Brother Azarias in his Essays Educational, [Footnote 43] said:

“In the thirteenth century, out of a population of 90,000 in Florence, we find 12,000 children attending the schools, a ratio of school attendance as large as existed in New York City, in the year of Grace 1893.”

This ratio, it may be said, is as great as is ordinarily to be found anywhere, and this fact alone may serve to show how earnest were these medieval burghers for the education of their children. […]

Kropotkin says:

“In 1336 it (Florence) had 8,000 to 10,000 boys and girls in its primary schools, 1,000 to 1,200 boys in its seven middle schools, and from 550 to 600 students in its four universities. The thirty communal hospitals contained over 1,000 beds for a population of 90,000 inhabitants. (Capponi, ii. 249 seq.) It has more than once been suggested by authoritative writers, that education stood, as a rule, at a much higher level than is generally supposed. Certainly so in democratic Nüremberg…Seven hundred young men received the higher education…The very spirit of the arts was scholastic in Dante’s day. You read the story in the oratory of Orsanmichele, in which each art with its masterpiece receives a crown; you read it in the chapters of Santa Maria Novella, in Gaddi’s painting of the Trivium and Quadrivium; you read it in Giotto’s sculpture of the same subject upon this marvelous campanile. Here was the atmosphere in which Dante’s boyhood and early manhood were passed.”

James J. Walsh, The Popes and Science (1908)

[Footnote 43: Essays Educational, by Brother Azarias, with Preface by His Eminence Cardinal Gibbons. Chicago, D. H. McBride & Co., 1906.]

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