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VIII/IX Centuries
Born c. 770 in Franconia, Einhard, biographer of his royal friend Charlemagne, was educated at Fulda before attending the Aachen palace school. Famed for his architectural knowledge and skill, Einhard was in charge of Frankish court building projects, including the palace at Aachen. Charlemagne (d. 814) appointed him ambassador, and some believe that Einhard was responsible for Leo III's crowing Charlemagne Holy Roman Emperor in 800. Einhard was also an advior to Charlemagne's son, Louis I the Pious, and grandson, Lothair. Louis appointed Einhard lay abbot of four monasteries, and when he retired from court life in 830, Louis presented him with an estate at Mühlheim, where Einhard established a monastery, Sts. Marcellinus and Peter, usually called Seligenstadt. He is said to have been married, and he was a monk when he died (840). His extant letters reveal much about the growth of feudalism.

Einhard's most famous work is his life of Charlemagne, which he patterned on Suetonius' Lives of the Cæsars, in particular on the life of Augustus. In additon to recounting the deeds of the emperor, Einhard's biography describes Charlemagne's physical and moral stature. This life is the first secular biography of the Middle Ages.

Karen Rae Keck


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