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The Carolingian Renaissance was the first of three
medieval renaissances The medieval renaissances were periods characterised by significant cultural renewal across medieval In the history of Europe The history of Europe concerns itself with the discovery and collection, the study, organization and presentati ...
, a period of cultural activity in the
Carolingian Empire The Carolingian Empire (800–888) was a large Frankish Frankish may refer to: * Franks The Franks ( la, Franci or ) were a group of Germanic peoples The historical Germanic peoples (from lat, Germani) are a category of ancient nort ...
. It occurred from the late 8th century to the 9th century, taking inspiration from the Christian Roman Empire of the fourth century. During this period, there was an increase of
literature Literature broadly is any collection of Writing, written work, but it is also used more narrowly for writings specifically considered to be an art form, especially prose fiction, drama, and poetry. In recent centuries, the definition has expan ...

literature
,
writing Writing is a medium of human communication Communication (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area arou ...

writing
, the
art Art is a diverse range of (products of) human activities Humans (''Homo sapiens'') are the most populous and widespread species of primates, characterized by bipedality, opposable thumbs, hairlessness, and intelligence allowing the use ...

art
s,
architecture upright=1.45, alt=Plan d'exécution du second étage de l'hôtel de Brionne (dessin) De Cotte 2503c – Gallica 2011 (adjusted), Plan of the second floor (attic storey) of the Hôtel de Brionne in Paris – 1734. Architecture (Latin ''archi ...

architecture
,
jurisprudence Jurisprudence, or legal theory, is the theoretical study of the propriety of . Scholars of jurisprudence seek to explain the nature of law in its most general form and provide a deeper understanding of , , , and the proper application and rol ...
,
liturgical Liturgy is the customary public worship Worship is an act of religion, religious wikt:devotion, devotion usually directed towards a deity. For many, worship is not about an emotion, it is more about a recognition of a god. An act of worship ma ...
reforms, and
scriptural Religious texts are texts related to a religious tradition. They differ from literary texts by being a compilation or discussion of beliefs, mythologies, ritual practices, commandments or laws Law is a system A system is a group of Int ...
studies. The Carolingian Renaissance occurred mostly during the reigns of
Carolingian The Carolingian dynasty (known variously as the Carlovingians, Carolingus, Carolings, Karolinger or Karlings) was a Frankish Frankish may refer to: * Franks The Franks ( la, Franci or ) were a group of Germanic peoples The historic ...
rulers
Charlemagne Charlemagne ( , ) or Charles the Great ( la, Carolus Magnus; 2 April 748 – 28 January 814) was King of the Franks The Franks—Germanic-speaking peoples that invaded the Western Roman Empire in the 5th century—were first led by i ...

Charlemagne
and
Louis the Pious Louis the Pious (16 April 778 – 20 June 840), also called the Fair, and the Debonaire, was King of the Franks The Franks The Franks ( la, Franci or ) were a group of Germanic peoples whose name was first mentioned in 3rd-century Ro ...

Louis the Pious
. It was supported by the scholars of the Carolingian court, notably
Alcuin of York Alcuin of York (; la, Flaccus Albinus Alcuinus; 735 – 19 May 804) – also called Ealhwine, Alhwin, or Alchoin – was an English scholar, clergyman, poet, and teacher from York York is a cathedral city and unitary authority, ...
. Charlemagne's '' Admonitio generalis'' (789) and '' Epistola de litteris colendis'' served as manifestos. The effects of this cultural revival were mostly limited to a small group of court '' literati''. According to John Contreni, "it had a spectacular effect on education and culture in
Francia Francia, also called the Kingdom of the Franks ( la, Regnum Francorum), Frankish Kingdom, Frankland or Frankish Empire, was the largest History of the Roman Empire, post-Roman barbarian kingdom in Western Europe. It was ruled by the Franks du ...

Francia
, a debatable effect on artistic endeavors, and an unmeasurable effect on what mattered most to the Carolingians, the moral regeneration of society". The secular and ecclesiastical leaders of the Carolingian Renaissance made efforts to write better Latin, to copy and preserve patristic and classical texts, and to develop a more legible, classicizing script, with clearly distinct capital and minuscule letters. (This was the
Carolingian minuscule Carolingian minuscule or Caroline minuscule is a script which developed as a calligraphic standard in Europe Europe is a continent A continent is one of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), conventio ...
that
Renaissance humanists Renaissance humanism was a revival in the study of classical antiquity, at first in Italy and then spreading across Western Europe Western Europe is the region of Europe Europe is a continent A continent is one of several larg ...
took to be Roman and employed as
humanist minuscule Humanist minuscule is a handwriting Handwriting is the writing Writing is a medium of human communication that involves the representation of a language with written symbols. Writing systems are not themselves human languages (with the ...
, from which has developed early modern
Italic script Italic script, also known as chancery cursive and Italic hand, is a semi-cursive Cursive (also known as script, among other names) is any style of penmanship Penmanship is the technique of writing Writing is a medium of human comm ...
.) They also applied rational ideas to social issues for the first time in centuries, providing a common language and writing style that enabled communication throughout most of Europe.


