History of Education
by Levi Seeley
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Augustine's Pedagogy.—1. All teaching is based on faith and authority.

2. All pagan literature must be excluded from the schools.

3. The chief subject in the school course is history pursued in the narrative form.

4. Make abundant use of observation in instruction.

5. The teacher must be earnest and enthusiastic.

While the Roman Empire became officially Christian in the fourth century under Constantine, it was not until Justinian decreed the abolition of pagan schools and temples, A.D. 529, that paganism, as we have seen, was finally destroyed. Thus the long conflict was ended, and henceforth we have to do only with Christian education. We now enter upon the thousand years of the world's history known as the Middle Ages, the close of which brings us to the Reformation.


[30] See Draper, "Conflict between Religion and Science," p. 59.



Literature.Lord, Beacon Lights; Lecky, History of European Morals; Myers, Mediaeval and Modern History; White, Eighteen Christian Centuries; Harper, Book of Facts; Mrs. Jameson, Legends of Monastic Orders; Gasquet, Henry VIII. and the English Monasteries; Chateaubriand, The Genius of Christianity; Allies, The Monastic Life; Taunton, The English Black Monks of St. Benedict.

Monasteries.—Monasteries were established as early as the third century A.D.; but it was not until the sixth century that they became powerful. The spirit of asceticism, urged by the Church as one of the most important virtues, took a strong hold upon the people, and led many to withdraw from the world. For such the founding of monasteries became a necessity. The monasteries were the result of the ascetic spirit, and their teaching was based upon authority and not upon free investigation or original research. Thus there was introduced into society and education a principle that, wrongly interpreted, impeded progress for a thousand years.

Most of the time during this period the Church held supremacy over the State with authority unquestioned. This authority was carried not only into spiritual matters, but also into social, political, and educational affairs. Everything that conflicted with that authority, or with the decrees of the Church, was condemned. Even scientific discoveries that did not harmonize with preconceived and accepted theories were reluctantly received, if not absolutely rejected. Discoverers in the realm of science were silenced, and sometimes actually punished, for promulgating theories contrary to the teachings of the Church. A notable example is that of Galileo, who taught the Copernican theory of the universe, and for which teaching he was condemned to imprisonment and a ban put upon his work. This exaggerated interpretation of authority worked harm to the Church. It seemed to be forgotten that the Bible is a book of religion and morals and not a text-book of science.

The Benedictines.—The most important monastic order from the standpoint of education was that of the Benedictines. St. Benedict founded the first monastery of the order that bears his name—Monte Cassino, near Naples,—in 529. It will be remembered that this is the date of the abolition of pagan schools by Justinian. On the site of Monte Cassino had stood a pagan school. The monastery which supplanted it remains to the present day.

Benedict's two important principles—to which cloisters hitherto had been unaccustomed—were industry and strict discipline. These principles made the Benedictine the most successful and beneficent of all monastic orders. It grew rapidly, and within one hundred years from its foundation there were more than two hundred and fifty Benedictine monasteries. It is claimed that the order has produced 4600 bishops, 1600 archbishops, 200 cardinals, 40 popes, 50 patriarchs, 4 emperors, 12 empresses, 46 kings, 41 queens, 3600 canonized saints, and 15,700 authors, and that prior to the French Revolution it possessed 37,000 cloisters. There have been times when the wealth of this order in some states comprised more than half of all the property. The Benedictine monks tilled the soil of the country surrounding their monasteries, literally making the "desert blossom as the rose." They were untiring in zeal for the Church and in deeds of mercy. They established cloister schools in Italy, France, Spain, England, Ireland, Germany, and Switzerland. Monte Cassino (529), Italy; Canterbury (586) and Oxford (ninth century), England; St. Gall (613), Switzerland; Fulda (744), Constance, Hamburg, and Cologne (tenth century), Germany; Lyons, Tours, Paris, and Rouen (tenth century), France; Salzburg (696), Austria; and many other schools were founded chiefly by the Benedictines. Among the many great teachers that they produced were Alcuin of England, Boniface of Germany, Thomas Aquinas, Duns Scotus, and Abelard. It thus appears that the Benedictine order took a deep interest in education, and their work deserves a most honorable place among the educational agencies of the period under discussion.

The Seven Liberal Arts.—We have seen that much attention was always given to religious instruction in the Christian schools. The Bible, the doctrines of the Church, and its rites and ceremonies were at first exclusively taught. But later secular branches were introduced. These secular branches were known as the seven liberal arts, which comprised the following subjects:—

{Reading and {1. Grammar. {Writing. {I. Trivium[1] {2. Rhetoric. The Seven { {3. Logic. Liberal Arts. { { {1. Arithmetic. { {2. Music. { II. Quadrivium[31] {3. Geometry. { {4. Astronomy.

This course required seven years. Latin was the only language used, and consequently the native tongues suffered. The trivium was the most popular course; such knowledge was considered an absolute necessity for any one making claim to culture. After completing the trivium, those who wished for higher culture studied the quadrivium.

Under the term grammar were included reading and writing, as well as the construction and use of language. In rhetoric the works of Quintilian and Cicero were studied, and sermons delivered in the churches were made to serve for a practical application of the rules. In logic the works of St. Augustine were used in the exercises of constructing syllogisms, of disputation, and of definition. In arithmetic, before the introduction of the Arabic notation, numbers were considered to have a mysterious meaning. The hands and fingers were used to indicate numbers. For example, the left hand upon the breast indicated ten thousand; both hands folded, one hundred thousand. For the practical purposes of life the reckoning board was used. This was a board with lines drawn upon it, between which pebbles were placed to indicate the number to be expressed. For example, the number 3146 would be indicated as follows:—

3 1 4 6 ''' ' '''' ''''''

Music was designed for the church service. Knowledge of music was held to be positively essential to priest and teacher. Under the term music were also sometimes included the fine arts, painting, drawing, architecture, sculpture, etc.

In geometry Euclid was used. Lines, angles, surfaces, and solids were studied. With geometry there seems to have been connected a meager study of geography. Early maps have been found, one dating from the seventh century, being in possession of St. Gall monastery. Astronomy was closely connected with astrology. Its practical application was limited to the formation of the Church calendar, fixing the date of Easter, etc.

This celebrated course of study formed the basis of secular instruction in the monasteries, and, indeed, in all schools, for several centuries. Religious instruction always remained a prominent feature of the work. History had no place in the curriculum.

Summary of Benefits conferred upon Civilization by the Monasteries.—1. They preserved classic literature. Though many of the Church Fathers, as we have seen, were bitterly opposed to pagan literature, the monasteries copied it with great industry and preserved it with care. The archives of these institutions have yielded up some most remarkable and valuable manuscripts that otherwise would have been lost to the world.

2. They kept alive the flickering flame of Christianity. The Middle Ages were indeed dark for Christianity, as unbelief, ignorance, and faithlessness prevailed. But the monasteries were centers of religious interest and zeal.

3. They maintained educational interest during this long, dark period. We have seen that the monasteries contained the only schools. Through them the Church kept up whatever educational interest survived during the Middle Ages, and her work then conserved the energies employed in later educational enterprise.

4. They originated a great course of study by giving to the world the seven liberal arts.

5. They furnished places of refuge for the oppressed.


[31] Laurie thinks that these names were first appropriately used about the end of the fourth century.



Literature.Fisher, History of the Reformation; Lord, Beacon Lights; Thalheimer, Mediaeval and Modern History; Schwegler, History of Philosophy; Seebohm, Era of the Protestant Revolution; Hegel, Philosophy of History; Azarias, Philosophy of Literature; Azarias, Essays Philosophical; Schwickerath, Jesuit Education, its History and Principles.

Compayre remarks, "It has been truly said that there were three Renascences: the first, which owed its beginning to Charlemagne, and whose brilliancy did not last; the second, that of the twelfth century, the issue of which was Scholasticism; and the third, the great Renaissance of the sixteenth century, which still lasts, and which the French Revolution has completed."[32]

As scholasticism, in a sense, was the rival of monasticism, and as it covered a large part of the Middle Ages, we shall discuss it at this point. Scholasticism was a movement having for its object the harmonizing of ancient philosophy, especially that of Aristotle, with the doctrines of Christianity. It covered a period reaching from the ninth to the fifteenth century, and displayed its greatest activity between the eleventh and thirteenth centuries. It is called the philosophy of the Middle Ages. The term scholastic is also applied generally to forms of reasoning which abound in subtleties. Scholasticism was a dissent from the teachings of St. Augustine and the ascetics. It laid chief stress upon reason instead of authority, thus asserting a vitally different principle, which would tend to change the whole spirit of education.

