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The trivium is the lower division of the
seven liberal arts Liberal arts education (from Latin "free" and "art or principled practice") is the traditional academic program in Western higher education. ''Liberal arts'' takes the term ''Art (skill), art'' in the sense of a learned skill rather than spec ...
and comprises
grammar In linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language, meaning that it is a comprehensive, systematic, objective, and precise study of language. Linguistics encompasses the analysis of every aspect of language, as well as the ...
,
logic Logic is an interdisciplinary field which studies truth and reasoning. Informal logic seeks to characterize Validity (logic), valid arguments informally, for instance by listing varieties of fallacies. Formal logic represents statements and ar ...

logic
, and
rhetoric Rhetoric () is the Art (skill), art of persuasion, which along with grammar and logic (or dialectic – see Martianus Capella), is one of the Trivium, three ancient arts of discourse. Rhetoric aims to study the techniques writers or sp ...
. The trivium is implicit in ''De nuptiis Philologiae et Mercurii'' ("On the Marriage of Philology and Mercury") by
Martianus Capella Martianus Minneus Felix Capella (fl. c. 410–420) was a Latin prose writer of Late Antiquity Late antiquity is a periodization Periodization is the process or study of categorizing the past into discrete, quantified named blocks of ...
, but the term was not used until the
Carolingian Renaissance The Carolingian Renaissance was the first of three medieval renaissances, a period of cultural activity in the Carolingian Empire The Carolingian Empire (800–888) was a large Franks, Frankish-dominated empire in western and central Europe dur ...
, when it was coined in imitation of the earlier
quadrivium In liberal arts education, the ''quadrivium'' (plural: quadrivia) consists of the four subjects or arts (arithmetic, geometry, music, and astronomy) taught after the trivium (education), ''trivium''. The word is Latin, meaning 'four ways', and its ...
. Grammar, logic, and rhetoric were essential to a classical education, as explained in
Plato Plato ( ; grc-gre, Πλάτων ; 428/427 or 424/423 – 348/347 BC) was an Classical Athens, Athenian philosopher during the Classical Greece, Classical period in Ancient Greece, founder of the Platonist school of thought and the Platoni ...

Plato
's dialogues. The three subjects together were denoted by the word ''trivium'' during the
Middle Ages In the history of Europe The history of Europe concerns itself with the discovery and collection, the study, organization and presentation and the interpretation of past events and affairs of the people of Europe since the beginning of ...
, but the tradition of first learning those three subjects was established in
ancient Greece Ancient Greece ( el, Ἑλλάς, Hellás) was a civilization belonging to a period of History of Greece, Greek history from the Greek Dark Ages of the 12th–9th centuries BC to the end of Classical Antiquity, antiquity ( AD 600). This era wa ...
. Contemporary iterations have taken various forms, including those found in certain British and American universities (some being part of the
Classical education movement The "classical education movement" is a form of education that emphasizes history, literature and language studies within a modern school framework. The term "classical education" has been used in Western culture for several centuries, with ea ...
) and at the independent
Oundle School Oundle School is a public school (United Kingdom), public school (English Independent school (United Kingdom), independent Day school, day and boarding school) for pupils 11–18 situated in the market town of Oundle in Northamptonshire, England ...
in the
United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,Usage is mixed. The Guardian' and Telegraph' use Britain as a synonym for the United Kingdom. Some prefer to use Britain as shorth ...

United Kingdom
.


Etymology

Etymologically, the Latin word trivium means "the place where three roads meet" (tri + via); hence, the subjects of the trivium are the foundation for the
quadrivium In liberal arts education, the ''quadrivium'' (plural: quadrivia) consists of the four subjects or arts (arithmetic, geometry, music, and astronomy) taught after the trivium (education), ''trivium''. The word is Latin, meaning 'four ways', and its ...
, the upper division of the
medieval In the history of Europe The history of Europe concerns itself with the discovery and collection, the study, organization and presentation and the interpretation of past events and affairs of the people of Europe since the beginning of ...
education in the
liberal arts Liberal arts education (from Latin "free" and "art or principled practice") is the traditional academic program in Western higher education. ''Liberal arts'' takes the term ''Art (skill), art'' in the sense of a learned skill rather than spec ...
, which consists of
arithmetic Arithmetic (from the Ancient Greek, Greek wikt:en:ἀριθμός#Ancient Greek, ἀριθμός ''arithmos'', 'number' and wikt:en:τική#Ancient Greek, τική wikt:en:τέχνη#Ancient Greek, έχνη ''tiké échne', 'art' or 'cr ...
(numbers as abstract concepts),
geometry Geometry (from the grc, γεωμετρία; ' "earth", ' "measurement") is, with , one of the oldest branches of . It is concerned with properties of space that are related with distance, shape, size, and relative position of figures. A mat ...

geometry
(numbers in space),
music Music is the of arranging s in time through the of melody, harmony, rhythm, and timbre. It is one of the aspects of all human societies. General include common elements such as (which governs and ), (and its associated concepts , , and ...

music
(numbers in time), and
astronomy Astronomy (from el, ἀστρονομία, literally meaning the science that studies the laws of the stars) is a natural science that studies astronomical object, celestial objects and celestial event, phenomena. It uses mathematics, phys ...
(numbers in space and time). Educationally, the trivium and the quadrivium imparted to the student the seven liberal arts of
classical antiquity Classical antiquity (also the classical era, classical period or classical age) is the period of cultural history History (from Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, ...
.


