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The educational needs of a predominantly agricultural population such as existed in Western Europe in the later Middle Ages were necessarily few and simple. Positive, organised institutional instruction was not needed by the many; for the great mass of the people knowledge was traditional, the lore learned by the child from its parents, by the workman from his master and fellow-labourers, by the Christian from his spiritual superiors. School-learning was not necessary for field-work, and in the country-side, therefore, schools were not numerous. Although exceptions were not infrequent, schools were generally confined to the cities and towns, where the needs of life were more complex, where a concourse of people helped to raise the standard of general culture, and where a few had the leisure requisite for the pursuit of knowledge. With the growth of urban life, facilities for education were naturally made available for more people, and this, together with the increase in the numbers of the clergy, helps to account for the steady growth in literacy which is apparent during the later Middle Ages.

For the educational history of these years we are not notably obliged to speculate about origins or to fill up considerable gaps by analogy or deduction from evidence of a later date. The scaffolding of national and international educational organisation had been erected during the two preceding centuries: by 1300 the system was to a considerable degree in working order; the scholar already occupied a defined position in society. The reformers of the twelfth century had done their work so well that their ideals had crystallised into institutions, the later Middle Ages forming an educationally homogeneous period. Apart from the new ideals which accompanied the spread of humanism, there are few unexpected developments. The nearest approach to a cataclysm, the Black Death, seems to have affected the methods and perhaps also the standard of education even less than it affected other forms of contemporary activity. Teaching and study, based mainly upon the scholasticism which so manifestly dominated the universities, went on, almost unchanged, during the whole of this period.

Throughout the Middle Ages education naturally remained the especial concern of the Church. Both the subjects and the methods of instruction were under clerical supervision; educational disputes were settled before ecclesiastical tribunals; even in the rare cases in which schoolmasters were not themselves in holy orders, they were still subject in a peculiar degree to bishop and archdeacon. In practice, too, the boundary between clergy and laity was exceedingly ill-defined, many persons being given the privileges and exemptions of clerks who were for all practical purposes laymen. Yet even so, a notable educational feature of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries was the rise of a class of lettered laymen, some specifically called laid literati, who never had any intention of taking orders. There is much evidence to shew that, in England at least, the number of lawyers and gentlemen who received an education similar to that of the Pastons was considerable and that ability to write was widespread. Really learned, as distinct from just literate, laymen were, however, distinctly uncommon north of the Alps; it is difficult, for example, to name an English layman before Sir Thomas More who could be compared for learning with Dante.

Considering its needs, Western Europe after 1300 was comparatively well-provided with schools which the sons of the laity might attend. Every cathedral church was required by Canon Law to have a grammar school attached to it in which Latin was taught and, after the beginning of the thirteenth century, this law was generally obeyed. Entrance to such a grammar school could be obtained normally only by boys who had already received a certain minimum of instruction. They would usually be expected to be able to write the letters of the alphabet and to read, not necessarily intelligently, but at least to spell out the words placed before them.

This preliminary knowledge was obtained in various ways. There was much sporadic and unorganised elementary instruction by well-disposed priests, by parish clerks, and even by women able to teach mixed classes of small children. Further, every cathedral, and most collegiate churches, supported a song school intended primarily for the training of choir-boys but certainly not limited to these. Unlike the grammar-school master, the master of the song school could as a rule not hope to obtain a monopoly. His work finished where the grammar-school master’s began, the teaching of Latin grammar proper being left entirely to the grammar school. At such a song or elementary school, children were taught the elements of their faith, the Ave Maria, the Lord’s Prayer, and the Creed, a few anthems and psalms, singing and spelling. The children often learned to read Latin without being able to understand it, while if there were no grammar school available close at hand, the song-school master might expound the meaning of the little Latin that he taught, although the proximity of a grammar school with a master who was vigilant to maintain his monopoly of teaching grammar would mean that the songschool teaching would be narrowly confined to the limits indicated. To these song schools small children often came in fairly considerable numbers, and many of those who were not hoping to adopt a definitely professional career went no farther. Small and often ephemeral institutions that have left few records of importance, the song schools none the less accounted for most of the education that many humble folk in the Middle Ages ever received.

The grammar schools were more permanent and significant institutions. Obligatory in every cathedral city and frequently met with elsewhere, they held the key to the gateway of knowledge, Latin grammar. Because of this, they are fundamental to the educational history of the Middle Ages. The Latin for whose teaching they existed had become specialised and distinctive by 1300, a language based upon a few classical texts, upon the Vulgate, and upon the Fathers, adapted for oral conversation, public disputation, and legal and business communications. Medieval Latin was certainly not bad, in the sense of ungrammatical, Latin. The quality of the grammar of most medieval chronicles is distinctly good, although naturally not classical, while even the most involved of scholastic philosophers are usually careful not to depart from the ordinary rules of grammar, even if they do invent special words and constructions of their own. In substance, the same language was used among scholars and traders over the whole of Europe, and adequate knowledge of it was essential to any one whose interests or ambitions were more than merely local. Its general use gave an impress of unity to the learning of Western Christendom that was to fade slowly after the Reformation. The medieval student was an international phenomenon, able to transfer himself without difficulty from one country to another and to be understood wherever he went. For not only was Latin the common language, but also the methods of teaching it were substantially the same all over Europe.

Together with Rhetoric, the art of speaking, and Dialectic, the art of logical argument, Grammar completed the Trivium, the first group of the seven liberal arts, and was by far the most important subject of the group. The grammar text-books almost universally used were based upon Priscian’s Grammar of 18 books (books I-XVI on accidence and XVII and XVIII on syntax) or on Donatus, De partibus orationis. The commonest of these, the Ars Minor, was an abridgment of Donatus, written in prose. It was short enough to be learnt by heart from beginning to end, the master alone usually possessing a copy and dictating it section by section to the class. Occasionally a fortunate schoolboy may have had a grammar of his own, but this would be distinctly unusual. Memory, it must be remembered, necessarily played a very large part in medieval education, and, outside the monasteries, cathedrals, collegiate churches, and universities, access to books of reference was usually difficult.

The Ars Minor was a very elementary book, and the need for something more advanced and at the same time easy to learn led to the production, in 1199, of the Doctrinale of Alexander of Villa Dei. This compilation possessed the great merit in medieval eyes of being metrical. The story runs that Alexander, while studying at Paris with two friends, Ivo and Adolphus, was too poor to buy text-books of grammar and therefore invented a metrical version of Priscian, which he later reduced to writing. Much of it was not taken direct from Priscian but was Alexander’s own invention. The three parts into which it was early divided are Etymology, Syntax, and Prosody, the latter being the most original part of the work and an invaluable aid in the rage for versifying that distinguished the fifteenth century. The Doctrinale was not intended to supersede Donatus, for some knowledge of elementary Latin grammar was clearly implied in it. It is interesting to notice, however, that the author definitely expected the master to expound his work in the vernacular, as the line “Atque legens pueris laica lingua reserabit” bears testimony. A good deal of space is taken up by exceptions, further evidence that the Doctrinale was written as an adjunct to Donatus and was not intended as a complete corpus of grammatical knowledge.

Explanations, often somewhat fantastical, of Greek and Latin words, mainly those of the Vulgate, were introduced, and the whole, because of the ease with which its leonine hexameters could be learnt by heart, was most acceptable to its age. Its popularity throughout the later Middle Ages was remarkable; over 200 surviving manuscript copies have been enumerated, and the list is by no means complete. The need supplied was obviously real, and the Doctrinale was almost universally used for teaching purposes in France, England, and Germany. Important changes and modifications were early introduced. As was also the case with Donatus, the text was treated as a peg upon which to hang innumerable explanations and comments, many of the manuscripts and early printed editions consisting of a thin rivulet of text running through an overwhelming mass of gloss. In the sixteenth century the grammar was much criticised, although considerable parts of it were copied by those who were loudest in its condemnation, but for the later Middle Ages it is not too much to say that the Doctrinale lies at the basis of all advanced grammar teaching.

Compared with Donatus and the Doctrinale, other grammars, although fairly numerous, were unimportant. The Grecismis of Everard of Bethune (so called because it included some explanations of Greek words and their pronunciation), for example, was written soon after the Doctrinale, but never rivalled it in popularity, while most of the later grammars were simply adaptations of preceding works. Even during the Renaissance, when it became everywhere the fashion to abuse the Doctrinale as “barbarous,” the new works which superseded it were often largely derived from it without acknowledgment.

Dictionaries were even rarer than grammars; a master of an important grammar school was fortunate if he had acquired, or had made for himself, a copy oi' adaptation of one of the many etymological vocabularies based on Isidore, such as the Vocabularium of Papias, the Liber Derivationum of the canonist Uguccio (Hugutio) of Pisa, or, best known of all, the Catholicon of the Dominican, John Balbi of Genoa. The latter, as full of ingenious and far-fetched derivations as the others, yet made what would now be considered an advance in that it introduced an alphabetical arrangement—a method which, however, was by no means fully appreciated at the time.

