Medieval university

Medieval university

Overview
Medieval university is an institution of higher learning which was established during High Middle Ages
High Middle Ages
The High Middle Ages was the period of European history around the 11th, 12th, and 13th centuries . The High Middle Ages were preceded by the Early Middle Ages and followed by the Late Middle Ages, which by convention end around 1500....

 period and is a corporation
Corporation
A corporation is created under the laws of a state as a separate legal entity that has privileges and liabilities that are distinct from those of its members. There are many different forms of corporations, most of which are used to conduct business. Early corporations were established by charter...

.

The first institutions generally considered to be universities
University
A university is an institution of higher education and research, which grants academic degrees in a variety of subjects. A university is an organisation that provides both undergraduate education and postgraduate education...

 were established in Italy
Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

, France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

, and England
England
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

 in the late 11th and the 12th centuries for the study of arts
Liberal arts
The term liberal arts refers to those subjects which in classical antiquity were considered essential for a free citizen to study. Grammar, Rhetoric and Logic were the core liberal arts. In medieval times these subjects were extended to include mathematics, geometry, music and astronomy...

, law
Law
Law is a system of rules and guidelines which are enforced through social institutions to govern behavior, wherever possible. It shapes politics, economics and society in numerous ways and serves as a social mediator of relations between people. Contract law regulates everything from buying a bus...

, medicine
Medicine
Medicine is the science and art of healing. It encompasses a variety of health care practices evolved to maintain and restore health by the prevention and treatment of illness....

, and theology
Theology
Theology is the systematic and rational study of religion and its influences and of the nature of religious truths, or the learned profession acquired by completing specialized training in religious studies, usually at a university or school of divinity or seminary.-Definition:Augustine of Hippo...

. These universities evolved from much older Christian
Christianity
Christianity is a monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus as presented in canonical gospels and other New Testament writings...

 cathedral school
Cathedral school
Cathedral schools began in the Early Middle Ages as centers of advanced education, some of them ultimately evolving into medieval universities. Throughout the Middle Ages and beyond, they were complemented by the monastic schools...

s and monastic school
Monastic school
Monastic schools were, along with cathedral schools, the most important institutions of higher learning in the Latin West from the early Middle Ages until the 12th century. Since Cassiodorus's educational program, the standard curriculum incorporated religious studies, the Trivium, and the...

s, and it is difficult to define the date at which they became true universities, although the lists of studia generalia
Studium Generale
Studium generale is the old customary name for a Medieval university.- Definition :There is no clear official definition of what constituted a Studium generale...

 for higher education in Europe held by the Vatican
Roman Curia
The Roman Curia is the administrative apparatus of the Holy See and the central governing body of the entire Catholic Church, together with the Pope...

 are a useful guide.

"The word universitas originally applied only to the scholastic guild (or guilds)—that is, the corporation of students and masters—within the studium, and it was always modified, as universitas magistrorum, or universitas scholarium, or universitas magistrorum et scholarium.
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Medieval university is an institution of higher learning which was established during High Middle Ages
High Middle Ages
The High Middle Ages was the period of European history around the 11th, 12th, and 13th centuries . The High Middle Ages were preceded by the Early Middle Ages and followed by the Late Middle Ages, which by convention end around 1500....

 period and is a corporation
Corporation
A corporation is created under the laws of a state as a separate legal entity that has privileges and liabilities that are distinct from those of its members. There are many different forms of corporations, most of which are used to conduct business. Early corporations were established by charter...

.

The first institutions generally considered to be universities
University
A university is an institution of higher education and research, which grants academic degrees in a variety of subjects. A university is an organisation that provides both undergraduate education and postgraduate education...

 were established in Italy
Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

, France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

, and England
England
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

 in the late 11th and the 12th centuries for the study of arts
Liberal arts
The term liberal arts refers to those subjects which in classical antiquity were considered essential for a free citizen to study. Grammar, Rhetoric and Logic were the core liberal arts. In medieval times these subjects were extended to include mathematics, geometry, music and astronomy...

