Category Archives: Free Essays

Megasthenes Essay

In 324 b.c.e. Chandragupta Maurya unified northern India by defeating his rivals. He went on to war against the successor of Alexander the Great in Asia, Seleucus Nicator, expelling his forces from the borderlands of India. In 305 b.c.e. the two men concluded a treaty in which the Greeks withdrew from the Punjab in northwestern India and which fixed the western boundary of the Mauryan Empire to the crest of the Hindu Kush. There was also exchange of ambassadors, gifts, and a vague mention of a marriage alliance. Megasthenes was Seleucus’s representative at Chandragupta’s court. He wrote a detailed account of his observations while in India. Although the original was lost, parts have survived through extensive excerpting in the works of other ancient writers.

Megasthenes described Pataliputra, the Mauryan capital, as second in splendor only to Persepolis, capital of the former Persian Empire. It had a wooden city wall 9 miles long by 1.5 miles wide, which had 570 towers, 64 gates, and a 900-foot-wide moat. He wrote admiringly of Chandragupta as an energetic ruler who personally supervised affairs of state. The emperor lived in splendor in an enormous palace built of wood, but he also lived in fear of assassination, appearing only rarely in public, attired in a splendid purple and golden robe, and was either carried in a palanquin or rode on an elephant. He also described the administration of the capital city by six boards each with five men, in charge of crafts and industry, trade and commerce, tax collection, foreigners, collection of statistical information, and public works. Other information states that a quarter of the people’s produce was paid as taxes and that there were dues assessed on commerce. He described the Mauryan military as having infantry, cavalry, chariots, elephants, navy, and a commissariat. He also commented on the division of people into seven castes by occupation.

One passage on the people’s lives said: “They live happily enough, being simple in their manners, and frugal. They never drink wine except at sacrifice . . . The simplicity of their laws and their contracts is proved by the fact that they seldom go to law . . . Truth and virtue they hold alike in esteem . . . The greater part of the soil is under irrigation, and consequently bear two crops in the course of the year.” Some information Megasthenes provided was wrong, for instance his assertion that there was no slavery in India and that no famines occurred. Nevertheless, his writings on India are valuable because there are few Indian sources on actual life in the period, and his were the first extensive observations by a foreigner.


  1. Rapson, E. J., ed. The Cambridge History of India, Vol. 1, Ancient India. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1922;
  2. Sastri Nilakanta, K. A., ed. A Comprehensive History of India, Vol. 2, The Mauryas and Satavahanas, 325 B.C–A.D. 300. Bombay, India: Orient Longmans, 1957;
  3. Vassiliades, Demetrios Th. The Greeks in India, a Study in Philosophical Understanding. New Delhi, India: Munshram Manoharlal Publishers, 2000;

Woodcock, George. The Greeks in India. London: Faber and Faber, 1966.

Social Contract Essay

Social contract describes a broad set of philosophical theories that concern the legitimacy and preservation of extant governing institutions. While applicable to the entirety of the aforementioned theory, four books authored by Jean-Jacques Rousseau and collectively bearing the title of Social Contract are most commonly associated with the term. These books concern the balance between individual rights and social order imposed by a legitimate state authority. Rousseau asserts that humans are essentially self-interested and prone to short-term opportunistic behavior, which without limitations hinders the acquisition of stability and higher-order goals. To balance these immediate and long-term goals, Rousseau advocates governance by the “sovereign will” of the populace, with individual citizens free to engage actively in the process or freely emigrate. These views contributed significantly to 18th-century discourse, which typically held governance at two extremes: either the authoritative role of the monarchy or voluntary participation in small social collectives. Rousseau’s positions have helped to shape the contracts citizens form with their governments and the contracts they form with businesses or other associations governed by the “partial will” of their select members.


Theories of social contracts and the rights and obligations of a nation’s citizens have been a topic of discussion since first appearing in 4th-century-b.c.e. Greek writings. However, the increasing amounts of subjugation by foreign governments during the Renaissance catalyzed modern writings on contract theories. The writings of Thomas Hobbes (Leviathan, 1651) were among the first to articulate the need for a governance contract to counter the individualistic and destructive tendencies of humans when residing in a state of nature. Hobbes contended that the populace left to its own devices would remain in a vicious and barbarous state unless people agreed to forfeit rights and liberties in exchange for absolute rule that allows order and social civility. Rousseau differed from Hobbes in a series of discourses written in the 17th century in which he suggested that humans had within them the potential for goodness and thus the “sovereign will” of the populace should dictate governance systems.

The Social Contract (1762) is the work of Rousseau most associated with outlining the role of political institutions and the rights of the citizens. As mentioned previously, the crux of his writings builds off Hobbes’s earlier works and asserts that people must give up some rights to their government in exchange for social order and security. However, Rousseau’s insistence that humans must have their “sovereign will” exercised to legitimate a governing body marked a notable departure from Hobbes’s belief in rule by authoritarian monarchy. While differing greatly from Hobbes’s position Rousseau stops short of advocating a fully participative democracy. In fact, Rousseau advocates that the will of the populace be carried out by a government ruled by aristocrats because of their advanced education and intelligence and in doing so does actively challenge the appointment of royalty by God to govern. In sum, Rousseau does not advocate any specific system of government, but primarily contributes the suggestion that a legitimate government must express the general will of the people.

Reception And Influence

The publication of the Social Contract was fundamental to the paradigm shift away from monarch rule in the 18th century. Its theories influenced social reform in Europe (most notably the French Revolution [1789]), the formation of socialist thought, and the founding of the United States of America. In light of its success, the Social Contract has also received much criticism. Many critics argue that the concept of maintaining of government that consistently expresses the general will is only feasible in the abstract. That once one attempts to elucidate the mechanisms and inner workings of such a government, the difficulties overwhelm its practicality. Others point to the lack of true ability for citizens to emigrate and thus decline participation in the social contract as a shortcoming. Mark Hulliung highlights this last critique in his assertion that the Southerners’ inability to secede the Union and the resulting United States’ Civil War marked a turning point in the influence of social contract on American and Western thought.


In the last century, industrialization and the decline of available agrarian subsistence have brought the role of corporations into the social contract debate. As international boundaries and restrictions fall and the power, wealth, and social impact of corporations supersede many governments to which they were once dependent, citizens are now increasingly questioning the role of the “sovereign will” in directing corporate action. The businesses that Rousseau described as small and temporary collectives whose actions were easily directed by the “partial will” of their select and transient membership have been replaced by corporate forces now faced with managing the often-conflicted interests of investors, managers, employees, and direct and indirect stakeholders. The extant challenge for the social contract will be the balance of corporate profits, international competitiveness, and the continued expression of the “general will” in all things.


