What are some facts about monastery schools

From monastery school to university Fundamentals of medieval education


1 Heinz Dopsch From Convent School to University Fundamentals of Medieval Education In late antiquity, knowledge of writing was relatively widespread in the Roman Empire. Many tombstones of this time show the deceased with a book, wax tablets or a scroll in hand as an indication of their level of education. Especially in the cities there was a dense network of grammar and rhetoric schools supported by lay people. The teachers were appointed, paid and supervised by the public authorities. At first the church did not strive to set up its own school system. With the fall of Roman culture, especially north of the Alps, there was a rapid decline in education, writing and schools. Since the written form almost became a monopoly of the clergy, the school system of the early and high Middle Ages also remained closely tied to the church. The monasteries themselves had to take care of the training of their novices, both verbally and in writing. That is why the monastery schools stood at the beginning of the medieval school system. The training was initially limited to the novices and was often carried out individually by older monks as teachers, with texts from the monastic writing schools and libraries forming the basis. The educational reform of the Carolingian period, mainly carried out by missionaries from Ireland and England, with the court school established by Charlemagne as the center, led to an increase in the number of schools and an increase in the level of education. Knowledge of the ancient authors increased through the spread of manuscripts and the standardization of script (Carolingian minuscule), and the Latin language became a language of scholars, separate from the development of the vernacular. 1. Monastery schools Even before the cathedral schools, the monastery schools developed into the most important educational institutions of the early Middle Ages. The monks should be able to write, or at least be able to read, or they had to be willing to learn. The monk's father Pachomios expressly decreed that every monk should learn the scriptures and understand something of the scriptures. In the Rule of St. Benedict, the reading instructions contained therein presuppose a reading knowledge of the monks. The monastery schools, initially only intended for their own convent, imparted knowledge of reading, writing and singing to the oblates and novices. With the Irish and Anglo-Saxons, the monasteries developed into supraregional educational centers. Significant for this were the monastic scholars who worked at the monasteries, such as St. Columba or Beda Venerabilis.

2 Under the influence of the Irish Mission, the monasteries on the continent also became important educational institutions, often surpassing the dominant cathedral schools. The Synod of Aachen in 817 expressly decreed that monastery schools should only be open to the Oblates, the youths given to the monastery. Nonetheless, foreign students continued to attend monastery schools, especially if these were under the direction of particularly respected scholars. Famous teachers at monastery schools include Alkuin in Tours (804), Hrabanus Maurus, who was abbot in Tours, and Notker Balbulus in St. Gallen (912). The famous monastery plan of St. Gallen only provided for an internal school (schola claustri, schola interior), but no external school (schola exterior) for external students. Nevertheless, both groups of students were taught in St. Gallen as well. Notker Balbulus taught at the internal monastery school, while Iso was responsible for the external students. Usually there was one teacher each for the schola interior and the schola exterior in the monastery; Only rarely was a secular clergyman specially appointed for the foreign students. In women's convents, elegant women who were not nuns could also attend classes. In the 9th century there was a significant decline in the monasteries. Decisive for this were the permanent incursions of Hungarians, Saracens and Normans in Central Europe, which led to the destruction of many monasteries. But also a decrease in religious zeal and willingness to found foundations became noticeable. The great monastery reforms of the 10th and 11th centuries with the centers of Cluny, Gorze and St. Maximin near Trier then led to a new bloom. Sometimes, however, there were also clear reservations against external monastery schools in reform circles, such as the Cluniacens or Cardinal Petrus Damiani (), who worked in Fonte Avanella. Despite these reservations, the monastery schools quickly began to flourish. Some of them were promoted by abbots who were interested in the spiritual life, or they were given a great reputation by important teachers. Examples are: St. Gallen under Notker Labeo, St. Emmeram in Regensburg under Otloh, Tegernsee under Fromund and under the abbots Gozbert and Ellinger. Since the 12th century, the importance of the monastery schools declined. This was due to the lower interest of the new orders, which, like the Cistercians, were oriented towards manual labor or the Augustinian canons and the Premonstratensians towards pastoral care. The focus of the mendicant orders was on preaching and pastoral care. With the advent of universities, education could also be obtained outside of the monastery schools. The spiritual reorientation with scholasticism, canons and law, and in some cases the raising of the admission age for novices in the monasteries contributed to the fact that the monastery schools lost their dominant position. Since then, her main task has been to impart spiritual knowledge and skills for monastic life. Due to the older age of the novices, many no longer entered the monastery as completely uneducated (illiterati).

