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Charlemagne's scheme of educational reform in Frankish dominions, was inaugurated first in the ancien Merovingian palace school itself (ab. 780 A.D.), and later in the various schools established or reformed by imperial decrees throughout the Frankish dominions. In 787 Charles issued the famous capitulary which has been styled the 'Charter of Modern Thought.' In it he addressed himself to the bishops and abbots of the Frankish kingdom, informing them that he 'has judged it to be of utility that, in their bishoprics and monasteries committed by Christ's favour to his charge, care should be taken that there should not only be a regular manner of life, but also the study of letters, each to teach and learn them according to his ability and the Divine assistance.' From the wording of the capitulary, it is clear that Charlemagne intended to introduce the reform of education into all the Frankish cathedral and monastic schools. Such schools, for the laymen, were to teach the rudiments of general education, with an elementary course in Christian Doctrine. Monastic and cathedral schools were the places of elementary and higher learning for the laity in Carolingian times. Cathedral churches may be seen like the first to appear as soon as the very beginnings of Church: their ancestor, under the form of the so-called "episcopal churches", was dedicated to train clerics only and were attached to bishops' household. Monastic schools appeared later: they began with monasticism as the latter was reacting against what was seen as a decline of Christianity in the Late Roman Empire; monasticism was promoting itself like the institution which could provide not only communities members but children generally too with moral, religion, and culture, as the latter could be obtained in other places, but to the cost of Christian standards

By early Middle Ages and Carolingian times it was the monastic schools which came to take the principal burden of education of the laity. To the monasteries were coming both youngsters who were to become monks and those who were to enter secular careers. It it this way that Ireland monasteries were receiving people coming from England and the Continent for secular learning. An official distinction appeared during the 9th and 10th centuries, beginning at St. Gall, Fulda, and Reichenau, between "internal" and "external schools": "schola claustri" (cloister's school) were dedicated to teach future members of the monastery only, as "schola canonica, sive externa" became used to train people bound to return in the world. As far as cathedral schools are concerned, ancient episcopal churches had opened to laymen since the end of the Roman empire and the decline of State schools of the latter. Then, it is a bishop of Metz about 750 who is said to have been the real founder of the institution when he organized the clergy of his cathedral into a community and commanded them to conduct and manage the school attached to the church. The bishop had the general control as the "magister scholae" was the immediate superior of the school. In cities and towns where no cathedral church existed, it was the canons who organized like the clergy of Metz and created "canonicate schools." As far as the will of Charles was that schools also be available to the people in the countryside or the cities, those 'presbyteral schools' were, in fact, only few in number

Curriculum in monastic schools was the seven liberal arts (trivium: grammar, rhetoric, dialectic; quadrivium: arithmetic, geometry, astronomy, music) as monks were pursuing too the art of healing, agriculture, building, and decorative arts. Monks were transcribing the Classics and the ecclesiastical works, and were writing "annales" noting year by year the important events of the Christianity. By Carolingian times, external schools of the monasteries had become recognized institutions attended by sons of the nobility and of the villagers of the neighbourhood too. In cathedral (and canonical) schools, a separation was done between an "elementary school" ("schola minor") and a "higher school" ("schola major"); the first one was teaching reading, writing and psalmody. The latter either the trivium alone (grammar, rethoric, and dialectic) or the seven liberal arts complete, adding too Scripture and 'pastoral theology.' Town and village schools ('per villas et viocos') comprised at least the elements of Christian Doctrine, plainsong, the rudiments of grammar, and perhaps, where the influence of St. Benedict's rule was felt, some kind of manual training. In the monastic and cathedral schools the curriculum included grammar (corresponding to what we now call language-work in general, as well as the study of poetry), rhetoric, dialectic, geometry, arithmetic, music and astronomy. The text-book in these subjects was, wherever the Irish teaching prevailed, Martianus Capella, 'De Nuptiis Mercurii et philologiae;' elsewhere, as in the schools taught by Alcuin, the teacher compiled treatises on grammar, etc. from the works of Cassiodorus, St. Isidore of Seville, and Venerable Bede. In some instances the works of Boethius were used as texts in dialectic

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