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The Russian State Social University

Report on Pedagogics.

“Education in the Middle Ages”

Made by the first-year

student of faculty of

foreign languages,

Chrcked by Khajrullin

Ruslan Zinatullovich.




TOC \o "1-3" \h \z \u HYPERLINK \l "_Toc105750724"

HYPERLINK \l "_Toc105750725" Preface PAGEREF _Toc105750725 \h 3

HYPERLINK \l "_Toc105750726" Education in the Orthodox Christian
Civilization PAGEREF _Toc105750726 \h 3

HYPERLINK \l "_Toc105750727" The Russian offshoot of the Orthodox
Christian Civilization PAGEREF _Toc105750727 \h 5

HYPERLINK \l "_Toc105750728" Education in the Western Civilization
PAGEREF _Toc105750728 \h 9

HYPERLINK \l "_Toc105750729" Conclusion PAGEREF _Toc105750729 \h

HYPERLINK \l "_Toc105750730" bibliographic List PAGEREF
_Toc105750730 \h 14


In A.D. 476 the Roman Empire, as universal state of the Hellenic
Civilization, collapsed. This date is considered to be the beginning of
the European Middle Ages. The Middle Ages covers the period from the
fifth century till the sixteenth century. Middle Ages are divided into
the early Middle Ages (V-IX centuries), the Middle Ages (X-XIII
centuries), and Renaissance (XIV-XVI centuries).

Education in the Orthodox Christian Civilization

Although the stages in the history of the Orthodox Christian
Civilization can be identified and dated, the scanty materials about
education do not permit a comparable division in the development
thereof. There were scholars in plenty in the society at many different
stages, but education is rarely described either by them or by the
historians, and the allusions to curricula, methods, and personnel are
for the most part vague and ambiguous. There is little direct evidence
about schools; what indirect evidence there is must be derived almost
entirely from biographies of a relatively few individuals.

One of the distinguishing characteristics of the Orthodox Christian
Civilization was the close relationship between church and state, in
antithesis to the separation of church and state in the Western world.
The whole outlook and orientation of the society was grounded in
religion so that the church, as the official institution of religion,
exerted an incalculably great influence on all aspects of life including
the "secular every-day education" and the affairs of the state supported

At the same time, however, public education in the society was
predominantly secular and independent of the church. Little is known
about primary and secondary, but it is Marrou's opinion that in the
East, there was a "direct continuation" of the classical education that
prevailed under the Roman Empire. Certainly the basis continued to be
grammar and the classics, and the same textbooks and commentaries
continued to be used and copied. In higher education, the dominant
institution was the university at Constantinople, which had been founded
A.D. 425 by Theodosius II, and the curriculum in it remained entirely

Theodosius II, and the curriculum in it remained entirely

Thus by the time of the emergence of the civilization, the education and
culture were Greek and the lay, secular education was classical, but
behind the Greek culture and the secular education the influence of
religion and of the orthodox church were extremely powerful.

There were three types of education, or, rather, three types of schools:
the classical, secular, lay schools which included the university and
its preparatory schools, in which there was a predominantly secular
secondary training; the monastic school; and the special patriarchal
schools. Each of the three, and the preparation for it, will be treated
in turn.

The Orthodox Christian child was brought up in the "nurture and
admonition of the Lord" and listened at night to stories from the Bible,
was made to learn some of it by heart, particularly the Psalms, and was
trained in correct (Greek) pronunciation. The child was later on to be
taught from pagan textbooks and was to read pagan literature, especially
Homer, as a matter of course; at home he learned that "our" — that is,
the Christian — learning was the true and that the pagan literature, if
not actually false, was only in praise of virtue disguised as verse or

At the age of six or seven or eight the boy went to an elementary
school. Most towns of size had at least one school with a fairly
competent teacher or teachers, and children of all social classes could
attend the schools; it seems that tuition fees were charged and that the
schools were privately operated. The main subject of study in the
elementary school was reading and writing. When the boy was ten or
twelve he began the study of "grammar."

This study of grammar appears to have been a thorough grounding in
classical Greek language and literature, especially in the form and
matter of poetry, chiefly Homer. Homer was probably still learned by
heart, and explained word by word.

