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Here you will see many depictions of the liberal arts as women.

Most of these types of pictures come from a book written in the 5th century ad. In this book the author describes the arts as women who have famous philosophers as their companions. In the middle of the circle are the philosophers socrates and plato. On the outside of the circle are the poets and magicians of thw world. In the smaller circles are the seven liberal arts.

Liberal arts refers to the subjects which in classical antiquity were essential for a free citizen to study. At first grammar, rhetoric, and logic were the subjects taught in school. These subjects were called the trivium. Later in medieval times these subjects were extended to include mathmatics, geometry, music, and astronomy. This second set of subjects was called the quadruvium. Together the whole group of subjects made up the curriculum in medieval universities. Contrary to popular belief, freeborn girls were just as likely to recieve formal education as boys during the roman empire. much of the liberal arts and roman educational system comes directly from the "enkuklios paideia- education in a circle" of late classical greece. In modern times, liberal arts generally refers to a college program in which a student studies both scientific subjects like biology as well as humanistic subjects such as literature. Many universities today offer degrees in the liberal arts.

Rhetoric is the study of using language in public speaking or writing. it focuses on using language to either persuade people or to help them understand and believe a speech. The word comes from the greek word "rema-a thing said" and is related to the latin root "or-" where the word orator comes from. Grammar is the study of the correct use of language. The word grammar comes from the greek word for letter which in turn comes from the root word "graph-". IN many pictures Grammar is depicted holding a book, perhaps the first grammar text book called the "ars donatus" and a whip to encourage or to threaten her students.

Logic is the study of reasoning. It comes from the greek word "logos-word/ reason". it exams the forms which arguments may take and was established by aristotle who also taught alexander the great. artithmetic is the study of numbers. The term comes from the greek word "arithmos" which means "numbers". It is the oldest and simplest branch of mathematics. Arithmetic is often pictured with a counting device such as an abacus or a rope with many knots in it. She is also often pictured with pythagoras. Pythagoras was an ancient greek mathematician who invented, among many things, the pythagorean theorem. Music is the study of melody. The term music comes from the latin word "muse." For the ancients, poets and philosophers were inspired by goddesses called muses. Music is often drawn playing a musical instrument, most often it is a stringed instrument because these instruments use ratios and proportions to change their pitch. She is sometimes accompanied by pythagoras, who was in antiquity, often thought to be the inventor of music. Students did not always learn to play music using modern notation. The musical notation that we use today first appeared in the 9th century, and even then the notes did not have staffs. Geometry is the study of spaces. The term comes from the greek words "gaia- earth" and "metr- to measure." Geometry is usually depicted carrying measuring instruments with a man named archimedes. One problem that ancient geometrists always talked about was how to make a square that had the same area as a circle. although they often talked about it, the problem remained unsolved until in the 19th century. The use or geometry originated with the egyptians who used it to construct the pyramids. However, it was a greek man named thales who was the first to use this knowledge abstractly. Another important geometrist is pythagoras who created the pythagorean theorem. Astronomy is the study of the stars it comes from the greek words "Astron- star and nomos- law". Since the earliest astronomers lacked complex optics, most of their word involved predicting the movements of the planets and stars. Astronomy was radically different up until the 15oo's. Many beliefs about the stars were made on the idea that the earth was the center of the universe and that it did not rotate. even stranger were theories that the stars were holes in the sky that fire shined through or that each planet emitted a musical pitch while traveling on its orbit. All the pitches came together to form a heavenly song that only philosophers had the slighest chance of hearing.