally, Rome’s Rhinish metropolis of Cologne (175 CE; if 459-284). That city becomes a Frankish domain in the crisis-ridden years of Marcus Aurelius (161-180): “Outbreaks of Bubonic Plague, rebellions, and currency devaluations led to a never ending chain of catastrophes. Moreover, the Empire was weakend by wars against the Parthians (161-165), and the serious fallout of the Marcomanni wars (165-175, and 178-180) that could be confirmed archaeologically for the provinces of Noricum, Raetia and Germania superior. Germanic tribes crossed the Alps into Italy” (Kunow 1987, 75). The Germanic movement south in the 5th (= 2nd) c. CE may well have included Frankish advances on the Langobards in Northern Italy’s Lombardy. The Rhine-Franks, in modern terminology, would have to be the Carolingians, originally coming from the east of the Rhine (see more detailed in Beaufort 2014).
It is this 2nd (=5th=8th/9th) c. CE that sees the rise of Carolingian estates (Roman in design) from Herstal via Aachen to Ingelheim. Charlemagne, thus, loses his phantom appearance by having blossomed within the Roman realm of the later 2nd c. CE that, stratigraphically, is succeeded by the Ottonians in the 10th/11th c. CE. It is this immediate stratigraphic succession from 1st-3rd c. Roman strata to 10th/11th Ottonian strata that turns the 8th-10th c. into the correct time-span for Rome’s imperial splendour. This reconstruction of Frankish history within the Roman period is summarized in the following overview. The focus is on Charlemagne. The problem of how many Merovingian and Carolingian rulers are duplicates of other rulers by the same name is not the subject of this essay. Yet, Charlemagne should have blossomed in the later 9th c., and may have died early in the 10th c. CE.

[Chronological Table]:
History of Franks as part of the Roman Empire up to the Ottonian strata of the mid 10th c. CE onwards.

- Early 8th c.: Franks (Sugambri etc.) attack Rome in the period of Augustus (“31BCE-14CE”). They are punished by Constantine the Great (“306-337”).
- Late 8th c.: Salian Franks become Roman foederati and settlers after Roman elimination of Batavaians (under Vespasian, “69-79”, or Julian; “361-363”).
- Early 9th c.: Rhine-Franks (“Carolingians”) advance in tandem with Salian Franks close to the Rhine. They secure Trier (in the time of Theodosius II, “408-450” when Hadrian [“117-138”] is occupied in England).
- 3rd quarter 9th c.: Predecessor of villa at Aachen; villas at Herstal(Pepin). Conquest or protec-tion of Cologne when the Empire crashes under Marcus Aurelius (“161-180”) or Aetius (“433-454”). Franks help against Moors/Sara-cenes attacking France after conquest of Spain.
- Late 9th/Early 10th.: Roman villas at Ingelheim and Aachen under Charlemagne. Under him and Louis the Pious, a highly autonomous Frankish realm, with relations from Scandinavia to Arab territories, helps to protect the empire (e.g., against Saxons) during its last period (under Severus-Alexander (“193-230s”; or Zenon+Anastasios (“474-518”).
The catastrophe (Fimbulwinter) that wipes out the empire also damages Ingelheim and Aachen, and crushes Frankish power.
Theuderbert I (533-547=post-930s), parallel to Ottonians, builds Aachen’s octagonal chapel during Justinian’s work on Hagia Sophia.
[End Chronological Table]

By re-combining sources pertaining to just one period (of some 230 years), that are now divided and used to illuminate three such periods, a much richer image of Roman history emerges. The numerous actors from Iceland (with Roman coins; Heinsohn 2013d) to Baghdad (whose 9th c. coins are found in the same stratum as 2nd c. Roman coins; Heinsohn 2013b) can eventually be drawn together to weave the rich and colourful fabric of that vast space with 2.500 cities, and 85.000 km of roads. The Carolingians, indeed, look meagre to the point of near invisibility, when a few tiny particles of Roman history are borrowed from its vast body to build a Frankish Empire void of buildings, monuments, and roads. Therefore, although dissidents like Illig have erred, they have also exposed massive flaws of the much larger error we carry along as our textbook history of the 1st millennium CE.

IV. Saxons as Arch-Enemies of the Carolingians, Did they Roam in Roman Period Strata, too?
The history of the Saxons from ca. 1-900 CE is divided into three time-blocks that roughly cover three centuries each. Only one of these time-blocks in any of the Saxon territories is tied to material remains of buildings and settlements. In the Saxons’ homeland (Northwest Germany), the 4th-6th c. has material remains. Saxon colonies in 5th-7th c. England, surprisingly, have strata assigned to them that, as in West Stow, contain Roman artifacts that are dated some 300 years prior to the arrival of the Saxons.

[Chronological Table]:
Schematic overview of Saxons in archaeology and history from the 1st to the 9th/10th c. CE.

