The Curriculum of Italian Elementary and Grammar Schools, 1350–1500

  • Robert Black
Part of the Archives Internationales d’Histoire des Idées / International Archives of the History of Ideas book series (ARCH, volume 124)


The curriculum of Italian elementary and grammar schools in the early Renaissance, i.e., from 1350 to 1500, has frequently been discussed; but like many other topics in Renaissance cultural and intellectual history, it has suffered from a division of labor. On the one hand there have been the students of humanism, who have considered the curriculum on the basis of humanist treatises and other humanist and medieval writings on education; their approach has been furthered by codicological specialists who have carefully studied individual manuscript textbooks and anthologies. On the other hand there are the archivists who have brought to light curriculum descriptions in their vast publications of educational documents from Italian communal archives.1 However, few attempts have been made to bridge the gap between these two approaches, and this reluctance to cross scholarly barriers has restricted efforts to reconstruct the elementary and grammar syllabus as a whole. A typical curriculum document found in an archive will tell what the various classes or forms were and what kind of teacher was in charge of them; textbooks are sometimes mentioned but usually only at the elementary level, so that one has little understanding of the curriculum of more advanced grammar study on the basis of archival documents alone. Exactly the opposite is true of the codicological evidence: it is easy to find examples of intermediate and advanced Latin grammars and anthologies of school authors but difficult or impossible to locate elementary readers.


Reading Text Private Tutor Fifteenth Century Fourteenth Century Italian Elementary 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Paul Grendler, Schooling in Renaissance Italy: Literacy and Learning, 1300–1600 (Baltimore, 1989), 111–271.Google Scholar
  2. 8.
    A. Zanelli, Del pubblico insegnamento in Pistoia dal XIV al XVI secolo (Rome, 1900), 61, note 91Google Scholar
  3. 8a.
    M. Battistini, “Taddeo da Pescia maestro di grammatica del sec. XV,” Bullettino storico pistoiese, 31 (1929), 92.Google Scholar
  4. 9.
    M. Battistini, Il pubblico insegnamento in Volterra dal secolo XIV al secolo XVIII (Volterra, 1919), 62.Google Scholar
  5. 10.
    A. Grafton and L. Jardine, From Humanism to the Humanities (Cambridge, Mass., 1986), xiii-xiv.Google Scholar
  6. 12.
    G. Manacorda, Storia della scuola in Italia, i: il medio evo, part 1, (Milan, Palermo and Naples, 1914) 180–183;Google Scholar
  7. 12a.
    F. Gabotto, La stato sabaudo, III (Turin, 1895), 274–276;Google Scholar
  8. 12b.
    V. Rossi, Dal rinascimento al risorgimento (Florence, 1930), 14–15;Google Scholar
  9. 12c.
    P. Barsanti, Il pubblico insegnamento in Lucca dal sec. XIV al sec. XVlll (Lucca, 1905), 115, 120;Google Scholar
  10. 13.
    Bernardo Machiavelli, Libro di Ricordi, ed. C. Olschki (Florence, 1954), 31, 45, 103, 138.Google Scholar
  11. 15.
    S. Debenedetti, “Sui più antichi ‘doctores puerorum‘ a Firenze,”Studi medievali, 2 (1906–1907), 327–351.Google Scholar
  12. 22.
    Piero Lucchi, “La santacroce, il salterio e il babuino: libri per imparare a leggere nel primo secolo della stampa,” Quaderni storici, 38 (1978), 599Google Scholar
  13. 28.
    G. Bologna, Libri per una educazione rinascimentale. Grammatica del Donato Liber lesus (Milan, 1980)Google Scholar
  14. 38.
    R. Sabbadini, La scuola e gli studi di Guarino Garini Veronese Catania, 1896), 42ff.Google Scholar
  15. 39.
    P. Grendler, “The Teaching of Latin in Sixteenth-Century Venetian School,” in Acta conventus neo-latini bononensis. Proceedings of the Fourth International Congress of Neo-Latin Studies, ed. R. J. Schoeck (Binghamton, N. Y., 1985), 262.Google Scholar
  16. 54.
    Ch. Klapisch-Zuber, “Le chiavi fiorentine di barbablù: l’apprendimento della lettura a Firenze nel XV secolo,” Quaderni storici, 57 (1984), 767.Google Scholar
  17. 57.
    L. Colini-Baldeschi, “L’insegnamento pubblico a Macerata nel trecento e quattrocento,” Rivista delle biblioteche e degli archivi, 11 (1900), 23.Google Scholar
  18. 62.
    N. Tommaseo and B. Bellini,Nuovo dizionario della lingua italiana (Turin, 1872–75), IV 1,794.Google Scholar
  19. 65.
    Guarino, Grammaticales regulae, Venice, 1475Google Scholar
  20. 65a.
    C. Marchesi, “Due grammatici latini del medio evo,” Bulletino della Società filologica romana, xii (1910), 37–56,Google Scholar
  21. 69.
    W. Keith Percival, “The Place of the Rudimenta grammatices in the History of Latin Grammar,” Respublica litterarum, 4 (1981), 234–235Google Scholar
  22. 74.
    Rino Avesani, Quattro miscellanee medioevali e umanistiche: contributo alia tradizione del Geta, degli Auetores Octo, dei Libri Minores e di altra letteratura scolastica mediovale (Rome, 1967), 21Google Scholar
  23. 74a.
    E. Garin, Il pensiero pedagogico dello umanesimo (Florence, 1958), 92.Google Scholar
  24. 95.
    W. Keith Percival, “The Historical Sources of Guarino’s Regulae Grammaticales: a Reconsideration of Sabbadini’s Evidence,” in Civiltà deVumanesimo, ed. G. Tarugi (Florence, 1972), 263–284.Google Scholar
  25. 98.
    S. A. Hurlbut, “A Forerunner of Alexander de Villa-Dei,” Speculum, 8 (1933), 261–262)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. 103.
    O. Bacci, “Maestri di grammatica in Valdelsa nel secolo XIV,” Miscellanea storica della Valdelsa, III (1985), 89.Google Scholar
  27. 107.
    M. Morici, “Giambattista Valentini detto il Cantalicio a San Gimignano,” Miscellanea storica della Valdelsa, 13 (1905), 38.Google Scholar
  28. 121.
    P. O. Kristeller, Renaissance Thought and its Sources, (New York, 1979), 232, 238–239.Google Scholar
  29. 130.
    Lapo Mazzei, Lettere di un notaro a un mercante del secolo XIV, ed. C. Guasti (Florence, 1880), II 13; Morelli, 271.Google Scholar
  30. 132.
    Letizia A. Panizza, “Gasparino Barzizza’s commentaries on Seneca’s letters,” Traditio, 33 (1977), 297–358.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robert Black

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations