The Scholastic Culture of the MiddleAges, 1000-1300
CHAPTER 1: THE POLITICALPROLOGUE
• On 12August 1257, two Italian friars, the Franciscan Bonaventure and the Dominican Thomas Aquinas,
were admitted as teaching masters into the faculty of theology of the university of Paris.
• Since Louis IX was partial to the friars, especially to the fransicians and Dominican orders, Bonaventure
andAquinas were personally acquainted with the king and occasionally enjoyed the bounty of his table.
• Medieval governments attempted to provide justice and soldiers: justice which comprised a legal system to
supervise men's social relations and soldiers to police the courts' decisions from within and to guard subjects
• Cultural achievement requires a modicum of political stability.
• Even as late as the thirteenth century much of Western Europe did not enjoy the essentials of orderly
• The domains of the French king enjoyed tranquility and order uncommon for their day.
• In 1259, Louis negotiated a treaty which redefined English and French possessions and removed a major
source of contention between the two kings.
• The Castle of Montlheri was situated in the direct route between Paris and Orleans, this castle was used by
petty barons to disrupt communications between the two chief towns of the royal domain.
• At the opening if the Christian Era, the Roman Empire provided political order for the Mediterranean lands.
• Attracted by the brilliance and durability of Roman civilization, German tribes migrated en masse into the
western provinces. Hoping to perpetuate Roman order, they precipitated the collapse of imperial administration in
• One of the Germanic tribes, the Franks, strove to unite the heartland of Europe under a stable government
in the eighth and ninth centuries. Charles the Great attempted to create a continental state by sheer force of
military skill and personal energy.
• By the end of the ninth century, Europe was plunged into political confusion that is known as the "Dark
With the disintegration of central government, local communities were forced to rely in their own
resources to provide the essentials of regulation and protection.
• This led to the emergence of feudalism. The feudal regime was condemned to local control and endemic
• Saxon and Salian successors attempted to perpetuate the Carolingian forms of government in the tenth and
eleventh centuries, but they introduced one important administrative and military responsibility to the bishops of
their lands which in turn required that these churchmen be chosen exclusively by imperial appointment.
• In the mid-twelfth century Frederick Barbarossa of the Hohenstaufan dynasty made another concerted
effort to strengthen imperial authority in Germany by regularizing and subordinating the feudal elements under
the emperor's leadership.
• Pope Innocent III methodically destroyed the bases of imperial authority in Germany. • In the city of Rome itself the medieval heir to imperial authority was the pope. To strengthen their
authority, the Carolingian emperors made donations of lands in central Italy, which came to be known as the
• As the popes extended their influence throughout Western Europe, they developed administrative organs
within their central court.
Achancery was created to handle correspondence and a camera to receive finances.
Papal legates with full authority to enact the pope’s commands and resolve local disputes were
dispatched throughout Christendom.
Asystem of ecclesiastical courts was instituted in which appeals could proceed from the local
tribunals to the papal curia.
• Gregory VII’s deposing of Henry IV implied that the popes exercised jurisdiction over emperors and kings.
• Pope Innocent IV declared without qualification that the pope possessed universal temporal authority.
• King Henry II (1154-1189) organized a system of royal courts which extended the king’s law (known as common
law) throughout the realm.
CHAPTER TWO: THE URBAN SETTING
• From the beginning of the eleventh century through the end of the thirteenth, the population of western
Europe rose steeply. The population in continental Europe doubled with the sharpest rise in 1200.
• This demographic expansion continued until the beginning of the fourteenth century when the catastrophes
of famine, plague and war decimated millions. In 1377, the English population alone dropped to 2,200,000
• Crop yields were increased by the rotation of crops, the close regulation of fallow land in the three-field
system, and the application of manure.
• The improvement of tools, such as the iron plough, and the introduction of draught horses made more
effective by collar harnesses raised the efficiency of human labor expended on the land.
• Unneeded land was frequently leased for cash rents. With this extra money landlords employed their
peasants as day labourers at an agreed wage.
The Commercial Revolution
• In the eleventh century when the population began to increase and agriculture began to expand, trading
activity also began to accelerate.
• Long distance commerce was concentrated in two major areas: a southern trade zone centered on the
Mediterranean and a northern area centred on the North Sea.
• Fairs provided convenient meeting places for traveling merchants.
