Rabanus Maurus (Dictionary of World Biography: Middle Ages)
Article abstract: As one of the leading scholars of the ninth century Carolingian revival of learning, Rabanus’ voluminous writings interpreted and introduced generations of medieval students to the wisdom of the Bible and the church fathers and to the practical skills they would need as priests and monks. As abbot of Fulda and later as Archbishop of Mainz, he played a leading role in church governance at a time when the leaders of the Church helped to shape society.
Very little is known about Rabanus Maurus’ early life. He was born in Mainz circa 780, apparently to an aristocratic Frankish family. He became a monk at the monastery of Fulda, where he was ordained a deacon in 801. Young monks who showed intellectual promise often were sent to other monasteries for additional reading and study under the tutelage of famous masters. Rabanus was sent to study with Alcuin, an Anglo-Saxon scholar who was a close friend and adviser of Charlemagne. Alcuin was one of the leading figures in Charlemagne’s attempt to improve intellectual, cultural, and spiritual life in the Frankish kingdom. As abbot of the monastery of St. Martin in Tours, Alcuin established Tours as an important intellectual center and trained an entire generation of future abbots, bishops, and scholars there. Rabanus was especially close to his mentor. It was Alcuin who gave him the name “Maurus,” which was the name of the most beloved...
(The entire section is 2423 words.)
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