Trent Shell History H 206 Janine Peterson 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 is writing this version of Charlemagne's life is to blame him for the attacks going on at present times. He gives no information about Charlemagne's family or ancestors. The author immediately begins to start his complaining about how Charlemagne basically did nothing good for the empire he was ruling. "After the omnipotent ruler of the world, who orders alike the fate of kingdoms and the course of time, had broken the feet of iron and clay in one noble statue, to wit the Romans, he raised by the hands of the illustrious Charles the golden head of another, not less admirable, among the Franks." At the beginning of this quote, Einhard is praising Charlemagne. St. Gall is placing Charlemagne at the same level as the Romans, saying God has raised up Charlemagne to succeed them.
Then, at the end of the quote, it is unclear why St. Gall says that the bishop falls of his horse. To me, this seems some sort of a negative passage making the reader think Charlemagne is somewhat incompetent. This being the first entry in this author's text, it immediately gives off a negative feeling towards Charlemagne. The reader immediately has a negative bias towards Charlemagne and has only been reading for a few seconds.
The Monk goes on to say "When another prince of the Church died, the emperor appointed a young man in his place. When the bishop designate came out of the palace to take his departure, his servants, with all the decorum that was due to a bishop, brought forward a horse and steps to mount it: but he took it amiss that they should treat him as though he were decrepit; and leaped from the ground on to the horse's back with such violence that  he nearly fell off on the other side." This makes the reader think that Charlemagne thought of himself as being a superior being to all the people around him. This passage shows somewhat of a disregard for the church and the people inside it. The author of this version of the life of Charlemagne was writing to people who lived later than Charlemagne, like himself. He wanted to place blame on Charlemagne for the way the world was right then (some seventy-plus years after the death of Charlemagne). Throughout the entirety of St.
Gall's text, he is always using negative language. Even though this author did not live with Charlemagne or personally know him, he thought he knew enough to place a bad judgment on Charlemagne and the way he handled himself during his reign of power. Whenever Einhard lived, he got to experience first hand how Charlemagne ruled. He lived through the same wars that Charlemagne did.
He knew Charlemagne on a personal level and was therefore able to depict and accurate version of Charlemagne's reign right after his rule. Einhard immediately was affected by Charlemagne's rule and according to his version of "The Life of Charlemagne"; life wasn't very bad because of Charlemagne. Charlemagne won numerous wars throughout his reign of the Empire. He brought churches closer together and helped to bring acquire allies with other countries through the church. St. Gall on the other hand didn't live with Charlemagne.
He didn't have to experience first hand the same things Charlemagne did. He was trying to make Charlemagne responsible for the coast of the empire being attacked by the Vikings at the time he wrote his version of Charlemagne's life. The empire wasn't stable when St. Gall wrote, and therefore he tried to blame this on Charlemagne who ruled seventy-plus years before this.