3 The dispute about the justification of a monastic outdoor school (schola exterior), against which the Cistercians had clearly spoken out, lost its sharpness. Smaller monasteries had their novices trained at other monastery schools or schools of the overall order. Sometimes the provinces of the order also had their own study houses as central training centers. For monks with further educational interests it was also possible to study at a university or a general course at the order headquarters. Curriculum Of the seven liberal arts (artes liberales), the monastery schools mainly taught the trivium, the three-way with grammar, rhetoric and dialectic (of which the term trivial is still used today). The oblates (aspirants) first had to learn by heart the psalms, canticas and hymns of the divine office necessary for the common worship; This was followed by reading the monastery rules and the first Bible explanations as well as studying spiritual texts. The introduction to grammar that followed was based on either Priscian or Donat; it should serve as a basis for dealing with the other disciplines, but especially for understanding the Bible. Christian authors such as Boethius, Sedulius, Prudentius but also pagan authors from Roman antiquity (such as Virgil, Cicero, Horace, Juvenal, Ovid) were used as the basis for the training in grammar, but initially for further training in dialectics and rhetoric Lessons used. The different choices that were made in the individual monasteries also indicate the peculiarities of the spiritual orientation. The library catalogs of old monastery libraries show that in some monasteries the works of pagan authors were completely rejected, for example in St. Emmeram in Regensburg under Otloh. The subjects of the quadrivium, namely arithmetic, geometry, music and astronomy were only taught at a few monastery schools. Most often one finds computistics, the cyclical calculation of the annual calendar, represented as part of astronomy. At the monastery schools, in contrast to the teaching and the spiritual interests at the cathedral schools, no uniform monastic theology can be established. There were also no general rules for reading Christian or even pagan authors. Nevertheless, a spiritual priority of the cathedral schools over the monastery schools cannot generally be ascertained. The subjects of the quadrivium were more frequently taught at the cathedral schools, for example in Reims, Chartres, Liège and Cologne, but the quality and intensity of teaching in the trivium at the monastery schools and their broad impact on medieval education should not be underestimated.

4 2. Cathedral schools Already in late antiquity there were schools in the episcopal churches that were set up to train the diocesan clergy. Until the 10th century, however, they were inferior to the monastery schools in terms of scientific importance. Important information about the conditions in the early Middle Ages has been passed down primarily from the Visigothic Empire in Spain, where the councils of Toledo have repeatedly dealt with the training of clerics at the bishopric since 527. Especially Bishop Isidore of Seville, an important historian and polymath, reports on it in his works. In 633 he led the Council of Toledo himself. That is probably why Charlemagne called the Visigoth Theodulf to his court in Aachen. It is at least questionable whether cathedral schools existed at all episcopal seats in the Merovingian empire. Bishop Chrodegang von Metz (766) issued regulations for the clergy at his episcopal church, which soon became generally applicable in the Franconian Empire. The model for this was the Benedictine rule that dominated the monasteries. Chrodegang's rules envisaged formation within the framework of community life as a prerequisite for the renewal of prayer and liturgy. This made the cathedral monastery the sole educational institution for the clergy's offspring; the cathedral school was already taking in children. Charlemagne promoted Metz as a model school, especially as a center for training in church singing. In England, York Cathedral had an educational institution superior to all other cathedral schools in Europe. Its director Alquin (Alcuin) was appointed to the Frankish Empire in 781 and took over the management of Charlemagne's court school. At the synod of Aachen in 789, every bishop demanded the establishment of a school for elementary instruction and this was included in the Admonitio generalis, a chapter (law) of Charlemagne. This was to guarantee a uniform training of clerics throughout the Franconian Empire. Reading, singing, grammar and computistics were planned as teaching content at the cathedral schools. These reforms, but also the example of the court school in Aachen, really stimulated the development of the cathedral schools. Language and literature studies led to an unprecedented mastery of the Latin language, and personal education became an important selection criterion when filling dioceses. At first, however, the priority of the important monastery schools such as Tours and Fulda remained. In the regulations of the canons, which were issued at the synod of Aachen in 816, it was stipulated that the students lived in the cathedral monastery. This concentration at the bishopric contributed significantly to the further development of the cathedral schools in the 9th century. While centers such as Reims, Laon and Liège gained great importance in France, in Germany the kings and emperors since Otto the Great placed the bishops and cathedral churches in the service of the royal court chapel. This became the administrative center and selection instrument of the empire and contributed significantly to the fact that parts of the ruling class could be won over to education. In Hildesheim,