* Saxons in German homeland
- 1st-3rd c. CE: BUILDINGS no / HISTORY no
- 4th/5th-6th/7th c. CE: BUILDINGS YES / HISTORY yes
- 7th/8th-9th/10th c. CE: BUILDINGS no / HISTORY yes (mostly via Carolingians)
* Saxons in their English colonies
- 1st-3rd c. CE: BUILDINGS YES / HISTORY no
- 4th/5th-6th/7th c. CE: BUILDINGS no / HISTORY yes(1)
- 7th/8th-9th/10th c. CE: BUILDINGS no / HISTORY yes(1) (partly via Carolingians)
(1) Stories are mostly extracted from so-called annals as well as Bede’s writings. These texts have very few contemporary sources. They were mostly created by medieval chroniclers (Gransden 1974, ch. 1).
[End Chronological Table]

The confusion of British archaeology/chronology of the 1st millennium CE is due to the division of just one Roman history-block (1-230s) into two sequential histories (1-230s plus 290s-520s). This duplication was caused by dating, via Eutropius/Diocletian, the Saxons to the second, i.e. Late Antiquity, time-block of Roman history. That’s why the Saxons – very much like the Franks (Becher 2011, 23) – are not recognized as part of the earliest Germanic nations.
The Saxon Chaukians and Cheruskians mentioned by Eutropius for “285/286” CE in the time of Diocletian (supposedly “284-305”) in actual fact are Saxons of the end of the 1st c. BCE and the beginning of the 1st c. CE. The stratigraphy-based date for Diocletian does not place him in the 3rd/4th c. but to ca. 1-20 CE (see overview above, p. 39). “Late Antiquity” (290s-520s CE) runs parallel to High Antiquity (1-230s CE). Thus, whenever Romans roamed the earth, Saxons have been there, too. None of the so-called Late Antiquity emperors even took residence in Rome. They are responsible for the empire’s vast borders and for not allowing devastating civil wars of the kind that had set, from 41 to 30 BCE, Marcus Antonius against Octavianus (Heinsohn 2013c). Therfore the border emperors make it a point not to stir things up in the capital. They simply don’t go there.

[Chronological Table]:
Imperial rulers and residences outside Rome (Heinsohn 2013c after Barnes 1982, 48-87)

Ruler / Residences (alphabetically) / Travels + military campaigns / Travels to Rome
* Diocletian / Antiochia, Nicomedia, Sirmium / 84/ 1 together with Maximinianus
* Maximinianus / Aquileia, Milan, Treves/ 36 / 1, plus the one with Diocletian, 2 lacking proof
* Constantius I. Chlorus / Treves / 13 / 0
* Galerius / Antiochia, Serdica, Thessaloniki / 28 / 0
* Severus / Milan / 4 / 0
* Maximinus / Antiochia, Caesarea, Nicomedia / 23 / 0
* Great-Constantine / Arles,Constantinople,Nicomedia Serdica, Sirmium, Thessaloniki / 142 / 2 out of which 1 with sons Constantinus and Constantius
* Licinius / Naissus, Nicomedia, Sirmium / 27 / 0
* Crispus / Treves / 9 / 0
* Constantinus / Treves / 7 / 1 with father Constantine
* Constantius / Antiochia / 11 / 1 with father Constantine
* Constans / Milan, Naissus / 2 / 0
* Dalmatus / Naissus / 1 / 0
* Sum / 387 / 4 proven visits to Rome (1,034%)
[End Chronological Table]

Once it is understood that Diocletian tried to stop Saxons from reaching England in the first decade of the 1st c. CE (and not the 4th), the reason for this action becomes clear. Since Julius Caesar’s invasions in 55/54 BCE, Saxons as well as Franks – they were not Germanic late-comers but had been around all the time – compete with Romans for the possession of England. In England, Romans and Saxons, who outmanoeuvre the Franks, eventually, settle side by side, sometimes fighting each other, sometimes cooperating (Saxons as Roman mercenaries etc.). On the continent, however, Franks, eventually, are employed by the Romans to protect the empire’s northern border against the Saxons. It is this strategic rationale that turns Charlemagne into a Roman ally with Roman- style villas and coinage.

Germanic tribes competing, since the 1st c. BCE, with Romans for England, are dated in textbook history to the 3rd/4th c. CE at the earliest. In reality – borne out by stratigraphy – Saxons settle side by side with Romans, who dominate the cities. ( []

The Diocletian-derived but incorrect date for the Saxons of the3rd/4th c. is, of course, transposed on the Saxons’ home turf in Northwestern Germany, too. The result is mindboggling because, now, we cannot know where Saxons were living in the first three centuries CE. All Saxon settlement sites in Germany are, in accordance with Diocletian’s date, assigned to fill the 4th-6th centuries CE time span, thus stripping naked the preceding three centuries (see in detail Heinsohn 2013c, ch. XIc.). Germany’s history of the Saxons is, therefore, no less confused than England’s Saxon history. It is here exemplified by Bremen that provides the Saxon master-stratigraphy for Northwestern Germany.

[Chronological Table]:
Stratigraphy of Bremen (best site at suburb Mahndorf) in the 1st millennium CE. The strata cover a maximum of 300 years, leaving some 700 years unaccounted for (Brandt 1965, 1978; Last 1978).