As soon as the elements of grammar were mastered, some simple textbooks were read, such as the Fables of Aesop, the exceedingly popular Distichs attributed to Dionysius Cato (a series of moral maxims), or the Eclogues of Theodulus (i.e. Gottschalk). Some classical authors were sometimes studied as well, parts of Virgil, Ovid, and Horace in particular, although it was rare for any classical text to be read thoroughly or completely. Apart from Virgil, who was regarded as semi-Christian, specifically Christian authors such as Prudentius, Lactantius, Sedulius, or Juvencus were preferred, Lactantius being particularly popular in the fifteenth century.

In addition to much learning by rote and repetition, attempts were made in some grammar schools to enforce Latin speaking at all times, although this can seldom have been very effective. But a certain easy fluency in talking Latin was usually acquired, and skill in disputation was highly esteemed. In a large city, such as London, where there were several grammar schools, representative scholars of the different schools sometimes held public disputations with one another on the model of the disputations at the universities. Indeed, just as some of the song schools did work that belonged normally to the grammar school, so the curriculum of the better grammar schools overlapped that of the universities. At such schools the Quadrivium—Arithmetic, Geometry, Astronomy, Music—figured as well as the Trivium^ although none of these four subjects received anything like the same amount of stress as was laid on grammar. Arithmetic, the art of calculating with Roman numerals, simplified by the use of the abacus, was probably, after grammar, the most useful subject learnt by a city boy, although it is not likely that any school gave any very advanced teaching in the subject.

A few exceptional schools might go even farther. Starting from declensions and conjugations in the lowest class, the boys (who were not admitted until they could read and write) would proceed to learn the * parts of speech and some syntax, followed by elementary exercises in composition and translation of extracts from approved authors. The next stage might start with dialectic and rhetoric, followed by some very elementary theory of music, the method of calculating dates, and some simple astronomical facts. In rare instances advanced scholars might be introduced to the Organon of Aristotle, to the elements of Euclid, and even to a little law or theology. Oral work and frequent disputations favoured intellectual agility, and the scholastic form into which most of the instruction was necessarily cast made learning more repellent in appearance than in reality.

The grammar schools attached to the cathedrals were the chief but by no means the only grammar-teaching institutions that existed. One of the commonest ways in which medieval piety found expression was in the foundation of chantries at which chantry priests said mass for the souls of the founder and his relatives. Testators, however, soon realised that a priest could be expected to do more with a reasonable endowment than say a daily mass for the soul of his benefactor, and it thus became common for the gratuitous teaching of boys to be added to the duty of saying masses. Thus a school might be founded, sometimes in quite a small village, as a kind of appendage to, or part of, a chantry. The endowment of education was equally recognised by the Church as a good work, and schools were founded with the chantry element absent or subordinate, just as chantries were founded with free teaching as a minor addition. We find schools endowed not only by kings and great magnates, spiritual and temporal, but also, on a small scale, by humble merchants and citizens. Schools thus founded were usually “free” grammar schools, the boys, or some of them, paying no fees. In some cases, however, chantry priests who were not obliged to teach very often found that the money they received from the endowment for masses was insufficient for a permanent livelihood and they therefore frequently tried to supplement their income by teaching. Thus, directly and indirectly, the amount of education for which unbeneficed secular priests were responsible was considerable. The position of schools conducted by such masters was, however, distinctly precarious. There might not be enough boys to make it worthwhile to continue; the priest might obtain a benefice or he might be engaged to say a sufficient number of masses to make it unnecessary for him to teach.

The best schools, therefore, would be those in which separate masters and mass-priests were provided and in which the masters were given reasonable salaries and security of tenure. Such schools were, in some cases, so well provided fox* and so permanently established that the education given in them could be linked directly with that of a university. The ideal relation of school and university, in the fourteenth century, was that planned by William of Wykeham. This notable pluralist, one of the wealthiest men in England, devoted much thought as well as money to the foundation of Winchester College. His primary object was to ensure a sufficient supply of learned clerks for the Church, the number of clergy having been reduced by the Black Death and other epidemics, while provision for masses for the repose of his own soul was duly included in his plan.

The foundation charter of Winchester College was executed in 1382 and the school opened ten years later. The methods of teaching there were the same as elsewhere and, apart from the extensiveness of its endowments and the provisions made for the removal of an unsatisfactory master at three months’ notice, its most notable feature was its close connexion with the University of Oxford by the parallel foundation of New College in direct contact with it. For New College, the rule of Walter de Merton was accepted with slight modifications, and the double foundation proved a marked success. In the fifteenth century this was so apparent that the experiment was copied at Eton and at King’s College, Cambridge (1440), with such greater endowments and wider privileges as befitted a royal foundation. These colleges, it may be noted, were founded for the benefit of the sons of small land-owners or merchants and not for the very poorest class, the provision for the choice of “pauperes” in many medieval foundations being inserted only in order to ensure the exclusion of the really wealthy.

Besides foundations by individuals, schools were also founded by gilds, or occasionally other corporations, or placed under the control of gilds, the gild usually being immediately anxious for the provision of masses for the souls of its members and willing that the chantry priests employed should teach in addition. Towns, likewise, made provision for the instruction of the children of their townsmen. Particularly in South Germany and the Rhine valley, town-schools were common, every town of importance possessing a grammar school. In France, also, at the beginning of the fourteenth century every great town had at least one grammar school, and a knowledge of grammar, dialectic, and rhetoric was widespread. Unfortunately, education there suffered severely from the Hundred Years’ War, and it was not until the second half of the fifteenth century that the French nation had the opportunity to resume the great intellectual advance of the thirteenth century.

The part of Northern Europe in which the most marked educational progress was made during the later Middle Ages was the Low Countries. This area was more highly industrialised than any other, and populous towns were in relatively close proximity to one another. The social life of such a district was predominantly urban, the peasantry being kept in something like subjection to the weavers, while in the towns there was a steady demand for clerks who could write and calculate, and a leisured class existed which was not exclusively feudal.

The ecclesiastical organisation was inadequate for the population; grammar schools attached to cathedrals would have been insufficient in any case, and, where they existed, they were unimportant. Heresy, or at least heterodox thought, was common, partly the result of the comparative rarity of religious instruction. The situation was met by the Brethren of the Common Life, the institutional embodiment of the exertions of Gerard Groote (1340-84) and Florent Radewyns (1350-1400). Groote, before his conversion, had been well educated at Paris and elsewhere and never lost the interest in scholarship that he early acquired. When he returned to the Netherlands as mission-preacher and ascetic, he continued to add to his large collection of books and employed a number of copyists to transcribe works of devotion for him. Some of these scribes followed their employer in his renunciation of the world, so that the Brethren of the Common Life from the first included a number of good scholars.

The Brethren practically revolutionised the education of their day. In some places they opened up schools of their own; in others they took charge of the existing schools, while to others again they sent some of their members as teachers. Even when they had no direct contact with a school, it was often, as at Deventer and Zwolle, completely changed owing to their influence. Thus the Netherlands could claim better schoolmasters than any other country north of the Alps, and something of the high standard of civilisation for which the country was famous was due to this.

Generally speaking, however, the schoolmasters of medieval Europe occupied no very conspicuous or honoured position in society. Those who lived by teaching in grammar schools were usually neither well paid nor very highly esteemed. In most cases the boys, or some of them, paid fees, the average in England being about 8d. a quarter. There were some customary gifts in addition but, even so, the schoolmaster paid by fees can seldom have received more than the schoolmaster paid by private endowment and required to teach freely, the average annual salary of such an endowed schoolmaster being (again in England) about £10. In a fair number of cases schoolmasters were married and in a few instances testators expressed a preference for married men, although normally unbeneficed priests would be chosen. In Germany we occasionally find schoolmasters keeping little shops or making small gains by the sale of school books; elsewhere they would sometimes act as a kind of subordinate town clerk, while they are also to be found among the early printers. In a great number of cases the schoolmaster worked alone, the existence of an assistant or usher suggesting either an unusually large school or an exceptionally adequate endowment.

There were no regular school holidays, apart from the feasts of the Church, and, provided fees were forthcoming, teachers were always willing to be on duty. Attendance at school was thus chiefly a matter for the parents, who obviously could allow their sons to be absent when they wished. In fact, there are more records of complaints by townsmen of trouble caused by schoolboys who should have been at school than of undue length of school terms or pressure of school work. Games of any sort were usually forbidden, partly because they were supposed to detract from the higher aspirations of the soul, partly because of the violence and disorder to which they invariably gave rise. Football, for example, was a free fight rather than a game. One outlet for high spirits was, however, generally recognised. This was the popular feast of the Boy Bishop, which we find kept all over Europe on St Nicholas’’ Day (6 December). A boy was chosen as Bishop, dressed to suit the part, allowed to lord it over his superiors, to levy contributions, and to entertain his schoolfellows (who had been allowed to run riot all day) to an evening banquet.

