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Documenti per la storia dell'Universita di Pavia nella seconda meta del '400. Vol. 1:(1450-1455).

A surge of interest in Italian Renaissance universities has led to a major scholarly development over the course of the past ten to twenty years. Several talented historians have renewed an earlier tradition by publishing collections of documents on Italian universities in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. The four books under review include three volumes of records and a collection of copiously documented articles. They deal in a welcome and useful way with the universities of Pavia, Pisa- Florence, and the Jesuit institution of higher learning known as the Collegio Romano.

Founded in 1361, Pavia was probably the third most important Italian university (after Bologna and Padua), famed for legal studies and a favorite destination of German students. Between 1905 and 1915 Rodolfo Maiocchi published three large volumes of documents on Pavia for the period 1361 through 1450, the foundation for studies on the University of Pavia in the Renaissance. Agostino Sottill now brings the story forward with two books on Pavia in the second half of the fifteenth century.

Sottili's Documenti publishes 208 documents, dated 1450 through 1455, from the archives in Pavia and Milan. This is the first volume of a series that is intended to publish everything available on the University of Pavia between 1450 and 1500. The volume contains two rolls: a "fiscal roll" of 1452-53 (containing a list of professors and their salaries but not their teaching duties) and an academic roll of 1455-56 listing professors, teaching positions, and salaries. At that time Pavia had twenty-nine professors of law, twenty-five arts and medicine instructors, and two theologians, in addition to a teaching student rector for law and another for arts and medicine. Pavia was unusual among Italian universities in that it had more legists than professors of arts and medicine between 1455 and 1456, and carried the second largest professoriate (behind Bologna) in Italy. Both Pavia and Bologna expanded considerably in the later fifteenth century, a period of growth and glory for most Italian universities. The rest of the documents concern individual professorial appointments and payments, many documents dealing with student disturbances (including the fights between Italian and ultramontane students over rector elections), and a document of April 1453 with a tantalizing reference to a strike by professors. Sottili in his introduction promises much more material in future volumes. The series is off to a fine start.

Universita e cultura is Sottili's important collection of seven Italian-language and four German-language articles published between 1971 and 1991 on the University of Pavia, its German students, and the penetration of Italian humanism into Germany in the second half of the fifteenth century. The book maintains the original pagination of the articles at the top of the page and adds new pagination at the bottom. The most important piece is a 62-page overview of the University of Pavia in the second half of the fifteenth century. It includes detailed summaries of university rolls, material on the humanist professor Baldassare Rasini, and ducal interventions into university affairs.

Sottili demonstrates that the Sforza dukes followed a politics of intervention in order to encourage German students to come to Pavia and to use the university for their own political ends. For example, on 14 November 1475, Duke Galeazzo Maria Sforza wrote to the college of legists to point out that the Burgundian ambassador was a very learned man. Since the ambassador was about to visit Pavia, the duke wondered if the college might be willing to talk to the ambassador in order to see if he were worthy of a doctorate of jurisprudence. The ambassador arrived in Pavia on 16 November; members of the college immediately called on him, agreed that he was sufficiently learned, and awarded him a degree on the 17th. Since Italian Renaissance universities made no provision for honorary degrees in a twentieth-century sense, this was an "earned" doctorate granted without study, examination, or payment of fees.

Sottili has unearthed notarial records of 591 Pavian doctorates awarded between 1450 and 1499, and he devotes several articles in particular to the careers of German students at Pavia. He effectively demonstrates that numerous German students acquired degrees in civil and canon law at Pavia and other Italian universities, before returning to Germany where - thanks to their Italian educations - they became bishops, counselors to princes, university dignitaries, and the like. Other articles chronicle the penetration of Italian humanism into Germany in the fifteenth century. Sottili is fluent in both Italian and German and offers an unusually rich documentation and bibliography. The volume concludes with a list of additions and corrections and good indices. Sottili tells us a great deal about the University of Pavia in the second half of the fifteenth century, a period which has remained unknown until now.

