Vita Karoli Magni
Vita Karoli Magni is a biography of Charlemagne, King of the Franks and Holy Roman Emperor, written by Einhard. Historians have traditionally described the work as the first example of a biography of a European king; the author tried to imitate the style of that of the ancient Roman biographer Gaius Suetonius Tranquillus, most famous for his Lives of the Caesars. Einhard's biography used the model of the biography of Emperor Augustus, the first emperor of the Roman Empire; the date of the work is uncertain, a number of theories have been put forward. The inclusion of Charlemagne's will at the end of the work makes it clear that it was written after his death in 814; the first reference to the work, comes in a letter to Einhard from Lupus of Ferrieres, dated to the mid-9th century. Dates have been suggested ranging from about 817 to 833 based on interpretations of the text in the political context of the first years of the reign of Louis the Pious and Louis's attitude to his father. No theory has yet emerged as an obvious frontrunner, it is that debate will continue.
Einhard's book is about intimate glimpses of Charlemagne's personal tastes. He occupied a favoured position at Charlemagne's court. Einhard received advanced schooling at the monastery of Fulda sometime after 779, he was quite knowledgeable. The word was sent to Charlemagne of Einhard's expertise, he was sent to Charlemagne’s Palace School at Aachen in 791. Einhard received employment at Charlemagne's Frankish court about 796, he remained at this position for twenty some years. Einhard's book was expressly intended to convey his appreciation for advanced education, he was living in Seligenstadt. Einhard's position while with Charlemagne was that of a modern minister of public works so he had intimate knowledge of his court. Einhard was given the responsibility of many of Charlemagne's abbeys, it used to be suggested that Einhard's wife, was a daughter of Charlemagne. Most biographies of the Middle Ages related only good deeds of their subject, with many embellishments to improve their subject. Einhard's biography, however, is considered, for the most part, to be a trustworthy account of Charlemagne's life.
It is considered an excellent account of earlier Medieval life. Despite Einhard's limitations, since it was his first attempt at a major writing, the British historian Thomas Hodgkin said, "almost all our real, vivifying knowledge of Charles the Great is derived from Einhard, that the Vita Karoli Magni is one of the most precious literary bequests of the early Middle Ages." Chiesa, P. Vita Karoli. Florence: SISMEL / Ed. del Galluzzo, 2014. Dutton, P.. Charlemagne's Courtier: the Complete Einhard. Peterborough: Broadview Press. ISBN 978-1-55111-134-6. Firchow, Evelyn S.. Vita Karoli Magni / The Life of Charlemagne. Saarbrücken: AQ-Verlag. ISBN 978-3-922441-49-6. Ganz, D.. Two lives of Charlemagne / Einhard and Notker the Stammerer. London: Penguin. ISBN 978-0-14-045505-2. Grant, A. J.. Early lives of Charlemagne / by the Monk of St Gall. London: Moring. Thorpe, L.. Two lives of Charlemagne / by Notker the Stammerer. Harmondsworth: Penguin. ISBN 0-14-044213-8. Ganz, D.. "The Preface to Einhard's Vita Karoli". In H. Schefers.
Einhard: Studien zu leben und Werk. Hessische Historische Kommission. Pp. 299–310. ISBN 978-3-88443-033-0. Hodgkin, T.. Charles the Great. London: Macmillan. ISBN 978-1-4067-3026-5. Holdsworth, C. J.. P. Wiseman; the Inheritance of historiography, 350–900. Exeter: University of Exeter. ISBN 0-85989-272-7. Innes, M.. "The Classical Tradition and Carolingian Historiography: Encounters with Suetonius". International Journal of the Classical Tradition. 3: 265–282. Doi:10.1007/BF02686391. Kempshall, M.. "Some Ciceronian Models for Einhard' s Life of Charlemagne". Viator. 26: 11–38. Doi:10.1484/J. VIATOR.2.301133. Latowsky, Anne A.. Emperor of the World: Charlemagne and the Construction of Imperial Authority, 800-1229. Ithaca, N. Y.–London: Cornell University Press. Ogg, F. A.. A Source Book of Medieval History. New York: American Book Company. Nelson, J.. "Charlemagne the Man". In J. Story. Charlemagne: Empire and Society. Manchester: Manchester University Press. ISBN 978-0-7190-7089-1. Southern, Pat. Augustus. Routledge. ISBN 0-415-16631-4.