After the student had mastered "grammar" he was ready to go on to a
university. The curriculum at the university seems to have been, again,
still classical in method and content. For rhetoric, the student would
read and memorize Greek masterpieces, and compose speeches according to
classical rules and in imitation of the older style. For philosophy he
used chiefly Aristotle, Plato, and the Neo-Platonists. He seems to have
got, somewhere in his education, a knowledge of mathematics and
astronomy, and of the natural sciences, although it is not clear at what
stage they were introduced. The university curriculum was organized,
more or less, into the classical Trivium and Quadrivium.

But "neither the names nor the sequence of different branches of
Byzantine education are very clear." School and university subjects
appear to have overlapped; some study of medicine appears to have
figured in both, as did some study of the law.

There were important centres of higher learning at Athens, Alexandria,
Caesarea, Gaza, Antioch, Ephesus, Nicaea, Edessa and, of course, the law

, Ephesus, Nicaea, Edessa and, of course, the law
school at Beirut. Most of these were destroyed by the Muslim conquests,
but culture was still alive in Athens in the twelfth century, Nicaea
remained an important centre of learning throughout the growth period
and through most of the time of troubles of the civilization, and Edessa
in the ninth century still supported a public teacher of grammar,
rhetoric, and philosophy.

The second type of school in Orthodox Christendom was the monastic
school. It was exclusively for those who had dedicated themselves to the
religious life, or those whose parents had dedicated them to it, for
children were admitted at a very early age. From the beginning of
Orthodox Christendom as a separate society until the thirteenth century
the ban on lay children in the monastery schools was in force. The
teaching in these schools was narrowly confined to the Scriptures
(illiterate novices learned the Psalms by ear and by heart), orthodox
commentaries thereon, lives of saints, and a few patristic works. The
children were taught to read and write but the instruction seems not to
have been taken beyond the elementary stage. The monastic schools did
not provide the counter to the highly secular education of the lay
secondary schools and the university.

The counter to the secular education was offered by the third type of
school in Orthodox Christendom: the patriarchal school or schools in
Constantinople. The very scanty sources suggest that these schools
taught about the same subjects as did the secular schools, but with a
different emphasis: all studies led up to the study of theology. The
purpose and function of the school was to train clerics and to combat
heresy. The professors were ordained deacons and the rector was invested
by the Patriarch of Constantinople.

The curriculum seems to have been organized into two divisions: the one
including grammar, rhetoric, some philosophy, and probably the other
classical studies, the other including chiefly the study and exegesis of
the Scriptures. The rector of the school taught the Gospels, there was
another professor for the Epistles and another for the Psalms. It
appears that the professors of theology sometimes gave lectures in
literature and philosophy in addition to their exegetical courses. It is
known that one twelfth-century rector gave courses in mathematics and
classical literature and philosophy which the students were required to
take before they were introduced to the study of the Gospels.

Orthodox Christian influence was also dominant among the Slavs of

The Russian offshoot of the Orthodox Christian Civilization

The Russia to which Orthodox Christianity came was a primitive and
barbarous land. Hence it was the Orthodox Christian Church that gave to
the land all its culture: the Cyrillic alphabet was adopted as the
medium of writing and Cyril's translations became the basis of the
native literature; the already fixed dogma of the church was taken over
in its entirety, so that there were no disputes concerning fundamental

its entirety, so that there were no disputes concerning fundamental
issues of faith and practice; the liturgical forms were similarly
adopted; religious pictures furnished the model for Russian iconography;
and Orthodox Christian ideas were everywhere influential in daily life.
Thus the date of the conversion of Vladimir may conveniently be taken as
that of the beginning of the Russian Offshoot of the Orthodox Christian
Civilization. That this society was an offshoot not identical with the
main body is as clear in the case of Russia as in that of Japan: despite
the very large cultural and religious heritage from the main body, the
language was different, the land was different, the culture became
different, and the religious domination of Constantinople lasted only so
long as the Imperial City remained powerful and inviolable.

