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Quadrivium

From Academic Kids

The quadrivium comprised the four subjects taught in medieval universities after the trivium. The word is Latin, meaning "the four ways" or "the four roads": the completion of the liberal arts.

At many medieval universities, such as Oxford, this would have been the principal postgraduate course leading to the degree of Master of Arts. After the MA the student could enter for Bachelor's degrees of the higher faculties, such as Music. To this day some of the postgraduate degree courses lead to the degree of Bachelor (the B.Phil and B.Litt degrees are examples in the field of philosophy).

In medieval educational theory, the quadrivium consisted of arithmetic, geometry, music, and astronomy. These followed the preparatory work of the trivium, made up of grammar, rhetoric, and logic. In turn, the quadrivium was considered preparatory work for the serious study of philosophy and theology.

The quadrivium could be considered as the study of number: arithmetic was pure number, geometry was number in space, music number in time, and astronomy number in space and time.

This schema is sometimes referred to as classical education, but it is more accurately a development of the 12th and 13th centuries rather than an organic growth from the educational systems of antiquity.

See also

nl:Quadrivium pl:Quadrivium

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