, law
Law
Law is a system of rules and guidelines which are enforced through social institutions to govern behavior, wherever possible. It shapes politics, economics and society in numerous ways and serves as a social mediator of relations between people. Contract law regulates everything from buying a bus...

, medicine
Medicine
Medicine is the science and art of healing. It encompasses a variety of health care practices evolved to maintain and restore health by the prevention and treatment of illness....

, and theology
Theology
Theology is the systematic and rational study of religion and its influences and of the nature of religious truths, or the learned profession acquired by completing specialized training in religious studies, usually at a university or school of divinity or seminary.-Definition:Augustine of Hippo...

. These universities evolved from much older Christian
Christianity
Christianity is a monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus as presented in canonical gospels and other New Testament writings...

 cathedral school
Cathedral school
Cathedral schools began in the Early Middle Ages as centers of advanced education, some of them ultimately evolving into medieval universities. Throughout the Middle Ages and beyond, they were complemented by the monastic schools...

s and monastic school
Monastic school
Monastic schools were, along with cathedral schools, the most important institutions of higher learning in the Latin West from the early Middle Ages until the 12th century. Since Cassiodorus's educational program, the standard curriculum incorporated religious studies, the Trivium, and the...

s, and it is difficult to define the date at which they became true universities, although the lists of studia generalia
Studium Generale
Studium generale is the old customary name for a Medieval university.- Definition :There is no clear official definition of what constituted a Studium generale...

 for higher education in Europe held by the Vatican
Roman Curia
The Roman Curia is the administrative apparatus of the Holy See and the central governing body of the entire Catholic Church, together with the Pope...

 are a useful guide.

"The word universitas originally applied only to the scholastic guild (or guilds)—that is, the corporation of students and masters—within the studium, and it was always modified, as universitas magistrorum, or universitas scholarium, or universitas magistrorum et scholarium. In the course of time, however, probably toward the latter part of the 14th century, the term began to be used by itself, with the exclusive meaning of a self-regulating community of teachers and scholars whose corporate
existence had been recognized and sanctioned by civil or ecclesiastical authority."

From the early modern period
Early modern period
In history, the early modern period of modern history follows the late Middle Ages. Although the chronological limits of the period are open to debate, the timeframe spans the period after the late portion of the Middle Ages through the beginning of the Age of Revolutions...

 onwards, this Western
Western world
The Western world, also known as the West and the Occident , is a term referring to the countries of Western Europe , the countries of the Americas, as well all countries of Northern and Central Europe, Australia and New Zealand...

-style organizational form gradually spread from the medieval Latin west across the globe, eventually replacing all other higher-learning institutions
Ancient higher-learning institutions
Ancient higher-learning institutions which give learning an institutional framework date back to ancient times and can be found in many cultures. These ancient centres were typically institutions of philosophical education and religious instruction...

 and becoming the preeminent model for higher education everywhere.

Beginnings


The university is generally regarded as an institution that has its origin in the Medieval Christian
History of Christianity
The history of Christianity concerns the Christian religion, its followers and the Church with its various denominations, from the first century to the present. Christianity was founded in the 1st century by the followers of Jesus of Nazareth who they believed to be the Christ or chosen one of God...

 setting. Prior to their formal establishment, many medieval universities were run for hundreds of years as Christian
Christianity
Christianity is a monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus as presented in canonical gospels and other New Testament writings...

 cathedral school
Cathedral school
Cathedral schools began in the Early Middle Ages as centers of advanced education, some of them ultimately evolving into medieval universities. Throughout the Middle Ages and beyond, they were complemented by the monastic schools...

s or monastic school
Monastic school
Monastic schools were, along with cathedral schools, the most important institutions of higher learning in the Latin West from the early Middle Ages until the 12th century. Since Cassiodorus's educational program, the standard curriculum incorporated religious studies, the Trivium, and the...

s (Scholae monasticae), in which monk
Monk
A monk is a person who practices religious asceticism, living either alone or with any number of monks, while always maintaining some degree of physical separation from those not sharing the same purpose...

s and nun
Nun
A nun is a woman who has taken vows committing her to live a spiritual life. She may be an ascetic who voluntarily chooses to leave mainstream society and live her life in prayer and contemplation in a monastery or convent...

s taught classes; evidence of these immediate forerunners of the later university at many places dates back to the 6th century AD.

