Our academic program is centered around the 7 Liberal Arts. The Seven Liberal Arts are further broken down into two sections: the Trivium and the Quadrivium. The first two years of each student’s academic training is focused on these Seven Liberal Arts.
The Seven Liberal Arts consist of the Latin Grammar, Logic, Rhetoric, Number Theory, Euclidean Geometry, Music Theory, & Astronomy. These Seven Liberal Arts or further broken down into two categories called the Trivium and the Quadrivium. These two categories provide the foundation for all learning throughout one’s life.
The Trivium consists of Latin Grammar, Logic, and Rhetoric.
Grammar teaches the mechanics of language and defines the objects and information perceived by the five senses.
Logic (also dialectic) is the study of right and wrong thinking and how we may use correct thinking to further our understanding of the world around us.
Rhetoric focuses on the use of language as it is used to instruct and to persuade.
Sister Miriam Joseph thus described the Trivium in The Trivium: The Liberal Arts of Logic, Grammar, and Rhetoric (2002):
Grammar is the art of inventing symbols and combining them to express thought; logic is the art of thinking; and rhetoric is the art of communicating thought from one mind to another; the adaptation of language to circumstance.
. . .
Grammar is concerned with the thing as-it-is-symbolized. Logic is concerned with the thing as-it-is-known. Rhetoric is concerned with the thing as-it-is-communicated.
The Quadrivium consists of Number Theory, Euclidean Geometry, Music Theory, and Astronomy.
The Pythagoreans considered all mathematical science to be divided into four parts: one half they marked off as concerned with quantity, the other half with magnitude; and each of these they posited as twofold. A quantity can be considered in regard to its character by itself or in its relation to another quantity, magnitudes as either stationary or in motion. Arithmetic, then, studies quantities as such, music the relations between quantities, geometry magnitude at rest, spherics [astronomy] magnitude inherently moving. – Proclus, A commentary on the first book of Euclid’s Elements, xii, trans. Glenn Raymond Morrow (Princeton: Princeton University Press) 1992, pp. 29-30.
Trivium and Quadrivium at Miskatonic
At Miskatonic the following courses are used to teach the Trivium and the Quadrivium.
Miskatonic University requires that all students take two full years of both Latin and Attic Greek along with Introduction to Logic and Classical Rhetoric. The required Study Skills course provides the foundation to begin the study of the Seven Liberal Arts. The purpose of this course is to make up for the lack of proper education many of us failed to receive in our schooling.
For the Quadrivium, all tracks, save Mathematics and Science, are required to take Number Theory, Euclidean Geometry, Music Theory, and Astronomy. The Mathematics and Science tracks are only required to take Music Theory.
All students are required to take the History of Western Civilization 1 & 2 along with the History of the western Canon 1 & 2.