14th-century image of a university lecture
Illustration from a 16th-century manuscript showing a meeting of doctors at the University of Paris
A map of medieval universities
Teaching at Paris, in a late 14th-century Grandes Chroniques de France: the tonsured students sit on the floor
This Mob Quad group of buildings in Merton College, Oxford was constructed in three phases and concluded in c. 1378.
Diagrams, in a volume of treatises on natural science, philosophy, and mathematics. This 1300 manuscript is typical of the sort of book owned by medieval university students.
A university class, Bologna (1350s)
Universitas Istropolitana (a former university building in present-day Bratislava)

Endeavoring to harmonize his metaphysics and its account of a prime mover with the Latin Catholic dogmatic trinitarian theology, these monastic schools became the basis of the earliest European medieval universities, and scholasticism dominated education in Europe from about 1100 to 1700.

- Scholasticism

The word universitas originally applied only to the scholastic guilds—that is, the corporation of students and masters—within the studium, and it was always modified, as universitas magistrorum, universitas scholarium, or universitas magistrorum et scholarium.

- Medieval university
14th-century image of a university lecture

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The Cross of Mathilde, a crux gemmata made for Mathilde, Abbess of Essen (973–1011), who is shown kneeling before the Virgin and Child in the enamel plaque. The figure of Christ is slightly later. Probably made in Cologne or Essen, the cross demonstrates several medieval techniques: cast figurative sculpture, filigree, enamelling, gem polishing and setting, and the reuse of Classical cameos and engraved gems.

Middle Ages

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In the history of Europe, the Middle Ages or medieval period lasted approximately from the 5th to the late 15th centuries, similar to the post-classical period of global history.

In the history of Europe, the Middle Ages or medieval period lasted approximately from the 5th to the late 15th centuries, similar to the post-classical period of global history.

The Cross of Mathilde, a crux gemmata made for Mathilde, Abbess of Essen (973–1011), who is shown kneeling before the Virgin and Child in the enamel plaque. The figure of Christ is slightly later. Probably made in Cologne or Essen, the cross demonstrates several medieval techniques: cast figurative sculpture, filigree, enamelling, gem polishing and setting, and the reuse of Classical cameos and engraved gems.
A late Roman sculpture depicting the Tetrarchs, now in Venice, Italy
Barbarian kingdoms and tribes after the end of the Western Roman Empire
A coin of the Ostrogothic leader Theoderic the Great, struck in Milan, Italy, c. AD 491–501
A mosaic showing Justinian with the bishop of Ravenna (Italy), bodyguards, and courtiers.
Reconstruction of an early medieval peasant village in Bavaria
An 11th-century illustration of Gregory the Great dictating to a secretary
Map showing growth of Frankish power from 481 to 814
Charlemagne's palace chapel at Aachen, completed in 805
10th-century Ottonian ivory plaque depicting Christ receiving a church from Otto I
A page from the Book of Kells, an illuminated manuscript created in the British Isles in the late 8th or early 9th century
Medieval French manuscript illustration of the three classes of medieval society: those who prayed (the clergy) those who fought (the knights), and those who worked (the peasantry). The relationship between these classes was governed by feudalism and manorialism. (Li Livres dou Sante, 13th century)
13th-century illustration of a Jew (in pointed Jewish hat) and the Christian Petrus Alphonsi debating
Europe and the Mediterranean Sea in 1190
The Bayeux Tapestry (detail) showing William the Conqueror (centre), his half-brothers Robert, Count of Mortain (right) and Odo, Bishop of Bayeux in the Duchy of Normandy (left)
Krak des Chevaliers was built during the Crusades for the Knights Hospitallers.
A medieval scholar making precise measurements in a 14th-century manuscript illustration
Portrait of Cardinal Hugh of Saint-Cher by Tommaso da Modena, 1352, the first known depiction of spectacles
The Romanesque Church of Maria Laach, Germany
The Gothic interior of Laon Cathedral, France
Francis of Assisi, depicted by Bonaventura Berlinghieri in 1235, founded the Franciscan Order.
Sénanque Abbey, Gordes, France
Execution of some of the ringleaders of the jacquerie, from a 14th-century manuscript of the Chroniques de France ou de St Denis
Map of Europe in 1360
Joan of Arc in a 15th-century depiction
Guy of Boulogne crowning Pope Gregory XI in a 15th-century miniature from Froissart's Chroniques
Clerics studying astronomy and geometry, French, early 15th century
Agricultural calendar, c. 1470, from a manuscript of Pietro de Crescenzi
February scene from the 15th-century illuminated manuscript Très Riches Heures du Duc de Berry
Medieval illustration of the spherical Earth in a 14th-century copy of L'Image du monde
The early Muslim conquests
Expansion under Muhammad, 622–632
Expansion during the Rashidun Caliphate, 632–661
Expansion during the Umayyad Caliphate, 661–750

