Page:The Normans in European History.djvu/191

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NORMAN LIFE AND CULTURE

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In the course of the twelfth century the leadership in learning passes from the regular to the secular clergy, and the monastic schools decline before the cathedral schools of Laon, Tours, Chartres, Orleans, and Paris, two of which, Paris and Orleans, soon break the bounds of the older curriculum and develop into universities. As the current of scholars sets toward these new centres, Normandy is left at one side; no longer a leader, its students must learn their theology and philosophy at Paris, their law at Orleans and Bologna, their medicine at Salerno and Montpellier. The principal Norman philosopher of the new age, William of Conches, the tutor of Henry II, is associated with Paris rather than with the schools of Normandy. Perhaps the most original work of the pioneer of the new science, the Questiones naturales of Adelard of Bath, is dedicated to a Norman bishop, Richard of Bayeux, but its author was not a Norman, nor do we find Norman names among those who drank deep at the new founts of Spain and Sicily.

For a measure of the intellectual activity of the Norman monasteries and cathedrals nothing could serve better than an examination of the contents of their libraries, where we might judge for ourselves what books they acquired and copied and read. This unfortunately we can no longer make. The library of Bec, partly destroyed by fire in the seventeenth century, was scattered to the four winds of heaven in the eighteenth, and while the legislation of 1791 provided for the transfer of