  1. Christopher Bertram, Routledge Philosophy Guidebook to Rousseau and the Social Contract (Routledge, 2004);
  2. John Douglas, “For-Profit Corporations in a Just Society: A Social Contract Argument Concerning the Rights and Responsibilities of Corporations,” Business Ethics Quarterly (v.18/2, 2008);
  3. Mark Hulliung, The Social Contract in America: From the Revolution to the Present Age (University Press of Kansas, 2007);
  4. Richard Marens, “Returning to Rawls: Social Contracting, Social Justice, and Transcending the Limitations of Locke,” Journal of Business Ethics (v.75/1, 2007);
  5. Jean-Jacques Rousseau, The Social Contract, the First and Second Discourses (Yale University Press, 2002);
  6. Jaime Saavedra and Mariano Tommasi, “Informality, the State and the Social Contract in Latin America,” International Labour Review (v.146/3–4, 2007);
  7. Brian Skyrms, Evolution of the Social Contract (Cambridge University Press, 1996);
  8. Christopher D. Wraight, Rousseau’s The Social Contract: A Reader’s Guide (Continuum, 2008).

Cults Essay

Cults, more appropriately called “new religious movements” in sociology, have emerged since the 1950s in the United States (and elsewhere) and have gathered much media attention. Many of these faiths provide religious alternatives to mainstream Protestantism, Roman Catholicism, and Judaism and are popular with young adults. New religions, such as the Unification Church (“the Moonies”), Scientology, Hare Krishna, and the People’s Temple, garner negative press and public antipathy for three primary reasons.

First, many people—especially family members of these young adults—are concerned about the nature of their conversion. Have they freely decided to convert, or has the cult pressured them to join? Worse, has the cult brainwashed these new members, robbing them of free will? With little information forthcoming, from the faith or the convert, family members often perceive that brainwashing has occurred. It seems impossible that their beloved has freely chosen such an odd faith, so the group must have done something nefarious. If or when family members are able to question these new recruits, they cannot articulate their new faith’s theology clearly, and the family members’ worries grow.

But conversion theories would predict such a problem. Although there is some debate, much sociological research on conversion states that adults convert not for theological reasons but because they have developed social bonds with members. Individuals who convert often meet the new faith at an emotionally perilous moment, such as a romantic breakup, the first year away at college, and so on. The new religion tends to envelope the person with hospitality (pejoratively, this was known as “love bombing”) and praise for seeking the correct path to spiritual enlightenment. Conversely, as these affective bonds grow with the new faith, ties to family and friends not involved in the new religion weaken. Families often feel isolated from their loved ones once they convert and wonder how much of the isolation is ordered by the new religious movement to hide them away from those who might talk them out of the faith. When families reunite, questioning about the conversion is often the topic of conversation, and new converts feel interrogated by those who claim to love them. They respond by further reducing contact, which only increases their families’ suspicions.

The second reason that cults are perceived as worrisome is the range of behaviors members pursue after they have been converted. Caught up in the fervor of saving the world, practitioners of new religious movements often engage in constant recruitment. Even worse, at least one new religion (the Children of God, now known as The Family) encourages female members to use their sexuality to convert wealthy men, a practice known as “flirty fishing.” Fundraising is viewed suspiciously by outsiders, especially practices such as selling flowers in airports. After some members of The Family left the group and went to the press, nearly all complained about exhausting schedules, wherein they would rise before dawn and not return home until late. Questions were raised by family members and in the press about where all the money had gone; was it financing extravagant lifestyles of the charismatic leaders?

Other behaviors that are perceived by outsiders as odd are dietary practices, such as vegetarianism (Hare Krishna); the use of chemicals/drugs (the Love Israel family’s ritual use of toluene); the practice of spiritual counseling using E-meters to become “clear” (e.g., Scientology); unfamiliar clothing norms and trance possession (e.g., Bhagwan Shree Rasjneesh); the belief in extraterrestrial life (e.g., Heaven’s Gate), and so on.

Even more serious allegations have been raised about some new religious movements. Children who grew up in the Children of God told of horrific physical and sexual abuse in the boarding schools used by the group. While never proven, allegations of child sexual abuse were among the reasons the government used to justify its 1993 raid against the Branch Davidians in Waco, Texas. Female ex-members of many movements have given accounts of being asked to sexually service leaders, in part to demonstrate their religious commitment. Undoubtedly physical and sexual abuse occurred in the People’s Temple, led by Jim Jones, especially during its time in Guyana. Perhaps the best-known examples of new religious movements using violence are Aum Shinrikyo’s 1995 attack on the Japanese subway system and the 1978 People’s Temple assassination of a U.S. congressman, Leo Ryan, followed by the murder-suicide of the nearly 1,000 members.

The third reason that cults are perceived as worrisome concerns if and how members are able to leave: Are they free to simply walk away? Or must families hire experts, called deprogrammers, to help members leave? In part, the debate over leaving these new religious movements mirrors the conversion debate. Those who feel that cult members freely choose to belong tend to believe that they are free to leave. Those who feel that the group has nefariously done something to the convert to facilitate joining the cult, naturally assume that the person will need intervention to leave. Initially, deprogrammings were often forcibly accomplished, by kidnapping the member and taking him or her to an undisclosed location prepared for the intervention. The deprogrammer, assistants, and the family engaged in emotional dialogue with the believer, until the member chose to leave (adherents to the brainwashing hypothesis tend to use the phrase “snapped out of the cult” to express what happened during the deprogramming). After some members of various cults, who had been kidnapped but managed to escape, sued the deprogrammers and their families for kidnapping, a “gentler” form of deprogramming, called “rational evaluation,” emerged.

One of the many misconceptions about the emergence of these so-called cults is that this was a unique time in U.S. history and that they burst forth, primarily in the post-Vietnam War era, as young adults struggled in the changed sociopolitical landscape. This claim, notwithstanding its popularity, is false. A careful examination of religious history has shown that new religious movements have long been a part of U.S. history, as any student of the First and Second Great Awakenings knows. While many movements arose, only to die off, others evolved into established religions, such as the Church of Latter-day Saints (the Mormons).


  1. Dawson, Lorne, ed. 1998. Cults in Context: Readings in the Study of New Religious Movements. Toronto, ON: Canadian Scholars Press.
  2. Lofland, John and Rodney Stark. 1965. “Becoming a World Saver: A Theory of Conversion to a Deviant Perspective.” American Sociological Review 30(6):862-75.
  3. Wilson, Bryan, ed. 1999. New Religious Movements. New York: Routledge.

