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Medieval Education: The Histor

  • Word Count: 1697
  • Approx Pages: 7

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-Orton 622). This flexibility also gave the university the power to secede from their town during a dispute with the townspeople, a strategy used often by the scholars who were often in need of protection (Thompson and Johnson 725).
Several conditions provided the way for the establishment of the university during the thirteenth century. The communal movement, or the migration of people to cities, and the formation of guilds provided a model for the scholastici, or scholars, to follow when forming universities. The existence of cathedral and canonical schools provided scholars and teaching material needed to begin such a university. The discovery and emergence of new disciplines and school manuals, transla...

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