Alcuin [(Flaccus) Albinus]
- Jane Bellingham
(b Northumbria, c735; d Tours, May 19, 804). Anglo-Saxon scholar, writer and poet. Little is known about Alcuin's early years, but he was educated at the cathedral school in York, which, under the guidance of magister, and later archbishop, Aelberht (d 780), became one of the foremost centres of learning in England during the second half of the 8th century. Alcuin remained at York as Aelberht's assistant, becoming magister himself in 767, and several times travelled to the Continent, especially Gaul and Italy, in search of books for the cathedral library. It was on one such visit that Alcuin met Charlemagne (reigned 768–814), who, in 781, invited him to join the scholars of the Frankish court. In Francia Alcuin became one of the leading members of the court school. He is known to have been the personal tutor of Charlemagne and is generally considered to have been the architect of many of the king’s educational reforms, including those in the ...