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
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
Charlemagne: Biography of the
Emperor by one of his associates. Turner translation, 1880.
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