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Humanism and Scholasticism in Sixteenth- Century Academe. Five Student Orations from the University of Salamanca [*].

A collection of student orations by the Salamancan jurist Diego de Covarrubias, edited here in the appendix, offers a glimpse of the mental landscape of canon and civil lawyers in this era. The orations combine traditional scholastic forms of argumentation with humanistic themes, most prominently that of "arms and letters." The article sets the orations in their intellectual and institutional context, and traces the intellectual lineages for this central topos. Although Covarrubias was conversant with the humanist literary tradition, in which "arms and letters" stood for twin achievements of a well-rounded courtier, the main point of these exercises was to assert, following Bartolus, that the legal profession rightfully deserved to inherit the honor and privileges bestowed in ancient times upon men of arms.

Most intellectual historians would agree that the sixteenth century saw a hardening of the boundaries between "humanism" and "scholasticism," the two most familiar categories of scholarship in the early modern period. The reasons for this hardening of positions have long been debated. While traditional intellectual history, taking its cue from Renaissance polemicists, generally portrayed these two modes of scholarship as intrinsically antagonistic, revisionists have argued for several decades that the antagonism between humanists and scholastics was often rooted more in personal and disciplinary disputes, the most intense of which took place within the competitive atmosphere of the universities. [1] A recent study by Erika Rummel, which achieves a welcome synthesis of this revisionist position with the traditional view that humanism and scholasticism were fundamentally incompatible, also stresses the importance of the universities in exacerbating animosities between humanist teachers (who were mainly newcome rs to academic life) and the jealous, traditional-minded doctors of the theology faculties who resented the humanists' invasion of their terrain. [2] It is difficult not to conclude from both Rummel and the earlier revisionists that the universities in general, and the traditional "higher faculties" (theology, law, and medicine) in particular, were an obstacle to the progress of humanist thought in the sixteenth century.

Yet humanism and scholasticism in the sixteenth century were not simply contemporary programs for scholarship and education. Both were traditions nearly two centuries old which had profoundly influenced many diverse branches of learning, and not always in self-conscious opposition to one another. One place where the interplay between scholastic tradition and humanist innovation was particularly significant is the academic tradition of law where, as Paul Kristeller, Donald Kelley, and others have suggested, many of the literary and philosophical topoi often associated with Renaissance humanism appeared as early as the fourteenth century. [3] Humanists and jurists continued to share many common intellectual traditions in the sixteenth century, although the intensification of professional rivalries in this period sometimes obscures the fact. Modern scholarship, while generally nodding assent to the proposition that lawyers made an important contribution to the humanist movement in Italy, still tends to treat si xteenth-century legal studies as a wholly "scholastic" sphere into which humanist insights only penetrated when the traditional Bartolist method of legal interpretation (the mos italicus) was finally defeated by the humanist mos gallicus (the more historical-minded approach to the study of law championed by such humanists as Poliziano, Alciato, and Bud[acute{e ]]). [4] The debate between proponents of Bartolism and the mos gallicus was certainly an important part of the story of sixteenth-century jurisprudence, but to concentrate exclusively on it is to overlook the many subtler ways in which thinkers within the mainstream of legal studies, which remained dominated by Bartolism, were affected by the humanist movement.

The texts edited here (appendix, p. 92) illustrate the intermingling of humanist and scholastic influence on the academic legal tradition in a setting where traditional Bartolism showed no signs of giving way to the humanist mos gallicus. They consist of a series of academic orations from the law faculty of the University of Salamanca, written and presumably delivered in 1538 and 1539. The author of these speeches was no ordinary law student, but a young jurist who would become one of sixteenth-century Castile's most respected and prolific intellectuals: Diego de Covarrubias y Leyva (1512-1577), professor of canon and civil law in Salamanca from 1539 to 1548; author of ten widely read volumes of legal commentaries; advisor to Charles V and Philip II; Bishop of Ciudad Rodrigo from 1560 to 1565; Bishop of Segovia from 1565 to 1577; and President of the Council of Castile from 1572 to 1577. [5] Before matriculating in Salamanca's law faculty, Covarrubias had benefitted from a grammatical education that was more humanistic than that of most Spanish students in his day, studying both Latin and Greek and reading widely in classical authors. [6] As a jurist and law professor, Covarrubias would become a skilled practitioner of the scholastic method, earning the appelation "the Spanish Bartolus." These orations represent some of his earliest known writings, and a rare example of academic oratory from sixteenth-century Spain. [7] The central theme of most of the orations is "arms and letters," a classical topos which had become deeply imbedded in both scholastic and humanist tradition. By examining the uses to which Covarrubias put this topos, we can observe how formative both traditions were to a scholar in his academic milieu, and how they could simultaneously reinforce and undermine one another, according to the author's designs.


As student exercises, these five orations are unusual among the surviving literature from sixteenth-century Salamanca. Most of the academic literature that survives from this period was produced by university teachers; the more famous examples include the repetitiones of humanist Antonio de Nebrija from the early 1500s, and those of Dominican theologian Francisco de Vitoria from the 1530s and 1540s. [8] Although Covarrubias did become a professor of law in Salamanca in 1539, these five pieces date from his late student days, and thus illustrate a different kind of oratory altogether -- far less often studied, but no less significant in the intellectual history of the university.

Orations 1, 2, 3, and 5 are all brief rhetorical exercises of the kind spoken before the academic authorities at major transitional points in a student's career. Covarrubias began his studies in Salamanca in 1523 at the age of eleven. After four years devoted to Latin and Greek, he matriculated in the faculty of canon and civil law in 1527, and earned a bachelor's degree in 1533, having completed the requisite six years' attendance at the university's public law lectures. In 1538 he became a colegial (resident scholar) of the Colegio Mayor de San Salvador de Oviedo, one of Salamanca's four exclusive residential colleges, and began to give public lectures on canon law. The first of these five orations (which he entitled "oration on seeking a public lecturing post") evidently marks his acceptance of this lectureship. [9] In December of the same year he was awarded the licentia, the graduate degree which formally entitled one to lecture at the university. [10] A candidate for the licentia was publicly examined before a committee composed of the chancellor, who was the highest-ranking academic authority in the university, and doctors (or in theology their equivalent, maestros) from the candidate's own faculty. After celebration of a special mass, the examiners showed the candidate three separate passages from the main texts of his discipline (for the law faculty, either the Corpus iuris civilis or the Corpus iuris canonici), and he prepared a formal address on the one of his choice. The statutes do not stipulate how long the candidate had to prepare (though they hint at perhaps a day), but they do expressly rule out setting a time limit for the ensuing oral examination. In this examination the candidate's arguments were contested by four members of the faculty, against whom he then defended his arguments. [11] Covarrubias found this experience so gruelling that in the last of his five orations he rebuked his examiners for the suffering they had caused him. [12] Oration 2 ("oration preceding the exami-nation") was ap parently delivered shortly before the oral examination, and oration 3 ("petition for the degree") some time afterward. (The theses from the oral examination itself do not survive.) Rhetorically, oration 2 corresponds to the exordium or procemium of a classical oration, its purpose being to arouse the sympathy and interest of an audience before the speaker launched into a longer argument. Oration 3, apparently a peroratio meant to follow the same argument, was also a plea for sympathy and, as the title "petitio" implied, a formal request for the degree itself. These shorter exercises were clearly intended not to demonstrate the candidate's expertise at his particular discipline, but to recite his personal merits and exhibit his rhetorical skill.