The first prominent leader of this movement was Erigena, who lived during the ninth century, and was the most interesting writer of the Middle Ages. He was also a great teacher, and was called to give instruction at the court of Charles the Bald, and afterward at Oxford. He opposed the prevailing tendencies of the monasteries to base all teaching on authority, and made its foundation philosophy and reason. Schwegler[33] denominates Anselm (born about 1033) as "the beginner and founder of scholasticism." Thus it was not till the eleventh century "that there was developed anything that might be properly termed a Christian philosophy. This was the so-called scholasticism."[34]

Greater than either of these was Abelard (born 1079), who by his eloquence attracted great numbers of students to Paris. It is said that "few teachers ever held such sway as did Abelard for a time." He made Paris the center of the scholastic movement, attracting students from all parts of the world. He did more than any of his predecessors to give accepted ecclesiastical doctrines a rational expression. Scholasticism influenced the establishment of institutions of learning in England, Germany, Italy, and Spain, some of which later developed into great universities. Thomas Aquinas, Duns Scotus, and Occam may also be mentioned as great schoolmen. Of the first two Schwegler says,[35] "At the summit of scholasticism we must place the two incontestably greatest masters of the scholastic art and method, Thomas Aquinas (Dominican, 1225-1274) and Duns Scotus (Franciscan, 1265-1308), the founders of two schools, into which after them the whole scholastic theology divides itself,—the former exalting the understanding (intellectus), and the latter the will (voluntas), as the highest principle, both being driven into essentially differing directions by this opposition of the theoretical and practical. Even with this began the downfall of scholasticism; its highest point was also the turning point to its self-destruction. The rationality of the dogmas, the oneness of faith and knowledge, had been constantly their fundamental premise; but this premise fell away, and the whole basis of their metaphysics was given up in principle the moment Duns Scotus placed the problem of theology in the practical. When the practical and the theoretical became divided, and still more when thought and being were separated by nominalism, philosophy broke loose from theology and knowledge from faith. Knowledge assumed its position above faith and above authority, and the religious consciousness broke with the traditional dogma."

Toward the end, another thing contributed to the downfall of scholasticism. The philosophical subtleties of discussion made the schoolmen lose sight of the main issue, and devote themselves to the most ridiculous questions.[36] Schwickerath remarks,[37] "It can not and need not be denied that the education imparted by the mediaeval scholastics was in many regards defective. It was at once too dogmatic and disputatious. Literary studies were comparatively neglected; frequently too much importance was attached to purely dialectical subtleties.... The defects of scholasticism became especially manifest in the course of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, when much time and energy were wasted in discussing useless refinements of thought." That it did a great deal of good will appear from the following summary:—

Summary of the Benefits of Scholasticism.—1. It attempted to harmonize philosophy with Christianity, and may be called the first Christian philosophy.

2. It sought to base learning on reason and investigation, rather than on authority. In this we find the first impulse of that movement which later led to the founding of science.

3. Many universities were established through the scholastic influence, notably, Paris, Heidelberg, Bologna, Prague, and Vienna.

4. While it failed to establish them, it at least recognized the desirableness of a universal language for schools, and a universal church for man.

5. Although, with the exception of the universities which it founded, its direct work in education cannot be said to have been permanent, yet it imparted fresh vigor to educational endeavors.

6. Schwegler says,[38] "It ... introduced to the world another principle than that of the old Church, the principle of the thinking spirit, the self-consciousness of the reason, or at least prepared the way for the victory of this principle. Even the deformities and unfavorable side of scholasticism, the many absurd questions upon which the scholastics divided, even their thousandfold unnecessary and accidental distinctions, their inquisitiveness and subtleties, all sprang from a rational principle, and grew out of a spirit of investigation, which could only utter itself in this way under the all-powerful ecclesiastical spirit of the time."


[32] "History of Pedagogy," p. 71.

[33] "History of Philosophy," p. 186.

[34] Ibid., p. 185.

[35] Ibid., p. 186.

[36] See K. Schmidt, "Geschichte der Paedagogik," Vol. II, p. 265, for subjects of these discussions.

[37] "Jesuit Education," p. 46.

[38] "History of Philosophy," p. 189.



Literature.Ferris, Great Leaders; Emerton, Introduction to the Middle Ages; Guizot, History of Civilization; Wells, The Age of Charlemagne; Bryce, The Holy Roman Empire; Church, The Beginning of the Middle Ages; Lord, Beacon Lights; White, Eighteen Christian Centuries; Laurie, Rise of the Universities; Bulfinch, Legends of Charlemagne; Encyclopaedia Britannica, Article on Charlemagne.

History, Character, and Purpose.—Charlemagne was not only the greatest ruler of the Middle Ages, but one of the greatest and wisest rulers the world has known. By birth and instinct he belonged to the Teutonic race, to which, as before stated, the world's enlightenment has been committed. Like Alexander the Great, Charlemagne united many peoples into one, until he ruled over the territory now included in France, the Netherlands, Germany, Austria, and Italy,—in fact, his empire comprised the richest part of central Europe. He designed to rebuild the Roman Empire, and was crowned "Emperor of Rome" by the Pope, in the year 800. While he protected the Pope and was loyal to him, he did not admit the papal supremacy in matters of State.

Two very important influences were wisely utilized by Charlemagne in his work of civilization, namely, the political ideas of the Teutons, and the adhering power of the Christian church. He cherished German customs, and left, in various parts of Germany, many monuments of his love for that people. He was of commanding presence, being seven feet in height, and of good proportions, blond in type, and of genial manners. His real capital was at Aix-la-Chapelle, but Rome was a nominal capital. Bulfinch says of Charlemagne: "Whether we regard him as a warrior or legislator, as a patron of learning or as the civilizer of a barbarous nation, he is entitled to our warmest admiration." If his successors had possessed the ability, enterprise, and breadth of view that characterized him, the world might never have known the period in history commonly called the "Dark Ages."

Personal Education.—When Charlemagne arrived at the estate of manhood and ascended the throne, he was ignorant of letters and lacked any considerable intellectual training. His education had been that of the knight who believed that skill in the use of arms and physical prowess were of far more importance than a knowledge of letters.[39] After he had come to the throne, and especially after he had conquered his foes and had leisure to study the welfare of his people, he realized his deficiencies, and sought to overcome them by diligent study.

He called to his court the most learned men of the world, received personal instruction from them, and had them read to him and converse with him while at his meals. In this way he overcame, in a measure, the defects of his early education. He thoroughly mastered Latin, became familiar with Greek, and learned also grammar, rhetoric, logic, music, astronomy, and natural history. He never learned to write well, owing to the late period of life at which he began, and to the clumsiness of the hand accustomed to wielding the sword rather than the pen.

Among his instructors was Alcuin of England, the most celebrated teacher of his time. Charlemagne established the "School of the Palace," and placed Alcuin at its head. Here the children of the emperor as well as his courtiers were taught. He had his own daughters learn Latin and Greek. France is indebted to Alcuin for its polite learning. Alcuin was also the counselor of the emperor in the educational matters of the empire, and it was probably his influence that led Charlemagne to adopt such broad views concerning the culture of his people.

General Education.—We have seen that the prevailing idea was that education should subserve the interests of the Church. Charlemagne turned the current of thought toward the national idea. He believed in religious training, but wanted to found a great State, and therefore insisted that those things which encouraged intelligent patriotism should be taught. He protected the Church, but insisted that the Church was subordinate to the State, and that his will was law over both. Consequently he required priests to preach in the native tongues rather than in Latin, and decreed that monasteries that would not open their doors to children for school purposes should be closed. The priests, he insisted, should be able to read and write, should have a knowledge of the Holy Scriptures and of the chief doctrines of the Church, and should instruct the people in these things.

The seven liberal arts formed the basis of school instruction. Monks were not to remain in idleness and ignorance, but were required to teach, not only in the monasteries, but also outside of them. He also encouraged education among his nobles, and plainly intimated that merit and not noble birth would entitle them to favor. Charlemagne visited the schools himself, and required the bishop to report to him their condition. He thus became a superintendent of schools, being as familiar with the educational interests of his kingdom as he was with every other interest. He sought to teach first the priests and nobles, and after that the masses of his people. He introduced the practice of compulsory education for all children, and decreed that truant children be first deprived of food as punishment, and if that did not suffice, that they be brought before him.