5 Cologne, Liège and Magdeburg reached their first high point in the cathedral schools in the 10th century. Organization The organization of the cathedral schools followed the example of the monastery schools. Upbringing and instruction for the cathedral canons (canonici scholares) were combined at the internal school, next to which there was an external school for the instruction of laypeople. The cathedral schools were under the authority of the bishop, the students were considered clerics. In the 11th century Pope Gregory VII prescribed a school for every cathedral church, as the corresponding provision from the Carolingian era was no longer observed. The third Lateran Council in 1197 stipulated that each cathedral chapter should maintain a teacher to teach poor students free of charge, if necessary. The aim of this regulation was not to promote science, but to improve the training of the diocesan clergy. Since the 9th century, the cathedral schools had to limit themselves to training for the next generation of the cathedral chapter and were not allowed to accept foreign students. The schoolmaster (magister scholarum, scholasticus), who was mostly a member of the cathedral chapter, acted as head of the cathedral school. Sometimes, however, the schoolmasters were also appointed from outside and had no benefices on site. The schoolmaster had the authority to hire and fire teachers, decide whether to accept or reject students, establish the curriculum, and exercise disciplinary powers. The increasing reputation enjoyed by the schoolmasters shows the growing importance of science and education at the cathedral schools. Originally the schoolmaster was only one of the canons of the chapter, but since the 12th century he has mostly been one of the dignitaries. The schoolmaster's license to teach presupposed an order given by the bishop, the cathedral dean or the cathedral chapter and included the teaching monopoly either for the entire diocese or for the episcopal city, sometimes also for certain parts of both. Since the 12th century, this has resulted in conflicts with the free teaching masters, and then also with the city councils over school patronage. It is not known which scientific requirements were made for the granting of the license to teach. Until the 12th century it was probably at the discretion of the episcopal chancellor. While the popes tended to encourage the granting of the license to teach, the schoolmasters (scholastici) tended to advocate restrictions out of envy of competition. Papal support improved the position of the teachers vis-à-vis the bishop and the cathedral chapter. From this a group consciousness developed as a preliminary stage to the corporation. After the rise of the free master's degree, the universities emerged from the merger with the more important teachers at the cathedral schools.

