Likewise under the guidance of Charlemagne and the Frankish church scriptoria

Likewise under the guidance of charlemagne and the

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Likewise, under the guidance of Charlemagne and the Frankish church, scriptoria through-out his empire launched on a massive new effort to copy new books. Many of these books were religious in character, although Carolingian monks (and nuns) would also copy books from Ancient Rome that had been written by pagans; many of these ancient books, like the poetry of Virgil (see Chapter Six), would serve as the basis of the curriculum of Western Europe’s schools as they had since the Roman Empire. A Christian of the eighth century would believe that even works by pagans would nevertheless afford their readers education and, thus, self-improvement. 7.11.2 The Macedonian Renaissance The Byzantine Empire had been that half of the Roman Empire where the language of life and culture was not Latin, but Greek. At around the same time as the Carolingians’ efforts, the Byzantine Empire also saw close cooperation of Church and State to revive the study of ancient literature and improve learning. The Byzantine Empire had suffered from a collapse of literacy, which, while not as severe as Western Europe’s, had still resulted in a much less literate population. As such, an effort similar to that of the Carolingians was necessary in the Greek-speaking Eastern Mediterranean. We call this effort the Macedonian Renaissancebecause it reached its fullest expression under a dynasty of Byzantine emperors that we call the Macedonian Dynasty (867 – 1056).The efforts of the Macedonian Dynasty, however, had begun earlier. The efforts to improve the availability of books and to Figure 7.7 | Paris Psaulter | Picture from a Byzantine Greek manuscript written during the Macedonian RenaissanceAuthor: User “Neuceu”Source: Wikimedia CommonsLicense: Public Domain
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Page | 286 WORLD HISTORYincrease learning began during the Iconoclast Controversy as both Iconophiles and Iconoclasts had sought to back up their positions by quoting from the Bible and the Church Fathers. Emperor Theophilus (r. 829 – 842), one of the last Iconoclast emperors, had had Leo the Mathematician found a school in the emperor’s palace in Constantinople, a palace known as the Magnaura. Like Charlemagne’s palace at Aachen, this school would go on to serve as the foundation for a revived learning among elites, only this learning was in Greek, rather than Latin.Following the final triumph of the Iconophiles, these efforts continued with Photius, patriarch of Constantinople from 858 to 867 and then from 877 to 886, as a particular sponsor of monastic schools in the Byzantine Empire and of the copying of books in Ancient Greek, particularly works like those of Plato’s philosophy and the epic poetry of Homer.7.11.3 Comparisons with the AbbasidsWe should also note the global context of both the Carolingian and the Macedonian Renaissance. Carolingian and Macedonian Emperors were not the only ones seeking to increase the availability of ancient texts from the time of the Greeks and Romans. The Abbasid Caliphs under al-Mamun
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