HIST 203 Lecture Outline (Fall 2020 – Week 11)

HIST 203
Week 11



The plan of the Abbey of St. Gall (in German; click on “cc” for English subtitles, 11:44 min.):

St. Gall Abbey’s Library (2:36 min.):


Gregorian chant, by the Benedictine nuns of Barroux, France (1:39 min.):

Gregorian chant, by monks of Stift Heiligenkreuz, Germany (4:23 min.):

Plan of abbey of St. Gall (Switzerland), 820:

Typical monastic buildings:

  • Church and cloister of abbey of St. Riquier, also called “Centula,” dedicated 799 (engraving, dated 1612, of an 11th-cent. sketch)
  • West front of abbey church of St. Pantaleon, Cologne, Germany, 966-980
  • St. Cyriakus, Gernrode, Germany, 961-973: exterior, and interior
  • nave and plan and elevation of St. Michael’s, Hildesheim, c. 1001-31, with crossing, transept, choir, apse or chancel, altar)
  • Cloister
  • Chapter house
  • Scriptorium and/or library
  • Dormitory (dorter)
  • Refectory
  • Infirmary

Benedict of Aniane (c. 750-821), a Visigoth from S. France who had been educated at Pepin the Short’s court and served as cup-bearer to Pepin and to Charlemagne, later became a monk and founded a monastery on his own estate at Aniane. Louis the Pious put him in charge of reforming all the Carolingian monasteries with a re-edited and revised version of the Benedictine Rule (Capitulare monasticum), that emphasized liturgical and intellectual work over manual work for the monks.

Bishops’ visitations (annual inspection tours) of the parish churches and the monastic houses in their dioceses. (A list of standard questions to be used by bishops in their visitations was provided by Regino, abbot of St. Martin’s, Trier, and formerly abbot of Prüm (d. 915), in Libri duo de synodalibus causis et ecclesiasticis disciplinis.)

Penitentials (manuals of penance)




The Carolingian murals of the Benedictine convent of St. John, Müstair (3:15 min.):


Tuotilo (c. 850-915), Hodie cantandus est (3:15 min.):


Private confession and penitential manuals are introduced by monks from British Isles

Churches become places of legal asylum

Monasteries offer:

  • retirement housing, clothing, and meals for those with means
  • shelter to pilgrims and travelers
  • food to paupers
  • some nursing care to paupers



Council of Nicaea rehabilitates cult of religious paintings (vs. Iconoclasm in Byzantine Empire, c. 730-843); religious statuary not restored until late 9th cent., with reliquary busts and figures. (Click here for a page showing scenes from Genesis from the Grandval Bible, written at Tours in 834-43 (London, Add. MS 10546, f. 5v)

Liturgy (church services) elaborated in 9th cent., including:

  • New use of incense
  • Gregorian (Roman) chant (required but often not known)
  • Musical notation re-invented: click here to see a German liturgical manuscript of c. 950-1050 (Stanford University Library, Philip Bliss collection, M389.)
  • New saints’ days introduced (e.g., Feast of the Assumption of the Virgin, 15 August; Feast of All Saints, 1 November)

910 foundation of abbey of Cluny in Burgundy by Count William (Guillaume) the Pious

Some common ecclesiastical abuses in the early middle ages:

  • Bishoprics and abbacies granted as patronage
  • Clerical marriage or concubinage
  • Ill-educated parish clergy