Bornnear York, England, circa735
DiedTours, (Indre-et-Loire), France, 19 May 804
Alcuin, a universal scholar, educator, and key counselor of Charlemagne, is best known for his astronomical studies and observations, which led to the Carolingian reform of the calendar.
Of noble Anglo-Saxon lineage, Alcuin was educated at York’s cathedral school by students of the Venerable Bede, as well as Colgu from Ireland. He taught at this school from 765 and became its head in 778. While acquiring books on the Continent, he met Charlemagne in Parma in 781. The Frankish king, having heard of Alcuin’s learning and teaching abilities, invited him to lead his Palace school at Aachen.
Moving to Francia in 782, Alcuin became the key counselor of Charlemagne for science, education, and church matters. He taught the King, his family, and the Frankish nobles, reforming the Palace school according to the Anglo-Saxon principle of the seven liberal arts....
The authors are grateful to Karl W. Butzer (R.C. Dickson Centennial Professor, Austin, Texas) for his critical reading of the manuscript.
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