The fact that schoolboys behaved like ruffians whenever they had the chance was not due to any lack of corporal punishment. The rod or birch was the invariable symbol of the schoolmaster, and in every country it was applied relentlessly. The Church made no attempt to make matters easier for the boys; the text so frequently quoted in the Middle Ages, qui parcit virgae odit filium suum^ was decisive, and plenty of flogging characterised every school, and even, at the end of the Middle Ages, spread to the universities. Public opinion saw nothing wrong in brutality



Monastic schools

in the schoolroom, and harsh as schoolmasters often were, they were not harsher than the majority of parents. In the Middle Ages, very few men indeed can have regretted the end of their schooldays.

Yet there were always those who were prepared to make real sacrifices for the sake of knowledge, the hard lives of boys who, like Butzbach and Platter, had to wander over Europe in order to pick up a precarious education being sufficient evidence of this. Although it would be a mistake to suppose that these boys formed the majority of school, or even of university, students, yet there were always many who were thus constantly on the move, seeking learning restlessly and painfully wherever it might best be found. Their efforts were not helped by the existence of the Mendicants who, if they had made both journeying and begging respectable, had also made them considerably more difficult.

The earliest stages of teaching, particularly of grammar, were very much the same for all classes and for the whole of Europe, but, naturally, special provision had to be made for the vocational instruction of special classes of society. The Church, which made itself responsible for the learning of the West, was obliged to take especial care to secure adequate education for the clergy. The monasteries which, in earlier times, had been such important foci of scholarship and instruction, were, in the later Middle Ages, of less general importance. They remained self-contained communities where the professed were expected to study and were assumed to know enough Latin to understand the Vulgate, the services of the Church, and the Rule, and also to speak Latin among themselves. Thus arrangements had to be made for ensuring that a certain minimum standard of scholarship was maintained by all. Further, the novices, many of whom were quite young, had to be taught the meaning and implications of the life they were proposing to live. This, in practice, often involved the ordinary teaching of Latin as given in a good grammar school with specifically religious instruction in addition. A special novice-master was normally appointed for this work, which was probably seldom onerous, since the numbers to be taught were usually very small. The novice school was, of course, strictly exclusive; the admission of children from outside would have been opposed to the first principles of monasticism.

Some of the larger monasteries also maintained a separate almonry school, chiefly for the training of choristers when musical services became customary. These choristers, together sometimes with a few other children, were placed under the control of the Precentor, while their maintenance was part of the duties of the Almoner. Singing, naturally, was the chief subject of instruction, but the teaching of singing was generally accompanied by the teaching of reading, while some elements of Latin grammar were often added as well. Usually a secular priest was employed to teach the boys freely, and by this means a certain number of boys in the immediate vicinity of a great house might learn to read and write. But the number so educated in any country was very small, and the almonry schools can hardly be claimed as contributing seriously to the learning of the West.

The professed monk was under no obligation to study or to teach, although some intellectual as well as manual labour was theoretically required of him. The general standard of scholarship and of intellectual interests within the monasteries necessarily varied greatly in different countries and different houses. Large monasteries were expected to maintain a lecturer in theology within their walls, although this requirement was frequently neglected. They were also under the obligation (by the Constitutions of Benedict XII, 1336) of sending one monk in twenty to a university. At all the larger universities there were special halls or colleges for the reception of monks, who were placed under the charge of a prior studentium. The colleges, however, were seldom full. The papal constitutions were frequently neglected or evaded; very few monasteries sent their full complement of scholars, and during the fifteenth century the numbers steadily dwindled.

The educational work of the Mendicants, on the other hand, was of real importance. The Dominicans, in particular, were intensely interested in scholarship; they were an Order of preachers, formed for the express object of combating heresy, laying special emphasis upon the study of theology. This implied a very considerable knowledge of other subjects, for theology was the “Queen of the Sciences,” only to be approached by those who had undergone a long and arduous apprenticeship.

The Franciscans, at first, laid much less stress upon intellectual attainments than did the Dominicans, St Francis himself being distinctly suspicious of book-learning. But scholarship could not be excluded, and the Franciscans soon counted as many distinguished university graduates and teachers among their numbers as did the Dominicans. Particularly in England, Franciscan learning became traditional. Unless forced by necessity, however, the Mendicants made no attempt at formal school teaching; they lectured, as they were obliged to do, at the universities, and they communicated much knowledge to the people in their sermons, but their importance for the history of education lies chiefly in the elaborate organisation which they built up for the instruction of their own members.

Mere boys were often accepted by the friars as novices, although, normally, these were not admitted until they had learnt at least the elements of grammar. They were then trained by stages in logic, natural philosophy, and theology, their most eminent members becoming exceedingly influential (and, frequently, exceedingly unpopular) at the universities, particularly at Oxford and Paris. The high standard of the thirteenth century, however, was not maintained during the two following centuries, and although the friar was almost always better educated than the monk, his direct contributions to education at the end of the Middle Ages were not much more noteworthy.

With the highly organised Regulars the secular clergy could scarcely hope to compete. Every parish priest was expected to attempt to teach his parishioners, old and young, the truths of the Christian religion, while some gave direct religious instruction to the children in a way that was almost that of the schoolroom, assisted, sometimes, by the parish clerk. Technically, anyone who had received first tonsure was a cleric and, since this did not prevent a man from marrying or pursuing his ordinary daily work, and often brought substantial legal advantages, most scholars were “clerics.” In this way the clergy, particularly in earlier days, provided practically all the trained minds of the West, and their monopoly of learning was long maintained. But the clergy, in the narrower sense of those who had taken higher orders and were following an exclusively ecclesiastical career, and particularly the secular clergy who served the parishes, were at no time highly educated on the average and, indeed, were frequently little better instructed than some of their neighbours and parishioners. Visitation records shew a surprising amount of sheer ignorance; ordination examinations must have been exceedingly simple when we find priests unable to construe or explain the opening sentences of the Canon of the Mass, and sometimes even scarcely able to read. It is true that we frequently find orders in episcopal registers for priests to study at “the schools,” while university students were readily granted dispensation from residence in their parishes if, as was often the case, they were beneficed. But apart from the universities there were, of course, no special seminaries for the education of the clergy, and it was the exception rather than the rule for a priest to be a university graduate.

In spite, then, of the constant efforts of Councils and bishops, in spite of the fact that most parsons had at least learnt the elements of Latin at a grammar school, the standard of knowledge amongst the rural clergy as a whole was not a high one. Even when a priest had been well educated, according to the standard of the times, the loneliness, the lack of books and of contact with cultured society in a remote village must have made it only too easy for him to forget the knowledge that he had acquired. Conditions necessarily varied widely, but the tendency during the later Middle Ages was for the clergy to fail to maintain the marked educational superiority that had been theirs in earlier times. During these years, while the general standard of lay education was steadily improving, that of the clergy did not advance with anything like commensurate rapidity.

For the clergy, as for the laity, the universities remained to the end of the Middle Ages almost the only centres for higher education. The history of their origin and development has been told in a previous volume,1 but the history of education in the later Middle Ages, and particularly the education of the clergy, would be incomplete without a reference to them. A primary purpose of their existence was the training of the clergy; a very considerable proportion of the students and masters were in holy orders, and those who were not beneficed hoped that their names would be included in the next rotulus that went to Rome or that their merits would soon attract the attention of a patron. It is true that neither civil law nor medicine, both of which subjects claimed considerable numbers of students, were normally studied by ecclesiastics, but outside Italy universities were not founded principally for the study of either of these subjects.

At the universities, no special provision was made for instruction that might be useful for parochial duties. Only a minority of those who matriculated proceeded to a degree, while still fewer remained as students of theology—the only subject for which a thorough knowledge of the text of the Bible was indispensable. Many of the wealthier students enrolled themselves in the Faculty of Canon Law (Decreta), for an expert canonist could always be sure of lucrative employment and often of promotion to high office in the Church. Of the “artists,” many came to a university too ignorant of Latin to be able even to follow the ordinary lectures, so that special arrangements were made at some universities for the teaching of grammar and even for the granting of degrees in grammar, sometimes with accompaniments which clearly indicated that the recipient expected to spend his life teaching schoolboys.

One of the reasons that so many left without graduating was the length of the degree courses. Even allowing for the fact that, judged by modern standards, the undergraduates were often very young, few could afford, or would care, to stay the fourteen years that were required (unless some exemption was obtained) for the much-coveted recognition as master or doctor in the Faculty of Theology. Length of residence and the fulfilment of the prescribed formalities, indeed, were more important than industry or intellectual distinction. A man might gain a reputation that would be very useful to him later for mental subtlety and agility in the disputations that formed so prominent a feature of university life, but written examinations as tests of knowledge were almost unknown. Provided a man were of reasonably good character, could swear that he had “read” the prescribed authorities, was of sufficient standing, and had paid the proper fees, admission to a “degree” was practically automatic, carrying with it the right to teach in any other university.

