Tape 5: Peter Abelard

In twelfth-century Europe schools flourished in many centres. There were schools in monasteries and cathedrals, primarily for the education of monks and priests but often open also to laymen. In Italian towns, especially, there were lay schools teaching law and commercial skills to fee-paying students. In France, especially, also in England and other countries, there were schools for feepaying students of the liberal arts. The traditional list of the liberal arts included seven: grammar, logic and rhetoric (the "trivium"), and arithmetic, geometry, astronomy and music (the "quadrivium"): most of the schools we're talking about taught the trivium, grammar, logic and rhetoric. These three disciplines in one way or other taught language skills; they were sometimes called the artes sermocinales. Students who had completed these "trivial" studies sometimes moved on to theology, or sometimes set up as teachers themselves of grammar, logic and rhetoric. Some students travelled from country to country looking for a good school, and sometimes made their living for a while by teaching before becoming students again.
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