Discuss the ways in which they relate to one another, or also conversely, the ways in which they don’t.
Life in a Medieval Monastery What can you say about life in a medieval monastery from the two main witnesses that we have to it from the early Middle Ages: the parchment plan from St. Gall (ninth century) and the Rule of St. Benedict (sixth century)? The St. Gall plan shows what a monastery might have looked like, and the Rule of St. Benedict tells us what was supposed to have gone on in there. I would like you to think about these two together. Discuss the ways in which they relate to one another, or also conversely, the ways in which they don’t. Here are some questions to spur your thinking: What types of buildings are at the center of the plan, what types are on the periphery? What are the largest buildings in the plan and where are they located? What activities were these large buildings built to serve and what proportion of the entire community do you think they could have held at one time? Where did the monks eat and sleep? Was this near or far from the place where the head of the monastery, the abbot, lived? Did the monastery incorporate outdoor space? If so where? Did the outdoor spaces serve practical purposes (i.e., the cultivation of food)? Was there any outdoor space that did not serve a practical purpose of this sort? If so where was it and what purpose do you think it served? Was there anyplace in the monastery where a monk could be alone?