Medieval Rome Essay

Medieval Rome lacked the structured government that was the norm in other Italian cities. The presence of the pope and the attending church bureaucracy meant a sometimes-uneasy relationship between the church and the state. What organized government that existed was centered on the senate. The number of senators fluctuated from as few as one to as many as 56. The length of a senatorial term was equally flexible. An 1188 treaty signed by Pope Clement III between the city of Rome and the papacy provided official papal recognition of the senate in exchange for senatorial allegiance to the pope. The pope also promised some financial support to the senate and aid in the maintenance of the city’s defensive walls. The papal signor appointed by the pope, who usually represented the interests of one or more Roman families, ruled Rome.

Rome was divided into a series of neighborhoods that were associated with a particular craft. These neighborhoods were also associated with noble families who dominated the area with their family-controlled towers. The towers were defensive structures where families would retreat during times of conflict. The 13th century in Rome was a period especially noted for the tower wars between prominent noble families as they fought for control of the city. Often these wars were an outcome of the rivalry between the Guelf, or papal party, and those who supported the Ghibelline, or Imperial party. Two of the most prominent families of this era were the Orsini (Guelf) and Colonna (Ghibelline) families.

Orsini family legend dates their arrival in Rome to 425. They claimed to be descended from a lost boy who was nursed by a bear; orso is the Italian word for “bear,” the symbol of the Orsini family. The Orsini’s claimed Pope Stephen II, Pope Paul I, St. Benedict, St. Scholastica, and the brothers S.S. John and Paul as part of their family lineage. In contrast the Colonna family did not subscribe to as ancient or colorful family legend regarding their origins. Records indicate the first individual to use the name of Colonna was Pietro de Colonna (1064– c. 1118), yet the origin of the name remains a mystery. Family lore draws some connection to the Italian word for column with the story that early in the 13th century, Cardinal Giovanni Colonna returned from the east with the very column used during the scourging of Christ and placed the column in the Santa Prassede.

Orsini dominance of Rome lasted from the middle of the 12th century until late in the 13th century. Family dominance of Rome, whether by the Orsini or Colonna, was typically won through membership in the college of cardinals or the papacy, which led to the granting of prosperous fiefs to other family members. The rise of the Colonna family to predominance and the beginning of a back-and-forth battle between the two families can be dated to the election of Nicholas IV (1288–92), a Colonna supporter, to the papacy.

The rise and fall of family fortunes were largely tied to control of the papacy and papal curia. The battle between the Orsini and Colonna families took a particularly vicious turn when the Colonna family supported the attack on Boniface VIII in September 1303 at Anagni, while the Orsini family continued their pro-Guelf tendencies and supported him. Boniface responded by destroying Colonna holdings in and around Rome. Fortunes were often in the balance even when the occupant of the papal throne was from neither family. The Orsini would attempt to enlist the support of the pope against their Colonna rivals, such as being granted the use of papal troops against the Colonna by Sixtus IV. The result of this aggressive pursuit of the papacy was 22 cardinals and three popes for the Orsini family between 1144 and 1562 versus 11 cardinals and one pope for the Colonna family. In the end both families were named as princes entitled to attend to the papal throne.

Yet the rivalry among noble families was not so intense that rivals removed one key tool for advancement from consideration—marriage. Saint Margherita Colonna (d. 1280) was the product of a Colonna-Orsini marriage. Lorenzo de’ Medici (Florence) and his son Piero both took Orsini wives. Family ties and rivalries dominated medieval Rome, her government, and her daily life.

Bibliography :

  1. Brentano, Robert. Rome Before Avignon. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1990;
  2. Cantor, Norman F. The Civilization of the Middle Ages. New York: Harper Collins, 1994;
  3. Carson, T. and J. Cerrito. New Catholic Encyclopedia. Detroit, MI: Thomson/Gale, 2003.

Smuggling Essay

Smuggling is the importation or exportation of goods in a manner contradicting national or international laws. The last decade has seen a dramatic rise in the incidence of smuggling on a global scale. While illegal goods such as drugs and weapons are most commonly associated with smuggling, the worldwide trade in people, legal drugs, agriculture, and animals comprise a large percentage of the total value of smuggled goods. Typically, smuggled goods are imported or exported in one of two ways: either the entire method of transportation is concealed (for instance, underground tunnels are frequently used to transport munitions into Palestine from neighboring regions) or the illicit goods themselves are disguised to resemble or are hidden in permissible items. Goods have been smuggled in the past inside a variety of items, including luggage, clothing, and false panels in vehicles, and are sometimes ingested by humans or animals for disguised transportation. While the clandestine nature of smuggling makes the scope of its economic value difficult to determine, the approximate annual value of smuggled goods is believed to be in the tens of trillions of dollars.


Smuggling has undoubtedly existed since the first tariff, tax, or duty was imposed and has a storied past in all corners of world history. However, the first legislation explicitly addressing smuggling does not appear on record until Britain’s 1351 Statute of Treason. This Act of Parliament explicitly forbade the importation of counterfeit money into England and those found guilty could be punished with death. Britain continued to struggle with the smuggling of goods into and out of the Commonwealth for the next several centuries due to high taxes levied on many goods in its expanding empire. To illustrate the magnitude of smuggling in the British Empire, Mathieu Deflem and Kelly Henry-Turner report that smuggling became so rampant during the 18th century that approximately one-third of all tea consumed in Britain was imported illegally. The tension between Britain and its colonies over taxes and smuggling eventually came to a head, resulting in protests such as the Boston Tea Party in 1773 that sparked many independence movements throughout the colonies. Throughout the 19th century, Britain and other nations gradually liberalized their restrictions and taxes on trade goods in a series of adjustments that brought about a decrease in the incidences of smuggling on record. While these growing economies saw the negative effects of smuggling decrease during this period, developing economies continued to struggle with smuggling. Developing countries and ungoverned territories remained greatly affected by smuggling and had little coordinated or enforceable recourse, as many of the economic benefits of their exports were smuggled to avoid exportation taxes.

Smuggling made a notable return to worldwide politics with the passage of various prohibition acts in the early 20th century including in Russia, Iceland, Norway, Finland, the United States, and select Canadian provinces. Smuggling continues to expand into the 21st century, unimpeded by stricter government controls after the September 11, 2001, attack on the United States, as agents opportunistically exploit price disparities and regulatory differences in countries of origin and destination. Presently, the most common goods smuggled worldwide include people (who are both smuggled and trafficked), weapons, illegal drugs, legal drugs, agriculture, and animals.

