Carolingian dynasty ascended to power in Francia in the middle of the 8th century. They belonged to the Germanic Franks and effectively took the power from the Merovingian rulers in 751 with the help of the Church.
This was followed by a rapid phase of consolidation of Frankish military might and expansion, resulting in a vast Empire by 800 which stretched from Iberia to Saxony and to Italy in the South. This also led to a brief Carolingian Renaissance from the late eight to late ninth centuries. It was during this period that most of the notable Carolingian poets, scholars, historians and monks lived.
Einhard was one of the most notable courtiers of Charlemagne, later serving his son Louis the Pious as well. He lived from 775 to 840 and during his early life, attained education in Latin and other scholarly sciences at one of most prestigious monastic schools of the time.
Around 791, he was admitted to Charlemagne’s court as part of Charlemagne’s efforts to cultivate a scholarly court. As a part of the royal Carolingian court, the most famous work penned by Einhard was ‘The Life of Charlemagne’. This work is the source of much of what we know about Charlemagne, his rule and his personal life.
Angilbert was an influential courtier at Charlemagne’s court. He was of noble Frankish descent and served Charlemagne as well as his sons in a number of vitally important positions. During Charlemagne’s reign, he served at the Carolingian court in Italy, then was given an official position in the maritime provinces of the Empire and served as an important embassy between the Carolingian court and the Papacy.
He famously penned down a sizable body of poetry, most of it in Latin. This included a long epic he penned down in imitation of Homer, detailing the court life. Angilbert also reputedly had a long affair with Bertha, one of Charlemagne’s daughters.
Moduin was a notable courtier, ecclesiastical authority and poet who rose to prominence during the last years of Charlemagne’s reign. Apart from being a religious authority with significant influence, Moduin also attained fame as a literary person.
He penned his poetry at a time when the Carolingian Renaissance was at its peak, becoming a major inspiration for many subsequent Frankish poets. One of the most notable poems by Moduin was a praise of Charlemagne, much the same way Virgil praised Augustus in his poetry.
Theodulf of Orleans was one of the most prominent figures of the Carolingian Renaissance. He served as the Bishop of Orleans from 798 to 818 and remained attached to the royal Carolingian court during the reigns of Charlemagne as well as Louis the Pious.
He assisted Charlemagne in the many church reforms the latter undertook. Most notably, Theodulf penned down ‘Libra Carolini’, a document which strongly rebuffed the iconoclasm in the East and strongly opposed the ‘adoration’ of the images. He lost royal favor during the reign of Louis the Pious and was exiled to a monastery in 818.
He was never able to regain his bishopric or his former influence at the royal court, Theodulf died in 821.