With the increasing growth and urbanization of European society during the 12th and 13th centuries, a demand grew for professional clergy
Clergy
Clergy is the generic term used to describe the formal religious leadership within a given religion. A clergyman, churchman or cleric is a member of the clergy, especially one who is a priest, preacher, pastor, or other religious professional....

. Before the 12th century, the intellectual life of Western Europe had been largely relegated to monasteries
Monastery
Monastery denotes the building, or complex of buildings, that houses a room reserved for prayer as well as the domestic quarters and workplace of monastics, whether monks or nuns, and whether living in community or alone .Monasteries may vary greatly in size – a small dwelling accommodating only...

, which were mostly concerned with the performing the liturgy
Liturgy
Liturgy is either the customary public worship done by a specific religious group, according to its particular traditions or a more precise term that distinguishes between those religious groups who believe their ritual requires the "people" to do the "work" of responding to the priest, and those...

 and prayer; relatively few monasteries could boast true intellectuals. Following the Gregorian Reform
Gregorian Reform
The Gregorian Reforms were a series of reforms initiated by Pope Gregory VII and the circle he formed in the papal curia, circa 1050–80, which dealt with the moral integrity and independence of the clergy...

's emphasis on canon law and the study of the sacrament
Sacrament
A sacrament is a sacred rite recognized as of particular importance and significance. There are various views on the existence and meaning of such rites.-General definitions and terms:...

s, bishops formed cathedral school
Cathedral school
Cathedral schools began in the Early Middle Ages as centers of advanced education, some of them ultimately evolving into medieval universities. Throughout the Middle Ages and beyond, they were complemented by the monastic schools...

s to train the clergy in Canon law
Canon law (Catholic Church)
The canon law of the Catholic Church, is a fully developed legal system, with all the necessary elements: courts, lawyers, judges, a fully articulated legal code and principles of legal interpretation. It lacks the necessary binding force present in most modern day legal systems. The academic...

, but also in the more secular aspects of religious administration, including logic and disputation for use in preaching and theological discussion, and accounting to more effectively control finances. Learning became essential to advancing in the ecclesiastical hierarchy, and teachers also gained prestige. However, demand quickly outstripped the capacity of cathedral schools, each of which was essentially run by one teacher. In addition, tensions rose between the students of cathedral schools and burghers in smaller towns. As a result cathedral schools migrated to large cities, like Paris
Paris
Paris is the capital and largest city in France, situated on the river Seine, in northern France, at the heart of the Île-de-France region...

 and Bologna
Bologna
Bologna is the capital city of Emilia-Romagna, in the Po Valley of Northern Italy. The city lies between the Po River and the Apennine Mountains, more specifically, between the Reno River and the Savena River. Bologna is a lively and cosmopolitan Italian college city, with spectacular history,...

.

The first universities (University of Bologna
University of Bologna
The Alma Mater Studiorum - University of Bologna is the oldest continually operating university in the world, the word 'universitas' being first used by this institution at its foundation. The true date of its founding is uncertain, but believed by most accounts to have been 1088...

 (1088), University of Paris
University of Paris
The University of Paris was a university located in Paris, France and one of the earliest to be established in Europe. It was founded in the mid 12th century, and officially recognized as a university probably between 1160 and 1250...

 (teach. mid-11th century, recogn. 1150), University of Oxford
University of Oxford
The University of Oxford is a university located in Oxford, United Kingdom. It is the second-oldest surviving university in the world and the oldest in the English-speaking world. Although its exact date of foundation is unclear, there is evidence of teaching as far back as 1096...

 (teach. 1096, recogn. 1167), University of Modena
University of Modena and Reggio Emilia
The University of Modena and Reggio Emilia , located in Modena and Reggio Emilia, Emilia-Romagna, Italy, is one of the oldest universities in Italy, founded in 1175, with a population of more than 20,000 students....

