Learning in the Renaissance
Because communal schools were not available everywhere and also sometimes charged higher fees, monasteries provided most of the elementary and intermediary schooling. Up to the 15th century texts for the elementary learning classes were almost exclusively in Latin. Immediately after the very basic learning skills of spelling and reading, young students moved on to reading classical and religious texts. As there were only a few compendia used as school texts, pupils were soon involved with classical authors such as Ovid and Vergil, or saints’ legends from the religious side. Thereafter they would move to a more advanced level, which would comprise – both for monastic school or university - scholastic literature based on Aristotle and his commentators, bible studies and related commentaries, and patristic texts written by the church fathers. At the university the Greek philosopher Aristotle and his system of universal knowledge (leading to the manifold medieval commentaries and encyclopaedias) would be of the utmost importance, while in the monastic school likewise biblical studies and commentaries and patristic authors were central to the agenda. Although the monastery took pupils in the hope of prepare them for an ecclesiastical vocation, not all of them took this road and many ended in secular professions. The Badia library held hardly any books for elementary education, but had a comprehensive selection of texts for the advanced level.