Six weeks after the licentia examination, in February 1539, Covarrubias reached the pinnacle of academic prestige, becoming a doctor of both laws (doctor utriusque iuris). [13] The examination for this degree was similar to that of the licentia; in fact the university statutes prescribe (in somewhat ambiguous fashion) only one procedure for both degrees. [14] Unlike the licentia examination, however, the main body of Covarrubias's doctoral examination survives, in the form of oration 4, the longest and most complex of the present five pieces. In the academic language of the day this exercise would have been called a repetitio or a disputatio. The long prologue of oration 4 (ending with "dixi" on fol. 33v) is analogous to oration 2 (i.e., both are brief prologues to a longer speech), while oration 5 was apparently given at the conclusion of oration 4, and is thus analogous to oration 3. While in Italian and some German universities the doctorate and the licentia were granted simultaneously to those who earned both, in Salamanca, as in France, the two degrees were separated by a brief period of a few weeks. [15] Unlike the licentia exercise, the doctoral examination was attended by the rector, who though not an academic official was the highest-ranking university authority, and whose presence gave the doctoral ceremony an even more formal, public flavor than the licenciate exercise. Covarrubias's doctoral oration was delivered before the university's chancellor, rector, and full senate (claustro), which included doctors and masters from all faculties. While the shorter orations would each have taken less than ten minutes to recite, the full text of the doctoral examination would would have taken closer to an hour.

Academic orations, falling largely within the province of laudes disciplinae (eulogies of particular disciplines), are highly stylized exercises and thus poor indicators of an author's personal convictions. [16] Yet they do provide a useful window into prevailing patterns of discourse and the sources that informed them. As scholars like Lynn Thorndike and Eugenio Garin have shown, scholastic and humanist styles of speech and argumentation already intermingled promiscuously in university rhetoric in the later Middle Ages. These orations help to establish that the same was true in sixteenth-century Salamanca. The civil and canon law faculties there represented the apex of medieval scholastic tradition, and the main body of Covarrubias's doctoral oration clearly reflects this; it entails a list often numbered theses, each "proved" by methodical citation of recognized authorities. The further the author ventures into the thickets of Bartolist legal exegesis, the less elegant, the more densely abbreviated, and th e more inaccessible to the general reader or listener his style becomes. The oration cannot be called a scholastic exercise in the full sense, for it represents only the preliminary stage of such an exercise: the theses or conclusiones to be defended, without a list of possible objections or the author's resolution of these objections. (In this case this second stage was probably omitted, as explained below.) But it still offers a good example of one application of the scholastic method in the law curriculum. Moreover, as will soon be shown, part of the thrust of the doctoral oration was to refute certain assumptions common among humanist scholars of the early sixteenth century.

At the same time, the five orations also reveal the important contribution of humanism to legal thought and writing, both by their style and by their content. Covarrubias's evident debts to the humanist tradition include a preoccupation with rhetorical formulae and persuasive delivery, and a predilection for classical subject matter. All five orations convey a vigorous sense of belonging to a classical tradition with its roots in Greek and Roman civic life. The first and fifth both begin by recalling the exhortations of Marcus Cato to virtuous action. Even the scholastic doctoral oration (no. 4) is introduced by a rousing tribute to the glories of Athens under King Solon and of Rome in the days of the Republic. Adapting the medieval notion of a translatio studii (translation of learning) to his own Castilian context, Covarrubias posits a political lineage from Athens, justly esteemed for her "literary eloquence and the organization of her civic culture," to Rome, whose leaders, "Cicero and other princes of R oman eloquence," created another "Athenian city supported by letters, the erudition of wise men, and the judgment of philosophers," down to Salamanca, "a marketplace of letters" whose inhabitants are "true Roman patriots" (fols. 36-36v). We should not, of course, read Covarrubias's enthusiastic use of Ciceronian rhetoric as, per se, an indication of fundamentally "humanist" pedagogical sympathies. As Erika Rummel has pointed out, by the 1530s it was common to find the most hidebound scholastics freely adopting Ciceronian rhetoric and even writing in humanistic style (11, 14). Indeed, Covarrubias's use of such classicizing style in an address to the law faculty helps to prove Rummel's point. Yet the humanist aspects of these works are more than just fashionable stylistic borrowings; even within the most Bartolist portions of the lengthy doctoral oration, there are humanist elements that reveal how much the Bartolist tradition itself had in common with the Italian humanism of the Quattrocento.

Few ceremonial speeches of this nature survive from Salamanca in any era, so it is somewhat difficult to place these ones in an appropriate institutional context. [17] This is particularly true of the four shorter speeches, all of which are highly personal and do not appear, at first, to follow any prescribed formula. One extant Salamancan student oration from the late fifteenth century, however, gives some basis for comparison with Covarrubias's shorter orations: the petitio licentiae of canonist Juan de Castilla, written about 1485. [18] It belongs to the same genre as Covarrubias's petitio gradus for the licentia (oration 3 below). To judge from these two examples, such petitiones immediately followed the candidate's delivery of his theses (conclusiones) at either the licentia or the doctoral examination, and were addressed personally to the chancellor. Standard ingredients evidently included a brief autobiography, an account of personal sacrifices made for the sake of scholarship, and a eulogy of the can didate's discipline. Both Castilla and Covarrubias spoke of sleepless nights and of sensual pleasures foregone in the pursuit of legal expertise, and both incorporated a laus disciplinae in praise of the legal profession. That both of these degree candidates carefully preserved these petitiones for posterity without preserving the conclusiones themselves suggests that they considered the petitio the most important part of the public performance. Indeed Castilla, in a prologue to a copy of his petitio, commented that he thought it a waste of parchment to include the rest of the exercise (122).

