Charlemagne (742-814), King of the Franks and Roman emperor. In the 770’s he came to the aid of the pope and defeated the Lombards in Italy. He also conquered the pagan Saxons in Germany, who then accepted Christianity. His expedition against the Moors in Spain is recounted in a famous 12th-century French poem, the Chanson de Roland, which concerns the heroic death of one of his nobles. During the Christmas mass in Rome in 800, Pope Leo HI crowned him emperor (without his advance knowledge), inaugurating the Holy Roman Empire. As emperor Charlemagne reformed the law, the economy, and church organization; he also greatly encouraged learning, religion, and culture. For this reason the latter part of his reign is known as the Carolingian Renaissance.