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Re: [SCA Newcomers] Education in the Middle Ages

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  • Ron Osceola
    Does learning a Father s trade count as higher learning. For instance, learning all one need to know about metal and the effects of fire and heat on it to
    Message 1 of 10 , Aug 27, 2009
      Does learning a Father's trade count as higher learning. For instance,
      learning all one need to know about metal and the effects of fire and heat
      on it to become a good blacksmith. Even the nobility were learning to take
      over the family business (even if that business was being King)

      On Thu, Aug 27, 2009 at 10:37 AM, annsaw3712 <annsaw3712@...> wrote:

      >
      >
      > I've always wondered about schooling in those far off times. . . .Was
      > learning only for the Noble class? Where there places of Higher learning?
      > What was the deal?
      >
      > Also did the common people even care about knowledge of anything?
      >
      >
      >



      --
      Love and Blessings,
      Ron Osceola, CHT

      http://groups.yahoo.com/group/bearintuitions
      804.385.0485


      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Taire Van Scoy
      My understanding is that when talking about education in the middle ages, you have to step back from what the intent is of education today, as opposed to the
      Message 2 of 10 , Aug 27, 2009
        My understanding is that when talking about education in the middle ages, you have to step back from what the intent is of education today, as opposed to the intent of education in the middle ages, and also realize it is a huge span of time when lots happened. Assuming you are only interested in Western Europe, Alfred the Great and Charlemagne both founded court schools to educate the children of their nobles. At least in Alfred's case, the purpose was less in developing a skilled labor force than in cementing a common cultural link by emphasizing English, and in Charlemagne's case, Frankish over Latin. Cathedral and monastic schools were also for wealthy patrons, but monestaries also educated the poor, again more religious and social propaganda than actual education in the sense that we might mean it. The emphasis was on Latin, which created a skilled upper class able to communicate by writing to each other, and a scribe class that allowed poor but capable individuals upward mobility within the church. Things change after the first crusade, as the knowledge preserved in Islam was 'returned' to the West. It is after that that we have people studying mathematics and the sciences. The work that stone masons did without more than a symbol etched into stone is then transformed into a blueprint we would be familar with today. Things had changed so much so that by the time of the Peasants Revolt in 1381, another class of commoners had emerged and was busily writing legal documents as commoners brought legal disputes against eachother in parishes and cantriffs in England, Scotland and Wales.

        So yes, when it came to $, the common people cared to learn to read and write, at least!

        Hope this helps,

        Taire

        ----- Original Message -----
        From: annsaw3712
        To: scanewcomers@yahoogroups.com
        Sent: Thursday, August 27, 2009 10:37 AM
        Subject: [SCA Newcomers] Education in the Middle Ages


        I've always wondered about schooling in those far off times. . . .Was learning only for the Noble class? Where there places of Higher learning? What was the deal?

        Also did the common people even care about knowledge of anything?





        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • Sara L Uckelman
        ... Prior to the birth of the universities in the 13th century, the centers for higher learning were primarily aimed at the clergy, and those studying law
        Message 3 of 10 , Aug 27, 2009
          Quoth "annsaw3712":
          > I've always wondered about schooling in those far off times. . . .Was learnin
          > g only for the Noble class? Where there places of Higher learning? What was
          > the deal?

          Prior to the birth of the universities in the 13th century,
          the centers for higher learning were primarily aimed at
          the clergy, and those studying law (either canon or civil),
          and medicine. The two great pre-university centers of
          learning were the law school at Bologna and the cathedral
          schools of Paris. Both these eventually developed into
          universities around the turn of the 13th century, and by
          the end of the 14th century numerous universities had been
          established in many of the major European cities. Here's
          an incomplete list, with their founding dates:

          Bologna (c. 1200), Paris (c.1200)
          Oxford (1212)
          Salamanca (1218)
          Montpellier (1220)
          Naples (1224)
          Cambridge (1225)
          Toulouse (1229), Orl��ans (c.1235), Papal Rome (c.1245), Piacenza (1248),
          Angers (c.1250), Sevilla (1254), Valladolid (c.1290), Lisbon (c.1290),
          Lerida (c.1300), Avignon (1303), City of Rome (1303), Perugia (1308),
          Treviso (1318), Cahors (1332), Grenoble (1339), Pisa (1343), Prague
          (1348), Florence (1349), Perpignan (1350), Huesca (1354), Arezzo (1355),
          Siena (1357), Pavia (1361), Cracow (1364), Orange (1365), Vienna (1365),
          P��cs (1367), Lucca (1369), Erfurt (1379), Heidelberg (1385), Cologne
          (1388), Ferrara (1391), Buda (1395).

          All in all, nearly 30 universities were established in the 15th century,
          with a further 60 in the 16th, 110 in the 17th, and 150 in the 18th.