After the thirteenth century, the triumph of scholastic methods in university education was complete. Departure from traditional forms of presentation of knowledge became increasingly difficult, while the disputations too often degenerated into meaningless word-play or were made into public and elaborate quodlibets. There were, naturally, some who could use even the most unpromising media for the expression of real philosophical thought, but the most fertile and suggestive writers were often those most vehemently suspected of heresy. The remarkable increase in the number of universities during the fifteenth century is in itself evidence that education was more widely diffused and that the number of educated men in Europe was growing. This, in itself, helps to compensate for the absence of striking originality or notable writing; it was an age of glosses, epitomes, and commentaries, during which the advances of an earlier period were accepted, tested, and assimilated. Only when this process was complete could further advances be made.

Grammar schools and universities, usually founded for clerics, used also by some who had no intention of taking orders, did not cater for the educational needs of the whole of the population. Two classes—the sons of the nobility, and girls—were almost invariably absent from these regular teaching institutions. The former, if they had only careers of fighting and administration before them, had seldom any considerable acquaintance with book-learning. They received, however, a specialised training of their own which was essentially the same in most countries. Before the age of seven, the young noble was left in the charge of the women of his father’s household, largely to play, to learn manners, and (in England) perhaps to speak French. He then often went as a page to the castle of a neighbouring lord, every noble being expected to maintain a court which incidentally served as a training-ground for boys and young men of good family. There, in addition to the performance of a certain amount of menial work, he learnt the manners and customs of gentle society and might receive some instruction in reading, writing, and religion from the ladies of the court or from a chaplain or chantry priest.

From page, at about fourteen, he became a squire, at which stage his outdoor education began in real earnest. He learnt to ride, shoot, hawk, jump, throw, swim, and fight. The method of instruction was largely one of emulation, for the chief merit of such a household was considered to consist in its bringing together youths of the same class and age. The young squire would now be expected to understand French fairly well, this being almost as much the common language of the courtly class as Latin was that of the clerical class. The minstrel was a regular feature of this society and his craft was the more appreciated because many of the knights could themselves play on the harp and improvise songs.

Although examples of literate and even of well-educated knights are not unknown, they are exceptional and are usually found among families with some particular administrative as well as military experience. The specialised chivalric code of the class placed a low value on scholarship. Clerks educated clerks and knights knights, and their spheres did not over-lap; nevertheless the international character of chivalry, common language, common interests, and much association in wars and crusades made a certain minimum of culture inevitable.

In theory the code of chivalry which the knight was taught and expected to practise, combined with the steady increase in the reverence paid to the Virgin Mary by ecclesiastics, should have led to the assignment of a high place in society to women. There is, however, much to suggest that the wife and daughters of a knight were often treated in a way that did not correspond with the chivalric code of the romances and courtly treatises. The Church, too, in spite of much praising of the Virgin Mary, tended to treat women as agents of evil rather than of good and to persuade men that the physically weaker sex was worthy of little consideration. It is thus scarcely surprising that no systematic provision was made for the education of girls of any class. Even the suggestion that any regular instruction for girls should be provided is met with only in speculators such as Pierre Dubois, Christine de Pisan, or William of Ockham, whose alarming originality disturbed rather than enlightened their age.

Occasionally little girls were taught together with boys in the songschools or by casual teachers. Froissart, for example, has left a delightful picture of his early schooldays and of his child-love for his girl companions. From the grammar schools, however, girls were rigidly excluded. There was no place for women learned in grammar in medieval society, while it was assumed that their very presence in a grammar school would corrupt master and boys alike. Apart from what they learnt in the song school or its equivalent, girls were taught chiefly at home, learning, naturally, mainly matters of domestic utility, it being assumed that every girl who did not enter religion would be married, usually while still very young. Those of the higher classes would chiefly aim at cultivating polished manners, personal beauty and charm, and skill in dress—these being considered their essential attributes. In a large household they would have, if they wished it, opportunities for learning to read and write from the chaplain or from some visiting ecclesiastic. That some made use of such chances is clear, since we find among the nobility occasional examples of ladies with real intellectual interests and administrative capacity, able to read, write, discuss affairs, and manage estates. Women like Margaret or Agnes Poston, whose activity on behalf of their absent husbands and general interest in affairs were so considerable, cannot have been very exceptional, for a great land-owner would frequently be away from home, sometimes for long periods, through wars, crusades, and service at court, leaving much responsibility to his wife. What learning such ladies had was, however, except in very rare cases, not that of the scholars. The literature in which they were interested was written in French rather than in Latin and was concerned with different (and less edifying) matters from that read by clerks.

For a girl of quality who willingly or otherwise remained unmarried almost the only refuge was the cloister. Within the nunneries, as within the monasteries, opportunities were offered for learned leisure, while the daily lives of the inmates necessarily implied a certain minimum of religious knowledge. But in the later Middle Ages the requirements were not considerable. It was frequently assumed by visiting bishops that nuns did not possess sufficient knowledge of Latin to be able to understand summons, injunction, or sermon in that language, so that the vernacular had to be used when addressing them.

Like the monasteries, most nunneries were expected to maintain a school for the novices, but this meant very little. Admissions of novices were not frequent, seldom more than two or three annually, often none at all, while the age and position of many novices did not make them particularly amenable to instruction. On the other hand, many nunneries were poorly endowed and were therefore willing to add to their income by means of teaching. In spite of official prohibitions by bishops and others, who consistently disapproved of any dealings with the “world,” some regular teaching was available for girls in many nunneries. Children of the upper classes were received as boarders, taught some reading and perhaps spinning, needlework, and embroidery, for which the nuns received fees. There is, however, no evidence that in any country in Europe gratuitous or even cheap education for the poor was habitually provided by the nunneries, just as there is little to suggest that most nuns possessed any particular capacity for teaching.

Yet apart from the nunneries and the households of the magnates very little was done anywhere for the direct teaching of girls. Most girls had to be content with what they learnt at home. “I received no other instruction,” said Joan of Arc to her inquisitors, “save only from my mother, from whom I learnt my Pater Nosier, Ave Maria, and Credo” A similar answer would have been given by the majority of girls in most countries.

There was still a third class, in England at least, for which the educational system of the day did not completely cater. This consisted of the lawyers, who evolved a system of their own, since the two English universities offered no facilities for the study of common law. An adequate knowledge of Latin being indispensable, the future lawyer would learn this at home or from a chantry priest or at a grammar school. The high centralisation of English law at the time made it almost essential for the young man who would succeed to go to London. Here were established the Inns of Court where the men of law lived and worked. These institutions thus became, almost accidentally, places for legal education as well, offering the only facilities in the country for the study of common law. The teaching there was mainly oral, and public disputations were frequently held, although not many formal lectures seem to have been given. Civil Law was, of course, always taught at the English universities, though not very adequately. It was not until 1535, when lectures on Canon Law had been officially forbidden, that professorships of Civil Law were founded at Oxford and Cambridge, contemporaneously with an increased interest in Civil Law on the continent. Before that date men had had to go to North Italy if they wanted to obtain the best instruction in Europe in this subject.

There was much else, however, besides Civil Law to be learnt in Italy. The Italian Renaissance, indirectly at least, had important effects on the theory and practice of medieval education, helping to bring about changes that were to alter the educational outlook of the world. Italian political conditions were in many ways different from those of the rest of Europe, and Italian education was affected by such conditions. The memories of the former greatness of Rome, the existence of the Papacy, the high repute of the universities of Northern Italy for the study of Civil Law, the character of the Italian people, the existence of a fairly large class of learned laymen, all made a departure from the educational methods and traditions of the rest of Europe likely. This departure was not noticeable, however, until the fourteenth century, when Petrarch launched an open attack on logic. This subject, which included dialectic and much of what we should call metaphysics, had hitherto formed the basis of medieval education. After the reconciliation of Aristotle with the Bible, completed by St Thomas Aquinas, the authority of Aristotle was accepted almost without reservation. Dante, who died in 1321, regarded him as “the master of those who know.” Petrarch, however, born in 1304, challenged the acceptance of the supreme authority of Aristotle and never failed to shew his unqualified aversion for academic logicians themselves. For Petrarch, logic and dialectic were methods of study and means of intellectual advancement and nothing more; the idea of making them an end seemed to him fantastic. He consistently ridiculed the notion of limiting the scope of metaphysical speculation to Aristotle and his commentators, considering their ideals to have noteworthy limitations and in any case to be distinctly inferior to those of Plato. To some extent, Petrarch’s diatribe against Aristotle may have been due to dissatisfaction with the inadequate and obscure translations that were current and to the ascription of a common authority to text and gloss alike, but it represents a new point of view none the less.

