EINHARD, ain'hārt (EGINHARD): Frankish historian and ecclesiastic; b. in the district of the Main, Lower Franconia, about 770; d. at Seligenstadt (15 m. e.s.e. of Frankfort) Mar. 14, 840. He received his earliest education in the monastery of Fulda, and was presented by the abbot Baugolf (779-802) at the court of Charlemagne, where he enjoyed the instruction of Alcuin, devoting himself especially to mathematics and architecture, and being appointed inspector of the royal buildings. He was likewise one of the trusted counselors of Charlemagne, and in 806 was sent to Rome to secure the pope's sanction of the division of the realm as proposed by the emperor. He retained his position with Charlemagne's son and successor, Louis, who entrusted him with the education of his son Lothair, although he later became a strong opponent of the evil influence of the empress Judith. In 829 he fell seriously ill, and in the following year left the court. He then retired to Seligenstadt, but in 833 he was at the court of Lothair to do him homage. His chief interest, however, was the development of Mühlheim on the Main, which he renamed Seligenstadt on account of the relics of Saints Marcellinus and Peter, which he brought thither from Rome in 827.
The importance of Einhard as a historian has been much overrated, his perfection of form and diction concealing his inaccuracies. His Vita Caroli Magni (Eng. transl. by W. Glaister, London, 1877), which is modeled on Suetonius, and draws its political portions from the Annales Einhardi, was written shortly after the death of the emperor, and was at once most widely circulated. His letters, which extend only from 825 to 840 and are for the most part undated, are valuable historical documents and are characterized by clarity and simplicity, but his Translatio sanctorum Marcellini et Petri is filled with incredible miracles, though it is not without importance as a source for culture-history.
Bibliography: NA, xi (1886), 235-238 contains his De adoranda cruce, and xii (1887), 263 sqq. his Epistolæ, the latter also in MPL, civ.; the Vita Karoli, ed. G. H. Pertz, is in MGH, Script., ii (1829), 426-463, thence re-printed in MPL, xcvii. and was also edited by A. Holder, Freiburg, 1882. A rich bibliography is given in A. Potthast, Bibliotheca historica medii œvi, pp. 395-397, Berlin, 1896; also in J. C. F. Bähr, Geschichte der römischen Literatur, pp. 163-166, 200-216, Carlsruhe, 1840. Consult: J. Frese, De Einhardi vita et scriptis, Berlin, 1846; H. Schneider, Das Leben Eginhards, Bamberg, 1861; E. Dünzelmann, Einhard und seine Werke, in NA, ut sup., ii (1877), 491-499; M. Boudois, La Translation des saints Marcellin et Pierre. Étude sur Einhard et sa vie politique 827-83h, Paris, 1907; DCB, ii. 64-65.