THE LIFE OF THE EMPEROR CHARLES

[17] Qui cum tantus in ampliando regno et subigendis exteris nationibus existeret et in eiusmodi occupationibus assidue versaretur, opera tamen plurima ad regni decorem et commoditatem pertinentia diversis in locis inchoavit, quaedam etiam consummavit. Inter quae praecipua fere non inmerito videri possunt basilica sanctae Dei genitricis Aquisgrani opere mirabili constructa et pons apud Mogontiacum in Rheno quingentorum passuum longitudinis - nam tanta est ibi fluminis latitudo; qui tamen uno, antequam decederet, anno incendio conflagravit, nec refici potuit propter festinatum illius decessum, quamquam in ea meditatione esset, ut pro ligneo lapideum restitueret. Inchoavit et palatia operis egregii, unum haud longe a Mogontiaco civitate, iuxta villam cui vocabulum est Ingilenheim, alterum Noviomagi super Vahalem fluvium, qui Batavorum insulam a parte meridiana praeterfluit. Praecipue tamen aedes sacras ubicumque in toto regno suo vetustate conlapsas conperit, pontificibus et patribus, ad quorum curam pertinebant, ut restaurarentur, imperavit, adhibens curam per legatos, ut imperata perficerent.

Molitus est et classem contra bellum Nordmannicum, aedificatis ad hoc navibus iuxta flumina, quae et de Gallia et de Germania septentrionalem influunt oceanum. Et quia Nordmanni Gallicum litus atque Germanicum assidua infestatione vastabant, per omnes portus et ostia fluminum, qua naves recipi posse videbantur, stationibus et excubiis dispositis, ne qua hostis exire potuisset, tali munitione prohibuit. Fecit idem a parte meridiana in litore provinciae Narbonensis ac Septimaniae, toto etiam Italiae litore usque Romam contra Mauros nuper pyraticam exercere adgressos; ac per hoc nullo gravi damno vel a Mauris Italia vel Gallia atque Germania a Nordmannis diebus suis adfecta est, praeter quod Centumcellae civitas Etruriae per proditionem a Mauris capta atque vastata est, et in Frisia quaedam insulae Germanico litori contiguae a Nordmannis depraedatae sunt.


Public Works

[17] This King, who showed himself so great in extending his empire and subduing foreign nations, and was constantly occupied with plans to that end, undertook also very many works calculated to adorn and benefit his kingdom, and brought several of them to completion. Among these, the most deserving of mention are the basilica of the Holy Mother of God at Aix-la-Chapelle, built in the most admirable manner, and a bridge over the Rhine at Mayence, half a mile long, the breadth of the river at this point. This bridge was destroyed by fire [May, 813] the year before Charles died, but, owing to his death so soon after, could not be repaired, although he had intended to rebuild it in stone. He began two palaces of beautiful workmanship - one near his manor called Ingelheim, not far from Mayence; the other at Nimeguen, on the Waal, the stream that washes the south side of the island of the Batavians. But, above all, sacred edifices were the object of his care throughout his whole kingdom; and whenever he found them falling to ruin from age, he commanded the priests and fathers who had charge of them to repair them , and made sure by commissioners that his instructions were obeyed. He also fitted out a fleet for the war with the Northmen; the vessels required for this purpose were built on the rivers that flow from Gaul and Germany into the Northern Ocean. Moreover, since the Northmen continually overran and laid waste the Gallic and German coasts, he caused watch and ward to be kept in all the harbors, and at the mouths of rivers large enough to admit the entrance of vessels, to prevent the enemy from disembarking; and in the South, in Narbonensis and Septimania, and along the whole coast of Italy as far as Rome, he took the same precautions against the Moors, who had recently begun their piratical practices. Hence, Italy suffered no great harm in his time at the hands of the Moors, nor Gaul and Germany from the Northmen, save that the Moors got possession of the Etruscan town of Civita Vecchia by treachery, and sacked it, and the Northmen harried some of the islands in Frisia off the German coast.