Milioukov suggests that after Vladimir's conversion, education in Kiev
was compulsory. Certainly both dukes and clergy worked strenuously to
create schools and to collect and copy books. The efforts bore fruit,
for by the beginning of the twelfth century Russia had priests in
sufficient numbers to serve the people, and she had the beginnings of a
native literature. The literature produced by Russia in the early
periods was predominantly, almost wholly, religious and monastic: of the
two hundred forty Russian writers known to have lived before A.D. 1600,
only thirty were laymen and twenty secular clergy, the other one hundred
ninety being monks.

It is known that c. A.D. 1030 the Grand Duke founded an academy in
Novgorod for three hundred children to be instructed in "book-learning";
that he bade the parish priests "teach the people"; and that he
established a library in connection with the cathedral in Kiev and
gathered there scribes and scholars to translate books from Greek into
Slavonic. Other dukes founded schools in two other cities.

Little or nothing is known of the curriculum in elementary and higher
schools in Kievan Russia although it is known that both existed. A
prayer book called the Book of the Hours was used as the first reader
and was followed by the Psalter. It seems certain that some of the
children of noble families were sent to Constantinople for their
education. Vernadsky believes that during this period, there were a fair
number of schools and that the percentage of literacy, "at least in the
upper classes, was high"; he believes also that a few of the more highly
educated were perhaps as well trained as their Byzantine contemporaries.

Among these more highly educated were, for example, Hilarion of Kiev (c.
A.D. 1050), who wrote discourses on the Scriptures and on the saints,
and who shows in his writings how thoroughly and quickly some Russians
had assimilated the Greek culture and, at the same time, had modified it
in an original way; the author of the twelfth-century Chronicle of Kiev
shows an enormous erudition as well as a consciousness of the unity of
the Slavic peoples and their common origins; the monk Daniel of the same

s; the monk Daniel of the same
time wrote an account of his travels to the Holy Land; the letters of
the contemporary Metropolitan Clement give references to Homer,
Aristotle, and Plato and show other indications of a knowledge of the
Greek classical writings, while the Bishop Cyril evidences a familiarity
with the works of the Greek Fathers and imitates them intelligently. In
addition to these writers and their works there appeared in the latter
part of the eleventh century a juridical treatise, Greek and Russian
Ecclesiastical Rule, and the original form of the Russkaya Pravda, the
first codification of Russian customary law. Vernadsky concludes that
the "intellectual level" of the Russian educated elite was as high as
that in contemporary Byzantium and the West, while Dvornik holds that
Kiev in the tenth to twelfth centuries was, as a centre of culture, "far
ahead" of anything in the contemporary West.

These scraps of information are all that is known of education in Russia
during the period of growth, and this early bloom of culture wilted with
the beginning of the time of troubles. If we date the beginnings of the
society at the last quarter of the tenth century, then its growth period
lasted only a little more than a century and a half. By the last quarter
of the eleventh century the "centre of gravity" had shifted north to the
town of Vladimir; by the beginning of the twelfth century internecine
warfare among the contending principalities had begun, and by the latter
half of the century Kiev and the other towns of the Dnepr Basin had
fallen into decadence. The internal troubles of the society were
aggravated and other troubles were added by struggles with the
Lithuanians and, beginning about the fourth decade of the thirteenth
century, by the invasions of the Mongols.

During the four-centuries-long struggles among the multiplicity of
contending principalities and the more than two-centuries-long struggle
of all the principalities against the Mongols, education in Russia sank
to abysmally low ebb. During the same period one of the states, Muscovy,
gradually rose to a position of importance, later took the lead in the
struggle against the Mongol domination, and finally, at its union with
the state of Novgorod, A.D. 1478, established itself as the universal
state of the Russian Civilization.

It must be assumed that during this time, some priests taught some
children and that there was some higher education for the few, since the
continuity of education was not wholly broken and there were some
scholars at the end of the period; but there is no evidence for the
existence of any widespread education among the people nor even of
systematic or higher education of the clergy.

