Since I have taken upon myself to narrate the public and private life, and no small part of the deeds, of my lord and foster-father, the most lent and most justly renowned King Charles, I have condensed the matter into as brief a form as possible. I have been careful not to omit any facts that could come to my knowledge, but at the same time not to offend by a prolix style those minds that despise everything modern, if one can possibly avoid offending by a new work men who seem to despise also the masterpieces of antiquity, the works of most learned and luminous writers. Very many of them, l have no doubt, are men devoted to a life of literary leisure, who feel that the affairs of the present generation ought not to be passed by, and who do not consider everything done today as unworthy of mention and deserving to be given over to silence and oblivion , but are nevertheless seduced by lust of immortality to celebrate the glorious deeds of other times by some sort of composition rather than to deprive posterity of the mention of their own names by not writing at all.
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Einhard's Life of Charlemagne is an absorbing chronicle of one of the most powerful and dynamic of all medieval rulers, written by a close friend and adviser. In elegant prose it describes Charlemagne's personal life, details his achievements in reviving learning and the arts, recounts his military successes and depicts one of the defining moments in European history: Charlemagne's coronation as emperor in Rome on Christmas Day 800AD. By contrast, Notker's account, written some decades after Charlemagne's death, is a collection of anecdotes rather than a presentation of historical facts.About the Author:
EINHARD was born of noble parents in the Main valley around A.D. 770. He was educated at the monastery of Fulda, and was sent in the 790’s to the court of Charlemagne. He became a friend of Charlemagne and his family, and was chosen to invite Charlemagne to crown his son as his successor in 813. After Charlemagne’s death he was a loyal servant of Louis the Pious, both in Aachen and on his estates at Seligenstadt, where he died in 840. In addition to the Life of Charlemagne, probably written in 826-7, we have letters to and from Einhard, his account of the Translation of the Relics of Marcellinus and Peter (830) and On the Adoration of the Cross. NOTKER BALBULUS ( The Stammerer) was born near the monastery of St Gall, in Switzerland, around 840, and entered the monastery as a boy. He wrote his account of Charlemagne for the Emperor Charles the Fat between 884 and 887. He also composed a book of sequences with music, a Martyrology (897), and poems, letters and charters. He taught at the monastic school until his death in 912.
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