Monastery Records And Libraries

After the fall of Rome many European monasteries were founded that preserved Christianity and classical learning. Monastery libraries contained not only Bibles, biblical commentaries, and liturgical books, but also the classics of ancient Greece and Rome that otherwise would have been lost forever. Monasteries also fostered the emergence of literature in the vernacular, as opposed to Latin. These libraries with their faithful copies of texts provided the raw materials that later would form the basis of Charlemagne's (ca. 742-814) educational reforms.

A wealth of literature was produced from the beginning of the fifth to the 17th century in Europe, and many of the most admired works were written by Catholic authors. Although some of these works, such as the records of monasteries compiled by Christian monks during the Middle Ages, were merely histories of monastic foundations, others, such as the Ecclesiastical History of the English Nation written by a British monk called the Venerable Bede (673-735), were masterpieces. Bede wrote many works on science, grammar, history, and theology.

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