In medieval universities
, the trivium
comprised the three subjects taught first: grammar
, and rhetoric
. The word is a Latin
term meaning “the three ways” or “the three roads” forming the foundation of a medieval liberal arts
education. This study was preparatory for the quadrivium
; both developed by Martianus Capella
, a pagan
writer of Late Antiquity
is the mechanics of a language; logic
) is the "mechanics" of thought
is the use of language to instruct and persuade. Sister Miriam Joseph
described the three parts of the Trivium as:
Logic is the art of thinking; grammar, the art of inventing symbols and combining them to express thought; and rhetoric, the art of communicating thought from one mind to another, the adaptation of language to circumstance.
Another description is:
Logic is concerned with the thing as-it-is-known,
Grammar is concerned with the thing-as-it-is-symbolized, and
Rhetoric is concerned with the thing-as-it-is-communicated.
The study of logic, grammar and rhetoric was considered preparatory for the quadrivium, which was made up of arithmetic
, and astronomy
. The trivium was the beginning of the liberal arts
. At many medieval universities
this would have been the principal undergraduate course.
- Joseph, Sister Miriam. The Trivium: The Liberal Arts of Logic, Grammar, and Rhetoric. Paul Dry Books Inc, 2002.
- Winterer, Caroline. "The Culture of Classicism: Ancient Greece and Rome in American Intellectual Life, 1780-1910." Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2002.
- Dorothy L. Sayers, essay, " The Lost Tools of Learning", presented at Oxford, 1947.
- McLuhan, Marshall (2006) The Classical Trivium: The Place of Thomas Nashe in the Learning of His Time (first publication of McLuhan's 1942 doctoral dissertation); Gingko Press ISBN 1-58423-067-3.