Verde's work is the fifth volume (in eight parts) of a series that began in 1973. Most of this volume is devoted to the publication of detailed financial records of the university, from 1473 to 1503, with the majority of the documents recording individual payments to professors. University professors were paid in three equal installments (called terzerie), each awarded after four months of the academic year (4 November through June or early July) had been completed. Unfortunately, payments often lagged considerably. For example, for the academic year 1476-77, payment for the first third of the academic year (1 November through 28 February) was delivered on 5 May, payment for the second third (1 March through 30 June) came on 30 August, and payment for the last third (1 July through 31 October) came on 31 October. The timely payment must have been a very pleasant surprise.

Verde's records include some "appuntature" (deductions) when a professor missed a lecture. The beadle visited every classroom hourly in order to determine whether the professor actually taught. A small amount was deducted from his salary for each missed lecture. Verde devotes the last 140 pages of volume 5 to additions, corrections, and a new bibliography on persons and points raised in the previous volumes.

Verde has now published about 4,500 pages of documents and document summaries on the University of Pisa-Florence for the thirty-year period. (As several reviewers have pointed out, the name "Lo Studio Fiorentino" is inaccurate, because the majority of teachers taught at Pisa and only a handful met their classes in Florence. A better title would have been something like "Lo Studio Pisano-Fiorentino," which is close to what is found in the documents.) The records in volume 5 are less absorbing than those published in earlier volumes. Nevertheless, all scholars interested in the University of Pisa-Florence and the intellectual life of Florence must be grateful to Verde for his labors. A sixth and final volume of indices to the complete work is promised.

The last book reviewed is Paolo Renzi's annotated edition of a university professor's sixteenth-century library that was passed on to a Roman institution of higher learning. Italian universities established their own libraries in the seventeenth century, often based on a bequest from a professor. The Jesuit Collegio Romano - founded in 1551 as an institution of university-level and secondary learning in the humanities, ancient languages, philosophy, theology, and some mathematics - acquired an excellent humanistic library in this way. On 4 June 1585, Marc'Antoine Muret died. Muret was one of the most important humanists of the sixteenth century and had taught moral philosophy, humanistic jurisprudence (from 1567 to 1571, when he occupied the first such chair in Italy), and rhetoric at the University of Rome. Muret left his books to his namesake nephew, a student at the Collegio Romano, in the expectation that they would help the young man in his studies. But on 6 October 1586, the unfortunate youth suddenly died at the age of seventeen, thereby leaving all the books inherited from his uncle to the Collegio Romano. After the customary legal battles with other members of the family, the books of Muret Senior passed in 1601 to the Collegio Romano where, with additions, they became the institutional library available to professors and students. The Bibliotheca Mureti, as it was called, was included in the handwritten catalogue of the Collegio Romano prepared in the late seventeenth and the eighteenth centuries. The list of about 1,500 tides of works published before 1585 of the Bibliotheca Mureti is now MS. Vaticanus Latinus 11,562 in the Vatican Library.

Renzi's book is an edited and annotated list of those 1,500 titles, about 150 of which can now be securely identified (by means of annotations in Muret's hand, for example) as belonging to Muret himself, although the figure may be considerably higher. Nevertheless, as Renzi points out, this collection of fifteenth- and sixteenth-century titles was a superb working library for humanistic studies. While it included some legal and theological titles and a handful of works of vernacular literature, the bulk of the library was a magnificent collection of Latin and Greek titles focusing on the ancient pagan and Christian classics, along with a host of modern humanistic volumes. Thus, the Collegio Romano inherited a major library reflecting the interests, intellectual quests, and preoccupations of Renaissance humanists, especially Muret Senior. Renzi provides a good annotated list, additional lists and documents (including the testaments of Muret Senior and Junior), and appropriate comments. It is another useful volume for the history of higher education in the Italian Renaissance.

PAUL F. GRENDLER University of Toronto
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Author:Grendler, Paul F.
Publication:Renaissance Quarterly
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Jun 22, 1997
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