Humanistic and technical education in antiquity and the middle ages.
2.1 "Unhistorical Nations" erase Traces of Ancient Culture
Greek, Hellenistic and Roman culture in the region of the Western Roman Empire received heavy blow during the Great Migration period from the 5th to 8th centuries. In the turmoil of raids of new "unhistorical" nations torch of Greco-Roman culture and science was almost extinguished. Schools disappeared together with the organized state administration. New Europe which was born gradually in "labor" of these processes had no connection with former Greco-Roman culture. Its renewal had to start from the beginning. In order to make any progress it was necessary to start digging up the ruins and to rediscover ancient writers together with the methods which enabled that their works might become part of the school program. It took a lot of effort, knowledge and good will, and final outcome was uncertain. The Middle Ages was formed gradually and modelled owing mostly to three important factors: Christian religion, revived Greco-Roman culture and renewal of the Roman Empire under the Germanic control.
Medieval West started to rise from the ruins of Greco-Roman world starting from the 8th and 9th centuries owing mostly to the Catholic Church which knew how to establish constructive relations with new masters of the European continent. AIThough its education was not primarily of the school-type, this by no means meant that the Church was not interested in it. Church needed not only literate but also educated men in order to exist and to expand. Christianity was "religion of learning" or "religion of book" which could not exist in a completely barbaric context. That is why the Church had something to offer to the Germani. Church did not approach them with empty hands, but it brought them, alongside faith, Greco-Roman culture enriched with the Christian religion and contributions of many philosophers and theologists, including prominent representatives of all important philosophic schools, particulary Platonism, Aristotelianism, Stoicism. Their task was to save as much as possible of the Greco-Roman culture in Christian guise. They introduced new liveliness into the Christian message by their cultural creativity and opened up new horizons, laying in that way foundations for the new age. Historical development of schools and their programs led to their improvement and unification despite all differences from one author to another and from one period to another which finally led to founding universities which grew into well organized and institutionalized institutions some of which still exist.
2.2 New Masters of Europe and Catholic Church
Introduction of the Christian era afer the fall of the Western Roman Empire was a symbol and hallmark of the new age. Particular contribution to this period was made by a Scythian monk Dionysius the Little (Dionysius Exiguus, f 556) who was the most renown lawyer who lived in Rome in his time. In his work Liber de paschate (Book on Easter) he supplemented Easter tables of Cyril of Alexandria after the Pope's order in 525. Instead of Diocletain's era which started with the beginning of his reign (September 17, 284), Dionysius decided to determine the exact date of Christ's birth. He took the period of M. Terentius Varro as a starting point in his calculations, and determined that Jesus Christ was born on December 25, 754 after the foundation of Rome (ab urbe condita) which was accepted as the beginning of the Christian era (ab Incarnatione Domine). New system of year numbering started as a sign of new age in history of Europe and world.
At the beginning Christianity did not accept ancient pagan philosophy but it accepted ancient educational system, intellectual technique of Greek Aristotelianism. However church fathers accepted and adjusted system of seven free arts retaining Latin as the language of culture and science. Therefore Christianity took over ancient heritage giving particular importance to some authorities of paganity such as Plato in neoplatonistic form, and a part of Aristotle, Cicero and Quintilian which had a place of honor together with the Christian authorities: Bible and church fathers. Christianity also accepted late antique thought regardless of the fact that it was not on high level. It was incorporated into their cultural and pedagogic program made by church fathers and monastic thinkers therein lying foundations for the Christian philosophical thought.
These attempts were rewarded. Special merits for that go to four Christian intellectuals of this or somewhat later time which are considered as "the founders of the Middle Ages" after the Germani had already controlled largest part of what used to be the Western Roman Empire. These were Boethius, Cassiodorus, Isidore of Seville and Venerable Bede. All of them lived in the transitional period between antiquity in whose schools they were educated and the new age which only started to emerge in labor of the Great Migration period. They attempted to collect all scientific information which were still available in the disappearing world, or had already disappeared, to confirm their importance and give them an opportunity to blossom again in the schools. In that sense they determined basic cultural direction of that heritage which will be continued by almost all later Christian thinkers in the Middle Ages.
2.3 Unsuccessful Attemp of Symbiosis of the Germani and Romans: Boethius
The first one was Boethius (Anicius Manlius Torquatus Severinus Boetius, ca. 480-526) the last descendant of the Roman aristocratic Anicia family. He was born in the period when odoacer's Visigothic kingdom was in difficult position due to raids of Theodoric's osthrogots. He was raised by the senator Aurelius Memmius Symmachus as his father died while he was young. He married his foster-father's daughter Rusticiana. He entered politics early becoming a senator at the age of 25 and only five years later a consul. Owing to Ostrogothic king Theodoric the Great, two of his sons were also appointed as consuls in 522. While performing state offices he found time to perfect his knowledge of Greek language and philosophy. His intention was to translate to Latin works of important Greek philosophers, primarily Plato and Aristotle, to make legacy of the ancient Greeks available to the Latin youth and to prove that differences between Plato and Aristotle are almost non-existing. He came to this idea considering division and increasing political and cultural distance between Rome and Constantinople, East and West. In this engagement with school education, Boethius was already a typical medieval man.
AIThough Boethius did not manage to realize fully his grand plan, he left an outstanding legacy behind. Later generations can thank him for the allegoric image of philosophy which can still be seen on fronts of some medieval cathedrals as well as for the definition of science. In his opinion philosophy is love for wisdom. This refers not only to practical ability, nor abstract speculative ability but reality. Wisdom is a living thought, cause of all things which exists in itself and by itself. After enlightening man's thought, wisdom attracts it with love. Philosophy can be understood as an achievement of wisdom, quest for God or even love for God.
Boethius introduced the term quadrivium which encompasses all higher disciplines. This a group of four disciplines related to the study of nature: arithmetic, geometry, astronomy and music. Meaning which he ascribes to the expression quadrivium is "quadruple path to wisdom". These sciences are some kind of paths leading to wisdom. Who does not know them, cannot appreciate wisdom.
Boethius was the author of a series of didactic works on arithmetics (De institutione arithmetica). Ars geometrica is also ascribed to him. This work is different from the mentioned work on geometry which illustrates popularity of mathematics with the Romans. It remained unavoidable textbook for attendants of the quadrivium as higher educational stage.
Boethius is the author of other important works. One of them, which was later lost, deAIT with anatomy, as well as the tractate De institutione musica (Music treatise) in five volumes. In it he discusses the problem of acoustics and elementary theory about tetrachords. His work was the main source of information about ancient music theory for the musicians from the Middle Ages and Renaissance. These works are important because they preserved ancient scientific legacy which provided great reputation for Boethius in medieval schools.
2.4 First Signs of Recovery: Cassiodorus
His disciple Cassiodorus (Flavius Magnus Aurelius Cassiodorus, 485-583), son of a famous praetorian prefect (praefectus praetorii) followed Boethius' way. After exclusively Latin education which was based on grammar, law and rhetoric, he began serving in the administration of the ostrogothic king Theodoricus very young becoming a consul (consul ordinarius) in 514, then praefectus praetorii, in 533 patritius and finally "the first minister" (magister officiorum). Four osthrogothic kings named him their minister: Theodoric, Athalaric (526-534), Theodatus (534-536) and Vitiges (536-540). Cassiodorus was one of the most prominent Romans in his long political career who cooperated patiently with the Germanic kings in an attempt to pacify and unite Romans and Goths. He acted in a conciliatory tone in a political crisis which emerged between the Goths and Eastern Roman Empire. However the development of events did not correspond to his political ideals.