Background

As Pierre Riché points out, the expression "Carolingian Renaissance" does not imply that Western Europe was barbaric or obscurantist before the Carolingian era. The centuries following the collapse of the Roman Empire in the West did not see an abrupt disappearance of the ancient schools, from which emerged
Martianus Capella Martianus Minneus Felix Capella (fl. c. 410–420) was a Latin literature, Latin prose writer of Late antiquity, Late Antiquity, one of the earliest developers of the system of the seven liberal arts that structured early medieval education. H ...
,
Cassiodorus Magnus Aurelius Cassiodorus Senator (c. 485 – c. 585), commonly known as Cassiodorus (), was a Roman Roman or Romans most often refers to: *, the capital city of Italy *, Roman civilization from 8th century BC to 5th century AD *, the people ...
and
Boethius Anicius Manlius Severinus Boëthius, commonly called Boethius (; also Boetius ; 477 – 524 AD), was a Roman Roman Senate, senator, Roman consul, consul, ''magister officiorum'', and philosopher of the early 6th century. He was born about a ye ...

Boethius
, essential icons of the Roman cultural heritage in the Middle Ages, thanks to which the disciplines of liberal arts were preserved. The 7th century saw the "Isidorian Renaissance" in the
Visigothic Kingdom The Visigothic Kingdom, officially the Kingdom of the Goths ( la, Regnum Gothorum), was a kingdom that occupied what is now southwestern France France (), officially the French Republic (french: link=no, République française), is a ...

Visigothic Kingdom
of Hispania in which sciences flourished and the integration of Christian and pre-Christian thought occurred, while the spread of Irish monastic schools (
scriptoria Scriptorium (), literally "a place for writing", is commonly used to refer to a room in medieval European monasteries devoted to the writing, copying and illuminating of manuscripts commonly handled by monastic scribes. However, lay scribes and ...

scriptoria
) over Europe laid the groundwork for the Carolingian Renaissance. There were numerous factors in this cultural expansion, the most obvious of which was that Charlemagne's uniting of most of Western Europe brought about peace and stability, which set the stage for prosperity. This period marked an economic revival in Western Europe, following the collapse of the
Western Roman Empire The Western Roman Empire comprises the western provinces of the Roman Empire The Roman Empire ( la, Imperium Rōmānum ; grc-gre, Βασιλεία τῶν Ῥωμαίων, Basileía tôn Rhōmaíōn) was the post-Republican Republican ...

Western Roman Empire
. Local economies in the West had degenerated into largely subsistence agriculture by the early seventh century, with towns functioning merely as places of gift-exchange for the elite. By the late seventh century, developed urban settlements had emerged, populated mostly by craftsmen, merchants and boaters and boasting street grids, artisanal production as well as regional and long-distance trade. A prime example of this type of emporium was
Dorestad Dorestad (''Dorestat, Duristat'') was an , located in the southeast of the in the , close to the modern-day town of . It flourished during the 8th to early 9th centuries, as an important port on the northeastern shipping routes due to its pr ...
. The development of the Carolingian economy was fueled by the efficient organization and exploitation of labor on large estates, producing a surplus of primarily grain, wine and salt. In turn, inter-regional trade in these commodities facilitated the expansion of towns. Archaeological data shows the continuation of this upward trend in the early eighth century. The zenith of the early Carolingian economy was reached from 775 to 830, coinciding with the largest surpluses of the period, large-scale building of churches as well as overpopulation and three famines that showed the limits of the system. After a period of disruption from 830 to 850, caused by civil wars and
Viking Vikings—"pirate", non, víkingr is the modern name given to seafaring people primarily from Scandinavia Scandinavia; : ''Skadesi-suolu''/''Skađsuâl''. ( ) is a in , with strong historical, cultural, and linguistic ties. In ...

Viking
raids, economic development resumed in the 850s, with the emporiums disappearing completely and being replaced by fortified commercial towns. One of the major causes of the sudden economic growth was the slave trade. Following the rise of the Arab empires, the Arab elites created a major demand for slaves with European slaves particularly prized. As a result of Charlemagne's wars of conquest in Eastern Europe, a steady supply of captured
Slavs Slavs are an ethno-linguistic group of people who speak the various Slavic languages of the larger Balto-Slavic language, Balto-Slavic linguistic group of the Indo-European languages. They are native to Eurasia, stretching from Central Europe, ...

Slavs
,
Avars Avar(s) or AVAR may refer to: Peoples and states * Avars (Caucasus), a modern Northeast Caucasian-speaking people in the North Caucasus, Dagestan, Russia **Avar language, the modern Northeast Caucasian language spoken by the Avars of the North Ca ...
,
Saxons The Saxons ( la, Saxones, german: Sachsen, ang, Seaxan, osx, Sahson, nds, Sassen, nl, Saksen) were a group of early Germanic Germanic may refer to: * Germanic peoples, an ethno-linguistic group identified by their use of the Germanic languag ...

