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Medieval Sourcebook:
Asnapium: An Inventory of One of Charlemagne's Estates, c. 800

[Ogg Introduction]: In the following inventory we have a specimen of the annual statements required by Charlemagne from the stewards on his royal domains. The location of Asnapium is unknown, but it is evident that this estate was one of the smaller sort. Like all the rest, it was liable occasionally to become the temporary abiding place of the king. The detailed character of the inventory is worthy of note, as is also the number of industries which must have been engaged in by the inhabitants of the estate and its dependent villas. Source-Text in Monumenta Germanie Historica, Leges (Pertz ed.), Vol. I., pp. 178-179.

We found in the imperial estate of Asnapium a royal house built of stone in the very best manner, having three rooms. The entire house was surrounded with balconies and it had eleven apartments for women. Underneath was one cellar. There were two porticoes. There were 17 other houses built of wood within the court-yard, with a similar number of rooms and other fixtures, all well constructed. There was 1 stable, 1 kitchen, 1 mill, 1 granary, and 3 barns. The yard was enclosed with a hedge and a stone gateway, and above was a balcony from which distributions can be made. There was also an inner yard, surrounded by a hedge, well arranged, and planted with various kinds of trees.

Of vestments: coverings for 1 bed, 1 table-cloth, and 1 towel.

Of utensils: 2 brass kettles; 2 drinking cups; 2 brass cauldrons; 1 iron cauldron; 1 frying-pan; 1 gramalmin; 1 pair of andirons; 1 lamp; 2 hatchets; 1 chisel; 2 augers; 1 axe; 1 knife; 1 large plane; 1 small plane; 2 scythes; 2 sickles; 2 spades edged with iron; and a sufficient supply of utensils of wood.

Of farm produce: old spelt from last year, 90 baskets which can be made into 450 weight of flour; and 100 measures of barley. From the present year, 110 baskets of spelt, of which 60 baskets had been planted, but the rest we found; 100 measures of wheat, 60 sown, the rest we found; 98 measures of rye all sown; 1,800 measures of barley, 1,100 sown, the rest we found; 430 measures of oats; 1 measure of beans; 12 measures of peas. At 5 mills were found 800 measures of small size. At 4 breweries, 650 measures of small size, 240 given to the prebendaries, the rest we found. At 2 bridges, 60 measures of salt and 2 shillings. At 4 gardens, 11 shillings. Also honey, 3 measures; about 1 measure of butter; lard, from last year 10 sides; new sides, 200, with fragments and fats; cheese from the present year, 43 weights.

Of cattle: 51 head of larger cattle; 5 three-year olds; 7 two-year olds; 7 yearlings; 10 two-year old colts; 8 yearlings; 3 stallions; 16 cows; 2 asses; 50 cows with calves; 20 young bulls; 38 yearling calves; 3 bulls; 260 hogs; 100 pigs; 5 boars; 150 sheep with lambs; 200 yearling lambs; 120 rams; 30 goats with kids; 30 yearling kids; 3 male goats; 30 geese; 80 chickens; 22 peacocks.

Also concerning the manors which belong to the above mansion. In the villa of Grisio we found domain buildings, where there are 3 barns and a yard enclosed by a hedge. There were, besides, 1 garden with trees, 10 geese, 8 ducks, 30 chickens. In another villa we found domain buildings and a yard surrounded by a hedge, and within 3 barns; 1 arpent of vines; 1 garden with trees; 15 geese; 20 chickens. In a third villa, domain buildings, with 2 barns; 1 granary; 1 garden and 1 yard well enclosed by a hedge.

We found all the dry and liquid measures just as in the palace. We did not find any goldsmiths, silversmiths, blacksmiths, huntsmen, or persons engaged in other services. The garden herbs which we found were lily, putchuck, mint, parsley, rue, celery, libesticum, sage, savory, juniper, leeks, garlic, tansy, wild mint, coriander, scullions, onions, cabbage, kohlrabi, betony. Trees: pears, apples, medlars, peaches, filberts, walnuts, mulberries, quinces.


From: Frederic Austin Ogg, ed., A Source Book of Mediaeval History: Documents Illustrative of European Life and Institutions from the German Invasions to the Renaissance, (New York, 1907, reprinted by Cooper Square Publishers (New York), 1972), pp. 127-129.

Scanned by Jerome S. Arkenberg, Cal. State Fullerton. The text has been modernized by Prof. Arkenberg.

This text is part of the Internet Medieval Source Book. The Sourcebook is a collection of public domain and copy-permitted texts related to medieval and Byzantine history.

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© Paul Halsall, August 1998
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