An Introduction to the Study of the Middle Ages (375-814)

By Ephraim Emerton | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XII.
THE FRANKS FROM CHARLES MARTEL TO CHARLEMAGNE.

AUTHORITIES:--With the rise of the Carolingian house the
writing of history begins to be more frequent and more skilful.
Even the three unknown persons who successively continued the
chronicle of Fredegarius down to the year 752, are wholly in the
Carolingian interest, and mention the ruling Merovingians only in
a formal way.

The annals now begin to be more numerous and more complete.
The two most important are known to scholars as the Annales Lau-
rissenses
, or Annals of Lorsch and the Annals of Einhard. The
former are named from the monastery where the oldest manuscript
was found; the latter have been given the name of Charlemagne's
secretary, because of a certain ancient hint that Einhard had writ-
ten annals and because of the excellent literary style of this work.
Both these histories are now believed to be what we call in these
days "inspired," that is, written by some one who stood very near
the government and took his cue from it. Perhaps even the name
"royal annals" is not too strong an expression of the official char-
acter of these writings. Other sources are the lives of prominent
men, few and meagre, yet so much better than what had been
written before, that we mark in them a distinct literary progress.
The most famous of these lives is that of Charlemagne, by his sec-
retary, Einhard. It is written in fairly good Latin, and modelled
on the lives of the Roman emperors by Suetonius.

From Einhard's Life of Charlemagne:--

"He took care that his children, both boys and girls, should be
educated first of all in liberal studies, to which he also
gave attention himself. Then, when his sons were
of the proper age, he had them learn to ride in the manner of

c. xix

-150-

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