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§ 91. The University of Bologna.


Literature: Muratori: Antiqq. Ital., III. 884 sqq. Important documents bearing on the state of learning in Italy. —Acta nationis Germanicae univ. Bononiensis, ed. E. Friedländer et C. Malagola, Berl., 1887.—Carlo Malagola: Statuti delta università e dei collegi dello studio Bolognese, p. 524, Bologna, 1888.—Denifle: D. Statutem d. Juristen Univ. Bologna, 1317–1347, in Archiv. für Lit. -und Kirchengesch., III. 196–409 1887. Superseded by Malagola.—Giacomo Cassani (Prof. of Canon Law, Bologna): Dell’ antico Studio di Bologna a sua origine, Bologna, 1888.—H. Fitting: Die Anfänge der Rechtsschule zu Bologna, Berl., 1888.—Savigny (see above) gives a full account with special reference to the study of Roman law, but must be supplemented and corrected by Denifle: Universitäten, etc.—For publications called forth by the eighth centenary, 1888, see P. Schaff: Lit. and Poetry, p. 278. For full Lit., see Rashdall, I. 89–91.


Bologna is the most venerable of European universities. Salerno, which preceded it in time, became sufficiently famous as a medical school to call forth from Petrarch the praise of being the fountain-head of medicine,—fons medicinae,—but its career was limited to two centuries.12711271    See Laurie, p. 123 sqq.; Rashdall, I. 80 sqq.as the outgrowth of the awakened interest in medicine in Southern Italy in which Greek and Arabic influences had a part.

In 1888, Bologna celebrated its eight hundredth anniversary and continues to be one of the most flourishing schools of Southern Europe. As early as the thirteenth century, the tradition was current that Theodosius II., in 433, had granted to it a charter. But its beginnings go no further back than the latter part of the eleventh or the earlier years of the twelfth century. At that period Irnerius, d. about 1130, was teaching the code of Justinian12721272    Rashdall, I. 120, associates an "epoch in the study of law" with Irnerius, but insists upon the activity of law teachers before his day. When Laurie, p. 128, still calls Irnerius the "rediscoverer" of the Roman law, the title is only relatively true.vil and ecclesiastical, are looked upon as the fathers of the university.

Bologna became the chief school for the study of both laws in Europe. The schools of arts added 1221, of medicine 1260, and theology 1360—by a bull of Innocent VI.—never obtained the importance of the school of law.

On a visit to the city in 1155 Frederick Barbarossa granted the university recognition and in 1158, on the field of Roncaglia, gave it its first charter.12731273    The document of 1155 is known as the Authentica Habita. A historical poem discovered and published by Giesebrecht, 1879, describes Frederick’s visit of 1155. The document of 1158 is addressed to "all scholars and especially the professors of divine and sacred law." Denifle, p. 49 sqq. Bologna was a second and better Berytus, the nurse of jurisprudence, legum nutrix, and adopted the proud device, Bononia docet—"Bologna teaches." To papal patronage she owed little or nothing, and in this respect as in others her history did not run parallel with the University of Paris.12741274    The first papal bull was that of Clement III., 1189, forbidding masters and scholars making a bid for a house already occupied by students.

The student body, which was in control, was at first divided into four "universities" or guilds. The statutes of the German "nation" have been preserved and declare as its object fraternal charity, mutual association, the care of the sick and support of the needy, the conduct of funerals, the termination of quarrels, and the proper escort of students about to take the examination for the degree of doctor.12751275    Denifle, p. 130, makes the scholastic guilds to have originated with the Germans. As a mercantile organization the guild was in existence in Bologna before studies began to flourish there. Foreign merchants residing there had their own societies. Also Rashdall, I. 160.

The rectors of the faculties were elected for two years and were required to be secular clerics, unmarried, and wearing the clerical habit. The ceremonies of installation included the placing of a hood on their heads. The two rectors of the two jurist "universities" gave place to a single rector after the middle of the fourteenth century.

The professors took oaths to the student bodies, to follow their codes. If they wished to be absent from their duties, they were obliged to get leave of absence from the rectors. They were required to begin and close their lectures promptly at the ringing of the bell under penalty of a fine and were forbidden to skip any part of the text-books or postpone the answer to questions to the end of the lecture hour. Another rule required them to cover a certain amount of ground in a given period.12761276    This was called reaching a certain "point,"punctum, which was a division in the civil text-book and in Gratian’s Decretum. Rashdall, I. 199. when Bolognese students decamped and departed to Vicenza 1204, Padua 1222, and for the last time to Siena 1321.

