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The decline of church education and the rise of lay schools in Tuscany

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Chapter Summary

This chapter describes that recent scholarship has found no evidence for the continuity of autonomous lay schools in Italy after the sixth century; with the collapse of antique educational institutions, the teaching of the laity passed into the hands of the church, which became the unique provider of education for all sections of society. Many teachers emerged from the notariate. Like other medieval universities, the Aretine Studio was an institution of higher education. Tuscan convents actually brought in lay teachers to teach their novices, paying them just like the private teachers of the laity. By the fourteenth century, the proto-capitalistic and laissez-faire world of the communes had recast school education throughout Tuscany in its own image. This was especially true in Florence, where abacus schools-with their thoroughly commercial and secularized ambience-prevailed in secondary education to an extent unmatched anywhere else in Tuscany or, indeed, Italy.

Keywords: Aretine studio; church education; Decline; laissez-faire; lay school; proto-capitalistic; Schools; Tuscany



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