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Einhard: Vita Caroli Magni
Vienna, Austrian National Library, Cod. Vindob. 529, Seligenstadt, 2nd half of the 9th century

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Few literary works from the Middle Ages are still today for the interested educated, so well known as Einhards biography of Charles I (Charlamagne). Written after 830, 2 decades after the death of the Kaiser, it is the first historical period oriented biographical work since ancient times.

The author – as an advisor to the Kaiser, his master and teacher at the Hofschule – intimate friends with Charles I, combined his own personal observations and experiences with different complementary examples of the king's behavior and personality traits obtained from older sources, so that above all the King's biography served as a role model.

With his biography, Einhard draws not only a lively, human, occasionally natural as well as idealistic picture of the acts and personality of the most important ruler of the Middle Ages, he also creates at the same time, one of the most famous historical works of the highest artistic achievement reached during this epoch.

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