A major new challenge to scholastic orthodoxy in the universities appeared from what seems at first an unlikely source. One of the usually unstressed aspects of an arts education in the medieval university had been the teaching of the subjects comprising what the early Middle Ages (c.600 ad onwards) had dubbed the “trivium.” The three parts of the trivium consisted of grammar, logic, and rhetoric. The three went along with the so-called “quadrivium” — the mathematical subjects of geometry, arithmetic, astronomy, and music — to make up the “seven liberal arts.” These had been the basis of higher education in classical antiquity, and their echoes (with the new names “trivium” and “quadrivium”) informed the educational norms of the early medieval period in the Latin West.
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- Humanism and Ancient Wisdom: How to Learn Things in the Sixteenth Century
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- Chapter Two