          The universities generally followed either the Paris model (which had
          a university-wide structure, where the professors and students were
          divided into four faculties, Arts, Theology, Law, and Medicine, and
          where all undergraduates started off in the Arts Faculty, where they
          obtained the baccalaureate, before continuing on to receive a master's
          degree or a doctorate in one of the four faculties) or the Bologna
          model (which didn't have a university-wide structure but was rather
          student-driven; the students formed themselves into "universitates",
          each of which elected their own rector (who was a student), who
          represented the students of his universitas to the civic authorities.

          Each student during the baccalaureate course would study first the
          trivium, that is, grammar, logic/dialectic, and rhetoric, and then
          this was followed by the quadrivum, that is, arithmetic, geometry,
          music, and astronomy.

          While universities were first primarily geared for those who
          were planning to continue past the baccalaureate level to obtain
          a master's or doctorate in one of the higher faculties, by the
          middle of the 15th century there were a large number of upper
          middle class people who were attending merely to obtain an
          education without any intent towards going on to being university
          professors or theologians.

          For more information, the volumes of Rashdall's _Histories of the
          Universities of Europe_ are fascinating reads.

          -Aryanhwy




          --
          vita sine literis mors est
          http://www.ellipsis.cx/~liana/
        • Coblaith Muimnech
          ... Which far-off times? The S.C.A s core period stretches across a millennium. Add the differences between one place and another and one culture and another
          Message 4 of 10 , Aug 27, 2009
            annsaw3712 wrote:
            > I've always wondered about schooling in those far off times. . . .

            Which far-off times? The S.C.A's core period stretches across a
            millennium. Add the differences between one place and another and
            one culture and another to the changes seen from decade to decade,
            and you've got an awful lot of variety to discuss.


            Coblaith Muimnech
            Barony of Bryn Gwlad
            Kingdom of Ansteorra
            <mailto:Coblaith@...>
            <http://coblaith.net>
          • Taire Van Scoy
            wow, great info, thanks. ... From: Sara L Uckelman To: Sent: Thursday, August 27, 2009 2:16 PM Subject:
            Message 5 of 10 , Aug 27, 2009
              wow, great info, thanks.

              ----- Original Message -----
              From: "Sara L Uckelman" <liana@...>
              To: <scanewcomers@yahoogroups.com>
              Sent: Thursday, August 27, 2009 2:16 PM
              Subject: Re: [SCA Newcomers] Education in the Middle Ages


              > Quoth "annsaw3712":
              >> I've always wondered about schooling in those far off times. . . .Was
              >> learnin
              >> g only for the Noble class? Where there places of Higher learning? What
              >> was
              >> the deal?
              >
              > Prior to the birth of the universities in the 13th century,
              > the centers for higher learning were primarily aimed at
              > the clergy, and those studying law (either canon or civil),
              > and medicine. The two great pre-university centers of
              > learning were the law school at Bologna and the cathedral
              > schools of Paris. Both these eventually developed into
              > universities around the turn of the 13th century, and by
              > the end of the 14th century numerous universities had been
              > established in many of the major European cities. Here's
              > an incomplete list, with their founding dates:
              >
              > Bologna (c. 1200), Paris (c.1200)
              > Oxford (1212)
              > Salamanca (1218)
              > Montpellier (1220)
              > Naples (1224)
              > Cambridge (1225)
              > Toulouse (1229), Orléans (c.1235), Papal Rome (c.1245), Piacenza (1248),
              > Angers (c.1250), Sevilla (1254), Valladolid (c.1290), Lisbon (c.1290),
              > Lerida (c.1300), Avignon (1303), City of Rome (1303), Perugia (1308),
              > Treviso (1318), Cahors (1332), Grenoble (1339), Pisa (1343), Prague
              > (1348), Florence (1349), Perpignan (1350), Huesca (1354), Arezzo (1355),
              > Siena (1357), Pavia (1361), Cracow (1364), Orange (1365), Vienna (1365),
              > Pécs (1367), Lucca (1369), Erfurt (1379), Heidelberg (1385), Cologne
              > (1388), Ferrara (1391), Buda (1395).
              >
              > All in all, nearly 30 universities were established in the 15th century,
              > with a further 60 in the 16th, 110 in the 17th, and 150 in the 18th.
              >
              > The universities generally followed either the Paris model (which had
              > a university-wide structure, where the professors and students were
              > divided into four faculties, Arts, Theology, Law, and Medicine, and
              > where all undergraduates started off in the Arts Faculty, where they
              > obtained the baccalaureate, before continuing on to receive a master's
              > degree or a doctorate in one of the four faculties) or the Bologna
              > model (which didn't have a university-wide structure but was rather
              > student-driven; the students formed themselves into "universitates",
              > each of which elected their own rector (who was a student), who
              > represented the students of his universitas to the civic authorities.
              >
              > Each student during the baccalaureate course would study first the
              > trivium, that is, grammar, logic/dialectic, and rhetoric, and then
              > this was followed by the quadrivum, that is, arithmetic, geometry,
              > music, and astronomy.
              >
              > While universities were first primarily geared for those who
              > were planning to continue past the baccalaureate level to obtain
              > a master's or doctorate in one of the higher faculties, by the
              > middle of the 15th century there were a large number of upper
              > middle class people who were attending merely to obtain an
              > education without any intent towards going on to being university
              > professors or theologians.
              >
              > For more information, the volumes of Rashdall's _Histories of the
              > Universities of Europe_ are fascinating reads.
              >
              > -Aryanhwy
              >
              >
              >
              >
              > --
              > vita sine literis mors est
              > http://www.ellipsis.cx/~liana/
              >
              >
              > ------------------------------------
              >
              > Yahoo! Groups Links
              >
              >
              >
              >
            • bronwynmgn@aol.com
              Message 6 of 10 , Aug 27, 2009
                <<I've always wondered about schooling in those far off times. . . .Was learning only for the Noble class? Where there places of Higher learning? What was the deal?