6 Curriculum Since the Carolingian era, the seven liberal arts (artes liberales) dominated with the aim of interpreting the holy scriptures. Both Roman pagan and Christian authors were read. Since the 10th century law studies have been intensified, and the decree of Bishop Burchard von Worms (1025) required knowledge of the Council's decisions. This is the root of the great willingness to receive the learned law in the 12th century. The glossing of the entire Bible, which began in Laon, required a methodical distinction between correct and incorrect statements; so it came about that logic, as the dominant discipline, blew up the older system of the seven liberal arts. Due to the paramount importance of the French cathedral schools, studies in France were decisive for the careers of many German bishops, including Eberhard I of Salzburg, Conrad II of Passau and Salzburg, Otto von Freising and Rainald Dassel of Cologne. The progressive expansion of the studies also extended their duration. At the end there was a two-stage training, namely elementary instruction and the study of the seven liberal arts, followed by a specialization in theology or law. Since the 13th century, the cathedral schools often only offered the first level for the basic training of young priests and lost the higher courses to the universities. Even before that, the reputation of a cathedral school had been dependent on the quality of the teachers and only remained stable if the teaching staff was consistently high. Since the middle of the 12th century, the increasing mobility of the scholars had an influence on the rank of the cathedral school and at the same time ensured the dissemination of topics and methods. Towards the end of the 12th century, the cathedral schools began to decline rapidly, mainly due to competition from private schools that were run by masters on their own account and on the basis of student fees. Only a few cathedral schools like Paris were even able to increase their prestige and experienced a great boom in the field of artes liberales, especially dialectics, and theology. 3. Parish schools, grammar schools and German schools of the late Middle Ages The parish schools had the greatest impact since the 12th and 13th centuries. Classes were in Latin and the teaching program focused on learning to read and, in some cases, also to write, as well as imparting knowledge of the Bible. The level of these schools was heavily dependent on the teacher (there was usually only one). Sometimes the pastors themselves gave lessons, often cooperators or sextons were entrusted with this task. The church thus retained its monopoly on education, especially north of the Alps, into the late Middle Ages.

7 In the 15th century, grammar schools with different characteristics and different levels also increased rapidly north of the Alps. Some of these schools worked on a purely private basis and sometimes offered the students board and lodging, most were municipal foundations or foundations of private individuals. They were equipped with a house and funds for the wages of the schoolmaster or the teaching staff, mostly school fees were also collected from the students.The wages of the teachers, who often led an unsteady wandering life and rarely completed university studies, were low. The lessons were heavily focused on grammar and ranged from teaching elementary reading and writing skills to reading the Church Fathers and the commentaries of the Priscian. Only a few students later gained access to a university, most of them had to be content with the skills acquired at the grammar school. Some graduates entered the clergy, the majority remained in the lay class. While girls' schools are only sporadically occupied, the number of literacy skills among the male population has skyrocketed due to the increase in schools, not only among the nobility and the urban patriciate, but also in the lower social classes. At the end of the Middle Ages there were already some schools with a practical and technical orientation, especially for branches of knowledge that were not taught at the universities. In some trading towns, merchant's sons attended schools where arithmetic and living languages ​​were taught. However, the vocational training was usually based on individual training within the framework of an apprenticeship period strictly regulated by the guilds and not on school lessons. In all of Germany and also in Salzburg, the German schools appeared alongside the old Latin schools of the monasteries and parishes from the 15th century. Again and again German schoolmasters are mentioned who taught in the vernacular. Such schools were maintained not only by cities but also by markets and villages. They opened up access to tuition and education for the broader population who did not speak Latin and thus became the most important basis for general schooling, which began with the Enlightenment in the 18th century. 4. Medieval universities Among the numerous private schools that have sprung up since the 12th century, some have achieved international renown for the quality of their teachers. Bologna has been a stronghold of Roman law since the beginning of the 12th century, and important schools of law have also established themselves in Provence and Languedoc. The school of Salerno was considered to be the Mecca of medicine at an early stage, and later Montpellier acquired a similar reputation. These schools were run by lay masters who were also practicing lawyers or doctors. They withdrew almost completely from ecclesiastical or secular control. In contrast to the later universities, they did not enjoy comprehensive privileges