There is no dramatic difference in style between the two authors. Both write in a somewhat labored rhetorical Latin that is for the most part more classical than the standard diction of a scholastic disputatio, but cannot quite be called Ciceronian. The most striking differences are length (Covarrubias's petitio is less than half the length of Castilla's), content, and the shift from biblical to classical authority. Castilla's petitio would have taken some fifteen to twenty minutes to recite. Its core is a detailed autobiographical narrative describing how his intended vocation changed, in the years of his youth, from cleric to soldier to jurist; his years of academic toil; and his gratitude to his teachers. He ends with a panegyric to the reigning monarchs Ferdinand and Isabella. Covarrubias, on the other hand, boils down his autobiography to a single sentence, and fills the rest of his three-minute speech with classical references. He opens with an exhortation on virtue as the true path to glory, embellish ed by quotations from Hippocrates and Cicero, and proceeds, in the next breath, to the importance of philosophy, illustrated by colorful reference to the legend of the Theban philosopher Crates tossing his money into the sea to take up philosophical studies. This heavy freight of ancient anecdotes and quotes is characteristic of all of Covarrubias's four short orations, and of the exordium and peroration of the doctoral oration.

Castilla, too, calls on outside sources to embellish or validate his assertions about what is praiseworthy, but the two men's chosen sources differ markedly. Castilla invokes mainly Holy Scripture. Covarrubias's petitio licentiae makes no reference at all to scripture. Castilla's other literary references are sparse: only five from sources other than the Bible or the Corpus iuris canonici. Of these, one is from Innocent IV's commentary on the Decretals; two are from ancient works (Virgil's Aeneid, widely read throughout the Middle Ages, and the more recently recovered Republic of Plato), and two are patristic (Augustine and Lactantius). Covarrubias shows himself far more widely read in both Greek and Latin sources. If we take into account all five orations, his knowledge of Latin authors (aside from the patristic canon, which he also cites copiously) includes Horace; several works of Cicero; Valerius Flaccus (author of the Argonautica); Aulus Gellius (author of the Noctes Atticae); and the fourth-century poe t Ausonius. Of course this does not prove Covarrubias to have been a humanist scholar, as all of these authors were well known in the Middle Ages, and his knowledge of some of them may have been second-hand; but read in context his use of these sources suggests a genuine enthusiasm for Roman republican culture. Gellius, widely popular in the Middle Ages, was also one of Erasmus's favorite authors; Erasmus drew anecdotes and quotations freely from the "charming" Noctes Atticae, [19] recommended it to teachers as a useful source of knowledge, [20] and ranked Gellius among "the great authors" whose style was worthy of imitation, along with Cicero, Livy, Quintilian, Apuleius, and Pliny. [21]

Among Greek authors, Covarrubias's five orations cite or draw on Homer, Lucian, and above all the biographers Diogenes Laertius and Plutarch (both the Moralia and the Lives). Here, too, we must beware of mistaking acquaintance for true expertise; Covarrubias could have read any or all of these authors' works in Latin translation (all were translated by the mid-fifteenth century), and some of his references even suggest that he derived a certain story second-hand from an unreliable intermediary, or read it carelessly himself. His reading of Lucian's dialogue Hermotimus, for example, seems to reverse the roles of Lycinus, the down-to-earth critic of philosophy, and Hermotimus, the gullible follower of the Stoics whom Lycinus finally persuades to give up philosophy altogether. In his autobiographical sketch, Covarrubias claimed to have studied Greek alongside Latin grammar with private tutors in Salamanca the 1520s, [22] and later in life his library would include a number of Greek books and codices, [23] altho ugh his somewhat corrupt, Latinized quotation of Homer's Odyssey in the doctoral oration suggests that in 1539 he was less than fluent in the language. [24] Still, by comparison with Juan de Castilla, Covarrubias certainly presents himself as the greater admirer of Greek letters.

Although the four shorter speeches demonstrate Covarrubias's enthusiasm for oratory in the classical style, the longer doctoral oration reveals even mote about how his training in the canon and civil law faculty informed his view (or at least his formal, public view) of the world, and how this academic discipline itself incorporated both scholastic and humanist intellectual traditions. This oration marked the most momentous turning-point in a law student's career: the assumption of the highest academic degree. The title of doctor, awarded only to law graduates (in Salamanca the equivalent title for theologians was maestro or magister), was a rare distinction. In strictly academic terms it was not a higher degree than that of the licentia docendi, since it did not require any further study, but rather a title of honor conferred upon certain holders of the licentia. Yet only a small minority of letrados ever became doctors of law, the main obstacle being the cost. [25] Covarrubias relied on financial help from his uncle Juan de Covarrubias, as well as a loan from the university treasury, to cover the expenses. [26]

Although the sources from Salamanca shed only dim light on the usual content, duration, or manner of delivery of such doctoral orations, the documentation for similar exercises in other universities can offer some guidance. The statutes of German-speaking universities from the early sixteenth century show that doctoral exercises in the law faculty consisted of two parts: a repetitio by the candidate, which meant the reading and interpreting of selected passages from authoritative sources and commentaries, followed by a disputatio, in which the candidate defended his theses. By the sixteenth century, however, this second stage had become a mere formality rather than a true test of the candidate's forensic skill. [27] The statutes of Basel from 1511, for example, relate that after the candidate presented his repetitio, a younger scholar rose to present three arguments against it. But instead of responding seriously to these arguments, the doctoral candidate merely thanked the youth by reciting the set formula:

It is not for me to respond to you; I turn my steps instead to that which is the main reason for our presence in this place. But first, noble youth, I will thank you and your forebears, offering myself most readily to your and to their gracious service. Farewell. [28]

Covarrubias's performance involved the same two parts, although the second was probably less perfunctory. The university's registers show that the rector of the university and two younger students (bachilleres, who had not yet earned the licenciado) answered his conclusiones with some opposing arguments. [29] The final sentence of his own manuscript suggests that he gave these a serious counter-response, although unfortunately no record of its content survives.

