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Authoritative attitude of the Church.

The main power in effecting this subservience on the part of medieval society was the Christian Church. For it was but natural during the period of assimilation that the Church, which had become completely organized and unlimited in power, should stand as the chief guide and schoolmaster of the Germanic hosts. By the decree of Justinian in 529 A. D., which closed the pagan schools and marks the beginning of the Middle Ages, Christian education was left without a rival. Hence the cathedral and monastic schools became almost the sole means of leavening the barbarian lump. Contrary to the view commonly accepted, the educational activities of the cathedral institutions were more important and general than those of the monastic schools. But the former have already been somewhat discussed, and so much relating to the course and services of the latter will also apply to them that we may now turn to a detailed description of the monastic schools.

The Evolution and Nature of Monasticism.—To understand these schools, it will be necessary to examine the movement out of which they arose. Monasticism grew up through the corruption in Roman society and the desire of those within the Church for a deeper religious life. Christianity was no longer confined to small extra-social groups meeting secretly, but was represented in all walks of society, and mingled with the world. It had become thoroughly secularized, and even the clergy prevailing vice. had in many instances yielded to the prevailing worldliness and vice.

Reaction to

Under these circumstances there were Christians who felt that the only hope for salvation rested in fleeing from the world and its temptations and taking refuge in


an isolated life of asceticism and devotion. This led eventually to the foundation of monasteries, in which Hermits and the monks lived apart in separate cells, but met for meals, prayers, communion, and counsel. Monasticism started in Egypt, but soon spread into Syria and Palestine, and then into Greece, Italy, and Gaul. But in the West monasticism gradually adopted more active pursuits Monasticism and milder discipline, and the monks turned to the cultivation of the soil and the preservation of literature.

in the West.

Benedict's 'Rule' and the Multiplication of Manuscripts. These monastic activities were especially crystallized and promoted by the Benedictine 'rule.' This was a code formulated by St. Benedict in 529 for his monastery at Monte Cassino in Southwest Italy, and it was generally adopted by the monasteries of Western Europe. In the forty-eighth chapter of the 'rule' he commanded that the monks each day engage in manual Manual labor and reading relabor for at least seven hours and in systematic reading quired. for at least two hours. The requirement of daily reading led to the collection and reproduction of manuscripts, and each monastery soon had a scriptorium, or 'writingroom,' in one end of the building (Fig. 7). Most of the works copied were of a religious nature and were limited in number, but the monks were occasionally occupied with the Latin classics, and they also became the authors of some original literature, which included histories of the Resulting literChurch, the monasteries, and the times, as well as works upon religious topics.

ary activities.

Amalgamation of Roman and Irish Christianity.— This preservation of learning and development of literature was especially apparent in the monasteries of Eng- Especial presland. It came about through the amalgamation at the learning

ervation of

in English monasteries.

Length of


Types of pupils.

Council of Whitby, in 664, of the Roman Church in England, with Irish Christianity, which had preserved an unusually high order of learning after its isolation. An immense enthusiasm for the Church, culture, and literature of Rome resulted from this merging of the rival organizations, and the English monasteries, such as Jarrow and Wearmouth, and cathedral schools, like York, became the great educational centers for Europe.

The Organization of the Monastic Schools.-The literary work of the monasteries soon led to the establishment of regular schools within their walls (Fig. 8). The course in these monastic schools may often have lasted eight or ten years, as boys of ten or even less were sometimes received, and no one could become a regular member of the order before he was eighteen. By the ninth century the schools sometimes also admitted pupils who never expected to enter the order. These latter were called externi in distinction to the oblati, who were preparing to become monks. Some training was also given women in convents for nuns, such as that established by the sister of Benedict.

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The Seven Liberal Arts' as the Curriculum.-The curriculum of the monastic schools was at first elementary and narrow. It included only reading, in order to study the Bible; writing, to copy the sacred books; and calculation, for the sake of computing Church festivals. But after a while the classical learning was gradually introduced in that dry and condensed form of the 'seven liberal arts', which was also used by the cathedral schools. This medieval canon of studies was a gradual evolution from Græco-Roman days. The discrimination of these liberal subjects may be said to have begun with Plato,

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