8 by kings and popes and they did not confer any degrees. They owed their success only to the fame of their Magistri and the obvious social benefits of the subjects they taught. The term university is not derived from the universitas litterarum, the totality of the sciences, as it is mostly interpreted today, but from the universitas magistrorum et scholarum, the community of teachers and learners or professors and students. He points out that the close bond the students had with their teacher was characteristic of the early universities. While the oldest universities in Italy, France and England went into the 12th and 13th centuries. Century, the first university in the German-speaking area was not established in Prague until 1348. The initiative to found universities came from those involved, the masters and scholars themselves. Private schools, often headed by eminent scholars, had seen an enormous boom since the 12th century. In order to face the difficulties caused by the influence of the church, which feared for the loss of its monopoly on teaching, by some confusion in the curriculum and by material problems due to the large influx of students, teachers and pupils joined forces. While the local authorities opposed this development because they feared for its influence, the popes, the kings of France, England and Castile support the university movement. They wanted to promote the development of quality courses and the formation of an elite of theologians and lawyers who would put their knowledge at the service of the Church and the monarchy. As the oldest universities, Bologna and Paris emerged in the 12th century, even if their full development was not given until the middle of the 13th century. Oxford, Cambridge and Montpellier (medicine) also date back to before 1220. Some of these universities, such as Paris, Oxford and Montpellier, emerged from the merger of schools. There it was the magistri who, while maintaining their authority over the scholars, came together to establish a universitas. This is why this type is called a Masters University. The counterparts of the student university are embodied in Bologna, Padua, Salamanca, Lérida and others, where an autonomous corporation of students formed the basis. The Magistri were only contractually bound to the university as those responsible for teaching, but were not actually members of the university. The schools of the individual disciplines each formed a closed facultas inside the university, sometimes headed by a dean. Before the 15th century, however, universities with all four faculties (liberal arts, medicine, law, theology) were still rare. At universities with a wide catchment area such as Bologna or Paris, the students were united in Nationes according to their national origins. Spiritual and secular collegia emerged early on, accommodating certain students (religious or poor) and sometimes also offering them lessons and access to a library.

9 Autonomy has become a hallmark of universities. As a moral and legal person, the universitas was endowed with privileges of popes, kings or princes, which enabled extensive self-administration: students and magistrates (professors) were recruited at their own discretion, rectors, deans and procurators were appointed from their own ranks, statutes were issued and the members are bound by an oath of loyalty to the university. Of particular importance was its own place of jurisdiction (privilegium fori), by virtue of which the rector had criminal and disciplinary powers on university soil. Thus, the universities were largely withdrawn from the judicial, administrative and tax control of the city authorities. However, by generalizing the principle of the papal license to teach (licentia docendi) and by an active policy of privileges, the papacy succeeded in extending its authority to universities, which were originally dominated by lay people. In particular, theology as the crown of science, which could only be established with papal approval, strengthened the influence of the popes. The founding of the University of Prague by Emperor Charles IV led to a rapid succession of new foundations north of the Alps. Cracow (1364), Vienna (1365) and Fünfkirchen (1367) followed. Overall, the number of universities in Europe rose from 13 (1,300) to 28 (1,378) and 63 (1,500). The decisive factor was the desire of many princes and rulers to have at least one university in their territory. The number of students at most universities remained relatively small, only Paris and Bologna had a few thousand students, Oxford, Cambridge and Prague over. In Germany in the late 15th century the universities accepted about students annually. References: Peter Classen, Studies and Society in the Middle Ages (Writings of MGH 29), Stuttgart Helmut Engelbrecht, History of the Austrian Education System: Education and Teaching on the Soil of Austria, Vol. 1: From the Beginnings to the Time of Humanism, Vienna Johannes Fried (ed.), Schools and Studies in the Social Change of the High and Late Middle Ages (lectures and research 30), Sigmaringen Martin Kintzinger / Sönke Lorenz / Michael Walter (ed.), School and students in the Middle Ages. Contributions to the European history of education of the century, Cologne Walter Rüegg (ed.), History of the University in Europe, 3 volumes, Munich 1993, 1996 a