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Charlemagne, a historical figure pending between having legendary features and historical accuracy

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The view point of Einhard, and Notker the Stammerer, was presented in the Two Lives of Charlemagne through each of their writing. The analysis of their accounts on Charlemagne’s life makes it comprehensible to compare and contrast them, and their view points through their work. Ways to show how Einhard and Notker differentiate and compare to one another is through each of their backgrounds, their incentives and values in which motivated them in their writing, the historical factors that created similarities and differences between Einhard and Notker, and how they both enunciated their thoughts on Charlemagne by how they each portrayed him throughout each version. Einhard based his writing off of historical facts, his personal experiences, and relationship with Charlemagne himself. Notker the Stammerer’s writing is done in a different style. Unlike Einhard, Notker tends to not focus solely on the accurateness of the historical context. He favors creating an interesting story to read instead, even if he exaggerates once in a while. Einhard and Notker the Stammerer, are similar in ways which they both accomplished writing biographies on Charlemagne for the book, Two Lived of Charlemagne, and shared the quality of praise given towards Charlemagne. Einhard and Notker disagree when it comes to the style of writing, and what they both want the readers to understand about the Emperor Charlemagne.

Einhard, who was born around 770 AD, was a Frankish historian, whose bibliographies and writings on Charlemagne were a priceless contribution in history. He was a more realistic writer, and his writings were centered on facts, not opinions. He wrote his biography about Charlemagne in 826. We knew more about him than any other person living throughout the same tie as him, because in addition to Two Lives of Charlemagne, there were other primary sources found by him. Those were, letters between himself and Charlemagne, his point of view of the Translation of the Relics of Marcellinus and Peter, and On the Adoration of the Cross. Einhard lived in the Main valley around AD 770, where noble parents raised him. He was already co-ruler of the Frankish Kingdom through this time period. He was then sent away to the monastery of Fulda where he became knowledgeable, and educated. Around the year 791, Charlemagne was looking for competent scholars to encourage and promote literacy in his kingdom. Einhard was then recommended, and sent to the court of Charlemagne to finish his training. While he was there, he was fortunate enough to be taught by a monk, named Alcuin. Einhard was fortunate to learn from Alcuin, because he was the most successful scholar of the Carolingian Renaissance, and created crucial reforms in the Roman Catholic Church. Einhard eventually befriend Charlemagne and his family. He worked for Charlemagne as a dedicated servant. He always remained loyal, and admired the Emperor greatly. The kingdom was crashing during Charlemagne’s reign, and Einhard remained defending him. He then received a lot of admiration for his loyalty, which made him a bit smug since then. In 813 he was also selected to invite Charlemagne to crown his son Louis the Pious as his heir. After Charlemagne’s passing, Einhard continued to stay loyal through the family, and began serving Charlemagne’s son, Louis the Pious.

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Einhard wanted to write about Charlemagne’s life because he was an excellent Emperor, and friend who he admired very much so. He cared deeply how Charlemagne would be portrayed throughput history. His incentives and values that motivated his writing in this book, was to make sure that the significance of Charlemagne was documented in history, and he would be glorified as a influential Emperor. Einhard did not believe there would be anyone better than himself to write about Charlemagne, which makes sense due to their close companionship they had, and he has first hand experience he includes in the book.

“I took pains to omit none of the facts that have come to my notice nor to irritate the minds of those who are critical by supplying at great length an account of everything new…”(17par1).

That is Einhard, promising that he will not leave out any facts during his writing of Charlemagne, and he will include every element that he can think of. On the other hand though, he does not want to make people mad, for those who appreciate a good detailed length of events styled writing. He wanted to be sure the biography was accurate, and he was able to record events he witnessed and was able to verify what actually took place. He admired Charlemagne a great amount, and was grateful for his companionship, and the lifestyle that came with it. He wrote his book from the historical perception which was all fact based, and his personal knowledge of the Emperor Charlemagne.

