Humanism and Education in Medieval and Renaissance Italy: Tradition and Innovation in Latin Schools from the Twelfth to the Fifteenth Century


The claim, central to many interpretations of the Renaissance, that humanists introduced a revolution in the classroom is refuted in Robert Black's masterly survey, based on over 500 manuscript school books. He shows that the study of classical texts in schools reached a high point in the twelfth century, followed by a collapse in the thirteenth as universities rose in influence. It was not until the later 1400s that humanism had a significant impact in the schoolroom, as Italian teaching, particularly at elementary levels, remained strongly traditional throughout the fifteenth century.