The Quadrivium Project

**Introduction
**In the sixth century A.D., the Roman Senator and philosopher Marcus Boethius
wrote a series of handbooks designed to be an introduction to the seven liberal
arts, the arts which a

Except for geometry and logic, none of these were used in quite the same way they are used today. A brief overview of the seven liberal arts:

- Grammar was specifically
*Latin*grammar. - Rhetoric, like grammar, was specifically the ability to write in
*Latin*. - Logic consisted primarily of what was found in Aristotle.
- Arithmetic was the study of
*number*and its properties; it is more closely related to number theory than to computational mathematics. - Geometry was Euclidean geometry, though in some circles, it also included
geography (see Martianus Capella's
*The Marriage of Philology and Mercury*, where the seven liberal arts are personified and their wedding gift to the couple is a didactic poem on their particular art: geometry gives some familiar geometrical ideas, but also categorizes the geography of the Mediterranean world). If arithmetic was the study of number, geometry was the study of magnitude. - Music was actually music theory; it was considered "arithmetic in motion" (as the most characteristic component was the discussion of euphonic ratios).
- Astronomy was Ptolemaic astronomy; it was considered "geometry in motion".

Very roughly speaking, we might consider the trivium as the subjects you would get from a good, high school education, while the quadrivium were the subjects that were part of a typical four year degree. After that, you would go to a professional school in which you would study theology, medicine or law.

It is reasonable to ask what the study of mathematics has to do with theology,
medicine, or law. It is easiest to answer this question with respect to medicine
and (to some degree) with law, and there is a simple answer: astrology. There
was something called *judicial astrology* (which I don't yet have much
information on).

For physicians, they believed that the health of the patient was *influenced*
by the positions of the planets: hence our word *influenza* (and ultimately,
*flu*). A patient might, depending on the positions of the planets, have
a *mercurial* or *jovial* or *saturnine* temperament, or be subject
to fits of *lunacy*.

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