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The two great factors in the formation of the German school during the Middle Ages were, therefore, the foundation of convents and the foundation of cities. Out of the former grew the convent, chapter, and cathedral-schools, and out of the latter the Latin or city-schools. In the beginning, the convent schools ranked highest; Bede, Alcuin, and, later, Boniface, being pupils of such schools, while the chapter and cathedral-schools ranked second. Later, this was reversed; for when Chrodegang, bishop of Metz, drew up those rules and regulations which soon became the guiding-law for the life of ecclesiastics, new schools sprang up almost imperceptibly, especially in the episcopal residences, and the chapter and cathedral-schools—prominent among which were Magdeburg, Hildesheim, Paderborn, and Utrecht-emulated and frequently excelled the convent-schools. This lasted, however, only as long as the bishops themselves were sincere friends of education, and did not prefer a life of luxury outside of their bishoprics.'
It must be considered as an inestimable blessing that education could be pursued undisturbedly in the convents; for the princes who were to further and protect it did not, in many cases, possess the energy and zeal of Charlemagne, and many of the schools founded by him were closed during the reign of his immediate successor. But the seed sown by him and by Boniface (680-755) could not be suppressşd, and new schools began to arise in the place of those which had become defunct. Schools were established by ecclesiastics in Hesse, viz: the school at Fritzlar, by Wigbert, in 740; at Hersfeld, by Lullus, in 770; and, most famous of all, the convent-school at Fulda, established in 853, the first convent-school in Germany, which was open to all classes of society, and which possessed a rich library. The founder of this school was the well-known abbot Rabanus Maurus, (775-856,) a man of great learning and at the same time thoroughly practical, who is justly considered the originator of the system of German secondary education, primus præceptor Germania, as he is called by his contemporaries. This convent-school at Fulda is still in existence as a gymnasium, and is thus the oldest German secondary school. The successor of Rabanus Maurus, Walafrid Strabus, (822,) was untiring in his efforts to increase not only the study of the ancient classics, but also that of the German language. The archbishops of Mayence, to whose diocese the Hessian convents belonged, were great patrons of education. It was, however, no easy matter for the convents to keep up that original vigor and healthfulness which had been breathed into the whole system of education by Charlemagne, and it soon began to decline. The times advanced rapidly through powerful revolutions, which the schools were not able to comprehend or follow. In many cases, the welfare of a school was so bound up with the person of the founder that from the moment of his death it declined. It must also be borne in mind that the aim of superior education in the Middle Ages was confined to the dry, abstract results of science, and did not embrace science itself in all its freshness and beauty. The moral decline of monasticism also exercised a baneful influence on education. During the first period of the convent-schools, a healthful emulation prevailed between the Dominicans and Franciscans on the one side, and the Benedictines on the other. But when the ccvents grad
ually withdrew from the supervision of the bishops, the learning of the monks and the excellence of the schools declined simultaneously; and when in 977 the canons at Treves, with the consent of the archbishop, dissolved the canonical society, the canons everywhere left their chapter-houses and lived on their benefices, wherever they pleased. They considered themselves to have fulfilled their duty, when, instead of a “scholasticus” they had appointed a rector, and instead of a chanter (cantor) a subchanter, (succentor,) and often places were sold for money. The Benedictine friars thus sank into the greatest ignorance, and only the establishment of the orders of the mendicant friars, the Dominicans, and Franciscans, awakened them to new life. These two last-mentioned orders rapidly spread their influence throughout the whole of Germany, establishing schools wherever they went, scholæ claustri, (convent-schools,) for novices about to enter their order; and schola canonica, (chapter-schools,) for the mass of the people. Their chief merit consists in preparing and introducing better text-books, especially a new Latin grammar, the Doctrinale, of the Franciscan, Alexander de Villa Dei, from Dole in Britanny, in 1230. Being more eager to increase the number of their schools than to improve the course of instruction, the results were less brilliant and lasting than those of the original convent-schools.
