The Two Lives of Charlemagne Essay

The Two Lives of Charlemagne Essay

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The two lives of Charlemagne as told by Einhard and Notker are two medieval sources about the accounts of the life Charlemagne. Modern sources by Matthew Innes and Rosamond Mckitterick discuss how history was recorded during the medieval period and how it was suppose to be viewed in the early ages. Observing each of these sources helps get an understanding of how the writing of history is important in recorded history and how it affected how the history of Charlemagne was recorded.

Writing history in the early Middle Ages "was not intended to be simply a matter of keeping a record for posterity." It was to help make the past more presentable and comprehensible to the present, "whether as support for contemporary political ideology or to explain God's purpose for humanity." Works that is widely read and follows these guidelines is writings Einhard and Notker did on Charlemagne. The writings of these two men can be looked at many different ways to decide how they wanted the history of Charlemagne to be perceived. "These histories can function both as a record of the past and as the exploitation of a different world in order to make particular political or polemical points."

Critical questions can arise about Einhard's work for the simple fact he was a palace official of Charlemagne. Einhard was a minister of his Royal Majesty. He was highly respected for his knowledge, intellect, brilliance, integrity and character. He shared a personal relationship with the King and his family. It can be believed that his book was to make sure that the greatness of Charlemagne was recorded for history and maybe not the facts. The way he recorded the history of Charlemagne could have been more ...

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...ard is a man of many notable characteristics and accomplishments. Einhard gives a sense of what the important events and people in Charlemagne's life were. Einhard gives a more detailed and colorful background to many of the events even if some of his descriptions and stories do not seem believable. In Einhard, we learn the facts because he was alive and official of Charlemagne and shared a close relationship with him. He is a primary source of the history recorded. In Notker, we see Charlemagne's sense of humor and his compassion, forgiveness, his sense of equality and fairness. In the many anecdotes of Notker, Charlemagne comes alive and tells a great story of Charlemagne's life. He did write his book seventy years after Charlemagne's death so he is a secondary source, but his source is viewed as being a good source to use to learn about the life of Charlemagne.

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