Human Smuggling

Although closely related, human smuggling should not be confused with human trafficking. Human smuggling is the assisted illegal migration of migrants from one destination to another. The smugglers are most often motivated by profit, and the demand for smuggling services is significant; for example, more than half of the illegal immigrants entering the United States from Mexico receive assistance from paid smugglers. Albeit a dangerous and often deadly expedition, smuggling humans illegally into economically advantageous nations can pay large rewards for both the smugglers and the smuggled. Kahlid Koser followed 50 migrants in their illegal journey from Afghanistan and Pakistan to the United Kingdom and found that in this case the smuggling ultimately benefited the smugglers, the smuggled, their families, and the third-party intermediaries who handled the transactions. While human smuggling is mainly driven by a motive to profit, there have also been numerous historic cases of assisted human smuggling for altruistic reasons. Notable examples include the participants of the Underground Railroad that helped blacks migrate from slave-owning Southern states, those who assisted Jews out of Nazi-occupied Germany, and many other recent cases of refugees being smuggled out of nations in conflicts.

In contrast, human trafficking rarely benefits the smuggled. Human trafficking is the purposeful acquisition of humans through deception, force, or coercion with the aim of exploiting the victim through sex acts and/or labor. The United Nations (UN) has recently devoted many resources to highlighting the gravity of this crisis and in March 2007 launched the UN’s Global Initiative to Fight Human Trafficking through a grant made by the United Arab Emirates. This initiative has provided resources to over 110 countries and all levels of stakeholders within to combat the illegal forced trade of primarily women and children for sexual exploitation and forced labor. While the exact number of human trafficking is difficult to determine, the 2008 UN Report on the Overview of Human Trafficking identifies the number of human beings currently indentured against their will at a minimum of 2.5 million people.

Weapon Smuggling

Weapons and their components are another major object of smuggling and are primarily transported into regions undergoing periods of political turmoil. Because of the weakened enforcement mechanisms in these tumultuous regions, the responsibility to prevent smuggling of weapons and ammunition falls primarily to the UN Office and Drugs and Crime. The UN is currently working on two fronts to reduce the amount of gun and ammunition smuggling, estimated to be at least as big worldwide as legal arms sales. First and foremost, they are working to reduce the amount of guns entering conflict zones through increased monitoring and confiscation, and second, they have implemented a weapons destruction program through a partnership with foreign governments, which is designed to limit the amount of unused surplus weaponry that can potentially fall into the possession of smugglers.

Stable nations also struggle with the illegal importation of firearms, as organized networks of smugglers attempt to supersede laws designed to reduce firearm crimes and violence. In addition to deterring the bulk of weapons smuggling in the form of small arms, national and international coalitions are actively combating the exchange of many other forms of mechanized weaponry and their components including both traditional and nuclear devices.

Drug Smuggling

Drugs of both the illegal and legal variety remain a lucrative product for smuggling in all parts of the world. Illegal drug smuggling occurs when chemical substances used to alter the body’s normal biological functioning are imported into a jurisdiction that explicitly forbids their possession, consumption, and/or sale. Because most countries did not criminally penalize many drugs until the 20th century, illegal drug smuggling has been a relatively recent phenomenon. Smugglers of drugs around the world typically operate under a coalition known as a drug cartel. Cartels, responsible for the majority of drug smuggling worldwide, take various forms, but they all operate with the intent to profit by consolidating a drug supply chain, from growing to production and distribution. The 2008 UN World Drug Report provides a comprehensive evaluation of the world’s current drug smuggling situation, with the top four drugs confiscated in 2006 (in unit equivalents) identified as (1) amphetamine-type stimulants (ATS)-related substances, (2) opiates, (3) coca/cocaine products, and (4) cannabis products.

The first of these categories is manufactured and smuggled in both legal (Dexedrine and Ritalin) and illegal forms (methamphetamine and ecstasy). The UN’s 2006 report estimates the annual worldwide manufacturing of the drug to be approximately 494 metric tons, with 46 metric tons confiscated the same year. Because of the wide availability of many of the precursor chemicals, many illegal ATS are produced and distributed intraregional. There is, however, evidence that a large amount of smuggling takes place as European and American demands are met from southeast Asian suppliers. The opium/heroin category, the second UN grouping, has seen a major resurgence in cultivation because of record yields in Afghanistan. In 2007 the worldwide illicit opium production was approximately 8,870 metric tons, with Afghanistan accounting for 92 percent of global production. Because of the regional specificity of growing conditions, the international smuggling market for opiates remains large. Imports to Europe, the Middle East, and Africa are primarily smuggled in from Afghanistan; imports to Asia primarily from Myanmar; and imports to North and South America are primarily smuggled in from Colombia and Mexico.

The third drug category, coca/cocaine products, is produced in the South American countries of Colombia, Peru, and Bolivia and is smuggled primarily into North America, Europe, and west Africa. The global production of cocaine has remained largely stable over the last decade and was estimated to be 994 metric tons in 2007, with Colombia accounting for 55 percent of the total. Cannabis products comprise the last of the UN’s major drug categories and dominate all other categories in terms of cultivation volume and use. The UN estimates that 41,400 metric tons of marijuana was produced globally in 2006 with the majority grown in the Americas (55 percent) and Africa (22 percent). The majority of these cannabis products end up being produced and consumed intraregionally with a small percentage smuggled out of the African and Asian countries.

Legal drugs are also commonly smuggled items as price premiums in the destination over the place of origin allow smuggled goods to be sold profitably below local costs. These premiums can arise from tariffs, import quotas, or taxation present in the destination that are absent in the point of origin. Legal drug smuggling occurs both across state and national boundaries. Sari Horwitz recently highlighted the potential profit for the interstate smuggling of cigarettes and noted that a smuggler successful in procuring a truckload of cigarettes in Virginia (a state with low tobacco taxes) and smuggling them into New York (a state with high tobacco taxes) stands to make a potential profit of approximately $2 million. In addition to tobacco products, alcohol and prescription medicine are also commonly smuggled legal drugs.

Agricultural And Animal Smuggling

Agricultural goods and animals are also commonly smuggled at both the intra and international level. Items are often smuggled for one of two reasons. The first is similar to the aforementioned motivation behind legal drugs: avoiding premiums arising from tariffs, import quotas, or taxation allows the smuggler of illegal agriculture to sell at below-market rates. For example, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Smuggling Interdiction and Trade Compliance (SITC) Program was enacted after Asian fruit growers in Florida notified the federal authorities that goods illegally imported from Thailand were restricting their ability to profitably compete in eastern markets.

The second reason that agricultural goods and animals are smuggled is to provide exotic or rare materials to private collectors to be used as pets or collectibles. Particularly vulnerable are rare species whose limited availability increases the price premium and the motivation to smuggle, resulting in a reinforcing cycle of illegal smuggling. In addition to the threats posed by smuggling on endangered species, another major concern is the international spread of disease and invasive species. When agriculture and animals are smuggled into new ecosystems that have no natural predators or whose inhabitants have not been exposed to diseases or parasites that the imported animals may bring, disastrous loss of the native agriculture and animals can potentially ensue.

