Artes liberales
(1,616 words)

1. Concept

The concept and allocation of disciplines to the artes liberales (“liberal arts”) date back to Antiquity, when these “sciences” (Latin artes or litterae) were generally regarded as essential to education and cultivation. Since they were the exclusive preserve of free men (as distinct from slaves) (Latin liberalis: “worthy of a free man”), they were called artes liberales to distinguish them from the artes mechanicae (“mechanical arts”) that dealt wi…

Cite this page
Hammerstein, Notker, “Artes liberales”, in: Encyclopedia of Early Modern History Online, Editors of the English edition: Graeme Dunphy, Andrew Gow. Original German Edition: Enzyklopädie der Neuzeit. Im Auftrag des Kulturwissenschaftlichen Instituts (Essen) und in Verbindung mit den Fachherausgebern herausgegeben von Friedrich Jaeger. Copyright © J.B. Metzlersche Verlagsbuchhandlung und Carl Ernst Poeschel Verlag GmbH 2005–2012. Consulted online on 15 February 2019 <>
First published online: 2015
First print edition: 20160321

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