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INTRO time; and, while he so largely encouraged the monastic spirit, his administration of the temporalities of his see was eminently sagacious and successful.
The light of faith was rekindled in Britain by the teaching of Augustine and his missionaries; and within little more than half a century after the death of Gregory, Theodorus. Theodorus, an Asiatic Greek, was appointed to the see of
Canterbury. The impulse given by this ecclesiastic to education long continued to influence the course of instruction, and in the curriculum he introduced may be discerned. the rude outlines of our modern system. His work was ably continued by Aldhelm, second abbot of the Benedictine monastery of Malmesbury, and afterwards also archbishop of Canterbury. The talents and intense application of this prelate enabled him to acquire a mastery of the Latin and Greek tongues, and his biographer, the monk Faricius, even
See also Suetonius de Grammaticis,
1 Prof. Maurice adduces in proof of this the improvement in Britain consequent upon the arrival of Gregory's missionaries:-'Schools seem to rise as by enchantment; all classes, down to the poorest (Bede himself is the obvious example), are admitted to them; the studies beginning from theology embrace logic, rhetoric, music, and astronoiny.' Philosophy of the First Six Centuries, p. 153. The
whole criticism of Gregory in this treatise will be found eminently suggestive: it may, however, be questioned whether, as Bede was born seventy-six years after the landing of Augustine and his fellow-labourers, the learning of our earliest encyclopædist is not rather attributable to the influence of Theodore.
2 For an interesting account of the instruction given in these schools, see Dean Hook's Lives of the Archbishops of Canterbury, 1 240-244. 'When books were scarce, oral instruction, or instruction through the medium of lectures, was a necessity...... The proficiency of the scholars was tested, not only by an occasional examination, but by a constant course of questioning and cross-questioning, as connected with each lesson. The instruction was catechetical. Of the mode of conducting these examinations some examples exist, and the questions put to the pupils of the arithmetic class are very similar to those with which the masters and scholars of National Schools are familiar as emanating from Her Majesty's inspectors.' Respecting the library which Theodorus is reported to have brought with him, see Edwards' Memoirs of Libraries, 1 101.
b. 735. (?)
accredits him with some knowledge of Hebrew1. Aldhelm died in 709, and was succeeded by Bede the Venerable, whose writings form an important contribution to the textbooks of the subsequent age. In the eighth century the Bede. school of York rose into celebrity, distinguished by its a. 735. valuable library and the eminence of its scholars; of these, Alcuin, for some time the guardian of its literary treasures, Alcuin. must undoubtedly be regarded as the most accomplished d. 804. scholar of his day. The culture to which our country attained at this period cannot however be shown to have had much connexion with subsequent developements. The comparative immunity she then enjoyed from troubles like those that agitated the Continent favoured her advance in education and learning, but with the Danish invasions the fair promise disappeared. The land relapsed into semibarbarism; and the ninth and tenth centuries, rising like a wall of granite, between the times of Alcuin and those of Lanfranc, seem effectually to isolate the earlier age. Το trace the progress of European thought we shall consequently Charlefind it necessary to follow Alcuin across the English channel 742. to the court of Charlemagne.
the aspect of
It is a trite observation, that a state of warfare, like Change in many other evils, is far from being an unmixed ill, in that affairs in it calls into action virtues which are wont to slumber in times of prosperity and peace; and similarly we may note that, in seasons of great national suffering and trial, ideas often reappear which seem to have well nigh passed from the memory of man amid the pursuits of a more tranquil age. Monasticism, in the sixth century, was dignified by a conviction in comparison with which the ordinary hopes and fears of men might well appear contemptible; if representing despondency in relation to things temporal, it had its heroism not less than its despair; but when we recall to how great an extent the theory enunciated by Augustine
1 Miro denique modo gratiæ [?Graiæ] facundiæ omnia idiomata sciebat, et quasi Græcus natione: scriptis et verbis pronuntiabat Prophetarum exempla, Davidis Psalmos, Salamonis
tria volumina, Hebraicis literis bene
ance of Anti
INTRO and enforced by Gregory derived its strength from the apparent corroboration afforded by contemporary calamities, we naturally turn to enquire, with some curiosity, how far such anticipations were found to consist with the spectacle that now greeted Europe,-the formation of a new and The empire splendid empire. It must then be admitted that this theory appears well nigh lost to view amid the promise of the reign of Charlemagne, but it should be remembered that a specific as well as a general explanation of the fact offers itself for our consideration. It was the belief of the Church that the advent of Antichrist would precede the final dissolution of the appear all things, and we accordingly find that, inasmuch as the fall of the Roman empire had been supposed to be necessarily involved in his triumph and reign, it was customary among the earlier Christians to pray for the preservation and stability of the imperial power, as interposing a barrier between their own times and those of yet darker calamity. It was not until Rome had been taken by Alaric that Augustine composed the De Civitate Dei. But now, with the lapse of the two centuries that separated the age of Gregory from that of Charlemagne, a change had come over the aspect of human affairs. The empire of the Franks had, by successive conquests, been extended over the greater part of Europe; the Lombards, the great foes of all culture, acknowledged the superiority of a stronger arm; the descendants of the Huns, thinned by a series of sanguinary conflicts, accepted Christianity at the point of the sword; the long struggle between the emperor and the Saxons of the north had represented, from the first, an antagonism between the traditions of civilization and those of barbarism and idolatry ; while in the devotion of Charlemagne to the Church, a sentiment already so conspicuous in his father, it became evident that the preponderance of strength was again ranged on the side of the new faith. The advent of Antichrist was therefore not yet; and with that belief the still more dread anticipation which had so long filled the minds of men ceased to assert itself with the same intensity, and in the conception of Charlemagne, to which our attention must now be directed,
Connexion between this theory and political events.
