Einhard: The Life of Charlemagne [Einhardi vita Karoli Magni]
translated by Samuel Epes Turner
(New York: Harper & Brothers, 1880)
Modified by Gordd Cymru to add a short biography of Einhard and facing Latin text
Einhard was born around 770 at Seligenstadt in the River Main area of the eastern part
of the Frankish Empire. His earliest training was at the monastery of Fulda. Abbot Baugulf
sent him to the court of Charlemagne to complete his training at the Palace School, where
he was fortunate enough to count among his masters the great Alcuin. In spite of his
ugliness, Einhard's talents made him one of the emperor's most trusted advisers.
Charlemagne gave Einhard charge of his great public buildings including the construction
of the Aachen cathedral and the palaces of Aachen and Ingelheim. In 802 CE, Charlemagne
placed Einhard in charge of the negotiations for the exchange of distinguished Saxon
hostages, and later in 806, Einhard was dispatched to Rome to obtain papal approbation for
the partition of the empire the emperor had just decided upon.
During the reign of Louis the Pious, Einhard retained his position and proved a
faithful counsellor to Louis's son Lothair. In the coming years, Einhard struggled to
bring a reconciliation between Louis and his sons and finally, in 1830, he withdrew to his
estates at Mühlheim on the Main. In the next few years, he established a Benedictine
abbey there, where, after the death of his wife, Emma, sister of Bishop Bernhar of Worms,
he spent the rest of his life as abbot.