Annales regni Francorum

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Annales regni Francorum , entry for the year 814 (death of Charlemagne) in the manuscript Vienna, Austrian National Library , Cod. 473, fol. 143v

The Annales regni Francorum ("Annals of the Franconian Empire"), also called Reichsannalen , are a written list of events (see Annals ) in the Franconian Empire of the 8th and 9th centuries. The name goes back to Leopold von Ranke ; previously they were known as the Great Lorsch Annals ( Annales Laurissenses maiores ) after the location of the oldest manuscript . The Annales regni Francorum are still to be distinguished from the Little Lorsch Franconian Chronicle ( Annales Laurissenses minores ) . The later revised version of the Reichsannals is often referred to as Einhardsannalen .


The names of the authors of the Reichsannals are not known. The imperial annals were made in various stages at the court of Charlemagne , probably around the court chapel. From the subtleties of the style, it is concluded that it was created in three parts. The first author probably began his work between 787 and 793, but could rely on older annals. The first approximately 50 years from 741 onwards are described in retrospect. Since 787/793 the events of the respective or just past year have apparently been presented continuously. From 795 to 807 a different author wrote, from 808 a third, from 820 possibly a fourth.


In the Annales the period from 741 to 829 is described and a kind of account of Charles' deeds is offered. In the year 772 the Annales mention the conquest of the Eresburg and the destruction of the Irminsul . Continuations were among others the Annales Fuldenses (for the East Franconian Empire, in continuations until 901) and the Annales Bertiniani (for the West Franconian Empire until 882).

The Reichsannals have an unmistakably semi-official character. They are to be seen as an instrument used by the Carolingian rulers to justify their political and military actions. The Annales regni Francorum were mostly used to create non-existent bases for decision-making, for example alleged provocations of other rulers in order not to make a war appear as a war of aggression. Despite their often dubious credibility, they are one of the most important sources of the early Carolingian era.


In some manuscripts there is a stylistically (up to 812), partly also in terms of content (up to 801) revised version of the Reichsannals, the so-called Einhard Annals . The name is due to the fact that Einhard was previously suspected to be the author of these manuscripts, but this is rejected in modern research. Einhard had used the revised Reichsannals for his Vita Karoli Magni .

Editions and translations

  • Annales regni Francorum . In: Sources on the Carolingian Empire History, Part 1 . Newly edited by Reinhold Rau (Selected Sources on German Medieval History, FSGA, Vol. 5). Darmstadt 1955 (several reprints), pp. 9–155.
  • Collection of sources on medieval history. Fontes medii aevi . Berlin 1998; 1 CD-ROM, ISBN 3-9806427-0-4 .
  • Annales regni Francorum . In: Friedrich Kurz (Ed.): Scriptores rerum Germanicarum in usum scholarum separately in editi 6: Annales regni Francorum inde from a. 741 usque ad a. 829, qui dicuntur Annales Laurissenses maiores et Einhardi. Hanover 1895 ( Monumenta Germaniae Historica , digitized version )


Detailed references can be found in the periodically updated historical sources of the German Middle Ages , ed. from the Bavarian Academy of Sciences (see web links).

Web links

Wikisource: Annales regni Francorum  - Sources and full texts (Latin)


  1. Annales regni Francorum in the repertory "Historical Sources of the German Middle Ages"