The renaissance in mathematical learning during the Middle Ages was largely due to three factors: the translation of Arabic classical texts into Latin during the 12th and 13th centuries, the establishment of the earliest European universities, and the invention of printing. The first of these made the works of Euclid, Archimedes and other Greek writers available to scholars, the second enabled groups of like-minded people to meet and discourse on matters of common interest, and the last enabled scholarly works to be available at modest cost to the general populace.
The first European university was founded in Bologna in 1088, and Paris and Oxford followed shortly after. The curriculum was in two parts. The first part, studied by those aspiring to a Bachelor’s degree, was based on the ancient ‘trivium’ of grammar, rhetoric and logic. The second part, leading to a Master’s degree, was based on the quadrivium, the Greek mathematical arts of arithmetic, geometry, astronomy and music, as shown on the Netherlands Antilles stamps; the works studied would have included Euclid’s Elements and Ptolemy’s Almagest.
[Germany 1957; Guyana 1999; Italy 1988; Netherland Antilles 1966]