 (1175), University of Palencia
University of Palencia
The University of Palencia was founded by Alfonso VIII at the request of Bishop Tello Téllez de Meneses and was the first university of Spain. It was the model upon which was patterned the University of Salamanca....

 (1208), University of Cambridge
University of Cambridge
The University of Cambridge is a public research university located in Cambridge, United Kingdom. It is the second-oldest university in both the United Kingdom and the English-speaking world , and the seventh-oldest globally...

 (1209), University of Salamanca
University of Salamanca
The University of Salamanca is a Spanish higher education institution, located in the town of Salamanca, west of Madrid. It was founded in 1134 and given the Royal charter of foundation by King Alfonso IX in 1218. It is the oldest founded university in Spain and the third oldest European...

 (1218), University of Montpellier
University of Montpellier
The University of Montpellier was a French university in Montpellier in the Languedoc-Roussillon région of the south of France. Its present-day successor universities are the University of Montpellier 1, Montpellier 2 University and Paul Valéry University, Montpellier III.-History:The university...

 (1220), University of Padua
University of Padua
The University of Padua is a premier Italian university located in the city of Padua, Italy. The University of Padua was founded in 1222 as a school of law and was one of the most prominent universities in early modern Europe. It is among the earliest universities of the world and the second...

 (1222), University of Toulouse
University of Toulouse
The Université de Toulouse is a consortium of French universities, grandes écoles and other institutions of higher education and research, named after one of the earliest universities established in Europe in 1229, and including the successor universities to that earlier university...

 (1229), University of Orleans
University of Orléans
-History:In 1230, when for a time the doctors of the University of Paris were scattered, a number of the teachers and disciples took refuge in Orléans; when pope Boniface VIII, in 1298, promulgated the sixth book of the Decretals, he appointed the doctors of Bologna and the doctors of Orléans to...

 (1235), University of Siena
University of Siena
The University of Siena in Siena, Tuscany is one of the oldest and first publicly funded universities in Italy. Originally called Studium Senese, the University of Siena was founded in 1240. The University has around 20,000 students, nearly half of Siena's total population of around 54,000...

 (1240) and University of Coimbra (1288)) began as private corporations of teachers and their pupils. Soon they realized they need protection against local city authorities. They petitioned secular power for privileges and this became a model. Emperor Frederick I
Frederick I, Holy Roman Emperor
Frederick I Barbarossa was a German Holy Roman Emperor. He was elected King of Germany at Frankfurt on 4 March 1152 and crowned in Aachen on 9 March, crowned King of Italy in Pavia in 1155, and finally crowned Roman Emperor by Pope Adrian IV, on 18 June 1155, and two years later in 1157 the term...

 in Authentica Habita
Authentica habita
The Authentica Habita was a document written in 1155 by the Emperor Frederick I Barbarossa. In it, he set out for the first time some of the rules, rights and privileges of Universities...

(1158) gave the first privileges to students in Bologna. Another step was when Pope Alexander III
Pope Alexander III
Pope Alexander III , born Rolando of Siena, was Pope from 1159 to 1181. He is noted in history for laying the foundation stone for the Notre Dame de Paris.-Church career:...

 in 1179 "forbidding masters of the church schools to take fees for granting the license to teach (licentia docendi), and obliging them to give license to properly qualified teachers".

Some scholars such as S. F. Elatus and George Makdisi have noted some parallels between Madrasah
Madrasah
Madrasah is the Arabic word for any type of educational institution, whether secular or religious...

s and early European college
College
A college is an educational institution or a constituent part of an educational institution. Usage varies in English-speaking nations...

s and have thus inferred that the first universities in Europe were influenced by the Madrasahs in Islamic Spain
Al-Andalus
Al-Andalus was the Arabic name given to a nation and territorial region also commonly referred to as Moorish Iberia. The name describes parts of the Iberian Peninsula and Septimania governed by Muslims , at various times in the period between 711 and 1492, although the territorial boundaries...

 and the Emirate of Sicily
Emirate of Sicily
The Emirate of Sicily was an Islamic state on the island of Sicily , which existed from 965 to 1072.-First Arab invasions of Sicily:...