Future Of Smuggling

Smuggling is a clandestine act motivated by profit and has taken many forms over its centuries on record. Disguising cargo or avoiding detection at an organized cartel level or by an individual working alone can constitute smuggling. The primary items currently smuggled internationally include both illegal and legal drugs, weapons, humans, agricultural products, and animals. Smuggling is currently combated at both the national level, primarily Customs or Border Patrol divisions, and the international level, through the aforementioned UN divisions and the International Criminal Police Organization (Interpol). Recent increases in trade and disparities in wealth highlighted by globalization have increased both the volume and breadth of international smuggling, resulting in renewed enforcement of ant smuggling measures worldwide.


  1. Ali Nobil Ahmad, “The Labour Market Consequences of Human Smuggling: ‘Illegal’ Employment in London’s Migrant Economy,” Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies (v.34/6, 2008);
  2. Helge Berger and Volker Nitsch, Gotcha! A Profile of Smuggling in International Trade (Freie Universitat, 2008);
  3. Tihomir Bezlov, Transportation, Smuggling and Organized Crime (Center for the Study of Democracy, 2004);
  4. Kahlid Koser, “Why Migrant Smuggling Pays,” International Migration (v.46/2, 2008);
  5. Moises Naim, Illicit: How Smugglers, Traffickers and Copycats Are Hijacking the Global Economy (Doubleday, 2005);
  6. Kimberly L. Thachuk, Transnational Threats: Smuggling and Trafficking in Arms, Drugs, and Human Life (Praeger Security International, 2007);
  7. United Nations Global Initiative to Fight Human Trafficking, “Human Trafficking: An Overview,” (cited March 2009);
  8. United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime, “2008 World Drug Report,” (cited March 2009);
  9. Sheldon Zhang, Chinese Human Smuggling Organizations: Families, Social Networks, and Cultural Imperatives (Stanford University Press, 2008);
  10. Sheldon Zhang, Smuggling and Trafficking in Human Beings: All Roads Lead to America (Praeger Publishers, 2007).

Crime Waves Essay

The term crime wave has two distinct (but related) meanings in criminological and popular discourse. The most familiar meaning associates the term with relatively rapid and abrupt upward (and subsequent downward) shifts in rates of crime. A second usage suggests that the term refers not to actual crime rate increases—in any narrow sense—but to changes in levels of public fear, anxiety, and publicity surrounding the problem of crime. Whereas the former usage emphasizes an understanding of crime waves as “objective” phenomena, the latter emphasizes their “subjective” character.

As a measure of actual crime rate change, this concept has no specific, agreed-upon meaning. However, most commonly, it references crime rate variations occurring over the shorter term rather than the longer term. In this respect we can speak of crime waves in reference to relatively distinct, historically specific episodes, such as the increases in gangsterism in the Midwest during the 1930s, the nationwide post-World War II urban crime rate increase, or the rapidly escalating rates of extortionate crime that plagued Italian neighborhoods in large American cities during the first decades of the 20th century. We can assess crime waves objectively as mathematical entities through several key dimensions, including length (How long does it take crime waves to rise and fall?), shape (Do crime waves rise and fall with equal rapidity?), linearity (Do the factors that affect crime rate development have consistent effects?), and synchronicity (Is the crime wave just a local or is it a more general phenomenon?).

Efforts to explain sudden and rapid shifts in crime levels focus on processes of social change. Researchers have shown three major types of relevant variables. One group of explanations relates to various social dislocations, such as war, rapid economic change, or institutional breakdown. A second explanation focuses on the diffusion of cultural patterns. So-called copycat crimes are perhaps the clearest example of such a dynamic. A third type stresses the ways in which the various kinds of social and technological innovations facilitate the commission of crimes posing a serious challenge to the existing social control apparatus. An alternative way of thinking about crime waves is as social constructions. In other words, crimes waves can be said to exist when there are widespread public perceptions that they exist—irrespective of what more objective measures of crime level variation might indicate. In this sense, crime waves imply increased public anxiety, higher levels of media attention, and eventually more coercive forms of social control reactions. Although this meaning of crime wave might be less intuitive, it is actually the formulation with which the term has been most often associated in recent years.

A naive interpretation of the relationship between these two kinds of crime rates might suggest highly correlated empirical realities. However, this does not appear to be the case. The social dynamics that drive changes in crime rate levels appear, in many cases, to be only tangentially related to the dynamics that drive shifts in fear and perception.


  • Sacco, Vincent F. 2005. When Crime Waves. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Medieval Europe: Sciences And Medicine Essay

The Latin West in the early medieval period was too poor and rural to produce significant theoretical science and medicine. The near-total loss of the scientific language of antiquity, Greek, also hindered Western science. What remained were the Bible and the voluminous but unsystematic and uncreative Latin works of Roman and a few early medieval compilers, such as the Elder Pliny’s Natural History or the encyclopedic writings of Isidore of Seville.

Medieval science built on the tradition of Greek natural philosophy and medicine. Ptolemy in astronomy (and astrology); Galen in medicine; Euclid, Archimedes, and Apollonius in mathematics; and Aristotle (along with works falsely ascribed to him) in logic and natural philosophy composed a body of ancient authority that underlay medieval science. They were joined by numerous writers from the Islamic world, particularly influential in the field of medicine, but important in many other areas as well. Leaders among these included the philosopher-physicians Ibn Sina (980–1037), known in the Latin West as Avicenna; Ibn Rushd (1128–98), known as Averroes or “the Commentator” (on Aristotle); and Moses Maimonides (1138–1204). Physicians and philosophers from the Islamic world, who included Jews like Maimonides and Christians as well as Muslims, had further developed and systematized Greek thought as well as innovating.

The revival of Western science can be traced to the growing prosperity of the West in the 11th century, which stimulated interest at first in the Roman writings, and then in an influx of translations from the Arabic, both of originally Greek texts translated into Arabic and of originally Arabic ones, beginning late in the 11th century. The principal avenue for scientific translation was Spain, where many Muslim areas with developed scientific traditions were coming under Christian rule. (There were also translations directly from the Greek being made in the Sicilian kingdom, an area that had never lost its connections to Greek culture.) The most important translator of the 12th century was Gerard of Cremona (1114–87), an Italian who worked in Toledo, Spain. Gerard’s translations of Arabic versions of Greek works included Ptolemy’s Almagest, Euclid’s Geometry, and Archimedes’ Measurement of the Circle. Arab works he translated included Avicenna’s Canon of Medicine and the commentary on Galen by Haly Radoan, both of which became standard medical texts. The 12th and 13th century discovery of these Greek and Arab writers had a radical impact on European culture, making the physical universe an object of scholarly interest.

