Charlemagne essay - Taylor Brean 32.153 Einhard's Life of...

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Taylor Brean April 16, 2008 32.153 Einhard’s Life of Charlemagne When reading Einhard’s Life of Charlemagne it is important that we keep in mind that Einhard was a good friend of both Charlemagne and his children. It is also important to note that a major reason he wrote Charlemagne’s biography was due to “the care that King Charles bestowed upon me in my childhood” (Einhard, Life of Charlemagne , 16). Therefore, Einhard’s respect and love for Charlemagne may have skewed some of Charlemagne’s biography. While we should analyze Life of Charlemagne , we should not overlook the fact that some of Einhard’s words may be exaggerated, as it is difficult to find a single negative trait or action done by Charlemagne. Due to Einhard’s personal relationship with Charlemagne he wrote the biography in his honor and therefore may have left out negative details and exaggerated Charlemagne’s stronger attributes. For this reason, historical analysts should keep in mind when reading Life of Charlemagne that while most of it is accurate; Einhard may have a tendency to exaggerate Charlemagne’s strengths, and hide his weaknesses. Throughout his biography, Einhard continually praises Charlemagne’s character as well as his leadership skills. When looking at Charlemagne’s character, Einhard stresses Charlemagne, also known as Charles, was full of wisdom, had a high spirit, was patient, selfless, generous, and loved his friends and family. He also assesses what it was that made Charles such an effective leader, where he speaks of things like eloquence, relations with other kings, defeating the enemy to a point where they no longer would challenge King Charles, caring about the people, as well as many others. Although it is
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difficult to find criticisms of King Charles, if one looks closely they may find weaknesses in Charlemagne’s strategy in war against the Gascons, as well as being too protective of his daughters. On two occasions, Einhard speaks of Charles’s high spirit. During the Bavarian war, which Einhard explains broke out due to Duke Tassilo’s arrogance, Einhard explains that “Charles’ high spirit could not brook Tassilo’s insubordination, for it seemed to him to pass all bounds” (36). While this explains that Charles was unable to endure Tassilo’s disobedience, Einhard makes sure to include that Charles had high spirit. It seems as if it is not important to include that Charles had high spirit, and that Einhard just includes it so that Charles is not portrayed as having a temper or being unfair to Tassilo. Einhard again mentions Charles’s high spirit when speaking of the war against the Avars, or Huns. Regarding the war, Einhard states “he took it up with more spirit than any of his other
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This note was uploaded on 04/18/2008 for the course WESTERN CI 32.153 taught by Professor Halfond during the Spring '08 term at Mass Colleges.

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Charlemagne essay - Taylor Brean 32.153 Einhard's Life of...

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