Mother of Universities
The University was a Medieval Guild, Born of the Church
Eystein leaned over the side of the ship, his flax-light hair tousled in the breeze. He was steady on his feet as the waves rolled, a true lad of Norway, at home on the water. Eystein had often rowed from his father's farm at the head of the fjord, down to the busy town of Nidaros, the seat of the archbishop. Now he could see the single spire of Saint Olav's Church receding in the distance, and it wrung his heart with love. "Eystein," said the bishop, "when you go to Paris, our Nidaros will seem little more than a summer hamlet for hunters and shepherds." Eystein had no idea how that could be true.
So here he was, aboard a ship bound for France. He carried a letter of introduction to the prior of one of the most famous schools in the world, at the Abbey Saint-Victor. Eystein spoke no French. That was all right, though. The late prior of Saint-Victor, the brilliant philosopher Hugh, was a Saxon. Eystein had heard tell of a mystical theologian there named Richard, from Scotland.…
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