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The Rise Of Universities In Medieval Europe

1103 words - 4 pages

In the present modern day, and seemingly for an extensive period of time, society has tended and still does, hold a predisposed idea that a university is associated with a building and the location that it is in. What society does not realise however the fact that it is a place to study where the location does not matter because towards the end you still achieve the same degree as anyone else.
In early modern periodization, the medieval term for university was ‘studium generale’ meaning ‘school of universal learning’. The most common term used is ‘univerisitas’ meaning ‘the whole’ The Oxford dictionary defines it as “a high-level educational institution in which students study for degrees and academic research is done” These definitions suggest that a university is a place where various types of students such as graduates or non-graduates and also teachers who come together under one roof, almost being considered as ‘university of masters and students’ It can be clearly seen that it is difficult to rely upon traditional terminology for the definition of a university in the full sense of the world.
Medieval universities generally consisted of a ‘community of scholars’ who had the authority to award students with degrees. Majority of these scholars were monks or priests because in 600-1500 A.D. there was a strict religious hierarchy to create stability within the society. Therefore majority of the higher education took place in cathedrals or monastery schools. Unlike today, universities in the ‘dark ages’ did not have a university campus. Neither did they have a government who would make the majority of the decisions. Because of this, churches which were seen as the government as at that time religion had a massive impact on the society. This led the church to have tight control and so it was the main means of education, often of an ‘exclusively religious’ kind (Lawton & Gordon (2002), 45). This shows that the role of the state in regulating university life differed in the medieval times when compared to today.
During the 3rd Century, Plato had set up his own educational institute for young men in Greece focusing mainly on Philosophy which was discovered as the ‘first university’. However during the renaissance, the philosopher’s work had been lost. The re-emergence of classical Greek work in the 12th century was influential as it allowed Islamic scholars to introduce new ideas into university education. It seems more reasonable to derive the organisational pattern of the medieval university from the Islamic schools of learning. Makdisi (an Islamic scholar) concluded that “university is a twelfth century product of the Christian West of the twelfth century, not only in its organisation but also in the privileges and protection it received from Pope and King.”
The Crusades were “a series of military campaigns during the time of Medieval England against the Muslims of the Middle east” (History Learning Site, 2009, online). They had a major...

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