School of Historical Studies

Carolingian Polyptyques


This document orignates from the monastery of Saint-Maur-des-Fossés located in the great bend of the Marne outside Paris. Originally named Saint-Pierre-des-Fossés (St. Peter of the Moats), monks from Saint-Maur-sur-Loire at Glanfeuil joined the monastery in 868 after fleeing Viking raids. The abbey at Fossés was rededicated to Saint Maurus and took the name Saint-Maur-des-Fossés, justified by the story that in 1137 a drought was ended by prayers to Saint Maur that brought rain, where prayers to the Virgin Mary, St. Peter and St. Paul had been ineffective. The polyptych itself, along with its short the Notitia de areis, were composed between 867 and 869, and are contained in the last folios of the so-called Rorigo Bible, supposedly (but not actually) brought to the abbey by the monks of Glanfeuil.

The Polyptych of St-Maur-des-Fossés contains 323 and a half mansi, thirty hospitiae, in sixteen places, six villae, and a church and chapel. The Notitia de areis describes the urban holdings in Paris of the monastery, some thirty-four pieces in total. It is notable about this document that the term facti, a regional term for mansi, appears here, as well as the unusual eulogiae attached to the mansi serviles, which is commonly bread, meat, hens, wines or oats. This document also depicts use of the three-field system and the transferal of services from money to labour, reversing the common pattern.

Manuscript: Contained in the last folios of the Rorigo Bible along with its short the Notitia de areis, this document is found in Paris, Bibliothèque Nationale MS. lat. 3, fols. 407v-408r.

Edition: Hägermann, Dieter & Hedwig, Andreas, Das Polyptychon und die Notitia de Areis von Saint-Maur-des-Fossés (Beihefte der Francia, 23) (Sigmaringen, 1990) pp. 91-97.

Translation: Dr. Joanna Story

Map: a map of the holdings of St-Maur-des-Fossés


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