The Earliest Universities

My second child graduates from college this year. ¬†I’m sort of stunned that we’re here already ūüôā ¬†But millions of kids have gone before him, dating all the way back to 1088. “The word¬†university¬†is derived from the¬†Latin:¬†universitas magistrorum et scholarium, roughly meaning “community of teachers and scholars”. The term was coined by the Italian¬†University of Bologna, which, with a traditional founding date of 1088, is considered the first university.¬†The origin of many¬†medieval universities¬†can be traced to the Christian¬†cathedral schools¬†or¬†monastic schoolswhich appear as early as the 6th century AD and were run for hundreds of years as such before their formal establishment as university in the¬†high medieval period.” ¬†http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_oldest_universities_in_continuous_operation The next three oldest schools are the The University of Salamanca in 1134 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/University_of_Salamanca), The University of Paris in 1150, and University of Oxford. The dates of all these vary depending upon Read more…

Danish Bones Found in Oxford

There’s a new article in The Oxford Student which describes a recent find of bones, determined to have belonged to Danes and¬†the result¬†of a massacre ordered by King Ethelbert in 1003 AD.¬† It sheds some light on an early period in British history and points to something that is easy to forget as you work your way through the Early Middle Ages:¬† that the “Saxons” from literature and mythology were not monolithic, but comprised of different ethnic groups and nationalities.¬† What this find reveals is that the Saxons, who now controlled most of England, murdered their Danish neighbors.¬† From a Welsh perspective, these groups might seem one and the same, but they weren’t. In the Oxford article, it states:¬† “Vikings‚Äô skeletons found underneath one of St John‚Äôs quads are the remains of a violent ‚Äúethnic cleansing‚ÄĚ over 1,000 years ago. Read more…