Admonitio Generalis

   The capitulary promulgated by Charlemagne in 789 that established the foundation for the Carolingian Renaissance by announcing the educational and religious goals and ideals of the great Frankish ruler. The Admonitio Generalis (General Admonition) consists of eighty-two chapters. Although fifty-nine of the chapters borrow heavily from the canon law collection, the Dionysio-Hadriana, that Charlemagne received from Pope Hadrian I, the capitulary is truly a creation of the king and his advisors. Its extensive use of quotations from Holy Scripture reveals the level of cultural sophistication achieved at Charlemagne's court and points to the greater goals the court sought to achieve.
   In this capitulary, Charlemagne asserted his belief that he was a new Josiah, the ancient Hebrew king who reformed Jewish belief and practice, with the responsibility to rule over God's new chosen people and the duty to reform their moral and spiritual lives so that they would be able to achieve salvation. To fulfill his role as the new Josiah, and to create peace and harmony among the Christian people, Charlemagne included chapters concerning the moral reform and discipline of the priesthood in the Admonitio. The capitulary also emphasizes the responsibility of the priests in Charlemagne's kingdom to preach "rightly and honestly" and to avoid innovation and teachings contrary to the laws of the church. Priests are expected to live moral lives; they are to teach their flocks to follow the example they set. The priests themselves are to be guided in the performance of their duties by the bishops, who are instructed to obey the accepted beliefs and practices of the church.
   Perhaps the most important section of the Admonitio is chapter seventy-two, which lays out Charlemagne's program of education. This chapter asserts the responsibility of the bishops and monks of his kingdom to establish schools to teach the psalms, music and singing, and grammar. The schools, in other words, are to teach boys to read and write so that they can help spread the Christian faith. The chapter calls on the leaders of the church to set up schools so that those who wish to pray may do so in the proper fashion. Indeed, it was one of Charlemagne's great hopes that all his people would be able to recite the Lord's Prayer and the Apostle's Creed. The Admonitio was intended to contribute to that goal by mandating that the schools be established; another purpose was to provide for the correction of books important to the faith. The Admonitio Generalis established the religious reform program of Charlemagne's reign, and, with the Letter to Baugulf (Epistola de litteris colendis) it promoted the revival of learning associated with his broader reform program.
   See also
   Bibliography
 ♦ Brown, Giles. "Introduction: the Carolingian Renaissance." In Carolingian Culture: Emulation and Innovation, ed. Rosamond McKitterick. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994.
 ♦ McKitterick, Rosamond. The Frankish Church and the Carolingian Reforms, 789-895. London: Longman, 1977.

Encyclopedia of Barbarian Europe. 2014.

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