Sculpture of Einhard

Einhard

Frankish Scholar, Courtier

Country:Francia, Germany

Lifetime: 775 - 840 Passed: ≈ 1182 years ago

Einhard was a Frankish scholar and courtier. Einhard was a dedicated servant of Charlemagne and his son Louis the Pious; his main work is a biography of Charlemagne, the Vita Karoli Magni, "one of the most precious literary bequests of the early Middle Ages."  

  
Einhard was from the eastern German-speaking part of the Frankish Kingdom. Born into a family of landowners of some importance, his parents sent him to be educated by the monks of Fulda, one of the most impressive centers of learning in the Frank lands. Perhaps due to his small stature, which restricted his riding and sword-fighting ability, Einhard concentrated his energies on scholarship, especially the mastering of Latin. He was accepted into the hugely wealthy 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. Einhard 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 in the spring of 830.  

  

He died at Seligenstadt in 840.  

  

Einhard made numerous references to himself as a "sinner" according to his strong Christian faith. He erected churches at both of his estates in Michelstadt and Mulinheim. In Michelstadt, he also saw fit to build a basilica completed in 827 and then sent a servant, Ratleic, to Rome with an end to find relics for the new building. Once in Rome, Ratleic robbed a catacomb of the bones of the Martyrs Marcellinus and Peter and had them translated to Michelstadt. Once there, the relics made it known they were unhappy with their new tomb and thus had to be moved again to Mulinheim. Once established there, they proved to be miracle workers. Although unsure as to why these saints should choose such a "sinner" as their patron, Einhard nonetheless set about ensuring they continued to receive a resting place fitting of their honour. Between 831 and 834 he founded a Benedictine Monastery and, after the death of his wife, served as its Abbot until his own death in 840. 

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