What does quadrivium mean?

Definitions for quadrivium
kwɒˈdrɪv i əm; kwɒˈdrɪv i əquadriv·i·um

This dictionary definitions page includes all the possible meanings, example usage and translations of the word quadrivium.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. quadriviumnoun

    (Middle Ages) a higher division of the curriculum in a medieval university involving arithmetic and music and geometry and astronomy


  1. quadriviumnoun

    The higher division of the seven liberal arts in the Middle Ages, composed of geometry, astronomy, arithmetic, and music.

  2. Etymology: From quadrivium, from quattuor + via.


  1. Quadrivium

    From the time of Plato through the Middle Ages, the quadrivium (plural: quadrivia) was a grouping of four subjects or arts—arithmetic, geometry, music, and astronomy—that formed a second curricular stage following preparatory work in the trivium, consisting of grammar, logic, and rhetoric. Together, the trivium and the quadrivium comprised the seven liberal arts, and formed the basis of a liberal arts education in Western society until gradually displaced as a curricular structure by the studia humanitas and its later offshoots, beginning with Petrarch in the 14th century. The seven classical arts were considered "thinking skills" and were distinguished from practical arts, such as medicine and architecture. The quadrivium, Latin for 'four ways', and its use for the four subjects have been attributed to Boethius—who likely coined the term. It was considered the foundation for the study of philosophy (sometimes called the "liberal art par excellence") and theology. The quadrivium was the upper division of the medieval education in the liberal arts, which comprised arithmetic (number in the abstract), geometry (number in space), music (number in time), and astronomy (number in space and time). Educationally, the trivium and the quadrivium imparted to the student the seven essential thinking skills of classical antiquity. Altogether the Seven Liberal Arts belonged to the so-called 'Low Faculty' (of Arts), whereas Medicine, Jurisprudence (Law), and Theology were established in the three so-called 'High' faculties. Thereby it was quite common in the middle ages that the lecturers in the Low Faculty (for trivium and/or quadrivium) to be students themselves in one of the High faculties. Philosophy was typically not a subject (nor faculty) in its own right, but was rather present implicitly as an 'auxiliary tool' within the discourses of the High faculties (especially theology); the complete emancipation of philosophy from theology happened only after the Medieval era.Displacement of the quadrivium by other curricular approaches from the time of Petrarch gained momentum with the subsequent Renaissance emphasis on what became the modern humanities, one of four liberal arts of the modern era, alongside natural science (where much of the actual subject matter of the original quadrivium now resides), social science, and the arts; though it may appear that music in the quadrivium would be a modern branch of performing arts, it was then an abstract system of proportions that was carefully studied at a distance from actual musical practice, and effectively a branch of music theory more tightly bound to arithmetic than to musical expression.


  1. quadrivium

    The quadrivium is the four subjects or arts - arithmetic, geometry, astronomy, and music theory - taught in the classical education curriculum during the Middle Ages, following the foundational subjects of the trivium. These were considered essential areas of study to develop a deeper understanding of both the physical and the spiritual world.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Quadriviumnoun

    the four "liberal arts," arithmetic, music, geometry, and astronomy; -- so called by the schoolmen. See Trivium

  2. Etymology: [L.]


  1. Quadrivium

    The quadrivium comprised the four subjects, or arts, taught in the Renaissance Period, after teaching the trivium. The word is Latin, meaning "the four ways", and its use for the four subjects has been attributed to Boethius or Cassiodorus in the 6th century. Together, the trivium and the quadrivium comprised the seven liberal arts, as opposed to the practical arts. The quadrivium consisted of arithmetic, geometry, music, and astronomy. These followed the preparatory work of the trivium made up of grammar, logic, and rhetoric. In turn, the quadrivium was considered preparatory work for the serious study of philosophy and theology. The word "trivia" has been rarely used to refer to the trivium.

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Quadrivium

    kwod-riv′i-um, n. the Pythagorean name for the four branches of mathematics—arithmetic, music, geometry, astronomy—when preceded by the trivium of grammar, logic, and rhetoric—together making up the seven liberal arts taught in the schools of the Roman Empire.—adjs. Quadriv′ial, Quadriv′ious. [L., 'the place where four roads meet'—L. quatuor, four, via, a way.]

Suggested Resources

  1. quadrivium

    Song lyrics by quadrivium -- Explore a large variety of song lyrics performed by quadrivium on the Lyrics.com website.

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How to say quadrivium in sign language?


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of quadrivium in Chaldean Numerology is: 5

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of quadrivium in Pythagorean Numerology is: 9


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"quadrivium." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2024. Web. 24 May 2024. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/quadrivium>.

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