In an attempt to revive ancient culture, Cassiodorus founded high Catholic school (academy) in cooperation with the Pope Agapetus (535-536). Due to the Byzantine-Gothic war this school had to be closed. His great libaray was also destroyed. Faced with inevitable bloody conflict between the eastern Roman emperors and Goths, which marked the entire period, during the reign of Vitiges (540) he retreated to his estate in Calabria where he founded two monasteries one of which was the "Vivarium" monastery where he tried to realize his ideal. His monastery soon became a true "temple of culture" in which he tried to harmonize ancient culture with the Christian, with which he symbolically introduced classical culture into the "narrow cell of the Middle Ages". Numerous Romans followed his example accepting the same lifestyle. Cassiodorus as a monk made a special monastic rule De institutione monastica, seemingly after the Rule of St. Benedict. One of the basic points of his rule referred to obligation of the study of sacred and profane sciences and copying old manuscripts. He knew that was not a period of great new thoughts and ideas, but that it was necessary to save from antiquity all that could be saved and that could be used in the society he lived in. He made no difference between the Greek, Latin, Christian and non-Christian authors. He believed that without knowing philosophy there can be no true theology. In that way his monastery became strong cultural center for the study of sacred (litterae divinae) and profane (litterae humanae) sciences. For his monks he made a manual of Latin orthography (De orthographia) and instructed them how to copy properly old manuscripts contributing in that way to preservation of old cultural heritage. It was an immensely important act for preserving ancient culture which was about to inspire numerous generations of the Christian monks. He was the embodiment of an educated monk who will have many followers in the future.
Cassiodorus and Boethius are considered as the "founders of the Middle Ages" and represent an important link in the chain of transferring knowledge and science between the late antiquity and Middle Ages.
2.5 Renewal of Monastery Schooling: Isidore of Seville
If culture in Italy which was devastated by the raids of new populations, perhaps more heavily than any other part of the former Roman Empire, could hardly survive closed in the monastery schools, in some other regions it continued to create important instruments which enabled continuation of some forms and traditions of knowledge to say the least. This primarily refers to relatively peaceful Visigothic rule in Hispania where strong church hierarchy was retained taking care of not only preservation but also development of ancient culture.
Among the church representatives who did not allow torch of ancient knowledge to be extinguished special place belongs to Isidore, archbishop of Seville (ca. 560-636). Isidore's knowledge was encyclopaedic. He was acquainted with classical antiquity so he continued the work of Boethius and Cassiodorus. He is considered to be the last church Father and one of the most important writers of the time. He wrote about various subjects which may interest an educated man of his time, particularly about natural and humanistic arts and sciences. In the work Differentiarum libri he presented a comprehensive dictionary of synonyms and words. In De ordine creaturarum he wrote about cosmography, meteorology and other natural sciences. Originum seu etymologiarum libri XX made between the year 622 and 633 takes a special place among his numerous works. Isidore considered etymology part of grammar. "If you know the origin of a certain word you will easier understand its strength. Every word can be understood clearer if one knows its etymology." Since all things were not named after their nature, but some were named randomly, not all words can be reduced to etymology. The first three books of Isidore's encyclopaedia discuss seven liberal arts. In the others he presented not only origin of words or etymologies--as the title says--but also the complete profane and church knowledge in 20 books: I. Grammar; II. Rhetoric and dialectic; Ill. Arithmetic, geometry, astronomy, music, medicine, general history from the creation of the world to 627 AD, Bible and church offices, God, angels and church members, Church, languages, nations, states, families, dictionary, man, animals, cosmography, geography, monuments and communication ways, science about stones and mineralogy; agriculture and gardening; army, war and games; navy and clothing; diet, household skills and agricultural implements. He particularly emphasized importance of arithmetics for proper understanding and interpretation of Biblical secrets. He explained comprehensively difference between astronomy and astrology, structure of the universe and definitions of Sun, Moon, planets, comets and fixed stars. For the Sun he states: it is made of fire, it is much larger than the Earth and Moon, except daily movement it has its own movement because of which it can be noticed at various positions in the universe; Moon takes its light from the Sun and goes through eclipse when it stands between the Sun and Earth; planets have their orbits; fixed stars also move which can be concluded from the change of their light depending on the distance from Earth; stars have various sizes: those closer to us and brighter can be much smaller than the ones less bright; strength of their light depends on their distance from Earth. Isidore's miscellany contains practically entire human knowledge and science which he puts in the center of the intellectual world of his time ending revolution started by Aurelius Augustine (354-430) from Thagaste in north Africa: Church included in itself all aspects of society and had answers to all important questions. In that way Isidore became known as the teacher of the Middle Ages and his work became an unavoidable manual in medieval schools for almost 800 years. Isidore discussed similar subjects in his work De rerum natura with emphasis on astronomy, cosmography and meteorology. Perhaps his work does not encompass ancient science in the best way, but it was obligatory in all important cathedral schools in the Middle Ages. When universities were founded in the 12th and 13th centuries their importance increased owing to translations from Greek and Arabic.
2.6 Breeze of Cultural Renewal from the European West: the Venerable Bede.
The fourth representative of this transitional period acted in a typically medieval community: British Venerable Bede (672-735) He was a monk, father of the English historiography and one of the greatest erudites of his time in Europe. Athough he spent all his life in the monastery in Northumbria, he knew classical authors and works of the church fathers, he spoke all important languages (Latin, Greek, Hebrew). His works represent a sort of scientific encyclopaedia in which all knowledges of the time were discussed: grammar, metrics, arithmetic, manner of making calendars with movable feasts with astronomic explanation of the process, natural phenomena of high and low tide and many other information and insights. Historia ecclesiastica gentis Anglorum (Ecclesiastical history of the English people) is considered to be his capital work as a true well of information about past times, particularly the process of Christianization of populations on the island.
2.7 Carolingian Renaissance: Alcuin
Mentioned four Christian intellectuals represent a kind of bridge between antiquity and Middle Ages--they were not only teachers of ancient knowledge but also creators and promotors of something new: all four attempted to save last remains of ancient culture and to give it to new generations; all of them wrote about the problems of antiquity and their time. There is another important characteristic connecting them: all four were born too late to give new life and vigour to the ancient culture as they wanted, but also too early to see fruits of their hard work.
Starting from the Carolingian Renaissance in the 8th and 9th centuries their example was followed by many other authors. We may mention for instance the British Alcuin (ca. 735-804) who contributed much to return of the ancient culture to monastery schools, then one of the deepest medieval philosophers Irish Johannes Scotus Eriugena (9th century), benedictine from Monte Cassino, Lombardian historian Paul the Deacon (Paulus Diaconus, ca. 720-ca. 800) etc. They were well acquainted with the past, but they were not stuck in it nor were they its slaves, they prepared young generation for tasks which were ahead of them.
2.8 Demographic and Cultural Awakening of Western Europe
Decisive breakthrough in the renewal of society on new bases was made in Europe after the 10th century when Norman and Hungarian raids stopped which marked the end of semi-nomadism and Migration Period in Europe. More favourable political circumstances and possibility of work in greater security from outer enemies reflected favourably in all other fields. Owing to improvement of tools, planting new plants and intentional AITernate growing of more useful crops, living conditions of the population started to improve. Increased yield of agricultural products enabled important demographic growth which led to liberating working force which filled the cities and affected favourably productive activity of entire population. In this period slavery disappeared so that rich classes of society started looking for economically profitable working methods and making what we presently call machines. In that way Europe started to recover and renew from its ruins scientifically, economically and culturally, and level of literacy and general culture was also increased with improved education.
First signs of this awakening could be noticed at the end of the 10th century when slow but constant economic progress was recorded which did not stop even during the crisis in the 14th century. This progress was primarily rural as land was the basis of not only economy but also the entire society. Many technical novelties were introduced. Iron plow was introduced instead of a wooden plow, as well as many other agricultural implements which improved soil tillage; food reserves were increased not only for family needs but also for selling to the city population. Progress was evident in expansion of arable surfaces (clearing land for cultivation and draining swamp areas) in two- or three-year AITernate sowing with various kinds of cereals which resulted in considerable improvement of diet and living conditions in general. Europe of "white bread" and large consumption of meat was born, while Europe of "drink" was divided to northern part drinking beer and southern part where wine was consumed, with improved quality and quantity.
Awakening also referred to development of urban life. Moving of rural population to cities in search of work and better security resulted with founding new quarters for artisans and merchants. City life had to adjust to new needs. There was better organization and specialization of work, various artisans' and craft associations were formed etc. In areas where there were no cities particularly northern Europe new city settlements were formed particularly around larger monasteries or fortified castles of feudal dignitaries. In that way European cities were gradually turned into production centers and markets of a kind from which old city population profited immensely but also the ones leaving villages in order to liberate from social dependence on large land-owners. Naturally cities still depended on village and its food products just as village depended on city for their selling. Weekly fairs were organized, trade between cities and villages and cities between themselves developed, roads and bridges were built which contributed to stronger growth of economy which was reflected in increase of the production of commodities and growing barter between various categories of the city population and other cities and countries. Population started to abandon under-developed and unproductive agriculture in favor of craft and trade particularly with developed Near East wherefrom much demanded spices and consumer goods were imported which were forgotten in Europe from the Great Migration period. Monarchs and feudal aristocracy remelted their luxurious but useless silver objects into coins. This general progress was useful for all social classes who were organized because of the better work distribution. Faith in future and work was born.
