Historical Writings Of The Early Middle Ages : Origins And Development Of Early Biographies And Hagiographies

1835 Words Nov 10th, 2016 8 Pages
In late antiquity (161-565 CE) to the early middle ages the origins and development of early biographies and hagiographies were beginning to occur and transform. In this essay, I will argue how and why people wrote biographical writings by referring to the works of Augustine’s Confessions, Einhard’s Life of Charlemagne and the hagiography, Perpetua. First of all, it is important to remember that biographical writings at first were regarded as a mere way of writing down history. Focusing on one individual’s life events, the genre didn’t begin to emerge until the 18th century, hence why historians should be careful when analysing such sources (Kendall) . Early biographies from these periods tend to focus on the lives of kings, saints and other notable people. They were derived to inspire people and perhaps lead a more religious, holy life. This is since most the people who were writing these works were monks, hermits and priests using their knowledge and understanding of these people to help raise awareness of their lives. Many were paid by noble kings to write their biographies to legitimise their right to rule and to put away any criticism. Secondly, a biography is a person’s life written from the perspective of another. It is typically written in third person, different from an autobiography which is written by that particular person on their own lives, written in the first person. One such biography was Einhards, Life of Charlemagne, or Vita…
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