                Also did the common people even care about knowledge of anything?>>


                I haven't made a huge study of it, but my understanding is that primarily the nobility would be educated, but not even all of them.? Many of the nobility could read (aloud, reading silently wasn't very common from what I've read) but not write, so they would employ a clerk to write letters for them.? Many people, even commoners?could do some simple math, but not read or write.? There were universities; some even specialized.? There was one in Italy with a specialization in medicine quite early on.
                It was possible for even the son of a serf to go to university and be educated - if his father or the son himself could raise enough money to both pay the tuition and to pay a fine to the lord for the loss of the son's labor on the manor.

                Then, of course, there is the example of Heloise, the daughter of a 12th century French merchant or nobleman I can't remember which)?who was renowned for her intelligence and learning.? Her father employed Peter Abelard, one of the leading intellectual lights of the day, to teach her because she was so bright.? Unfortunately they fell in love and became lovers, which resulted in her father having Abelard castrated.? They both went into monastic orders; Heloise became quite a famous abbess and Abelard continued his intellectual career in the church.

                Common people cared about knowledge that was useful to them.? Quite a few of them, I'm sure, were at least as knowledgable of animal husbandry as any specialist today, given the relative amount of knowledge available (ie the medieval husbandman didn't understand the fine points of genetics, but he did know that breeding animals with different characteristics would?change the characteristics of the offspring, if you keep breeding the sheep with the most wool to each other, you get more wool from the offspring than you did from the original breed and so forth).? Village officials who couldn't write or read could none the less do enough math, and use marks on a tally stick to keep track of the grain and animals produced on the manor and render an exact account to the lord several times a year - and be able to figure money well enough to determine whether he owed the lord money or the other way around, and exactly how much money.

                Brangwayna Morgan

                Shire of Silver Rylle, East Kingdom

                Lancaster, PA







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                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
              • Stefan li Rous
                Message 7 of 10 , Aug 28, 2009
                  <<< I've always wondered about schooling in those far off
                  times. . . .Was learning only for the Noble class? Where there places
                  of Higher learning? What was the deal?

                  Also did the common people even care about knowledge of anything? >>>

                  Define "education". Simple schooling such as what might be available
                  from the parish priest or at the Manor House? Higher eduction such as
                  at a university? Being an apprentice? And what time period and region?
                  It varied quite a lot across the SCA's time frame and period of study.

                  There are whole books on period education. Unfortunately, it is too
                  late tonight for me to go through my book catalog.

                  Here are a few files in the Florilegium that might be of interest.
                  Unfortunately most of these are just snippets and don't give you a
                  wide-ranging view.

                  In the EDUCATION section:
                  apprentices-msg (15K) 1/18/02 Comments on medieval and SCA
                  apprentices.
                  Art-of-Arith-art (7K) 4/ 3/00 "The Noble Art of Arithmetic"
                  by Jan van Seist.
                  GSRE-art (45K) 11/18/96 "Great Scholars of Renaissance Europe"
                  by Lady Isabelle de Foix.
                  literacy-msg (18K) 2/ 4/08 Literacy levels in the Middle Ages.
                  In period "literacy" often meant whether you could read and write
                  Latin, not whether you could read and write your native language. So
                  many figures of medieval literacy are artificially low when people use
                  those numbers and think of the modern ideas of literacy.

                  universities-msg (35K) 9/17/99 Medieval universities.

                  In the NICOLAA'S ARTICLES section:
                  per-literacy-art (8K) 7/26/94 Would your persona have been
                  literate?
                  per-latin-art (6K) 7/16/94 Persona article on medieval latin.