Owing to this progress, European population also increased. According to the estimates it increased from 42 million to 46 million between the years 1000 and 1050, from 46 to 48 million between the years 1050 and 1000, from 48 to 50 million between the years 1100 and 1150, from 50 to 61 million between the years 1150 and 1200, and it reached 61 million between the years 1200 and 1250. In the moment when great plague broke out from 1346 to 1348 Europe probably had more than 80 million inhabitants. The plague is estimated to have killed about half of the European population in only two or three years.
Improved living conditions resulted in increased interest in science. Medieval scientific thought started with classification of everything surrounding a man and asking a series of questions: for instance why leaves on trees have different forms; why flowers and fruits have different colors; why a man must cook food; how are fish, birds, bugs conceived etc.
2.9 The End of Long Cultural-Scientific Winter
Gerbert from Aurillac (ca. 940-1003), teacher of the Emperor Otto II and future pope Sylvester II (999-1003) was a man who announced stronger cultural and scientific awakening of the West. He was a transitory person between the decadent period of the 10th century and renaissance of the following century. He spent several years (967- 970) in Christian Catalonia where he was introduced with secrets of mathematical science under the direction of Atton, archbishop of the city of Vich. He was a universal scholar. He was interested in the works of old writers and he incited monks to copy them. He proposed harmony between religion and science believing that monks had to engage in scientific work in addition to faith. He read everything he could get and was not satisfied with comments but he looked for original Greek and Arabic works. As an encyclopaedic mind he wanted to know everything. Mathematics was a particular field of his interest which he learned on the basis of ancient models surpassing thereby all his contemporaries. He wrote about all or almost all scientific disciplines known at the time: logic, arithmetics, geometry, astronomy and music introducing important novelties into mentioned disciplines. His biographer monk Richer mentions that he was very skillful with astronomic instruments and that he drew orbits of the planets for understanding their movement. Instead of complex calculations about movements of planets and stars he made a globe of sky which illustrated their position at given time for his pupils. on a wooden sphere he drew constellations which he moved around marked pole on his model. He also constructed armillary spheres made of large circles divided to parallels (equator, tropic and polar circle) and ecliptic within which he hung planets with an ingenious mechanism. At the end of his mechanism he filled an empty circle with various tubes which enabled looking at poles and other important points of earth. Anyone could determine position of constellation by using these and some other devices as Richer emphasizes. With help of coin maker he made "abacus" (calculating tool) which was divided into 27 fields lengthwise. He put nine figures on them representing all numbers. Alongside these numbers he had 1000 letters made and placed on the board getting in that way calculating device with which he could perform mathematical operations of multiplication and division with incredible speed no matter how large were numbers. It was announcement of increased interest for scientific researchwhich will incite many others to follow his example.
Progress was evident in many other fields of life. Burgundian monk and chronicler Rodulfus (Ralph) Glaber (985-1047) was one of the most important witnesses of his time. He left an important testimony about the general enthusiasm at the beginning of the 10th century: "As the third year approached after the year 1000, it was evident in the entire country, and primarily in Italy and Gaul that church objects were renewed; AIThough most of them were built well and renewal was not necessary, Christian communities competed in an attempt to have a more magnificent church than the neighbors. We may say that the world threw off its decrepitude and put on a white coat of churches. Then the believers renewed almost all churches of the bishopric sees, monastery churches dedicated to all known saints, and even small village chapels." It was only an outer sign of general social enthusiasm of the time.
2.10 Beginning of the 2nd Millennium Marked by General Awakening
Renaissance to which western European society was heading was formed, as all previous reformation movements, under the motto of "returning to the old", i.e. to the "sources". Diplomat and poet Pierre de Blois (ca. 1135-1203) wrote in relation with this: "One cannot easily cross from the darkness of ignorance to the scientific light, if he does not read works of old writers with greatest love! May dogs bark and pigs grunt, but I will not give up following the old. I will devote all my love to them and study them until the dawn of the day." This "dawn of the day" came as a consequence of all previous efforts to revive science and knowledge keeping antiquity in mind. This wish could not be crushed by the decadence caused by the collapse of the Carolingian Empire, nor all social and political turmoils at the end of the 9th and in the 10th century. Future events showed that this period was not dusk of previous social and cultural world but dawn of a new age firstly for western Europe, and then for the rest of the world. One of the great merits of the Carolingian Renaissance, and what otto the Great did, was founding schools which made intellectual infrastructure for a similar cultural project in near future. Seed of knowledge and science which was sown in that period had to "hibernate" over the period of political anarchy and lack of stronger state support, until the "spring" of better circumstances in the 12th century. History of medieval scientific thought was born gradually and developed within monastery walls and cathedral schools where texts of old authors could be found.
2.11 Technical Transformation of Western Europe
After the Great Migration period and all events at the time, building of new society had to start almost from the beginning. It was a difficult and gradual process, result of the initiative of the enlightened ones, usually anonymous individuals or rare organized groups. As working force was missing, man tried to exploit natural forces in a better way. Significant progress which was achieved, despite all difficulties, was the result of these small but frequent improvements. Owing to such circumstances the Middle Ages was quite a creative and innovative period despite the fact that everything had to start from the beginning and opposed to general belief about the Middle Ages. More than 200 inventions which are still used originated in the Middle Ages, starting from large things which will be discusssed later to "small" but very important inventions such as buttons for clothes which enabled sewing much tighter and more practical dresses (skirts, pants, etc.) with save of expensive textile; table which enabled eating while sitting instead of lying on the left side; playing chess and cards and many other things which make human life pleasant, comfortable and "modern". Lack or imprecision of historical sources prevents understanding of origin of many things and exact time of start of their use so we have to be satisfied with approximate assessment of their origin or period of creation. Most new populations which ruled largest part of Europe in the Early Middle Ages were warrior nomads who were in constant move in search of pasture for cattle. But once they abandoned (semi)nomadic way of life at the end of the Early Middle Ages they started to intensively develop agriculture which ensured better life conditions.
Roman agriculture before the Great Migration period was based on two- or three-year crop rotation which left soil to rest for a year every two or three years due to primitive soil tillage and insufficient fertilizing. Poor harvests caused inability of supporting not only of population but also of cattle. In this aspect the Middle Ages even aggravated existing situation particularly in northern countries with cold climate and various humidity degrees. These improvements were related with two fields: improvement of tools and improvement of system of soil tillage. First manual tools were improved as a consequence of village crafts, and then unsupported plow which was dominant in the Mediterranean countries. It was a kind of pole with a point hardened in fire or with an iron point which could only scratch the surface in light and dry soils. Harder soil was turned with a hoe and spade. Then there was plow with wheels and plowshare which could penetrate soil deeper without burdening the animals that pulled it. Such tool enabled deep plowing and pulling out plants with deep roots on soil on fallow. Plow with wheel was a heavy and expensive device which demanded several oxen for pulling. Earliest iron plowshare was found near the old Russian city of Ladog, and it originates from the 7th or 8th centuries. The Franks brought such plow with wheels from Germania to northern Gaul. Harrow cut the soil, turned it and covered grass and fertilizer. As it seems it was first used in Flandria.
All these improvements contributed to increasing significantly the yields of fields sown with barley, rye, oats, wheat etc., ensuring richer and more diverse food for humans and animals. Yields from fields tilled in that way were not particularly rich but they still represented significant improvement: in France and England they reached 4to 6 times on one unit of sown seeds. Increased production of oats supported horse breeding which was related with economical shift of feudal cavalry. Horse was also used in agricultural works. His speed was greater than the oxen's which enabled more frequent plowing and greater yields.
