Medieval Education: The Histor

Length: 7 Pages 1697 Words

Higher education plays a major part in today's society. Expected to continue their education beyond high school, many students attend four-year universities and colleges. The emergence of such higher education was first recorded in Europe during the Middle Ages. The origins and characteristics of these medieval universities as well as details of the students and their masters (professors) will be thoroughly discussed in the following paragraphs. These universities became the foundation of and models for the higher education of today. The Latin word universitas, or university, first appeared in the Latin text of Cicero, the word meaning the whole of mankind or the human race. The word gained educational meaning when the corporation of Paris masters and students first used universitas in 1221 to define the organized society of the entire body of masters and students. But even then the meaning of university was different. Unlike today's university, the medieval universities referred to the students and masters rather than to a building or specific place. This is mainly due to the fact that the early universities did not own buildings but used rented rooms or available rooms loaned by the church as their classrooms (Previte- Continue...


Several conditions provided the way for the establishment of the university during the thirteenth century. This lack of unity hurt the student body during the twelfth century when student power declined, leaving the commune in charge of hiring the professors (Hyde 312). Medieval students also ranged significantly in age, from as young as fifteen to as old as twenty or twenty-five years of age (Dahmus 569). An important feature of the University of Paris was its dominant position of the faculty of arts, considered there to be the mother of the higher faculties of saluberrima (medicine), consultissima (cannon law), and sacrtissima (theology). The importance of this medieval invention is beyond measure. Each university originated in one of three ways: 1) of spontaneous foundations, 2) of papal, imperial, communal, or joint foundations, or 3) paper universities, universities with foundation charters but never physically formed. The chancellor granted teaching licenses to students, but the society instituted the requirements a student must fulfill to gain the title of master. Its fame increased due to the famous masters the city acquired as well as its teaching of Roman Law, which was forbidden in France and England in 1219. Oxford too had spontaneous foundations, emerging around 1208 to 1209 due to a conflict between the clerics and the townspeople. The medieval university continues to influence the education of today's scholars. The faculties of arts and medicine were established during the latter half of the thirteenth century.