In the West, intellectual life was marked by scholasticism, a philosophy that emphasised joining faith to reason, and by the founding of universities.

Cathedral schools were in turn replaced by the universities established in major European cities.

An altarpiece in Ascoli Piceno, Italy,
by Carlo Crivelli (15th century)

Thomas Aquinas

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An altarpiece in Ascoli Piceno, Italy,
by Carlo Crivelli (15th century)
The Castle of Monte San Giovanni Campano
Thomas is girded by angels with a mystical belt of purity after his proof of chastity. Painting by Diego Velázquez.
Triumph of St Thomas Aquinas, "Doctor Communis", between Plato and Aristotle, Benozzo Gozzoli, 1471. Louvre, Paris.
Icon of the crucifixion speaking to Thomas Aquinas is depicted on this stained glass window in Saint Patrick Church (Columbus, Ohio).
Triumph of St. Thomas Aquinas, "Doctor Angelicus", with saints and angels, Andrea di Bonaiuto, 1366. Basilica of Santa Maria Novella, fresco.
The remains of Thomas Aquinas are buried in the Church of the Jacobins in Toulouse.
St. Thomas Aquinas and the Pope
Detail of The Apotheosis of Saint Thomas Aquinas by Francisco de Zurbarán, 1631
Saint Thomas Aquinas by Luis Muñoz Lafuente
Super libros de generatione et corruptione
Super Physicam Aristotelis, 1595
Thomas Aquinas by Bartolomé Esteban Murillo, 1650
17th-century sculpture of Thomas Aquinas
Portrait of St. Thomas by Antonio del Castillo y Saavedra, c. 1649
A stained glass window of Thomas Aquinas in St. Joseph's Catholic Church (Central City, Kentucky)

Thomas Aquinas, OP (Tommaso d'Aquino; 1225 – 7 March 1274) was an Italian Dominican friar and priest, who was an immensely influential philosopher, theologian, and jurist in the tradition of scholasticism; he is known within the scholastic tradition as the Doctor Angelicus, the Doctor Communis, and the Doctor Universalis.

This same year he was ordered by the Dominican Chapter of Agnani to teach at the studium conventuale at the Roman convent of Santa Sabina, founded some years before, in 1222.

Boys going to school. Bolognese manuscript of the Decretum Gratiani, 14th century

Monastic school

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Monastic schools (Scholae monasticae) were, along with cathedral schools, the most important institutions of higher learning in the Latin West from the early Middle Ages until the 12th century.

Monastic schools (Scholae monasticae) were, along with cathedral schools, the most important institutions of higher learning in the Latin West from the early Middle Ages until the 12th century.

Boys going to school. Bolognese manuscript of the Decretum Gratiani, 14th century

In some places monastic schools evolved into medieval universities which eventually largely superseded both institutions as centers of higher learning.

Some monastic figures such as Bernard of Clairvaux considered the search for knowledge using the techniques of scholasticism to be a challenge to the monastic ideal of simplicity.