Corbie in the Carolingian Renaissance
Perspectiva.net: Beihefte der Francia Bd. 20 (1990)
This study opens with a historical account of Corbie from its foundation until the reign of Charles the Simple, which clarifies the political importance of the abbey and its relations with rulers and bishops. Corbie was always a royal abbey, and during the abbacies of Charlemagne’s cousins the links with the court were most crucial, but it was independent of royal control. Abbots Adalhard and Wala established a tradition of opposition to royal policy, and in the theological debates of the reign of Charles the Bald, Ratramnus of Corbie opposed the stance of Hincmar and the Carolingian episcopate.
Corbie was concerned to expand the frontiers of the Christian world. Adalhard founded a daughter house of Corbie at Covey in Saxony, and Ansgar’s missions from Corvey to Scandinavia and at Hamburg were supported by his fellow monks in both foundations. The theological needs of the new converts at Corvey spurred Paschius Radbertus to write his treatise on the Eucharist by imperial policies, and the tradition of independent thought about all of these needs, shaped the abbey’s intellectual stance.
Studies on the Carolingian Renaissance have tended to concentrate upon the reign of Charlemagne or on the thought of individual scholars. Such surveys as we have of the whole period are vitiated by the need for oversimplification.