Part of this attack on the methods of logic and the authority of Aristotle was caused by a desire to escape from the fetters laid by the medieval Church upon the expression of individual personality. For the Italian, the restoration of the Greek and Roman ideals of the place to be assigned to the individual in society, expressed, in part, by the word virtu was to be brought about by copying the ancient methods of training youth. Education was felt to provide the key to a coming new age, and a right standard for this, they thought, could be found in the works of the classical authors. In this connexion the two writers who attracted almost exclusive attention in Italy were Quintilian and Plutarch. Practically all the educational thought of the Renaissance springs from the Institutio Oratoria of Quintilian, and in this respect the Renaissance was a real “revival of learning.” Almost the whole of the treatises on education written in the fifteenth century that have come down to us are plagiarisms, some selective, some copying almost the exact words of the original. The few new creative ideas that emerged were accidental and the result of practical experience in the attempted application of ancient theories.

Quintilian’s treatise on the education of an Orator was rediscovered by Poggio at St. Gall in 1416, and although it had not previously been unknown in monastic libraries and elsewhere, it was the knowledge of the possession of this complete text which Poggio assiduously circulated that was directly responsible for the attention that was paid to its contents. In 1421 the entire text of Cicero’s De Oratore had been likewise discovered at Lodi, and was eagerly studied by the few who were already appearing as the forerunners of the Ciceronian revival.

The Roman ideal orator as outlined by Cicero and Quintilian was primarily a good man and a philosopher. Quintilian started with the assumption that most, though not ah, children were capable of higher education and that therefore care in selection of nurses and teachers was essential. He was well aware of the evils inculcated by the public schools of his day, wherein the morals of the pupils were too often spoilt; yet he insisted that in them alone could the normal boy obtain the maximum amount of benefit to be derived from friendship on the one hand and emulation on the other. Memory and imitative instinct must be cultivated, as well as music, astronomy, and literature (eloquentia). Praise and reproof should be sufficient to maintain discipline, flogging being fit only for slaves. Careful attention must be given to grammatical details, and the praise of etymology has an almost medieval flavour. Reading and speaking correctly are important in themselves and the pupil must understand what he reads, beginning with Homer and Virgil, proceeding to the tragedians, lyric poets, and comedians. The study of music and dancing is justified by its effect upon the movements and bearing of the body. All these subjects can easily be included within the work of a school, the juvenile mind being sufficiently elastic to be capable of assimilating several subjects simultaneously. Above all things, adequate care must be taken to see that the moral character of the teacher is of the highest, capable of perfect harmony and sympathy with his pupils. The result of this teaching will be the emergence of an Orator, a man of the highest ideals, whose ability is so sharpened that it may be of the greatest use to his fellow-citizens, something of the combination of philosopher and statesman whom Plato had long before desired to rule his Republic.

Very intimately connected with, and indeed dependent upon, Quintilian’s Institute Oratoria, is the treatise attributed to Plutarch, which Guarino translated in 1411. It differs from Quintilian’s work mainly in the meagreness of the details of intellectual education, most attention being devoted to moral training. To these two treatises the humanists added little, if anything, that was really new, the creative genius lying in the skill shewn in the adaptation of these recommendations to the circumstances and ideas of their own day. In order to understand the educational bequest of the revival of learning to modern times, in spite of all the reservations stated above, some attempt must be made to trace the progress of the new theories which came into prominence, and this can be done only by means of an account of some of the writers who dealt directly with them.

Petrus Paulus Vergerius (1349-1428), Doctor of Law and Medicine at Padua, made a resolute attempt to abandon scholastic methods in his teaching of logic. Either as early as 1392 or as late as 1404, he composed a treatise, De Ingenuis Moribus et Liberalibus Studiis, for the use of Ubertino, son of Francesco da Carrara, the lord of Padua. A spirit of classical enthusiasm and of Christianity pervades the book, and it was diligently studied (e.g. by Bembo), containing as it did a systematic exposition and defence of new subjects and methods of instruction. Quickly following on this, came Guarino’s rendering of Plutarch’s and Leonardo Bruni’s version of St Basil’s treatise on the advantage to be gained from the study of the ancient poets. Vergerius has a noble ideal of “liberal” studies as those which call forth the highest gifts of body and mind in the pursuit of goodness and wisdom. His order of preference would be history, moral philosophy, eloquence (the art of letters, including grammar, logic, and rhetoric), poetry, music, arithmetic, geometry, astronomy in all its branches, to be followed by the three professional courses of study, medicine, law, and theology. Boys of limited capacity must work at congenial subjects, and no one must so entirely surrender himself to scholarship as to forget his duties as a citizen. Mere desultory reading is condemned in favour of some degree of specialisation, to be helped by regular revision, discussion, and exposition. Lastly, athletic training in a mild form is admitted as of value.

In 1404 the Florentine Dominican, Giovanni Domenici, in his Regola del Governo di Cura Familiare protested against those students of the classics who ventured to cast doubts upon the doctrine of the fall of man, therein expressing the ideas of many of his clerical brethren, including his pupil Antonino, later Archbishop of Florence. The torch, in spite of them, was handed on to Leone Battista Alberti (1404-72), who summed up a brilliant youthful career by abandoning his legal studies at Bologna in favour of humanism. A skilful architect, employed by Nicholas V, he never lost his early interest in classical literature and about 1432-33 outlined the preparation best suited for the governing class of his native Tuscany in his Trattato della Cura della Famiglia. Instead of medieval intellectual and physical asceticism, he boldly insisted upon the universal obligation of public service, helped by a disciplined and robust body. He declared himself in favour of free will and human progress through the development of individual personality. His model of parental authority was Cato the Censor, supplemented by a tutor of high moral character who should teach “letters” rather than professional requirements. The details of his scheme of work are familiar: Priscian and Servius for grammar, Cicero, Livy, and Sallust for Latin prose, Homer and Virgil for poetry, Demosthenes for oratory, and Xenophon’s Economia for the needs of the home. Arithmetic, geometry, astronomy, the latter including physics, geography, and meteorology, added to the fine arts, would produce the satisfactory citizens that he desired. A few years later (between 1435 and 1440) Matteo Palmieri (1406-75), a friend of Alberti, composed a treatise called Della Vita Civile. As an adherent of Cosimo de Medici, he wished to produce the statesman-scholar, now again a possibility owing to improved methods of teaching and an increased respect for antiquity. The scholar, he argues, will pursue truth for its own sake, but his active life must be passed in society—virtue must be learnt in the home and in the daily task of administration of public affairs. For details of the subjects to be taught Palmieri follows Quintilian, supplemented by Vergerius and Guarino’s translation of Plutarch, with a considerable debt to Cicero’s De Officiis. Moral philosophy must precede natural history, and those children whose talent is apparent at an early age should include both of these in the many subjects that they must pursue.

The next writer on education who caught the imagination of his age was the celebrated Aeneas Sylvius Piccolomini (1405-64), later Pope Pius II. This many-sided product of the Renaissance, in 1450, while Bishop of Trieste and in the service of the Emperor Frederick III, addressed an essay, De Liberorum educatione, to the Emperor’s ward, Ladislas, King of Bohemia, then ten years old. This academic exercise on the training of a prince is, as we should expect, taken almost entirely from Quintilian and Plutarch. A knowledge of the elements of Christianity is assumed, while the Christian doctrine of immortality can, Aeneas explains, be found in many authors of antiquity. Grammar, in its wider meaning of literature, eloquence, composition, and the are dictaminis, receives a full measure of attention, although Aeneas Sylvius is more concerned with securing harmonious and approved phraseology, to be obtained by wide reading, than with the matter and content of any writings. He proceeds to justify the reading of pagan authors by the example of the Fathers and names Virgil, Lucan, Statius, Ovid’s Metamorphoses, Claudian, Valerius Flaccus, Horace (to be read, like Ovid and Juvenal, in expurgated editions) for style and Plautus and Terence for diction. Cicero’s De Officiis is essential, supplemented by parts of the works of St Ambrose, Lactantius, St Augustine, St Jerome, and Gregory the Great. Livy and Sallust represent the historians. Rhetoric and dialectic are useful enough, but, since the prince must become a man of action, logical subtleties can be avoided. Geometry, arithmetic, and astronomy have their uses, but are subordinate to philosophy as expounded in the writings of Cicero, particularly De Senectute and De Amicitia, in the letters of Seneca, and in the Philosophiae Consolatio of Boethius.

