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Trivium and Quadrivium

During the medieval period, the seven liberal arts were divided into three verbal arts, or trivium, and four mathematical arts, called the quadrivium. The trivium is comprised of grammar, rhetoric, and dialectic, and the quadrivium consists of arithmetic, music, geometry, and astronomy. The trivium and quadrivium represent the historic evolution of the classical education of ancient Greece and Rome, as well as laying the groundwork for the birth of academe. Traditionally, a mnemonic has been used to introduce the subjects of the trivium and quadrivium: Grammar speaks, dialectic teaches truth, rhetoric adorns words, music sings, arithmetic counts, geometry measures, and astronomy studies stars.

The quadrivium has roots in ancient Greece among the Pythagoreans, whose belief that number is an ordering principle of the universe led ...

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