As I opened my eyes, I realized that a new day has arrived. I slept soundly in my spacious and comfortable bed. I got up, and I remembered I have a business appointment today. I stood in front of the mirror for a while, admiring myself for a bit, noticing how my hair grew already. I dressed up, wearing my white undergarments first and afterwards my matching red and gold pants and coat. It took me quite some time to get dressed, as it really would take time to look nice and dignified at this place and time. I had a hearty breakfast with my family, getting full over bread, eggs, and ham. I needed that to start my day right. After I bade goodbye to my loving family, I went out and started to walk.
There are a lot of new things around nowadays. More and more huge churches are being built, as willed by the King, who is very much a man of God. Even though I wanted to stroll around some more, I had to go directly to my appointment. Despite the good life I am living, I still have to work in order to keep it as it is. I always have a busy schedule, though it is not that hectic and physically punishing. All I have to do is to overlook our family’s textile trading business, which is why I had to go through the town everyday and check if all is going well.
I always wanted a wealthy life. Well, I can say it is easy for me because we own a business which is very successful in my opinion. Aside from that, I always wanted to read literature, and have aspired to write one, though I can’t because of my priorities, just like this meeting that I will have with a prospective client. Well, its more of socializing because we would talk more about our personal lives rather than negotiate about the business. However, it is very important because that’s the way rich people live nowadays. They need to interact and bond with people before anything else. The meeting took quite a long time, as we went to different places just to socialize. I head back to my home afterwards, all tired and worn out, but satisfied as I was able to accomplish the day’s goal. I ate a hearty meal with my family, discussing a few more things with the textile business. I ended my day in the place I started it, back in my comfortable bed. Tomorrow wouldn’t be different, so it’s best for me to sleep now and get some good sleep (Gies and Gies).
The Church was the first institution in the society that offered higher degrees in education. But because of the tension between the burghers and the students and the uncalled for censorship of the leading intellectuals at that time by the Church, the early Universitas was formed. The basis for this establishment was the medieval guild, wherein it is self-regulating in a sense that it was managed by the people inside it (Haskins). It has been considered as an institution of higher education and is continued to be viewed as such, even in the present.
At first, a university is not a physical institution, but instead it is a collection of individuals banded together. The classes were taught wherever space was possible, including widely spaced homes and vacant churches. As time passed, universities began buying or renting rooms, just like what the University of Cambridge did, all for the purpose of teaching.
A typical Bachelor’s degree in the Medieval universities is six years long, while an additional master’s and doctorate degree would add another twelve years of studying. The initial six years of the Bachelor’s degree were by the faculty of arts, and is devoted for teaching the seven liberal arts. These include arithmetic, geometry, astronomy, music theory, grammar, logic, and rhetoric, though it was logic that was given more emphasis by the institution. After finishing a Bachelor of Arts degree, a student can then opt to leave the university or continue on studying for the master’s and doctorate degree. They would focus on one of the three faculties being offered, namely law, medicine, and theology. At that time, it was theology that was regarded as the most prestigious area to study, and was considerably the most difficult of the three.
In France, the University of Paris and the University of Orleans are two of the earliest medieval universities established. For Italy, it was University of Bologna and University of Padua. For England, it was University of Oxford and University of Cambridge. In Spain, it was University of Palencia and University of Palencia and University of Salamanca. For Portugal, it was Coimbra University, and for Poland, it was Jagiellonian University.
The Crusades that happened during the 11th to the 13th century left significant effects on the medieval period. Because it was a series of religion-driven military campaigns called out by the Christian Europe, the attention of most people were directed to this matter. Many people chose to fight the war against mostly Muslim enemies, as the Church called out for their action. The effects were felt all throughout Europe at that time, and were evident for the next century or so.
The crusades have varying effects on different people, especially in Europe. One is the effect on politics, wherein crusader absences resulted to mismanagement of estates left to be handled by their relatives. The crusades, especially the first one, somehow pacified the pressure on the Byzantine Empire. Muslims and Jews were persecuted, and life for them during the Crusades was not really very peaceful. At that time, the Church was the predominant power, calling forth the action of its loyal followers.
Many people hated the Crusaders because of their violent means. They have raided essential areas and posts, and have clearly caused a disturbance in areas targeted by the Crusades. Somehow, the series of wars that resulted from the call for the Crusades have hindered the growth of the society at that time. Education was at a standstill, as the Church and the leaders focused their attention to the wars against the opposing Muslims and other groups.
The legacy of the middle ages is that it incorporated the Islamic learning into that of Western Europe’s. At that time, Islamic philosophy, science, and technology were clearly more advanced than Europe’s so it has played a great role in shaping medieval education at that time. Many aspects were adopted, including science, math, algebra, and a lot more (Riddle). During this time, the learning from other cultures has been mixed with our own, making it better than ever. The Middle Ages was the time when the prominent universities and academic institutions were established, and the implications of these occurrences can still be felt in the present. It was when great minds were born, and ideas about human life have been constructed. It is mainly characterized by the flourishing ideologies, and understandings about our world. The contributions of the Middle Ages were very valuable in shaping our history. It was during that time that we had a grasp of what education is and how important it is in our lives. The Middle Ages was an eye opener for the people, and that it prompted the people’s movement towards change and a better life.
Gies, Joseph, and Frances Gies. Life in a Medieval City. Harper Perennial, 1981.
Haskins, Charles. The Rise of Universities. Transaction Publishers, 2001.
Riddle, John M. A History of the Middle Ages, 300-1500. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc., 2008.