Description

Grammar In linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language, meaning that it is a comprehensive, systematic, objective, and precise study of language. Linguistics encompasses the analysis of every aspect of language, as well as the ...
teaches the mechanics of language to the student. This is the step where the student "comes to terms," defining the objects and information perceived by the five senses. Hence, the
Law of Identity In logic Logic (from Ancient Greek, Greek: grc, wikt:λογική, λογική, label=none, lit=possessed of reason, intellectual, dialectical, argumentative, translit=logikḗ)Also related to (''logos''), "word, thought, idea, argument, ...
: ''a tree is a tree, and not a cat''.
Logic Logic is an interdisciplinary field which studies truth and reasoning. Informal logic seeks to characterize Validity (logic), valid arguments informally, for instance by listing varieties of fallacies. Formal logic represents statements and ar ...

Logic
(also
dialectic Dialectic or dialectics ( grc-gre, διαλεκτική, ''dialektikḗ''; related to dialogue Dialogue (sometimes spelled dialog in American English American English (AmE, AE, AmEng, USEng, en-US), sometimes called United States Engli ...
) is the "mechanics" of
thought In their most common sense, the terms thought and thinking refer to conscious cognitive processes that can happen independently of sensory stimulation. Their most paradigmatic forms are judging, reasoning, concept formation, problem solving, an ...

thought
and of
analysis Analysis is the process of breaking a complex topic or substance Substance may refer to: * Substance (Jainism), a term in Jain ontology to denote the base or owner of attributes * Chemical substance, a material with a definite chemical composit ...

analysis
, the process of composing sound arguments and identifying fallacious arguments and statements and so systematically removing contradictions, thereby producing factual knowledge that can be trusted.
Rhetoric Rhetoric () is the Art (skill), art of persuasion, which along with grammar and logic (or dialectic – see Martianus Capella), is one of the Trivium, three ancient arts of discourse. Rhetoric aims to study the techniques writers or sp ...
is the application of language in order to instruct and to persuade the listener and the reader. It is the knowledge (grammar) now understood (logic) and being transmitted outwards as wisdom (rhetoric).
Aristotle Aristotle (; grc-gre, Ἀριστοτέλης ''Aristotélēs'', ; 384–322 BC) was a Greek philosopher A philosopher is someone who practices philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questio ...

Aristotle
defined Rhetoric as, "the power of perceiving in every thing that which is capable of producing persuasion."
Sister Miriam Joseph Sister Miriam Joseph Rauh, C.S.C., PhD A Doctor of Philosophy (PhD, Ph.D., or DPhil; Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally sp ...
, in ''The Trivium: The Liberal Arts of Logic, Grammar, and Rhetoric'' (2002), described the trivium as follows:
Grammar is the art of inventing symbols and combining them to express thought; logic is the art of thinking; and rhetoric is the art of communicating thought from one mind to another, the adaptation of language to circumstance. . . . Grammar is concerned with the thing as-it-is-symbolized. Logic is concerned with the thing as-it-is-known. Rhetoric is concerned with the thing as-it-is-communicated.
John Ayto wrote in the ''Dictionary of Word Origins'' (1990) that study of the trivium (grammar, logic, and rhetoric) was requisite preparation for study of the quadrivium (arithmetic, geometry, music, and astronomy). For the medieval student, the trivium was the curricular beginning of the acquisition of the seven
liberal arts Liberal arts education (from Latin "free" and "art or principled practice") is the traditional academic program in Western higher education. ''Liberal arts'' takes the term ''Art (skill), art'' in the sense of a learned skill rather than spec ...
; as such, it was the principal undergraduate course of study. The word '' trivial'' arose from the contrast between the simpler trivium and the more difficult quadrivium.


See also

*
Classical education movement The "classical education movement" is a form of education that emphasizes history, literature and language studies within a modern school framework. The term "classical education" has been used in Western culture for several centuries, with ea ...
*
Quadrivium In liberal arts education, the ''quadrivium'' (plural: quadrivia) consists of the four subjects or arts (arithmetic, geometry, music, and astronomy) taught after the trivium (education), ''trivium''. The word is Latin, meaning 'four ways', and its ...
*
The three Rs The three Rs (as in the letter ''R'') are three basic skills taught in schools: Reading (process), reading, Writing, writing and arithmetic, arithmetic (usually said as "reading, writing, and 'rithmetic"). The phrase appears to have been coined a ...


References


Further reading

* McLuhan, Marshall (2006). ''The Classical Trivium: The Place of
Thomas Nashe Thomas Nashe (baptised November 1567 – c. 1601; also Nash) was an Elizabethan playwright, poet, Satire, satirist and a significant pamphleteer. He is known for his novel ''The Unfortunate Traveller'', his pamphlets including ''Pierce Pennile ...
in the Learning of His Time''. (McLuhan's 1942 doctoral dissertation.) Gingko Press. . * Michell, John, Rachel Holley, Earl Fontainelle, Adina Arvatu, Andrew Aberdein, Octavia Wynne, and Gregory Beabout. "Trivium: The Classical Liberal Arts of Grammar, Logic, & Rhetoric. New York: Bloomsbury, 2016. Print. Wooden Books". * Robinson, Martin (2013). ''Trivium 21c: Preparing Young People for the Future with Lessons from the Past''. London: Independent Thinking Press. . * (1947)
"The Lost Tools of Learning"
Essay presented at Oxford University. * Winterer, Caroline (2002). ''The Culture of Classicism: Ancient Greece and Rome in American Intellectual Life, 1780–1910''. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. {{DEFAULTSORT:Trivium (Education) Cultural lists Philosophy of education History of education Alternative education Medieval European education Liberal arts education es:Artes liberales#Las siete artes: Trivium et Quadrivium he:בוגר אוניברסיטה#מקור השם