Archive | September, 2018

Education outside the Church D.18.10.01

30 Sep

For the first time since the fall of the Roman Empire, literacy in both vernacular language and Latin expanded far outside the clergy.
Merchants learned to read, they could read contracts and accounts. Lawyers, of course, needed to read the law.
Both the church and the courts needed literate officials to function. It’s estimated that by the mid 14th century, right around the time the Bubonic plague hit, as much as 40% of the population of Florence, a wealthy Italian commercial centre, could read.
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Middle Ages Education D.18.09.30

29 Sep

University education was only part of a general move in the high Middle Ages towards more widespread education.
Literacy rates in Europe increased greatly during that period. Not just Latin literacy, but also literacy in the vernacular languages of English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, German, and others.
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Ancient Student Life D.18.09.29

28 Sep

Student life at university was frequently wild in the Middle Ages, especially because boys often began their university studies at ages 14 and 15 or younger.
Conflicts between gangs of rowdy drunken students and the local townspeople were common in all the university towns.
These tensions were exacerbated by the fact that university students were an elite group. They tended to look down on the ordinary townspeople living around them.
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Students of Early Universities D.18.09.28

27 Sep

Medical students read the Roman medical writer Galen and the Arab Avicenna. Old knowledge was seen as better knowledge, and we can see that while some of these texts were new in medieval Europe, and that they were newly available in Latin, they were very, very old texts, some of them 1000 years old.
Only male students were allowed to attend universities. If women were educated it was in their own homes by private tutors, something that would only be available to wealthy women who had a certain amount of leisure.
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The Early University Subjects D.18.09.27

26 Sep

Students would strive to become a Master of Art, studying philosophy, mathematics and natural sciences, like astronomy. Or, perhaps a Doctor of Law, of medicine, or theology.
In all fields, including medicine, the Medieval university curriculum was based on texts rather than experiments or projects.
Students would read classic texts, comment on them, and be examined on them. Students of philosophy focused on the work of the classical Greek philosopher Aristotle, newly translated into Latin in that period.
Legal studies focused on Justinian’s Corpus Juris Civilis, the great compendium of Roman law established in 6th century Byzantium.
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Into Modern Universities D.18.09.26

25 Sep

The structure of modern universities is based fundamentally on their medieval forerunners. Many of the medieval institutions of course still exist.
The Universities of Oxford, Paris, and Bologna still today employ faculty, grant degrees, and accept students.
But medieval education differed greatly from a modern one. Before attending a university, a student would learn Latin grammar in what was known as a grammar school.
Once admitted to university, a student would spend four years studying the Trivium, which consisted of the three arts of grammar, logic, and rhetoric. Keep in mind that when we’re talking about grammar here, this is Latin grammar and all education was taking place in Latin.
The student would then be granted the degree of Bachelor of Arts and move on to advanced study in a particular field.
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The Early Universities D.18.09.25

24 Sep

Independent of church and state, universities were organized on the same lines as urban craft guilds.
As in Bologna, they were controlled by the students who hired professors to teach them. Others, like Paris, were organized by the faculty who took fees from students.
Unlike other institutions of learning, universities granted degrees to certify that students had completed a particular course of study.
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The First University D.18.09.24

24 Sep

The first university founded was in the Italian city of Bologna in 1088 CE and focused primarily on law.
Over time northern universities in England, France and Germany became known for study of the arts and theology, whereas universities in Italy and Southern Europe tended to specialize in medicine and law.
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Universities in the Making D.18.09.23

22 Sep

The spread of the first universities appeared in places like Bologna, in Italy, Paris in France, and Oxford in England.
They were independent institutions of higher learning. They were not subordinated to church, or in the Islamic world mosque, or to the state. And they were communal.
The word University comes from the Latin universitas magistrorum et scholarium, the community of teachers and scholars.
Universities taught theology, like cathedral schools, but they also had faculties of arts, law, and medicine.
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Houses of Study D.18.09.22

21 Sep

One of the most influential Medieval innovations is the idea of a university. Schooling and education had of course existed since classical times.
Most Medieval education took place in cathedral schools, but these focused on basic Latin literacy and theological study.
Systematic education was a prominent feature in the Islamic world, but Muslim madrassas in the Medieval period tended to be smaller than European universities, and students tended to study as disciples of individual teachers rather than taking classes from an organized faculty.
Interesting bit of trivia.
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