Death of Alcuin of York, Leading Architect of Carolingian Renaissance Hot

Death of Alcuin of York, Leading Architect of Carolingian Renaissance

Alcuin of York (Albinus, Middle)

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Alcuin of York dies in Tours France at the age of 69. A priest and scholar from Northumbria, Alcuin will become a leading figure in the Carolingian court under Charlemagne.

Indeed, he will be considered the leading architect of the Carolingian Renaissance, having large numbers of manuscripts copied for distribution, teaching important political and religious leaders, and causing the transmission of Latin culture to the Franks.

A Carolingian Renaissance existed because Charlemagne regarded education in the liberal arts as incredibly important. He wanted people to be well-read, well-educated, and producing new knowledge to share. Education in and understanding about religion were central to all of this, though Charlemagne's attitudes towards religion were not always "liberal."

For a long time, his policy was forced conversion: give up paganism and adopt Christianity or die. Alcuin of York objected quite strongly to this, telling Charlemagne:

"Faith is a free act of the will, not a forced act. We must appeal to the conscience, not compel it by violence. You can force people to be baptised, but you cannot force them to believe."

Since Charlemagne eliminated the death penalty for paganism in 797, it seems likely that he accepted Alcuin's argument.

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