Reading, writing, arithmetic, and singing were taught, especial attention being given to music, which was of use in the church services. The Apostles' Creed and the Lord's Prayer were also taught. In 801 Charlemagne decreed that women and children should receive instruction in the doctrines of religion, because he believed religion to be the foundation of a civilized nation.

Charlemagne's career shines out in brilliant contrast with the ignorance and superstition of his age. The world was not yet ripe for his advanced ideas, hence when the work lost the support of his strong personality, its effects soon became obliterated, and a retrogression of civilization resulted.

The clergy, who had entertained but little sympathy for the enterprises of the emperor, soon closed the monasteries to outside students, and returned to the same practices from which the authority and energy of Charlemagne had aroused them. His work was not wholly in vain, however, for he laid the foundations of the Prussian school system.[40]

Summary of Charlemagne's Work.—1. He elevated the clergy by demanding greater educational qualifications of them and by insisting that they do their duty.

2. He gave dignity to native tongues by requiring the priests to preach more frequently in the vernacular of the people, and thus helped to make the services of the Church of greater profit to the people.

3. He opened the cloisters to the purposes of education, and thereby greatly extended their usefulness.

4. He sought to perpetuate religion and insure the stability of his empire by making education compulsory and universal.

5. He believed in the education of women.

6. He laid the foundations of future school systems, and indicated certain principles that are still recognized as valid.


[39] See "Feudal Education," Chap. XXII.

[40] Professor Masius, Lectures in the University of Leipsic.



Literature.Ferris, Great Leaders; Lord, Beacon Lights; Mombert, Great Lives; Spofford, Library of Historical Characters; Green, History of the English People.

History and Character.—Alfred became king of the West Saxons in 871 at the age of twenty-three. As a boy he had already shown remarkable energy and ability, and as a man he more than fulfilled the promise of his early years. England was divided into several kingdoms, the Danes having taken possession of the eastern part of the island. Alfred carried on war against them for many years with varying success, until he made peace by skillful diplomacy in giving them territory. He afterward showed remarkable statesmanship in winning them to peaceful acquiescence in his sovereignty, and thus he came to rule over united England.

He laid the foundation of England's naval greatness by building ships to defend the country against Danish pirates. Many stories are told of his simplicity, his perseverance, his strategy in defeating his enemies, and the love with which he inspired his people. Karl Schmidt says, "Alfred, as victor in fifty-six battles, as lawgiver, as king and sage, as Christian and man, as husband and father, is rightly called—'The Great.'"

He was very methodical in his habits, and divided his day into three equal parts of eight hours each: eight hours he gave to government, eight hours to religious devotion and study, and the other eight hours to sleep, recreation, and the recuperation of his body.

Education.—Alfred did not learn to read until twelve years of age. His mother then stimulated him by the promise of a book to that one of her sons who should first commit to memory a Saxon poem. With indomitable energy he mastered reading, learned the poem, and secured the prize. Throughout his life he gave much attention to literary matters. He translated many portions of the Bible, as well as other books, into Anglo-Saxon, and encouraged literary efforts in others.

Without doubt the intellectual activity of Charlemagne acted as a spur to Alfred's personal ambition and to his desire to elevate his people. Although he did not follow the example of Charlemagne in seeking universal education for his people, he did urge that the children of every freeman should be able to read and write, and should have instruction in Latin. The distinction thus made in the purposes of these two great rulers has been perpetuated till the present time, the Germans encouraging universal education, while the English have attended chiefly to the education of the higher classes. Alfred established many monasteries and made them centers of learning. It seems clear that he assisted in laying the foundations from which Oxford University grew. He left his impress upon the English people as no other ruler has done, implanting love for law, justice, freedom, national honor, and the domestic virtues which characterize that nation. His influence is felt upon English institutions to this day.



Literature.Stille, Studies in Mediaeval History; Bulfinch, Legends of Charlemagne; Emerton, Mediaeval Europe.

Emerton defines feudalism as "an organization of society based upon the absence of a strong controlling power at the center of the State."[41] It marks a step in the reorganization of society which was slowly going forward during the Middle Ages. It was an element in the movement toward freedom, in which men of large landed possessions gained the allegiance of vassals by gifts of land, in return for which the latter bound themselves to defend the former in case of attack. "The tie by which the higher freeman bound the lower one to himself was ordinarily a gift of the use of a certain tract of land, together with more or less extensive rights of jurisdiction over the dwellers thereon. By means of this gift he secured the service of the lesser man in war, and as war was the normal condition of things, such service was the most valuable payment he could receive."[42]

While it is true that the feudal lords were in many cases little else than robber chieftains, especially in the earlier history of the system, it would be false to history to picture them in general as being of that character. The knights were chivalrous in battle, ever ready to fight for their religion, as shown in the crusades, to defend the weak, to show greatest respect for woman, and to maintain freedom. Fortified in an impregnable castle on some eminence, with his loyal retainers about him, the feudal baron was able to defy kings. The system marks a stage in the development of civilization, and when feudalism fell into decline its purpose had been fulfilled.

With such an independent manner of living, and such ideas of their own rights, it is not strange that the knights had a form of education peculiar to themselves, and this education is full of interest to the student. There was little in the schooling of the monasteries that could appeal to them, and their ideas of manhood were very different from those of the ecclesiastics. Prowess in the use of arms, skill in horsemanship, acquaintance with the chivalric forms of politeness and with knightly manners, were of far more importance to them than ability to read and write. Indeed, they despised book-learning as something beneath their own dignity, however suitable it might be for their vassals. In such a school as this Charlemagne grew up. It was a school of action rather than of thought; a school which looked to the present rather than the future.

The education of the knights was in striking contrast with the prevailing modes. Instead of the seven liberal arts, the seven perfections of the knight were taught,—horsemanship, swimming, use of bow and arrow, swordsmanship, hunting, chess-playing, and verse-making. Their purpose was to prepare for the activities of the life in which their lot was cast; that of the monasteries was to preserve learning to fit men for the duties of the Church, and to prepare them for the life to come. It must not be inferred, however, that the knight was unmindful of religion, for he was inducted into knighthood by most solemn religious ceremonies and vows.

The education of the knight was divided into three periods.

First Period.—The first seven years of the boy's life were spent in the home under the mother's careful direction. Obedience, politeness, and respect for older persons were inculcated, and stress was also laid upon religious training. By the development of strong and healthy bodies the boys were well prepared for the later education upon which they entered after the seventh year.

Second Period.—After the seventh year the boy was generally removed from home to the care of some friendly knight, in order that he might receive a stricter training. Here he remained till his fourteenth year, chiefly under the care of the lady whom he served as page. He was taught music, poetry, chess, and some simple intellectual studies, besides the duties of knighthood, especially in relation to the treatment of women, and to courtly manners.

Third Period.—At fourteen the boy left the service of his lady and became an esquire to the knight. He now attended his master upon the chase, at tournaments, and in battle. He was taught all the arts of war, of riding, jousting, fencing. It was necessary that he should have a watchful eye to avert danger, protect his master, and quickly anticipate his every wish. The service of this period completed his education, and at twenty-one he was knighted with imposing ceremonies. After partaking of the sacrament, he took vows to speak the truth, defend the weak, honor womanhood, and use his sword for the defense of Christianity.

This form of education was most potent in preserving knighthood for several centuries and was a powerful factor in shaping the destinies of Europe. It was faithfulness to the vow to defend Christianity that led finally to the overthrow of chivalry, as will appear in the study of the crusades.

Education of Women.—The girls remained at home and were taught the domestic arts, as well as the forms of etiquette which were practiced in this chivalric age, and which the peculiar homage paid to woman made necessary. They were also taught reading and writing, and were expected to be familiar with poetry. Daughters of the better families were sometimes collected in some castle, where a kind of school was organized, in which they were instructed in reading, writing, poetry, singing, and the use of stringed instruments, religion, and sometimes in French and Latin. Among no other class during the Middle Ages was such great attention paid to the education of women. It was the duty of mothers to see that their daughters were carefully prepared to sustain the peculiar dignity of feudal womanhood.

Criticism of Feudal Education.—1. It honored woman and gave her the highest position afforded by any system during the Middle Ages.

2. It gave the world a splendid example of chivalry, teaching manliness, courage, devotion to the right as it was understood, and the espousal of the cause of the weak.

3. It contributed to literature through the compositions of the Minnesingers.

4. It counteracted the ascetic tendencies of the monastics by encouraging an active participation in life's affairs.

5. It restricted its advantages to the privileged class.

6. It despised intellectual training, while laying great stress upon physical prowess.

7. It lacked the elements of progress.


[41] "Mediaeval Europe," p. 478.

