Monasteries are founded Warring tribes migrate throughout Europe following the collapse of the Roman Empire


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400 ce – 800 ce

  • 400 ce – 800 ce

  • Monasteries are founded

  • Warring tribes migrate throughout Europe following the collapse of the Roman Empire

  • Venerable Bede writes the Ecclesiastical History of the English People

  • The Old English epic Beowulf is created

  • Charlemagne battles the Spanish emirate without conclusive Results; events gives rise to The Song of Roland



Early monasticism

  • Early monasticism

    • Varying monastic lifestyles
    • No predominate rule
  • The Rule of St. Benedict

    • “Magna Carta of monasticism”
    • Poverty, stability, obedience, chastity
    • Balance of prayer, work, and study
    • Horarium




Scholastica (d. 543)

  • Scholastica (d. 543)

    • St. Benedict’s sister
  • Brigit of Ireland (d. 525)

  • Hilda, abbess of Whitby (614-680)

  • Hildegard of Bingen (1098-1179)



Monastery as “miniature civic center”

  • Monastery as “miniature civic center”

    • Complexity of function and design
    • Center of life for rural populations
  • Saint Gall plan

    • Basilica style
    • Designed to house 120 monks, 170 serfs




800 ce – 1200 ce

  • 800 ce – 1200 ce

  • The feudal system becomes the dominant social structure throughout Europe

  • Charlemagne, a Frank, is crowned emperor of the new Holy Roman Empire

  • Charlemagne supports learning, monasteries, and the writing of books

  • The Ottonian period begins following the death of Charlemagne

  • William I (William the Conqueror) invades England and becomes England’s first Norman king

  • The Romanesque style of architecture dominates European cathedral construction



Papal Coronation

  • Papal Coronation

    • Leo III, Christmas 800
    • Revival of Western Roman Empire
  • Feudal Administration

    • Legal decrees
    • Bureaucratic system
    • Literacy
  • Foreign Relations

    • Byzantines, Muslims


Stabilized the currency

  • Stabilized the currency

    • Denier
  • Trade Fairs

  • Tolerance of Jews

  • Jewish merchants and the Near East

  • Trade Routes

  • Import / Export Relationships

    • Iron Broadswords


“Palace School” at Aachen

  • “Palace School” at Aachen

  • Scholar-teachers

  • Curriculum

  • Text reform

    • Literary revival = Liturgical revival
  • Literacy as prerequisite for worship



Alcuin of York

  • Alcuin of York

    • Corrected errors in the Vulgate Bible
    • Developed Frankish school system
  • Literacy and Women

    • Aristocratic women
    • Dhouda- not a nun but wrote a text on Christian living
    • Illuminated manuscripts


Kingdom modeled on ancient Rome

  • Kingdom modeled on ancient Rome

  • Palace

  • Chapel

    • Church of San Vitale (Ravenna) as model
    • Altar to the Savior (liturgical services)
    • Chapel to the Virgin (reliquary)
  • Charlemagne’s Throne

    • “…this most wise Solomon.”




Venerable Bede

  • Venerable Bede

    • Father of English history
    • Ecclesiastical History of the English People
  • Beowulf

  • Hildegard of Bingen

  • http://www.macalester.edu/~warren/courses/Hildegard/art.html 

    • Writer, painter, illustrator, musician, critic, preacher
    • Scivias (The Way of Knowledge), Physica (botany), Causae et Curae (illness & cures), Symphonia (hymns & songs), Ordo Virtutum
  • Roswitha -poet, playwright





Carolingian manuscripts on parchment

  • Carolingian manuscripts on parchment

  • Gospel Book of Charlemagne

    • Roman, Byzantine, Celtic styles
  • Utrecht Psalter

    • Masterpiece of the Carolingian Renaissance
  • Dagulf Psalter

    • Carved ivory book covers
  • Carolingian miniscule











Large, “Roman-looking” architecture

  • Large, “Roman-looking” architecture

  • Influenced by travel, expansion

    • Pilgrimages
  • Heavy stone arches













Exterior decoration (sculpture)

  • Exterior decoration (sculpture)

    • Lack of interior light
    • Portal (doorway)
    • Jamb, capital, trumeau
    • Tympanum (mandorla, archivolts)
      • Church of Sainte Madeleine at Vézelay




Development of sacred music

  • Development of sacred music

    • Gregorian Chant
    • Ambrosian music
    • Mozarabic chant
    • Frankish chant


Gregorian chant and Carolingian reform

  • Gregorian chant and Carolingian reform

  • Gregorian characteristics

    • Monophonic- one or many voices singing one single melodic line
    • Melisma-extensive addition of a chain of intricate notes sung on the vowel sound of a single syllable
    • Acapella-vocals no instrumentation
    • Cantus planus-plain song
    • Neums-notations used in Gregorian chant


The Liturgical Trope

  • The Liturgical Trope

    • Verbal elaborations of textual content
    • Added to the long melismas
    • Aid in memorization
    • Origin of drama in the West
      • Quem Quæritis


Links liturgical and secular drama

  • Links liturgical and secular drama

  • Allegorical, moralistic

    • Instructs for moral conversion
  • Religious themes

    • Life as a pilgrimage
    • The inevitability of death (memento mori)
    • Faith vs. Free Will
  • Liturgical overtones



Charlemagne canonized 1165

  • Charlemagne canonized 1165

    • Reliquaries and commemoratives
  • Epic poem

    • Charlemagne’s battle with the Basques (778)
    • Chansons de geste (song of deeds), chansons d’histoire (song of history)
  • Oral tradition, jongleurs (wandering minstrels)

  • Military and religious ideals

    • 11th c. martial virtues and chivalric code
  • Anti-Muslim bias





Explain the function of the Song of Roland as both religious and political propaganda during the eleventh and twelfth centuries. What values are extolled within the text that would serve religious and political leaders as they shape their culture? Do we, as a culture, subscribe to these same values today? Why or why not?

  • Explain the function of the Song of Roland as both religious and political propaganda during the eleventh and twelfth centuries. What values are extolled within the text that would serve religious and political leaders as they shape their culture? Do we, as a culture, subscribe to these same values today? Why or why not?

  • Why was Charlemagne so interested in developing literacy? Explain his motives and methods for establishing schools and supporting scholars.

  • Describe the role of the liturgical trope in the development of drama in the West. For example, how does one begin with the Quem Quæritis trope and arrive at Everyman? Explain the evolution of the art form.




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