we discern the presence of ideas widely differing from those of Gregory.
We have already remarked that, in Gaul, the imperial schools established under the Roman empire disappeared amid the havoc wrought by the Franks; those by which they were succeeded were entirely under the control of the Church. The researches of Ampère and other writers have ascertained that these schools were of two kinds,-the The Epiepiscopal and the monastic. In the former an exclusively the Monastic religious training was imparted; in the latter a slight infusion of secular knowledge found a place'. A similar fate to that of their predecessors appeared likely at one time to befall these institutions; in the kingdom of Aquitaine, where they had flourished with most vigour, the destruction of the churches and monasteries by the Saracens well nigh extinguished education, and we can well understand that the rule of Charles Martel and the Merovingian dynasty was little likely to favour its restoration. We have therefore small difficulty in crediting the statement of the monk of St Gall that, at the accession of Charlemagne, the study of letters was everywhere well nigh forgotten2.
It is no easy task, especially in the presence of the conflict- Different ing conclusions of eminent authorities, to determine the exact respecting character of the parts played by Charlemagne and Alcuin as and Alcuin. the authors of the great educational revival which marks the close of the eighth century. Some have held that the ecclesiastic was the leading mind; others, that all the originality and merit of the conception were the emperor's3; but
1 Devoting some attention à des connaissances qui ne se rapportaient pas immediatement aux besoins journaliers de l'Eglise,' is the language of Ampère. Histoire Littéraire de la France avant le Douzième Siècle, II 278.
2 Studia litterarum ubique propemodum essent in oblivione,' Bouquet, v 106. Compare Hallam, Middle Ages, m10 418.
Among the former may be cited Guizot, Civilisation en Europe, II 202; Hauréau, Philosophie Scholas
tique; Monnier, Alcuin et son Influ-
INTRO- none appear to have sufficiently taken into account the traditional theory that lay like an incubus upon the thought Charlemagne, and learning of these ages. From that incubus it seems natural to infer that the emperor, the warrior, the conqueror, would be the first to set himself free, as he beheld athwart the wide territories of his extending empire the bow of hope rising again to view. The new element introduced by him into the education of his times is, indeed, in perfect keeping with the whole policy of that master intellect. Though his admirers have probably exaggerated his attainments, it is certain that they were such as alone to constitute eminence in that age, and admitting that his Capitularies owe much of their literary correctness to the aid of men like Theodulfus, Alcuin, and Eginhard, it must be allowed that many of them in their mere conception attest the presence of considerable culture. In Alcuin, on the other hand, judging from his whole career, there is little suggestion of a mind of very uncommon powers. His letters, valuable as illustrations of the period, reflect a mind that can hardly be mistaken. A clear cool intellect, capable of receiving and arranging large stores of information, 'enough of a questioner to be able to understand for himself what others imparted, not enough of one to be embarrassed with any serious mental perplexities,' a cautious conservative temperament, faithful to inherited traditions such are the leading characteristics of the first scholar of the times of Charlemagne.
State of learning among the Clergy.
The immediate occasion of the emperor's action on behalf of education arose out of the glaring solecisms that frequently arrested his attention in the communications he received from the monasteries. In a circular letter to Baugulfus, abbot of Fulda, he calls attention to the grave scandal then presented. The pious and loyal tone of the letters, he allows, is worthy of all praise, but their rude and careless diction is such as to suggest apprehensions lest the Scriptures themselves should be scarcely intelligible to readers of so little learning,-ne forte sicut minor esset in scribendo prudentia, ita quoque et multo minor esset, quam recte esse debuisset, in eis Sanctarum Scripturarum ad intelligendum