The general principles used by Guarino of Verona in his teaching at Ferrara were outlined in 1458 or 1459 by his son Battista, whose treatise, De ordine docendi et studendi, written at the age of 25, was directed to Maffefo Gambara of Bitefcia. It is almost exclusively d^vbted to an insistence upon the importance of the study of ancient literature, particularly Greek, which is claimed as one of the primary necessities of an educated gentleman. For grammatical rules the text-book of accidence compiled by his father, the Regulae Guarini, is recommended, as well as the Doctrinal# of Alexander of Villa Dei because of its metrical form. The elements of Greek grammar should belearnt from Chrysoloras‘”Epa)T97/xa7a in the original or in Guarino’s abridgment of it, and history should begin with general writers, such as Justin or Valerius Maximus, its importance lying in the practical value of its examples to statesmen. Virgil still maintains priority of place among the poets, the Aeneid^vog followed by the Thebais of Statius, the Metamorphoses and Fasti of Ovid, the Tragedies of Seneca, and selections from Terence, Plautus, and Juvenal. Geography rests upon Pomponius Mela, Solinus, and Strabo. Rhetoric can be learrtt from the pseudo-Ciceronian Rhetorica ad Herennium, Cicero, and Quintilian. Logic comes next, including the Ethics of Aristotle and the Dialogues of Plato, the De Officiis and the Tusculans of Cicero, followed by the elements of Roman Law. Careful note-taking and consultation of all available authorities are recommended and, in order to obtain a sound general knowledge by wide reading, such authors as Aulus Gellius, Macrobius, and Pliny are suggested as well as St Augustine’s De Civitatc Dei. Greek texts ought to be studied with a Latin translation, and both here and elsewhere stress is laid upon the value of reading aloud. Poetry contains many profound truths, and by following such a course as has been outlined the scholar will learn to converse with the mighty minds of the past and thereby fulfil the finest impulses of his nature. Mankind progresses in learning and virtue by means of the humanities.

The foregoing account of the educational writers of the Italian Renaissance is illustrative rather than exhaustive, since the treatises themselves all shew a marked similarity and are based on classical models. It remains to give some account of the actual teaching that was introduced as a result of these changes of idea and outlook. This involves a sketch of the life and work of one who was one of the most successful and the most famous of the many who sought to apply these ideals, Vittorino da Feltre. Born in 1378, the son of a scribe or notary, he entered the University of Padua in 1396, just as the classical revival was beginning, and remained there for twenty years, apparently making sufficient money as a grammar-school master to enable him to complete the course in arts. He then studied mathematics under a series of teachers not officially recognised by the university, and later taught it himself with great success. His Latin style was immensely improved after 1407 by his acquaintance with the new Professor of Rhetoric, Gasparino Barzizza, who, more than any other, was responsible for the cult of Cicero which marked the later stages of the Italian Renaissance. In 1415, he left Padua for Venice, where he studied Greek under a fellow-teacher, Guarino, the pupil of Chrysoloras, and one of the very few Greek scholars then to be found in Italy.

After he had thus given himself an adequate training, he returned to Padua, where he obtained a great reputation for his skill in moulding the minds and morals of the students whom he received in his house as boarders. In 1422 he succeeded Barzizza as Professor of Rhetoric but resigned in the same year, possibly in disgust at the unhealthy moral condition of the university. At first he went back to Venice, but he soon accepted the invitation of Gianfrancesco Gonzaga, tyrant of Mantua, to go to Mantua as tutor to his family. The Gonzagas of Mantua were very little different from the rest of the Italian tyrants who surrounded them, princes in every sense supreme within their dominions, occupying a position of enormous possibilities for good or evil. Before bargaining about his salary, which was a matter of indifference to him (being unmarried), Vittorino insisted upon being given a free hand, and this was always allowed him. The fact that he was able to rely upon the support of Gianfrancesco Gonzaga and his wife Paola Malatesta in all his measures alone made his success possible. His work was to teach the sons of the Marquess Gonzaga, Ludovico, Carlo, and Gianlucido, Alessandro and his sister Cecilia being added later. He also received the sons of other noble families of the neighbourhood and a number of poorer boys of notable ability. These latter he always insisted upon keeping, making his richer patrons pay for practically the whole of the education of a few of his best pupils. Vittorino realised to the full the influence of environment on the lives of children, and he therefore chose the most pleasant spot in the neighbourhood of Mantua for his school house which he named La Giocosa. Here, surrounded by playing fields, he exercised a vicarious parental authority over his charges, removing their bad companions and winning their affection by his devotion to duty. The causes of his success, which made Mantua renowned throughout Europe, spring from the personality of the man working on the ideas of his time. He was entirely absorbed in his work, personally charming, gifted with a musical penetrating voice, able to enforce his authority with quiet persistence and without passion or harshness, strong, indefatigable, and persuasive. He remained a convinced Christian at a time when many of his fellow-scholars were tending to question the fundamentals of Christianity, and he never wavered in his faith. It is such lives as his that prove that the Italian Revival of Learning was not in essence anti-Christian or opposed to morality; in some wilder spirits it naturally took strange turns and produced an effusive exuberance of irresponsible wantonness, but too much attention can be paid to such examples. For his pupils, Vittorino strongly insisted upon the necessity of regular compulsory daily exercise in the open air. In doing so, he proved himself one of the first teachers of his age to recognise that the mind could act properly only if the body was in good working order and that this was best secured by games and physical training. In this he was really a very considerable innovator, for he thereby threw over the essentially medieval conception of the worthlessness of the body in favour of an attempt to secure a harmony of the claims of flesh and spirit. An ascetic himself, he took up a position opposed in principle to the meaning of ascetic ideals. His task as teacher was complicated by the condition of his chief pupils—Ludovico was lazy and fat, Carlo full of the zest of life but constitutionally weak. Therefore, with that careful individual attention that marked his whole teaching, Vittorino proceeded quietly to induce Carlo to eat more and Ludovico much less, in which, by forbidding all pure luxuries and stimulants, he was most successful. To his pupils he endeavoured to teach something of all the knowledge available to his age, the classical authors naturally bulking most largely. So far as possible, the subjects taught were widely varied, ancient literature being interspersed with lessons in music, natural sciences, mathematics, and other subjects. He insisted upon the value of the cultivation of the memory at all times and upon the educative effect of frequent reading aloud and of declamation. The range of authors studied included Virgil, Livy, and Cicero, for whom he had a particular reverence, Lucan, Ovid, Terence, Plautus, Horace, Juvenal, Seneca, Valerius Maximus, Caesar, Sallust, Quintus Curtius, Pliny, Quintilian, and St Augustine, thus covering practically the whole field of ancient knowledge. It is noteworthy that we have no evidence that he had recourse to such specifically Christian writers as Lactantius, who made such an appeal to Vittorino’s northern contemporaries.

Using Gaza’s grammar, he taught Greek thoroughly and systematically, and the scholarship of some of his pupils, such as Ognibene de’ Bonisoli da Lonigo, Niccold Perotti, and Lorenzo Valla, bears the best testimony to his ability as a teacher of Latin. Yet, obviously, far more important than the details of his methods or books was the personality of the master, his real genius for education, coupled with his untiring zeal. Instead of confining his attention to lofty theories as did many of his contemporaries, he tried the educational theories of his day by the test of the class-room itself. It is, of course, foolish to suggest that his great merits did not also imply real limitations. Thus, the range of subjects that he taught, judged by a modern standard, was narrow and circumscribed by the humanist conviction that all knowledge was to be found in its most perfect form in the writings of the great Greek and Latin authors. Study was therefore limited to these and a reverence paid to their opinions and methods of expression that almost precluded any personal originality and in less capable hands degenerated easily into mere slavish imitation.

Vittorino himself wrote nothing that has survived and we cannot be certain how far he was prepared to adhere rigidly to the ideas of his class. We know, however, that he despised the vernacular and rejected its claims to be considered as a serious medium of literary or scientific expression. Latin alone was to be the language of scholarship and even of personal intercourse among scholars, and this Latin itself was to be the purest possible imitation of that of Cicero, not the debased language that served the workaday purposes of medieval Italy. He based his work so largely upon the production of the classical ideal of the orator that any historical or critical methods of reading the texts of the authors whose writings he expounded, or any attempt to analyse their ideas scientifically, was impossible. Even his principles of teaching spread slowly. His direct personal influence was almost entirely confined to the small corner of Italy bounded by Padua, Venice, and Mantua; it was only very gradually, and mainly after his death, that his pupils spread his renown, and his mode of teaching obtained general acquiescence.

In some respects Vittorino looked back to the past. His Christianity, true and pure as it was and free from pantheism or rationalism, was thoroughly medieval. Not only did he make his life accord with the best ascetic ideals, but also he used all his influence successfully to induce his able pupil, Cecilia Gonzaga, to forsake the world and become a nun. With all his insistence upon the value of a trained mind and body in every individual, he had little appreciation of the social nature and tendencies of man. The salvation of the individual soul and the moulding of the individual character were his highest ambition; we have no evidence that he recognised any claim of the community as a whole upon the time and abilities of the educated class. At heart, Vittorino was a monk and an aristocrat; he was also the exemplar of all that was best in the combination of these qualities with those of the humanist pure and simple. He shewed that Renaissance education need not involve self-conceit, profligacy, or irreligion, that not every humanist cared solely for fame and for the chance of the posthumous survival of his writings and letters, and that personal faith and devotion could be combined with exact scholarship and real appreciation of classical literature.

