CAROLINGIAN EDUCATIONAL REFORMS

CAROLINGIAN EDUCATIONAL REFORMS - CAROLINGIAN EDUCATIONAL...

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CAROLINGIAN EDUCATIONAL REFORMS Charlemagne (d. 814) realized that his empire needed a body of educated people if it was to survive, and he turned to the Church as the only source of such education. He issued a decretal the every cathedral and monastery was to establish a school to provide a free education to every boy who had the intelligence and the perseverance to follow a demanding course of study. Since the aim was to create a large body of educated priests upon which both the empire and local communities could draw for leadership, girls were ignored. Charlemagne died, civil wars broke out, and the attacks of the Magyars, Vikings, and Saracens began before his plan could be carried out CATHEDRAL AND MONASTERY SCHOOLS Some schools had been established, however, and continued through the worst of the times that followed. Their object was to train priests, and their curriculum was designed to do that and little more. The course of study consisted of two parts, the grammar school in which the trivium (the "three- part curriculum," from which our word "trivial" is derived), consisting of grammar, rhetoric , and logic . Grammar trained the student to read, write, and speak Latin, the universal language of the European educated classes; rhetoric taught the art of public speaking and served as an introduction to literature; and logic provided means of demonstrating the validity of propositions, as well as serving as an introduction to the quadrivium (the "four-part curriculum") of arithmetic, geometry, astronomy , and music . Arithmetic served as the basis for quantitative reasoning; geometry for architecture, surveying, and calculating measurements -- all essential to managing a church's property and income. Astronomy was necessary for calculating the date of Easter, predicting eclipses, and marking the passing of the seasons. For some time, about all the cathedral and monastery schools could manage was to train enough priests to provide the bare essential of educated local leaders. By the 1000's, this began to change as some schools began to develop elements of their quadrivium beyond the requirements of mere priestly training. Some integrated their curricula by adopting a standard text such as The Consolation of Philosophy by Boethius , or some other compendium of knowledge, the most famous being those written by Cassidorus, Martianus Capella, or Isidore of Seville . The masters at some other schools developed a more flexible approach to the concept of education and attempted to extend knowledge as well as impart it to their students. One of the latter was the cathedral school of Reims , where the Spanish- trained Gerbert of Aurillac developed the mathematical aspects of the quadrivium by introducing Arabic numerical notation , the use of the abacus for numerical calculation, and the astrolabe for astronomical observation. Under the leadership of one of Gerbert's students, the nearby monastery school of Fleury continued this development. Other schools developed in different directions, with Orleans
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This note was uploaded on 11/18/2011 for the course HISTORY 170 taught by Professor Romero during the Fall '11 term at Rutgers.

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CAROLINGIAN EDUCATIONAL REFORMS - CAROLINGIAN EDUCATIONAL...

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