School of Historical Studies

Carolingian Polyptyques


Introduction: This document is one of the largest of the ninth century polytyques, and is one of the most widely studied and most famous. It was compiled in 893, with later general interpolations concerning its use in estate management over the subsequent fifty years.

It consists of 118 chapters, each a description of one of the estates belonging to the abbey that were distributed over a wide area of land. Some 1750 manses are described, ranging between 5 and 15 hectares (12 to 37 acres). The estates discussed in this document surround the abbey, stretching from the north Rhine to beyond Metz in the south, Worms in the west to Verdun in the east. This is an area that includes Aachen, the capital of Charlemagne’s empire, and the royal palace at Frankfurt. The holdings described in Prüm extend beyond the area generally characterised by the term villa. Many of those belonging to Prüm were small, dispersed and had no ploughing duty or demense.

Manuscript: The extant copy of Prüm is found in Koblenz, Germany, Landeshauptarchiv, MS. Abt. 18 - Nr. 2087, which dates to 1222. It is a copy made by the former abbot Caesarius, who made copious commentary alongside his transcription.

Edition: I. Schwab, Das Prümer Urbar (Rheinische Urbare, 5. Band, Publikationen der Gesellschaft für Rheinische Geschichtskunde, 20) (Düsseldorf 1983) pp. 166-250.

Translation: Dr. James Palmer

Map: a map of the holdings of Prüm


UPDATED:January 2008
This document has been approved by the head of department or section.