Cathedral school

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Cathedral schools or cathedral schools are educational institutions of the Roman Catholic Church and have been established at Catholic bishoprics in Western Europe since the 8th century . They slowly surpassed the older monastery schools .


middle Ages

The monastery schools lost in importance especially from the 11th century onwards due to the Cluniac reform , which was directed against secularization and external contacts. In municipal cathedral schools, more boys who were not supposed to become clerics could take part in classes . Clerical training remained its main purpose. Charlemagne issued a regulation according to which a school was to be opened in episcopal churches ( Admonitio generalis of 789). He determined singing, reading, writing, calculating Easter dates and Latin grammar as teaching content .

Important Franconian or, later, German cathedral schools were for example in Utrecht , Liège , Cologne , Speyer , Würzburg , Bamberg , Magdeburg , Hildesheim and Freising . In the Salian and Staufer times, for example, the cathedral school in Speyer , founded by Bishop Balderich (970–986) based on the model of St. Gallen , developed into a training center for diplomats and governors or officials of the empire.

Important cathedral schools in France were in Orléans , Reims , Paris , Laon , Tours and Chartres . The intellectual elite of the high medieval empires emerged from them. From 1179 the teachers required a Licentia Docendi (teaching permit) from the Scholastikus , the cleric responsible for teaching in the cathedral chapter .

In France, the first free teachers taught the cathedral students the subject of philosophy for a fee, according to Petrus Abelard , the "inventor" of scholasticism , which initially only meant the orderly presentation of opinions on a topic. From the 12th century onwards, some cathedral schools in Italy gave rise to the first universities in Bologna , Padua and Siena , and in France in Paris and Toulouse . They emerged as a semi-autonomous cooperative of teachers and students, teaching was tied to a passed exam . From 1233 onwards, teachers needed the so-called facultas hic et ubique docendi of the Pope (“license to teach here and everywhere”) to prevent heresy .

Since the High Middle Ages, smaller Latin schools have been set up next to the cathedral schools in the city parishes, which increasingly came under the administration of the municipalities (“communalization”). In the late Middle Ages, private German writing schools were also created for bourgeois-commercial educational interests, which often existed as angle schools .


The seven liberal arts were taught at cathedral schools , divided into the so-called trivium (linguistic subjects grammar , dialectics and rhetoric ) and the quadrivium (mathematical subjects arithmetic , geometry , astronomy and music ).

Modern times

Many cathedral schools died in the late Middle Ages and the Reformation, for example in Cologne and Bamberg. Some kept the name, but were Protestant, state schools (z. B. Magdeburg Cathedral School Güstrow , Domschule Schleswig ). Still others became Jesuit schools ( Hildesheim and Paderborn ).

Other cathedral schools were only founded in the 18th and 19th centuries and remained less well-known and elitist. The Huguenot community in Berlin, who had fled from France, set up a cathedral school in the rooms of the French Cathedral on Gendarmenmarkt as a six-class boys 'and girls' school (elementary or “middle school”).

See also


  • Manfred Fuhrmann : Latin and Europe, (The alien foundations of our education). History of learned teaching in Germany from Charlemagne to Wilhelm II. 2nd edition. DuMont, Cologne 2001, ISBN 3-8321-5605-4 .
  • Bernhard Gallistl: Library and school at the cathedral . In: Monika E. Müller (Ed.): Treasures in heaven - books on earth. Medieval manuscripts from Hildesheim. Harrassowitz, Wiesbaden 2010, ISBN 978-3-447-06381-4 , pp. 55-68 ( exhibition catalogs of the Herzog August Library 93).
  • Sonja Ulrike Klug: Cathedral of the Cosmos. The sacred geometry of Chartres. 2nd revised and expanded edition. Kluges, Bad Honnef 2005, ISBN 3-9810245-1-6 (in it a longer chapter about the cathedral school of Chartres including the ancient philosophers on which it is based, as well as the seven liberal arts).
  • Johannes ES Schmidt: The French Cathedral School and the French Gymnasium in Berlin. Student memories 1848–1861. Edited and commented by Rüdiger RE Fock. Publishing house Dr. Kovač, Hamburg 2008, ISBN 978-3-8300-3478-0 ( Writings on cultural history 6).

Individual evidence

  1. Würzburger Domschule ( Memento of the original from April 1, 2016 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice.  @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  2. ^ Rainer Leng : When the emperor held court in Würzburg: The Würzburg Court Day of Friedrich Barbarossas from 1152. In: Würzburg today. Volume 73, 2002, pp. 52-55, here: p. 54.
  3. Prinz, Friedrich: Basics and beginnings. Germany to 1056, German history, vol. 1, Beck Munich 1985, p. 323f, ISBN 3-7632-2991-4
  4. Friedrich Prinz: German history. Vol. 1. Beck'sche Verlagsbuchhandlung, Munich 1985, p. 323, ISBN 3-7632-2991-4 .
  5. ^ History of the city of Speyer. Vol. 1. Kohlhammer Verlag, Stuttgart 1982, p. 209, ISBN 3-17-007522-5