[42] Ibid., p. 480.



Literature.Michaud, The Crusades; Stubbs, Mediaeval and Modern History; Mombert, Great Lives (see Godfrey); Myers, Mediaeval and Modern History; Guizot, History of Civilization; Lord, Beacon Lights; Archer and Kingsford, The Crusaders; White, Eighteen Christian Centuries; Andrews, Institutes of General History; Ridpath, Library of Universal History (article on the Crusades).

Among the most remarkable movements that took place during the Middle Ages were the crusades. The Saracens had overrun and conquered the Holy Land, and the Christian nations of the west attempted to recover from the hands of the infidels the soil made sacred by the life and death of Christ. For a long time the pilgrims who made journeys to the tomb of the Savior were undisturbed, as their pilgrimages were a source of profit to the Saracens. But when the Turks gained possession of Jerusalem, they began to persecute both the native Christians and those who came from abroad. Peter the Hermit, who had suffered from these cruelties at Jerusalem, returned to Europe, and by his crude eloquence and earnestness stirred the people almost to a frenzy. Obtaining the sanction of the Pope, he gathered an immense crowd of men, women, and children, and started for the Holy Land.

They encountered great hardships, many died of hunger, disease, and the hostility of the people through whose countries they passed, and the remnant who reached the Bosporus, were totally destroyed by Turkish soldiers.

The first successful crusade was organized by the feudal lords, who gathered an army of six hundred thousand men under the leadership of Godfrey of Bouillon. They had connected with their army one hundred thousand splendidly mounted men. After untold losses and horrors, which reduced their forces to sixty thousand men, they succeeded in taking Jerusalem. They established a Latin kingdom with Godfrey at the head, and thus accomplished the purpose for which they had set out. This crusade lasted from 1096 to 1099.

For about fifty years the Latin kingdom held its own; but it was constantly harassed by the Mohammedans, until it became necessary to organize a second crusade. The leaders in this were Conrad III. of Germany and Louis VII. of France. Jealousies soon arose between the rival leaders, who cared more for personal glory than for the purpose of the crusade. As a result, only a small portion of the three hundred thousand soldiers ever reached the Holy Land; and this crusade, which lasted from 1147 to 1149, resulted in failure.

Forty years later Saladin, a Mohammedan ruler, having captured Jerusalem, a third crusade was organized. This was led by Richard the Lion-Hearted of England, Frederick Barbarossa of Germany, and Philip Augustus of France. Barbarossa went overland, but Richard and Philip, profiting by past experiences, made the journey by water, thus accomplishing it with greater ease and fewer losses. The rivalries between the different nationalities engaged prevented successful warfare; but a truce was made with the humane Saladin,[43] whereby he guaranteed protection to the Christians, and thus the crusade came to an end. This crusade lasted from 1189 to 1192.

Other crusades followed from time to time for several centuries, with but little advantage gained over the conditions granted by Saladin.

Results of the Crusades.—This, in brief, is a historical account of the crusades.[44] It remains for us to note their educational value.

1. They drew various nations together by one common purpose.

2. They increased the knowledge of the manners, customs, culture, products, and civilization of the East.

3. They stirred up commerce, especially that of the Mediterranean, making Venice and Genoa great commercial centers.

4. They broke up the power of feudalism. Lord and vassal together entered upon enterprises of danger and suffering, which were great levelers of class distinction. In the enthusiasm of the holy cause, many feudal lords disposed of all their worldly possessions, and became as poor as their vassals. This broke up the feudal estates.

5. They widened the horizon of thought, made Europeans more liberal, and prepared the way for an intellectual and religious revival.

6. They emancipated philosophy from theology. As a result of movements inaugurated by the crusades, the university of Paris established the faculty of philosophy separate from that of theology.

7. G. W. Cox says, "By rolling back the tide of Mohammedan conquest from Constantinople for upward of four centuries they probably saved Europe from horrors the recital of which might even now make one's ears tingle."


[43] See Lessing's "Nathan der Weise."

[44] It would be impossible to give a full historical account of the crusades in a work of this kind. The reader is referred to any standard work on that subject.



Literature.Laurie, Rise of the Universities; Hallam, Middle Ages; Guizot, History of Civilization; Paulsen, The German Universities; Hurst, Life and Literature in the Fatherland; Brother Azarias, Essays Educational.

We have seen that the Church had almost entire control of education during the Middle Ages. Through her influence schools were established and maintained, learning was preserved, and the interests of civilization were promoted. She was also influential in the founding of universities, though not to her alone were these institutions due. Laurie says:—

"Now looking first to the germ out of which the universities grew, I think we must say that the universities may be regarded as a natural development of the cathedral[45] and monastery schools; but if we seek for an external motive force urging men to undertake the more profound and independent study of the liberal arts, we can find it only in the Saracenic schools of Bagdad, Babylon, Alexandria, and Cordova. The Saracens were necessarily brought into contact with Greek literature, just when the western Church was drifting away from it; and by their translations of Hippocrates, Galen, Aristotle, and other Greek classics, they restored what may be quite accurately called the 'university life' of the Greeks."

The first universities, however, can hardly be said to have been inspired by the influence of the Church. Nor did the State assist in their establishment, though it afterward sanctioned them, and conferred upon them their peculiar privileges. The first universities grew out of organizations of scholars and students who joined themselves together for the purpose of study and investigation. The oldest institution of this kind was that of Salerno, Italy, which Laurie says was a "public school from A.D. 1060, and a privileged school from 1100." It taught medicine only, and was established by a converted Jew. It was entirely independent of both Church and State, and attracted students from many countries.

The next university was that of Bologna, Italy. It also had only one faculty, that of law. In 1158 Frederick I. recognized the institution by giving it certain privileges. It awakened widespread interest throughout Europe, so that by the end of the twelfth century it is estimated that twelve thousand students had flocked to Bologna, most of them from foreign lands. This is an indication that the revival of learning was quite general throughout the world.

But the greatest university of the Middle Ages was that of Paris, which attracted at least twenty thousand students. The university of Paris was evolved from a cathedral school, and it always retained a strong theological tendency. Philip Augustus gave it privileges as a corporation, and Pope Innocent III. recognized it as a high school of theology. The course of study was by no means narrow, as it was held that broad knowledge was essential as a preparation for theological study. Consequently it was not long before a philosophical faculty[46]—the first in history—was added as separate from the theological faculty. The greatest name connected with the university of Paris is that of Abelard. Early in the twelfth century he attracted great numbers of students, and it was his personality that made Paris the greatest university of the Middle Ages.

The university of Oxford, England, was founded in 1140,[47] that of Cambridge in 1200. The oldest German university is Prague, founded in 1348. Then follow: Vienna, 1365; Heidelberg, 1386; Cologne,[3] 1388; Erfurt,[48] 1392; Wuerzburg, 1403; Leipsic, 1409; Rostock, 1419; Greifswald, 1456; Freiburg-im-Breisgau, 1457; Trier, 1472; Tuebingen, 1477; and Mainz, 1477. In France, after Paris, Toulouse, 1233; Orleans, Cahors, Caen, Poitiers, Nantes, and others during the fourteenth century. In the same century at Lund and Upsala in Sweden, Christiania in Norway, and Copenhagen in Denmark. Italy, Spain, England, Ireland, and Scotland also felt this wonderful impulse. These universities were usually modeled after that of Paris.

The European universities were early granted certain privileges, many of which are accorded to this day. Indeed, some of these privileges were assumed and allowed before the institutions had official recognition by charter. These educational associations acquired so much influence and power that princes and popes vied with each other to gain favor with them by granting them special privileges. One of the most important of these is that the government of the student body rests with the university faculty, both as to their life in connection with the university, and also outside of it. Thus to this day if a student is arrested by the police, his case is turned over to the authorities of the university for trial and punishment. This was an important concession largely growing out of the fact that a great many of the students were citizens of other countries than that in which the university was located. It will readily appear that this privilege alone would have a tendency to create a world for university students and professors apart from that of the citizens. Doubtless the moral tone among the former was often very low. Students took advantage of the situation created by their peculiar privileges, and disregarded laws which the citizens were obliged to obey. Conflicts between these two classes, therefore, were frequent and bitter.

The universities stimulated a desire for learning, created a respect for it, and began a movement toward free investigation, and for the promulgation of liberal ideas, which gains strength with each decade of the world's history. They have greatly contributed to the growth of knowledge, to the advancement of science, and to the elevation of mankind.