The first great victory of the Russians over the Mongols took place A.D.
1380. Nearly a century later, A.D. 1472, Ivan III, Prince of Moscow,
married the niece of the last East Roman emperor; A.D. 1489 he rejected
all claims of the Mongols and assumed the title of tsar or autocrat: he

autocrat: he
was now no longer subject to any foreign power; Russia was an
independent and sovereign state. And the Russian Church now became
independent and sovereign — indeed, universal. Moscow was the successor
of Constantinople, which, in Eastern theory, had been the successor of
Rome. Russia was now "Holy Russia." This assumption of imperial and
ecclesiastical mantles was accompanied by changes in the manner of life
of the tsars and in the organization of the palace: new imperial
insignia were adopted, pomp and circumstance added into the life at the
palace. But little was done for education.

Boris Godunov in A.D. 1598 tried the experiment of sending young
Russians to Western Europe for study. This was a break with tradition,
for Muscovites previously had been allowed abroad only to Eastern
Orthodox Christian countries and only on embassies or pilgrimages or for
theological studies. The experiment was a failure: of the fifteen
students sent abroad, only one returned. Boris also proposed the
establishment of a university, but this was opposed by the church on the
ground that "it was not wise to entrust the teaching of youth to
Catholics and Lutherans."

It appears that until the second half of the seventeenth century what
little elementary education there was given by the priests. A sombre but
apparently accurate statement is given by Milioukov: "The ignorance of
the Russian people is the source of its devotion. It knows neither
schools nor universities. Only the priests teach the youth reading and
writing; however, few bother with it."

The few elementary schools that existed in Muscovy from the beginning of
the universal state until the late seventeenth century were chiefly for
the purpose of training the clergy and a few government clerks. The
teachers were local clergy, and the number of children taught very few.
The subjects taught were reading, writing, and a little arithmetic.

In Ukraine a quite different situation obtained. There the Russian
Orthodox Church was confronted with Roman Catholicism and consequently
found itself compelled to organize its education so as to be able to
compete on intellectually equal terms for the allegiance of the people.
There appears to have been a kind of organization of the elementary
schools, and A.D. 1631, a higher school of theology was established at
Kiev. This academy became the centre of learning in Ukraine. Within a
generation of its founding, a number of its scholars were called to
Moscow and so Kievan learning became an important factor in advancing
the intellectual life of late seventeenth-century Muscovy. In A.D. 1687
a Moscow academy, modeled on the one at Kiev but with more emphasis on
Greek, was founded. Vernadsky sums up the seventeenth-century
development by saying that by the end of the century, "a thin layer of
Westernized cultural elite had formed" and that this elite could serve
as a "connecting link between Russia and the West" and also as "a centre
for the spread of new ideas" within Russia.

within Russia.

Education in the Western Civilization

From the last quarter of the seventh century may be dated the appearance
of the Western as a civilization independent of its sister society, the
Orthodox Christian, and of its parent, the Hellenic. During the first
century of its growth the only education, other than that ubiquitous and
omnipresent apprenticeship education, was given in the monastic and
parish and episcopal schools and thus was established the intimate
connection between the church and the school.

In Western monasticism from the beginning, the importance of a knowledge
of reading and writing for all monks and nuns had been emphasized
because the reading of the Scriptures and of the daily Office was deemed
indispensable to the devout life, and because it was considered a part
of the duty of monks to make copies of the manuscripts of the divine
word and of other Christian writings. Thus, in an early (A.D. 534) rule
for nuns it was laid down that they were all to learn to read, were to
spend two hours each day in reading, and were to copy manuscripts.
Similar prescriptions appear in other sixth- and seventh-century rules
for nuns. The several sixth-century rules for monks made similar
prescriptions, but more emphatically; and the Benedictine Rule, which
came to dominate monasticism in the West, set out in detail the
requirements for the education of children and for the means and tools
of writing and reading. Latin — Church Latin — was of course the
language, but the texts that were read included none of the Latin
classics — only Christian writings.

The second type of school was the episcopal school. The bishops always
had around them a group of young men and boys as assistants, the
children acting as lectors. Through the attendance on and association
with the bishops these youths learned, more or less by the
apprenticeship method, what they came to know of Canon Law and dogma and
liturgy. After the collapse of the Roman social and political system and
of the classical schools, these attendants no longer had grounding in
elementary education or in secular culture, and it therefore became
necessary for bishops sometimes to give elementary education as it was
generally necessary for them to give the specialized theological and
dogmatic training. This was the beginning, in the sixth and seventh
centuries, of the episcopal school, which later, in some instances,
developed into a university.