Tischler, M.. Einharts Vita Karoli: Studien zur Entstehung, Überlieferung und Rezeption. Hannover: Hahnsche Buchhandlung. ISBN 3-7752-5448-X. Full Latin text at the Latin Library Einhard. Life of Charlemagne at Project Gutenberg, translated by A. J. Grant
Charibert II, a son of Clotaire II and his junior wife Sichilde, was King of Aquitaine from 629 to his death, with his capital at Toulouse. We have no direct statement about when Charibert was born only that he was "a few years younger" than his half-brother Dagobert, his father Clotaire evidently had a bigamous marriage and he was the offspring of the junior wife. When his father, Clotaire II, King of the Franks, died in 629, Charibert made a bid for the kingdom of Neustria against his elder half-brother Dagobert I, king of Austrasia since 623. In the ensuing negotiations, Charibert, a minor, was represented by his uncle Brodulf, the brother of Queen Sichilde. Dagobert had Brodulf killed, but did not intercede when his half-brother took over the near-independent realm of Aquitaine; this caused no disagreement, as in 631 Charibert stood godfather to Dagobert's son Sigebert. Charibert's realm included Toulouse, Agen, Périgueux, Saintes, to which he added his possessions in Gascony. Charibert was married to the daughter of Amand, Ruler of the Gascons.
His fighting force subdued the resistance of the Basques, until the whole Novempopulania was under his control. In 632, Charibert died at Blaye, Gironde—possibly assassinated on Dagobert's orders—and soon after that Charibert's infant son Chilperic was killed. Aquitaine passed again to Dagobert. Both Charibert and his son are buried in the early Romanesque Basilica of Saint-Romain at Blaye. PrimaryFredegar. 1960. The Fourth Book of the Chronicle of Fredegar with its Continuations. Translated by J. M. Wallace-Hadrill. Connecticut: Greenwood Press. SecondaryGeary, Patrick J.. Before France and Germany: The Creation and Transformation of the Merovingian World. Oxford University Press. James, Edward; the Franks. Basil Blackwell. Wood, Ian N.. The Merovingian Kingdoms, 450–751. Longman
Childebert I was a Frankish King of the Merovingian dynasty, as third of the four sons of Clovis I who shared the kingdom of the Franks upon their father's death in 511. He was one of the sons of Saint Clotilda, born at Reims, he reigned as King of Paris from 511 to 558 and Orléans from 524 to 558. In the partition of the realm, Childebert received as his share the town of Paris, the country to the north as far as the river Somme, to the west as far as the English Channel, the Armorican peninsula, his brothers ruled in different lands: Theuderic I in Metz, Chlodomer in Orléans, Clothar I in Soissons. In 523, Childebert participated with his brothers in a war against Godomar of Burgundy. Chlodomer died in the Battle of Vézeronce. Thereafter, concerned that the three sons of Chlodomer would inherit the kingdom of Orléans, Clothar conspired with Childebert to oust them, they sent a representative to their mother Clotilde, who as the queen mother had authority as the head of the family line. The representative presented a pair of scissors and a sword, offering her the choice to shear the three young boys, thereby depriving them of the long hair considered a symbol of royal power, or to have them killed.
She famously replied, "It is better for me to see them dead rather than shorn, if they are not raised to the kingship". After the murder of Chlodomer's two elder children—the third, escaping to a monastic life—Childebert annexed the cities of Chartres and Orléans, he took part in various expeditions against the kingdom of Burgundy. He besieged Autun in 532 and, in 534, having conquered the kingdom along with his brother Clothar and Theuderic's son Theudebert I, received as his share of the spoils of that kingdom the towns of Mâcon and Lyons; when Witiges, the king of the Ostrogoths, ceded Provence to the Franks in 535, the possession of Arles and Marseilles was guaranteed to Childebert by his brothers. The annexation of that province was completed, with Clotaire's help, in the winter of 536–537. In 531, he received pleas from wife of King Amalaric of the Visigoths; the Arian king of Hispania, Chrotilda claimed, was grossly mistreating her, a Catholic. Childebert defeated the Gothic king. Amalaric retreated to Barcelona.
