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Friday, November 13, 2009

Medieval Identifications: Alcuin of York

Alcuin of York was an intellectual, ecclesiastic, poet and lecturer from York, Northumbria. He was born around 735 and became the student of Ecgbert at York.

At the invitation of Charlemagne, he became a leading scholar and teacher at the Carolingian court, where he remained a figure at court in the 780s and 790s. He wrote many theological and dogmatic treatises, as well as a few grammatical works and a number of poems.

He was made abbot of Saint Martin's at Tours in 796, where he remained until his death. He is considered among the most important architects of the Carolingian Renaissance. Among his pupils were many of the dominant intellectuals of the Carolingian era.

Alcuin died on May 19, 804, some ten years before the emperor. He was buried at St. Martin’s Church under an epitaph that partly read:

Dust, worms, and ashes now...
Alcuin my name, wisdom I always loved,
Pray, reader, for my soul.


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