1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Angilbert
ANGILBERT (d. 814), Frankish Latin poet, and minister of Charlemagne, was of noble Frankish parentage, and educated at the palace school under Alcuin. As the friend and adviser of the emperor’s son, Pippin, he assisted for a while in the government of Italy, and was later sent on three important embassies to the pope, in 792, 794 and 796. Although he was the father of two children by Charlemagne’s daughter, Bertha, one of them named Nithard, we have no authentic account of his marriage, and from 790 he was abbot of St Riquier, where his brilliant rule gained for him later the renown of a saint. Angilbert, however, was little like the true medieval saint; his poems reveal rather the culture and tastes of a man of the world, enjoying the closest intimacy with the imperial family. He accompanied Charlemagne to Rome in 800 and was one of the witnesses to his will in 814. Angilbert was the Homer of the emperor’s literary circle, and was the probable author of an epic, of which the fragment which has been preserved describes the life at the palace and the meeting between Charlemagne and Leo III. It is a mosaic from Virgil, Ovid, Lucan and Fortunatus, composed in the manner of Einhard’s use of Suetonius, and exhibits a true poetic gift. Of the shorter poems, besides the greeting to Pippin on his return from the campaign against the Avars (796), an epistle to David (Charlemagne) incidentally reveals a delightful picture of the poet living with his children in a house surrounded by pleasant gardens near the emperor’s palace. The reference to Bertha, however, is distant and respectful, her name occurring merely on the list of princesses to whom he sends his salutation.
Angilbert’s poems have been published by E. Dummler in the Monumenta Germaniae Historica. For criticisms of this edition see Traube in Roederer’s Schriften für germanische Philologie (1888). See also A. Molinier, Les Sources de l’histoire de France.