Alongside these improvements first works about agriculture were written. Some of them originate from the 13th century. First work of the kind in England was Dite Hosebondrie by WAITer de Henley (ca. 1250) one of the first English agronomists who wrote in French. In northern Italy Pietro de Crescenzi also known as Pier Crescenzio (1233-1320) who is considered to be the best western European agronomist in the Middle Ages wrote a work Ruralium commodorum opus libri XII around 1350. In this work he discussed agricultural techniques, way of tillage and tending gardens. It was immediately translated into Italian so it affected widely known gardens of aristicrats from Tuscany.
There were improvements in other fields as well. Channels and embankments in swampy and flooding areas appeared in Flandria in the 13th century and introduction of a windmill enabled pumping out of water and its throwing out of the embankment which resulted with drying of swamps as a source of mosquitos transmitting malaria. As opposed to this irrigation enabled tillage of dry areas in different parts of Europe. Most important achievement of the kind was the grand canal (naviglio grande) in Lombardia made at the end of the 12th century and first half of the 13th century which enabled drainage of water from Lago Maggiore from 35 000 hectares of land. Such canals were regional traffic connections for transport of people and heavy loads which was useful in building larger objects, palaces, castles and churches.
Excellent roads which were once built by the Romans were devastated during the Great Migration period. Since they were built by slaves and non-Roman populations, the Romans needed not look for other sources of energy. Practice that defeated populations were turned into slaves was abandoned more and more with Christianization of new populations. AIThough slavery was not abolished fully, Christianity insisted on protection of dignity of each human being which forced winners to find other solutions for soil tillage, road building and maintenance or starting production.
Limited to its own human forces, medieval Europe started to learn how to use better other sources of energy. Many novelties were introduced in better use of horse equipment: hobnailing horses seemed to start in Byzant giving them better foothold and increasing their efficiency in pulling carts; use of saddle and stirrup enabled easier use of the animal and provided better stronghold for a horseman in a fight which made a horse true "war machine" acquiring new dignity and enabling incredible development of feudal cavalry. Greatest progress was made with new way of harnessing: new equipment was no longer put around the neck of the animals which suffocated them and reduced their power, now horses were harnessed at their chest and oxen with their horns. Introduction of certain changes of pulling equipment enabled harnessing several horses one after the other which increased the strength of the team. All this increased significantly traction power of horses and transport of bigger loads which was used particularly in imposing Romanesque and Gothic cathedrals, castles and other buildings. Sculptures on the Laon cathedral recorded use of oxen and new means of transport in its building.
Many technical novelties were introduced in land transport as well. Instead of two-wheel carts which could take at most 500 kg, cart with four wheels started to be made and their transport capacity was several times bigger.
AIThough water had always been used for various purposes, water-mill was a Mediterranean invention for grinding grains realized at the beginning of the Christian era. It did not develop further due to abundance of water sources and numerous slaves. Different social relations in the Middle Ages and greater need for sources of new energy turned a mill into a genuine machine. After technical invention of turning round movement into vertical, foot-powered potter's wheel was invented, and watermill became a sort of pneumatic machine for cutting, drilling, forging, crushing iron ore, production of paper etc. In the 12th century hydraulic saws appeared which facilitated wood processing, draining swamps, cutting forests for land clearance etc. on paintings from that time preserved in churches we can frequently see other technical devices and tools such as winch or lift for heavy loads etc.
Techniques of weaving and wool spinning are related with better use of water: loom with a footrest was mentioned in historical sources from the 12th century and spinning wheel mentioned somewhat later. Rolling of wool fabrics became easier in almost entire Europe when mills were intoduced. Mechanical mill for silk weaving appeared in Italy in the 13th century wherefrom it spread to other regions.
Origin of wind-mills has been studied less than the origin of water-mills. It seems that they were originally from Iran and that they came to Europe through Arab mediation. Starting from the 10th century they were used in Catalonia, on Greek islands and other countries in the Mediterranean which did not abound in precipitation so water-mills were useless. At the end of the 12th century in northern France and England wind-mills are mentioned as wind-powered mills. Inventory of a farmer from the middle of the 13th century was preserved mentioning tools driven by water- and wind-mills. In that period in north-eastern Europe where water and winds were abundant, mill with horizontal axis appeared. In order to turn wings in the direction of the wind, mill was placed high on large wooden tripod on which it could turn owing to special device.
Wind was used even more in sailing. However its variability and strength were not favourable for its use. Throughuot Middle Ages shipbuilders attempted to find compromise between boats with oars and boats with sails which led to building of a new type of ship--galley which used oars and wind as driving force. It seems it was first used in Byzant, but Italian shipbuilders constantly improved it so that it became the best ship in the Mediterranean in the 13th century. Things were different in the European north. Scandinavians developed special type of large sailboat which had angular keel because of which it had possibilities unknown to Mediterranean ships with much flatter bottom. Allegedly their leader Erik the Red discovered Greenland and reached coasts of North America on one of such boats. In time these characteristics were joined which resulted with building of famous Hanseatic, Basque and Portuguese ships. Larger ships were built having stern rudder attached to the back part of the keel instead of lateral oar-shaped rudder. Stern rudder was easily manipulative with a handle enabling easier, faster and securer steering. The oldest depiction of such rudder was preserved on a painting from the year 1180. Instead of rectangular sail in late antiquity triangular "lateen" sail was introduced with a point downwards to enable sailing against the wind.
Invention of astrolabe revolutionized sailing. As the main navigational instrument astrolabe enabled measuring heights of planets and stars and graphical solving tasks from sphere astronomy. It was used until 18th century when sextant was invented. English Alexander Neckam (1157-1217) described use of magnetic needle originally from China which enabled, alongside more precise nautical charts, European ships not to be limited to sailing along the coast and only in favourable seasons, but they could start their voyages throughout the year. From the end of the 15th century and beginning of the 16th centuries Europe had technique and ships which could reach any point on earth which led to increase of trade, transport, voyages and great geographical doscoveries which played crucial role not only in European but also in the world history.
Development of metallurgy in the 12th and 13th centuries was definitely very important regarding the aforementioned. Bellows stretched between two plates with a winch was used to produce stronger flame in processing ore containing silver. Such bellows in the 14th century led to opening numerous forges in which iron was forged and armors were made. Chain mail whose origin was in Persia in the period of Sassanid dynasty, spread to Europe over Byzant and Arabic world. Technique of casting bronze was improved for production of church bells and was used for production of the first firearms. Weapons were in great demand. English Franciscan Roger Bacon in 1294 described way of usage of gunpowder originally from China opening in that way epoch of production and use of firearms. It was first used in 1346 in centennial war between England and France first as heavy artillery and then around 1450 as personal military armament as a gun.
The same goes for the glass industry which had market due to many churches that were built. Increase of demand in the 12th and 13th centuries led to opening of many glass workshops in which painted glass (vitrail) for churches was produced serially. Center of the production was in Venice wherefrom it spread across Europe. The aforementioned Roger Bacon in 1294 left a description of spectacles (alongside description of firearms) as a revolutionary device for correcting defective vision which enabled many monks to continue copying manuscripts in their rooms with faint light of oil lamps. Owing to this invention scholars could continue their research and writing after their eyesight weakened. Guild of Venetian artisans announced regulations for making spectacles with convex glasses around 1300. Glass was also used as tool for scientific research.
In the area of basic building materials mostly wood, stone and iron were in use. Too intense use of wood was related with danger of frequent fires which could destroy not only family houses but also public buildings such as churches, castles and palaces. This was the reason to start using stone more. Building of an abbey in Chishire in England is a good illustration of intensive building at the time. In three years of building (1278-1281) from a quarry at distance of about 8 km, total of 35 448 carts of stone weighing 35 000 tons was transported reflecting strong development of architecture in the 12th and 13th centuries.
Digging of iron ore and iron processing were particularly developed in the 13th century Spanish iron" (iron from the Basque country) was highly esteemed. In 1296 customs in Castile recorded export of around 5 000 tons. In Lombardy armors and weapons were produced and exported. Swedish iron was particulary highly esteemed in northern Europe. Trade with this material was controlled by the German Hansa. Iron and copper were extracted and traded with in Germany and Hungary. Bills of the building of the cathedral in Autun between 1294-95 in France show that iron made 10 % of all costs.
Demand for salt increased from the 12th and 13th centuries for salting meat and fish. It was the reason for opening numerous salt mines in northern Europe and sea saltworks in the south which improved technique of its extraction.
