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BENEDICTINE


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BENEDICTINE


ing, it was Cassiodonis, the quondam minister of the Gothic kings, who about the year 538 gave the first real impetus to monastic learning at Viviers (Vivar- ium) in Calabria. He made liis monastery a Cliristian academy, collected a great number of manuscripts, and introduced an organized plan of study for liis disciples. The liberal arts and the study of the Holy Scriptures were given great attention, and a monastic school was established which became the pattern after which many others were subsequently modelled.

In England St. Augustine and liis monks opened schools wherever they settled. Up to that time the tradition of the cloister had been opposed to the study of profane literature, but St. .\ugustine introduced the classics into the English schools, and St. Theo- dore, who became Archbishop of Canterbury in 668, added still further developments. St. Benedict Biscop, who returned to England with Archbishop Theodore after some years abroad, presided over his school at Canterbury for two years and then, going north, transplanted the new educational system to Wearraoutli and Jarrow, whence it spread to Archbisiiop Egbert's school at York, which was one of the most famous in England in the eighth cen- tury. There Alcuin taught the seven sciences of the "trivium" and "quadrivium", i. e. grammar, rhet- oric, and logic, arithmetic, music, geometiy, and astronomy. (See Arts, The Seven Liber.\l.) Later on King Alfred, St. Dunstan, and St. Ethel- wold did much to foster learning in England, sub- stituting monks for secular canons in several cathe- drals and greatly improving the monastic schools. Ramsey Abliey, founded by St. Oswald of Worcester, long enjoyed the reputation of being the most learned of the English monasteries. Glastonbury, Abingdon, St. Alban's, and Westminster were also famous in their clay and produced many illustrious scholars.

In France Charlemagne inaugurated a great re- vival in the world of letters and stimulated the monks of his empire to study, as an essential of their state. To furtlier this end he brought over from England in 7S2 .-Mcuin and several of the best scholars of York, to whom he entrusted the direction of the academy established at the royal court, as well as various other schools which he caused to be started in different parts of the empire. Mabillon gives a list of twenty- seven important schools in France established under Charlemagne (.AiCta Sanctorum O. S. B., sebc. IV, prsf., 184). Tliose of Paris, Tours, and Lyons eventually developed into universities. In Nor- mandy, later on, Bee became a great scholastic centre under Lanfranc and St. Anselm, and througli them gave a fresh impetus to the English schools. Cluny also took its share in the work and became in turn the custodian and fosterer of learning in France.

In Germany St. Boniface opened a school in every monastery he founded, not only for the yotmger monks, but also for the benefit of outside scholars. Early in the ninth century two monks of Fulda were sent to Tours by their abbot to study under Alcuin, and through them the revival of learning gradually spread to other liouses. One of the two, Rabanus Maurus, returning to Fulda in 813, became scholasti- cus or head of the school there, later abbot, and finally Archbishop of Mainz. He was the author of many books, one of which, his De Institutione Clericorum", is a valuable treati.se on the faith and practice of the Church in the ninth ccnturj-. This work probably exercised a beneficial influence on all the cloister-schools of the Frankish Empire. Hirschau, a colony sent out from Fulda in 8.30, became a celebrated scat of learning and survived till the seventeenth century, when both the mona.s- tery and its library were destroyed during the Thirty Years War. Keichenau, which suffered a similar fate at the same time, owed its early celebrity to its


school under Walafrid Strabo, who had studied at Fulda and on liis return became sclwlasticus and subsequently abbot. In Saxony the monastery of New Corbie also possessed a famous school, which sent forth many learned missionaries to diffuse learning over Denmark, Sweden, and Norway. It was founded by Ansgar, the apostle of Scandinavia, who came from Old Corbie in 822, where he had been the favourite disciple of Paschasius Radbertus, a theologian, poet, musician, and author of Scriptural commentaries and an exposition of the doctrine of the Holy Eucharist.

After the death of Charlemagne the leN-ival of secular learning which he had begun waned some- what, except in the Benedictine abbeys where the study of letters still remained the prerogative of the monks. The Abbey of St. Gall, in particular, during the tenth century drew to its walls numerous students desirous of gaining the knowledge that was imparted there, and produced many celebrated wri- ters. The fame of Reichenau also revived, and from it was founded Einsiedeln (934), which helped to carry on the traditions of the past. Nor was Italy behindhand, as is shown by the history of such monas- tic schools as Monte Cassino, Pomposia, and Bobbio.

Most of the older universities of Europe have grown out of monastic schools. Paris, Tours, and Lyons have been mentioned; amongst others were Reims and Bologna, and, in England, Cambridge, where the Benedictines of Croyland first set up a school in the twelfth centurj'. At O.xford, the English Benedictines, though they could not claim to be the founders, took an important part in the university life and development. Monks had from time to time been sent from different abbeys to study there, but in 1283 a number of the cliief monasteries combined in founding a joint college for their mem- bers, called St. Benedict's, or Gloucester, Hall, which is now Worcester College. In 1290 the cathedral- priory of Durham established for its own monks St. Cuthbert's College, which is now Trinity; and in 1362 another college, now Christ Church, was founded for the monks of Canterbury. The Cister- cians had Rewley Abbey just outside the town, foimded about 1280, and St. Bernard's College, now St. Jolin's, established in 1436 by Archbishop Chichele. All these colleges flourished until the Reformation, and even after the dissolution of the monasteries many of the ejected monks retired to Oxford on their pensions, to pass the remainder of their days in the peace and seclusion of their .\lma Mater. Fecken- liam, afterwards Abbot of Westminster under Queen Mary, was the last English Benedictine to graduate at Oxford (about 1537) until, in 1897, the community of Ampleforth Abbey opened a hall and sent some of their monks there to study for degrees.

Besides being the cliief educational centres during the Middle Ages, the monasteries were, moreover, (he workshops where precious manuscripts were collected, preserved, and multiplied. To the monas- tic transcribers the world is indebted for most of its ancient literature, not only the Scriptures and the writings of the Fathers, but those of the classical authors also. (Numerous examples are cited in Newman, Essay on the Mission of St. Benedict, ยง 10.) The monastic scriptoria were the book- manufactories before the invention of printing, and rare MSS. were often circulated amongst the monas- teries, each one transcribing copies before passing tlio original on to another house. Without doubt the copying was often merely mechanical and no sign of real scholarship, and the pride taken by a monasterj' in the number and beauty of its MSS. sometimes rather that of the collector than of the scholar, yet the result is the same as far as posterity is concerned. The monks preserved and perpetuated the ancient writings which, but for their industry, would undoubtedly have been lost to us. The copy-