Saxons
and
Danes Danes ( da, danskere, ) are a North Germanic The North Germanic languages make up one of the three branches of the Germanic languages The Germanic languages are a branch of the Indo-European The Indo-European languages are a lang ...
reached merchants in Western Europe, who then exported the slaves via
Ampurias
Ampurias
,
Girona Girona (, ; es, Gerona ) is a city in northern Catalonia Catalonia (; ca, Catalunya ; Aranese, Aranese Occitan: ''Catalonha'' ; es, Cataluña ) is an Autonomous communities of Spain, autonomous community of Spain, designated as a ''nati ...

Girona
and the
Pyrenees The Pyrenees (; es, Pirineos ; french: Pyrénées ; ca, Pirineus ; eu, Pirinioak ; oc, Pirenèus ; an, Pirineus) is a mountain range straddling the border of France and Spain. It extends nearly from its union with the Cantabrian Mountains to ...

Pyrenees
passes to
Muslim Spain
Muslim Spain
and other parts of the Arab world. The market for slaves was so lucrative that it almost immediately transformed the long-distance trade of the European economies. The slave trade enabled the West to re-engage with the Muslim and Eastern Roman empires so that other industries, such as textiles, were able to grow in Europe as well.


Import

Kenneth Clark Kenneth Mackenzie Clark, Baron Clark (13 July 1903 – 21 May 1983) was a British art historian, museum director, and broadcaster. After running two important art galleries in the 1930s and 1940s, he came to wider public notice on television, p ...
was of the view that by means of the Carolingian Renaissance, Western civilization survived by the skin of its teeth. However, the use of the term ''renaissance'' to describe this period is contested, notably by
Lynn Thorndike Lynn Thorndike (born 24 July 1882, in Lynn, Massachusetts, USA – died 28 December 1965, Columbia University Club, New York City) was an American historian of medieval science and alchemy File:Aurora consurgens zurich 044 f-21v-44 dragon-pot ...
, due to the majority of changes brought about by this period being confined almost entirely to the
clergy Clergy are formal leaders within established s. Their roles and functions vary in different religious traditions, but usually involve presiding over specific rituals and teaching their religion's s and practices. Some of the terms used for ind ...
, and due to the period lacking the wide-ranging social movements of the later
Italian Renaissance The Italian Renaissance ( it, Rinascimento ) was a period in Italian history The history of Italy covers the Ancient Period, the Middle Ages and the modern era. Since classical times, ancient Phoenicians, Magna Graecia, Greeks, Etruscan civi ...
.. Instead of being a rebirth of new cultural movements, the period was more an attempt to recreate the previous culture of the
Roman Empire The Roman Empire ( la, Imperium Rōmānum ; grc-gre, Βασιλεία τῶν Ῥωμαίων, Basileía tôn Rhōmaíōn) was the post-Republican Republican can refer to: Political ideology * An advocate of a republic, a type of governme ...

Roman Empire
. The Carolingian Renaissance in retrospect also has some of the character of a false dawn, in that its cultural gains were largely dissipated within a couple of generations, a perception voiced by
Walahfrid Strabo Walafrid, alternatively spelt Walahfrid, surnamed Strabo Strabo''Strabo'' (meaning "squinty", as in strabismus) was a term employed by the Romans for anyone whose eyes were distorted or deformed. The father of Pompey was called " Pompeius Str ...
(died 849), in his introduction to
Einhard Einhard (also Eginhard or Einhart; la, E(g)inhardus; 775 – March 14, 840) was a Franks, Frankish scholar and courtier. Einhard was a dedicated servant of Charlemagne and his son Louis the Pious; his main work is a biography of Charlemagne, the ...

Einhard
's ''Life of Charlemagne'', summing up the generation of renewal:
Charlemagne was able to offer the cultureless and, I might say, almost completely unenlightened territory of the realm which God had entrusted to him, a new enthusiasm for all human knowledge. In its earlier state of barbarousness, his kingdom had been hardly touched at all by any such zeal, but now it opened its eyes to God's illumination. In our own time the thirst for knowledge is disappearing again: the light of wisdom is less and less sought after and is now becoming rare again in most men's minds.