* 11th/12th c. / Dome, market and street
* 900-1000 / Hiatus
* 800-900 / Hiatus
* 700-800 / Hiatus
* 600-700 / Hiatus
* 550-600 / Hiatus (apart from the cemetery at Mahndorf with no settlement matching it)
* 500-550 / Spangenhelm found in the Weser River
* 400-500 / Settlement (including cemetery) with Roman period artifcats
* 300-400 / Settlement (including cemetery) with Roman period artifcats
* 200-300 / Hiatus
* 100-200 / Hiatus
* 50-100 / Hiatus
* 0-50 / Traces of settlement (without cemetery) from early imperial period with Roman artifacts.
[End Chronological Table]

The famous date of 409/410 CE, with the Rescript of Honorius as the date for Rome’s retreat from the British Isles, is misplaced, as is the date for Diocletian’s Saxons. Honorius (“395-423”) actually belongs to the beginning of the 2nd c. CE (see overview above, p. 39). Thus, the Rescript of Honorius (possibly not dealing with Britain at all [Esmonde Cleary 1991, 137 f.]) precedes the fall of the Roman Empire (230s = 930s) by one century. In actual fact, Honorius (as a secondary emperor) belongs to the period of the central emperor, Hadrian (117-138). After Honorius fails to send help to beleaguered Romans in Londinium (attested to by the city’s major fire dated around 130 CE), it falls on Hadrian to keep the indigenous tribes at bay. He tries to cage them in with ramparts and walls. Thus, it is not in the early 400s CE that Roman civilization is wiped out in Britain. The isles were hit by the same conflagration that devastated the empire in the so-called Crisis of the Third Century. Thus, Roman England falls nearly two centuries prior to the conventional date. The traces of that disaster have been shown long ago: “Parts [of London] had been cleared of buildings and were already covered by a horizon of dark silts (often described as `dark earth') suggesting that land was converted to arable and pastoral use or abandoned entirely. The dark earth may have started forming in the 3rd century” (Schofield 1999).
Only long after dark earth had strangled 3rd c. London, the Saxons are supposed, around 410 CE, to have begun their takeover of England. Yet, time and again, archaeolgists cannot confirm it. First and foremost, Saxon houses and sacral buildings are missing. One gets the impression that the Saxons have lived in graves, apparently needing no food because remains of their agriculture are also difficult to come by: “Whatever the discussion about the plough in Roman Britain, at least it is a discussion based on surviving models and parts of ploughs, whereas virtually no such evidence exists for the Period A.D. 500-900 in England. […] In contrast to the field system of the 500 years or so on either side of the beginning of our era, little evidence has survived in the ground for the next half millennium” (Fowler 2002, 28). The year 500, of course, is derived from Late Antiquity’s chronology (290s-520s) brought about by duplication of High Antiquity (1-230s). Thus, the statement “500-900” must be read as 3rd c.-900.
The shock is not restricted to the absence of agriculture. There is no pottery, either: “The centuries in England that are generally designated Anglo-Saxon have left little or nothing even in this necessary domestic art. Pottery making does appear again in the tenth century” (O’Neill 2009, 228). The awkward lacuna from 500-900 (actually 3rd c. -900s) supposedly has housed mega-kings such as Offa and Alfred the Great. What did they eat? From what cups did they drink? Who fed the smiths that forged their weapons? Where would the people pray? Of Anglo-Saxon churches between 410 and the 930s, “no universally accepted example survives above ground” (Anglo 2013).

Anglo-Saxon glass bowls in imperial Roman style from the 500-900CE period with no ploughs and houses.
* Roman glass horn, 1st-3rd. c. []

* Anglo-Saxon glass horn, 7th c. at the earliest. ( []

* Roman glass bowl, 1st-3rd. c. (

* Anglo-Saxon glas bowl, 7th c. at the earliest. (

And yet, whilst Anglo-Saxons had no serious houses or ploughs, glassware coming from their graves was made in the Roman style of the 1st-3rd c. CE. It easily matched imperial quality. The Anglo-Saxons look non-existent in the real world, but seem to be Roman in the netherworld because Roman period graves have been used to furnish their afterlife, whilst the same strata are rejected when it comes to providing them with living quarters. The reader may already sense that traces of the Saxon rulers, like the remains of the Carolingians, must be looked for in the Roman period, not in post-Roman materials. Their coinage, like Carolingian coinage, is too numerous to allow any denial of their existence. For the dissidents in the Illig camp, however, Anglo-Saxon coins (with their imperial Roman diadems) prove no less of an embarassment than the Frankish currency (with the same Roman period diadems).

