Date of Award

12-2009

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Departmental Honors

First Advisor

Dr. Jones

Abstract

During the twelfth century, medieval Western Europe experienced a revival of interest in classical literature. Key Greek and Latin texts had been preserved in Rome’s public and private libraries during the collapse of the Roman Empire in the West. In the sixth and seventh centuries, monastic Christian scholars such as Cassiodorus (born ca. 485 AD) and Benedict of Nursia (480 – 547 AD) established scriptoria, places for copying manuscripts, in their monasteries. There they transcribed and stored classical collections (2). In the late eighth and ninth centuries, the Frankish King and Emperor of the Romans, Charlemagne (742-814 AD) renewed the preservation and dissemination of ancient literature as part of his intellectual and cultural revival, known today as the Carolingian Renaissance. Charlemagne sponsored the copying of classical manuscripts, mainly by monks in monasteries, and helped to establish a standard form of handwriting, called Caroline Minuscule (3). Then, in the eleventh century, cathedral schools and budding universities began to replace monasteries as centers for classical texts. Clerics and scholars alike began to take a great interest in this classical literature (4). At first, they simply copied these texts as had been done in previous centuries. Eventually, however, these “classical Latin mythological and historical accounts were plagiarized and treated as legend (5).”

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