Scholarly efforts

A lack of Latin literacy in eighth-century western Europe caused problems for the Carolingian rulers by severely limiting the number of people capable of serving as court scribes in societies where Latin was valued. Of even greater concern to some rulers was the fact that not all parish priests possessed the skill to read the
Vulgate Bible The Vulgate (; also called , ) is a late-4th-century Latin translation of the Bible The Bible (from Koine Greek Koine Greek (, , Greek approximately ;. , , , lit. "Common Greek"), also known as Alexandrian dialect, common Attic, H ...
. An additional problem was that the
vulgar Latin Vulgar Latin, also known as Popular or Colloquial Latin, is non-literary Literature broadly is any collection of written Writing is a medium of human communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share") is th ...
of the later
Western Roman Empire The Western Roman Empire comprises the western provinces of the Roman Empire The Roman Empire ( la, Imperium Rōmānum ; grc-gre, Βασιλεία τῶν Ῥωμαίων, Basileía tôn Rhōmaíōn) was the post-Republican Republican ...

Western Roman Empire
had begun to diverge into the regional dialects, the precursors to today's
Romance languages The Romance languages, less commonly Latin or Neo-Latin languages, are the modern languages that evolved from Vulgar Latin Vulgar Latin, also known as Popular or Colloquial Latin is a range of informal sociolects of Latin Latin (, or , ) ...

Romance languages
, that were becoming mutually unintelligible and preventing scholars from one part of Europe being able to communicate with persons from another part of Europe. To address these problems,
Charlemagne Charlemagne ( , ) or Charles the Great ( la, Carolus Magnus; 2 April 748 – 28 January 814) was King of the Franks The Franks—Germanic-speaking peoples that invaded the Western Roman Empire in the 5th century—were first led by i ...

Charlemagne
ordered the creation of
schools A school is an educational institution An educational institution is a place where people of different ages gain an education, including preschools, childcare, primary-elementary schools, secondary-high schools, and universities. They provi ...
in a
capitularyA capitulary (Medieval Latin Medieval Latin was the form of Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, kn ...
known as the ''Charter of Modern Thought'', issued in 787. Carolingian Schools, Carolingian Schools of Thought. A major part of his program of reform was to attract many of the leading scholars of the Christendom of his day to his court. Among the first called to court were
Italians Italians ( it, italiani ) are a Romance Romance (from Vulgar Latin , "in the Roman language", i.e., "Latin") may refer to: Common meanings * Romance (love) Romance or Romantic love is an emotional feeling of love for, or a strong att ...
: Peter of Pisa, who from 776 to about 790 instructed Charlemagne in Latin, and from 776 to 787
Paulinus of Aquileia Saint Paulinus II ( 726 – 11 January 802 or 804 AD) was a priest, theologian, poet, and one of the most eminent scholars of the Carolingian Renaissance. From 787 to his death, he was the Patriarch of Aquileia. He participated in a number of synod ...
, whom Charlemagne nominated as
patriarch of AquileiaThis is a list of bishops and patriarchs of Aquileia in northeastern Italy. For the ecclesiastical history of the diocese, see Patriarchate of Aquileia. From Council of Aquileia, 553, 553 until Council of Aquileia, 698, 698 the archbishops renounced ...
in 787. The
Lombard The term Lombard refers to members of or things related to Lombardy (man) it, Lombarda (woman) lmo, Lombard (man) lmo, Lombarda (woman) , population_note = , population_blank1_title = , population_blank1 ...
Paul the Deacon Paul the Deacon ( 720s 13 April in 796, 797, 798, or 799 CE), also known as ''Paulus Diaconus'', ''Warnefridus'', ''Barnefridus'', or ''Winfridus'', and sometimes suffixed ''Cassinensis'' (''i.e.'' "of Monte Cassino"), was a Benedictine monk, sc ...
was brought to court in 782 and remained until 787, when Charles nominated him
abbot Abbot (from Aramaic Aramaic (: ''Arāmāyā''; : ; : ; ) is a language that originated among the in the ancient , at the end of the , and later became one of the most prominent languages of the . During its three thousand years long ...

abbot
of
Montecassino Monte Cassino (today usually spelled Montecassino) is a rocky hill about southeast of Rome , established_title = Founded , established_date = 753 BC , founder = King Romulus , image_map = Map of comune of R ...
.
Theodulf of Orléans , after a restoration in the 19th century Image:Germigny Des Pres 2007 01.jpg, Mosaic of the Ark of the Covenant, c. 806 Theodulf of Orléans ( 750(/60) – 18 December 821) was a writer, poet and the Bishop of Orléans (c. 798 to 818) during the re ...
was a
Spanish Goth
Spanish Goth
who served at court from 782 to 797 when nominated as
bishop of Orléans A bishop is an ordained, consecrated, or appointed member of the Clergy#Christianity, Christian clergy who is generally entrusted with a position of authority and oversight. Within the Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, Moravian Chu ...
. Theodulf had been in friendly competition over the standardization of the
Vulgate The Vulgate (; also called , ) is a late-4th-century Latin translation of the Bible The Bible (from Koine Greek Koine Greek (, , Greek approximately ;. , , , lit. "Common Greek"), also known as Alexandrian dialect, common Attic, ...
with the chief among the Charlemagne's scholars,
Alcuin of York Alcuin of York (; la, Flaccus Albinus Alcuinus; 735 – 19 May 804) – also called Ealhwine, Alhwin, or Alchoin – was an English scholar, clergyman, poet, and teacher from York York is a cathedral city and unitary authority, ...
. Alcuin was a
Northumbria Northumbria (; ang, Norþanhymbra Rīċe; la, Regnum Northanhymbrorum) was an early medieval Anglo-Saxon The Anglo-Saxons were a cultural group Cultural identity is a part of a person's identity Identity may refer to: Social scie ...

