University of Constantinople
Like most early Universities, it had been an academic institution for many years before it was recognised as a
University. The original institution was founded in the 5th century by the emperor Theodosius II.
The University included the Schools of
Medicine, Philosophyand Law.
At the time various economic schools, colleges, polytechnics, libraries and fine arts academies were also open in the city, making Constantinople the spiritual centre of the
Byzantine society was educated by the standards of its time with high levels of literacy comparative to the rest of the world. Significantly it possessed a secular education system that was a continuation of the academies of classical antiquity. Primary education was widely available, even at village level and uniquely in that society for both sexes. It was in this context that the secular University of Constantinople can be understood. Further it was not unique in the empire as for many centuries, before the Muslim conquest, similar institutions operated in such major provincial as Antioch and Alexandria. [Europe: A Cultural History, by Peter Rietbergen 1998, p.101 ]
The original school was founded in
425by Emperor Theodosius IIwith 31 chairs for Law, Philosophy, Medicine, Arithmetic, Geometry, Astronomy, Music, Rhetoricand other subjects, 15 to Latinand 16 to Greek. The university existed until the 15th century. [ [http://www.myriobiblos.gr/texts/english/Constantelos_1.html Myriobiblos] ]
The main content of higher education for most students was rhetoric, philosophy and law with the aim of producing competent, and learned personnel to staff the bureaucratic postings of state and church. In this sense the University was the secular equivalent of the Theological Schools. The university maintained an active philosophical tradition of
Platonismand Aristotelism, with the former being the longest unbroken Platonic school, running for close to two millennia until the 15th century [ Encyclopedia Britannica, Higher Education in the Byzantine Empire, and Platonism ]
The School of Magnaura was founded in the 9th century and in the 11th new schools of philosophy and law were established at the Capitol School. The period of decline begun with the Latin conquest of
1204although the University survived as a non-secular institution under Church management until the Fall of Constantinople.
Notable Faculty at the University of Constantinople
Patriarch Photius I of Constantinopletaught Greek Philosophy.
* Saint Constantine-Cyril
Notable Alumni of the University of Constantinople
Simeon I of Bulgaria[ [http://www.bulgaria.com/history/rulers/simeon.html Bulgaria.com] ]
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