Carlovingian School

A system of educational reform was inaugurated by Blessed Charlemagne under the advice of Saint Alcuin who became his “prime minister of education.” In 782 Alcuin was placed at the head of the court school of military tactics and good manners, established under the Merovingian kings, and taught grammar, arithmetic, astronomy, and music. Charlemagne and the royal household learned from Alcuin. In 787 Charlemagne issued the famous capitulary on education and Theodulf, who succeeded Alcuin as court adviser, enacted that priests should establish free schools in every town and village. Through the influence of Alcuin, Theodulf, Lupus, Rhabanus Maurus, and others, the Carlovingian revival spread to Rheims, Auxerre, Laon, Chartres, southern Germany, Switzerland, and northern Italy. The schools of Utrecht, Liege, and Saint Laurent sprang up under the successors of Charlemagne. Irish teachers figured largely in the schools, e.g., Clement, Cruindmelus, Dungal, Dicuil, SeduIius, and John Scotus Eriugena. The course of studies, in the town and village schools, comprised Christian doctrine, plain-song, and grammar; in the monastic and cathedral schools, grammar, rhetoric, dialectic, geometry, arithmetic, music, and astronomy.