Definition of quadrivium in English:



  • A medieval university course involving the ‘mathematical arts’ of arithmetic, geometry, astronomy, and music.

    Compare with trivium
    • ‘Pacioli's four mathematical disciplines are the antique and medieval quadrivium.’
    • ‘He then progressed to the quadrivium, studying geometry, arithmetic, music and astronomy.’
    • ‘And yet our curricula still reflect the priorities of the 1893 Committee of Ten, if not the shadows of the medieval trivium and quadrivium.’
    • ‘The trivium and the quadrivium represented the available means of expression.’
    • ‘Arts students studied the trivium, parts of the quadrivium, and an increasingly large amount of Aristotle.’


Latin, literally ‘the place where four roads meet’ (in late Latin ‘the four branches of mathematics’), from quadri- ‘four’ + via ‘road’.