Einhard Criticism - Essay

Walahfrid Strabo (essay date c. 840)

(Classical and Medieval Literature Criticism)

SOURCE: Strabo, Walahfrid. “Walahfrid Strabo, His ‘Prologue’ to the Life of Charlemagne.” In Charlemagne's Courtier: The Complete Einhard, edited and translated by Paul Edward Dutton, np. Peterborough, Ontario: Broadview Press, 1998.

[In the following excerpt, originally written some time after the deaths of Louis the Pious and Einhard in 840, Strabo briefly sketches Einhard's biography and his purpose in writing his account of Charlemagne.]

Einhard is known to have sketched the account of the life and deeds of the most glorious Emperor Charles that is found below. Among all the courtiers of the palace at that time, this man received surpassing praise...

(The entire section is 560 words.)

A. J. Grant (essay date 1926)

(Classical and Medieval Literature Criticism)

SOURCE: Grant, A. J. Introduction to Early Lives of Charlemagne by Eginhard & The Monk of St Gall, translated and edited by A. J. Grant, pp. v-xxi. London: Chatto & Windus, 1926.

[In the following excerpt, Grant remarks on the veracity and balance of Einhard's Life of Charlemagne, particularly as compared with the Life written by the Monk of St. Gall.]


This volume contains two lives of Charles the Great, or Charlemagne (for both forms of the name will be used indifferently in this introduction); both written within a century after his death; both full of admiration for the hero of whom they...

(The entire section is 3616 words.)

F. L. Ganshof (essay date 1951)

(Classical and Medieval Literature Criticism)

SOURCE: Ganshof, F. L. “Einhard, Biographer of Charlemagne.” In The Carolingians and the Frankish Monarchy: Studies in Carolingian History, translated by Janet Sondheimer, pp. 1-16. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1971.

[In the following excerpt, originally published in French in 1951, Ganshof argues that the Life of Charlemagne is not only historically valuable but also interesting reading in its own right.]

Einhard does not stand in the forefront of the great figures of the Carolingian Renaissance which bequeathed to us such a major part of classical Latin literature. The influence of the English Alcuin, as teacher and writer, and above all as...

(The entire section is 7640 words.)

Sidney Painter (essay date 1960)

(Classical and Medieval Literature Criticism)

SOURCE: Painter, Sidney. Foreword to The Life of Charlemagne, by Einhard, pp. 5-12. Ann Arbor: The University of Michigan Press, 1960.

[In the following excerpt, Painter explains some limitations of the Life of Charlemagne and discusses why Einhard used the work of the Roman historian Suetonius as his chief model.]

Charlemagne or Charles the Great who is counted as Charles I in the conventional lists of kings of France was one of the truly imposing figures of history. At the height of his power he ruled all the Christian lands of Western Europe except the British Isles and southern Italy and Sicily under the titles of king of the Franks and the Lombards and...

(The entire section is 1463 words.)

Lewis Thorpe (essay date 1969)

(Classical and Medieval Literature Criticism)

SOURCE: Thorpe, Lewis. Introduction to Two Lives of Charlemagne, by Einhard and Notker the Stammerer, translated and edited by Lewis Thorpe, pp. 1-45. Middlesex, England: Penguin Books, 1969.

[In the following excerpt, Thorpe examines the biographies of Charlemagne and Einhard and comments on the latter's reticence to write anything negative about his subject.]



Charles the Great, King of the Franks and later ruler of the Carolingian Empire, may at first sight seem comparable with that other famous medieval figure, Arthur of Britain, for in both cases the...

(The entire section is 8015 words.)

Paul Edward Dutton (essay date 1998)

(Classical and Medieval Literature Criticism)

SOURCE: Dutton, Paul Edward. “An Introduction to Einhard.” In Charlemagne's Courtier: The Complete Einhard, pp. xi-xli. Peterborough, Ontario: Broadview Press, 1998.

[In the following excerpt, Dutton explores the characteristics of Einhard the man, not limited only to his writing of the Life of Charlemagne, and considers him as courtier, poet, theologian, and the author of Translation and Miracles.]

Einhard and Charlemagne have traveled through history together, at least as we have always imagined them, the little biographer and his towering subject. Their relationship has always struck observers, including Einhard himself, as that of a nurturing father and...

(The entire section is 14698 words.)