Charlemagne and Louis the Pious

Lives by Einhard, Notker, Ermoldus, Thegan, and the Astronomer

Edited by Thomas F. X. Noble

Paperback - £24.95

Publication date:

15 May 2012

Length of book:

320 pages


Penn State University Press

ISBN-13: 9780271037158

Carolingian historical texts have long stood at the base of our modern knowledge about the eighth and ninth centuries. The ninth century gave birth to a new revival of secular biography, which has come to be recognized as one of the brightest bands in the spectrum of Carolingian historical writing. This collection brings together, for the first time in one volume, the five royal/imperial biographies written during the Carolingian period.

Thomas F. X. Noble’s new English translations of these five important texts—Einhard’s Life of Emperor Charles, Notker’s Deeds of Charles the Great, Ermoldus Nigellus’s Poem in Honor of Louis, Thegan’s Deeds of Emperor Louis, and the Life of Louis by “the Astronomer”—are each accompanied by a short introduction and a note on “Essential Reading.” Offering details on matters of style, sources used by the author, and the influence, if any, exerted by the text, Noble provides a context for each translation without compromising the author’s intended voice. By “reuniting” these five essential medieval texts in an English translation, this volume makes these voices accessible to scholars and non-experts alike throughout the Anglophone world.

“The new translations of these five lives and their very useful introductions and notes make this work a prodigious achievement and an extremely valuable and most welcome contribution to Carolingian studies.”

—Steven Fanning, The Historian