Date of Award

Winter 1983

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



Committee Director

Charles Scillia

Committee Member

Douglas G. Greene


The political stability established under the rule of Charlemagne (768-814) was conducive to the flourishing of the simultaneous resurgence of art and learning. Inspired by the achievements of the Roman Empire, Charlemagne wished to give his subjects a feeling of spiritual unity, a sense of continuity with the past, and an enhanced intellectual life. The classical intellectual tradition is traced from ancient times to the Carolingian present to demonstrate that classicism was a continuum. The thesis examines the classical tradition in the intellectual life of the Carolingian period, its conscious rejuvenation in the figurative arts, and its manifestation in the imperial architecture of the ninth century. It demonstrates that the Carolingian resurgence of classicism was calculated rather than spontaneous. The widespread enthusiastic interest in classicist! and its fresh interpretation were new, rather than classicism itself.