Novelties were introduced in other fields as well. In 1316 Italian physician from Bologna Mondino de Liuzzi (ca. 1270-1326) wrote an important work Anathomia in which he proposed dissection of human corpses for the needs of studying in university classes.
In 1445 German Johannes Gutenberg (ca. 1399-1468) introduced system of movable letters which we usually call printing press with which he revolutionized transfer of knowledge and culture making them accessible to wider public. our knowledge particularly of about the ancient period would be far poorer without this invention. All this indicated that Europe left period of cultural and scientific recession which hit it after the Great Migration period and it took fast step towards the leading position which it retained until the two world wars in the 20th century.
This overview would not be complete if we left out Byzant which is inalienable part of Europe. It would take too much time and space to discuss everything that Europe and world owe to this culture and civilization. In the eyes of inhabitants of western Europe it was more a synonym of weAITh and luxury than heir and representative of ancient cultural heritage. For instance they knew about various decorations in emperor's throne room such as roaring lions, singing birds and precious silk with which he supplied all important western European courts etc, but they did not know about his scientific and technical achievements. It is sufficient to mention revolutionary invention of "Greek fire" which in a way anticipated modern war technique. Recipe for its preparation was highly confidential. It was invented by a certain architect Callinicos from Heliopolis (Baalbek) in Syria who escaped to Constantinople in the 7th century. According to a work Liber ignium ad comburendos hostes (On the Use of Fire to Conflagrate the Enemy) which was allegedly written by some Marcus Graecus from the 9th century this fire was made from sulphur, resin, oakum, oil and some other components. Petroleum enabled that this substance may burn on water as modern napalm. In naval battles it was thrown with long bronze tubes placed on the prow of the ship inflicting heavy losses to islamic Arabs on several occasions saving in that way Greek freedom and ancient culture.
Many of the mentioned inventions were not created in Europe but they were accepted from other particularly eastern populations--Arabs, Persians, Indians and Chinese. Compass, astrolabe, paper, firearms are best examples. Paths which led them to Europe are not always clear. We have to emphasize that the Europeans knew how to recognize, accept and develop these things making them civilizational heritage of all others. But the fact is that Europe had to solve problems with ots own means which were characteristic of it and that before 14th century it possessed technical phenomena which surpassed outer acquisitions.
Impressed with great technical progress which transformed world a Cistercian from the famous Clairvaux monastery sang a hymn to mechanization in form of a prayer. After he lirically described benefits of the Auba river which drives many mills for grain and mills for beer and cloth production he exclaims: "Dear God, what comfort you provide to your poor people, not to be caught in great despair! How much you alleviate efforts of your sons who make penitence and save them from great efforts. How many horses, how many men would lose their strength in what this good river does providing us with food and clothes without our efforts! It coordinates its efforts with our own and after the work in hot sun it gets the only reward in peaceful flow after doing everything it was requested to do. After it makes numerous wheels rotate, she comes out in foam, seemingly grinding itself [...] In the end it is divided to numerous small hands which need its water to cook, sieve, mill, irrigate, raise or lower what would be impossible without it." The author of the mentioned hymn was a travelling artist and he travelled across a large part of Europe. He mentions that he encountered many technical novelties in various fields of life.
2.12 Blooming of Art: Romanesque and Gothic Art
Art in the Middle Ages also made great progress. This in particular refers to building churches in the 11th and 12th centuries conceived as a "kind of huge reliquary in open space" which cannot be paralleled with edifices from antiquity. They were usually built with three or five naves divided with beautifully carved columns and chapels distributed around choir so that believers may come to altars on which certain saints were honored because of which pilgrims came from distant places. Central nave was usually covered with barrel vault reinforced with arches and lower lateral naves which often have cross vault ensuring stability. Interior is marked with dim light penetrating through narrow windows not to disturb inner concentration of a believer. Outer appearance of the churches, usually with a bell-tower of "lighthouse type", is characterized by clarity and harmony of elongated horizontal lines. This was new Romanesque style which left many beautiful churches across Europe.
Construction technique which achieved extraordinary results in the 12th century with great edifices kept putting more difficult demands related with the statics and capacity of the object in front of the constructors. Architects soon realized that it was not possible to build such large buildings by simple increase and reinforcement of load-bearing points but that new methods of construction had to be invented suitable for coping with growing weight of new buildings. Result of these considerations was abandoning previous Romanesque architectural style and introducing special pointed arch resulting in Gothic architectural style which represented a genuine revolution in architecture. That was the birth of the Gothic style in north-western France (Ille-de-France). Instead of previous heavy Romanesque buildings with thick horizontally oriented bearing walls and semicircular vaults and arches, much larger buildings with several naves were built in which slender columns made bearing skeleton which ended with a special construction key. Slender columns connected at the top took weight of the entire construction, emphasized dominance of the vertical and created impression of lightness and elegance. New style provided much greater bearing capacity of large buildings, domes, large public halls with bigger seating capacities. Therefore problem of the weight of bodies was studied at the end of the 12th and beginning of the 13th century. Magnificent Gothic cathedrals, aristocratic castles, city halls, palaces, monasteries, hospices, bridges and other public buildings were built which seem to defy gravity causing undivided admiration of an observer. In this context we can mention famous cathedral in the French city of Chartres, master-piece of high Gothic which represents a kind of wonder of medieval architecture and most independent stylistic expression of western European art after antiquity. It was built around 1140 with a bell-tower 105 m high. It was all great novelty. Perhaps never before, nor later, have so much technical innovations been introduced in architecture.
Development of architecture imposed new tasks to decoration as well. At the beginning sculpture followed Romanesque models but it also adapted to depiction of human figure in accordance with architecture. We can recognize attempt to make human figure authentic and close to believers. In the 13th century this decoration got its final form, very modest and natural. Painting was also encompassed with this development of architecture. Large space between slender and thin columns left enough space for high windows painted with Biblical and holy motifs turning them into a world of luminous paintings. This atmosphere was enhanced by wall paintings with Biblical depictions accompanied by images from nature which made cathedrals into colorful encyclopaedia from which people could learn about world and life. Gothic architecture in that way unified almost all kinds of arts and technical arts into a harmonious and homogenous whole.
Similar innovations were introduced in military architecture particularly after firearms were invented. Massive towers with deep ditches filled with water were built as early as the 11th century. From the 14th and 15th centuries they were built without blind spots in which invaders would be protected from the fire of defenders and that each place could be defended from the other place. Their round form and slanted inclination reduced power of enemy's blows. Defense also used numerous loopholes, openings for observation. Such improved fort enabled active defense which held enemy at safe distance.
In relation with Gothic architecture in the first half of the 14th century mechanical clocks started to be used, driven by gravity with hanging weights. From high church and city towers they determined rhythm of life by counting full hours and their parts so that citizens may have common measure of time.
Alongside increase of proportions of architectural monuments dimensions of construction sites and their organization also grew. Several masons and carpenters managed by a foreman or a monk were sufficient to build a small church in the late Middle Ages. As opposed to this at big construction sites of the 13th century specialization was necessary which in time yielded an expert called architect. His task was to project, supervise or run one or more construction sites because of which he was in high demand as an important person. He did not obtain his technical education on high schools as it was not taught there but he reached certain solutions with his intuition, on empirical basis and by using simple geometry and "secrets" which certain architects kept jealously confiding only in their heirs and best or most trusting friends.
2.13 New Evaluation of Mankind
All this considerable progress of technical devices was a result of wish of a man to liberate from heavy physical labor and to improve production of life necessities but it was also a result of firm belief in progress. People in the Middle Ages tried to learn the language of Nature and its laws more intensively than we presently think. They learnt this lesson from antiquity but in some aspects they were even better than their teachers. Antiquity nurtured cult of liberal arts neglecting "unfree" or mechanical arts letting slaves and people from lower social classes practice them. On the contrary Christianity condemned laziness and leisure believing that work was realization of human character giving it pronounced place in comprehension of human life. Biblical proverb: "Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it." (Gen,1,28) was considered as an invitation to work and transformation of the world. Paul the Apostle instructs first Christians in Thessaloniki in Greece was very direct "shun any brother who conducts himself in a disorderly way..." and "...if anyone was unwilling to work, neither should that one eat" condemning in that way pagan mentality which implied negative attitude to work. He worked as a saddler while in Thessaloniki not to burden his fellow-Christians.