. Other scholars such as George Makdisi, Toby Huff or Norman Daniel, however, have questioned this, citing the lack of evidence for an actual transmission and highlighting the differences in the structure, methodologies, procedures, curricula and legal status of the "Islamic college" (madrasa) versus the European university. Yet other scholars such as George Makdisi strongly disagree with the above theory and propose that the paradigm of a university as a center for cross-discipline scholarship developed in medieval Europe and came to influence the evolution of madrasas in the latter part of the millennium.

Establishment


A predecessor of the modern university was in Paris
Paris
Paris is the capital and largest city in France, situated on the river Seine, in northern France, at the heart of the Île-de-France region...

, especially under the guidance of Peter Abelard
Peter Abelard
Peter Abelard was a medieval French scholastic philosopher, theologian and preeminent logician. The story of his affair with and love for Héloïse has become legendary...

, who wrote Sic et Non
Sic et Non
Sic et Non, an early scholastic text whose title translates from Medieval Latin as "Yes and No," was written by Pierre Abélard. In the work, Abélard juxtaposes apparently contradictory quotations from the Church Fathers on many of the traditional topics of Christian theology...

("Yes and No"), which collected texts for university study. Dissatisfied with tensions between burghers and students and the censorship of leading intellectuals by the Church, Abelard and others formed the Universitas, modelled on the mediaeval guild
Guild
A guild is an association of craftsmen in a particular trade. The earliest types of guild were formed as confraternities of workers. They were organized in a manner something between a trade union, a cartel, and a secret society...

, as a self-regulating, permanent institution of higher education. The University of Paris became one of the first clearly established universities, when Pope Gregory IX
Pope Gregory IX
Pope Gregory IX, born Ugolino di Conti, was pope from March 19, 1227 to August 22, 1241.The successor of Pope Honorius III , he fully inherited the traditions of Pope Gregory VII and of his uncle Pope Innocent III , and zealously continued their policy of Papal supremacy.-Early life:Ugolino was...

 issued the bull Parens scientiarum
Parens scientiarum
Parens scientiarum is the incipit designating a papal bull issued by Pope Gregory IX on April 13, 1231. The bull assured the independence and self-governance of the University of Paris, where the pope had studied theology....

(1231).

This was a revolutionary step: studium generale (university) and universitas (corporation of students or teachers) existed even before, but after the issuing of the bull, they attained autonomy
Autonomy
Autonomy is a concept found in moral, political and bioethical philosophy. Within these contexts, it is the capacity of a rational individual to make an informed, un-coerced decision...

. "[T]he papal bull of 1233, which stipulated that anyone admitted to be a teacher in Toulouse
Toulouse
Toulouse is a city in the Haute-Garonne department in southwestern FranceIt lies on the banks of the River Garonne, 590 km away from Paris and half-way between the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea...

 had the right to teach everywhere without further examinations (ius ubique docendi), in time, transformed this privilege into the single most important defining characteristic of the university and made it the symbol of its institutional autonomy . . . By the year 1292, even the two oldest universities, Bologna and Paris, felt the need to seek similar bulls from Pope Nicholas IV
Pope Nicholas IV
Pope Nicholas IV , born Girolamo Masci, was Pope from February 22, 1288 to April 4, 1292. A Franciscan friar, he had been legate to the Greeks under Pope Gregory X in 1272, succeeded Bonaventure as Minister General of his religious order in 1274, was made Cardinal Priest of Santa Prassede and...

."

By the 13th century, almost half of the highest offices in the Church were occupied by degreed masters (abbot
Abbot
The word abbot, meaning father, is a title given to the head of a monastery in various traditions, including Christianity. The office may also be given as an honorary title to a clergyman who is not actually the head of a monastery...

s, archbishop
Archbishop
An archbishop is a bishop of higher rank, but not of higher sacramental order above that of the three orders of deacon, priest , and bishop...

s, cardinals
Cardinal (Catholicism)
A cardinal is a senior ecclesiastical official, usually an ordained bishop, and ecclesiastical prince of the Catholic Church. They are collectively known as the College of Cardinals, which as a body elects a new pope. The duties of the cardinals include attending the meetings of the College and...