By the late 12th and 13th centuries, the vehicle for disseminating science and medical theory in Latin Christendom was the university, particularly the undergraduate arts faculty and the medical faculty. The intellectuals who worked in these universities are referred to as Scholastics. Scholastics did not view qualitative science as a discipline divorced from philosophy but as a sub-discipline within philosophy, called natural philosophy. Natural philosophy was taught in universities principally by commenting on Aristotle’s genuine and spurious scientific works along with previous commentaries and other texts. Among the most important centers for the study of nature was the University of Paris. Leading Scholastic philosophers with an interest in natural philosophy included the 12th century William of Conches and Albertus Magnus (1200–80). More mathematical aspects of science, such as astronomy and optics, were taught outside the natural philosophy curriculum.

Scholastic natural philosophers faced the challenge of reconciling Aristotle’s thought, produced in the culture of pagan Greece, with Christianity. The most common approach was to subordinate Aristotle to Christian doctrine, denying such Aristotelian claims as the eternal existence of the world as unbiblical. A very different strategy based itself on the philosophical works of Averroes. By asserting the autonomy of philosophy, including natural philosophy, from Christian theology, the Latin Averroists such as Siger of Brabant (c. 1240–c.1284) at the University of Paris attracted a great deal of suspicion from church authorities. The bishop of Paris, Etienne Tempier, reacted to the perceived threat of the Averroists by condemning many Aristotelian ideas as irreligious in 1277. The Aristotelian denial of the possibility of multiple worlds, for example, was thought to be a heretical limitation on God’s power.

The scope of Tempier’s condemnation reached to the works of many philosophers trying to synthesize Aristotle with Christianity, such as the Paris professor Thomas Aquinas (c. 1224–74). The effect of this condemnation was limited; it did not, nor was it intended to, stop the study of nature. It did encourage a greater focus on God’s omnipotence, with a greater willingness to discuss hypothetical, non-Aristotelian cosmologies. These discussions were not assertions of physical reality but remained speculative. When the Parisian master Nicolas Oresme (c. 1320–82), for example, discussed the anti-Aristotelian idea that the Earth rotated, his influential arguments were directed at demonstrating that it was possible, not that it was actually happening.

Somewhat apart from the mainstream of Scholastic science was experimental work. Its most notable practitioner in the Middle Ages was the Franciscan friar Roger Bacon (c. 1219–c. 1292), whose optical and alchemical experiments won him a bad reputation as a magician. Another experimentalist was the French nobleman Pierre de Maricort, who experimented on magnets. The most active experimental program was probably that carried out by alchemists, particularly in distillation. As the university scientists, they drew on Greek and Arabic science, but their discipline was passed on outside the academy and aroused some suspicion from church authorities.

One of the most intriguing developments in late medieval science was the increasing quantification of Aristotelian physics. This was initially the work of a group of scholars at Oxford University, many of them associated with Merton College, the so-called Calculatores. Leaders in this early effort to create a mathematical physics were Thomas Bradwardine (c. 1300–49) Richard Swineshead (d. 1365), and William Heytesbury (d. c. 1372). The project was also advanced by avant-garde masters at the 14th century University of Paris, notably Oresme, Jean Buridan (1300–58) and Albert of Saxony (c. 1316–90). Their brilliant work continued to be expressed in the form of commentaries on Aristotle’s works, modifying the Aristotelian system rather than overthrowing it. Their most notable conceptual innovation was “impetus,” a quality of a moving body that kept it in motion. This differed from the Aristotelian theory that a body’s motion was maintained by the medium in which it moved.

Although professional healing continued in early medieval Europe, it was not based on mastery of textual sources. The transmission of the Greek and Arab tradition in medicine to Latin Europe began in the late 11th century, with a group of translations from the Arabic associated with the Benedictine monastery of Monte Cassino. These translations, made by an otherwise unknown monk named Constantine the African, included works of the ancient Greek physician Hippocrates, Galen, and Arab physicians. The new body of texts was instrumental in the re-creation of medicine as a learned profession, as well as ensuring that the Western medicine would follow Arabic medicine into adopting a basically Galenic framework. The first recorded institution devoted to medical education in the Latin West was a medical school at Salerno in southern Italy, which developed a body of texts that would form a basis for medical learning throughout the medieval period.

With the development of the university system in the 12th century, medicine was taught alongside law and theology as one of the three higher disciplines. As they did in science, universities benefited in medicine from the flood of Spanish Arabic translations of the mid-12th century, the most influential work being Avicenna’s Canon, a massive systematization of Galenic medicine that eventually served in Latin translation as a medical textbook. A third wave of medical translations in the 13th century was led by the royal physician Arnauld of Villanova and included a higher proportion of translations directly from the Greek. Latin Christians also began to write medical treatises, commentaries, and compendia of their own, although nothing to challenge the intellectual authority of Greek and Arabic works.

In addition to Paris and Montpellier in southern France, the most important universities for medicine were mostly Italian, particularly Bologna and Padua. The bachelor of medicine degree took about seven years, the M.D. about 10. As the medical curriculum developed, textual study began to be supplemented with other forms of medical education. Some universities required medical students to get practical experience working with a physician, and beginning in the 14th century some Mediterranean universities began to require attendance at dissections. The Galenic medicine taught in the universities was based on a theory of the four “humors” of the human body: yellow bile, black bile, phlegm, and blood. A healthy body was one where the humors balanced. This led to the popularity of bloodletting as a therapy, as it allegedly relieved the distress caused by an excess of blood. Although Galen differed from Aristotle on some biological questions, Galenic medicine was mostly compatible with Aristotelian natural philosophy, and physicians were educated in natural philosophy as well as medicine proper. It was also considered important for a physician to know astrology to choose the best times to perform medical procedures.

Largely outside the university tradition were Jewish physicians, some of whom served as personal physicians for the most powerful Christians in Europe. Also outside the university tradition were women writers on medicine such as the nun Hildegard of Bingen (1098–1179). Her Book of Simple Medicines includes information on the curative power of herbs and jewels. There was also a mysterious woman medical writer at Salerno named Trotula, but she had no successors on university faculties.

One set of rivals to the physicians, as educated medical professionals, were the surgeons, who in addition to practicing what is now called surgery were also active in the treatment of skin disease. (Italy was exceptional in that physicians were trained as surgeons as well.) Surgery was not taught at the university, but through apprenticeship, which eventually led to the formation of a guild system. Physicians, a tiny minority among Europe’s medical practitioners, distinguished themselves from surgeons (and other healers like midwives and herbalists) through a focus on why the body became sick, rather than merely on the cure. Physicians often emphasized maintaining health through proper diet and the observance of astrological moments rather than healing the sick.