[45] The cathedral schools were institutions connected with each cathedral for the purpose of training priests for their sacred office, but they were not limited entirely to priests. Instructions in the seven liberal arts was imparted, and also in religion. Parochial schools were established in many places for the purpose of training children in the doctrines of the Church. Thus, as early as the ninth century, the Church sought to extend the benefits of education to the people as well as to the priesthood. While the parochial schools were limited in their instruction, somewhat after the manner of the early catechumen schools, the changed conditions of Christianity permitted a much broader training than formerly.

[46] The complete university has four faculties, which embrace all human knowledge. The historical order of precedence is as follows: Theology (1259-60), Law (1271), Medicine (1274), and Arts or Philosophy (1281). The last includes all subjects not embraced in the first three. Thus all branches of science, history, language, mathematics, etc., belong to the "philosophical" faculty.

[47] Laurie, "Rise of the Universities."

[48] No longer in existence



Literature.Warner, Library of the World's Best Literature (see article on the Koran); Johonnot, Geographical Reader; Lane-Poole, Story of the Moors in Spain; Lord, Beacon Lights of History; Thalheimer, Mediaeval and Modern History; Stille, Studies in Mediaeval History; Irving, Mahomet and his Successors; Church, The Beginnings of the Middle Ages; Andrews, Institutes of General History; White, Eighteen Christian Centuries; Myers, Mediaeval and Modern History; Mombert, Great Lives; Clarke, Ten Great Religions; Ferris, Great Leaders; Laurie, Rise of the Universities; Walker, John Brisben, The Building of an Empire ("Cosmopolitan," Feb.-Sept., 1899); "North American Review," Vol. 171, p. 754.

We have thus far described the work of Christian education. Parallel with this and almost entirely independent of it grew the educational work of the Moslems. This was a very important movement most valuable to civilization.

History of Mohammedanism.—Mohammedanism dates from the time of the Hegira, or flight of Mohammed from Mecca, A.D. 622. From this date Moslems reckon their time, as the Christian world reckons from the birth of Christ. Mohammed first appeared as prophet when forty years of age. The religion of the Arabs was a most degraded one, and there was great need of the reformation which Mohammed undertook. The prophet was not well received at first, and, being obliged to flee from Mecca, he retired to a cave at Medina, where he meditated and studied. It was during this retirement that he wrote the Koran, the Bible of the Mohammedans. He claimed that the angel Gabriel appeared to him, giving him a new revelation, which was more significant than that of the Christians. Indeed, these so-called revelations were strangely suited to the varying ambition of the founder of this religion. The Koran teaches that as Jesus was greater than Moses, so Mohammed was greater than Jesus.

There is no doubt that the new religion was an improvement upon the degraded form of worship that Mohammed found among the Arabs, or that in the beginning of his activity he did much to purify and elevate his people. But as he gained great numbers of adherents, and as he acquired power, Mohammed became a warrior, and attempted by the sword to compel belief in his doctrines. Moslemism met with such wonderful success that already, during the life of Mohammed, all Arabia was conquered to this belief, while his successors spread his teachings into northern Africa, western Asia, Spain, and Turkey. They carried their triumphant arms into France, until they were checked by Charles Martel; they overran Austria and threatened the complete subjugation of southeastern Europe, until John Sobieski dealt them a crushing blow before the gates of Vienna, and forever destroyed their ambition for northern conquest; they occupied Spain for seven hundred years, and still retain Turkey as their sole European possession; they have extended their power over many parts of Asia and Africa, until now they number about two hundred million souls.

The five chief Moslem precepts are:—

1. Confession of the unity of God. "There is one God, and Mohammed is his prophet."

2. Stated prayer.

3. Almsgiving.

4. The fast of Ramadan, the ninth month of the Mohammedan year.

5. Observance of the festival of Mecca. Every Moslem is expected to make a pilgrimage to Mecca at least once in his lifetime.

Education.—When Mohammedanism became secure in its power, it turned its attention to education. The successors of Mohammed were called caliphs, and the caliphs of Bagdad and Cordova rivaled each other in fostering learning. Schools were established in all large Moslem cities and in many smaller towns. Their scholars translated the works of Aristotle and other Greek authors. They taught mathematics, astronomy, philosophy, and grammar. They originated the science of chemistry, and made great advances in the study of algebra and trigonometry. They also measured the earth, and made catalogues of the stars. Every branch of knowledge was studied, and students were attracted from all parts of Europe to their schools, especially to Cordova.

Students lived in colleges with the professors, and there was an atmosphere of culture and investigation not equaled in any of the Christian universities of the Middle Ages.

Spain reached the summit of Moslem education during the reign of King Hakem III. (961-976). This king fostered education, being himself a man of learning. He had a private library of six hundred thousand volumes.

Education was not confined simply to the higher schools and universities. There were also a great many elementary schools. The first work of these was to teach the Koran, which was used as a reading book. The Koran gives us the most perfect picture of the oriental mind that we possess. Children of the poor attended school from their fifth till their eighth year, when they were allowed to go to service. Children of the rich entered school at their fifth year and remained till their fourteenth or fifteenth year. After that, if parents could afford it, boys traveled until their twentieth year, under care of a tutor. This completed their education. Any person could teach who chose to do so, no authority fixing the qualifications of teachers.

The Mohammedan schools began to decline in the eleventh century. At the present time, but little attention is paid to education in any of the countries under the sway of Islam.


1. Paganism gave way to Christianity, and the benign influence of the latter began to be felt in the recognition of the importance of the individual.

2. The Church undertook the direction of education, which, though necessarily limited chiefly to the ecclesiastics, had also a great influence upon the masses at large.

3. The Church Fathers were the leaders in intellectual as well as in spiritual matters, while monks and priests were the principal teachers.

4. The monasteries were the centers of educational activity, both in fostering scholarship and in preserving classic literature.

5. Secular courses of study were established, the most important being the "seven liberal arts."

6. Education was based on authority, and free investigation found but little encouragement, except among the scholastics.

7. The State assumed no part in the training of the young. Charlemagne's educational work is an exception to this rule. He asserted the prerogative of the State to control education, recognized the necessity of universal education, and the principle of compulsory attendance.

8. The crusades checked the growth of feudalism, aroused the intellectual as well as the spiritual energies of the people, led to a broader conception of man's duty to his fellow-man, and prepared the way for greater religious and political freedom.

9. As an important result of the stimulated educational activity, both among Christians and Mohammedans, many universities were founded.

10. "The Middle Ages," says Emerson, "gave us decimal numbers, gunpowder, glass, chemistry, and gothic architecture, and their paintings are the delight and tuition of our age."[49]


[49] Emerson, Progress of Culture in "Letters and Social Aims," p. 204. Boston, 1895.



Literature.Williams, History of Modern Education; Quick, Educational Reformers; Bryce, The Holy Roman Empire; Andrews, Institutes of General History; Fisher, History of the Reformation; Reeve, Petrarch; Symonds, Renaissance in Italy; Seebohm, Era of Protestant Revolution; Spofford, Library of Historical Characters; Hegel, Philosophy of History; Draper, Intellectual Development of Europe; Azarias, Philosophy of Literature; Schwickerath, Jesuit Education; Dr. Ludwig Pastor, History of the Popes, Vol. I, p. 54, etc.

As the fifteenth century drew to a close there were unmistakable evidences of the dawn of a better day, and the long period known as the "Dark Ages" was to be succeeded by a brighter and more glorious era. The sway of the Church over the consciences, lives, and material interests of men was disputed; the feudal system had begun to disintegrate; the world had been aroused to new enterprise by the discovery and exploration of distant continents, by the invention of paper, the printing press, gunpowder, and the mariner's compass; the Ptolemaic system of astronomy had been superseded by that of Copernicus; the great empires of the Middle Ages had disappeared, and upon their ruins had been constructed smaller nationalities which spoke a language of their own. The period in which these remarkable changes were taking place is known as that of the Renaissance. It cannot be confined to definite chronological limits, but is the period of transition from one historical stage to another, in which there was a "gradual metamorphosis of the intellectual and moral state of Europe." The Renaissance must be viewed as "an internal process whereby spiritual energies latent in the Middle Ages were developed into actuality and formed a mental habit for the modern world." It prepared the way for the Reformation, and introduced the era of wonderful progress upon which modern civilization has entered. It was the new birth, the regeneration (renascence) of the world.