The passage chosen by Covarrubias's examiners for the doctoral conclusiones came from Gratian's Decretum, one of the two major texts studied in the canon law curriculum. The exact text reads: "And David, too, first received the gift of knowledge (scientia) by the grace of the Holy Spirit, and afterwards attained the rule of the kingdom." [30] Using this Old Testament reference as his point of departure, Covarrubias composed a speech that was traditionally scholastic in structure and at the same time replete with humanist themes. He organized his conclusiones as a list of numbered assertions, in the usual scholastic manner. Yet the content of these conclusions had little to do with the Old or New Testament, although he seasoned it with a generous sprinkling of biblical and patristic quotations. Instead, he wrested the notion of sapientia from its biblical context and interpreted it, in keeping with both the medieval legal tradition and the civic tradition of the Quattrocento, as standing for the expertise of secular public servants. This conception of sapientia reached back to the pre-Christian tradition of the Stoics, who defined wisdom broadly as the knowledge of matters both divine and human. Renaissance authors had revived the Stoic tradition, and the identification of active public service with the traditional Christian virtue of sapientia became a hallmark of Renaissance political thought. [31] A similar conception of sapientia was also a hallmark of the medieval and Renaissance legal tradition; medieval jurists, harking back to Justinian's Code, defined law (lex) as the knowledge of things both human and divine. [32] Covarrubias not only quoted this passage from the Code (oration 4, fol. 34r), but he played at length on the identification of lex with sapientia and the concomitant identification of jurists with philosophers, theologians, and other kinds of esteemed learned men.

He also embellished his speech by invoking a literary theme popular since the Middle Ages, especially with humanist writers: the classical topos of armae et litterae (arms and letters). All five orations, in fact, employ this topos at one point or other, comparing the toil of study with the strivings of great military leaders, or the university itself to a battlefield or a wrestling-ring. For example, in the climax to number 3, anticipating the receipt of his licentia, Covarrubias acknowledged the chancellor's aristocratic background by remarking: "Since these literary pursuits of ours are no different from military service, we deem it right humbly to seek the belt for this service from a man of noble ancestry such as yourself" (fol.Vv). In the much longer doctoral oration, he would erect a still more complex argument upon the premise that, in his own words, "Just as the soldier fights for his country with arms, so also do men of letters defend their country from destruction with erudition and knowledge" (or ation 4, fol. 34r).

The analogy was not an original one in a law faculty oration. Juan de Castilla, in his petitio licentiae five decades earlier, had also invoked the comparison between military service and legal studies as a link between his brief autobiography and his formal eulogy of the discipline of law. Castilla recounted that early in life he had aspired to marry and become a soldier. After all, he had reasoned, Plato had called the soldier's life a virtuous one, and Augustine had reassured Pope Boniface I that military service was pleasing to God. [33] On deeper reflection, however, Castilla claimed to have decided that modern soldiers were unworthy of the esteem traditionally showered on them; they were prone to every kind of moral weakness, and besides, there were simply too many of them. For Castilla, the conclusion was clear: it would be nobler to pursue "another kind of military service," which also punished wickedness, rewarded the good, and ended discord, namely the profession of law. [34]

Covarrubias makes a similar point, but with greater sophistication and within a much more classical frame of reference. He begins the doctoral oration with a stirring proemium assessing the reasons for the greatness of Athens ("not, in my judgment, because the Athenians were illustrious and distinguished in waging war... but [because of] the abundant fame of her sages"), and tracing a loose historical genealogy from Athens to Rome to Salamanca, where "doctors of both laws ... have attained no less glory among the Spanish than if they had kept this republic in liberty by arms from the oppression of the Moors." He then embarks on the main part of the exercise, a commentary on the assigned text from the Decretum, from which he derives ten conclusiones. The first of these sets the tone for the entire commentary: "Nobility which springs from letters is no less glorious than that which originates in feats of arms, however distinguished" (oration 4, fol. 33v).


Covarrubias drew most of his understanding of armae et litterae from the writings of medieval jurists. In the medieval legal tradition, the topos of arms and letters was associated with two distinct social orders: milites and doctores. Each of these had its own elite who claimed to represent the highest ideals of secular society: the knightly orders and, since the thirteenth

century in most of Europe, university law graduates. The central thrust of the ten conclusiones of Covarrubias's doctoral examination was that doctors of law deserved a higher place in the contemporary social order than soldiers or any other type of secular professional.

This conception of arms and letters had grown out of the Roman topos of fortitudo et sapientia (courage and wisdom). [35] The parallel between the legal profession and the military one, denoted by armae et litterae or armae et leges (arms and laws) was a common theme in Roman culture, and could be found in republican authors like Cicero as well as in the law codes of the later Empire. Cicero boasted of his own political successes in the law courts by declaring, "Let arms give way to the toga," [36] creating a durable metaphor (or perhaps repeating one that was already current). Livy opened his account of the reign of Numa Pompilius by crediting this legendary king with giving the city, "founded by arms [armis]," a new "foundation in laws [legibus]." [37] Some six centuries later, the Emperor Justinian's Institutes were prefaced with an exhortation in the name of the emperor himself, declaring the importance of codified laws as a necessary counterpart to a well-organized military corps: "It is fitting for the imperial majesty not only to be adorned with arms, but also to be armed with laws, so that good government may prevail in times of both war and peace." [38] First published in 533, Justinian's Institutes became, especially after the legal revival of the twelfth century, the standard first-year text for university law students, and the sentiment expressed in these opening lines also became, more broadly, an important part of the cultural vocabulary of medieval Europe. [39]

These arguments were relayed to the later Middle Ages, and endowed with an important new twist, by the prolific fourteenth-century jurist Bartolus of Saxoferrato (1314-1357). [40] Bartolus, whose commentaries on Justinian's Code and Digest formed a central part of the curriculum of the law faculties in the sixteenth century, served as Covarrubias's single most important authority in the doctoral oration. Bartolus resurrected Justinian's comparison between the miles and the advocatus for a novel purpose -- not to praise both pursuits equally, but to single out his own profession, the legal one, as worthy of the highest esteem and privilege. Bartolus creatively deployed the analogy between soldiers and advocates to justify drawing specific conclusions about the social standing of jurists and doctors of law from Roman law texts which had nothing to say about "doctors" or "advocates" explicitly, but a great deal to say about the privileges and status of the military profession.

