September 20, 2004
After reading two versions of "The Life of Charlemagne", one written by a person who lived with Charlemagne, and one who didn't, it is evident that Charlemagne is portrayed in a negative way by the author, the Monk of St. Gall, and in a positive way by Einhard. Einhard was very close to Charlemagne. He lived at the same time and with Charlemagne himself. His version of "The Life of Charlemagne" was writing right after his death. The Monk of St. Gall wrote his version more than 70 years after Charlemagne's death. He did not live with or even at the same time as Charlemagne. This is probably one of the reasons the view on the ruler are completely different. The reason Einhard wrote his biography of Charlemagne was to explain to the world how this man, who was also his personal friend, was a great leader. Einhard begins by telling some history of Charlemagne's family and ancestry. Einhard then goes on to tell about every war Charlemagne was ever involved in. Einhard's main reason for writing this description of Charlemagne's reign is just to inform people of what he believe to be the reign of the greatest ruler of all time. He seemed proud to have lived at the same time as Charlemagne. He thought Charlemagne made no mistakes in the wars he was involved with. Einhard was proud of what Charlemagne did for the churches at the time of his reign. "Whenever he discovered one in his kingdom that was old and ready to collapse he charged the responsible bishops and priests with restoring it" (Einhard). He "Cultivated friendships with kings across the seas, so that Christians living in need under their jurisdiction would receive some aid and succor". Altogether, Charlemagne's rule was a successful one and Charlemagne rarely, if ever, made mistakes according to Einhard. In St. Gall's version of "The Life of Charlemagne" the author does not give any background information at all. The reason St. Gall...