The medieval world

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Intellectual and Cultural Life
The Twelfth-Century Renaissance
Controversy: Was there a Twelfth-Century Renaissance?

  • The existence of a ‘twelfth-century renaissance’ was first suggested in 1840 by French scholars.

  • But the debate did not really begin until the publication of Charles Homer Haskins, The Renaissance of the Twelfth Century (Cambridge, Mass., 1927)

  • The debate raged during the 1940s and 1950s, see R.N. Swanson, The Twelfth-Century Renaissance (Manchester, 1999), 1-11, 216.

  • According to a leading historian, the phrase ‘Twelfth-Century Renaissance’ is ‘... a mere term of convenience which can mean almost anything we choose to make it mean... the sort of sublime meaninglessness which is required in words of high but uncertain import.’ [R.W. Southern, ‘The place of England in the twelfth-century renaissance,’ History 45 (1960), p. 201]


Jurisprudence (law)

monastic school

non-monastic school.

Fulbert of Chartres

Guibert of Nogent A Monk’s Confession: The Memoirs of Guibert of Nogent, trans. and ed. Paul J. Archambault (Pennsylvania, 1996)

Bec, Normandy

Berengar of Tours

Lanfranc of Bec





Mont Ste Geneviève

St Victor

Petit Pont


Peter Abelard Historia Calamitatum (History of My Troubles), in The Letters of Abelard and Heloise, trans. Betty Radice and Michael Clanchy (Harmondsworth, 2003)

Hildegard of Bingen

The Curriculum

The seven liberal arts

    • They were divided into two groups:

      • The trivium (grammar, rhetoric, dialectic/logic).

      • The quadrivium (arithmetic, geometry, music, and astronomy).

    • The trivium was taught more widely than the quadrivium.

According to Adam of Perseigne, ‘...rhetoric adorns the discourse that grammar constructs from words, and... dialectic sharpens it by distinguishing truth from falsity.’ (Quoted in Swanson, The Twelfth-Century Renaissance, p. 29)

ars dictaminis

ars versificandi

ars predicandi

Civil or Roman law


The Transmission of Classical Texts


Spanish Reconquista





libri naturales

Vernacular Literature

The Arthurian legends of Chrétien de Troyes (c.1135-1183)

Alexanderlied (c.1135-c.1170)

König Rother (c. 1150)

The Poem of the Cid (1207 but based on an earlier oral tradition)

Layamon’s Brut (early 13th century)
Directory: fac -> arts -> history -> students -> modules -> hi127 -> programme
modules -> Nonviolent Resistance a global History 1830-2000
modules -> Religion and Religious Change – Historiography and Primary Sources
modules -> The European World Lecture: week 1 x. 2010) The Historiography of Early Modernity Professor Steve Hindle
modules -> The Historiography of Early Modernity Part II: Historiographical Approaches
modules -> Week 22: Postcolonialism and the Provincializing of Europe (summary)
modules -> Parliaments, Estates & Representation
modules -> Absolutism in Early Modern Europe The theory and language of absolutism
modules -> Table of Contents Module Aims 3 Syllabus
programme -> The Medieval World hi127, Lecture 11: The Rise of the Papal Monarchy 1050-1300 The Rise of Christian Rome
programme -> To her Lord, her Father, her Husband, her Brother

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