Northumbria
n
monk A monk (, from el, μοναχός, ''monachos'', "single, solitary" via Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language A classical language is a language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (f ...

monk
and
deacon A deacon is a member of the diaconate, an office in Christianity, Christian churches that is generally associated with service of some kind, but which varies among theological and denominational traditions. Major Christian churches, such as the C ...

deacon
who served as head of the Palace School from 782 to 796, except for the years 790 to 793 when he returned to
England England is a Countries of the United Kingdom, country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Wales to its west and Scotland to its north. The Irish Sea lies northwest of England and the Celtic Sea to the southwest. E ...

England
. After 796, he continued his scholarly work as abbot of St. Martin's Monastery in
Tours Tours ( , ) is one of the largest cities in the Centre-Val de Loire Centre-Val de Loire (, , ,In isolation, ''Centre'' is pronounced . ; Occitan Occitan (; oc, occitan, link=no ,), also known as ''lenga d'òc'' (; french: langue d'oc) ...

Tours
. Among those to follow Alcuin across the Channel to the Frankish court was
Joseph ScottusJoseph or Josephus Scottus (died between 791 and 804), called the Deacon, was an Irish people, Irish scholar, diplomat, poet, and ecclesiastic, a figure in the Carolingian Renaissance. He has been cited as an early example of "the scholar in public l ...
, an Irishman who left some original biblical commentary and acrostic experiments. After this first generation of non-Frankish scholars, their
Frankish Frankish may refer to: * Franks The Franks ( la, Franci or ) were a group of Germanic peoples The historical Germanic peoples (from lat, Germani) are a category of ancient northern European tribes, first mentioned by Graeco-Roman author ...

Frankish
pupils, such as
Angilbert Angilbert ( – 18 February 814), sometimes known as Saint Angilbert or Angilberk or Engelbert, was a noble Frankish poet who was educated under Alcuin Alcuin of York (; la, Flaccus Albinus Alcuinus; 735 – 19 May 804) – also ...

Angilbert
, would make their own mark. The later courts of
Louis the Pious Louis the Pious (16 April 778 – 20 June 840), also called the Fair, and the Debonaire, was King of the Franks The Franks The Franks ( la, Franci or ) were a group of Germanic peoples whose name was first mentioned in 3rd-century Ro ...

Louis the Pious
and
Charles the Bald Charles the Bald (13 June 823 – 6 October 877) was a 9th-century king of West Francia (843–877), king of Italy (875–877) and emperor of the Holy Roman Empire (875–877). After a series of civil wars during the reign of his father, Loui ...

Charles the Bald
had similar groups of scholars many of whom were of Irish origin. The Irish monk
Dicuil Dicuilus (or the more vernacular version of the name Dícuil) was an Irish monk and geographer, born during the second half of the 8th century. Background The exact dates of Dicuil's birth and death are unknown. Of his life nothing is known excep ...
attended the former court, and the more famous Irishman
John Scotus Eriugena John Scotus Eriugena or Johannes Scotus Erigena ( – c. 877) was an Irish theologian, neoplatonist philosopher, and poet. He succeeded Alcuin of York (735–804) as head of the Palace School at Aachen. He wrote a number of works, but ...
attended the latter becoming head of the Palace School at
Aachen Aachen ( ; Aachen dialect Aachen dialect (natively ''Öcher Platt'') is a dialect of Ripuarian language, Ripuarian Franconian spoken in the German Rhineland city of Aachen. This dialect, as part of the large West Germanic languages, West Ger ...