Coins of Offa (757-796) with imperial (1st-3rd c.) diadem, and with Arianist/Monotheist Credo in Arabic.
* OFFA REX. Offa with Roman 1st-3rd c. diadem.(

* OFFA REX (text in center; written upside down). Gold coin: Offa with Roman 1st-3rd c. diadem. []

* Reverse. “There is no deity except Allah, He is the one and only He has no partner.” []

Numismatic experts, of course, can recognize the Roman style of coins supposedly to be dated as late as the 8th/9th c. because they have already assigned Charlemagne’s imperial coins to such a late period. They are, however, not taken as an indication that Charlemagne belonged to the Roman period. His imperial diadem is rather seen as an illustration of his determination to re-create the Roman Empire (Restitutio Imperii). However, the same Roman diadem shown on coins of Charlemagne’s Anglo-Saxon contemporary, Offa (757-796), or on coins of Alfred the Great (871-899), find the experts at a loss. They cannot claim that Anglo-Saxons, too, had been working at Restitutio Imperii. Thus, they cannot use that comfortable excuse to date, unhesitatingly, Anglo-Saxon coins in Roman design centuries after the Roman period too. Yet, they won’t allow a 1st-3rd Roman date for them either. Therefore, they resort to an as yet unexplained fashion in vogue in the Anglo-Saxon period: “The portrait on this coin shows Offa (above left) in the style of a Roman emperor with an imperial diadem in his hair.This classical imagery greatly appealed to early medieval kings” (historytrails 2006). Yet, post-10th history has no more coins showing rulers with the Roman imperial diadem. Ruler with diadem, but yet no crowns, appear to belong to the Roman period.

Anglo-Saxon coins from the 500-900 CE period for which agriculture and pottery is wanting.
* REX COENVULF (796-821) with Roman diadem. (

* Abassid gold denar, Harun Al-Rashid (786-809), from Charlemagne’s and Offa’s time. (

* ALFRED REX (Alfred the Great [871-899] with Roman 1st-3rd c. diadem). ( history/anglo_ saxons/alfred_the_great/l.)

Yet, the coins of Offa or Alfred are not found high up in a stratigraphy that, in its strata many centuries older and, therefore, much deeper down, exhibits the original Roman pieces after which the Anglo-Saxon coins were fashioned so much later. There is not a single site anywhere in England with imperial Roman strata plus Roman coins on the bottom, upon which, much higher and later, one finds the strata with buildings of Offa or Alfred, plus their own coins.
The Anglo-Saxon kings resemble Pepin, Charlemagne’s father, with a tradition of residences at Herstal where, however, only massive Roman period villae rusticae have been dug up. Thus, they are worse off than Charlemagne for whom at least two Roman design villas have been claimed. Still, below the Roman design buildings of Ingelheim and Aachen (not the later churches), too, there are no earlier (i.e., deeper) Roman strata from the 1st-3rd c. CE. Franks and Anglo-Saxons, thus, do miss something in common. They simply do not have sites that exhibit stratigraphies as shown in the overview below.

[Chronological Table]:
Expected, yet nowhere discovered, stratigraphies for Franks and Anglo-Saxons.

Franks like Charlemagne   /   Anglo-Saxons like Offa or Alfred
* 8th-10th c. strata with building remains:  Frankish coins showing Frankish rulers with copied Roman diadems.   /   Saxons coins showing Saxon rulers with copied Roman diadems.
* 4th-7th century: Building remains for intervening centuries   /    Building remains for intervening centuries
* 1st-3rd c. strata with building remains: Coins showing Roman rulers with original early Roman diadems.   /   Coins showing Roman rulers with original early Roman diadems.
[End Chronological Table]

Yet, the coins are there. Since they cannot come from the 500-900 period in which even agriculture and pottery are missing, there is only the Roman period in which to look for them. Anglo-Saxons, therefore, are not only contemporaries of the Franks. Like them, they have nowhere else to go but to Roman period strata in England. This, of course, is best demonstrated by England’s Saxon master-stratigraphy of West Stow/Suffolk, excated from 1965-1972, and dated to Late Antiquity (420-650 CE). This Anglo-Saxon village follows an earlier Iron Age settlement (ending in the time of Augustus; 31 BCE-14CE). It is not understood why the site, favoured since the Stone Age, left no strata for the period 1-400 CE. Even more bewildering, the Roman artifacts and coins found at West Stow include nothing datable beyond 350. Thus, West Stow’s Roman remains belong to the supposedly empty period of the village. West Stow was dated by obeying the textbook chronology for Anglo-Saxons. Their Roman artifacts were dated according to the chronology of the Roman Empire. The next time that tangible remains (so-called “later” Anglo-Saxon churches) are found in England’s ground we are already in the 10th c. CE. Applying a strictly stratigraphical date to West Stow puts it in the Roman period, and that very Roman period ends the 10th c. CE.
West Stow provides more proof that Anglo-Saxons did not arrive after 400. Saxons and Romans had been competing for Britain since the days of Julius Caesar (50s BCE). They have settled Britain at the same time, and were living side by side there up to the 230s catastrophe. That is best illustrated by London. The Saxon settlement of Lundenwic was discovered east of Roman Londinium. Lundenwic supposedly began, like West Stow, around 420 after Londinium was finished. Now comes the enigma. One cannot understand why the Saxons of Lundenwic do not use right away (in 420) empty Londinium’s still impressive walls as a home and shelter for their precarious new beginnings. After all, in the 9th or 10th c. CE they do take that most reasonable decision to protect themselves behind Londinium’s Roman walls (worn down by half a millennium), and call their new place Lundenburh (Hobley 1988). In actual fact, both Lundenwic and Londinium exist within walking distance of each other during the same pre-230 CE period. Thus, surviving Saxons, living after Offa and Alfred, leave Lundenwic to settle in the ruins of Roman Londinium very soon after the 230s (=530s=930s). Ploughs and pottery making did not vanish from the earth from 230-930. It is the deletion of these fictitious centuries that makes Saxon history look genuine. If one looks for a location in London for a fragile beginning right after the 930s (=530s=230s), “Lake End Road West” (Maidenhead), now vaguely dated to the 8th century, is an appropriate candidate coming to life in the 940s CE (cf. In detail Heinsohn 2013c, ch. XIc).
A village like West Stow, of course, could not have provided appropriate dwellings for someone like King Offa. Where, then, should we look for him? As with the continental Franks at Herstal (Roman villae of the 1st-3rd c.) or Ingelheim (Roman style villa dated 8th-10th c.), we should focus on Roman period sites in England. Verlamchester/Verulamium (third largest Roman period town of England) was never rebuilt. Its stones were used as construction material, on the hill above, for St. Albans, whose most famous ruler was Offa. Yet, neither Offa’s villa nor his tomb has been found at St. Albans. Since one cannot doubt his existence, he must have been buried in this impressive Roman city. Alfred the Great, too, has not yet revealed any palaces, churches or mausolea. Yet, tradition firmly ties him to Winchester. It was called Venta Belgarum in Latin, and Wintanceastre in Saxon. It is, therefore, the Roman ruins of Venta Belgarum where Alfred’s capital is hidden. Winchester’s earliest post-9th church, St. Ruel, is known to have existed at around 1172, at the latest. It sits on top of a Roman building. There are no strata between them and St. Ruel to house the urban jewel expected for Alfred. Yet, the splendour of the Roman period is well attested to. One has confirmed baths and temples. The wealthy had houses with glass windows and mosaic floors. A mysterious palace stands out with its magnificent wall murals.

