Skip to main content Skip to navigation

Carolingian Polyptyques

Polyptyques are inventories that list the human and physical resources of great landed estates, especially monasteries. About thirty survive from Carolingian Europe, many dating from the ninth century. They provide a unique insight into the social and economic worlds of the peasants whose lives were dependent on the lords who owned and managed these large estates. The detail provided by these documents is unparalleled, and provides an important and necessary balance to the sources that focus on the lives of the elite. The purpose of this website is to encourage discussion and analysis of these Carolingian estate records by students of early medieval history, by translating into English (often for the first time) substantial sections from 10 polyptyques. These 10 have been selected to provide a geographical and chronological cross-section of the genre, enabling meaningful comparisons to be made from estates across the Carolingian realm, or within a monastery's holdings across the ninth century.