Medieval History Term of the Week: Quadrivium

Quadrivium

The four sciences, i.e. arithmetic, geometry, astronomy and music, which made up the higher division of study in the Middle Ages.

*Source: A Dictionary of Medieval Terms & Phrases by Christopher Coredon with Ann Williams

Additional Reading:

Petrus Paulus Vergerius: The New Education (c. 1400)
P. P. Vergerius the Elder (1370-1444) was a teacher at Florence, Bologna, and Padua. He was present at the Council of Constance, and later worked for the Emperor Sigismund.

Soon after 1400, he wrote the first important Renaissance treatise on education for Ubertino, the son of Francesco Carrara, lord of Padua. Printed here, it represented a sort of humanist program. It does discuss the medieval trivium and quadrivium, along with the traditional disciplines of medicine, law and theology. But the stress is on the newer “liberal studies,” of history, moral philosophy, rhetoric, and literature.

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