Offa’s city of Verlamchester/Verulamium in the 3rd c. CE as found under soil. Illustration from ( [].

Wall painting in the Roman palace of Alfred’s city of Venta Belgarum (reconstructed by Sean A.MacKenna [1932-2012]). Photo from ( [].

To mainstream researchers looking for Alfred’s palace in the void between the Roman stratum and St. Ruel, it may mean nothing at all. Yet, for those tracking Alfred within the Roman period, the palace may come closer to the habitat of this wearer of a Roman diadem than anything else. The end of Venta Belgarum/Wintanceastre is also dated according to textbook chronology for Honorius, i.e. to the 4th/5th c. (by excavator Julian Richard). Stratigraphically it ends in the 230s. For Venta’s pre-230-period nobody doubts the existence of ploughs and pots which means the Saxon kings could definitely make a living. Like the Franks on the Rhine, they were junior partners of the Romans, and, of course, tried in every way – from glass tableware to coinage – to imitate their cultural models as closely as possible: “The real triumph of Rome was to inspire in her subjects the desire to live according to the Roman way of life” (Musset 1993, 229).
That no names of Roman-British estates (villae rusticae) have survived in the names of Saxon villages is due to the fact that England’s country side was mostly settled by Saxons etc., but not by native Latin speakers from Italy. The appearance of the Anglo-Saxons as a mix of Germanic and Roman cultures was seen long ago (Musset 1993, 106). But how can two groups mix if the first has already completely vanished by the time the second group was slowly starting to arrive?
What to make of Alfred’s war against Viking warriors, now dated to the late 9th c. CE? Most probably it took place as a war against Danes trying to invade England after the plague-ridden crisis in the time of Marcus Aurelius (170s CE=870s). Offa of Mercia also fights a war against Vikings (supposedly a century earlier, e.g., at Lindisfarne). Most probably both Viking wars occur in the same late 2nd c. CE period. Because of his dominance in these defensive campaigns, Alfred manages to gain supremacy over Offa’s Mercia, too. How can the two Viking wars boil down to just one? That is due to the triplication of the 1-230s-period to the 290-520s-period as well as to the 700-930s-period. The 600-1000 time span for the last time-block holds one century more than the 1-300, and 300-600 spans. That’s why the additional century (600-700) creates datings that tear parallel rulers, like, e.g., Offa and Alfred, some 100 years apart. It is this 600-700 period that is responsible for the darkest part (825/850-930/950) of the medieval dark ages. It also creates the, as yet unexplained, gap between Abbasid and Fatimid coins. The latters’ main body of coins reaches its peak with Caliph Al-Ma’mun (786-833): “From 833 to 946, no important changes in callligraphy or style occurred” (Ali 2004, 6). Fatimid coins become identifiable by individual rulers only after 953, with Caliph Al-Mu’izz (Ali 2004, 10). The period of 833 to 956 provides the hyper-dark age in question. That’s why in the overview below Offa and Alfred appear in the same time slot. It shows the author’s tentaive dates for England’s history in the 1st millennium on the left, and textbooks dates on the right.
[Chronological Table]:

Anglo-Saxons in a stratigraphy-based chronology. 10th/11th c. Completion of England’s Christianisation after fear- inflicting disasters with Pope Gregory around 1000 CE.
Anglo-Saxons in textbook chronology. 6th/7th c. 2nd Christianisation of England with (601) letter of Pope Gregory.

