Einhard: Vita Caroli Magni
- Publisher / Year
- Akademische Druck- u. Verlagsanstalt (ADEVA) – Graz, 1991
Cod. Vindob. 529 - Österreichische Nationalbibliothek (Vienna, Austria)
Charlemagne, the greatest monarch of medieval Europe, grandfather of the European Union, was a Frankish warlord who so greatly valued knowledge that he planted the seeds of the Renaissance with the numerous monestaries, scriptoria, and schools he established. Einhard was an advisor to the Kaiser as well as his master builder and teacher, in addition to being his friend. Written roughly two decades after Charlemagne's death, the account is a combination of the author's own personal observations and experiences with exemplary behaviors and personality traits obtained from older sources, especially Suetonius.
Few literary works from the Middle Ages are still so well known today among those interested as Einhard's biography of Charlemagne. Written after 830, 2 decades after the death of the Kaiser, Vita Caroli Magni is the first historical period oriented biographical work since ancient times. As an advisor to the Kaiser as well as his master builder and teacher at the Hofschule, the author was an intimate friend of Charlemagne's who combined his own personal observations and experiences with exemplary behaviors and personality traits obtained from older sources, whereby the imperial biographies by Suetonius served as a role model. With his biography, Einhard draws not only a lively, human, occasionally natural as well as idealistic picture of the acts and personality of the most important ruler of the Middle Ages, he simultaneously creates, one of the most famous historical works realized in the highest artistic achievement reached during this epoch.