Middle Ages realized by learning liberal arts how useful mechanical arts could be in all fields of life. The principle was not "one or the other" but "one and the other". In that way there was a synthesis of theory and practice, action and contemplation, intellectual and manual work.
Importance of theory and practice was emphasized in a special way by St. Benedict (ca. 480-547). He introduced principle "pray and work" (ora et labora) as a basic rule of life in a monastery. Similar rule was applied by Cassiodorus (485-583) who learnt his monks the value of manual work particularly of copying manuscripts of ancient legacy. Since then manual work was no longer considered humiliating for a free man but it was his obligation and blessing which was equated with prayer. Work got a completely new meaning. Monks started performing tasks with great enthusiasm which were previously done only by lower social classes. Larger, more beautiful and artistically more pleasing churches and cathedrals in Romanesque and later Gothic style were built having no models in ancient architecture. Gothic sculptures on many medieval cathedrals illustrate dialogue between contemplation and action i.e. free and mechanical skills. A new medieval man was born--eager, diligent and hard-working (homo faber industrius) who started to cut down forests and turn swamps into fertile fields, to make more perfect and complex tools and instruments, to build wider roads and longer bridges, higher castles and cathedrals, which gradually but persistently prepared later industrial revolution which changed not only the world in which a man lived but also the man himself who started to feel as the master of nature for the first time in history instead of its slave and toy of uncontrolled natural forces and laws. It was a true revolution not less significant than the one undertaken by the Greeks by introducing liberal arts. From this period there was increased awareness that free and mechanical arts must not be separated but that they complement one another, that they are interdependent, that the knowledge enlightens a man and work dignifies him and that only their uniform development can improve man and mankind. Thought should dignify work, and work should dignify thought. Culture and science must not be anyone's monopoly and education of all social classes should not decrease importance of an intellectual in the society. In that way mechanical arts owing to development of crafts gradually became just as important as the "liberal arts". French Benedictines Honorius of Autun (ca. 1080-1157) and Hugh of Saint Victor (1096-1141) promoted synthesis of science and technics: "Learn everything and you will see that nothing is too much." In that way the humanism of the 12th century united encyclopaedic spirit and tendency towards the specialization of craft, arts and knowledge.
In other words, 12th century can be seen as an innovative period of the western civilization. Bishop of Chartres John of Salisbury ([dagger] 1180) in the work Polycraticus returned dignity to all kinds of artisans who worked with cloth, wood, iron and other metals, as well as to peasants who worked in the fields, meadows and gardens. German cleric Gerhoch von Reichersberg (1092/93-1169) in the work Liber de aedificio Dei (God's workshop) wrote that this is "a large workshop of the entire world which was a kind of cosmic workshop." In it man was affirmed as an artisan who shaped, reshaped and created something new; he was becoming working man (homo faber), producer, associate of the Creator and Nature.
If we understand the word "science" as use of reason to improve life conditions and understand world better we could say that modern science was born in time of Peter Abelard (1079-1142) who gave his son a very indicative name--Astrolabe, as an important astronomical device. Such kind of modernity is hardly imaginable presently.
2.14 New Approach to Human HeAITh: Medical Schools
Medicine as an empirical discipline entered system of medieval scientific culture rather quickly. Isidore of Seville added medicine to the system of seven liberal arts. Too narrow framework of seven arts was expanded for the first time so that its development led to founding medical schools which became faculties in the 13th century. Other related or auxiliary disciplines started to gather around this core. Medicine as science is unimaginable without physiology or anatomy or natural sciences such as mineralogy, botany, zoology, chemistry, etc.
Strong impetus for opening medical schools in the Middle Ages came from opening hospitals during the Crusades within which medicine started to develop as a clinical discipline. Anesthesia with plants was used first in southern Italy where influences of the Christian West and Byzantine-Islamic East mixed. Contacts of these three worlds and cultures were particularly evident in the famous Salernitan School of Medicine (Schola Medica Salernitana) which was founded in the 10th century in southern Italian town of Salerno near Naples.
It became particularly famous with arrival of a physician Constantine the African (ca. 1015-1087) who travelled through countries of the Near East as a young man selling remedies and learning Arabic, Persian and Greek. After he became a physician, he mostly did theoretical medicine. Archbishop of Salerno and a physician Alfano helped him to translate many medical works from Greek and Arabic to Latin. Around the year 1070 he entered the Benedictine order in Monte Cassino where the educated abbot Desiderius (1058-1086), who later became Pope Victor Ill (1086 1087), let him work in favourable conditions. In that way abbey became central place for translating Greek and Arabic works. Due to his translations, West could meet forgotten Greek medical heritage and advanced works of Arabic scholars which represented turning point in history of European medicine.
Other doctors and translators worked together with Constantine in the Montecassino abbey such as Atto and Johannes Afflatius ([dagger] 1003.). The latter continued translating tractate about fevers, and he also left behind Liber aureus de remediorum et aegritudinum cognitione (Golden Book of Understanding Remedies and Diseases). Owing to work of these people Salerno was called Civitas Hippocratica (city of Hippocrates) in which anatomy was practiced as well. Since dissections of human body were not introduced, anatomical research was performed on pigs whose structure was considered similar to the human. Surgery was also practiced. Perhaps the greatest importance of that school was its role as the first herald of new approach to medical science in western Europe due to its interest in basic works of classical antiquity and application of experimental methos in work of its physicians and researchers. Emperor Friedrich II Hohenstaufen moved it in 1231 to Naples ensuring continuation of its work within the university as a medical faculty. Association of magistri from Naples had the privilege of giving academic titles and licences (licentia) to the ones who attended lectures and passed exams. But candidates had to attend logic for three years by that time and five years of medicine in order to study Hippocrates and Galen and do one year of practice. Candidate for a physician after getting a written guarantee of his professors that he attended lecture regularly was supposed to take the exam in front of the professors in presence of king's officials who issued licence for work.
Salernitan school, cradle of old science, enriched with Greek and Arabic achievements and experiences obtained with surgical anatomy became a model for other similar schools. One of them was founded in the southern French city of Montpellier, trade center in the Mediterranean Sea and papal feud. Study of medicine is mentioned here from the year 1137. But this school became just as famous as the school in Salerno over the course of time. Similar schools were founded in Bologna and Paris where in the first half of the 13th century study of medicine--alongside philosophy, theology and law--was raised to the level of one of four "higher" faculties.
2.15 Flower of Medieval Culture: University
Creation of universities was related with renaissance of the cities and their new structure. Great demographic revival in the 11th century incited moving of rural population to cities where economic, social and political circumstances were much bettter. Such life conditions were made by their inner organization and division of labor which was favourable for creation of crafts and trade activities. City also meant freedom. Using force or compromises city managed to obtain certain political, legal and social autonomy from its feudal masters, particularly freedom of associating to protect its own interests. Members of certain associations (gilde, societas, universitas) were granted certain rights and conveniences, particularly possibility of free choice o their leaders, work programing, exemption from certain social obligations and interfering of city administration to works of the association (libertates, imunitates, privilegia).
In the process of stratification of the medieval society into different classes, alongside typical civil stratum, new category of citizens appeared which had promising prospects of future--intellectuals. Developed city life demanded not only specialized artisans and skillful merchants but also scriveners, notaries, accountants, lawyers and other literate workers. Therefore studying and teaching became a profession. In time intellectuals became a social class which as opposed to others did not base its power on feudal categories of nobleness of blood, descent or weAITh acquired in trade, but on actual intellectual abilities of an individual and strength of its professional association. Gradually they became professionals of knowledge and protagonists of transformation first of the school system and then entire society. Urban intellectual was, jus as the artisans, member of a complex social community in which he performed socially useful work which demanded high qualifications. His consciousness was crucial regarding the fact that his professional and socially useful knowledge must not be kept to himself but that it has to be in circulation as merchants do with their commodities. That was the only way he could compete with other socially useful workers. School was his "workshop" in which he "produced" and "sold" knowledge as his specific product. All this had far-reaching consequences for the entire society and it led to a kind of "school revolution".