Chrotilda died on her return journey to Paris of unknown causes. Childebert made other expeditions against the Visigoths. In 542, he took possession of Pamplona with the help of his brother Clotaire and besieged Zaragoza, but was forced to retreat. From this expedition he brought back to Paris a precious relic, the tunic of Saint Vincent, in honour of which he built at the gates of Paris the famous monastery of Sainte-Croix-et-Saint-Vincent, known as St-Germain-des-Prés, he died on 13 December 558, was buried in the abbey he had founded, where his tomb has been discovered. St-Germain-des-Prés became the royal necropolis for the Neustrian kings until 675, he left no sons, only two daughters and Chrodesinde, by his wife Ultragotha. Childebert was an acquisitive monarch, he expanded his domains in more foreign wars than any of his brothers, fighting in Burgundy, Spain and elsewhere in Gaul. Gregory of Tours, a contemporary Neustrian, cites Childebert as saying: "Velim unquam Arvernam Lemanem quae tantae jocunditatis gratia refulgere dicitur, oculis cernere".
Childbert was one of the more religious of the sons of Clovis, cooperating with his brothers, rescuing his sister, constructing the famous monastery of Saint Vincent to house his relics. Gregory of Tours; the History of the Franks. 2 vol. trans. O. M. Dalton. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1967. Geary, Patrick J. Before France and Germany. Oxford University Press: 1988
Clovis II succeeded his father Dagobert I in 639 as King of Neustria and Burgundy. His brother Sigebert III had been King of Austrasia since 634, he was under the regency of his mother Nanthild until her death in her early thirties in 642. This death allowed him to fall under the influence of the secular magnates, who reduced the royal power in their own favour. Clovis' wife, whose Anglo-Saxon origins are now considered doubtful, was sold into slavery in Gaul, she had been owned by Clovis' mayor of the palace, who gave her to him to garner royal favour. She bore him three sons; the eldest, succeeded him and his second eldest, was placed on the Austrasian throne by Ebroin while Clovis was still alive. The youngest, succeeded Childeric in Neustria and became the sole king of the Franks. Clovis was a minor for the whole of his reign, he is sometimes regarded as king of Austrasia during the interval 656–57 when Childebert the Adopted had usurped the throne. He is regarded as an early roi fainéant. Medieval monks attribute "the stupidity of his descendants" to that cause.
Noted Belgian historian Henri Pirenne stated that Clovis "died insane."Clovis II was buried in Saint Denis Basilica, Paris. Media related to Clovis II at Wikimedia Commons
Theuderic I was the Merovingian king of Metz, Rheims, or Austrasia—as it is variously called—from 511 to 533 or 534. He concubines, he inherited Metz in 511 at his father's death. In accordance with Salian tradition, the kingdom was divided between Clovis's four surviving sons: Childebert I in Paris, Chlodomer in Orléans, Clothar I in Soissons. Early in his reign, he sent his son Theudebert to kill the Scandinavian King Chlochilaich who had invaded his realm. Theuderic got involved in the war between his brother Baderic. Theuderic was promised half of Thuringia for his help. In 531, Theuderic invaded Thuringia with the support of Clothar. Hermanfrid was killed in the invasion and his kingdom was annexed; the four sons of Clovis all fought the Burgundian kings Sigismund and Godomar. Theuderic married Sigismund's daughter Suavegotha. Godomar won back his kingdom. Chlodomer, aided by Theuderic, died in the fighting at Vézeronce. Theuderic with his brother Clotaire and his son, attacked Thuringia to revenge himself on Hermanfrid.
