Dialogue on Dialectics


This codex, which was created at Tegernsee Abbey under the direction of Froumund (circa 960−1008), is the work of several scribes. Besides Froumund, who copied a part of the text and entered several glosses, at least six other scribes were involved. The textbook Dialogus de dialectica (Dialogue on dialectics) deals with dialectics, one of the three artes liberales (liberal arts) of the medieval Trivium, which consisted of grammar, rhetoric, and dialectics, or logic. It was written by Alcuin (735−804), the great English scholar, theologian, and head of the palace school of Charlemagne who was an important figure of the Carolingian Renaissance. The work is a didactic tractate in the form of a dialogue between Alcuin and his disciple Charlemagne. The manuscript is modestly decorated. The pen-and-ink drawings on folios 1a verso and 19 verso in two different hands are important for their iconography: the first depicts Alcuin writing and Charlemagne sitting enthroned, holding a scroll and a scepter; the second drawing shows Alcuin and Charlemagne engrossed in conversation. The drawings are considered to be among the earliest portrayals of Alcuin and Charlemagne. The manuscript came from Tegernsee to Munich in 1803.

Last updated: April 23, 2015