Studium Generale  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Studium Generale is the old name for a medieval university which was registered as an institution of international excellence by the Holy Roman Empire. Most of the early Studia Generalia were found in Italy, France, England, Spain and Portugal, and these were considered the most prestigious places of learning in Europe. The Vatican continues to designate many new Universities as Studia Generalia, although the popular significance of this honour has declined over the centuries.

As early as the 13th century, scholars from a Studium Generale were encouraged to give lecture courses at other institutes across Europe and to share documents, and this led to the current academic culture seen in modern European universities.

The nine universities generally considered as Studia Generalia early in the 13th Century were:

Both theological and secular Universities were registered. This list quickly grew as new Universities were founded throughout Europe. Among the newly created universities that followed the first wave of Studia Generalia, were the University of Northampton (thirteenth century), University of Salamanca, the Studium Generale at Lisbon in 1290 (which is the current University of Coimbra) and the studium generale at Lund, the first university in Scandinavia.

Many of these universities received formal confirmation of their status as Studia Generalia towards the end of the 13th Century by way of papal bull, along with a host of newer universities. While these papal bulls initially did little more than confer the privileges of a specified university such as Bologna or Paris, by the end of the 13th century universities sought a papal bull conferring on them ius ubique docendi, the privilege of granting to masters licences to teach in all universities without further examination (Haskins, 1941:282).


  • Haskins, George L (1941) 'The University of Oxford and the Ius ubique docendi,' The English Historical Review, pp 281-292.

See also

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