Rachel Fulton Brown

Department of History

The University of Chicago


Winter 2012






Throughout the Middle Ages, formal education began with the study of language: grammar, including the study of literature as well as the practical mastery of the mechanics of language (here, Latin); logic or dialectic, whether narrowly defined as the art of constructing arguments or, more generally, as metaphysics, including the philosophy of mind; and rhetoric, or the art of speaking well, whether to praise or persuade.  In this course, we will be following this medieval curriculum insofar as we are able through some of its primary texts, many only recently translated, so as to come to a better appreciation of the way in which the study of these arts affected the development of medieval European intellectual and artistic culture. 


Books available for purchase at the Seminary Co-op Bookstore


Martianus Capella and the Seven Liberal Arts: Vol. II  The Marriage of Mercury and Philology, trans. William Harris Stahl with E.L. Budge (New York: Columbia University Press, 1992).

John of Salisbury, The Metalogicon: A Twelfth-Century Defense of the Verbal and Logical Arts of the Trivium, trans. Daniel D. McGarry (Philadelphia: Paul Dry Books, 2009).


All other readings available online through JSTOR, Google Books, or Chalk.   Readings marked “Reg” are also on reserve at the Regenstein Library.


Course Requirements

1.  Grammar: Lesson plan with sample exercise (4-5 pages, due February 6) 25%

2.  Dialectic: Cornificius’ answer to John of Salisbury on the importance of studying logic (5-6 pages, due February 27) 30%

3.  Rhetoric: Poem, letter, or sermon, according to the appropriate ars (6-7 pages, due March 13) 35%

4.  Reading and participation in class discussion 10%


All written assignments should be submitted online via Chalk under “Assignments.”  Please save files as PDFs with file name “YourLastName Grammar,” “YourLastName Dialectic,” or  “YourLastName Rhetoric,” as appropriate.


Reading and Discussion Assignments


January 3  Why study the trivium?

Dorothy Sayers, “The Lost Tools of Learning” (1947) [http://www.gbt.org/text/sayers.html]


January 5 Education in the Middle Ages

Lynn Thorndike, “Elementary and Secondary Education in the Middle Ages,” Speculum 15.4 (October 1940): 400-408 [JSTOR]

Caroline M. Barron, “The Expansion of Education in Fifteenth-Century London,” in The Cloister and the World: Essays in Medieval History in Honour of Barbara Harvey, eds. John Blair and Brian Golding (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1996), pp. 219-45 [Chalk]


Charles H. Haskins, “A List of Text-Books from the Close of the Twelfth Century,” Harvard Studies in Classical Philology 20 (1909): 75-94 [JSTOR]

Alexander Nequam, A list of textbooks from Sacerdos ad altare, in Medieval Grammar and Rhetoric: Language Arts and Literary Theory, AD 300-1475, eds. Rita Copeland and Ineke Sluiter (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009), pp. 531-41 [Chalk; Reg]

 “Appendix I: A Time-Table of Lectures in the Arts Course of the University of Toulouse, 1309,” in Louis John Paetow, The Arts Course at Medieval Universities with Special Reference to Grammar and Rhetoric (Champaign, IL: 1910), pp. 95-99 [Google Books]


January 10 The Seven Liberal Arts

Honorius Augustodunensis, “Concerning the Exile of the Soul and its Fatherland; also called, About the Arts,” in Readings in Medieval Rhetoric, ed. Joseph M. Miller, Michael H. Prosser, and Thomas W. Benson (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1973), pp. 198-206 [Chalk; Reg]

Henri d’Andeli, “The Battle of the Seven Arts,” ed. and trans. Louis John Paetow, Memoirs of the University of California 4.1, History 1.1 (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1914), pp. 37-60 [Chalk]


H. Parker, “The Seven Liberal Arts,” The English Historical Review 5.19 (Jul. 1890): 417-61 [JSTOR]

Karl F. Morrison, “Incentives for Studying the Liberal Arts,” in The Seven Liberal Arts in the Middle Ages, ed. David L. Wagner (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1983), pp. 32-57 [Chalk; Reg]


January 12 The Nuptials of Eloquence and Learning

Martianus Capella, The Marriage of Mercury and Philology, bks. I-II, trans. Stahl, pp. 3-63 [Sem Co-op; Reg]


W.H. Stahl, “To a Better Understanding of Martianus Capella,” Speculum 40.1 (Jan. 1940): 102-115 [JSTOR]

Cora Lutz, “Remigius’ Ideas on the Origin of the Seven Liberal Arts,” Medievalia et Humanistica 10 (1956): 32-49 [Chalk]

Cora Lutz, “Remigius’ Ideas on the Classification of the Seven Liberal Arts,” Traditio 12 (1956): 65-86 [JSTOR]




January 17 What did Grammar teach?

Martianus Capella, Marriage, bk. III, trans. Stahl, pp. 64-105.

