Alcuin (Dictionary of World Biography: Middle Ages)
Article abstract: Although an Englishman, Alcuin became court tutor and educational and religious adviser to Charlemagne, King of the Franks and Lombards. Reforms inspired by him made an indelible impression on the later traditions and practices of the Catholic church.
Alcuin’s real name was probably Alhwini. He was an Anglo-Saxon, probably from Yorkshire, England. As he began to correspond and later to work with people who knew no English and used Latin as their professional language, however, his English name must have seemed difficult to spell, if not barbarous. It was accordingly latinized to “Alcuinus” or “Albinus.” The misnomer serves as a reminder that Alcuin was for much of his life an exile in a culture which, if not alien to him, was not native either.
In fact, Alcuin was a product of the first golden age of Anglo-Saxon Christianity. A hundred years before his birth, the northern area of England was still pagan; one hundred years after his death, it had once again passed under the control of pagans, this time Viking armies, a process whose beginning Alcuin lived to see. In the interval between these two heathenisms, Christian scholarship in England was developed, with Alcuin at its heart.
Alcuin was sent to the cathedral school at...
(The entire section is 2116 words.)
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