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Western Civilization 10, Lesson 90, Essay 1 – Carolingian Renaissance

The Carolingian Renaissance happened between the late 8th century to the late 9th century.  The goal of this renaissance was to create a civilization Ancient Rome would have been proud of.  The only change was that the civilization would have Christian emphasis, unlike the polytheistic lifestyle Rome had.

During the renaissance, the Franks were ruling Europe as the protectors of the papacy.  Charlemagne, who was the ruler at the time, set up a fixed capital in Aachen (a city in modern-day Germany).  A chapel was built in the capitol and had maps of Constantinople, Rome, and Aachen.  This signified Charlemagne’s vision of expanding his empire.

Charlemagne would go out searching for great writers, artists, scholars, etc.  He wanted these people to become teachers in his schools or contributors to the renaissance.  Charlemagne built schools that were supposed to mimic Ancient Roman schools.  Scholars at these institutions would give each other Ancient Roman names like ‘Aristotle’ or ‘Plato’ in an attempt to mirror the Ancient Roman schools completely.

There were many things from this renaissance that we still use and enjoy today.  Monks during this time preserved many of the Latin works that we can still read and appreciate today.  The schools Charlemagne set up became the first of many European universities. 

Carolingian minuscule was a creation of Charlemagne’s schools.  Many Latin works had little to no grammar.  There were no such things as commas or periods or capital letters.  Those who had worked hard to preserve and translate those works created Carolingian miniscule, which is what we use today.  Capital letters, periods, commas, any grammatical tool you can think of, came from Carolingian miniscule.

As you can see, the Carolingian Renaissance is yet another example of how a seemingly insignificant event in history can impact us today.  Mr. Woods noted how during this renaissance there was not many new ideas created.  But the few ideas that were created, like Carolingian miniscule, proved to be very useful and are still used today.

Thanks for reading!


Author: sophiaelahirpc

10th Grade student in the Ron Paul Curriculum. Full-time teen writer living in Singapore.

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