Quadrivial Pursuits

Bona Verba from the Headmaster

At Cincinnati Classical Academy, the Quadrivium plays a crucial role in shaping our educational mission, contributing to the creation of a well-rounded and interconnected educational experience. Positioned as the sequential stage following the Trivium – grammar, logic, and rhetoric – the Quadrivium is comprised of four interconnected disciplines: arithmetic, geometry, music, and astronomy.

In the spirit of Socratic wisdom, as echoed through the pages of Plato’s Republic, Cincinnati Classical Academy’s approach to these mathematical sciences also plays a pivotal role in shaping individuals into well-rounded and virtuous people. Plato’s Republic underscores the pivotal role of mathematical sciences in the educational curriculum, portraying them as instrumental in cultivating the intellectual and moral qualities necessary for a just and harmonious society.

Plato emphasizes the importance of mathematical studies as a bridge between the visible, sensory world and the intelligible, abstract world of “Forms.” The mathematical sciences, including the quadrivial pursuits of arithmetic, geometry, astronomy, and music, are seen as essential for developing the intellectual and moral virtues of the guardians, the ruling class in Plato’s ideal city-state.

According to Plato, the study of mathematics helps individuals ascend from the realm of mere opinion and belief to a higher level of understanding based on reason. Arithmetic and geometry are considered foundational, leading to a deeper comprehension of abstract truths. These disciplines, for Plato, contribute to the harmonious development of the soul and the ability to apprehend universal principles.
Furthermore, Plato suggests that certain musical elements can influence the character of individuals. He advocates for a careful selection of musical compositions that promote virtue and harmony while excluding those that may lead to undesirable behaviors. The study of music in Plato’s educational system is aimed at fostering moral and aesthetic sensibilities among the guardians.

Finally, Plato believes that the study of astronomy contributes to a broader comprehension of the eternal and unchanging principles governing the universe. It serves as a means for the guardians to contemplate the celestial realm and the perfect patterns that govern it. The knowledge of astronomy is intended to instill a sense of order, discipline, and reverence for the divine, aligning with Plato’s vision of an educated ruling class capable of maintaining a just and harmonious society.

The Quadrivium, with its emphasis on mathematical and abstract thinking, plays a crucial role in shaping the imagination of our students. Arithmetic and geometry provide foundational tools for logical reasoning, while music and astronomy contribute to a deeper understanding of patterns and proportions in the world. Working in tandem within our curriculum, these quadrivial pursuits foster a comprehensive understanding of interconnected knowledge—a crucial aspect often overlooked in the contemporary educational landscape.

We invite you to attend our next speaker in the Veritatis Splendor series, Dr. Jeffrey Lehman, on Thursday, January 25, at 7:00 PM in the Sojourner Truth Auditorium. Dr. Lehman, a distinguished Professor of Philosophy and Theology at the Augustine Institute (and formerly of the University of Dallas and Hillsdale College), will explore the timeless principles of the Quadrivium and highlight its relevance in shaping our students’ heads, hands, and hearts.

Embracing these quadrivial pursuits, we are nurturing a generation of critical thinkers, problem solvers, and individuals capable of appreciating the inherent beauty and order in the world. Your partnership as parents reinforces the importance of the Quadrivium, enriching the educational experience for our students. You can register here to attend Dr. Lehman’s upcoming presentation for CLASSICAL parents!

Torches Up!
Mr. Michael Rose

Michael Rose - Headmaster

Mr. Michael Rose

Meet the Headmaster

Mr. Rose has taught various courses at Brown University, Cincinnati Moeller, and The Summit Country Day School. As a part of his degree work in education, Mr. Rose’s research interests included the Great Books curriculum, the Paideia teaching method, and the “effects of emerging digital technology on student reading, writing, and researching.” Read More