News

The Path to Public Service at SEAS

News

Should Supreme Court Justices Have Term Limits? That ‘Would Be Fine,’ Breyer Says at Harvard IOP Forum

News

Harvard Right to Life Hosts Anti-Abortion Event With Students For Life President

News

Harvard Researchers Debunk Popular Sleep Myths in New Study

News

Journalists Discuss Trump’s Effect on the GOP at Harvard IOP Forum

THE RISE OF UNIVERSITIES.

NO WRITER ATTRIBUTED

Paris and Bologna were the earliest seats of advanced study - the one in theology, the other in law. They were the foundations of the modern universities, Oxford and the universities in Spain, Germany and northern France being modeled after the University of Paris, and those in Italy and southern France after the University of Bologna. Originally they were not universities, in the modern sense of the term. The nucleus of the modern university was merely a gathering of pupils around a teacher of eminence and repute, whom they supported by fees. The teacher, who was called "doctor" or "magister artum," had no power of conferring degrees. If he was a lecturer of great repute pupils flocked around him, and then, finding himself unable to do the necessary work, he chose a colleague or favorite pupil as a co-worker, and from this arose what was called a university. The university of Bologna was started in this way, beginning with the study of Roman law; but other departments were soon added, each one of these departments being called a university. There were soon four of these universities at Bologna, and the number was continually increased. In Bologna the two great divisions were the Ultramontane (foreigners) and the Citramontane (natives). The universities were divided into "nations," who received the new-comers according to their extraction, dividing them off according to the number that came from a particular district. Universities modeled after those at Paris and Bologna began with charters defining their powers. Most of them received peculiar political rights, even though within a municipal corporation, and they guarded these rights most jealously. The story is told that two students of Paris, having murdered a man, were hanged by the officers of the law. The university officers and students demanded full reparation. If this should be refused, they vowed they would leave the town. This could easily be done, as they owned no libraries or buildings. Upon hearing this terrible threat, the provosts kissed the corpses on the mouth, asking their forgiveness, and with great pomp delivered the bodies to the university. Another story is vouched for that in 1229 A.D. 20,000 students and professors emigrated from Paris to Oxford, on account of a quarrel with the city of Paris, thereby materially aiding the struggling English university.

At Bologna, the ruling power was at first entirely in the hands of the students, they choosing the professors, while at Paris the lecturers alone had authority. The officers were originally a rector and a counselor, with civil officers, such as beadles, notaries, etc. The rector held his place for a year and the retiring rector chose his successor. Degrees of "doctor" and "magister" were given, though these titles were not originally used. The degree was given after an examination and bestowed the right of teaching upon the holder. It took six to eight years to get a degree at law in Bologna. Brilliant students, however, after a term of five years were allowed to teach, upon the recommendation of their respective lecturers, and were then called "Bachalarins." The lecturers were either ordinary or extraordinary. The former lectured on the most important books in the morning and the latter in the afternoon. As before remarked, fees at first supported the lecturers, but gradually lectureships were founded by the cities, and the governments gradually gained their present power over the universities, and professors were no longer chosen by the students. The age of the students was various, but they were usually older than at the present day, it being reported that men of fifty years of age turned their steps towards Bologna upon the news of a new study, as Roman Law.

The University of Paris was the first to introduce the system of colleges. The main object in the universities being lectures, there was no need of any buildings, except for lecture rooms. There was no library, as printing had not yet been invented. The system of colleges, on the other hand, was entirely different. It demanded the closest intimacy between professor and student, both of whom lived in the same house for reasons of economy. It could but react to the benefit of the students, while the lecture system gave no chance for any intimacy which might arise between student and professor. This system arose at Paris, but was imported to England and almost did away with the original lecture system at Oxford. About this time, the revival of classical learning drove out the study of Commercial Law, though lectures were still given on these subjects. The invention of printing also gave an impetus to learning, through the study of cheap books instead of valuable manuscripts. Little by little, the university lecturers made way for the "fellows," and these have, in their turn, made way for the present tutors of Oxford and Cambridge.

J.

Want to keep up with breaking news? Subscribe to our email newsletter.

Tags