Notker the Stammerer, served on occasion as a counselor to the Holy Roman Emperor at the time, Charles the Fat, whom is the great-grandson of the former Leader Charlemagne. Notker the Stammerer had countless talents; he recognized himself as a musician, author, poet and even a monk. Around 840, He was born in Jonswil in the region of St Gall, which is currently modern day Switzerland. His brother’s name was Othere, who during this time, he was chief official. Notker the Stammerer additionally attended the monastery of St Gall. During his time there, it is recorded that he operated as a librarian in 890. Ekkehard IV, a biographer of the monks of St Gall, praises Notker the Stammerer as, “frail in body, though not in mind, a Stammerer in voice but not in spirit, …” (48par.1). As time went on, he grew up and became a monk until he died in April of 912.

Notker the Stammerer’s incentives and values differed from Einhard’s incentives and values, which motivated their will to create these biographies about Charlemagne’s lifetime. Notker was a counselor to Emperor Charles the Fat, whom recalled is Charlemagne’s great-grandson. Notker’s incentive to write his account of the Two Lives of Charlemagne occurred to write it for Charles the Fat. Notker hoped if he wrote this biography for Charles, then he may take action and preserve his great-grandfathers failing empire.

Einhard does not make any attempts to hide his awe, and respect for Charlemagne. His goal is for the readers to be fascinated with Charlemagne as much as he is. Throughout his writing, he always made the effort to give off the image of a successful man in context of Charlemagne. He presented Charlemagne as an incredibly strong leader, who encouraged peace and justice. He makes you imagine the Emperor in a way where you see him as a person rather than a ruler. He wants you to become emotionally invested in Charlemagne. This is why Einhard will frequently boast about Charlemagne’s accomplishments that are received from his personality, and rarely speaks of success in the government.

Notker had a disadvantage over Einhard, not knowing someone and just learning about what they did before they died puts the writer in a different position. The writer that knew the subject, and was close with them has more of an advantage to paint a picture in the readers mind.

He viewed Charlemagne as more of a legend to reminisce on, rather than Einhard who actually knew Charlemagne.

After analyzing the writing of Einhard, and Notker the Stammerer, there is clarity as to what makes these authors, and their writing compares and contrast. Einhard and Notker are similar in ways where they both accomplished the writing of Two Lives of Charlemagne, and gave praise to Charlemagne. Einhard and Notker the Stammerer both fulfilled the book with their own personal versions of Charlemagne’s biography. Another similarity both Einhard and Notker have in common are they both praise Charlemagne in their book as a great Christian, and Emperor.

Einhard and Notker disagree when it comes to the style of writing, and what they both want the readers to understand about the Emperor Charlemagne. Einhard put time, and reason into everything he wrote. Notker wrote this as more of a reading for pleasure, styled book, and less of a historical book. Einhard writes pure facts, and events that he was present for. He would pride himself on knowing the Emperor Charlemagne so well, and having such a close bond with him that he believed only he could produce a biography on the leaders life. Einhard was not only alive during Charlemagne’s ruling and existence, but they formed a strong friendship as well. Being said, Einhard had first hand experience and information to write a biography about Charlemagne using facts, and memories, which he could confirm are accurate. He paints a picture of Charlemagne and what he was like, because he could think in his own mind and reminisce him. This is unalike Notker, since he was living several generations after Charlemagne’s presence. He viewed Charlemagne as more of an icon to think about, rather than Einhard who actually knew Charlemagne. This was a disadvantage to Notker the Stammerer, making the only resources he had were third and fourth hand information he had to scramble to research.

Einhard and Notker the Stammerer, share the accomplishment of both completing biographies on Charlemagne for the book, Two Lived of Charlemagne. They preferred different types of writing, and what they thought the readers needed to think about the Emperor Charlemagne. Einhard had much more of an advantage, being close with him, towards telling his view on the Emperor’s life. Notker the Stammerer, a musician, author, poet and monk, wrote the book with the value that he served, Charles the Fat, whom is the great-grandson of the former Leader Charlemagne as a counselor from time to time, Notker the Stammerer’s incentives and values differed from Einhard’s incentives and values, which motivated their will to create these biographies about Charlemagne’s lifetime. Einhard does not make any attempts to hide how incredible he believes Charlemagne is. His goal is for the readers to view Charlemagne as a successful man, and ruler.


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