A Source Book of Mediaeval History: Documents Illustrative of European Life and Institutions from the Germanic Invasions to the Renaissance

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World History

19.

An Inventory of One of Charlemagne’s Estates

Source—Text in Monumenta Germaniœ Historica, Leges (Pertz ed.), Vol. I., pp. 178–179.

Buildings on the estate of Asnapium

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 court-yard, 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 gateway, 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 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 gramalmin; 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.

Supplies of various sorts

Of farm produce: old spelt1 from last year, 90 baskets which can be made into 450 weight2 of flour; and 100 measures3 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.

Kinds and number of animals

Of cattle: 51 head of larger cattle; 5 three-year olds; 7 two-year o1ds; 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 manors1 which belong to the 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 arpent2 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.

Vegetables and trees

The garden herbs which we found were lily, putchuck,3 mint, parsley, rue, celery, libesticum, sage, savory, juniper, leeks, garlic, tansy, wild mint, coriander, scullions, onions, cabbage, kohlrabi,4 betony.5 Trees: pears, apples, medlars, peaches, filberts, walnuts, mulberries, quinces.6

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. Charlemagne replaced the old Gallic pound by the Roman, which was a tenth less.

3 The unit of measure was the muid. Charlemagne 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, containing about five and two-thirds pints.

4 Clergymen attached to the church on or near the estate.

1 "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.

2 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.

3 The same as "pachak." The fragrant roots of this plant are still exported from India to be used for burning as incense.

4 A kind of cabbage. The edible part is a large turnip-like swelling of the stem above the surface of the ground.

5 A plant used both as a medicine and as a dye.

6 "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.

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Chicago: "An Inventory of One of Charlemagne’s Estates," A Source Book of Mediaeval History: Documents Illustrative of European Life and Institutions from the Germanic Invasions to the Renaissance in A Source Book of Mediaeval History: Documents Illustrative of European Life and Institutions from the Germanic Invasions to the Renaissance, ed. Frederic Austin Ogg (1878-1951) (New York: American Book Company, 1908), 127–129. Original Sources, accessed December 6, 2022, http://originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=MBKGQMK1V7WJYIL.

MLA: . "An Inventory of One of Charlemagne’s Estates." A Source Book of Mediaeval History: Documents Illustrative of European Life and Institutions from the Germanic Invasions to the Renaissance, in A Source Book of Mediaeval History: Documents Illustrative of European Life and Institutions from the Germanic Invasions to the Renaissance, edited by Frederic Austin Ogg (1878-1951), New York, American Book Company, 1908, pp. 127–129. Original Sources. 6 Dec. 2022. http://originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=MBKGQMK1V7WJYIL.

Harvard: , 'An Inventory of One of Charlemagne’s Estates' in A Source Book of Mediaeval History: Documents Illustrative of European Life and Institutions from the Germanic Invasions to the Renaissance. cited in 1908, A Source Book of Mediaeval History: Documents Illustrative of European Life and Institutions from the Germanic Invasions to the Renaissance, ed. , American Book Company, New York, pp.127–129. Original Sources, retrieved 6 December 2022, from http://originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=MBKGQMK1V7WJYIL.