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5 - THE POLITICS OF OLD GERMAN

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  16 July 2009

Hans J. Hummer
Affiliation:
Wayne State University
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Summary

Carolingian political consolidation in the later eighth century went hand in hand with an ambitious cultural reform. This renewal, the so-called Carolingian renaissance, was perhaps the Carolingians' most enduring contribution to the Western tradition. The educational and Latin linguistic reforms of the period bequeathed to Europe a common literary tradition, although in their own time the initiatives had as their goals the reform of the clergy and liturgy, the religious education of the laity and the purification of Latin to establish a standard language of rulership. In short, the Carolingian court sought to bring the disparate regions and peoples of the empire under a unifying moral purpose. This bold effort to create an empire greater than the sum of its parts points up both the ambitious ideals of, and the practical limitations to, imperial unity.

This undertaking was dependent upon the Carolingians' successful cultivation of monasteries and the growth in ecclesiastical wealth. Monasteries, with their pious, disciplined and educated staffs, and bristling with landed wealth, which now was augmented by rents as well as gifts from Carolingian conquests, were made responsible for promulgating the programme. Indeed, the burdens of reform probably played no small part in the concurrent determination of monasteries to extract rents. Although these reforms applied throughout the empire, they varied from region to region as monks adapted royal edicts to local circumstances. The greatest challenges centred on lay instruction.

Type
Chapter
Information
Politics and Power in Early Medieval Europe
Alsace and the Frankish Realm, 600–1000
, pp. 130 - 154
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2006

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  • THE POLITICS OF OLD GERMAN
  • Hans J. Hummer, Wayne State University
  • Book: Politics and Power in Early Medieval Europe
  • Online publication: 16 July 2009
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511497209.007
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  • THE POLITICS OF OLD GERMAN
  • Hans J. Hummer, Wayne State University
  • Book: Politics and Power in Early Medieval Europe
  • Online publication: 16 July 2009
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511497209.007
Available formats
×

Send book to Google Drive

To send content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

  • THE POLITICS OF OLD GERMAN
  • Hans J. Hummer, Wayne State University
  • Book: Politics and Power in Early Medieval Europe
  • Online publication: 16 July 2009
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511497209.007
Available formats
×