Two lives of Charlemagne

by Lewis G. M. Thorpe

Paper Book, 1969




Harmondsworth, Penguin, 1969.


Einhard's Two Lives of Charlemagneis an absorbing chronicle of one of the most powerful and dynamic of all medieval rulers, written by a close friend and adviser. In elegant prose it describes Charlemagne's personal life, details his achievements in reviving learning and the arts, recounts his military successes and depicts one of the defining moments in European history- Charlemagne's coronation as emperor in Rome on Christmas Day 800AD. By contrast, Notker's account, written some decades after Charlemagne's death, is a collection of anecdotes rather than a presentation of historical facts.

User reviews

LibraryThing member khkeeler
This small volume contains two biographies of Charlemagne, one by a man who knew him, the other written within 100 years of his death. The translated biographies are interesting for their style, attitudes and anecdotes. The commentary points out when the biographies make factual errors or omissions and the sources of some of the references to sources like the Bible or the Aeneid. The personalities of both writers and of the translator come through, which I sometimes found amusing and sometimes found annoying.… (more)
LibraryThing member Fledgist
Translations of two mediaeval works on the great emperor.
LibraryThing member Nickelini
I just can't write a review better than the one that "a customer" wrote over at Amazon:

As the title suggests, this book reveals the incredible 'two lives' of Charlemagne. By day, Emperor of the Franks - by night, a nightclub singer in the sleazy joints of downtown Aachen.
LibraryThing member DinadansFriend
The lives are well served by their translator. The prose seems lively, and the introduction is very informative. These lives were originally written by Einhard between 824 and 836, and by Notker in 883 84. Einhard's work was a personal memoir, as he spent at least twenty-three years in the service of the Frankish king.
LibraryThing member Eyejaybee
How can you not like a book written by someone called 'Notker the Stammerer'?


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