LATIN OR CITY-SCHOOLS. These schools, established by the magistrates of cities, are of later date, and had to encounter considerable difficulties in the beginning. The clergy were well aware of the damaging influence which such entirely secular schools would have on their own schools. The bishops maintained that they only had the right to establish schools, and were very loath to grant permission to establish schools in which more than reading and writing was taught. The magistrates of several cities, nevertheless, succeeded in founding superior secular schools independent of the clergy, among the oldest of which are the two Latin schools—now gymnasia-at Breslau, Silesia, founded in 1267 and 1293. The greatest difficulty was how to procure suitable teachers, as most of them had to be taken from the ranks of the clergy. The convent-schools, therefore, were the models for most of these schools, and only in the external arrangement there was some difference. When the magistrate of a city had determined on the establishment of a school, the first step was to build a schoolhouse ; next, a sum for the salary of the teacher (skustans or lauti magister) was appropriated, and the amount of school-fees fixed. Then a teacher was elected by the magistrate from among the monks and priests in the city, who was appointed for one year. At the end of the year, his appointment had to be renewed by the magistrate. His assistants he score huaset. They were called his journeymen, sometimes also behind The teacher, before entering on the duties of his office, had to promise semny with the help of his assistants, “to instruct his scholars carefully in the lan g uage and in good and decent mannersand himself to lead a daurat w
The life which all these chamadalal was atien et pecuari
Ther frequently changed their pares and wanderi
the name of scholares vagantes and histriones, pursuing frequently wild and dissipated ways, which were but too closely imitated by the scholars.
The course of instruction in these schools chiefly consisted of grammar, for which extracts from Donatus, Priscian, and Diomede were used, as also the Glossæ of Remigius and Marinianus, and at a later peroid the Doctrinale of Alexander. Music was taught chiefly for church-purposes. Papers and books being very expensive, most of the text-books had to be committed to memory. The studies included the Apostolic Symbolum, the Sententiæ Catonis, the Ecloga Theoduli, Regulæ Pueriles, and the Cisio- Janus, an almanac in twenty-four stanzas; Boëthius De Consolatione, Mancini Poemata, and the works of Stephanus Fiscus de Sontino, Laurentius Corvinus, Hugo Cardinalis, &c. Rhetoric, dialectics, and scholastic philosophy were studied but little.
GENERAL CHARACTER OF THE PERIOD.
Men like Rabanus Maurus had, it is true, introduced and recommended the ancient classics; and even the study of Greek authors, although fanatically opposed by many of the clergy, was carried on extensively. Still, as long as education was exclusively in the hands of the clergy, these studies were merely considered as means to reach a certain end. The Latin language especially was nothing else but the handmaid of the church, and the glorious literature of antiquity was only used to fill gaps in philosophical or theological systems, just as the marble pillars of ancient temples and palaces were put to the most common uses.
Scholasticism, one of the two great factors in the literary life of the Middle Ages, could not supply the pressing wants of the schools. It was characterized as well by clearness as by depth of thought; but historical and traditional knowledge, the knowledge of the whole rich life of antiquity, was almost entirely lost. By its very method, it exercised a baneful influence, decreasing the love of truth by its excess of speculative zeal and by the subtleties of dialectic art. The rigid and one-sided obedience which its doctrines exacted produced that blind belief in authorities which was based on the most famous works of scholasticism, viz, the Sententia of Peter Lombard and the Summa of Thomas Aquinas. Practical philosophy and, above all, pedagogics found no place in this system.
Just as little benefit did the schools derive from mysticism. Its chief characteristic, dreamy contemplativeness, which purposely neglected a clear and distinct development of ideas, could not satisfy young men, who, from the incomparable models of antiquity, were to learn the“sapere ac fari" in all its classic sharpness and precision. Only that school could exercise a beneficial influence which combined the best elements of both scholasticism and mysticism. Such was the school which William of Champeaux, in 1109, established in connection with the convent of St. Victor in one of the suburbs of Paris, and whose influence made itself widely felt. The spirit which animated this school finds its representative type in Vincent de Beauvais, (died in 1264,) perhaps the most learned man of the thirteenth century, who wrote a manual and text-book
for princes and their instructors; but even he has not the full appreciation of the educating force of classical studies, and it is not astonishing that he wished to substitute the study of the Christian poets for those of Greece and Rome.
THE REVIVAL OF CLASSICAL STUDIES. Italy, where, in spite of its mixed population, the Latin language had preserved its greatest purity—whose grandest creation, jurisprudence, made Roman influence felt throughout the world—formed the bridge between classic antiquity and Christianity. Here, where modern life and classic art were closely interwoven, the natural aim of the greatest masters of poetry, painting, and archi. tecture was the intimate union of these two elements. This was the aim of men like Ariosto and Tasso, Leonardo da Vinci and Raphael, Bramante and Palladio. Of the two great Italian poets of the Middle Ages, Petrarch, more than Dante, must be called the restorer of classic antiquity. Dante's education was based entirely on the trivium and quadrivium of the Middle Ages, and he endeavored to combine systematic scholasticism with Provençal romanticism. Petrarch was more fiery, and exercised a great influence, not only through his own person, but also through his numerous and learned scholars, the most important of whom were Boccaccio, Marsigli, and Salutato,
Of the greatest influence, especially on the study of Greek language and literature, were the many Greek fugitives, who, after the taking of Constantinople by the Turks, came to Italy. Among these deserve special mention, John of Ravenna and Emanuel Chrysoloras.