Bartolus and his followers typically made such arguments in the context of treatises on "dignities" and privileges. Medieval academics had produced treatises enumerating the privileges of doctors, supported by the authority of Roman and canon law, ever since the academic title of doctor first appeared in the late thirteenth century. [41] Since at least the fourteenth century, jurists had regularly written on the broader topic of "dignities," [42] of which the doctorate was considered one. These jurists drew their principles chiefly from the Corpus iuris civilis (Justinian's Institutes, Code, and Digest), the Roman law compilations which served as the basic texts in civil law, as the Decretum and the Decretals did in canon law. Their starting-point was the parallel drawn by Justinian's compilers between soldiers (milites) and advocates. Milites in Roman law belonged to the privileged segment of society, the honestiores (as distinct from the unprivileged humiliores), which also included veterans, senators, equ estrians, decurions, and certain types of judges and magistrates. [43] The honestiores enjoyed certain privileges specified by law. They were exempt from being fined beyond their ability to pay; [44] from the obligation to perform certain civic functions [45] or (except in a few specified cases) to become guardians of minors; [46] and from many extreme kinds of punishments. [47] By invoking Justinian's analogy between the two callings, Bartolus could exploit these categories to justify and explain the legal privileges of academic doctors (a relatively new social group) in medieval society. Bartolus was followed in this line of reasoning by Baldus (Baldo degli Ubaldi, 1327-1400), and by a host of fifteenth and sixteenth-century jurists. [48]

Appealing to the Roman laws of military privilege to buttress an argument about the medieval legal profession entailed a highly selective and imaginative application of legal source texts. From a modern historical perspective, the raw material available from Justinian hardly warrants the verdict that Roman legislators valued professors of law more than they valued those who fought in the army. On the contrary, laws recognizing the privileges and exemptions due to soldiers and veterans were clear and abundant, while the privileges of advocates and of professors were acknowledged only by more sparse and less consistent legislation. A few laws in the Code and the Digest extended exemptions resembling these military ones to such groups as professors, teachers, or advocates. A law of Constantine (C.10.53.6) exempted doctors, grammarians, "and other professors of letters" and their families "from all functions and offices civil and public," from the obligation of housing official visitors, and, apparently, even fr om being taken to court. [49] An early fifth-century law of Theodosius (C.12.15.1) decreed that grammarians, philosophers, and jurists (iuris periti) who had taught in the city of Constantinople for a period of twenty years should be rewarded with the dignity of a count. For most of Roman history; however, professores did not include teachers of law, as there were no law schools until long after there were schools of rhetoric and grammar. Advocates in the Roman empire tended to have no formal legal training. Even when schools of law were established, professors of law were not assigned the same privileges as professors in more long-established schools [50]

Bartolus's invocation of military privileges to justify the dignity of doctors of law was thus a classic example of the juristic technique of aequiparatio, which Ernst Kantorowicz has aptly described as "the essence of the art of the jurists -- the action of placing on equal terms two or more subjects which at first appeared to have nothing to do with each other." [51] Indeed at their most ambitious, the medieval jurists did more than simply argue that the legal benefits of military service should also be extended to jurists; they also asserted that in their own society these doctors of law possessed greater "dignity" than soldiers. "Dignity" was the jurists' term for nobility bestowed on account of an office or profession. In his commentary on Justinian's Code, under the rubric De dignitatibus, Bartolus expounded at great length on the privileges of "doctors," with special emphasis on doctors of law like himself. [52] He began the whole discussion by posing the question whether soldiers and doctors represen ted equivalent degrees of "dignity," and concluded that they did not: doctors were worthier and deserved more privileges. Bartolus then went on to insist that all the legal privileges prescribed in law for soldiers should also apply to doctors, [53] and proceeded to enumerate them as though they applied to doctors alone. Doctors could not be tortured, subjected to corporal punishment, decapitated, or imprisoned for debt. They could not be obliged to pay debts beyond their capacity. They were exempt from civil duties such as guardianship, and from paying certain taxes. [54] These and other privileges and exemptions recorded in Roman law, a few of which originally applied both to doctors and soldiers but most of which applied only to soldiers or veterans, were now presented, eight centuries later, as though they were the exclusive prerogatives of a select group of university graduates.

Bartolus was understandably accused of historical insensitivity by more historical-minded jurists in the sixteenth century, but his arguments had an obvious relevance to thirteenth- and fourteenth-century European society. Medieval noblemen in this period enjoyed an array of legal advantages, ranging from tax exemptions to privileged forms of execution, which were modelled explicitly on the exemptions of privileged Roman groups. Beginning in the thirteenth centuries, when Europe's newly founded universities began to confer degrees, many rulers found it beneficial to extend parallel privileges to the graduates of these institutions. In an early example, the 1250 statutes of the city of Bologna exempted masters in grammar and doctors of law from military service. [55] A doctorate in law conferred some of the most valuable legal privileges of any degree. [56] In Castile, the privileges due to doctors of law were incorporated in the Siete Partidas of Alfonso X, the famous legal code compiled just a few decades a fter the founding of the Iberian peninsula's first universities. The Siete Partidas enumerated the following four specific privileges, derived directly from Roman law: (1) the right to be addressed as "maestros," "caballeros," and "se[tilde{n}]ores de leyes;" (2) the obligation of judges to invite any doctor present in their courts to share the bench; (3) free access to the person of the king or emperor; (4) the title of "count" to be awarded after twenty years of teaching (2.31.8). It is debatable how seriously these traditional privileges were taken. The Siete Partidas did not enter in force as Castilian law till 1347, and even they were never simply recognized as the law of the land. Antonio Garcia y Garcia has asserted that "there is no evidence whatsoever of anyone trying to put into practice in Castile the four privileges" concerning doctors of law. [57] But sixteenth-century evidence makes clear that the equation between doctors and caballeros, if not the specific four privileges of the Siete Partidas, was taken quite seriously. Its most important implication was tax exemption. This was extended not only to doctors but also to the maestros (the highest degree in theology) and licenciados. A Castilian royal edict of 1534 upheld the rights to tax exemption for all doctors, maestros, and licenciados who "are rigorously examined in Salamanca, Valladolid, or the [Spanish] College of Bologna," and the following year the privilege was extended to graduates of the university of Alcal[acute{a}]. [58] In 1553, in the Cortes of Monz[acute{o}n, the noble privileges for doctors of law were explicitly extended to the kingdom of Arag[acute{o}]n. [59] Privileges of nobility were also formally extended to professors in universities in the new world. In 1563, the doctors comprising the claustro of the recently founded University of Mexico (1553) petitioned the viceroy to let them "enjoy the immunities that his majesty had granted to the university, [namely] of making caballeros of those who graduated from it." [60]

Some academic traditions still thriving in Salamanca in Diego de Covarrubias's lifetime seem to have derived directly from the Alfonsine privileges recorded in the Siete Partidas. After twenty years of service as a teacher, a doctor in Salamanca earned, not the title of count, but -- no mean substitute -- the privilege of a fully paid retirement. He continued to earn his full salary, and typically appointed a substitute to lecture in his place, paying the substitute a fraction of the salary and retaining the difference himself. [61] He could also continue to participate in the claustro de diputados, the legislative body of the university. This privilege (which was rare, if not unknown, outside Castile) did not extend to professors who lacked a doctoral degree. [62] The doctors of law who sat in Covarrubias's audience knew that such distinctions made them the envy of many of their academic colleagues, and it must have been reassuring to hear this learned newcomer to their ranks tell them that they richly dese rved these privileges.