The third type of Christian school was the parish or presbyterial
school. When the waves of barbarians broke over the Roman world and the
tide of barbarism threatened to engulf the social and cultural and
educational systems, and as the number of Christian converts had
increased, the very continuity of the Christian life through the
priesthood was threatened, for the supply of priests was endangered. The
answer was to make an adaptation of the system already in use in the
episcopal schools: the Second Council of Vaison, A.D. 529, enjoined "all

parish priests to gather some boys around them as lectors, so that they
may give them a Christian upbringing, teach them the Psalms and the
lessons of Scripture and the whole Law of the Lord and so prepare worthy
successors to themselves." It appears that a similar action had already
been taken in Italy, and was taken later in Gaul. Marrou remarks that
this action was a "memorable" one, for it marked the beginning of what
was later to develop into the ordinary village school in which the two
functions of teacher and village priest were "intimately associated"—an
institution new with the West, unknown in any general or systematic form
to the Hellenic society.

All three of these schools were limited in range and purpose: they were
to produce monks and clerics. The relevant legislation was the enactment
that "every Monastery and every Cathedral should have a school for the
education of young clerks."

The maximum secular knowledge taught in any of the schools was the seven
"liberal arts" of the Trivium and Quadrivium. The Trivium included
grammar, which used some literature by way of illustration, and rhetoric
and dialectic. The Quadrivium included arithmetic, geometry, astronomy,
and music. In Alcuin's time only Aristotle's De Interpretatione and the
translations of Porphyry were known; of Plato, only three dialogues were
known: the Timaeus, Phaedo, and Meno — all in the Latin of Boethius.

However, probably the earliest of the Medieval Western schools that
could be called a university was the school at Salerno. Already in the
tenth century the city was famous for the skill of its physicians. The
famous physicians seem to have attracted students to them so that by the
first half of the twelfth century some kind of organized teacher-student
association was described as "existing from ancient times." Of the
eleventh century revival of interest in legal, theological, dialectical,
and medical studies, that in medicine appears to have been the earliest.
This interest, together with the beginnings of medical instruction in
Salerno, led to the establishment, in the twelfth century, of the
"university"—which was primarily or purely a medical school. Salerno was
the one exception to the general rule that southern Italy took no part
in the great intellectual movements of the twelfth, thirteenth, and
fourteenth centuries.

In northern Italy already by about A.D. 1000 Bologna was a centre of
studies and had begun to attract some scholars from outside the city,
and later in the eleventh century, the study of law had begun to be a
professional study separate from that legal study which was a part of
general education.

In France of the eleventh century the most important school was the
Cathedral School at Chartres. At Chartres during the first quarter of
the century under Bishop Fulbert the Trivium and Quadrivium constituted
the curriculum.

The teaching of grammar included literature by way of illustration and
used Donatus as the textbook for beginners, Priscianus for the more

ianus for the more
advanced. The teaching of dialectic used the logical works of Aristotle,
Porphyry's Introduction, Cicero's Topica and Boethius's discussion of
logical categories and the kinds of syllogisms as commentaries on the
main texts.

Towards the close of the eleventh century the reputation of the
Cathedral School in Paris had begun to increase, and after Abelard's
professorship there, Paris became a city of teachers. One of the great
educational movements of the eleventh century was the gradual transfer
of teaching activity from the monks to the secular clergy.

It should perhaps be added that Paris was also the home of the
"collegiate" system: about 1257 Robert de Sorbonne, chaplain to the
king, founded the "college" or "house" of Sorbonne as a college for
sixteen men, four from each nation, who had already taken the master's
degree and wanted to go on with the advanced studies that led to the
Theological Doctorate. By the sixteenth century "the Sorbonne" included
the whole Theological Faculty of Paris.

A second French university was founded at Montpellier in the twelfth
century on the model of the school at Paris—a university of Masters.