                  I hope this helps.
                  Stefan
                  --------
                  THLord Stefan li Rous Barony of Bryn Gwlad Kingdom of Ansteorra
                  Mark S. Harris Austin, Texas StefanliRous@...
                  **** See Stefan's Florilegium files at: http://www.florilegium.org ****
                • Justinos Tekton called Justin
                  ... The knowledge of mathematics also depended on cultural context. For example, the Arab cultures invented much of our numbering system and higher
                  Message 8 of 10 , Aug 28, 2009
                    On Thu, 2009-08-27 at 19:50 -0400, bronwynmgn@... wrote:
                    > Village officials who couldn't write or read could none the less do
                    > enough math, and use marks on a tally stick to keep track of the grain
                    > and animals produced on the manor and render an exact account to the
                    > lord several times a year - and be able to figure money well enough to
                    > determine whether he owed the lord money or the other way around, and
                    > exactly how much money.


                    The knowledge of mathematics also depended on cultural context. For
                    example, the Arab cultures invented much of our numbering system and
                    higher mathematics, including a new mathematic called "al-gabr" (named
                    after the treatise "Al-Kitāb al-mukhtaṣar fī hīsāb al-ğabr
                    wa’l-muqābala" (Arabic for "The Compendious Book on Calculation by
                    Completion and Balancing"). This was written by Muhammad ibn Mūsā
                    al-Khwārizmī, a Persian mathematician circa 820 CE.

                    The "al-gabr" is not, as I once thought, part of the mathematician's
                    name, but rather is the name of the mathematical operation of moving an
                    equation term across the equal sign while negating it, for instance:

                    x + 20 = 3x (original equation)
                    x = 3x - 20 (al-gabr step)
                    -2x = -20 (al-muqabala step)
                    x = 10 (dividing both sides by -2 to get the answer)

                    The notion of symbolic logic is an elegant leap of intellect. Early
                    mathematical systems could perform concrete calculations but could not
                    express abstract relationships between quantities. According to
                    Wikipedia, the roots of algebra go back to the Babylonians. However,
                    during the intervening times not all cultures had the abstraction
                    concepts. Even today, there are people who can do computations very well
                    but whose brains just don't grasp abstract symbolic logic -- in the same
                    way that *my* brain doesn't grasp music or artistic creativity. :-)
                    We're all wired differently.

                    (I have an interest in this topic because my persona traded his
                    inheritance rights to his father's estate for tuition to study al-jabr
                    and astronomy in the Arab lands during one of the brief intervals when
                    we Byzantines weren't at war with them.)

                    Another important mathematical innovation that was not culturally
                    universal was the notion of place value. The Roman numeral system, for
                    example, has only a primitive left-or-right concept of place value. VI
                    means six, and IV means four, but they didn't have the concept of a base
                    number such as our decimal system. Computations of large quantities are
                    extremely cumbersome without a place-value (radix) system. Again, the
                    Babylonians had this, but later cultures like the Romans often did not.

                    The other often-overlooked mathematical breakthrough was the concept of
                    zero, as a number like any other rather than as the absence of a number.
                    The notion that you could use a symbol for "nothing" as part of a
                    calculation dates back to 9th century India, though earlier cultures
                    (including, once again, the Babylonians) had concepts that *almost* got
                    there. The key concept is that zero is a number like any other, that can
                    be included in calculations to generalize mathematical rules.

                    As an interesting side note, although modern computers treat zero as
                    just another number, we have had to go back to the medieval concept of a
                    different symbol to represent a placeholder for "something that should
                    have been a number but isn't". For example, when a computer program
                    tries to calculate 35/0, this produces an error. However, even though an
                    error message might be issued to a log or displayed to the user, you
                    still have to put *something* into the memory slot for the answer. The
                    Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE) defined a
                    standard that includes special "NaN" (Not a Number) symbols that can be
                    used for situations like this. Essentially, they mark a memory location
                    as containing "invalid data" so that later calculations won't rely on
                    these data items as being real numbers.

                    The difference between modern and early medieval thought is that we
                    treat zero as a number but retain the concept of a placeholder for
                    things that truly *aren't* numbers, such as the result of division by
                    zero. In early medieval times, zero was thought of as being somehow not
                    a real number, because you couldn't have "something" that represented
                    "nothing". Again, it is a leap in intellect to understand the difference
                    between the symbol for a number and the abstract concept of "number".

                    Very interesting thread -- thanks to our resident historical scholars
                    for some very enlightening posts!

                    Justin

                    --
                    ()xxxx[]::::::::::::::::::> <::::::::::::::::::[]xxxx()
                    Maistor Justinos Tekton called Justin (Scott Courtney)
                    Gules, on a bezant a fleam sable and on a chief dovetailed Or two keys
                    fesswise reversed sable.

                    justin@... http://4th.com/sca/justin/
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