In following the Bartolist tradition so closely, Covarrubias was also participating in the humanist tradition in a certain sense, for Bartolism and humanism had not lived entirely separate lives in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. On the contrary as has long been recognized, jurists played a large part in the early growth of humanism, and despite the growing disdain among many humanists for scholastic learning, there remained certain fundamental affinities between the social thought of humanists and jurists. [63] Much of the jurists' argument about the dignity of doctors was grounded in an emphatically Ciceronian appeal about the role of advocates and jurists in public life; they argued that practitioners of the law deserved high esteem and an array of social and economic privileges because of the value of the public service which they perform in defense of the res publica. The Ciceronian comparison between arms and the toga can even be found in the Justinian corpus itself, for example in the following passage which Covarrubias quotes verbatim in the doctoral oration:

For we believe that not only those who rely on swords, shields, and breastplates fight for our republic, but advocates likewise. For they serve as the champions of causes who defend in [even] the smallest way the hope, the life, and the posterity of those who are in danger. [64]

We can find the same argument perpetuated by fifteenth-century Spanish and Italian authors who are difficult to label exclusively as either humanists or jurists, for they participated in both traditions. The leading example in Castile was the converso Alfonso de Cartagena (1384-1456), Bishop of Burgos, who was also a correspondent of Leonardo Bruni and the first Castilian translator of Cicero. [65] Though a man of letters by avocation, Cartagena was also trained as a jurist, or in Castilian, a letrado. (This very term embodies an important ambiguity between two meanings of "letters" which lies at the heart of the present discussion; literally letrado means lettered, but it was used from the twelfth century onward specifically to denote men trained in civil or canon law, an indication that these letrados saw themselves as members of the republic of letters.) In a letter to the Marqu[acute{e}]s de Santillana, Cartagena applied Cicero's image of arms and the toga to medieval Castilian society and posited a mora l equivalence between caballeros (knights), who defend the republic with arms, and "the letrados who by testifying before human tribunals, work to help those who are in danger. The one we called knights of the unarmed cavalry;" he explained, "and the others, knights of the armed cavalry." [66]

In Italy, various humanists of the Quattrocento had already set a precedent for Covarrubias's combination of humanist rhetoric and Bartolist argument in speeches and dialogues praising law and the legal profession. Some of these might well have served as inspiration for Covarrubias's exercise, although we can prove no direct knowledge of any particular work. While fifteenth-century humanists are more often remembered as authors of laudes disciplinarum in praise of the liberal arts, it should not be forgotten that they also wrote about the merits of the traditional disciplines of law, theology, and medicine. Most commonly, they addressed such questions as "whether medicine or law is the nobler science" from multiple points of view, using the genres of semi-scholastic treatises or humanist dialogues. [67] But sometimes they also produced briefer, more one-sided arguments like that of Covarrubias. The youthful Oratia in laudem legum of Poggio Bracciolini (1380-1459) has much in common with Covarrubias's several orations. [68] Both extol the benefits of law to a well-ordered society, and both admire the ancient ancestry of law and legal science in human history, citing Hebrew, Greek, and Roman examples, although Poggio does so at greater length and with greater historical insight. There is no knowing whether Covarrubias ever read a copy of this unpublished oration (which was probably also delivered in a university setting), but similar Italian works were probably known to Salamanca's law students, if not by print or manuscript transmission then by contact between scholars travelling between the two lands.

But this alliance between humanism and Bartolism was fragile and tentative. As is well known, not all humanists admired the legal profession; indeed, one of the main themes of fifteenth- and sixteenth-century humanist rhetoric was the shallowness and pedantry of Bartolus and his followers. While jurists and some humanists continued to invoke the topos of "arms and letters" to glorify the legal profession, in Covarrubias's day a very different version of the topos had begun to compete with theirs: the humanist theme of arms and letters as twin paths to fame and glory for an aspiring youth. Indeed this literary tradition is probably far more familiar to most modern readers than the Bartolist one. The notion that the well-rounded young gentleman should excel at both arms and letters was most memorably expressed in Baldassare Castiglione's famous set of dialogues, Il Cortegiano (The Book of the Courtier), whose interlocutors debate, among other subjects, the relative importance of arms and letters as "ornaments" of the perfect courtier (1.[ss] 41-46). First published in Venice in 1528, Castiglione's treatise was translated into Spanish by the Catalan poet Juan Bosc[acute{a}]n in 1534 (the first translation into a foreign language) and rapidly attained wide popularity in Spain. [69] The theme of arms and letters became widespread in the literature of the siglo de oro, most memorably in Cervantes's Don Quixote, where the debate about the respective merits of arms and letters as lifetime pursuits for a young man recurs in various scenes in the novel. [70]

Many take The Courtier as paradigmatic for the meaning of arms and letters in the Renaissance, [71] but it should now be clear that it actually represents a competing tradition to the Bartolist one. In at least one sense this version of "arms and letters" was more faithful than Bartolus to the classical meaning of fortitudo et sapientia, for that topos had originally denoted two virtues which the ideal hero should combine, as seen for example in Homer's Achilles and Virgil's Aeneas. [72] But Castiglione differed from Bartolus not only in urging his readers to take up both arms and letters; he also gave quite a different meaning to "letters." For Castiglione the latter signified not the study of law but the studia humanitatis, or classical languages and literature. In the dialogue of The Courtier, Count Ludovico da Canossa (the main spokesman for the author's own position) defines "letters" as a combination of linguistic and literary skills:

I would have [the courtier] accomplished in letters, at least in those studies that are called the humanities, and conversant not only with the Latin language but with the Greek, for the sake of the many different things that have been admirably written therein. Let him be well versed in the poets, and nor less in the orators and historians, and also proficient in writing verse and prose, especially in this vulgar tongue of ours.... (1.[ss] 44)