With the assistance of the Saxons under Duke Hadugato, Thuringia was conquered, Clotaire received Radegund, daughter of King Berthar. After making a treaty with his brother Childebert, Theuderic died in 534. Upon his death the throne of Metz, passed to his son Theudebert. Theuderic left a daughter Theodechild. Theodechild founded the Abbey of St-Pierre le Vif at Sens. Herbermann, Charles, ed.. "Sens". Catholic Encyclopedia. Robert Appleton Company. Wood, Ian N.. The Merovingian Kingdoms, 450–751. Longman. Bachrach, Bernard S.. Merovingian Military Organization, 481–751. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, ISBN 0-8166-0621-8. Geary, Patrick J.. Before France and Germany: The Creation and Transformation of the Merovingian World. Oxford: Oxford University Press, ISBN 0-19-504458-4. James, Edward; the Franks. London: Blackwell, ISBN 0-631-14872-8. Oman, Charles; the Dark Ages, 476–918. London: Rivingtons. Wallace-Hadrill, J. M.. The Long-Haired Kings, Other Studies in Frankish History. London: Methuen
Childeric III was King of Francia from 743 until he was deposed by Pope Zachary in March 751 at the instigation of Pepin the Short. Although his parentage is uncertain, he is considered the last Frankish king from the Merovingian dynasty. Once Childeric was deposed, Pepin the Short, the father of emperor Charlemagne, was crowned the first king of the Franks from the Carolingian dynasty. Following the reign of Dagobert I, the power of the Merovingian kings declined into a ceremonial role, while the real power in the Frankish kingdom was wielded by the mayors of the palace. In 718, Charles Martel combined the roles of mayor of the palace of Neustria and mayor of the palace of Austrasia, consolidating his position as the most powerful man in Francia. After the death of king Theuderic IV in 737, the throne remained vacant, Charles Martel became de facto king. After Charles Martel's death in 741, Carloman and Pepin the Short, his sons by his first wife Rotrude, became co-mayors of the palace. However, they soon faced revolts from their younger half-brother Grifo and their brother-in-law Odilo, Duke of Bavaria.
These revolts may have played a part in their decision to fill the throne with a Merovingian king after a six-year vacancy to add legitimacy to their reigns. Childeric's parentage and his relation to the Merovingian family are uncertain, he may have been either the son of Chilperic II or Theuderic IV. Childeric took no part in public business, directed, as by the mayors of the palace. Once a year, he would be brought in an ox cart led by a peasant and preside at court, giving answers prepared by the mayors to visiting ambassadors. After Carloman retired to a monastery in 747, Pepin resolved to take the royal crown for himself. Pepin sent letters to Pope Zachary, asking whether the title of king belonged to the one who had exercised the power or the one with the royal lineage; the pope responded. In early March 751 Childeric was tonsured, his long hair was thus the royal rights or magical powers. Once dethroned, he and his son Theuderic were placed in the monastery of Saint-Bertin or in Saint-Omer and Theuderic in Saint-Wandrille.
There are conflicts in information of when he died with some references citing as early as 753 and other references saying it was as late as 758. Under the Carolingians, he received bad press, being called a rex falsus, false king, despite the fact that it was Pepin through Popes Zachary and Stephen II who raised him to his throne. Frassetto, Michael, ed.. Encyclopedia of Barbarian Europe: Society in Transformation. ABC-CLIO. ISBN 978-1-57607-263-9. McKitterick, Rosamond; the Frankish Kingdoms under the Carolingians. Longman. Riché, Pierre; the Carolingians: A Family Who Forged Europe. Translated by Allen, Michael Idomir. University of Pennsylvania Press. Rosenwein, Barbara H.. A Short History of the Middle Ages. University of Toronto. Tierney, Brian; the Crisis of Church and State, 1050-1300. University of Toronto Press. Theuws, Frans. Topographies of Power in the Early Middle Ages. Brill. Junghans, W. Die Geschichte der fränkischen Konige Childerich und Clodovech. Göttingen, 1857. Chiflet, J. J. Anastasis Childerici I Francorum regis.
Antwerp, 1655. Cochet, J. B. D. Le Tombeau de Childeric I, roi des Francs. Paris, 1859. Lavisse, E. Histoire de France, Vol. II. Paris, 1903. Wallace-Hadrill, J. M. translator. The Fourth Book of the Chronicle of Fredegar with its Continuations. Greenwood Press: Connecticut, 1960. Wallace-Hadrill, J. M; the Long-Haired Kings. London, 1962. Einhard. Annales Regni Francorum
Einhard was a Frankish scholar and courtier. Einhard was his son Louis the Pious. Einhard was from the eastern German-speaking part of the Frankish Kingdom. Born into a family of landowners of some importance, his parents sent him to be educated by the monks of Fulda - one of the most impressive centers of learning in the Frank lands. Due to his small stature, which restricted his riding and sword-fighting ability, Einhard concentrated his energies on scholarship the mastering of Latin, he was accepted into the hugely wealthy court of Charlemagne around 791 or 792. Charlemagne sought to amass scholarly men around him and established a royal school led by the Northumbrian scholar Alcuin. Einhard evidently was a talented builder and construction manager, because Charlemagne put him in charge of the completion of several palace complexes including Aachen and Ingelheim. Despite the fact that Einhard was on intimate terms with Charlemagne, he never achieved office in his reign. In 814, on Charlemagne's death, his son Louis.
