(active around 845 in Tours)


c. 845
Manuscript (Ms. Ludwig I. 1)
J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles

Part of Charlemagne's promotion of education and book learning included the importation of the world's most distinguished scholars into his court. One of these was Alcuin (c. 735-804), who had been born at York in England. He was already head of the cathedral schools in York when, during an embassy to Italy in 780, he met Charlemagne who persuaded him to come to France. For upwards of ten years Alcuin then directed and inspired the revival of classical culture around the figure of Charlemagne. In 796 he retired to Tours where he became abbot of St. Martin's Abbey, and set in motion there a campaign of manuscript production which lasted far into the ninth century and made Tours the world centre for Bibles and for Carolingian minuscule script. These manuscript Bibles were acquired by monasteries in many parts of the Carolingian empire.

Leaves and fragments of one such manuscript, written about 845, were recovered for later use in bookbindings at the abbey of St Maximin in Trier. The picture presented here shows the opening page (folio 7r) of the Epistle to the Romans.