Charlemagne's impact on Europe -- on the world -- cannot be underestimated. He brought together diverse cultures in his empire, supported scholarship, and established the power of the Christian church. In Early Lives of Charlemagne, we receive two views of the emperor within a century of his death. According to translator and editor A.J. Grant, the differences are instructive. In the treatment by Eginhard, who was Charlemagne's personal secretary, we read a "restrained, positive, well-arranged narrative" that "distorts the facts of history wonderfully little." In contrast, the Monk of Saint Gall's version was written about seventy years after the emperor's death, when "the mist of legend and myth steamed up rapidly from the grave of a well-known figure." Taken together, these essays provide information not only about Charles the Great, but also about the task of writing history and biography.