One important innovation in the education of Renaissance Italy was the greater advantages offered to girls. Although there was not, here as elsewhere, any general desire to give all girls, even of the leisured classes, the same education as was given to boys, nevertheless exceptional opportunities of instruction were open to them. The result was that there were women like Isotta Nogarola and Olympia Morata who could hold their own in matters of scholarship with the best of their male contemporaries and who were accepted and even acclaimed everywhere. Unfortunately, however, such women were very rare, as few took advantage of the facilities thus made available. While every city boasted its quota of male humanists, well-educated women were throughout a small minority. No preparations were made for maintaining the supply, and when the day of reaction dawned they almost disappeared. Thus the promise of a succession of highly educated women, which might have been expected of the educational revival in Italy, remained unfulfilled.

In Northern Europe, Italian conditions were in certain respects parallelled by those of the Netherlands, and it was with this area that the most conspicuous figures of the revival of learning in Germany were most closely connected. Mention has already been made of the activities of the Brethren of the Common Life as teachers and scholars. Their libraries were celebrated for the number of their books and, although it was long before specifically “classical” authors were conspicuously studied and still longer before Greek or Hebrew became known, there was much active thought and interest in intellectual matters among the Brethren and their friends. The suggestion that their teaching was heterodox was indignantly repudiated, although some of the theories of mystics such as Ruysbroeck (1293-1381), who through his friendship with Groote helped to influence the Brethren, were suspected by some good Churchmen.

The teaching of some of the later adherents of the Brethren did not lessen this suspicion. Gerhard Zerbolt (1367-98) demanded a vernacular Bible; John of Goch (c. 1401-1475) had the courage to oppose the teaching of Aquinas upon several points; Wessel Gansfort (c. 1419-1498) became widely known as an original and fearless theological preacher—all three men whose opinions were regarded by many as savouring of heresy. Others, such as St Thomas & Kempis, who devoted themselves mainly to mystical speculation and writings, were more fortunate in their reputation and helped to save the Order from the condemnation that was more than once sought by its enemies.

The influence of the Brethren on the education of the cities in which they worked was remarkable. Schools directly or indirectly connected with them were founded at Deventer, Zwolle, Windesheim, Amersfoort, Schoon-hoven, Harderwijk, Grammont, Hoorn, Delft, Gouda, Hertogenbosch, Doesburg, Groningen, Utrecht, Nijmegen (Nimwegen), Malines, Cambrai, Louvain, Ghent, Brussels, Antwerp, and Liege, while the important work of Wimpheling at Strasbourg was consciously based on his observations and knowledge of what was being done farther north.

This success was partly due to the principles which underlay the educational activities of the Brethren. With them education was a means to an end—the development of better moral and spiritual qualities in the people as a whole. They aimed at training the character of the boys whom they taught rather than at turning out excellent scholars, although they often succeeded in doing the latter as well. They cared for the physical as well as the moral welfare of their pupils, and their schools were distinguished from others by the use of means other than flogging for maintaining discipline. All this they were able to achieve largely because they took great care in the choice of teachers and particularly of headmasters. 11 was, for example, mainly owing to the personal ties of men such as Hegius at Deventer and Cele at Zwolle that these particular schools achieved the marked success that they did. Further, they welcomed really poor boys, whom they taught in every way as well as their richer schoolfellows.

Although the Brethren could show no one whose ideas were as markedly new as those of Vittorino da Feltre, yet the masters appointed through their influence were highly successful in their endeavours and certainly taught a better and purer Latin than had been current previously. Textbooks, particularly of grammar, were improved and rewritten, while care was taken to see that the boys could understand and apply what they had learnt. Considerable stress was laid upon the actual reading of the texts of classical authors, and frequent oral tests were made of the knowledge thus acquired.

It is therefore not surprising that the Renaissance in Germany, once started, made rapid progress and soon developed distinct characteristics of its own. Men like Agricola (1444-85) and Erasmus (1466-1536), who both had connexions with the schools of the Brethren, found Italy had little to teach them. The scholars who came from the north, Langen (1438-1519), Hegius (1433-98), and Wimpheling (1450-1528) in particular, while quite as good Latinists as those from South Germany, were far more interested in the theory and practice of teaching. Agricola, whose influence on the school at Deventer, though indirect, was considerable, visited the school in later life when he was the most renowned scholar in Germany. He lectured for a short time at Heidelberg, but steadily refused all offers to teach in a school, preferring a life of greater leisure which allowed him to cultivate his mind and quietly to influence his neighbours. He left one short essay on education, a long letter written in 1484, usually entitled Reformando studio. This consists of a tirade against unnecessary verbal subtleties and a demand that “philosophy” (interpreted as the possession of a good Latin style, a knowledge of the liberal arts, and the art of conduct) should be the aim of all teaching. Conduct he considered to be the most important of all, proficiency in it to be obtained by a study of the great authors of antiquity, particularly Aristotle, Cicero, and Seneca. Ancient writers, he insisted, must be read with great care and attention, for in them almost all secular wisdom was to be found.

It was Agricola’s friend and pupil, Hegius, who put his ideas into practice, chiefly at Deventer, where he was headmaster probably from 1483 to 1498. Hegius divided the school (which was reported to number over 2,000 boys) into eight classes, exercised the greatest possible care in the choice of masters, and made himself personally responsible for the methods of teaching and the subjects taught, the latter including a little Greek for the older boys. His success was considerable, and the great affection with which he was regarded by his pupils is the best testimony to his fame.

One of these pupils, John Butzbach (c. 1478-1526), became in later life prior of the Benedictine monastery of Laach and has left an autobiography which describes in some detail his early life before he made his way to Deventer. Acting as the attendant of an older scholar who had promised to teach him and take him to a university, but who never fulfilled his promise and instead treated him with the utmost cruelty, Butzbach was forced to lead that life of wandering and begging which was the lot of many aspirants after learning. After visiting several south

German cities, he made his way to heretical Bohemia, where he stayed for five years, returning to learn grammar at Deventer and finally becoming monk, novice-master, and prior at Laach. The hardships of his life as wandering scholar, however, he never forgot, and there is much evidence to suggest that his experiences were common to many similarly situated youths in the later Middle Ages.

The most distinguished of the boys at Deventer under Hegius was, of course, Erasmus. This famous scholar, the greatest product of the Northern Renaissance, came to Deventer in 1475 after learning some Latin at Gouda and at the cathedral song school of Utrecht. Under Hegius and Sintheim he received a thorough grounding in Latin, although in later life he wrote some hard words about his schooldays at Deventer. From Deventer he moved in 1484 to Hertogenbosch, where he remained until he entered the Augustinian monastery of Stein in 1487, so that during all the most impressionable years of his life he was under the influence of the Brethren.

At Deventer he did not go beyond the third class and therefore did not benefit by the better teaching of the upper part of the school, a fact that must be allowed to discount his later unfavourable reminiscences. When he was able to enter the College of Montaigu at Paris in 1495, he conceived while there an even stronger dislike for the teaching of what was still the greatest university in Christendom. The hardships of his early life ruined an always delicate physique, and, having learnt a little Greek and made the acquaintance of Gaguin, he came to England in 1499. There he obtained the friendship of Warham, Colet, and More, but he soon returned to Paris and Louvain. For the rest of his life he was constantly travelling—to Italy, where he found that there was little money available and that he could study almost as well elsewhere, to England, Flanders, and the Rhine valley, living most of the latter years of his life at Basle, where he died in 1536.

Erasmus thus had ample opportunities for knowing what was the condition of education in Europe at the end of the fifteenth century, while his eager interest in everything that concerned learning made him give some direct attention to educational theories. He was unsparing in his denunciations of the worst aspects of the teaching that his age had inherited—the cruelties, the ignorance of many professional schoolmasters, the futile sophistries and subtleties into which learning frequently degenerated, the obscurantism and prejudice of many of the higher clergy. Like other humanists, Erasmus was the champion and partisan of a cause; he would allow no virtues in the old learning, whose exponents he wholeheartedly abused. Even his own teachers were included in his condemnation, in which connexion, however, it must be remembered that the rapid expansion of printing (itself evidence of a wide demand for books) made transcription, for which the Brethren of the Common Life were renowned, no longer necessary and hastened the decay of the Order.