), and over one-third of the second-highest offices were occupied by masters. In addition, some of the greatest theologians of the High Middle Ages
High Middle Ages
The High Middle Ages was the period of European history around the 11th, 12th, and 13th centuries . The High Middle Ages were preceded by the Early Middle Ages and followed by the Late Middle Ages, which by convention end around 1500....

, Thomas Aquinas
Thomas Aquinas
Thomas Aquinas, O.P. , also Thomas of Aquin or Aquino, was an Italian Dominican priest of the Catholic Church, and an immensely influential philosopher and theologian in the tradition of scholasticism, known as Doctor Angelicus, Doctor Communis, or Doctor Universalis...

 and Robert Grosseteste
Robert Grosseteste
Robert Grosseteste or Grossetete was an English statesman, scholastic philosopher, theologian and Bishop of Lincoln. He was born of humble parents at Stradbroke in Suffolk. A.C...

, were products of the medieval university.

The development of the medieval university coincided with the widespread reintroduction of Aristotle
Aristotle
Aristotle was a Greek philosopher and polymath, a student of Plato and teacher of Alexander the Great. His writings cover many subjects, including physics, metaphysics, poetry, theater, music, logic, rhetoric, linguistics, politics, government, ethics, biology, and zoology...

 from Byzantine
Byzantine Empire
The Byzantine Empire was the Eastern Roman Empire during the periods of Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, centred on the capital of Constantinople. Known simply as the Roman Empire or Romania to its inhabitants and neighbours, the Empire was the direct continuation of the Ancient Roman State...

 and Arab
Arab
Arab people, also known as Arabs , are a panethnicity primarily living in the Arab world, which is located in Western Asia and North Africa. They are identified as such on one or more of genealogical, linguistic, or cultural grounds, with tribal affiliations, and intra-tribal relationships playing...

 scholars. In fact, the European university put Aristotelian and other natural science texts at the center of its curriculum, with the result that the "medieval university laid far greater emphasis on science than does its modern counterpart and descendent."

Although has been assumed that the universities went into decline during the Renaissance
Renaissance
The Renaissance was a cultural movement that spanned roughly the 14th to the 17th century, beginning in Italy in the Late Middle Ages and later spreading to the rest of Europe. The term is also used more loosely to refer to the historical era, but since the changes of the Renaissance were not...

  because the scholastic and Aristotelian emphasis of its curriculum was less popular than the cultural studies of Renaissance humanism, Toby Huff has noted the continued importance of the European universities, with their focus on Aristotle and other scientific and philosophical texts, into the early modern period, arguing that they played a crucial role in the Scientific Revolution
Scientific revolution
The Scientific Revolution is an era associated primarily with the 16th and 17th centuries during which new ideas and knowledge in physics, astronomy, biology, medicine and chemistry transformed medieval and ancient views of nature and laid the foundations for modern science...

 of the 16th and 17th centuries. As he puts it "Copernicus, Galileo, Tycho Brahe, Kepler, and Newton were all extraordinary products of the apparently procrustean and allegedly Scholastic universities of Europe....sociological and historical accounts of the role of the university as an institutional locus for science and as an incubator of scientific thought and arguments have been vastly understated."

Characteristics


Initially medieval universities did not have a campus
Campus
A campus is traditionally the land on which a college or university and related institutional buildings are situated. Usually a campus includes libraries, lecture halls, residence halls and park-like settings...

. Classes were taught wherever space was available, such as churches and homes. A university was not a physical space but a collection of individuals banded together as an universitas. Soon, however, some universities (such as Cambridge
University of Cambridge
The University of Cambridge is a public research university located in Cambridge, United Kingdom. It is the second-oldest university in both the United Kingdom and the English-speaking world , and the seventh-oldest globally...

) began to buy or rent rooms specifically for the purposes of teaching.

Universities were generally structured along three types, depending on who paid the teachers. The first type was in Bologna
University of Bologna
The Alma Mater Studiorum - University of Bologna is the oldest continually operating university in the world, the word 'universitas' being first used by this institution at its foundation. The true date of its founding is uncertain, but believed by most accounts to have been 1088...

