Charlemagne also supported the building of monasteries throughout his realm. The Benedictine order was
particularly important, and it had well-established rules for the proper organization of all aspects of
monastic life. A plan for an ideal Benedictine monastery, dated to the early ninth century, survives in the
library of the abbey of St. Gall. It is a rational plan, with places designated for every aspect of the monk’s
life. The entire plan is based upon a two-and-a-half-foot square module.
Plan of St. Gall Monastery, c. 830
Charlemagne’s dreams of reviving the Roman Empire did not last long. In 843, and after much strife, his
grandsons divided the empire into three parts. The western third corresponds roughly to modern-day
France, the central area comprised a swath of land running from the Netherlands to central Italy, and the
eastern third encompassed present-day Germany, the Czech Republic and much of Austria. This eastern
part flourished in the 10th and early 11th century under the leadership of a dynasty headed by three
generations of rulers named Otto (hence the Ottonian period). Otto I was crowned Holy Roman Emperor
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