Aachen
. One of the primary efforts was the creation of a standardized curriculum for use at the recently created schools. Alcuin led this effort and was responsible for the writing of textbooks, creation of word lists, and establishing the
trivium The trivium is the lower division of the seven liberal arts Liberal arts education (from Latin "free" and "art or principled practice") is the traditional academic program in Western higher education. ''Liberal arts'' takes the term ''Art ( ...
and
quadrivium In liberal arts education, the ''quadrivium'' (plural: quadrivia) consists of the four subjects or arts (arithmetic, geometry, music, and astronomy) taught after the trivium (education), ''trivium''. The word is Latin, meaning 'four ways', and its ...
as the basis for education. Another contribution from this period was the development of
Carolingian minuscule Carolingian minuscule or Caroline minuscule is a script which developed as a calligraphic standard in Europe Europe is a continent A continent is one of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), conventio ...
, a "book-hand" first used at the monasteries of
Corbie Corbie (; nl, Korbei) is a commune A commune is an intentional community of people sharing living spaces, interests, values, beliefs, and often property Property (''latin: Res Privata'') in the Abstract and concrete, abstract is what ...
and Tours that introduced the use of lower-case letters. A standardized version of Latin was also developed that allowed for the coining of new words while retaining the grammatical rules of
Classical Latin Classical Latin is the form of Latin language Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. ...
. This
Medieval Latin Medieval Latin was the form of Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language A classical language is a language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share ...
became a common language of scholarship and allowed administrators and travellers to make themselves understood in various regions of Europe. Carolingian workshops produced over 100,000 manuscripts in the 9th century, of which some 6000 to 7000 survive. The Carolingians produced the earliest surviving copies of the works of
Cicero Marcus Tullius Cicero ( ; ; 3 January 106 BC – 7 December 43 BC) was a Ancient Rome, Roman statesman, lawyer, scholar, philosopher and Academic skepticism, Academic Skeptic, who tried to uphold optimate principles during crisis of ...

Cicero
,
Horace Quintus Horatius Flaccus (; 8 December 65 – 27 November 8 BC), known in the English-speaking world as Horace (), was the leading Roman Empire, Roman Lyric poetry, lyric poet during the time of Augustus (also known as Octavian). The rhetoricia ...

Horace
,
Martial Marcus Valerius Martialis (known in English English usually refers to: * English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoken in History of Anglo-Saxon England, early medieval England, which has ...

Martial
,
Statius Publius Papinius Statius (; ) was a Roman poet A poet is a person who creates poetry. Poets may describe themselves as such or be described as such by others. A poet may simply be a writer of poetry, or may perform their art to an audience. ...
,
Lucretius Titus Lucretius Carus ( , ; 99 – c. 55 BC) was a Roman Roman or Romans most often refers to: *, the capital city of Italy *, Roman civilization from 8th century BC to 5th century AD *, the people of ancient Rome *', shortened to ''Rom ...
,
Terence Publius Terentius Afer (; – ), better known in English as Terence (), was a Roman African playwright A playwright or dramatist is a person who writes play Play most commonly refers to: * Play (activity), an activity done for enjoyment * P ...
,
Julius Caesar Gaius Julius Caesar (; 12 July 100 BC – 15 March 44 BC) was a Roman Roman or Romans most often refers to: *, the capital city of Italy *, Roman civilization from 8th century BC to 5th century AD *, the people of ancient Rome *', shortened ...

Julius Caesar
,
Boethius Anicius Manlius Severinus Boëthius, commonly called Boethius (; also Boetius ; 477 – 524 AD), was a Roman Roman Senate, senator, Roman consul, consul, ''magister officiorum'', and philosopher of the early 6th century. He was born about a ye ...

Boethius
and
Martianus Capella Martianus Minneus Felix Capella (fl. c. 410–420) was a Latin literature, Latin prose writer of Late antiquity, Late Antiquity, one of the earliest developers of the system of the seven liberal arts that structured early medieval education. H ...
. No copies of the texts of these authors were made in the Latin West in the 7th and 8th centuries.


Reform of Latin Pronunciation

According to Roger Wright, the Carolingian Renaissance is responsible for the modern-day pronunciation of
Ecclesiastical Latin Ecclesiastical Latin, also called Church Latin, Liturgical Latin or Italianate Latin, is a form of Latin initially developed to discuss Christian theology, Christian thought and later used as a lingua franca by the Medieval Latin, Medieval and Ear ...
. Up until that point there had been no conceptual distinction between
Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman Republic, it became ...

Latin
and
Romance Romance (from Vulgar Latin , "in the Roman language", i.e., "Latin") may refer to: Common meanings * Romance (love) Romance or Romantic love is an emotional feeling of love for, or a strong attraction towards another person, and the Court ...

