Styles of Historiography: Herodotus vs Einhard

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The Styles of Historiography: Herodotus vs. Einhard

Herodotus and Einhard write history in two completely different styles. Einhard’s style is about giving specific details, while Herodotus’s style is about giving his own personal opinions and information that he has from secondary sources. The biggest effect of the difference amongst the two historian’s style of writing is the fact that Einhard’s history of Charlemagne’s life gives information that makes it seem as if the events were realistic, while some of the events that Herodotus talks about seem conjured.

The Two Lives of Charlemagne gives details about the life of Charlemagne. The entire story praises Charlemagne as a great hero and leader. All the qualities of the emperor seem perfect, like the fact that he is fair to not only his sons but also his daughters,[1] or that he gives alms to all Christians from different areas of the world.[2] The ever so perfect qualities of Charlemagne make it seem as if Einhard’s interpretations are a bit embellished because it brings up the question that how can anyone be so ideal? It is through some of his bad qualities that help show that Einhard’s style of historical writing is believable. One of Charlemagne’s bad qualities is shown when Einhard mentions the dangerous conspiracies against Charlemagne. He mentions that due to a conspiracy against Charlemagne, “all the plotters were exiled, some having their eyes put out first.”[3] This shows that Einhard does depict some of Charlemagne’s flaws rather than just acknowledging his greatness. Einhard also makes it seem as if Charlemagne is good at doing everything. He is said to be a great horseback rider and an excellent swimmer[4], however he is not able to learn to write.[5] Though Charlemagne has these flaws, Einhard covers them up through excuses. In the case of having the plotters exiled Einhard states, “the cruelty of Queen Fastrada is thought to have been the cause of both these...
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