The Archdiocese of Cologne and the Saxon Wars

After 30 years of war between 772 and 804, Charlemagne subjugated the pagan Saxons in Northern Germany. With fire and sword, he brings the Frankish rule into the region and Christianity. With Cologne as the center of power as Archdiocese of Cologne for the next 1,000 years.

Charlemagne’s conquests in Saxony and his coronation as Roman emperor in 800 enabled the city of Cologne to transform from a peripheral city in the east of the Frankish Empire into a center of political and spiritual power. From Cologne, the newly conquered territories in northern Germany are missionized.

How did the young Byzantine princess Theophanu become the richest woman in Europe at only 12 years old at the end of the 10th century? And how did she become the most powerful woman in Europe at the age of 24, with far-reaching effects on European history? In this episode, we will look at her breathtaking life and, of course, at the end, what all this actually has to do with Cologne itself.
  1. Theophanu
  2. How Archbishop Bruno changed the face of Cologne forever – until today
  3. Retrospective on Frankish Cologne
  4. The Archduke of Cologne
  5. From the Empire of the Franks to the Land of the Germans

Cologne Church Province

By: de:User:Moguntiner – own work; Droysen Allgemeiner Historischer Atlas (1886), CC BY-SA 3.0,

The Church Province of Cologne (KÖLN) with its suffragan bischoprics in the 16th century: Lüttich (Liege), Utrecht, Münster, Onsabrück, Minden and up until the middle of the 9th century also Bremen. (which is not part of the Cologne Church Province anymore in this map). Sadly I havent found a more accurate map. But since this church structure existed for exactly a thousand years, it doesn’t matter if the map is from 800 or 1500.

The Frankish Empire under Charlemagne

By Sémhur – Own work, from Image:Frankish empire.jpg, itself from File:Growth of Frankish Power, 481-814.jpg, from the Historical Atlas by William R. Shepherd (Shepherd, William. Historical Atlas. New York: Henry Holt and Company, 1911.), CC BY-SA 3.0,

The Saxon Wars

Conversion of the Saxons to Christianity through Charlemagne. Painted by Alphonse de Neuville in 1869.

“The destruction of Irminsul by Charlemagne” by Heinrich Leutemann, 1882

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