Process of uniting of intellectuals i.e. school attendants started in Bologna. At the end of the 11th century school attendants or students (scholares or studentes) started joining certain regional clubs called "nations" (nationes) in which they could socialize and protect their interests. They achieved that their association was included in the city organism. Two such clubs, of the Italians and foreigners, away from their homes and without protection founded their own school associations (universitas studentium) which were supposed to protect them from unfair raising of prices of accommodation, food and other inconveniences. Students organized in that way threatened citizens who profited most from their stay in the city that they would leave the city massively if they continued to raise prices of accommodation and food. Since similar moves were recorded in other cities, citizens were forced to give in. It was better to reduce the price of renting a room than not to rent it at all. In that way student associations won the right to determine prices of accommodation and books necessary for the study.
After this victory over citizens, student associations aumed their "weapons" at other "enemies", this time their professors. Their "weapons" was collective boycott of classes. Since professors particularly at the beginning lived from endowments and school taxes these threats had effect. Professors were forced to accept strictly determined rules of the "game": they had to guarantee that they would provide quality classes for the money they received from the students; if they missed classes, unrealized lectures will be compensated; if he intended to travel somewhere he had to leave a deposit as an assurance that he would be back; if some professor missed lecture without reasonable cause he would pay fine; he had to pay fine if he could not gather at least five listeners at his lectures; his lectures had to start and end at the sign of bell; in his lectures he could not skip any chapters of the text intended for comments or postpone an answer to a question at the end of the lecture; that he would present thoroughly and quickly teaching material for each part of the school year; that he would not waste too much time on introductory lectures or bibliography etc.
After such students' demands professors also started founding their own associations (collegia). There were several conditions for joining these associations, such as taking a special exam in front of all professors (magistri or doctors) and approval of all members of professors' association. Candidate for a professor had to prove his ability to hold lectures, he had to take a standard exam, after which he was approved the right to belong to association of magistri (ad electorum corsortium magistrorum meruit attingere) and was a given a charter with testified that he had necessary knowlege for teaching at school (licentia ili venia docendi). This was the first academic stage or step (gradus acedemicus) which enabled advancing on the scale of university career and hierarchy. Third step of forming a university was founding common association of professors and students (universitas studentium et magistrorum) which was supposed to harmonize interests of both groups.
Paris saw similar course of events. As opposed to Bologna, magistri of theology and liberal arts held all power in their hands from the beginning and they were organized in an association of magistri and students (universitas magistrorum et studentium). In that way Bologna and Paris became models of associating of school attendants which served as model for all others. This is important for understanding university as an educational institution.
The greatest and most famous university center in the Middle Ages was undoubtedly Paris. Paris was a very lively intellectual center which was constantly developing and improving. Dialectic and theological speculation were studied in a special way as well as liberal arts and theology as fruits of miraculous expansion and deepening of humanistic culture which resulted with opening earliest faculties of philosophy and theology as two "most intellectual" disciplines. This was the reason why young men from all parts of Europe started coming to Paris wanting to listen to lectures of the professors. Paris became international center of European culture and science as for instance papacy represented national character of medieval Christianity. Papacy and university are two terms which in a way represent universality of the Middle Ages and they were closely interrelated. Christianity gave general intellectual framework to European West, and lectures were held in Latin as an official language of the Catholic Church. These two institutions, religious and cultural, were effective and actual communities as opposed to political community represented by the Holy Roman Empire whose universality was more of theoretical than actual nature.
Immediately after these events old schools were reorganized and new schools were opened rapidly which played crucial part in shaping spiritual and intellectual physiognomy of the European continent. Schools were pioneers of European cultural and scientific unity.
At the beginning an intellectual was not considered much different than the artisans. An intellectual was in the center of great human construction site which resonated with sounds of tools of various arts and skills. He actually felt as a kind of artisan. He is an "artisan of spirit" and his "tools" were intelligence and books. He was aware of social importance of his work and connection between science and school teaching. Therefore he did not lock his knowledge in the "chest" but he let it circulate to make it available to a great number of people hungry of knowledge. He was the first who could use this benefit.
2.16 Counterpoint of "Sacred" and "Profane" Sciences
Taking into consideration time and circumstances when this happened, we could hardly expect that on the ruins of once powerful and advanced Roman Empire such a magnificent institution as university will be created in western Europe at the end of the 12th century. Over time university proved its vitality and importance as an axis and initiator of general progress. There had to be firm belief in ability of human reason to understand man and world around him to get the idea about university as "nourishing mother of science" (alma mater studiorum) or "mother of sciences" (parens scientiarum) as it was called in the Middle Ages with great tenderness and love. This was possible because European scholars similar to old Greeks learnt from one another without complex and prejudice enriching their insights with their own research and considerations. Their belief in the power of reason in discovering secrets of nature is best illustrated by the words of William of Chartres one of the leading representatives of the school in Chartres in the 13th century, that nature was an "collection of creatures" arranged after certain rules and principles comprehensible by a man. Albert the Great (1193-1280) added that nature was understandable (Natura est ratio) because it is a unique and logically created whole. He as a scholar who probably knew most about nature secrets in the Middle Ages, considered it to be a book written genially with a language of rational laws which a man as a rational being can and must learn how to read in order to progress.
If the beginning of the Middle Ages in central and western Europe was characterized by devastating everything, particularly school structure, its developed period was marked with renewal of what was ruined, and late Middle Ages offered new values. Legacy of this period is university as the most precious pledge of its attempts to rise from ruins which were a consequence of unfavourable historical circumstances. To tell the truth, antiquity left behind basic knowledge in many fields, but the Middle Ages had to search for them painstakingly and rediscover them in a certain way. In addition it developed consciousness that this knowledge cannot be anyone's property but that every generation has the right to learn them and an obligation to develop them, enrich them with new insights and transfer to others. Right to education became a general human attainment which changed image of the world regarding not only cultural and scientific but also social aspect. This changes stereotype about the Middle Ages as "dark" period of human history perhaps more than anything else. Schools introduced much more light into society of the time and into comprehension of world and life than we can presently imagine. They contributed that the society which was stratified and divided may change with accelerated rhythm and class differences were reduced. This resulted in less important role of previous categories of descent and birth and knowledge became more distinct as general human category of which everyone has or can have some use. "Nobility after birth and blood" was given heavy blow much before the French revolution and "nobility after book and knowledge" was born which characterizes, relates and unites present-day world more than anything else.
2.17 Synthesis of the European Middle Ages: Humanistic and Technical Sciences
As for the school program of the European universities we need to mention that until the 12th century school programs of all, conditionally speaking, high schools consisted of seven "liberal arts". What could be learned in the schools of the time were quite scanty information and cognitions from the Latin grammar, rhetoric, logic and even scantier knowledge in arithmetic, astronomy, geometry and music. Between 1110 and 1200 previously unknown works by Aristotle, Euclid and Ptolemy came to western Europe as well as the scriptures of once famous Greek physicians, new arithmetic, Roman law texts etc. Instead of elementary theorems about triangle and circle, Europe finally had books in planimetry and stereometry; instead of difficult and complex mathematical operations with Roman numerals now one could use much simpler numbers which came to Europe from India through mediation of Arabs. All this contributed to appearance of new views anticipating future in the 13th century: birth of national languages, first significant successes in the field of technics, progress in observing nature and comprehending its secrets.
Owing to all this and other previously unknown insights, civilizational image of Europe started to change profoundly. Old schools of liberal arts became faculties of arts (facultates artium) at which good literary and scientific formation was obtained preparing young students for enrolling to the study or specializing three "higher" sciences: theology, law and medicine meaning that the notion of philosophy was much more complex than we think. Liberal arts were just integral parts of philosophy, not just philosophy. Narrow scope of profane knowledge which came down to seven liberal arts was broken and expanded with disciplines which did not belong to trivium and quadrivium before. This complex school apparatus changed several times, it was supplemented and improved, creating new professions, particularly academic associations which we call universities.
