14th June 2023

The illuminated manuscripts of Charlemagne’s Court School now part of UNESCO Memory of the World Register

In May 2023, 64 new items of documentary heritage were inscribed on the Memory of the World International Register, among which The illuminated manuscripts of Charlemagne’s Court School. The application was submitted jointly by the Stadtbibliothek de Trier (Germany) and the Bibliothèque nationale de France, with the support of the institutions that preserve the manuscripts in France and Europe. The BnF holds three of the eight manuscripts entering the Register. Because of the extraordinary circumstances of their creation more than 1200 years ago these pieces emblematic of the Carolingian Renaissance and ceremonial works made during the reign of Charlemagne are among the most precious treasures of the BnF. They were described and digitised thanks to the Europeana Regia project (2010-2012) which brought together in a multilingual virtual space three royal collections from the Middle Ages and the Renaissance now dispersed.

Emblematic of the Carolingian Renaissance and of the works of statecraft produced during Charlemagne’s reign over 1,200 years ago, they are recognised by UNESCO as being “amongst the preeminent highlights of medieval culture”. For example, the « Évangéliaire de Charlemagne » is the first manuscript to be precisely dated to the sovereign, around 781-783. It is very representative of the art practiced at the Charlemagne’s Court the text was copied in gold and silver letters on purple parchment sheets with a poem transcripted in a new script, the minuscule caroline.

Les Évangiles de Saint-Martin-des-Champs (see picture) will be presented in 2024 in the BnF museum in Richelieu.

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Image: https://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/btv1b8452550p/f44.item#

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