, where students hired and paid for the teachers. The second type was in Paris
University of Paris
The University of Paris was a university located in Paris, France and one of the earliest to be established in Europe. It was founded in the mid 12th century, and officially recognized as a university probably between 1160 and 1250...

, where teachers were paid by the church. Oxford and Cambridge were predominantly supported by the crown and the state, a fact which helped them survive the Dissolution of the Monasteries
Dissolution of the Monasteries
The Dissolution of the Monasteries, sometimes referred to as the Suppression of the Monasteries, was the set of administrative and legal processes between 1536 and 1541 by which Henry VIII disbanded monasteries, priories, convents and friaries in England, Wales and Ireland; appropriated their...

 in 1538 and the subsequent removal of all the principal Catholic
Catholic
The word catholic comes from the Greek phrase , meaning "on the whole," "according to the whole" or "in general", and is a combination of the Greek words meaning "about" and meaning "whole"...

 institutions in England
England
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

. These structural differences created other characteristics. At the Bologna university the students ran everything—a fact that often put teachers under great pressure and disadvantage. In Paris, teachers ran the school; thus Paris became the premiere spot for teachers from all over Europe. Also, in Paris the main subject matter was theology, so control of the qualifications awarded was in the hands of an external authority - the Chancellor of the diocese. In Bologna, where students chose more secular studies, the main subject was law.

University studies took six years for a Bachelor's degree
Bachelor's degree
A bachelor's degree is usually an academic degree awarded for an undergraduate course or major that generally lasts for three or four years, but can range anywhere from two to six years depending on the region of the world...

 and up to twelve additional years for a master's degree and doctorate. The first six years were organized by the faculty of arts
Faculty of Arts
The Faculty of Arts was one of the four traditional divisions of the teaching bodies of medieval universities, the others being Theology, Law and Medicine...

, where the seven liberal arts
Liberal arts
The term liberal arts refers to those subjects which in classical antiquity were considered essential for a free citizen to study. Grammar, Rhetoric and Logic were the core liberal arts. In medieval times these subjects were extended to include mathematics, geometry, music and astronomy...

 were taught: arithmetic, geometry, astronomy, music theory, grammar, logic, and rhetoric. The primary emphasis was on logic.

Once a Bachelor of Arts
Bachelor of Arts
A Bachelor of Arts , from the Latin artium baccalaureus, is a bachelor's degree awarded for an undergraduate course or program in either the liberal arts, the sciences, or both...

 degree had been conferred, the student could leave the university or pursue further studies, in one of the three other faculties – law
Law
Law is a system of rules and guidelines which are enforced through social institutions to govern behavior, wherever possible. It shapes politics, economics and society in numerous ways and serves as a social mediator of relations between people. Contract law regulates everything from buying a bus...

, medicine
Medicine
Medicine is the science and art of healing. It encompasses a variety of health care practices evolved to maintain and restore health by the prevention and treatment of illness....

, or theology
Theology
Theology is the systematic and rational study of religion and its influences and of the nature of religious truths, or the learned profession acquired by completing specialized training in religious studies, usually at a university or school of divinity or seminary.-Definition:Augustine of Hippo...

 – in which to pursue the master's degree
Master's degree
A master's is an academic degree granted to individuals who have undergone study demonstrating a mastery or high-order overview of a specific field of study or area of professional practice...

 and doctorate degree. Theology was the most prestigious area of study, and the most difficult.

Courses were offered according to books, not by subject or theme. For example a course might be on a book by Aristotle
Aristotle
Aristotle was a Greek philosopher and polymath, a student of Plato and teacher of Alexander the Great. His writings cover many subjects, including physics, metaphysics, poetry, theater, music, logic, rhetoric, linguistics, politics, government, ethics, biology, and zoology...

, or a book from the Bible
Bible
The Bible refers to any one of the collections of the primary religious texts of Judaism and Christianity. There is no common version of the Bible, as the individual books , their contents and their order vary among denominations...

