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Youmans, Dr Edward Livingstone - Mental Discipline in Education – The number seven



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Mental Discipline in Education – Edward Livingstone Youmans

The predominant culture of modern times had its origin, more than eight hundred years ago, in the middle ages.

A mystical reverence was attached to the sacred number seven which was supposed to be a key to the order of the universe.

That there were seven cardinal virtues, seven deadly sins, seven sacraments, seven days in the week, seven metals, seven planets, and seven apertures in a man's head, was believed to afford sufficient reason for making the course of liberal study consist of seven arts, and occupy seven years. Following another fancy about the relation of three to four, in a certain geometrical figure, these seven arts were divided into two groups.

The first three, Grammar, Logic, and Rhetoric, comprised what was called the Trivium ; and the remaining four Arithmetic, Geometry, Astronomy/astrology, and Music (the latter as a branch of Arithmetic), formed the Quadrivium. This scheme has been handed down from age to age, and with but slight changes, still predominates in the higher institutions of learning.

The source of the experience

Youmans, Dr Edward Livingstone

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