• To finance his venture, the Italian trader formed simple partnerships with investors in which one ember
supplied the capital, another the labour and the risks of the affair were shared proportionately.
• Stimulated by the growth in population, agriculture and commerce, townsmen were constantly enlarging
their walls to include their burgeoning number of inhabitants
• Although medieval towns were not large by modern standards and never comprised more than ten percent o
the population, they constituted the most rapidly expanding sector of medieval society. • Medieval cities could be grouped in two categories according to their Roman origins: those in the
Mediterranean basin, particularly in Italy, which were descended from Roman cities without an interruption
of urban tradition, and those in the Rhine and Danube valleys and particularly of Northern France, which
originated as Roman towns but in which the ancient traditions had all but disappeared.
• With the exception of Rome, control over the government of Mediterranean cities was sought both by the
urban nobility and the bishops.
• In cities of Northern France, it was the bishop, not the nobility, who possessed the castle and manned the
• Communes took over the government in towns. They were consisted of an association of men sworn to
accomplish a particular purpose – usually to overthrow the existing ruler and substitute in his place a
collective government of officials elected by the association.
• The simplest form of economic activity was the merchant guild which sought to promote the interests of a
large comprehensive group of traders. Craft guilds were also formed and focused on a specific trade or
Bologna and Paris
• These cities provided the local environment for the most significant cultural developments of the thirteenth
• Alarge part of the traffic between northern and southern Italy passed through Bologna, making it a center
for commerce. Since the twelfth century, the city was administered by a single podesta who ruled with the
advice of councils elected from the citizens.
• Paris owed prominence to the rising fortunes of the Capetian dynasty who had designated it as the capital in
thw twelfth century.
The Social Structure
• Because the townsman was involved primarily in commercial activities, he required rights which were
normally denied to the peasants who lived and worked on the land. He needed personal freedom to do what
he wanted such as property (buy, sell, lend, bequeath and dispose) and travel as he wished.
• He also needed a rational and regular system of law which substituted proof by witnesses and documents
for customary procedures such as ordeals and judgment by battle.
CHAPTER THREE: SCHOOLSAND UNIVERSITIES
The Monastic Preparation
• Historians frequently designate the sixth through eleventh centuries as the monastic centuries of education.
• The monk’s primary goal was to serve God by prayer, worship and spiritual perfection.
• By reading the Bible, the Church Fathers and other holy works, the monk found spiritual food to sustain his
• Not only were monks asked to maintain schools, but to provide hospitals for the sick, furnish relief for the
poor, bury the dead and perform the sacraments for the laity.
• The Cistercian order was the most popular and vigorous monastic reform movement in the twelfth century.
They emphasized the duty of manual labor over other forms of service, excluded the external schools from
their constitution and minimized the internal schools by admitting candidates of a certain age.
The Age of Individualism
• Rejecting the seclusion and immobility of the monks, the new masters and students imitated the itinerant
habits of the merchant in an effort to seek and exchange the wares of knowledge.
• Since most teachers and students were members of the secular clergy, schools were often held in cathedral
cloisters or other urban churches.
The Emergence of Universities
• Although scholars came from countries speaking different tongues, Latin was the common language of
• Auniversity was simply a universitas or a sworn society of students and masters bound together for their
mutual protection. They were headed by a rector.
Bologna • The university originated among the students of law, many of whom were both foreigners and laymen.
• The law students were organized in two universities: one for Italians and one for those beyond theAlps.
Each of these were then divided into nations.
• Students held dominance over their masters for economic reasons. They were dependent on fees for their
instruction. The only exclusive right possessed by the professor over the studens was the admission of
candidates to degrees.
• For the most part, masters and students at Paris were clerics.
• Students obtained their rights only through association with their professors.
• The university consisted of four facilities composed of professors who were actively teaching at Paris.
Three higher faculties of theology, cannon law and medicine comprised a handful of masters, each headed
by a dean. The lower faculty of liberal arts numbered hundreds of teachers and was divided into four
nations, each presided over by a proctor.
• Although the Gospels warned the Christian against seeking the title of master through vainglory, ,in theory
every medieval student set it as the goal of his academic career.
• In northern Europe where education was largely the secular clergy’s responsibility. The right or license to
teach was controlled by ecclesiastical authority. The officer responsible for