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head of the state, we must consider that no faintly reflected brilliancy falls on the leaders of the Church who surrounded him.
In examining the influence of Charlemagne's system, we must look upon him not merely as a military conqueror and a political ruler, but in the yet higher character of a moral reformer. No sovereign, at any time, not even our own Alfred, seems to have been more completely in advance of the age in which he lived. He saw and felt the ignorance and barbarism in which every one of the nations congregated under his sceptre remained plunged, and the means he adopted for effecting the necessary changes were both the most suitable to his own circumstances and to those of the rude materials on which he had to work. He perceived that no reformation was possible which did not take its rise in the religious feelings of the people, and in which, consequently, the principal place was not occupied by sacerdotal agents.
But, although at his accession the moral improvement and discipline of the priesthood had been considerably advanced by the piety of his predecessor, yet he was far from finding in that body an instrument sufficiently powerful to fulfil his vast schemes for the amelioration of his Empire. Hence the zeal with which he carried on the reform among the clergy which his father had so zealously begun!. But his view was not merely directed
* Some anecdotes of his mode of appointing bishops are told by the ‘Monachus Sangallensis' (Gesta Karoli, 1. 4, 5. ap. Pertz. 11. 732, 733). An ordinance issued by him to all the bishops, that
towards strengthening the bonds of ecclesiastical discipline, and moulding the whole clergy of his Empire into one compact and united mass; for he saw well that, if no precautions were taken against a recurrence of former evils, the rudeness and demoralization of the social system, checked for a time by his controlling hand, would break forth again with worse violence than ever, and that the clergy, infected by the vices of the laity, would sink once again to its former degraded level. It was with the intention (though the inherent vices of the age baffled even him) of providing against the recurrence of the previous calamities, that he issued those numerous edicts which have been preserved to us, by which the advancement of knowledge and the spread of true religion from one extremity of Europe to the other is materially promoted. Conscious of the intellectual poverty of his own land", he induced the learned among the foreign
before a certain day they should all preach in their cathedrals on pain of deprivation, is mentioned by the same authority (i. 18).
1“Fatendum tamen ante Carolum M. literarum disciplinarumque in Galliis ita evanuisse studia, ac Linguæ præsertim Latinæ, ut stante Regum nostrorum priorum stemmate, vix sese tantillum extulerit; quod probant, quæ de veteribus formulis supra observavimus, et de Chilperici Regis Latinis seu Barbaro-Latinis scriptis tradit Gregorius Turonensis (Hist. Franc. 1. vi. c. 46). Id etiam testatur Anonymus Scriptor De Miraculis S. Florentii (ex cod. MS.); ‘Liberales siquidem artes,' inquit ille, ‘usque temporibus Domni Caroli Imperatoris, prædecessoribus nostris ita exstiterant extraneæ, ut in Galliæ regionibus etiam inter summos Pontifices vix aliquis negligentia præpediente reperiretur, qui urbanitate eloquii Synodales saltem valeret venustate exolvere definitiones.
clergy to flock to the Imperial court, and the chronicles as well as the ordinances of his reign display to us perpetually the anxiety with which, amid all the distractions of civil reform and foreign conquest, he fostered the interests of sound learning! Thus, we are told by his monkish annalists, that on the occasion of his third visit to Rome in the year 787 he collected some of the most erudite among the Italian clergy, and persuaded
Sed quoniam, favente Deo, instantiaque Domni supradicti Imperatoris, quæ vetustiores neglexerant, moderniores adsecuti sunt.' Et Scriptor Vita S. Urbani Lingonensis Ep. (ex cod. MS.); “Exterarum quippe persecutio gentium et intestina etiam bella Regum sic postponi fecerant liberalium studia literarum, ut usque ad tempora Caroli Magni vix possent in Galliis inveniri, qui in scientia grammaticæ artis essent sufficienter instructi'” (Ducange, Preface to Glossary, c. 30).
A story is told, how his zeal for education was first called out by the arrival of two learned Irishmen, who publicly offered their wisdom for sale, asking as its price “loca tantum oportuna et animos ingeniosos et, sine quibus peregrinatio transigi non potest, alimenta et quibus tegamur,” and were eagerly welcomed by the emperor (Monach. Sangal. Gest. Kar. 1. 1). One of them, it is said, Clemens by name, was entrusted with the education of a large number of boys of all ranks. Charlemagne, on his return from a long expedition, found that the boys from the middle and lower classes had made great progress, while the young nobles had remained idle and ignorant. The former he thanked for their diligence, and promised them bishoprics and monasteries as well as his own personal favour: the latter he scornfully denounced ; “Per regem cælorum ! non ego magni pendo nobilitatem et pulchritudinem vestram, licet alii vos admi. rentur; et hoc proculdubio scitote, quia, nisi cito priorem negligentiam vigilanti studio recuperaveritis, apud Karolum nihil unquam boni acquiretis !” (ibid. 2, 3).
it is large n'a lona classe
penarafully dens well as hich
them to accompany him to the north of the Alps*. The consequences of such a step we may gather from an
* See Baluzii Præfat. ad Const. de Scholis, t. 1. coll. 201, 202. [And Ducange (Preface to Glossary, c. 33). “Sic porro in disciplinis sorduit Gallia nostra usque ad tempora Caroli M. 'qui,' ut ait Monachus Egolismensis (* Vit. Carol. M. ann. 787,') 'a Roma artis Grammaticæ et computatoriæ magistros secum adduxit in Franciam, et ubique studium literarum expandere jussit. Ante ipsum enim Domnum Regem Carolum in Gallia nullum studium fuerat liberalium artium. Quod quidem maximi Principis in liberales artes studium ita etiam prædicat Alcuinus in Epistola ad eundem Carolum M. Nec fastidiosa segnities legentium benevolentiæ magistri juste deputari debet, si plurimis inclitum vestræ devotionis studium sequentibus forsan Athena nova perficeretur in Francia ; imo multo excellentior, quia hæc Christi nobilitata magisterio omnem Academicæ exercitationis superat sapientiam.' ('Epist. 10.)
"Et Lupus Abbas Ferrariensis scribens ad Eginhardum; 'Amor literarum ab ipso fere initio pueritiæ mihi est innatus, nec earum, ut nunc a plerisque vocantur, superstitiosa otia fastidio sunt. Et nisi intercessisset inopia præceptorum, et longo situ collapsa priorum studia pene interiissent, largiente Domino meæ aviditati satisfacere potuissem. Siquidem vestra memoria per famosissimum Imperatorem Karolum, cui literæ usque eo deferre debent, ut æternam ei parent memoriam, cæpta revocari, aliquantum quidem extulere caput, satisque constitit, veritate subnixum præclarum dictum, Honos alit artes, et accenduntur omnes ad studia gloria.' (Ep. 1.')"
The cultivation of literature by Charles the Bald is also attested by Hericus the Monk in a letter to that Emperor appended by him to his Life of St Germanus. “Ac tandem concludit, ‘Quidquid igitur litere possunt, quidquid assequuntur ingenia, vobis debent.'
“ His proinde Principibus, ne quid amplius dicam, sua debent initia scholæ publicæ ac monasticæ, et omnium Disciplinarum in Francia instauratio.”]
edict published towards the close of the same year, entitled * “ Constitutio de Scholis per singula episcopia et monasteria instituendis,” where, after making mention of communications he had received from monasteries, in which the excellence of the sentiments was more remarkable than the correctness of the language, he ordains that every monastery and cathedral have attached to it a school conducted by men of learning and piety', and finally exhorts the clergy to remember that human knowledge is to be looked upon merely as one of the means to the attainment of a religious purity of life. Again, two years later, a clause in the well-known capitulary of Aix-la-Chapelle confirms this general decree by a more specific ordinance in the following termsť: “Scholæ legentium puerorum fiant. Psalmos, notas, cantus, compotum, grammaticam per singula monasteria vel episcopia discant. Sed et libros Catholicos bene emendatos habeant.... Et pueros vestros non sinite eos vel legendo vel scribendo corrumpere.” Not content, however, with the ordinary instruction bestowed on the clerical youth, he
* Baluz. Capit. Reg. Franc. t. I. coll. 201—4.
? So Ekkehard (Casus S. Galli, 6. ap. Pertz. ii. 111) writes of the monastery of St Gallen in 937: “Erant disciplinæ loci ut semper et tunc severe, non modo in claustro sed et in scolis exterius : unde etiam præter clericos qui apud nos sæpe nutriti sunt clarissimos ecclesiis variis multoties dedimus et episcopos." “And we enjoin that priests diligently teach youth and educate them in crafts; that they may have ecclesiastical support” (Canons enacted under King Edgar. Can. 51. ap. Thorpe, Anc. Laws, p. 400).
+ Baluz. t. 1. col. 237.