COMPUTUS AND LIBER AJVMALIS IN
EARLY NINTH-CENTURY FULDA
Dedicated to Gangolf Schrimpf ✝
Between the deposition of Ratgar in 816 and the election of Eigil to the abbacy in 818, two royal missi, Aaron and Adalfrid, as well as a praepositus and his decani, ruled Fulda and reorganized it in conformance with the Benedictine Rule.1 Louis the Pious permitted the abbatial election of Eigil only under the condition ut esset secundum regulae auctoritatem,2 and in the Vita Eigilis we are told that: Quibus sane clementer susceptis, electionem concessit et, ut esset eadem electio secundum regulae auctoritatem, satis evidenter edocuit, saepe commemorans austeritatem indiscreti pastoris.3
Corrections to the art of computus in early ninth-century Fulda were closely connected to a serious crisis within the monastery, which lasted from around 802 to 818. This crisis arose, among other causes, from the struggle between Fulda's Bonifacian tradition and a 'reform party' trying to establish the Benedictine rule within the monastery: a vital source of the impetus toward reform arose from the growing desire to both correct and unify education and knowledge, among which computus itself was included.
These facts raise many questions. Did the Carolingian dynasty seek to exploit monastic knowledge and erudition, in particular the repertory
1 Brun Candidus, Vita Eigilis abbatis Fuldensis 3f., ed. G. Waitz, MGH SS 15, 1
(Hannover 1887) pp. 221–233), here: pp. 224f.; cf. Concilium Moguntinense (813), ed.
A. Werminghoff, MGH Concilia 2, 1 (Berlin 1908) nr. 36, pp. 258–273, here: pp.
263f.; J. Semmler, “Die Beschlüsse des Aachener Konzils im Jahr 816”, Zeitschrift
für Kirchmgeschichte 74 (1963) pp. 15–82, here: pp. 42ff.; M. de Jong, “Carolingian
monasticism: the power of prayer”, The Mew Cambridge Medieval History 2, c. 700-
c. 900, ed. R. McKitterick (Cambridge 1995) pp. 622–653; W. Hartmann, “Konzilien
und Geschichtsschreibung in karolingischer Zeit”, Historiographie im frühen Mittelalter.
ed. A. Scharer and G. Scheibelreiter, Veröffentlichungen des Instituts für öster-
reichische Geschichtsforschung 32 (Wien 1994) pp. 481–498.
2 Brun Candidus, Vita Eigilis 4, ed. Waitz p. 224.
3 Brun Candidus, Vita Eigilis 4, ed. Waitz pp. 224f