Cassiodorus, Institutions of Divine and Secular Learning, bk. II, preface, trans. James W. Halporn (Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 2004), pp. 171-78 [Chalk]


Jeffrey F. Huntsman, “Grammar,” in The Seven Liberal Arts, ed. Wagner, pp. 58-95 [Chalk; Reg]


January 19  Ars grammatica antiqua

Aelius Donatus, Ars Minor, Ars Maior, in Medieval Grammar and Rhetoric, eds. Copeland and Sluiter, pp. 82-99 [Chalk; Reg]

Priscian, Institutiones Grammaticae and Institutio de Nomine Pronomine Verbo, in Medieval Grammar and Rhetoric, eds. Copeland and Sluiter, pp. 167-89 [Chalk; Reg]

Isidore of Seville, Etymologiae, in Medieval Grammar and Rhetoric, eds. Copeland and Sluiter, pp. 232-41 [Chalk; Reg]

Alcuin, Ars Grammatica, in Medieval Grammar and Rhetoric, eds. Copeland and Sluiter, pp. 272-87 [Chalk; Reg]

Glosses on Priscian by Remigius and His Followers, in Medieval Grammar and Rhetoric, eds. Copeland and Sluiter, pp. 299-310 [Chalk; Reg]


January 24  Reading the classics

Accessus ad auctores [Introductions to the Authors], in Medieval Literary Theory and Criticism, c. 1100-c.1375: The Commentary Tradition, eds. A.J. Minnis and A.B. Scott, with David Wallace, rev. ed. (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1988), pp. 12-36 [Chalk]

Conrad of Hirsau, “Dialogue on the Authors,” in Medieval Literary Theory, eds. Minnis and Scott, pp. 37-64 [Chalk]


January 26  Thinking grammatically

Anselm of Canterbury, De grammatico, in The Major Works, eds. Brian Davies and G.R. Evans (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998), pp. 123-50 [Chalk]

John of Salisbury, Metalogicon, bk. I, chaps. 13-25, trans. McGarry, pp. 37-72 [Sem Co-op; Reg]


January 31  Ars grammatica nova

Alexander of Villa Dei, Doctrinale, in Medieval Grammar and Rhetoric, eds. Copeland and Sluiter, pp. 573-83 [Chalk; Reg]

Eberhard of Béthune, Graecismus, in Medieval Grammar and Rhetoric, eds. Copeland and Sluiter, pp. 584-93 [Chalk; Reg]


James J. Murphy, “The Teaching of Latin as a Second Language in the Twelfth Century,” in Latin Rhetoric and Education in the Middle Ages and Renaissance (Aldershot: Ashgate/Variorum, 2005), III [Chalk]

Robert Black, “The Vernacular and the Teaching of Latin in Thirteenth and Fourteenth-Century Italy,” Studi Medievali, 3rd ser. 37 (1996): 703-51 [Chalk]

Nicholas Orme, “John Holt (d. 1504), Tudor Schoolmaster and Grammarian,” The Library, 6th ser. 18.4 (December 1996): 283-304 [Chalk]




February 2 What did Dialectic teach?

Martianus Capella, Marriage, bk. IV, trans. Stahl, pp. 106-154

Cassiodorus, Institutions, bk. II, chap. III, trans. Halporn, pp. 188-208 [Chalk]


Eleanore Stump, “Dialectic,” in The Seven Liberal Arts, ed. Wagner, pp. 125-46 [Chalk; Reg]


February 7 The Problem with Education These Days

John of Salisbury, Metalogicon, Prologue; bk. I, chaps. 1-12; bk. II, chaps. 1-20; trans. McGarry, pp. 3-37, 73-141


February 9 The Point of It All

John of Salisbury, Metalogicon, bks. III-IV, trans. McGarry, pp. 142-276


February 14, 16 Applied Dialectic: Universals and Particulars

Aristotle, Porphyry, Boethius, Garlandus Compotista, and Abelard, in Basic Issues in Medieval Philosophy, eds. Bosley and Tweedale, Topic VI, pp. 352-92 [Chalk]

John of Salisbury, Metalogicon, bk. II, chaps. 17-20; bk. III, chaps. 1-4; trans. McGarry, pp. 111-41, 146-70




February 21 What did Rhetoric teach?

Martianus Capella, Marriage, bk. V, trans. Stahl, pp. 155-214

Cassiodorus, Institutions, bk. II, chap. II, trans. Halporn, pp. 178-88 [Chalk]


Martin Camargo, “Rhetoric,” in The Seven Liberal Arts, ed. Wagner, pp. 96-124 [Chalk]


February 23  Rhetorica christiana

Augustine of Hippo, On Christian Doctrine, bk. IV, trans. J.F. Shaw, pp. 154-203 [CCEL http://www.ccel.org/a/augustine/doctrine/]

Bede, De schematibus et tropis [“Concerning Figures and Tropes”], trans. Gussie Hecht Tannenhaus, in Readings in Medieval Rhetoric, eds. Miller et al., pp. 96-122 [Chalk; Reg]


February 28  Ars poetica

Matthew of Vendôme, Ars versificatoria [The Art of Versification], trans. Aubrey E. Galyon (Ames: Iowa State University Press, 1980), pp. 25-112 [Chalk]

Geoffrey of Vinsauf, Poetria nova, trans. Margaret F. Nims (Toronto: Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies, 1967), pp. 15-93 [Chalk]


March 1  Ars dictaminis

John of Garland, Parisiana poetria, ed. and trans. Traugott Lawler (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1974), chaps. 1-4, 7, pp. 3-83, 143-59 (odd numbered pages) [Chalk]

Anonymous of Bologna, Rationes dictandi [The Principles of Letter-Writing], trans. James J. Murphy, in Three Medieval Rhetorical Arts, ed. James J. Murphy (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1971), pp. 3-25 [Chalk; Reg]


March 6  Ars praedicandi

Thomas of Chobham, Summa de arte praedicandi, in Medieval Grammar and Rhetoric, eds. Copeland and Sluiter, pp. 614-38 [Chalk; Reg]

Robert of Basevorn, Forma praedicandi [The Form of Preaching], trans. Leopold Krul, O.S.B., in Three Medieval Rhetorical Arts, ed. Murphy, pp. 111-215 [Chalk; Reg]


March 8 Reading period NO CLASS


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