Romance
; the former was simply regarded as the written form of the latter. For instance in early medieval Spain the word for 'century'—which would have been pronounced */sjeglo/— was properly spelled ⟨saeculum⟩, as it had been for the better part of a millennium. The scribe would not have read aloud ⟨saeculum⟩ as /sɛkulum/ any more than an English speaker today would pronounce ⟨knight⟩ as */knɪxt/. Non-native speakers of Latin, however—such as clergy of Anglo-Saxon or Irish origin—appear to have used a rather different pronunciation, presumably attempting to sound out each word according to its spelling. The Carolingian Renaissance in France introduced this artificial pronunciation for the first time to native speakers as well. No longer would, for instance, the word ⟨viridiarium⟩ 'orchard' be read aloud as the equivalent
Old French Old French (, , ; Modern French French ( or ) is a Romance language The Romance languages, less commonly Latin or Neo-Latin languages, are the modern languages that evolved from Vulgar Latin Vulgar Latin, also known as Popular o ...
word */verdʒjǽr/. It now had to be pronounced precisely as spelled, with all six syllables: /viridiarium/. Such a radical change had the effect of rendering Latin sermons completely unintelligible to the general Romance-speaking public, which prompted officials a few years later, at the Council of Tours, to instruct priests to read sermons aloud in the old way, in ''rusticam romanam linguam'' or 'plain romanspeech'. As there was now no unambiguous way to indicate whether a given text was to be read aloud as Latin or Romance, various attempts were made in France to devise a new orthography for the latter; among the earliest examples are parts of the
Oaths of Strasbourg The Oaths of Strasbourg were a military pact made on the 14th of February, A.D. 842 by Charles the Bald and Louis the German against their older brother Lothair I, the designated heir of Louis the Pious, the successor of Charlemagne. One year late ...
and the
Sequence of Saint Eulalia The ''Sequence of Saint Eulalia'', also known as the ''Canticle of Saint Eulalia'' (french: Séquence/Cantilène de sainte Eulalie) is the earliest surviving piece of French hagiography A hagiography (; ) or vita (from Latin ''vita'', life, whi ...
. As the Carolingian Reforms spread the 'proper' Latin pronunciation from France to other Romance-speaking areas, local scholars eventually felt the need to devise spelling systems for their own dialects as well, thereby initiating the literary phase of Medieval Romance.Wright, pp. 122–32, 143–4


Carolingian art

Carolingian art spans the roughly hundred-year period from about 800–900. Although brief, it was an influential period. Northern Europe embraced classical Mediterranean Roman art forms for the first time, setting the stage for the rise of
Romanesque art Romanesque art is the art of Europe from approximately 1000 AD to the rise of the Gothic style Gothic architecture (or pointed architecture) is an architectural style An architectural style is a set of characteristics and features that ...
and eventually
Gothic art (''ca.'' 1145). These architectural statues are the earliest Gothic sculptures and were a revolution in style and the model for a generation of sculptors. Gothic art was a style of medieval art that developed in Northern France out of Romanesque ar ...
in the West.
Illuminated manuscript An illuminated manuscript is a formally prepared document A document is a writing, written, drawing, drawn, presented, or memorialized representation of thought, often the manifestation of nonfiction, non-fictional, as well as fictional, con ...
s,
metalwork Metalworking is the process of shaping and reshaping metals to create useful objects, parts, assemblies, and large scale structures. As a term it covers a wide and diverse range of processes, skills, and tools for producing objects on every scale: ...
, small-scale
sculpture Sculpture is the branch of the visual arts that operates in three dimensions. It is one of the plastic arts. Durable sculptural processes originally used carving (the removal of material) and modelling (the addition of material, as clay), ...

sculpture
,
mosaic A mosaic is a pattern or image made of small regular or irregular pieces of colored stone, glass or ceramic, held in place by plaster/mortar, and covering a surface. Mosaics are often used as floor and wall decoration, and were particularly pop ...

mosaic
s, and
fresco Fresco (plural ''frescos'' or ''frescoes'') is a technique of Mural, mural painting executed upon freshly laid ("wet") lime plaster. Water is used as the vehicle for the dry-powder pigment to merge with the plaster, and with the setting of the ...

fresco
s survive from the period.


Carolingian architecture

Carolingian architecture is the style of North European architecture promoted by Charlemagne. The period of architecture spans the late eighth and ninth centuries until the reign of
Otto I Otto I (23 November 912 – 7 May 973), traditionally known as Otto the Great (german: Otto der Große, it, Ottone il Grande), was East Francian king from 936 and Holy Roman Emperor from 962 until his death in 973. He was the oldest son of Henr ...

Otto I
in 936, and was a conscious attempt to create a
Roman Roman or Romans most often refers to: *Rome , established_title = Founded , established_date = 753 BC , founder = King Romulus , image_map = Map of comune of Rome (metropolitan city of Capital Rome, region Laz ...

Roman
Renaissance, emulating
Roman Roman or Romans most often refers to: *Rome , established_title = Founded , established_date = 753 BC , founder = King Romulus , image_map = Map of comune of Rome (metropolitan city of Capital Rome, region Laz ...

Roman
,
Early Christian The history of Christianity concerns the Christian religion Christianity is an Abrahamic The Abrahamic religions, also referred to collectively as the world of Abrahamism and Semitic religions, are a group of Semitic-originated religi ...
and
Byzantine architecture Byzantine architecture is the architecture upright=1.45, alt=Plan d'exécution du second étage de l'hôtel de Brionne (dessin) De Cotte 2503c – Gallica 2011 (adjusted), Plan of the second floor (attic storey) of the Hôtel de Brionne ...
, with its own innovation, resulting in having a unique character. Its architecture was the most salient Carolingian art to a society that never saw an illuminated manuscript and rarely handled one of the new coins. "The little more than eight decades between 768 to 855 alone saw the construction of 27 new cathedrals, 417 monasteries, and 100 royal residences", John Contreni calculates.


