School of Historical Studies

Carolingian Polyptyques


Introduction: Wissembourg is situated on the small River Lauter close to the Franco-German border in the easternmost Alsace region, approximately 60km north of Strasbourg. It is also called Wissembourg, a francofied version of German Weißenburg. The Benedictine abbey was founded in the seventh century, perhaps under the patronage of Dagobert I. The polyptyque was written c. 818-819.

This document is notable because it shows how some of the domains of royal provenance belonging to the abbey reached a state where the proportion between demesne and tenure was 1:1, due to the large extent of arable land in the demesne. It also list 12 mills, which, though they existed in the classical period, were at their triumph in the ninth century. The polyptyque describes deliveries of iron, either as ingots or as finished products, and it is also notable that Wissembourg is amongst those abbeys that maintained an estate in the Lorraine region, north eastern France, for access to the salt reserves there.

It can be compared with the earlier benefactions to the monastery listed in the Brevium Exempla.

Edition: C. Zeuss, ed. Traditiones possessionesque Wizenburgenses, codices duo cum supplementis (Speyer 1842) pp. 95-115.

Translation: Dr. James Palmer

Map: a map of the holdings of Wissembourg.


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