By the late Middle Ages a network of medical institutions outside university medical faculties had begun to develop. Surgeons organized themselves into guilds such as Paris’s College of Saint Cosme, founded in 1210. Governments established systems of licensing practitioners, although unlicensed practitioners continued to flourish. Cities, beginning in Italy, hired public physicians. Hospitals, originally places for the sick to die or recover, started hiring physicians as attendants.


Bibliography :

  1. Crombie, A. C. Science in the Middle Ages, 5th to 13th Centuries. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1969;
  2. Grant, Edward. Planets, Stars and Orbs: The Medieval Cosmos, 1200–1687. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994;
  3. Garcia-Ballester, Luis. Galen and Galenism: Theory and Medical Practice from Antiquity to the European Renaissance. Aldershot: Ashgate, 2002;
  4. Maier, Anneliese. On the Threshold of Exact Science: Selected Writings of Anneliese Maier on Late Medieval Natural Philosophy. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1982;
  5. Porter, Roy. The Greatest Benefit to Mankind: A Medical History of Humanity. New York: W.W. Norton, 1998.

Slovenia Essay

Although one of the youngest nations in the world, Slovenia has quickly established itself as an equal partner and example to other nations. Today, Slovenia is an example of economic success and a guarantee to the stability in a traditionally volatile Balkan region. Several driving factors contributed to Slovenia’s economic growth in recent years. First, it has an exceptional infrastructure. Second, it is situated in a strategically important area between western and eastern Europe. Finally, Slovenia is home to a well-educated workforce. These factors allowed Slovenia to be the first 2004 European Union (EU) entrant to adopt the euro as its currency and to be the first transition country to advance from borrower to donor as a World Bank member.

Slovenia (Republika Slovenija) is situated in central Europe. It lies northeast of the Adriatic Sea and shares borders with Croatia to the south, Italy to the west, Austria to the north, and Hungary to the east. The centrally located capital city of Slovenia is Ljubljana. Other major cities are Koper, Kranj, and Maribor.

Slovenia is one of the smallest European countries (20,273 sq. km) with a very diverse landscape. It has a short coastline (46 km) alongside the Adriatic Sea, a mountainous range (Alps) it shares with Italy and Austria, and fertile farmlands in the eastern part of the country. Such diverse landscape is directly related to various climates ranging from Mediterranean on the coast to continental in the eastern and alpine regions of Slovenia.

Approximately 2 million people live in Slovenia and their nationality is predominantly Slovenian (83 percent). Primary minority groups in Slovenia include Serbs, Croats, and Bosnians. Slovenian is the official language; however, a large portion of the population (6 percent) speaks Serbian, Croatian, or Bosnian (formerly Serbo-Croatian). The population in Slovenia is aging with a median age of 41 years and only 13 percent of the population younger than 15. As in the majority of other western European countries, the population growth has been in a slight decline (minus.08 percent).

Until recently, the people of Slovenia have been subjected to the control of foreign powers. Slovenia as we know it today was part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire until the end of World War I. After World War I, Slovenia joined its fellow Slavic states, Serbia and Croatia, in the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenians. In 1929, the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenians changed its name to the Kingdom of Yugoslavia (Yugoslavia = land of south Slavs). After World War II, Slovenia became one of the constitutive republics in the Socialist Federative Republic of Yugoslavia (SFRJ). Such constitutional status allowed Slovenia to exercise its powers and declare independence from SFRJ on June 25, 1991.

While part of Yugoslavia, Slovenia was its most thriving region. It was the center for research and development and home to many successful firms. Once on its own, Slovenia continued to thrive. It became a member of the EU and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in 2004, and today it has the highest per capita gross domestic product (GDP) in central Europe. A strong economy and a stable democratic political system have assisted in Slovenia’s transformation to a modern state. As such, Slovenia is a benchmark for other countries in transition.

While many positive outcomes symbolize Slovenia today, the transition process has not been without obstacles. Although reforms to provide incentives for foreign direct investment (FDI) are taking place, FDI in Slovenia has lagged behind regional averages. At the same time that taxes remain relatively high, the level of state control of the economy is one of the highest in the EU, and the labor market is somewhat inflexible. In addition, established Slovenian industries have been experiencing increased competition from firms originating in other transitional economies. Despite some of these setbacks, Slovenia’s potential is great. It is home to a well-educated population, diverse industrial environment (top three Slovenian multinationals in 2007 were Mercator [retail], Gorenje [home appliance manufacturing], and Krka [pharmaceutical manufacturing]), and natural resources that could assure growth in years to come.


  1. CIA, “Slovenia,” World Factbook, (cited March 2009);
  2. James Gow and Cathie Carmichael, Slovenia and the Slovenes: A Small State and the New Europe (C. Hurst, 2008);
  3. Anita Tuladhar, Rudolfs Bems, and Jochen R. Andritzky, Republic of Slovenia: Selected Issues (International Monetary Fund, 2007);
  4. S. Department of State, “Background Note: Slovenia,” (cited March 2009);
  5. Ana Zaljetelj, ABC of International Business Operations in Slovenia (Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Slovenia, 2003).

Crime Rates Essay

Crime rates are standardized measures of crime levels. In mathematical terms, a crime rate can be expressed as (M/N)x K where M is an estimate of the amount of crime occurring in a particular setting during a specified period of time, N is an estimate of the population at risk, and K is a constant determined by the analyst. So, if for hypothetical Community A, we determine that for the last calendar year, there were 9,300 crimes committed against property, and if the population of Community A is 458,000, the property crime rate per 100,000 for this community for the year in question is calculated as (9,300/458,000) x 100,000 = 2,030.6. Using this general approach, crime rates can be calculated for any size social unit from the neighborhood to the nation-state and for any temporal period.

Unlike raw counts of crimes, rates take the size of the at-risk population into account. Whereas a comparison of the raw or absolute numbers of crimes across communities or within any particular community over time might suggest significant variations, a comparison of crime rates allows the analyst to determine whether the differences are real or merely a function of differences in population size.

Crime rates are useful for a number of reasons. As standardized measures of crime levels, they can serve as useful indicators of the quality of community life. Policy planners utilize crime rate measures to assess the need for social interventions and the relative success of crime control policies. Academic investigators rely on crime rate data as they attempt to investigate the relative value of empirical predictions associated with competing criminological theories.

In a fundamental way, the value of crime rate measures is reliant upon the appropriateness of the estimates of the numerators and denominators used in rate construction. Estimates of the former tend to be derived from one of three sources: the data collected by police, the reports of members of the general public who are asked about their victim experiences in surveys, and the reports of offenders. It has been well established in the research literature that each of these sources of crime data has characteristic flaws. As a result, it is prudent to think of these numerator estimates as somewhat biased samples of all crimes occurring.

