Einhard (also Eginhard or Einhart) (born about 775 in the valley of the River Main, died March 14, 840, at Seligenstadt, Germany) was a Frankish historian and a dedicated servant of Charlemagne.
He wrote a number of works, the most famous of which was produced at the request of Charlemagne's son and successor Louis the Pious. Einhard wrote a biography of Charlemagne, the Vita Karoli Magni or Life of Charlemagne (c. 817–830), which provides much direct information about Charlemagne's life and character. In composing this he made full use of the Frankish Royal annals. Einhard's literary model was the classical work of the Roman historian Suetonius, the Lives of the Caesars. His work is biased in the sense that it was written as a praise of Charlemagne—he glossed over certain issues which would be of embarrassment to Charlemagne (such as the morality of his daughters), and we are not necessarily to believe that Charlemagne was really a giant. However, in comparison to other contemporary sources it appears to be a fairly accurate description of events.
Einhard was from the eastern part of the Frankish kingdom, the portion that is still German speaking. He was educated at Fulda which was one of the most impressive centres of learning in the Frankish lands. He was accepted into the court of Charlemagne around 791 or 792. Charlemagne actively sought to amass scholarly men around him and established a royal school led by the Northumbrian scholar Alcuin. He 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 the Pious made Einhard his private secretary. Einhard retired from court during the time of the disputes between Louis and his sons (The First Revolt), in the spring of 830.
- Royal Frankish Annals
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