European culture of the early Middle Ages

At the heart of medieval culture is a combination of ancient heritage and traditions of barbarian peoples. Christianity fell by force, which managed to unite them.

At the turn of the V-VI centuries. the center of cultural and spiritual development was the Ostrogothic Kingdom in Italy. The outstanding personality of the “Ost-Goth Revival” was the writer and philosopher, translator of the works of the Greek Authors Severin Boethius. He was one of the most respected teachers of the Middle Ages, he was the author of manuals on arithmetic and music, which in the schools of Europe have been used for more than one century. Boethius was the first minister of the Ostrogothic king, Theodoric the Great. Flavius ​​Cassiodorus was also an outstanding figure in the “Ostrogothic revival”. Having fallen out of favor with the king, he established a monastery called Vivarium, where one of the earliest skriptorii originated.

Visigothic Spain was glorified by Bishop

Isidore of Seville, who compiled the first medieval encyclopedia.

From the second half of the VII century. cultural life in Western Europe was concentrated mainly in monasteries. Irish monks, for example, collected ancient and Christian manuscripts, so they had the richest libraries in Europe then. In the Scriptures, the art of decorating manuscripts with miniatures, multicolored large letters, ornamentation, and precious stones developed.

A new stage of cultural development, known as the “Carolingian revival,” occurred in the state of Charlemagne. Karl needed educated people, so he demanded that every monastery and bishopric had schools for secular persons. Textbooks were written by the famous author of theological works and poems of the Anglo-Saxon Alcuin. At court, Karl assembled a scientific circle, called the Academy. It included the most educated people invited by Charles the Great from different parts of Europe. The academy was headed by Alcuin. One of the participants in the circle – the young abbot Shingard – wrote “The Life of Charlemagne.”

The emperor

and his academicians conducted scientific debates, solved intellectual riddles, wrote poems in Latin, etc. They called themselves the glorified names of the past: Karl – David, Alcuin Flaccus, Anguilbert – Homer. In this combination of biblical and ancient names, the essence of the Academy was brightly reflected: its figures were educated people who knew antiquity, and at the same time they were Christians.

Through the efforts of Charles, palaces and temples were built. They were built in Byzantine style. A vivid example of Carolingian architecture is the chapel in Aachen, which has survived even now.

Shortly after the death of Charlemagne, the King’s court ceased to be the cultural center of the state.

The construction of the Charles chapel in Aachen was completed in 805. It is a majestic octagonal stone two-story structure, whose height reaches 32 m. Its ground floor symbolized the earthly life and was intended for the court emperor. The second floor, somewhat smaller, was the embodiment of heavenly life. It was here that the imperial throne, hewn out of white marble, was preserved, and precious Christian relics collected by Charles the Great were preserved. In the chapel was buried, and Charles himself, who died on January 28, 814. In the XII century. Charlemagne was numbered among the saints.

The scriptory is a workshop for copying books.

Chapel – a small, separate building or a room in the church for the prayers of one family.

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European culture of the early Middle Ages