A most important instrumentality for carrying forward the great work thus inaugurated was the Teutonic race. The despised northern barbarians, who had conquered Rome, had become civilized and Christianized, and were found to possess the sterling qualities which made them capable of bearing the great responsibilities of progressive civilization. The proud Roman Empire had at last succumbed to its internal weaknesses and vices, and had disappeared forever from the face of the earth.

With the greater enlightenment of men had come once more an appreciation of the value of the classic languages, and Greek, the language of the Eastern Empire, was no longer regarded with antipathy. The revival of learning, which had its inception in Italy and spread northward, found its most important expression in the new interest awakened in the classic languages. It is in this, the so-called humanistic phase of the Renaissance, that the student of education is chiefly interested. To this we turn our attention.

We have already alluded to the social conditions, the inventions, and discoveries, which prepared the way for the revival of learning. New and powerful impulses were shaping the progress of the world, and the leaders of the humanistic movement were not slow to utilize the instruments thus opportunely furnished them. Chief among these was the art of printing, which enabled them to multiply and distribute copies of the classics, that had been consigned to comparative oblivion.

Another important element must be considered if we are to understand this revival. We have seen that during the Middle Ages the ecclesiastics largely shaped the intellectual activity of Europe, that mystery was made of science, and that the authority of the Church was supreme on all questions of education as well as of religion. A new and vital doctrine was taught which had much to do with the intellectual and spiritual emancipation of man. This new doctrine may be stated as follows:—

Man is a rational, volitional, self-conscious being, born with capabilities and rights to enjoy whatever good the world offers.

This doctrine, it will readily appear, is capable of being perverted to an excuse for unbridled license, as was done by the Italians; or, rightly interpreted, of being productive of great good, as in the case of the Germans.

Another new doctrine taught was that there was goodness in man and his works even previous to the Christian era, and that a study of the writings of all who have contributed to human progress is essential to culture, and of value to mankind. This was an argument for the revival of the study of Greek, which had for centuries been neglected. Indeed, Gibbon tells us that in the time of Petrarch, "No more than ten votaries of Homer could be enumerated in all Italy."

Again, it was held that the gates of learning must be opened to all and not limited to the clergy, the recluse, and the sage. Intellectual culture must be offered to all men, to make them better and happier, and is not to be confined to the few for the purpose of increasing their power and widening the breach between the classes. The Renaissance made learning popular, it created a passion for culture, it aroused and stimulated widespread desire for greater enlightenment. Some of the leaders in the movement, however, merited opposition because of their efforts to introduce not only the beauties of pagan art and literature, but likewise some of their licentiousness.

We may now turn our attention to a more detailed history of this revival and its effect upon different peoples, and to a brief study of some of its great leaders.

Humanism in Italy.—Italy was the first to catch the impulse of humanism. Dante, Petrarch, and Boccaccio in the fourteenth century inspired men with their new ideas, and set in motion influences which were attended with results often far from good. They revived the study of Latin and Greek classics, extracted manuscripts from their hidden archives, incited in society a passion for learning, and created a popular literature in their own vernacular. They implanted a love of freedom of thought in the Italian masses. Their enthusiasm for the new learning attracted scholars from Germany, France, and other countries, who spread the influence in their own lands.

The effect of humanism upon the Italian mind and life was pernicious in the extreme. It led to infidelity, to immorality, and to a return to many pagan practices. This was owing to two chief causes. First, the evil influence of many leaders of the Church, and second, the passionate nature of the Italian people. Karl Schmidt says, "Humanism, but not morality, ruled in the Vatican." Brother Azarias, in speaking of this period, says:[50] "The clergy loved their own ease too well; they were too great pleasure-seekers and gold-coveters to attend to their flocks with that pastoral spirit of simplicity and good faith that is to be witnessed in the Church to-day. The bishops were no better. They looked for emoluments and court favor. Even the better class of ecclesiastics gave themselves up to the intellectual luxury of admiring Plato and imitating Cicero. While a general laxity of morals in all orders of religious life—among priest and monk, pope and cardinal—was bringing odium on the Church, and weakening her hold upon the people—especially upon the Teutonic races—the seeds of regeneration were germinating in her own body. She was even then the mother of sanctity.... The Catholic hierarchy at last realized that with themselves should begin the reformation they would see established; they therefore pronounced the most withering denunciations upon the clerical and religious abuses of the day."

The people interpreted the teaching of Petrarch that the world was made for man's enjoyment, as a plea for license and absence of restraint. Even monks and priests, who had been held to the rigid life of the cloister, imbued with this teaching, indulged in excesses that were subversive of both morals and religion.[51]

But without doubt there was a great intellectual movement in Italy. Draper says, "Between 1470 and 1500 more than ten thousand editions of books and pamphlets were printed, and a majority of them in Italy, demonstrating that Italy was in the van of the intellectual movement."

Humanism in Germany.—A far different result was attained among the Teutonic peoples. The best students of Germany went to Italy, and, becoming acquainted with the new education, returned to introduce it into their own universities. Being less directly under the influences that obtained in Italy, and possessing the moral stability which had brought the Teutonic race to the front, the Germans obtained good where the Italians had absorbed evil. The same principle, with different interpretation, under different conditions, and in different soil, brought forth far different fruit. Thus Petrarch's teaching was interpreted to mean that the good things of earth are not to be abused, and that man's acquirements are to be consecrated to his self-development and to the glory of God.

The German humanists revived the study of the classics, Greek, Latin, and Hebrew, until, at the beginning of the sixteenth century, these languages were taught in every German university. The Bible was studied in the original, and classic writings were redeemed from obscurity, printed, and given to the world. Heidelberg and Tuebingen became centers of the humanistic movement, and Agricola, Reuchlin, and Erasmus were the great leaders.

Artisan Schools.—During the 13th and 14th centuries another type of schools flourished, namely, the Buerger or Artisan Schools, whose purpose, contrary to that of the humanistic influences, was to prepare men for practical and useful work, and to fit for citizenship. The need of these schools grew out of the changed conditions of life, especially the growing tendency to live in cities and to divide labor into crafts. They were supported by the secular authorities, and ultimately they came to exert a great influence upon city governments, particularly those of the Hanseatic league. Many of the teachers were priests, and the instruction was usually given in the mother tongue. These schools flourished in Germany, France, Italy, Denmark, and other countries, and they doubtless furthered the idea of the maintenance of education at public expense, an idea that has come to have universal acceptance.

Summary of the Influence of Humanism.—1. It laid the foundation for future liberty of thought and conscience.

2. It revived the study of the classic languages, and gave them a place in education which they still hold.

3. It utilized the art of printing by placing the works of ancient authors in form to be used by the world.

4. It increased the number of students in the universities, and stimulated intelligence among the masses.

5. It changed courses of study, making them more practical.

6. It exerted an influence on schools of all kinds by giving better preparation to teachers.

7. It stimulated all forms of elevating activity,—in art, in science, in exploration, in invention.

8. It prepared the way for the Reformation, which broadened and perfected the work thus inaugurated.


[50] "Philosophy of Literature," p. 123.

[51] Ibid.



Literature.Spofford, Library of Historical Characters; Symonds, Renaissance in Italy; Reeve, Petrarch; Macaulay, Essays; Warner, Library of the World's Best Literature (see articles on Dante, Petrarch, and Boccaccio); D'Aubigne, History of the Reformation; Morris, Era of the Protestant Revolution; Leclerc, Life of Erasmus; Fisher, History of the Reformation; Mrs. Oliphant, Dante; Azarias, Philosophy of Literature; Schwickerath, Jesuit Education.

The mission of the humanistic leaders was to "awake the dead," for Greek had become in the fullest sense a dead language, and while classic Latin was still read, its spirit was not comprehended and therefore it also was practically dead. We have seen that the Italians were the first to catch the inspiration of this revival, and Germany, France, Spain, and England "were invited to her feast." The great leaders of Italy were Dante, Petrarch, and Boccaccio. It is not the purpose here to discuss these men in all of their intellectual activities, but simply to consider the part of their work that had a bearing on education.


DANTE (1265-1321)

Dante was born and educated in Florence. He was favored with a devoted teacher, Brunetto Latini, who was said to be "a great philosopher and a consummate master of rhetoric, not only knowing how to speak well, but to write well." Under him Dante became familiar with all of the great Latin poets, with philosophy, history, and theology. Dante always spoke of his teacher with great affection. Those were times of revolution and political disturbance, and Dante was readily drawn into politics. This caused his banishment and even endangered his life.

