Inven-Charle-man - 7/30/98
An inventory of Charlemange’s Estates by Terry D. Decker (Bear).
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Mark S. Harris AKA: THLord Stefan li Rous
Stefan at florilegium.org
Date: Mon, 5 Jan 1998 20:42:15 -0600
From: "Decker, Terry D." <TerryD at Health.State.OK.US>
Subject: SC - Long Post - Inventory of Charlemange's Villa
Here's the first of those documents I am transcribing for the list.
(Excerpted from Ogg, Frederic A.; Source Book of Mediaeval History:
American Book Co., New York, 1907.)
An Inventory of One of Charlemange's Estates
In the following inventory we have a specimen of the annual statements
required by Charlemange from the stewards on his royal domains. The
location of Asnapium is unknown, but it is evident that this estate was
one of the smaller sort. Like all the rest, it was liable occasionally
to become the temporary abiding place of the king. The detailed
character of the inventory is worthy of note, as is also, the number of
industries which must have been engaged in by the inhabitants of the
estate and its dependent villas.
Source--Text in Monumenta Germaniae Historica, Leges (Pertz, ed.), Vol.
I., pp. 178-179.
We found in the imperial estate of Asnapium a royal house built of stone
in the very best manner, having 3 rooms. The entire house was
surrounded with balconies and it had 11 apartments for women.
Underneath was 1 cellar. There were 2 porticoes. There were 17 other
houses built of wood within the courtyard, with a similar number of
rooms and other fixtures, all well constructed. There was 1 stable, 1
kitchen, 1 mill, 1 granary, and 3 barns.
The yard was enclosed with a hedge and a stone gasteway, and above was a
balcony from which distributions can be made. There was also an inner
yard surrounded by a hedge, well arranged, and planted with various
kinds of trees.
Of the vestments: coverings for 1 bed, 1 table-cloth, and 1 towel.
Of utensils: 2 brass kettles; 2 drinking cups; 2 brass cauldrons; 1
iron cauldron; 1 frying pan; 1 gramalin; 1 pair of andirons; 1 lamp; 2
hatchets; 1 chisel; 2 augers; 1 axe; 1 knife; 1 large plane; 1 small
plane; 2 scythes; 2 sickles; 2 spades edged with iron; and a sufficient
supply of utensils of wood.
Of farm produce: old spelt (1) from last year, 90 baskets of which can
be made into 450 weight (2) of flour; and 100 measures (3) of barley.
From the present year, 110 baskets of spelt, of which 60 baskets had
been planted, but the rest we found; 100 measures of wheat, 60 sown, the
rest we found; 98 measures of rye all sown; 1,800 measures of barley,
1,100 sown, the rest we found; 430 measures of oats; 1 measure of beans;
12 measures of peas. At 5 mills were found 800 measures of small size.
At 4 breweries, 650 measures of small size, 240 given to the
prebendaries(4), the rest we found. At 2 bridges, 60 measures of salt
and 2 shillings. At 4 gardens, 11 shillings. Also honey, 3 measures;
about 1 measure of butter; lard, from last year, 10 sides; new sides,
200, with fragments and fats; cheese from the present year, 43 weights.
Of cattle: 51 head of larger cattle; 5 three-year olds; 7 two-year
olds; 7 yearlings; 10 two-year old colts; 8 yearlings; 3 stallions; 16
cows; 2 asses; 50 cows with calves; 20 young bulls; 38 yearling calves;
3 bulls; 260 hogs; 100 pigs; 5 boars; 150 sheep with lambs; 200 yearling
lambs; 120 rams; 30 goats with kids; 30 yearling kids; 3 male goats; 30
geese; 80 chickens; 22 peacocks.
Also concerning the manors (5) which belong to this above mansion. In
the villa of Grisio we found domain buildings, where there are 3 barns
and a yard enclosed by a hedge. There were, besides, 1 garden with
trees, 10 geese, 8 ducks, 30 chickens.
In another villa we found domain buildings and a yard surrounded by a
hedge, and within 3 barns; 1 arpent (6) of vines; 1 garden with trees;
15 geese; 20 chickens.
In a third villa, domain buildings, with 2 barns; 1 granary; 1 garden
and 1 yard well enclosed by a hedge.
We found all the dry and liquid measures just as in the palace. We did
not find any goldsmiths, silversmiths, blacksmiths, huntsmen, or persons
engaged in other services.
The garden herbs which we found were lily, putchuck (7), mint, parsley,
rue, celery, libesticum, sage, savory, juniper, leeks, garlic, tansy,
wild mint, coriander, scullions, onions, cabbage, kohlrabi (8), betony
(9). Trees: pears, apples, medlars, peaches, filberts, walnuts,
mulberries, quinces (10).
(1) A kind of grain still widely cultivated for food in Germany and
Switzerland; sometimes known as German wheat.
(2) The unit of weight was the pound. Charlemange replaced the old
Gallic pound by the Roman, which was a tenth less.
(3) The unit of measure was the muid. Charlemange had a standard
measure (modius publicus) constructed and in a number of his
capitularies enjoined that it be taken as a model by all his subjects.
It contained probably a little less than six pecks. A smaller measure
was the setier, containg about five and two-thirds pints.
(4) Clergymen attached to the church on or near the estate.
(5) "Attached to the royal villa, in the center of which stood the
palace or manse, were numerous dependent and humbler dwellings, occupied
by mechanics, artisans and tradesmen, or rather manufacturers and
craftsmen, in great numbers. The dairy, the bakery, the butchery, the
brewery, the flour-mill were there . . . The villa was a city in embryo,
and in due course it grew into one, for as it supplied in many respects
the wants of the surrounding country, so it attracted population and
became a center of commerce."-- Jacob I. Mombert, Charles the Great (New
York, 1888), pp. 401-402.
(6) An ancient Gallic land measure, equivalent to about half a Roman
jugerum (the jugerum was about two-thirds of an acre). The arpent in
modern France has varied greatly in different localities. In Paris it
is 4,088 square yards.
(7) The same as "pachak." The fragrant roots of this plant are still
exported from India to be used for burning as incense.
(8) A kind of cabbage. The edible part is a large turnip-like swelling
of the stem above the surface of the ground.
(9) A plant used both as a medicine and as a dye.
(10) "All the cereals grown in the country were cultivated. The flower
gardens were furnished with the choicest specimens for beauty and
fragrance, the orchards and kitchen gardens produced the richest and
best varieties of fruit and vegetables. Charles specified by name not
less than seventy-four varieties of herbs which he commanded to be
cultivated; all the vegetables still raised in Central Europe, together
with many herbs now found in botanical gardens only, bloomed on his
villas; his orchards yielded a rich harvest in cherries, apples, pears,
prunes, peaches, figs, chestnuts, and mulberries. The hill-sides were
vineyards laden with the finest varieties of grapes."--Mombert, Charles
the Great, p. 400.