Charlemagne: Biography recommendations
July 19, 2004 4:42 PM   Subscribe

Book recommendations for a Biography of the life and times of Charlemagne?
posted by stbalbach to Writing & Language (4 answers total)
I have a treasure-trove of obscure Charlemagne books (thank you, BA in History, for that) that are sitting on my shelf collecting dust. If you'd like some dense history texts and primary sources, I will gladly mail them to you.

No really, I don't want them anymore and it'd be worth it to send them to somebody who would actually read them.
posted by falconred at 6:49 PM on July 19, 2004

It's rather fictionalized, but the Stephen Schwartz musical "Pippin" concerns Charlemagne, his wife Fastrada, and his sons Louis and Pippin, primarily the latter. There's a taped-for-TV version of the show from around 1980-1981 (staged/choreographed by the great Bob Fosse and starring Ben Vereen and Chita Rivera) available on as a DVD or VHS.
posted by Asparagirl at 7:48 PM on July 19, 2004

Oh, and to quote the big man, as he explains to Pippin how to be a great leader in battle, in a song called "War is a Science".

"Now listen to me close
And I'll endeavour to explain
What separates a charletan
From a Charlemagne..."

I always liked that lyric. :-)
posted by Asparagirl at 7:51 PM on July 19, 2004

Einhard and Notker wrote two of the earliest lives of Charlemagne. Both are online. I haven't read Roger Collins' 1998 biography, Charlemagne, but he's a good writer and a careful historian so it's worth recommending. I also haven't read Paul Dutton's Charlemagne's Mustache And Other Cultural Clusters of a Dark Age yet, but it looks interesting.
posted by octobersurprise at 7:07 AM on July 20, 2004

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