Carolingian currency

Around AD 755, Charlemagne's father
Pepin the Short Pepin the Short, also called the Younger (german: Pippin der Jüngere, french: Pépin le Bref, c. 714 – 24 September 768) was King of the Franks The Franks The Franks ( la, Franci or ) were a group of Germanic peoples whose name was ...
reformed France's
currency A currency, "in circulation", from la, currens, -entis, literally meaning "running" or "traversing" in the most specific sense is money Money is any item or verifiable record that is generally accepted as payment for goods and services ...
.. A variety of local systems was standardized, with minor mints being closed, royal control over the rest strengthened, and purity increased. In place of the
gold Gold is a chemical element In chemistry, an element is a pure Chemical substance, substance consisting only of atoms that all have the same numbers of protons in their atomic nucleus, nuclei. Unlike chemical compounds, chemical elemen ...
Roman Roman or Romans most often refers to: *Rome , established_title = Founded , established_date = 753 BC , founder = King Romulus , image_map = Map of comune of Rome (metropolitan city of Capital Rome, region Laz ...
and
Byzantine The Byzantine Empire, also referred to as the Eastern Roman Empire, or Byzantium, was the continuation of the Roman Empire in its eastern provinces during Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, when its capital city was Constantinople. It survi ...
solidus Solidus (Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman Republi ...
then common, he established a system based on a new .940-fine
silver Silver is a chemical element In chemistry, an element is a pure Chemical substance, substance consisting only of atoms that all have the same numbers of protons in their atomic nucleus, nuclei. Unlike chemical compounds, chemical ele ...
penny A penny is a coin A coin is a small, flat, (usually, depending on the country or value) round piece of metal A metal (from Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ...
( la, denarius; french: denier) weighing 1/240 of a
pound Pound or Pounds may refer to: Units * Pound (currency) A pound is any of various units of currency A currency, "in circulation", from la, currens, -entis, literally meaning "running" or "traversing" in the most specific sense is money Im ...
(', ', or '; '). (The Carolingian pound seems to have been about 489.5 
gram The gram (alternative spelling: gramme; SI unit symbol: g) is a metric system The metric system is a that succeeded the decimalised system based on the introduced in France in the 1790s. The historical development of these systems culm ...
s, making each penny about 2 
gram The gram (alternative spelling: gramme; SI unit symbol: g) is a metric system The metric system is a that succeeded the decimalised system based on the introduced in France in the 1790s. The historical development of these systems culm ...
s.) As the debased solidus was then roughly equivalent to 11 of these pennies, the
shilling The shilling is a historical coin, and the name of a unit of modern currencies A currency, "in circulation", from la, currens, -entis, literally meaning "running" or "traversing" in the most specific sense is money Image:National-D ...

shilling
('; ') was established at that value, making it 1/22 of the silver pound. This was later adjusted to 12 and 1/20, respectively. During the Carolingian period, however, neither shillings or
pounds Pound or Pounds may refer to: Units * Pound (currency), a unit of currency * Pound sterling, the official currency of the United Kingdom * Pound (mass), a unit of mass * Pound (force), a unit of force * Rail pound, in rail profile Symbols * Po ...
were minted, being instead used as notional units of account.. (For instance, a "shilling" or "solidus" of grain was a measure equivalent to the amount of grain that 12 pennies could purchase.) Despite the purity and quality of the new pennies, however, they were repeatedly rejected by traders throughout the Carolingian period in favor of the gold coins used elsewhere, a situation that led to repeated legislation against such refusal to accept the king's currency.. The Carolingian system was imported to
England England is a Countries of the United Kingdom, country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Wales to its west and Scotland to its north. The Irish Sea lies northwest of England and the Celtic Sea to the southwest. E ...
by
Offa of Mercia Offa (died 29 July 796 AD) was List of monarchs of Mercia, King of Mercia, a kingdom of History of Anglo-Saxon England, Anglo-Saxon England, from 757 until his death. The son of Thingfrith and a descendant of Eowa of Mercia, Eowa, Offa came to ...

Offa of Mercia
and other kings, where it formed the basis of English currency until the late 20th century.


Gallery

File:Karolingischer Buchmaler um 820 001.jpg, Aachen Gospels (Ada School), Aachen Gospels (c. 820), an example of Carolingian Illuminated manuscript, illumination. File:St gall plan.jpg, A copy of the Plan of Saint Gall


See also

* Iconography of Charlemagne


Notes


References


Citations


Bibliography

* . * * * . * . * . * . * . * . * . * . * Panofsky, Erwin. Renaissance and Renascences in Western Art. New York/Evanston: Harpers Torchbooks, 1969. * . * . * . * . * *


External links


The Carolingian Renaissance
BBC Radio 4 discussion with Matthew Innes, Julia Smith & Mary Garrison (''In Our Time'', Mar, 30, 2006) {{Authority control Carolingian Latin literature, * Carolingian art, Renaissance