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Out of this intimate co-operation of Church and state came one of the most brilliant ideas in the history of statesmanship: the transformation of Charlemagne’s realm into a Holy Roman Empire that should have behind it all the prestige, sanctity, and stability of both Imperial and Papal Rome… If the bold scheme could be carried through there would again be a Roman emperor in the West, Latin Christianity would stand strong and unified against schismatic Byzantium and threatening Saracens, and by the awe and magic of the imperial name, barbarized Europe might reach back across centuries of darkness, and inherit and Christianize the civilization and culture of the ancient world… the Holy Roman Empire was a noble conception, a dream of security and peace, order and civilization restored in a world heroically won from barbarism, violence, and ignorance

-Will Durant, The Story of Civilization: The Age of Faith