How do we figure Charlemagne's coronation by the Pope into the equation? Ambiguity still persists, and the consequences were to depend mostly on the future kings to possess the title. On the surface, Pope Leo III had a need for a powerful protector against local Roman rivals as well as petty kings. Charlemagne was the best possibility. As well, the crowning of Europe's most powerful secular ruler by the head of Europe's church symbolized the unity of purpose and destiny between state and religion that had existed in Constantine's Rome, and that had been lamented as passing with the ancient order's demise. As well, Charlemagne was a self-consciously Christian ruler, equating his advance with that of the religion. There was another, more problematic side to it, however. By placing the crown on the Carolingian's head, the Pope had made symbolic claim to supremacy over the secular.
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