The Russian State Social University
Report on Pedagogics.
"Education in the Middle Ages"
Made by the first-year
student of faculty of
Chrcked by Khajrullin
Education in the Orthodox Christian Civilization 3
The Russian offshoot of the Orthodox Christian Civilization 5
Education in the Western Civilization 8
bibliographic List 12
In A.D. 476 the Roman Empire, as universal state of the Hellenic Civilization, collapsed. This date is considered to be the beginning of the European Middle Ages. The Middle Ages covers the period from the fifth century till the sixteenth century. Middle Ages are divided into the early Middle Ages (V-IX centuries), the Middle Ages (X-XIII centuries), and Renaissance (XIV-XVI centuries).
Education in the Orthodox Christian Civilization
Although the stages in the history of the Orthodox Christian Civilization can be identified and dated, the scanty materials about education do not permit a comparable division in the development thereof. There were scholars in plenty in the society at many different stages, but education is rarely described either by them or by the historians, and the allusions to curricula, methods, and personnel are for the most part vague and ambiguous. There is little direct evidence about schools; what indirect evidence there is must be derived almost entirely from biographies of a relatively few individuals.
One of the distinguishing characteristics of the Orthodox Christian Civilization was the close relationship between church and state, in antithesis to the separation of church and state in the Western world. The whole outlook and orientation of the society was grounded in religion so that the church, as the official institution of religion, exerted an incalculably great influence on all aspects of life including the "secular every-day education" and the affairs of the state supported university.
At the same time, however, public education in the society was predominantly secular and independent of the church. Little is known about primary and secondary, but it is Marrou's opinion that in the East, there was a "direct continuation" of the classical education that prevailed under the Roman Empire. Certainly the basis continued to be grammar and the classics, and the same textbooks and commentaries continued to be used and copied. In higher education, the dominant institution was the university at Constantinople, which had been founded A.D. 425 by Theodosius II, and the curriculum in it remained entirely classical.
Thus by the time of the emergence of the civilization, the education and culture were Greek and the lay, secular education was classical, but behind the Greek culture and the secular education the influence of religion and of the orthodox church were extremely powerful.
There were three types of education, or, rather, three types of schools: the classical, secular, lay schools which included the university and its preparatory schools, in which there was a predominantly secular secondary training; the monastic school; and the special patriarchal schools. Each of the three, and the preparation for it, will be treated in turn.
The Orthodox Christian child was brought up in the "nurture and admonition of the Lord" and listened at night to stories from the Bible, was made to learn some of it by heart, particularly the Psalms, and was trained in correct (Greek) pronunciation. The child was later on to be taught from pagan textbooks and was to read pagan literature, especially Homer, as a matter of course; at home he learned that "our" — that is, the Christian — learning was the true and that the pagan literature, if not actually false, was only in praise of virtue disguised as verse or story.
At the age of six or seven or eight the boy went to an elementary school. Most towns of size had at least one school with a fairly competent teacher or teachers, and children of all social classes could attend the schools; it seems that tuition fees were charged and that the schools were privately operated. The main subject of study in the elementary school was reading and writing. When the boy was ten or twelve he began the study of "grammar."
This study of grammar appears to have been a thorough grounding in classical Greek language and literature, especially in the form and matter of poetry, chiefly Homer. Homer was probably still learned by heart, and explained word by word.
After the student had mastered "grammar" he was ready to go on to a university. The curriculum at the university seems to have been, again, still classical in method and content. For rhetoric, the student would read and memorize Greek masterpieces, and compose speeches according to classical rules and in imitation of the older style. For philosophy he used chiefly Aristotle, Plato, and the Neo-Platonists. He seems to have got, somewhere in his education, a knowledge of mathematics and astronomy, and of the natural sciences, although it is not clear at what stage they were introduced. The university curriculum was organized, more or less, into the classical Trivium and Quadrivium.
But "neither the names nor the sequence of different branches of Byzantine education are very clear." School and university subjects appear to have overlapped; some study of medicine appears to have figured in both, as did some study of the law.
There were important centres of higher learning at Athens, Alexandria, Caesarea, Gaza, Antioch, Ephesus, Nicaea, Edessa and, of course, the law school at Beirut. Most of these were destroyed by the Muslim conquests, but culture was still alive in Athens in the twelfth century, Nicaea remained an important centre of learning throughout the growth period and through most of the time of troubles of the civilization, and Edessa in the ninth century still supported a public teacher of grammar, rhetoric, and philosophy.
The second type of school in Orthodox Christendom was the monastic school. It was exclusively for those who had dedicated themselves to the religious life, or those whose parents had dedicated them to it, for children were admitted at a very early age. From the beginning of Orthodox Christendom as a separate society until the thirteenth century the ban on lay children in the monastery schools was in force. The teaching in these schools was narrowly confined to the Scriptures (illiterate novices learned the Psalms by ear and by heart), orthodox commentaries thereon, lives of saints, and a few patristic works. The children were taught to read and write but the instruction seems not to have been taken beyond the elementary stage. The monastic schools did not provide the counter to the highly secular education of the lay secondary schools and the university.
The counter to the secular education was offered by the third type of school in Orthodox Christendom: the patriarchal school or schools in Constantinople. The very scanty sources suggest that these schools taught about the same subjects as did the secular schools, but with a different emphasis: all studies led up to the study of theology. The purpose and function of the school was to train clerics and to combat heresy. The professors were ordained deacons and the rector was invested by the Patriarch of Constantinople.
The curriculum seems to have been organized into two divisions: the one including grammar, rhetoric, some philosophy, and probably the other classical studies, the other including chiefly the study and exegesis of the Scriptures. The rector of the school taught the Gospels, there was another professor for the Epistles and another for the Psalms. It appears that the professors of theology sometimes gave lectures in literature and philosophy in addition to their exegetical courses. It is known that one twelfth-century rector gave courses in mathematics and classical literature and philosophy which the students were required to take before they were introduced to the study of the Gospels.
Orthodox Christian influence was also dominant among the Slavs of Russia.
The Russian offshoot of the Orthodox Christian Civilization
The Russia to which Orthodox Christianity came was a primitive and barbarous land. Hence it was the Orthodox Christian Church that gave to the land all its culture: the Cyrillic alphabet was adopted as the medium of writing and Cyril's translations became the basis of the native literature; the already fixed dogma of the church was taken over in its entirety, so that there were no disputes concerning fundamental issues of faith and practice; the liturgical forms were similarly adopted; religious pictures furnished the model for Russian iconography; and Orthodox Christian ideas were everywhere influential in daily life. Thus the date of the conversion of Vladimir may conveniently be taken as that of the beginning of the Russian Offshoot of the Orthodox Christian Civilization. That this society was an offshoot not identical with the main body is as clear in the case of Russia as in that of Japan: despite the very large cultural and religious heritage from the main body, the language was different, the land was different, the culture became different, and the religious domination of Constantinople lasted only so long as the Imperial City remained powerful and inviolable.
Milioukov suggests that after Vladimir's conversion, education in Kiev was compulsory. Certainly both dukes and clergy worked strenuously to create schools and to collect and copy books. The efforts bore fruit, for by the beginning of the twelfth century Russia had priests in sufficient numbers to serve the people, and she had the beginnings of a native literature. The literature produced by Russia in the early periods was predominantly, almost wholly, religious and monastic: of the two hundred forty Russian writers known to have lived before A.D. 1600, only thirty were laymen and twenty secular clergy, the other one hundred ninety being monks.