Anglo-Saxons in a stratigraphy-based chronology. After 930s (= after 230s/530s)
Heptarchy (seven kingdoms) after fall, in the 230s=930s, of Romans and their Anglo-Saxon junior partners.
Anglo-Saxons in textbook chronology. 10th c. Heptarchy (seven kingdoms). Saxon kingdoms currently dated after 600 with no traces left.

Anglo-Saxons in a stratigraphy-based chronology. 930s (=230s=530s) Conflagration crushing the Roman Empire with disasters and plague with ensuing intensification of Christianity.
Anglo-Saxons in textbook chronology. -6th c. -410 -5th c.-900s - Plague, disastrous fires at Yeavering - Disappearance of Christianity - Anglo-Saxons lacking houses, ploughs and pottery but have burials with 1st-3rd c. Roman artifacts (West Stow)

Anglo-Saxons in a stratigraphy-based chronology. 9th/10th c. (=2nd/3rd c.) Offa, Alfred etc. prefer different brands of Christianity (Offa’s monotheist/Arianist Arab coin). Viking wars are Danish raids of the crisis under Marc Aurel when attacks from Spain (Moors) to Parthia have to be checked.
Anglo-Saxons in textbook chronology. 9th c. Offa, Alfred etc.whose Viking wars are lacking a convincing historical context.

Anglo-Saxons in a stratigraphy-based chronology. 870s (=170s) Christianisation of Saxons and Romans in England after fear-inflicting plague-crisis under Marcus Aurelius.
Anglo-Saxons in textbook chronology.

Anglo-Saxons in a stratigraphy-based chronology. 850-875 (=150s=450s) Chauci pirates.
Anglo-Saxons in textbook chronology. 5th c. Chauci pirates.

Anglo-Saxons in a stratigraphy-based chronology. 740s (=40s) Claudius intervenes in England.
Anglo-Saxons in textbook chronology. 43 Claudius conquers England.

Anglo-Saxons in a stratigraphy-based chronology. 700-720 (=1-20) Saxons continue to defend themselves against Roman competitors under Diocletian, settle side by side with Romans.
Anglo-Saxons in textbook chronology. 285/286 Saxons (Chauci and Cherusci) threaten England under Diocletian.

Anglo-Saxons in a stratigraphy-based chronology. 650 (=1st c. BCE) Julius Caesar (55/54 BCE) invades England claimed by Franks and Saxons too.
Anglo-Saxons in textbook chronology. 55/54 BCE Julius Caesar (55/54 BCE) invades England.
[End Chronological Table]:

Coins of Umayyads and Abbasids are found together with Carolingian as well as Aglo-Saxon pieces all the way up to Norway (Kaupang). Wherever the Germanic groups move chronologically the Arabs have to follow. If Charlemagne and Offa belong to the Roman period (with its date corrected from the 1st/3rd c. to the 8th/10th c.), Harun Al-Rashid (786-809) has to join them. By doing so, the greatest mystery of Arab and Islamic history finds a solution. Today we do not understand why Arabs from the time of Caesar (1st c. BCE) to the 7th century CE had no coinage and not a single piece of writing that is attributable to an identifiable person. How had the Arabs managed, since the 8th c. CE, to dominate long distance business from Mesopotamia to Scandinavia after having passed 700 years without being able to issue money or to sign contracts? Why would they imitate Roman art, like millefiori glass, 700 years later? Yet, if Abbasids are Roman period Arabs such questions become obsolete (Heinsohn 2013b).

Roman millefiori glas bowl of the 1st c. CE. ( []

Abassid millefiori glas bowl supposedly copied some 700 years later in the 8th/9th. ( []

After stratigraphically rejoining the 1st and the 8th c., separated by some 700 years to obey textbook chronology, Arabs become regular people again.They write and mint coins within the Roman period like the Franks and Saxons, too. They no longer sheepisly have to copy Roman millefiori glass bowls some 700 years behind time. The 700 years of assumed Arab/Islamic primitivism are simply fictitious years (see Heinsohn 2013b). Abbasid building strata, of course, are as rare as Carolingian or Anglo-Saxon strata. They, too, must be located inside the Roman period, but not after it, as is also indicated by millefiori bowls. Where Abbasid structures are found separately, excavators are surprised to find, in the 8th/9th c., the 700 year older Persian style of Ardashir (180-242 CE; Bloom/Blair 2009, 79). Where stratigraphies exist, Fatimid strata of the 10th c. CE onwards are found directly on top of Roman strata dated 300-400 years earlier, to Late Antiquity. Hisn al-Bab/al-Qasr, on the Nile frontier between Egypt and Nubia, provides a famous example: “The fortress housed a Fatimid garrison at one time, and may perhaps have been the base for the Fatimid official in charge of border control. […] Two separate phases were identified at Hisn al-Bab. The identification of an earlier, Late Roman, fortress of the 6th-7th century was unexpected. This fortress included a large enclosure on the gebel top, walls running down the slope to the river under the later fortress” (ÖAI n.y.).

