The Intellectual Infrastructures and Networks at Paris in 12th and in early 13th centuries

The Intellectual Infrastructures and Networks at Paris in 12th and in early 13th centuries

By Hee-Man Lee

Paper given at The Communications and Networks of Medieval Cities in the West: The Sixth Japanese-Korean Symposium on Medieval History of Europe – held at Keio Gijyuku University (2007)

Introduction: Although it was the capital of Capetian dynasty, Paris was not prominent in the field of education in contrast to Chartres, Loan and Bologna in 11th century. However, since 12th century Paris grew steadily as an academic city. Of course, it coincided with the development of feudal monarchy in France. Under the reign of king Louis VII(1137-80) and Philip Augustus(1180-1223), the position of Paris as capital had been consolidated, and under the reign of king Philip Augustus its socioeconomic function reinforced. In addition, the educational policy of the Capetian dynasty, one studium generale, served to increase the prominence of Paris as an academic center for liberal arts and theology.

It is true that until now the scholarship on the rise of Paris as an educational center has been generally done in the political and institutional views. The grow of Paris derived from the facts that King Louis VII supported politically Paris in becoming the capital of administration and the Papacy gave the schools at Paris several rights. Of course, these elements were related to the promotion of Paris as an intellectual center. The problem of the growth of Paris as an educational center was not irrelevant to that of the origins of the University of Paris in the 12th and 13th centuries. The classical research of the origins and the development of the University of Paris was done by H. Denifle and summed up by H. Rashdall. Rashdall put emphasis on the continuity from the cathedral school of Notre Dame to the university.

On the other hand, Ferruolo approaches this topic with a different view from the traditional one that the development of Paris as a center for knowledge had attributed to the status of capital, the political and economic support of Capetian dynasty, and the grant of the rights by the Papacy. Ferruolo points out that moralists like St. Bernard of Clairvaux, Jacques de Vitry also contributed to the birth of the University of Paris by increasing the ethical consciousness of teachers and students with respect to education.

It seems that the debate over the rise of Paris as a higher educational center is closely tied to the formation or the origins of the University of Paris. Considering such scholarship, this paper aims to know how Paris rose as an academic center, focusing upon the intellectual infrastructures and networks of Paris in 12th and early 13th centuries. I limited the period like this, because Paris had steadily the prominence of education over the rival cities in the 12th century and the nations, the guild of masters and important networks also, were given birth to in the early 13th century.

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