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Inven-Charle-man - 7/30/98


An inventory of Charlemange’s Estates by Terry D. Decker (Bear).


NOTE: See also the files: Charlemagne-art, gardening-bib, Gaul-art, Germany-bib.





This file is a collection of various messages having a common theme that I have collected from my reading of the various computer networks. Some messages date back to 1989, some may be as recent as yesterday.


This file is part of a collection of files called Stefan's Florilegium. These files are available on the Internet at: http://www.florilegium.org


I have done a limited amount of editing. Messages having to do with separate topics were sometimes split into different files and sometimes extraneous information was removed. For instance, the message IDs were removed to save space and remove clutter.


The comments made in these messages are not necessarily my viewpoints. I make no claims as to the accuracy of the information given by the individual authors.


Please respect the time and efforts of those who have written these messages. The copyright status of these messages is unclear at this time. If information is published from these messages, please give credit to the originator(s).


Thank you,

    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.


<the end>

Formatting copyright © Mark S. Harris (THLord Stefan li Rous).
All other copyrights are property of the original article and message authors.

Comments to the Editor: stefan at florilegium.org