Although this version of "arms and letters" found its climax in Castiglione, it was already widespread in the early Quartrocento. A classic example appears in Pier Paolo Vergerio, who in 1405 praised the young Ubertino of Carrara, a Paduan noble, for combining both kinds of training. Vergerio wrote to his pupil:

You had before you the choice of training in Arms or in Letters. Either holds a place of distinction amongst the pursuits which appeal to men of noble spirit; either leads to fame and honor in the world ... [T]o your great credit you elected to become proficient in both alike: to add to the career of arms traditional in your family, an equal success in that other great discipline of mind and character, the study of Literature. (103-04)

The Spanish word letras in the same era was also frequently used to denote literature, although generally it meant the vernacular rather than Latin, if only because Latin learning was so much scarcer. The best-remembered spokesman for the pursuit of armas y letras in the sense of vernacular literature was I[tilde{n}]igo L[acute{o}]pez de Mendoza, the Marqu[acute{e}]s de Santillana (1398-1458), the recipient of the above-cited letter from Alonso de Cartagena. Santillana wrote Castilian poetry, owned one of the greatest libraries in fifteenth-century Spain, and patronized numerous translations into Castilian of such popular Latin authors as Virgil, Ovid, and Seneca. [73] He spoke for a small group of educated nobles who tried to challenge the prejudice against book-learning common to most of their class. [74] In 1437 Santillana dedicated a book of proverbs to Prince Enrique of Castile, and in the prologue he assured the king's son that "Learning does not blunt the iron of the spear or weaken the sword in the k night's hand." [75] When Santillana's nephew, G[acute{o}]mez Manrique, eulogized him as "the first man in our time to unite science with chivalry, and armor with the toga," [76] he deliberately echoed Cicero's "Let arms give way to the toga," but he was clearly referring to Santillana's amateur literary pursuits rather than to any association with the legal profession. [77]

Later in the fifteenth century, more and more treatises on themes like "true nobility" and the relative merits of various studies identified "letters" with literature and the liberal arts. [78] The laudes litterarum (eulogies of letters) became a popular way for humanist scholars to extol the benefits of humanistic studies; building on the older academic tradition of the laudes disciplinae (eulogies of particular disciplines), they sang the praises of the studia humanitatis above all other branches of study. [79] The authors and admirers of such works in Spain included Italian teachers of the humanities who came to the Castilian court and to Salamanca in the late fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries, and the handful of Spaniards, like Antonio de Nebrija, Juan de Lucena, Hern[acute{a}]n P[acute{e}]rez de Oliva, Juan de Maldonado, and Juan Luis Vives, who saw in the Italian revival of classical learning the best hope for the future of learning in their native land. Juan de Lucena's Epistola exhortatoria a l as letras (ca. 1482), a brief exhortation to the study of Latin addressed to Fern[acute{e}]n Alvarez Zapata, was an early example (209-17). The laudes litterarum flourished particularly at the new, humanist-oriented University of Alcal[acute{e}] in the early sixteenth century. [80] In more traditional Salamanca, too, humanist teachers engaged in similar exercises, although probably with lesser frequency. [81]

Lucena wrote his Epistola in the vernacular (although in it he professed that "whoever does not know Latin deserves to be called a two-footed ass"). [82] But by the sixteenth century, more of such treatises and orations were composed and performed in Latin, such as Juan Maldonado's Paraenesis ad politiores litteras (1529). [83] Some of them structured the whole panegyric of humanist learning around the theme of arms and letters, like Francisco Decio's Declamatio pro equite contra litteras. Pro litteris contra equitem (1536). [84] In others, arms and letters simply cropped up as a subsidiary theme or a colorful decorative device. [85] Or in place of the phrase "arms and letters," one finds imaginative variants, as when Antonio de Guevara (a Franciscan friar and courtier of Charles V) boasted about writers like himself defending their country with "languages as well as lances." [86]

With such literature proliferating in the early decades of the sixteenth century, it is probably fair to say that by the 1530s the humanist usage of "arms and letters" in both Castilian and Italian literature, which identified "letters" with humanistic studies, was more widely known among the literate public at large than the juristic tradition which identified "letters" more narrowly with the study of law. While we can only guess as to whether Covarrubias had read Castiglione's recently translated work, his orations do not suggest its influence. On the contrary, he seems to have been aiming some of his words directly against contemporary humanists and noblemen who held such ideals.


By the sixteenth century, as Rummel has argued, "humanist" and "scholastic" had hardened into more distinct identity groups, and most intellectuals had a clear sense of loyalty to one or the other. Covarrubias identified himself as a jurist, not a humanist, and it is clear that one of his aims in these academic orations was to refute some points of what we might call prevailing wisdom among sixteenth-century humanists in his own land. Notwithstanding individual humanist defenders of the legal profession like Poggio, the humanists of the fifteenth and sixteenth century in general were among those who most shrilly and effectively criticized doctors of law, and the legal profession in general, as over-privileged and ignoble. Sometimes they even expressed this charge in the language of arms and letters, as when Leonardo Bruni proposed that a career at arms was simply more honorable than a legal career:

This mercenary dealing in lawsuits and controversies is not seemly enough for great and distinguished men. Those who excel in nobility or wealth find their satisfaction in the honor of military life, and consider a doctorate [in law] to be something disgraceful and ignominious for them. [87]

More typically, humanists simply repeated the accusations made by theologians and by the culture at large, that advocates and jurists were narrow-minded pedants who had too little appreciation for truth and too much appetite for money. The image of the legal profession as mercenary and self-interested was, of course, as old a theme in popular literature and culture as the legal profession itself. [88] In the sixteenth century such arguments grew even more widespread, thanks to the increasing litigiousness of Castilian society. [89] It is also tempting to attribute growing hostility to lawyers in this period to the popularity of the political and moral writings of Erasmus, who disdained lawyers (along with many other professional intellectuals) as delighting more in argument for its own sake than in the pursuit of truth. [90] The causation, however, was probably the other way around: the previous existence of similar sentiments surely helped to assure Erasmus's popularity in Spain. The tendency to elevate "nat ural reason" and to condemn formal legal education as at best superfluous and at worst pernicious had a long pedigree in Castilian literature. One typical early example comes from the thirteenth-century Libro de los doze sabios, a treatise written by a group of counsellors to Fernando III (1217-1252). Although the authors of this speculum principis treatise were themselves royal advisors, and probably the closest thing to letrados in Castile in their day, they expressly cautioned the king against placing too much value on the counsel of learned men:

Do not despise the counsel of simple men...for many times God sends his grace through persons one would not expect. Counsel is a grace from God, and written law is not. Although good reason is the basis of all things, as much and even more is given to simple men as to letrados, to boys as to the great and powerful. [91]

In the sixteenth century, Spanish Erasmians helped to perpetuate the argument that the virtues necessary for good governance were sooner to be found in a pure heart, or in the Bible, than in the study of law. According to Antonio de Guevara, for example, virtue and good judgment in a ruler had no direct relation to formal education, let alone legal education. On the contrary, Guevara maintained, the art of good governing was "not sold in Paris, nor is it found in Bologna, nor is it even learned in Salamanca." Instead "experience shows daily the advantage of those [in government] who have good common sense over those who know nothing more than Bartolus" (29). Such writers all served as antecedents for Cervantes's Sancho Panza, the most famous spokesman in Castilian literature for common-sense virtue, who would boast in the same spirit that "I don't have many letters, because I don't even know my ABC, but for me it is enough to have Christ in my memory to be a good governor" (526).