Three views Hisn al-Bab/al-Qasr where a Fatimid fortress of the 10th/11th c. CE sits right on top of Roman remains. Photos from ( [].

It is not understood why there are no 1st-3rd c. Roman strata at Hisn al-Bab, although Egypt became Roman as early as the st c. BCE. Only by correctly identifying the strata of High and Late Antiquity as one and the same (nowhere are they found on top of each other) can one comprehend that Hisn al-Bab’s 300 of the 1st-3rd c. do not represent a barren period but a non-existent one.
Interestingly, Jewish historiography has a strong feeling for the massive time span within the 1st millennium CE that is so difficult to support with evidence: “Very few Hebrew manuscripts of the Bible have come down to us from the ‘Silent Period’ – between the 2nd century, when the last of the Dead Sea Scrolls were written, and the 10th century, when the Aleppo Codex was produced” (Israel Museum 2010).
As in England, and on the continent too, the remains of Saxons must be searched for in the Romand period (1-230s=700-930s). By applying this approach it immediately becomes evident that Magdeburg, the Saxon capital on the river Elbe, follows a pattern comparable to Ingelheim or Aachen where villas of Roman design were succeeded by non-Roman churches. At Magdeburg there is a new beginning, under Otto I (936-973), with a major church on the southside of the Domplatz. Yet, it remains unclear what dwellings the Saxons had used before the 10th. Their history from the 6th/7th to the 9th c. CE is, indirectly, furnished by the stories about the Fankish wars against them. However, material remains that could support the reports of Saxon power and belligerence are extremely difficult to come by. But, in 2001, Magdeburg made the news all over Germany. New excavations had brought to light foundations of a massive building just north of the Ottonian church.

Groundplan of parts of Magdeburg’s so-called “northern” church in Roman design and technology (41 m wide) that was discovered in 2001 (Archäologie 2005).

The archaeologists decided to identify the newly discovered building as a church, too. Otto I is now believed to have built, during the 950s CE, two domes simultaneously side by side, the medieval southern church (located under the Gothic dome of the early 13th c., and still standing today) plus the sensationally Roman-looking “northern” church. It is one of the „largest known sacral buildings north of the Alps in the Ottonian period.” It stunned everbody not only because it was huge (41 m wide; length not yet known). Even more intriguing was the design. It was built in Roman outline with Roman columns, Roman marble, as well as Roman opus sectile floors (Archäologie 2005, 55). What to do with a Roman building at such a late date?
There is no positive proof that the building has even served as a church. Graves dug into the structure are taken as an indicator of a sacral function. They could have been dug after the destruction. It is believed that Otto I, in the 950s, had bought all these luxurious materials via an international spolia trade. Yet, it is not undestood why this magnificent building was then disrespectfully demolished, and its superb Roman elements turned into spolia for a second time. Many items (column stumps, friezes) are still visible today in secular buildings and churches of the Elbe-Saale territories, as well as in churches of Magdeburg proper. Who could have dared to wipe out such a masterpiece? No records exist for either its erection or its disapearance.
Beyond doubt are the Roman character of the building, as well as its devastating destruction. For mainstream experts, of course, a Roman building in the 10th century is not easily digestible.With the author’s equation of 230s = 930s the Magdeburg building was brought low in the conflagration that destroyed the Roman Empire and other territories, as well, including Slavic lands east of Magdeburg: “There was a rapid, sometimes catastrophic, collapse of many of the pre-existing tribal centres. These events were accompanied by the permanent or temporary depopulation of former areas of settlement. Within a short time new centres representative of the Piast state arose on new sites, thus beginning [in 966] the thousand-year history of the Polish nation and state” (Buko 2011, 464; see also Heinsohn 2013a;d).
Pre-930, i.e. Roman period Magdeburg, on the Elbe high bank, comes out of the 230s = 930s cataclysm heavily damaged. It is this event that smashes the “northern” church. As in Anglo-Saxon England, and in the Frankish territories along the Rhine, the Saxons, too, had to be content with poorer beginnings. Otto’s southern (and only) dome in Magdeburg, characterized by much simpler architecture, provides one example.

Magdeburg and Quedlinburg in late 10th c. Saxony. Map from ( []

10th c. churches (980-990; 997 CE) on the castle hill of Quedlinburg that were preceded by Roman period artifacts and houses currently dated 4th/5th c. CE. Illustrations from ( [].

At Quedlinburg, another major Saxon center, the situation is confusing in a different way. Magdeburg has a massive building in the style of the Roman period in the 10th c. (pre-930s [=pre-230s] to this author against the assumed late 10th c.). It is contingent with Otto’s dome after the 950s. Quedlinburg has a settlement with Roman elements in Late Antiquity (4th/5th c.; Landesamt 2010, 10 ff.) that is – like in Bremen (see above p. 46) – followed by a hiatus right into Otto’s 10th c. CE: “Under Quedlinburg’s castle no medieval ware made earlier than the 10th c. has been found. Obviously the castle hill was not settled between the Roman imperial period and the 10th c. CE. The first proven construction on the hill, therefore, can hardly have been built before the 10th c. CE” (Leopold 2010, 14; reference M. Meisegeier).
Thus, we have three elements to fill Saxony’s 1st to early 10th c. CE: (1) no buildings but Roman artifacts for the 1st-3rd c. CE; (2) buildings plus the same type of Roman artifacts for Late Antiquity (4th/5th c.); (3) neither buildings nor artifacts but stories of Frankish wars against Saxons for the 6th to 9th c. CE. There is hard evidence (buildings plus Roman artifacts) only for the second period. The remaining 700 years are empty. Since the Frankish wars against the Saxons belong to Charlemagne’s Roman period the third period (8th- early 10th c. CE) is as Roman as the second one. The first period (no buildings but Roman artifacts) is identical with the second. This leads to the following outline of German Saxon history in the first millennium CE.

