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"If Western civilization were assigned a starting date, Christmas Day in the year 800 would be a very good choice. On that day, the ambitious Frankish monarch Charlemagne, who had recently restored Pope Leo III to his seat at the Vatican from where he had been driven by would-be assassins, attended mass at St. Peterâ€™s Basilica. To the astonishment of the assembled multitude, the pope interrupted the service to place a crown on Charlemagneâ€™s head, and declared him emperor over a restored Western Roman Empire. What came to be called the Holy Roman Empire was the first great power to emerge in the new Western Christian civilization; it was an attempt to recreate the glory of the realm of the Caesars, but in a Christian, rather than a pagan, setting."