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Poeta Saxo


Medieval Latin poet; fl. last quarter of the 9th century. He was a monk of corvey in Westphalia, and is known only under the name of "the Saxon Poet." About 888, early in the reign of the East Frankish king Arnulf (877899), he composed a historical poem on Charlemagne in five books (2,683 lines). He titled books one to four Annales de gestis Caroli Magni imperatoris, and book 5 De vita et obitu eiusdem. The work exhibits no originality but is essentially an annalistic account of the reign of Charlemagne, based closely on the socalled Annales Einharti, Einhard's Vita Caroli, and similar earlier sources. While his poetic talent is of a low order, his prosody is relatively good. Books one to four are in hexameters, but he thought it would be more fitting to write his fifth book, on the last days of Charlemagne, in elegiac distichs.

Bibliography: p. von winterfeld, Monumenta Germaniae Historica: Poetae 4.1:171. f. j. e. raby, A History of Secular Latin Poetry in the Middle Ages (Oxford 1957) 1:260. m. manitius, Geschichte der lateinischen Literatur des Mittelalters (Munich 191131) 1:583584.

[m. r. p. mcguire]

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