Page:Cambridge Modern History Volume 1.djvu/572

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in the tenth century. In the second half of that century, however, the Emperor Otto the Great (936-73) enlarged the horizon and stimulated the culture of the German people. His reign brought security to such seats of study as existed; and their welfare was promoted by his brother, the learned Bruno, Archbishop of Cologne.

Gerbert, afterwards Pope Sylvester II, who died in 1003, shows how much was possible for a gifted scholar in the tenth century. He had not merely read a great deal of the best Latin literature, but had appreciated it on the literary side, had imbibed something of its spirit, and had found in it an instrument of self-culture. His case is, indeed, a very exceptional one. But some knowledge, at least, of the Latin classics was not even then a rare accomplishment. A tradition of learning, derived especially from Fulda, had been created, which descended without a break to the time when the University of Paris arose. Nowhere on the Continent was there such a violent interruption, or such a general blight upon culture, as was caused in England and Ireland by the raids of the destroying Northmen. From about the end of the tenth century onwards culture began to be somewhat more widely diffused. There are indications that the course of Latin reading in the better schools was now no longer confined to meagre text-books, but had become fairly liberal. Thus at the school of Paderborn in Westphalia, early in the eleventh century, the plan of study included Virgil, Horace, Statius, and Sallust. Towards the close of that century, Bernard of Chartres, after teaching his pupils the rules of grammar from Donatus and Priscian, led them on to the Latin poets, orators, and historians, dwelling especially on the rhetorical precepts of Cicero and Quintilian. His method is praised by John of Salisbury, writing in the middle of the twelfth century, who was himself strongly imbued with a love of classical studies, being especially familiar with Horace, and with much of Cicero. Among other classics who found medieval readers may be named Terence (a favourite), Ovid, Lucan, Martial, Caesar, Livy, and Suetonius. The incipient revival of a better literary taste was checked in the thirteenth century by the influence of the Scholastic Philosophy. That discipline, intent on subtleties of logic and meta-physic, was indifferent to literary form, and soon became encumbered with the technical jargon which Erasmus ridicules. Such doctors as Albertus Magnus and Duns Scotus lent the prestige of their authority to barbarous Latin. In the Universities dialectic now shared the foremost place with theology, and their professors were generally adverse to the literary subjects represented by the trivmm. In England, France, and Germany, during the thirteenth century, the study of ancient literature gained no ground, but rather receded; and the fourteenth century showed no improvement. Italy, meanwhile, where the Scholastic Philosophy had taken less hold, had been showing some signs of a growing interest in the Latin classics for more than a century before Petrarch.