It is worth mentioning that school system in the Middle Ages was never quite unified because it was created gradually, under various cultural influences and views. It was difficult to determine which disciplines in the strict sense of teh word belonged to the program of teaching. Core of the teaching system were seven liberal arts. In time they started corresponding poorly to actual needs of the society so there were attempts to solve that shortcoming at various places, depending on actual needs of the society. Isidore of Seville added two new disciplines--medicine and law to the system of seven liberal arts which resulted in founding of medical and law schools which became faculties in the 13th century. Gradually other related or auxiliary disciplines started gathering around this core. Medicine as science is unimaginable without physiology or anatomy or natural sciences such as mineralogy, botany, zoology, chemistry, etc. The same goes for law, particularly Roman law which would be hard to imagine without knowing history and geography.
Philosophy and theology were the most important disciplines in the Middle Ages. The first one united "human sciences" (litterae humanae) or "profane" arts and sciences, and the other "divine sciences" (litterae divinae). However they were not strictly separated, or even less in opposition. They supported each other and therefore theologians as much as philosophers contributed to progress of culture and science. As strange as it may seem theologians in the Middle Ages were the greatest scholars who deAIT with scientific work in the strict sense of the word, and even did experiments. Theology only seemingly is not related with philosophy and liberal arts. Philosophy and theology were considered as two "most rational" disciplines, the latter borrowing many terms and interpretations from the former. After three years at the faculty of philosophy which was also known as faculty of liberal arts, student could enroll at some of three "higher" faculties: theological, law and medicine. That is why many theologians were not only excellent philosophers who knew liberal arts well but they also practiced various natural and technical disciplines, and even experiments which opened new horizons new horizons anticipating new age. For instance Franciscan Robert Grosseteste (1168-1253), chancellor of the Oxford University and bishop of Lincoln developed theory of light as a generator of dimensions and totality of relations in all dimensions and directions. He was the first to describe complete process of a scientific experiment. Idea of a scientific spirit which was based on observation and experimenting was represented by many thinkers from the Middle Ages. Mathematics had an excellent representative in the person of merchant and mathematician Leonardo Fibonacci from Pisa (ca. 1170 1250) who introduced "Arabic" (Indian) numerals. English Franciscan Roger Bacon (1214-1294) is considered as a pioneer of experimental method. Dominican Dietrich from Freiburg (Theodoricus Teutonicus, 1250-1310) became famous owing to his studies of the optics and natural philosophy. Other Dominican Albert the Great (1193-1260), professor at the Parisian university, gave significant contribution to progress of science with his sharp wit and depth with which he studied problems and phenomena. He was the first medieval integral thinker who achieved comprehensive synthesis of all fields of human knowledge of Greek, Roman, Jewish, Arabian and western European cultural heritage. His interest covered almost all scientific fields of the time: philosophy, theology, physics, chemistry, medicine, anthropology, zoology, botany, mineralogy, geology, astronomy, meteorology, mathematics, mechanics, climatology, cosmology, cosmography, architecture etc, without neglecting various practical skills such as weaving, sailing, husbandry, etc. Tradition ascribes him with construction of the first robot. "He studied and described entire universe, from stars to stones", in the words of German natural scientist G. Wimmer. Catalan Ramon Llull (1232-1316) with his system of mnemonics and use of cylinder with words which could move in all directions, could be considered as a forerunner of modern computers. French theologian Nicolas oresme (1323-1382) was the founder of analytical geometry which was later developed by Rene Descartes (1596-1650), he represented theory of Earth's rotation lying in that way foundations of scientific revolution which is usually thought to be initiated by Nicolaus Copernicus (1473-1543), Galileo Galilei (1564-1642), Johannes Kepler (1571-1630), Isaac Newton (1642-1727), etc.
In other words idea of a scientific spirit which was based on observation and experimentation, as modest as it may seem presently, was proposed by many thinkers in the late Middle Ages. We must not forget that this idea marked beginning of enthusiasm which will only grow over time. Scientific revolution which went through full affirmation in the 16th and 17th centuries was formulated in its basic postulates in the Middle Ages.
From the 18th century Europe did not need help of other cultures and civilizations on its way from ruins into renewal of what was destroyed and later magnificent achievements. Finally it got universities as highest educational institutions, hearths of highest knowledge and civilization and science with which hardly any other institution could be compared, and European intellectuals from former disciples of previous cultures and civilizations made such progress that they started to excel their teachers and models. Many of them were aware of that. Papal documents of the time express pride and joy because of such situation. When mentioning universities, as opposed to many other subjects, they use elaborate vocabulary and poetic metaphors comparing them with "rivers which water unfertile desert regions", trees which give sweet and abundant fruits"; "high lighthouses", "fertile fields with most excellent and outstanding crops" etc.
Europe has every right to be proud of progress achieved in the Middle Ages but we must not forget that every progress is based on a series of complex factors which enabled it. Something never grew out of nothing. Every generation owes something one way or another to its predecessors just as every generation has an obligation of leaving the situation better than inherited. If it is true that Europe, and the rest of the world with it, got university in the Middle Ages as a peak of its development, of well-programed and institutionalized knowledge we must not forget that without ancient Greece and Rome, without patient work of so many generations of anonymous monks who copied this knowledge in their manuscripts closed in their modest rooms with faint light of oil-lamps, and enlightened minds of Boethius, Cassiodorus and Alcuin, to mention only some, probably we would never have knowledge that we presently have.
Regardless of the fact who contributed more to the development of European and world civilization, one thing is for sure: duty of every generation is to make everything in their power to leave the world behind less poor and primitive than it was. In that sense our generation also has something to be proud of, but we also have to be aware of our debt to other generations and civilizations. Nobody has measured size of moral debt which one individual has towards another, and even less the debt which one generation has towards he previous generations or one civilization towards the other. French Benedictine Bernard from Chartres in the 12 century expressed it with a beautiful metaphor: "We are like dwarfs on the giants' back. We can see better and further than them, but not because we have sharper vision or because we are taller than them, but because they lift us up and elevate us with their gigantic height."
Beginnings of knowledge are related with a man as a reasonable being and they are lost in the night of elapsed time. Science was born much later, in ancient Greece according to general belief, when a man started studying himself and world around him in a rational way in order to understand their nature and laws. Greeks were the first to turn knowledge to science, and to classify it into several groups which they called arts and found the most adequate way of its transfer not to lose it or make it absolute property of some individual or just one group. Due to historical circumstances the Romans took from the Greeks as their teachers schools and subjects learnt in them adding some new disciplines. This happened again in the Middle Ages when new European populations, particulary the Germani, took from the Romans not only their countries but also their cultural heritage, becoming not only conquerors but also their disciples and heirs. Historical development of schools and their programs was characterized with their constant improvement which led to founding universities in the 12th and 13th centuries when they became highest, best organized and institutionalized institutions. Universities were a typical European invention created as a result of medieval view of the world and man.
People in the Middle Ages tried to learn the language of Nature and its laws more intensively than we presently think. They learnt this lesson from antiquity but in some aspects they were even better than their teachers. Antiquity nurtured cult of liberal arts (artes liberales) neglecting "unfree" or mechanical arts (artes mechanicae) letting slaves and people from lower social classes practice them. Middle Ages realized by learning liberal arts how useful mechanical arts could be in all fields of life. The principle was not "one or the other" but "one and the other". In that way there was a synthesis of theory and practice, action and contemplation, intellectual and manual work. Since then manual work was no longer considered humiliating for a free man but it was his obligation and blessing which was equated with prayer. Work got a completely new meaning. A new medieval man was born--eager, diligent and hard-working (homo faber industrius) who started to cut down forests and turn swamps into fertile fields, to make more perfect and complex tools and instruments, to build wider roads and longer bridges, higher castles and cathedrals, which gradually but persistently prepared later industrial revolution which changed not only the world in which a man lived but also the man himself who started to feel as the master of nature for the first time in history instead of its slave and toy of uncontrolled natural forces and laws. It was a true revolution not less significant than the one undertaken by the Greeks by introducing liberal arts. From the Middle Ages there was increased awareness that free and mechanical arts must not be separated but that they complement one another, that they are interdependent, that the knowledge enlightens a man and work dignifies him and that only their uniform development can improve man and mankind.
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Authors' data: Univ. Prof. Dr. Sc. Emeritus Krasic, S[tjepan], Dominikanski samostan, Dubrovnik, Svetog Dominika 4, HR-20000 Dubrovnik, Croatia, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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|Title Annotation:||p. 27-52|
|Publication:||DAAAM International Scientific Book|
|Date:||Jan 1, 2013|
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