The denominators of crime rates also present some formidable problems. Although so-called crude crime rates (like the hypothetical example given in the first paragraph of this entry) offer several advantages over the use of raw numbers, they fail to take account of information regarding the internal structure of the at-risk population. For instance, because most crime is committed by people in early adulthood (ages 18-26), it might make more sense to standardize the rates with reference to the size of this segment of the population rather than with reference to the overall population. Thus, two communities of similar size might differ with respect to their crude crime rates because one is truly more lawless than the other, or because one of the communities might have much more of its population clustered in younger age groups. A comparison of age-specific crime rates would permit an assessment of the value of these two accounts.


  • Mosher, Clayton J., Terance D. Miethe, and Dretha M. Phillips. 2002. The Mismeasure of Crime. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Medieval Europe: Educational System Essay

One of the most important intellectual developments in western Europe during the High Middle Ages was the growth of urban schools and universities in which fee-paying students were able to acquire a basic education in the liberal arts. The system of education known as Scholasticism resulted from the rigorous application of the liberal arts and their principles to the study of God and the traditional teachings of the church. These educational transitions were characteristic of the period that Charles Homer Haskins and subsequent scholars have dubbed “the renaissance of the 12th century,” a time of intense cultural flourishing spanning from around 1050 to 1215 and made possible by the rapid growth of cities and the emergence of a cash economy.

Since the time of Charlemagne two types of schools had existed in western Europe: monastic and cathedral. Monastic schools trained oblates (that is, children given to the monastery and the monastic life by their parents) in the scriptural, theological, and spiritual traditions of the church. Monastic education emphasized acceptance and assimilation of what was known about God rather than investigation of the unknown. Cathedral schools, which were under the control of the local bishop, trained young men for careers in ecclesiastical or secular administration by providing a basic education in reading, writing, rhetoric, and documentation. Here again the curriculum was oriented toward the practical rather than the speculative.

In the first half of the 12th century a new type of school began to appear in burgeoning cities like Paris. These urban schools, which were open to all fee-paying students, served a clientele that did not necessarily have aspirations to serve the church or government in the traditional ways. The interpretation of sacred Scripture and the study of God remained, however, at the center of the curriculum of these new schools. Teachers at the urban schools certified to give authoritative interpretations of revelation were officially designated masters. Masters such as Anselm of Laon, Bernard of Chartres, and Hugh of St. Victor sought to use the liberal arts as tools in the interpretation of revelation and to teach their pupils to do the same. Thus the urban-school student would first read in the seven liberal arts before moving on to a higher discipline such as theology or law. In the 13th century the medieval university would come to be defined by a school of theology, a school of law, and a school of medicine beyond the liberal arts curriculum.

The seven liberal arts were divided into the trivium, the three arts proper, and the quadrivium, the four sciences. The trivium consisted of grammar, rhetoric, and dialectic or logic. The quadrivium consisted of arithmetic, astronomy, geometry, and music. About a millennium and a half before the birth of the medieval university, Aristotle maintained not only that all the arts and sciences are subservient to “first philosophy” (that is, the science of the end or the good), but also that they constitute the parts of philosophy as preparation for that highest wisdom that determines the end of all things and orders them accordingly. Thus subsequent pagan thinkers such as Cicero and Seneca insisted on the necessity of a liberal arts education for the formation and perfection of humankind. Ancient Christian thinkers such as Augustine of Hippo and Jerome, also having been trained in the liberal arts, similarly insisted on the use of the arts in the interpretation of Scripture. The tiered curriculum of the medieval urban schools and universities owes much to Augustine’s understanding of the liberal arts as certain ordered steps intended to lead the student from corporeal to incorporeal things.

Hugh of St. Victor (c. 1098–1141), an early Scholastic theologian and master at the urban school of St. Victor in Paris, was known as the “Second Augustine,” even during his lifetime, because he used Augustine’s basic idea to develop a holistic well-ordered philosophy according to which the student is led from the time bound words of humans to the eternal Word of God. According to Hugh, it is the ordered study of the liberal arts that ultimately leads the reader to the eternal Word or wisdom, the second person of the Trinity, who reorders and perfects the human student after the fall into the disorder of sin. In the urban schools the liberal arts were constitutive of philosophy, which Hugh and other medieval masters understood primarily as the love of that wisdom in whose image human beings are created and in whose image they are restored.

Liberal arts study intends to restore within fallen students the divine image, in Hugh’s view. The four major branches of philosophy into which the Victorine Master divides the arts arose as antidotes to humankind’s sickness because of the fall of Adam. First the theoretical arts (theology, physics, and mathematics, the last of which includes the quadrivium) seek to heal ignorance and restore humans to the knowledge of truth. Second the practical arts (ethics or individual morals, economics or domestic morals, and political science or public morals) seek to heal concupiscence and restore humans to the love of virtue. Third the mechanical arts (weaving, armament construction, commerce, agriculture, hunting, medicine, and theatrics) seek to alleviate bodily weakness (an antidote to mortality). Finally the logical arts (the trivium), which arose last of all, seek to provide a form of polished discourse on which the other branches of knowledge rely. The logical arts are therefore to be studied first, after which the student is to learn, in order, the practical, the theoretical, and the mechanical arts.

The second major phase of Hugh’s pedagogical program is the study of sacred Scripture, for which the pupil is to use the recently acquired tools of grammar, dialectic, and the other arts. The 12th-century application of grammar and dialectic to the study of God was central to theology’s becoming a science or academic discipline. The most important theological and ecclesiastical works of the 12th century resulted from the rigorous application of the principles of dialectic to the enormous and disparate body of statements of the fathers and councils of the church on innumerable questions of faith and doctrine: for example, Peter Abelard’s Yes and No, the Ordinary Gloss, Peter Lombard’s Four Books of Sentences, and Gratian’s Concordance of Discordant Canons (Decretum). Whereas various “questions” about God and God talk first developed out of the biblical witness and closely followed its narrative structure (as in Hugh of St. Victor’s On the Sacraments of the Christian Faith), in the following centuries theological reflection would take the standard form of the “questions” themselves systematically arranged in summae (as in the Summa theologiae of Thomas Aquinas).


Bibliography :

  1. Moore, R. I. The First European Revolution c. 970–1215. Oxford: Blackwell, 2000;
  2. Swanson, R. N. The Twelfth-Century Renaissance. Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1999;
  3. Colish, Marcia. Studies in Scholasticism. Aldershot, U.K.: Ashgate Variorum, 2006;

Haskins, Charles Homer. The Rise of Universities. New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Publishers, 2002