. Courses were not elective: the course offerings were set, and everyone had to take the same courses. There were, however, occasional choices as to which teacher to use.


Students entered the University at fourteen to fifteen years of age. Classes usually started at 5:00 or 6:00 AM. Students were afforded the legal protection of the clergy. In this way no one was allowed to physically harm them; they could only be tried for crimes in a church court, and were thus immune from any corporal punishment
Corporal punishment
Corporal punishment is a form of physical punishment that involves the deliberate infliction of pain as retribution for an offence, or for the purpose of disciplining or reforming a wrongdoer, or to deter attitudes or behaviour deemed unacceptable...

. This gave students free rein in urban environments to break secular laws with impunity, a fact which produced many abuses: theft, rape and murder were not uncommon among students who did not face serious consequences. This led to uneasy tensions with secular authorities. Students would sometimes "strike" by leaving a city and not returning for years. This happened at the University of Paris strike of 1229
University of Paris strike of 1229
In 1229, a student riot at the University of Paris resulted in the deaths of a number of students, and the ensuing "dispersion" or student strike in protest lasted more than two years and led to a number of reforms of the medieval university...

 after a riot (started by the students) left a number of students dead; the University went on strike and they did not return for two years. As the students had the legal status of clerics which, according to the Canon Law, could not be held by women, women were not admitted into universities.

A popular textbook for university study was called the Sentences
Sentences
The Four Books of Sentences is a book of theology written by Peter Lombard in the twelfth century. It is a systematic compilation of theology, written around 1150; it derives its name from the sententiae or authoritative statements on biblical passages that it gathered together.-Origin and...

(Quattuor libri sententiarum) of Peter Lombard
Peter Lombard
Peter Lombard was a scholastic theologian and bishop and author of Four Books of Sentences, which became the standard textbook of theology, for which he is also known as Magister Sententiarum-Biography:Peter Lombard was born in Lumellogno , in...

; theology students and masters were required to write extensive commentaries on this text as part of their curriculum. Much of medieval thought in philosophy and theology can be found in scholastic
Scholasticism
Scholasticism is a method of critical thought which dominated teaching by the academics of medieval universities in Europe from about 1100–1500, and a program of employing that method in articulating and defending orthodoxy in an increasingly pluralistic context...

 textual commentary because scholasticism was such a popular method of teaching.

Most universities of international excellence in Europe were registered by the Holy Roman Empire
Holy Roman Empire
The Holy Roman Empire was a realm that existed from 962 to 1806 in Central Europe.It was ruled by the Holy Roman Emperor. Its character changed during the Middle Ages and the Early Modern period, when the power of the emperor gradually weakened in favour of the princes...

 as a Studium Generale
Studium Generale
Studium generale is the old customary name for a Medieval university.- Definition :There is no clear official definition of what constituted a Studium generale...

. Members of these institutions were encouraged to disseminate their knowledge across Europe, often giving lecture courses at a different Studium Generale
Studium Generale
Studium generale is the old customary name for a Medieval university.- Definition :There is no clear official definition of what constituted a Studium generale...

.

See also


  • List of medieval universities
  • Renaissance of the 12th century
    Renaissance of the 12th century
    The Renaissance of the 12th century was a period of many changes at the outset of the High Middle Ages. It included social, political and economic transformations, and an intellectual revitalization of Western Europe with strong philosophical and scientific roots...

  • Studium Generale
    Studium Generale
    Studium generale is the old customary name for a Medieval university.- Definition :There is no clear official definition of what constituted a Studium generale...

  • Ancient universities of Scotland
    Ancient universities of Scotland
    The ancient universities of Scotland are medieval and renaissance universities which continue to exist until the present day. The majority of the ancient universities of the British Isles are located within Scotland, and have a number of distinctive features in common, being governed by a series of...

  • Town and gown
    Town and gown
    Town and gown are two distinct communities of a university town; "town" being the non-academic population and "gown" metonymically being the university community, especially in ancient seats of learning such as Oxford, Cambridge, Durham and St Andrews, although the term is also used to describe...

  • Nation (university corporation)


External links