The professors, at first, were dependent upon fees and at times stopped their lectures because of the failure of the students to pay up. The jurist, Odefridus of Bologna, announced on one occasion that he would not lecture in the afternoons of the ensuing term because, "the scholars want to profit but not to pay." Professorial appointments were at first in the hands of the student body but afterwards became the prerogative of the municipality. This change was due in part to the obligation undertaken by the city government to pay fixed salaries.12771277    The first instance of a lecturer with a fixed salary was Garsias, the canonist, to whom £150 were promised. In 1289 two chairs were endowed at £150 and £100. In 1838 there were at Bologna 27 professors of civil law, 12 of canon law, 14 of medicine, and 15 of the arts. Laurie, p. 140. In 1381 there were 23 salaried professors of the law and the city grant amounted to £63,670. Rashdall, I. 212 sq.gely hereditary.

A noticeable, though not exceptional, feature of Bologna was the admission of learned women to its teaching chairs. Novella d’Andrea, 1312–1366, the daughter of the celebrated jurist Giovanni d’Andrea, lectured on philosophy and law, but behind a curtain, lest her face should attract the attention of the students from their studies. Among other female professors have been Laura Bassi, d. 1778, doctor and professor of philosophy and mathematics; Chlotilda Tambroni, who expounded the Greek classics, 1794–1817; and Giuseppina Cattani, who, until a few years ago, lectured on pathology. In Salerno, also, women practised medicine and lectured, as did Trotula, about 1059, who wrote on the diseases of women. In Paris, as we have been reminded by Denifle, the daughters of one Mangold taught theology in the latter part of the eleventh century.12781278    Denifle, I. 233, Ordericus Vitalis speaks of women practitioners and mentions one by name who had studied at Palermo. Engl. trans. I. 433. There were female physicians in Paris in the fourteenth century, one of whom, Jacoba, healed a royal chancellor. Chart., II. 263 sqq. The statutes of the medical faculty of Paris forbade a physician attending a patient who had not paid his bill to another physician and prohibited his practising with Jews or women practitioners. Rashdall, II. 430.

On the other hand, due care was taken to protect the students of Bologna against the wiles of women. The statutes of its college, founded by Cardinal Albornoz, 1367, for Spanish students, forbade them dancing because "the devil easily tempts men to evil through this amusement," and also forbade women to "enter the premises because a woman was the head of sin, the right hand of the devil, and the cause of the expulsion from paradise."12791279    Rashdall, I. 204.

A graduate of civil law was required at Bologna to have studied seven years, and of canon law six years. To become a doctor of both laws, utriusque juris, a term of ten years was prescribed. In 1292, Nicholas IV. formally granted the Bolognese doctors the right to lecture everywhere, a right they had exercised before. The promotion to the doctorate was accompanied with much pageantry an involved the candidate in large outlay for gifts and banquets.12801280    For these expenses see Rashdall, I. 229 sqq.

The class rooms in canon and civil jurisprudence at Bologna became synonymous with traditional opinions. There was no encouragement of originality. With the interpretation of the text-books, which had been handed down, the work of the professor was at an end. This conservatism Dante may have had in mind when he made the complaint that in Bologna only the Decretals were studied. And Roger Bacon exclaimed that "the study of jurisprudence has for forty years destroyed the study of wisdom [that is philosophy, the sciences, and theology], yes, the church itself and all departments."12811281    Brewer’s ed., p. 418. Bridges, Opus Majus of Rog. Bacon, I. p. lxxxiii sq. Savonarola and encouraged no religious or doctrinal reform.


Note. – An account of the brilliant celebration of the eighth centenary of Bologna, 1888, is given by Philip Schaff: The University, etc., in Lit. and Poetry, pp. 265–278. On that occasion Dr. Schaff represented the University of New York. The exercises were honored by the presence of Humbert and the queen of Italy. The ill-fated Frederick III. of Germany sent from his sick-room a letter of congratulation, as in some sense the heir of Frederick Barbarossa. The clergy were conspicuous by their absence from the celebration, although among the visitors was Father Gavazzi, the ex-Barnabite friar, who in 1848 fired the hearts of his fellow-citizens, the Bolognese, for the cause of Italian liberty and unity and afterwards became the eloquent advocate of a new evangelical movement for his native land, abroad as well as at home. A contrast was presented at the five hundredth anniversary of the University of Heidelberg, 1886, which Dr. Schaff also attended, and which was inaugurated by a solemn religious service and sermon.



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