Dante's greatest work is the "Divine Comedy," which has made his name immortal. His was the first great name in literature after the long dark period of the Middle Ages. It is said of him that "he was not the restorer of classic antiquity, but one of the great prophets of that restoration." He brought the Italian language into use in literature and gave to it a dignity that it has never lost. Dante prepared the way for the humanistic movement and was therefore an important factor in this great revival.

PETRARCH (1304-1374)

The father of Petrarch was an eminent jurist, and he desired his son to adopt his profession, but Petrarch had neither taste nor capacity for Roman law. He was determined to be a man of letters. Like Dante, he too mixed in politics, and several important diplomatic positions were given to him. Though he succeeded in learning a little Greek late in life, Petrarch was not a Greek scholar. This did not hinder him from being a warm advocate of the claims of the Greek language as an important element of a liberal education. Although he possessed a manuscript of Homer, "Homer was dumb to him, or rather he was deaf to Homer."

Petrarch was the real founder of humanism. Being enthusiastic for the works of antiquity himself, he inspired the Italians with a remarkable zeal in the pursuit of classic lore; nor was his influence confined to the limits of his native country. He was the first to make a collection of classic works, and to bring to light the literary treasures which the monasteries had so carefully preserved for centuries. He inaugurated that great movement which "restored freedom, self-consciousness, and the faculty of progress to human intellect." He recognized that the most wonderful thing in the world is the human mind, the emancipation of which can be brought about only through its own activity. He was the first to appreciate the importance of Greek in human culture. Unlike Tertullian, Jerome, and Augustine, he believed that classic authors, together with the Holy Scriptures and the writings of the Church Fathers, produce the broadest intelligence. All of these have the same purpose, and all are necessary to human enlightenment. Petrarch broke down the unfruitful methods of the scholastics, and laid the foundations upon which modern education is based; namely, intellectual freedom, self-consciousness, and self-activity.

BOCCACCIO (1313-1375)

The third of the great Italian leaders in the humanistic movement was Boccaccio. At the age of twenty-five, while standing at the grave of Vergil, he decided to devote himself to a literary career. He admired the great work of Petrarch, and was proud that, "at his own expense, he was the first to have the works of Homer and other Greek authors brought to his native land; that he was the first to call and support a teacher of Greek; and that he was the first among all Italians who could read Homer in the original."


The German mind is more earnest, disputative, and practical than the Italian, therefore the trend of German humanism was at first chiefly theological, and the study of the classic languages, especially Hebrew and Greek, was undertaken for the purpose of better understanding the Holy Scriptures. Only a few scholars, however, were interested, and not until a violent attack was made upon Reuchlin, was general attention attracted.

AGRICOLA (1443-1485)

Rudolphus Agricola was the first to prepare the northern countries for the reception of the classic revival. After studying for some time under the great Italian masters, he returned to Germany and accepted a professorship at Heidelberg, where he delivered courses of lectures on the literature of Greece and Rome. He lectured also at Worms at the request of the bishop, and drew around him a large number of students in both places. Hallam says of him, "No German wrote so pure a style, or possessed so large a portion of classic learning." He prepared the way for the introduction of humanistic teachings and some of his pupils became the great leaders of that movement among the Teutonic peoples.

The testimony of Erasmus concerning Agricola is as follows: "There was no branch of knowledge in which he could not measure himself with the greatest masters. Among the Greeks, he was a pure Greek, among the Latins a pure Roman.... Even when he spoke ex tempore, his speech was so perfect and so pure that one could easily believe that one heard a Roman rather than a German. United with his powerful eloquence was the broadest erudition. He had investigated all the mysteries of philosophy, and thoroughly mastered every branch of music. In his later years he devoted his whole soul to the mastery of Hebrew and to the study of the Holy Scriptures. He cared but little for glory."

REUCHLIN (1455-1522)

Reuchlin may properly be called the first great German humanist. He was educated at Freiburg, Paris, and Basel, and gave especial attention to the classic studies, which had almost disappeared from the university courses in Germany. He took his master's degree at Basel, and then began to lecture on classical Latin and Greek. Being a born teacher, he drew about him a great number of students, who became interested in classic studies. He made several visits to Italy, where he imbibed the humanistic theories of the Italians, though he was already far advanced in those theories before he went to Italy. In 1481 he was appointed professor at Tuebingen, which thus became the first German university to teach humanistic doctrines.

At Linz, where he had been sent on an embassy, he made the acquaintance of the emperor's Jewish physician, with whom he began the study of Hebrew. This marks an important epoch in his history, as he is best known for his Hebrew Grammar and Lexicon, published in 1506, and for his championship of the Hebrew literature. Owing to the scarcity of classic text-books, Reuchlin was obliged to mark out courses for his students, and, in a measure, to supply text-books for them. Much of his work in the university had to be dictated, and students were obliged to copy their work from manuscripts. He published a Latin lexicon and prepared the manuscript of a Greek grammar which he never published, but from which doubtless he drew in his work with students.

In 1496 his friend Count Eberhard died, and Reuchlin's enemies succeeded in alienating the new prince, so he was glad to avail himself of the opportunity to go to the university of Heidelberg. Here he gave chief attention to Hebrew.

While in Heidelberg he became involved in an unfortunate controversy regarding Hebrew literature, a controversy which was forced upon him. John Pfefferkorn, a converted Jew, zealous for the conversion of his race, obtained an order from the emperor to confiscate and destroy all Hebrew works which opposed the Christian faith. Reuchlin was appealed to as the highest authority on Hebrew, and he urged that, instead of destroying the literature, two professors should be appointed in each university to teach Hebrew and thereby refute the Jewish doctors by making the students acquainted with the Bible. The struggle continued for years, and although the Church and even the universities were against him, Reuchlin was finally victorious, thereby saving a noble literature to the world. This was a great victory for humanism. A short time before his death Reuchlin returned to Tuebingen, where he closed his illustrious career in 1522.

Reuchlin was the first to introduce Greek into Germany, and the first to recognize the necessity of a knowledge of Hebrew in interpreting the Holy Scriptures. He began a reform in the schools which prepared the way for a like movement in the Church, and in Luther he saw the man who was destined to carry both of these reforms to fulfillment. "God be praised," said he, "in Luther they have found a man who will give them work enough to do, so that they can let me, an old man, go to my rest in peace."

ERASMUS (1467-1536)

Erasmus was born at Rotterdam. Though not a German, he belonged to the Teutonic race. He has well been called a "citizen of the world," as he lived in so many countries, and came to be the most learned man of his time. He was left an orphan at an early age, and his guardians placed him in a convent. They wished to make a monk of him so that they could inherit his patrimony, but this plan was resisted by the boy for a long time. The life of the convent was very distasteful to him, and though he afterward took vows, he never was in sympathy with asceticism. Possibly the condition of the monasteries at that time may have had something to do with the repugnance of Erasmus to the monastic life. He was certainly greatly relieved when the Pope absolved him from his vows.

Erasmus was precocious as a child, and it was early predicted of him that he would be a great man, a prediction which he fully verified. Through the influence and help of the Bishop of Cambray, he was enabled to go to Paris for study, though the means furnished were not sufficient for his support. He took pupils and gave lectures, thereby supplying the deficiency in his funds. It is recorded that, in his eagerness for books, he said, "When I get money, I will first buy Greek books, and then clothing." He also studied at Oxford, and afterward at Turin, where he took the degree of Doctor of Divinity. Though many high offices in the Church, and many positions in universities, were offered to him, he refused them all, preferring to be an independent man of letters. Erasmus was recognized as the supreme literary authority of the world, and this lofty position was the summit of his ambition. Nothing could turn him aside from the path that led to that eminence, and, once attained, nothing could attract him away from it.

Basel had become the center of the new printing industry. This led Erasmus to choose that city as his home for the latter part of his life, and here he furthered the cause of humanism as no other man had done, by editing and giving to the world many of the classic treasures of the monasteries. He translated Greek works into Latin, thereby making them available to the world, as Latin was better understood than Greek. His edition of the Greek Testament was his most eminent service, though his "Colloquies" are better known. His "Praise of Folly" is a satirical work, in which he holds up to ridicule the ignorance and vice of the monks.

Though he never broke away from the Church, without doubt his sympathies were with the reformers. But neither the persuasions nor the denunciations of Luther could bring him to take a decided stand on either side. He thought that the reform could be wrought within the Church. He accepted the dogmas of the Church, and remained within it as long as he lived.