Einhard retired from court during the time of the disputes between Louis and his sons in the spring of 830. He died at Seligenstadt in 840. Einhard was married to Emma. There is a possibility that their marriage bore Vussin, their marriage appears to have been exceptionally liberal for the period, with Emma being as active as Einhard, if not more so, in the handling of their property. It is said that in the years of their marriage Emma and Einhard abstained from sexual relations, choosing instead to focus their attentions on their many religious commitments. Though he was undoubtedly devoted to her, Einhard wrote nothing of his wife until after her death on 13 December 835, when he wrote to a friend that he was reminded of her loss in ‘every day, in every action, in every undertaking, in all the administration of the house and household, in everything needing to be decided upon and sorted out in my religious and earthly responsibilities’. Einhard made numerous references to himself as a "sinner" according to his strong Christian faith.
He erected churches at both of his estates in Mulinheim. In Michelstadt, he saw fit to build a basilica completed in 827 and sent a servant, Ratleic, to Rome with an end to find relics for the new building. Once in Rome, Ratleic robbed a catacomb of the bones of the Martyrs Marcellinus and Peter and had them translated to Michelstadt. Once there, the relics made it known they were unhappy with their new tomb and thus had to be moved again to Mulinheim. Once established there, they proved to be miracle workers. Although unsure as to why these saints should choose such a "sinner" as their patron, Einhard nonetheless set about ensuring they continued to receive a resting place fitting of their honour. Between 831 and 834 he founded a Benedictine Monastery and, after the death of his wife, served as its Abbot until his own death in 840. Local lore from Seligenstadt portrays Einhard as the lover of Emma, one of Charlemagne's daughters, has the couple elope from court. Charlemagne forgave them; this account is used to explain the name "Seligenstadt" by folk etymology.
Einhard and his wife were buried in one sarcophagus in the choir of the church in Seligenstadt, but in 1810 the sarcophagus was presented by the Grand Duke of Hesse to the count of Erbach, who claims descent from Einhard as the husband of Imma, the reputed daughter of Charlemagne. The count put it in the famous chapel of his castle at Erbach in the Odenwald; the most famous of Einhard's works is his biography of Charlemagne, the Vita Karoli Magni, "The Life of Charlemagne", which provides much direct information about Charlemagne's life and character, written sometime between 817 and 830. In composing this he relied upon the Royal Frankish Annals. Einhard's literary model was the classical work of the Roman historian Suetonius, the Lives of the Caesars, though it is important to stress that the work is much Einhard's own, to say he adapts the models and sources for his own purposes, his work was written as a praise of Charlemagne, whom he regarded as a foster-father and to whom he was a debtor "in life and death".
The work thus contains an understandable degree of bias, Einhard taking care to exculpate Charlemagne in some matters, not mention others, to gloss over certain issues which would be of embarrassment to Charlemagne, such as the morality of his daughters. Einhard is responsible for three other extant works: a collection of letters, On the Translations and the Miracles of SS. Marcellinus and Petrus, On the Adoration of the Cross; the latter dates from ca. 830 and was not rediscovered until 1885, when Ernst Dümmler identified a text in a manuscript in Vienna as the missing Libellus de adoranda cruce, which Einhard had dedicated to his pupil Lupus Servatus. Royal Frankish Annals "Der hessische Spessart". HR Online. Retrieved 25 March 2010. Dümmler, Ernst. "Ein Nachtrag zu Einhards Werken". Neues Archiv der Gesellschaft für ältere deutsche Geschichtskunde. 11: 231–38. Retrieved 25 March 2010. "Einhard c. 770-840". Enotes. Retrieved 25 March 2010. Hodgkin, T.. Charles the Great. London: Macmillan. Levison, Wilhelm.
Deutschlands Geschichtsquellen im Mittelalter, Vorzeit und Karolinger: Heft. Die Karolinger vom Anfang