What factors led to the rise of medieval universities and the Muslim contribution to their development?

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The rise of medieval universities in Europe was driven by increased trade, wealth from the Crusades, and a growing need for educated clergy and bureaucrats. Universities began as informal groups of teachers and students, but eventually became regulated institutions with specialized faculties. Muslim contributions were significant, with much of the new learning stemming from classical works rediscovered by Muslims. These works, often in Arabic translation, were critical to the development of European universities.

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The period in which the universities arose is often termed the "twelfth-century Renaissance." This period was marked by a rise of trade, especially in the Hanseatic League in Northern Europe and the great Italian trading cities such as Venice and Florence in the south. The Crusades also resulted in substantial contacts with other cultures (Byzantine and Islamic) as well as an increase in wealth, with looting the fabled riches of the east being as important a motivation for many Crusaders as plenary indulgences. The growth of large towns and cities, need for more members of the clergy to serve increased populations, and the increased wealth and complexity of the Papal bureaucracy also required a greater number of educated people, including a group of professors at a tertiary level who could instruct future teachers. 

The organization of universities was initially mobile and informal. Groups of teachers began to charge pupils for advanced training. The masters and students together formed the university. As these informal associations grew, they began to operate in fixed locales and eventually became licensed and regulated by both the Church and local rulers. They were organized into faculties, specializing in different areas of education, including theology, law, and medicine. 

Much of the new learning taught in the universities was actually a revival of classical learning newly rediscovered through contact with Muslims in Spain (especially Toledo) and Byzantium. Many works of ancient Greek that had been lost to the west were initially rediscovered in in Arabic translation and read with the aid of the Islamic commentary tradition.

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Medieval universities were founded in European countries such as Spain, England, Italy, and France from the 11th to 16th centuries. One of the factors that led to their rise was the earlier foundation of cathedral or monastic schools taught by monks and nuns. Pope Gregory VII instituted the so-called Gregorian Reforms during the 11th century that sought to teach the clergy Canon law as well as to verse in them in areas such as logic and finance to help them run their parishes. In addition, this type of learning helped the clergy form the necessary arguments to promote religion in Europe. Medieval universities became centers to train clergy for these purposes, and to train students in other courses of study, including arithmetic, geometry, Latin, music, astronomy, and other areas. Students and professors formed guilds or corporations, similar to other guilds, called universitas. Pope Gregory IV gave his blessing to these corporations in the 13th century, further promoting their rise. The universitas was self-regulating and free from church and civil law. 

The Muslim contribution to medieval universities was that many Arab scholars had re-discovered the works of Aristotle and other classical scholars. In addition, the Arab world had made several discoveries in medicine and technology. Their scholarship spread to Europe, furthering the development of learning and medieval universities. 

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