Erasmus was the exact counterpart of Luther. He appealed to the limited few, Luther to the masses; he to the educated and higher classes, Luther to the ignorant and lowly; he was a man of reflection, Luther a man of action. The apparent vacillation of Erasmus may have been due to ill health, to the influence of the Pope, to the ties of the Church in which he had been reared, to the satisfaction he found in his eminent literary position, and to his dislike for controversy.

Erasmus gives us some very valuable pedagogical teachings, which may be summed up as follows:—

Pedagogy of Erasmus.—1. The mother is the natural educator of the child in its early years. The mother who does not care for the education of her children is only half a mother.

2. Until the seventh year the child should have little to do but play, in order to develop the body. It must have no earnest work, but must be taught politeness.

3. After the seventh year earnest work must begin. Latin and Greek (which should be studied together) must be taught early so that right pronunciation and a good vocabulary may be attained.

4. The first subject to be learned is grammar. Language is necessary before a knowledge of other things can be gained.

5. Teachers should be better trained and better paid, and suitable places must be furnished for the schools.

6. The religious side of education must not be neglected.

7. Great attention must be paid to the cultivation of the memory: (a) by a proper understanding of the subject; (b) by logical order in thinking; (c) by comparison.

8. As the bee collects honey from many flowers, so knowledge is gathered from many sources.

9. The foundation of all training of children must be laid in the home. Parents should know what their children ought to be taught. Above all things children must be taught to obey.

10. The first care with girls is to inculcate in them religious feelings; the second to protect them from contamination; the third, to guard them from idleness.



Literature.White, Eighteen Christian Centuries; Taylor, History of Germany; Draper, Intellectual Development of Europe; Guizot, History of Civilization; Lord, Beacon Lights; Seebohm, The Protestant Revolution; Gasquet, Eve of the Reformation; Spaulding, History of the Reformation; Bryce, The Holy Roman Empire; Morris, Era of the Protestant Revolution; Hurst, History of the Reformation; Lewis, History of Germany; Myers, Mediaeval and Modern History; Schiller, The Thirty Years' War; Hallam, Literary History; Kiddle and Schem, Cyclopaedia of Education; Dyer, Modern Europe; D'Aubigne, History of the Reformation; Yonge, Three Centuries of Modern History; Mombert, Great Lives; Schwickerath, Jesuit Education.

Historical Conditions.—At the beginning of the sixteenth century we find the stage of political, religious, and educational activity transferred from the shores of the Mediterranean to the north of the Alps. We have seen the great work of civilization taken from the Greek and Latin races and committed to the Teutonic race. We have traced the humanistic movement from its birthplace in Italy to Germany, where it found a more congenial atmosphere and a more suitable soil. The world was ripe for a great revolution, which was destined to advance the interests of mankind with gigantic strides.

The invention of printing by Gutenberg, in the middle of the fifteenth century, must be mentioned as the primary material agency in forwarding this advance. It was said of this art that it would "give the deathblow to the superstition of the Middle Ages." It multiplied readers a hundredfold; it stimulated authorship; it revolutionized literature, because it made the preservation and dissemination of thought easy; it was a mighty influence in bringing about universal education, a principle for which the Reformation stood.

Another event of great importance was the discovery of America, which stimulated various European enterprises. Thus, at the beginning of the sixteenth century, the world awakened from its long sleep, and educational enterprise was born anew.

The German Reformation had been preceded by similar movements in other lands. Huss and Jerome of Prague, in Bohemia, Wyclif in England, Zwingli in Switzerland, the Waldenses in Italy, and the Albigenses in France, had raised their voices in solemn protest against clerical abuses,[52] and many of the reformers had paid for their temerity by martyrdom. But the German Reformation, under the leadership of Martin Luther, was destined to exert a mighty influence throughout northern Europe, and to set in motion impulses which were to shape all later history.

The chief rulers of Europe were Frederick the Wise of Saxony, known as Luther's friend, Henry the Eighth of England, Francis the First of France, and Charles the Fifth, king of Spain, Naples, Sicily, and Austria, and afterward emperor of Germany. Leo the Tenth was Pope, and he had great influence in temporal affairs. Emperor Charles the Fifth was the most powerful ruler of this period. Though a foreigner in manners, customs, and sympathy, and unacquainted with the German tongue, he became emperor of Germany by bribing the electors who had a voice in selecting the ruler of that nation. It is said that he paid $1,500,000 to these corrupt electors, besides making many promises of future favors. He was treacherous, and never hesitated to break the most solemn pledges when his interests so demanded. Bayard Taylor says of him, "His election was a crime, from the effects of which Germany did not recover for three hundred years."

Intellectual Conditions.—These, then, were the external conditions which existed at the beginning of the sixteenth century. We have seen that the need of reformation was acknowledged on all sides. There were but few good teachers to be found, even in the Church which had so long been the mother of schools. Education was at such a low ebb, and the advantages offered by the schools were so poor, and of such a doubtful character, that but few persons cared to avail themselves of their privileges. Even the universities failed to educate. Luther says, "Is it not pitiable that a boy has been obliged to study twenty years or longer to learn enough bad Latin to become a priest, and read mass?" Again he says, "Such teachers and masters we have been obliged to have everywhere, who have known nothing themselves, and have been able to teach nothing good or useful."

There was need, then, of reform in education as well as in religion, and Luther took the burden of both upon his shoulders. As an educational reformer, he has earned for himself the world's gratitude. It must be admitted that Luther's main purpose was the reformation of the Church, and that his educational work merely grew out of the need of general intelligence as a necessary adjunct to that work. Of the existing conditions, Compayre well says, "With La Salle and the foundation of the Institute of the Brethren of the Christian Schools, the historian of education recognizes the Catholic origin of primary instruction; in the decrees and laws of the French Revolution, its lay and philosophical origin; but it is to the Protestant Reformation,—to Luther in the sixteenth century, and to Comenius in the seventeenth,—that must be ascribed the honor of having first organized schools for the people. In its origin, the primary school is the child of Protestantism, and its cradle was the Reformation."[53]

LUTHER (1483-1546)

Martin Luther was born at Eisleben, Germany, of poor and humble parents. He was brought up under the rigid discipline of the typical German home, in which the rod was not spared. Upon this point he writes, "My parents' severity made me timid; their sternness and the strict life they led me made me afterward go into a monastery and become a monk. They meant well, but they did not understand the art of adjusting their punishments."

When he was fourteen years of age, his parents, then in better circumstances, sent him to Magdeburg to prepare for the university. But the expense being too great, he was withdrawn from this school and sent to Eisenach, where he could live with relatives. Here he sang in the street for alms, and his sweet voice attracted the attention of Ursula Cotta, a wealthy lady, who took him to her own home and gave him an excellent teacher.

When eighteen years of age he entered the university of Erfurt, then a center of humanistic learning. He made marvelous progress in his studies until he took his degree. His father had intended him for the law, but Luther determined to devote himself to the Church, much to his father's disappointment. Accordingly he became an Augustinian monk when twenty-two years of age. Unlike many of his brethren, he kept up his studies while in the monastery, and was called to a professorship in the new university at Wittenberg in 1508, where he found an ample field for his remarkable powers. Two years later, he went as a delegate to the papal court at Rome, where his eyes were opened to the condition of the Church in her holiest sanctuaries. Returning to Wittenberg, he continued his studies and his lectures, and drew about him a great number of students. His lectures and his writings against the practices of the Church became so pronounced that he was summoned before the Diet of Worms and commanded to retract. This he refused to do in the memorable words: "Here I stand; I cannot do otherwise. God help me! Amen." On his return from Worms, fearing for his safety, his friends took him prisoner and confined him in the Wartburg castle at Eisenach. During the nine months of his confinement he translated the Bible into German.[54] Luther took great pains to make the language so pure and plain that it could be understood by the common people, to whom he appealed. He was never ashamed of his humble origin. When he came to be the honored friend and trusted adviser of princes and kings, he was wont to say, "I am a peasant's son; my father, grandfather, and remote ancestors were nothing but veritable peasants."

The language of Luther's translation of the Bible became the standard German, which was to supplant the many dialects.

His great watchword was, "Make the people acquainted with the Word of God." But the Bible was of little use to the masses so long as they could not read. Luther therefore set himself sturdily to the improvement of the schools, which were in a deplorable condition. He urged the principle of parental responsibility for the education of children. "Believe me," said he, "it is far more important that you exercise care in training your children than that you seek indulgences, say many prayers, go much to church, or make many vows." His pedagogy constitutes the foundation of the German common school system of to-day. Luther, then, must be remembered as the greatest educator of his time for two reasons.

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