Thus science was gradually freed from the service of the church and the fetters of scholasticism, and a more refined literary and artistic taste became prevalent. Among the prominent men of this period, there must be mentioned Vittorin de Feltre, (Victorin Rambaldoni, from Feltre,) born in 1378, who founded excellent educational institutions in Padua, Venice, and Mantua, in which the moral supervision of his pupils was of a model character. Another prominent educator of this period was Guarino of Verona, (born in 1370; died, 1460.) After his return from Constantinople, where he had gone to study Greek with Emanuel Chrysoloras, he instructed young men in his native city, and, later, in Ferrara. He translated many of Plutarch's works, Lucian, Isocrates, Basilius, and Strabo ; wrote commentaries to many of the Greek classics, a Latin grammar, and a synopsis of the Greek grammar of Chrysoloras. His method was excellent, gradually passing from easy subjects to more difficult ones, and in rhetoric laying greater stress on good models than on dry scholastic rules.
Two men exercised a far-reaching influence through their educational writings, Vergerius and Vegius. Peter Paul Vergerius, (born in 1349 in Capo d'Istria; died in 1428,) the teacher of the Duke Francesco of Carrara's children, wrote a “ Libellus de Ingenuis Moribus et Liberalibus Studis, " in which he covered the whole field of education, not so much with the view of creating a complete system, as of giving hints regarding the best methods of instruction. Mapheus Vegius (born 1407 at Lodii died 1458) wrote “ Libri Sex de Liberorum Educatione et Claris Eorum Moribus, " a work of much greater extent than that of Vergerius, though still far from being really systematic in its arrangement. He dwells on the importance of a good home-training as the basis of all education, gives golden rules for teachers, enumerates the books which should be read, beginning with Æsop's Fables, followed by Sallust and the poets.
From all parts of Europe, but especially from Germany, many ardent youths came to Italy, and there gathered the seed which, in their own country, was to ripen into a rich harvest. The classical studies, in their revived form, found themselves bitterly opposed in many countries by the monks and the scholastic philosophers, so that in France and England they did not gain a firm footing till the middle of the fifteenth century, while in Germany their advance was more rapid.
THE FORERUNNERS OF THE REFORMATION IN THE NETHERLANDS.
A reaction against the one-sidedness of scholasticism and the presumption of the convent-schools was absolutely necessary, and at the same time it was evident that the effect of the newly-awakened scientific spirit in Italy confined itself to the courts and the aristocracy, and did not reach the masses of the people. Constant party-warfare made the Netherlands a very fruitful soil for higher aims, and the more people felt dissatisfied with the prevailing ecclesiastical forms, all the more was a practical mysticism cultivated, which promised to have a particularly beneficial effect on education. Thus the Netherlands became the nursery of education, which found a home in cities like Deventer, Kampen, and Zwolle, whose glory was not only in their wealth but in their civic virtues. The consciousness that without a true inner union there could be no effectual activity produced the Brotherhood of the Hyeronymians, whose chief seat was in Deventer. Their founder was Gerard Groote, (1340–1384,) who, with the view of leading a practical Christian life, exemplified mainly in the education of youth, gathered about his person a number of pious and enthusiastic men. Weak in body, but endowed with a fiery mind, he had for three years studied scholastic philosophy in Paris; but when, at a later period, he was forbidden to preach in his native tongue, he naturally turned to the more quiet field of education. After his death, Florence Radewin continued the work, and founded a convent at Windesheim, which he soon transferred to Mount St. Agnes, near Zwolle. His scholar, Thomas a Kempis, and his numerous associates and scholars, began a grand and far-reaching activity. Their influence was felt far beyond the Netherlands, on the Lower Rhine, Westphalia, Saxony, Pomerania, Prussia, and Silesia. In the“ brethren's houses,” founded by these men, a pious life was combined with practical and scientific activity. Their models in the treatment of the sciences and languages were the Italian schools.
One of the most famous of their teachers was Johann Wessel, (born 1419.) From Mount St. Agnes he went to Italy, and, through Cardinal Bessarion, became acquainted with the most famous philologists of those times. From Italy he went to Paris, where he met young Reuchlin, on whose studies he exercised great influence. “An intense longing for his native country and a quiet con