[Chronological Table]:
Elements for first millennium Saxon Germany (focus on Magdeburg and Quedlinburg).

8th- early 10th c. CE equals 4th-6th as well as 1st-3rd c. CE.
Written material: Reports of Frankish wars against Saxons.
Small finds: Roman artifacts from Quedlinburg, Roman opus sectile etc. from Magdeburg’s “northern” church.
Buildings: Settlement at Quedlingburg; “northern” church at Magdeburg.
[End Chronological Table]

In Jewish historiography there exists a feeling that something serious is missing in the 1st millennium CE: “Very few Hebrew manuscripts of the Bible have come down to us from the ‘Silent Period’ – between the 2nd century, when the last of the Dead Sea Scrolls were written, and the 10th century, when the Aleppo Codex was produced” (Israel Museum 2010).

V Summary -
For nearly a quarter of a century (Illig/Niemitz 1991), the historicity of Charlemagne and the Carolingians has been challenged. The ensuing controversies are still raging unabated. Both sides of the debate present powerful arguments. Mainstream scholars focus on Carolingian coinage found from Scandinavia to Southern Europe.
The dissidents have never found a convincing way to refute that evidence. Instead, they counterattack by pointing out the mysterious rarity of all other varieties of material evidence. Agricultural tools and estates, armour and barracks, sculpture and the arts are either missing or easily attributable to pre- or post-Carolingian periods.
Mainstream archaeologists and historians, time and again, emphasize that Carolingian coinage carries imperial Roman iconography. They take pride in identifying the Roman designs of Charlemagne’s villas at Ingelheim and Aachen. Yet, they explain away this clearcut “Romanness” as a sentimentality of the prime Carolingian leader who tries, some 700 years on, to draw strength from the vanished empire.
The dissidents use mainstream’s accentuation of Charlemagne’s Romanness for a “we-told-you-so.” The antique look of Frankish villlas does not demonstrate a fashionable design but is proof that the buildings are not Frankish at all but Roman. Therefore, there is not one millimeter of stratigraphy to house Charlemagne or his contemporaries, especially the Saxon arch-enemies in Northern Germany and England.
Yet, mainstream’s huge army of learned women and men is not ready to retreat. How can countless numbers of the most erudite scholars be wrong? It cannot be by chance, they stress with all due justification, that the sources, however bloated, warped, and exaggerated, point to Herstal, Ingelheim or Aachen as Carolingian strongholds. It must have been Pepin’s or Charles’ boundless passion for imperial portraits and marble columns that led to the erection of aulas, exedras, and thermal baths. The same sources mention hundreds of rural estates of the Carolingian period. Mainstream scholars believe in them. The dissidents have honestly and carefully looked for them (Illig/Anwander 2002). Their overwhelmingly negative results are devastating for mainstream. Yet, the dissidents have only searched post-Roman strata. The numerous Roman period estates buried under soil all over Germany (and the rest of Europe) were never even considered as candidates for Carolingian sites. Mainstream scholars cannot defend themselves because they, too, would never think of locating Carolingians within Roman strata. The stalemate between both schools of thought is unavoidable because the antagonists have one very strong conviction in common: Carolingians did not belong to the Roman period.
Both sides are so fiercely engaged in defending their dug-in positions (e.g., Gießauf/Lehner/Illig 2013) that they cannot see the obvious. Only the Roman period structures, now dated from the 1st to the 3rd c., lend themselves as habitats for 8th-10th c. Franks (at Herstal, Ingelheim etc.), or their Anglo-Saxon counterparts at Verlamchester/Verulamium (Offa) or Venta Belgarum/ Wintanceastre (Alfred). Time and again, the same evidence emphasizes that the Roman period, dated either to the 1st-3rd c. CE or to the 4th-6th c. (Late Antiquity), must belong to 8th-10th c. because only there does it have a direct stratigraphical hookup with the succeding Ottonians of the 10th/11th c. CE in Northern Europe, or, e.g., the Fatimid Arabs in the Near East.
From the late 8th c. (=1st=4th c.) onwards, Franks are accepted as Roman foederati. They become junior partners with Rome, which employs Frankish corps all over Europe. It falls upon the Franks to help keep the Saxons at bay who, since the late 7th c. (=1st c. BCE), compete with Rome for the possesion of England where, in the end, they also cooperate by running many of the estates and the smaller cities. This side by side existence can be formalized as follows.

[Chronological Table]:

[End Chronological Table]

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