Joyeuse was the name of Charlemagne’s personal sword. The name translates as ‘joyful’.

A sword identified with Charlemagne’s Joyeuse was carried in front of the coronation processionals for French kings, for the first time in 1270 at the coronation of Philip III, and for the last time in 1824  at the coronation of Charles X. The sword was kept in the Saint Denis Basilica since at least 1505, and it was moved to the Louvre in 1793.

The 11th century Song of Roland describes the sword:

[Charlemagne] was wearing his fine white coat of mail and his helmet with gold-studded stones; by his side hung Joyeuse, and never was there a sword to match it; its colour changed thirty times a day.

Descended from Charlemagne

Mathematically speaking, virtually everyone in Europe is related to Charlemagne.

A Coin of King Charlemagne (approx. 812-814 AD)

This is because everyone has two parents, four grandparents, eight great-grandparents and so on.

By the time you get to the 13th century, you have more direct ancestors than have ever been human beings – about 80 billion. Therefore you must have shared ancestors.

In 1995, a man called Mark Humphries at Dublin University discovered this information. He discovered his was wife was King Edward III’s great-granddaughter 20 generations down the line.

After closer examination, he discovered his wife was also related to Hermann Goring and American explorer Daniel Boone. He then managed to calculate the mathematics of the information.

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