In England, Oxford seems to have originated in a migration of students
and masters of the English Nation from Paris about A.D. 1167; in 1209 a
migration from Oxford founded the university at Cambridge.

Thus by the end of the twelfth century there were six universities in
the West: Salerno, Bologna, Reggio (founded by migration from Bologna),
Paris, Montpellier, and Oxford. In the thirteenth century in Italy four
original university foundation were established and four more by student
migrations; in France three new universities were established, in
England, Cambridge; in Spain and Portugal, four.

In the thirteenth century the term Studium Generale came into general
use, and this is the term that perhaps most closely corresponds to the
vague British and American idea of a "university." The Studium Generale
at this time meant, not a place where all subjects were studied, but an
institution with three characteristics: it had students from all parts,
it had a plurality of Masters, and it had at least one of the higher
Faculties, i.e., Theology or Law or Medicine. By the fourteenth century
popes and emperors were founding universities by bull and charter, and
Rashdall excludes from the "category of universities all bodies" which
came into existence after A.D. 1300 that were not founded by pope or
emperor. In the fourteenth century there were five papal and two
imperial foundations in Italy, three papal and one imperial in France,
none in England, one papal foundation and two by royal charter in Spain,
as well as papal foundations in Prague, Vienna, Erfurt, Heidelberg,
Cologne, Cracow, and Buda, and Fьnfkirchen in Hungary (the two latter
foundations were extinct within a century). The fifteenth century
witnessed the foundation of two more universities in Italy, nine in
France, three in Scotland, seven in Spain, eleven hi Germany and

in Spain, eleven hi Germany and
Switzerland, as well as one at Pressburg (Poszony) in Hungary and one
each at Upsala and Copenhagen. Thus the total number of twelfth-century
universities was six; thirteenth century, sixteen; fourteenth century,
twenty-two; and fifteenth century, thirty-five; giving a grand total of
seventy-six for the four centuries.

In the twelfth and thirteenth centuries the larger universities probably
had between two and five thousand students each and the number at the
largest — Paris and Bologna — in later centuries probably never exceeded
six or possibly seven thousands.

The education given at the universities in the seven arts in the
thirteenth and later centuries was secular: "A student in the Arts would
have been as little likely to read the Bible as he would be to dip into
Justinian or Hippocrates." The church provided little professional
education for the future priest and less for the ordinary layman; even
the bishops seem, in so far as they required any real standard of
learning from candidates for holy orders, to have insisted mainly on
secular learning." Seminaries for priests, catechisms, instruction and
preparation for the first communion, and so on, are the product of
Counter-Reformation, not of the education, clerical or other, of these

This, in very brief, was the educational situation in the West until the
rise of modern Western science, the elevation of the vernaculars to the
dignity of literary languages, and the emergence of individualism with
that literary and artistic revival called "the Renaissance."

The legacy of these early medieval Western universities to the
educational ideals and standards of the modern West is enormous.
Rashdall is emphatic in showing that if the term "university" is
appropriate for a modern Harvard or Oxford or Heidelberg or a medieval
Paris or Bologna or Cambridge, it cannot be applied in the same sense to
any school of antiquity. The ideas that teachers should be united into a
corporate body, that teachers of different subjects should teach in the
same place and be joined by a single institution, that an attempt should
be made to have the body of teachers represent all human knowledge, that
studies should be grouped into different faculties, that students
should, after their preliminary training, confine themselves, at least
partially, to one faculty or department — all this derives from the
great twelfth- and thirteen-century academic foundations.

It should be added that the kings and princes of the Middle Ages got
their statesmen and civil servants from the universities. Thus again, it
was a literary and philosophical training that seemed to qualify a man
for the affairs of the world.


Thus in the Middle Ages there were factors which united a society and
defined specificity of training and education. First of all, it is
Christian tradition, influence of antique tradition and, at last,
mentality of a person. The Middle Ages also cannot be presented without

d without
barbarous pre-christian tradition. A believing person was an ideal.
Monasticism should give a sample of education. An ideal of monastic
education was moral education, removal from earthly blessings,
self-control of desires, assiduous reading of religious texts, but it
did not exclude necessity to get secular knowledge.

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