In his criticisms of schoolmasters and teaching methods, Erasmus relied more on abstract theory than on personal knowledge. Like some other great scholars, he had no wish to teach; occasionally, in his younger days, he acted as tutor to a young nobleman in order to earn money, but as soon as his reputation as a writer was sufficiently established, he ceased to take pupils or to lecture. His gentle nature and persistent ill-health made him unfitted for the strenuous life of the schoolroom, while he was wise enough to realise that his life-work was to write and to edit the books that were to shape the thought and expression of his century.

Two formal treatises on education, however, came from his pen, De ratione studii (1511) and De pueris statun ac Uberaliter instituendis (1529), while there is much about the same subject in his Christiani Matrimonii Institutio (1526). From these, and from his letters and allusions elsewhere, we can obtain a fairly clear conception of the kind of education he considered to be best suited for his age. In the De ratione studii, he claims that the study of both Greek and Latin is essential, the best authors to be read as early as possible, for all necessary knowledge is to be found in them. Logic is to be learned from Aristotle alone, with no superfluous commentary, while methods of instruction can be obtained from Quintilian. Composition, style, and criticism are to be taught by the texts of the great classical writers, these being more important than the comments of even the best qualified of masters, although much depends upon the guidance and knowledge of the teacher.

The treatise De pueris statun ac Uberaliter instituendis, addressed in 1529 to the Duke of Cleves, is more ambitious and definite. After explaining the duty of parents to instruct their children from the earliest years and the need to adapt the subjects, methods, and occasions of instruction to the temperament and capacity of the child, he emphasises the vital importance of early training and the need for the exercise of the utmost care in the choice of a master. The character of the latter is of vital importance; if kind, attractive, sympathetic, and wise he can work wonders, whereas the popular opinion that any one is good enough to rule a grammar school is very wrong. Above all, and to this Erasmus returns again and again, the school to which a boy is to be sent must be public, not monastic or even semi-monastic like some of those of the Brethren of the Common Life. He then protests against violent corporal punishment, which was still very common, and discusses the subjects most suitable for the early stages in education, giving first place to elocution and pointing out that not all boys can equally easily master grammar and rhetoric. These first stages must be smoothed over by pleasurable methods of instruction and by rousing the sense of emulation. After some more generalities about the need for patience in meeting difficulties and for avoiding unnecessary haste, the treatise ends with an eloquent appeal for the choice of the best possible teachers and for the care of the child’s education from birth.

In all his writings on educational subjects, Erasmus shows a refreshing originality of outlook. He had, as was the custom of the age, studied Quintilian carefully and adopted a good deal of material from him without acknowledgment, but when he wishes to depart from Quintilian's opinions, he readily does so. Thus the memory of his own schooldays prevents him from recommending common school-life for boys as Quintilian does, and in his text-books he sometimes plainly dissents from Quintilian’s judgments about rhetoric.

These text-books, particularly the Adagio, the De copia rerum et verb-rum, the De conscribendis epistolis, as well as his editions of texts and grammars, helped much more than his abstract speculations to improve the teaching in the schools. One of these latter, for instance, St Paul’s School, London, was, when re-founded by his friend Colet, based almost entirely on Erasmus’ ideas. Critical habits of thought, previously very rare, now became more common, while Erasmus helped considerably to emancipate the scholars of Europe from the bondage to Cicero into which they were in danger of falling, boldly advocating a Latin style that would be pure without Ciceronian affectation. His personal religious orthodoxy, combined with the freest outspokenness, added to his constant insistence that action and not contemplation must be the end and aim of all instruction, made his life an educational crusade. Even the cause of the higher education of woman was notably favoured by him, while his frequent reiteration of the great importance of the schoolmaster helped much to improve the status of the latter and even to foster an enduring national respect for scholars and teachers in Germany.

The career of Erasmus indicates clearly that the year 1500 forms no landmark in the history of education; arbitrary in any case, it is even more unsatisfactory for this than for other aspects of the human story. Thus, in England, for example, the ideals personified by Erasmus had hardly found admission before his death. The precursors of the Renaissance, Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester (1391-1447), Cardinal Beaufort (c. 1370-1447), Whethamstede (ob. 1465), Free (c. 1420-1465), Tiptoft, Earl of Worcester (c. 1427-1470), Flemming (ob. 1483), Selling (c. 1430-1494), Shirwood (ob, 1494), Gunthorpe (ob, 1498), had scarcely yet influenced the universities, still less the general educational methods of the country. It is not until the second decade of the sixteenth century that we can see some signs of educational reform. Bishop Fisher, who became Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cambridge in 1501 and Chancellor in 1504, was well disposed to humanist studies, although no great scholar himself; the Lady Margaret’s foundations of Christ’s (1605) and St John’s (1511) were portents of a new spirit. Erasmus himself was ady LMargaret Professor of Divinity in 1511 and in residence at Queens’ from 1511 to 1514, working at his Novum Instrumentum and teaching a little elementary Greek. At Oxford the struggles between the “Greeks” and the “Trojans” were decided in favour of the “Greeks” by royal intervention in 1519, while Colet had re-endowed and given new statutes to St Paul’s School in 1512. The Dissolution of the Monasteries and the Protestant Reformation naturally threw the educational machine temporarily out of gear, but the damage was rapidly rectified, as the achievements of the reign of Elizabeth indicate, and before the end of the century the educational ideals of the humanists had been generally adopted.

The higher education of the fifteenth century, in so far as it was controlled by the Church, had been too clerical and obscurantist, tending to degenerate into increasingly useless formalism. The new nation-states, created by the energies of Ferdinand and Isabella, Louis XI, and Henry VII, needed an educated governing class emancipated from clerical control and secular in outlook and ideals. There were thus political reasons why the aims and methods of education should undergo marked changes after the end of the fifteenth century, and these changes were certain to be linked on to the new ideals which the humanists learned from ancient Rome. The new teaching, secular in spirit, practical and scientific in its methods, even if restrained in scope by reverence for the writings of antiquity, was certain to triumph in the new conditions of Europe, even in those countries in which the religious innovations were most decisively rejected.

The education of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, however, has been unfairly traduced by writers who have taken too literally the diatribes of enemies such as the compilers of the Epistolae Obscurorum Virorum. That there was much of real worth in the teaching of medieval schools and universities is now admitted by all; a great deal of honest hard work was done, and men learnt to think with wonderful rapidity and clarity. The pre-eminence of logic and oral disputation did at least lead to a high standard of deductive reasoning and acute argument. The right use of definitions was understood and followed, while the mental training involved in the ready application of fine distinctions and subtle differences was at once severe and salutary. If the medieval teacher was not allowed to question many of his premises, he was allowed considerable latitude in reasoning from them; religion was honoured, philosophy and theology were esteemed more highly than ever since.

Scholarship was international from its elements. French, German, and English children were taught the same grammar from the same textbooks; the universities had consciously similar courses leading to the conferment of the ius ubique docendi, opening their doors to each others’ alumni. Medieval scholars had common ambitions, largely centring in Rome, a common language and common methods of teaching, all of which helped to emphasise the essential similarity of their work and simplified the transmission of knowledge. This implied a society that was mainly static and class divisions that were seldom altered. The poverty of medieval scholars can be exaggerated; educated men who sprang from the serf class were few and the teaching profession was seldom recruited by really new blood. This the humanists did little to remedy, although men like Vittorino da Feltre were prepared to teach poor boys of ability, and Erasmus desired to see a literate peasantry.

A literate peasantry could not be expected to be made up of good Latinists, and the emancipation of education from scholasticism and from ecclesiastical control was followed by a growth in the use of the vernacular in every country such as the humanists never contemplated. When they succeeded in substituting classical Latin for the jargon of the schoolmen, so far from making Latin a better and more employed vehicle for the expression of thought, in reality they brought the vernacular into its own. When that typical humanist, Sir Thomas More, wished to expound his opinions on subjects that he believed mattered most in the world, he wrote in his native tongue instead of in Latin, as also did Luther in Germany. At the same time, while men were thus made freer to express their thoughts in the way that suited them best, the appreciation of the masterpieces of Greek and Roman literature was greatly enhanced. In 1500 Europe had much to learn about science, law, history, and philosophy from the ancient world; and it was the teaching and the preservation of texts during the Middle Ages that had made it possible for this knowledge to be assimilated rapidly as it became widely available, and therein lies part of the value of medieval education for the modern world.

To sum up: the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries cannot be claimed as a period of great general educational advance. The high hopes which the achievements of the best scholars of the two preceding centuries raised were not fulfilled, but knowledge was made much more accessible and many more boys were taught to read and speak Latin. Considerable intellectual progress is not apparent; indeed, in some respects, there are signs of retrogression. Ultimately, the triumph of humanist ideals was certain; yet, while it must be admitted that a good deal of the humanists’ contempt for their predecessors was justified, it was the education that these had provided that made the rapid advance of the sixteenth century possible and the success of the Renaissance ideals so complete.