Some humanist critics of the legal profession even objected to the long-standing usage of the term letrado to designate legal training. In his 1516 Castilian-Latin lexicon, Antonio de Nebrija deliberately defied common usage by omitting any reference to the legal connotations of the term letrado, defining it as simply a learned man, and equating it with the Latin litteratus and the Greek grammaticos. [92] A century later (1611) the author of the first Castilian dictionary, Sebasti[acute{a}]n de Covarrubias (Diego's own distant cousin and a humanist scholar of some accomplishment) acknowledged the dual usage of the term only grudgingly:

A man of buenas letras is one who is well-versed in good authors, the study of which is also called by the name letras de humanidad. A letrado is one who professes letters; the jurists and lawyers have also elevated themselves with this name. [93]

Covarrubias's doctoral oration (no. 4) defends the legal profession against those sixteenth-century humanists like Guevara and Nebrija who condemned jurists as narrow-minded or self-interested. For one, he attacks the popular stereotype of the money-grubbing lawyer. Silent about the generous salaries received by law professors in his own day, [94] he cites, as if to counter-balance this embarrassing phenomenon, a passage from Justinian's Digest which forbade the teachers of law from receiving any payment for their services on the grounds that the "civil wisdom" which they teach is "a very holy thing indeed." [95] By contrast, he offers, medieval commentators observed that soldiers are motivated to carry out their duties only by the wages they receive. [96] Like Bartolus, Covarrubias uses the parallel between soldiers and advocates ahistorically to depict the latter as morally superior, knowing full well that the image of the unpaid jurist was wholly irrelevant to Castilian society in the 1530s.

One of the most interesting points on which Covarrubias's views collide with those of contemporary humanists is the question of how to define nobility," a term which appears repeatedly in the doctoral oration. In his treatment of this concept Covarrubias adopts a good deal of humanist rhetoric while ultimately rejecting the prevailing humanist arguments in favor of the views of Bartolus. Traditional medieval thought recognized three different kinds of nobility, as can be seen, for example, in the Siete Partidas: "... nobility comes in three ways: first, through lineage, secondly, through knowledge, and thirdly, through excellence at arms and the excellence of customs and manners." [97] While it is misleading to speak of one "conventional medieval view," before the Renaissance it was most common to prefer lineage over the other two routes to nobility. Thus the same passage in the Partidas continues: "And although those who are entitled to nobility on account of their knowledge or their goodness are justly cal led nobles and gentlemen, they are especially such who enjoy it by ancient lineage."

In the later Middle Ages this traditional aristocratic view was challenged by two newer conceptions of nobility. One was the revived Stoic tradition which denied any political or hereditary basis for nobility. Writers of this persuasion took up Juvenal's maxim, "Nobility of the soul is the one and only virtue." [98] This classical view was reasserted as early as 1260, by Brunetto Larini; in the next century by Dante, who defended the syllogism that "Since honor is the reward of virtue, and all precedence is honor, all precedence is a reward of virtue" (2.3.3); and in the fifteenth century by a whole host of republican humanist writers. [99] In the sixteenth century, Erasmus followed in this tradition, turning the formulation of the Siete Partidas on its head: nobility, he said, may be due to virtue, training, or inheritance, but of these three, the last is "the lowest degree of nobility, for it is so low that it is nothing at all, unless it has itself sprung from virtue"(1987, 151).

A competing attack on the aristocratic theory of nobility came from Bartolus and the jurists. Bartolus, whose social thinking was also anti-aristocratic, also denied that ancestry was the most important source of nobility, but he found the Stoic formula implausibly remote from social reality. In his commentaries on Justinian's Code, Bartolus also posited three different kinds of nobility: natural, theological, and political. [100] He acknowledged the Stoic definition of "natural virtue" as deriving simply from natural qualities of body and mind, but he hastened to add that this natural virtue counted for little in human society, for, as Aristotle had argued, a servant could be endowed with every kind of moral virtue and still not be noble because of his menial social status. [101] Equally irrelevant to this world, in Bartolus's view, was "theological virtue," which he equated with God's decision about whether one was saved or damned in the next life. Here on earth, Bartolus maintained, "nobility" effectively meant political nobility, and this could only result from the action of a prince (or the rulers of a republic); no amount of natural virtue or moral superiority on the subject's part, if not recognized by the proper political authority, could make one noble in earthly society. The matter was complicated, of course, by rules of heredity which allowed nobility to be transmitted to wives and offspring, but in principle, the prince's will was still the supreme fount of nobility, by an explicit analogy with God's power to give or withhold "theological nobility," that is, to save or condemn whom he chooses "sua gratia" (by his own grace). [102] Bartolus's disciple Baldus likewise persistently emphasized the role of the prince as the source of worldly honors and "dignities." In his commentary on the Liber feudorum, Baldus argued that "all dignities flow from the prince as from a fountain, whence all dignities are [found] in him." [103]

Both the Stoic argument and the Bartolist one challenged the aristocratic view that nobility was simply a function of birth. The Stoics and their humanist followers did so in the name of an ethical ideal, while the Bartolists did so in the name of a particular social group: non-aristocratic university graduates. Both of these challenges appealed to Covarrubias, and both appear in the doctoral oration. On the one hand, in oration 4 he often echoes the idealist language of the neo-Stoics, as when he speaks of "nobility born of knowledge" (fol. 35), or when he asserts that "nobility which springs from learning is the most illustrious kind" (fol. 34v). On the other hand, Covarrubias never pursues such rhetoric to idealist, egalitarian conclusions. On the contrary, he follows Bartolus in insisting on the role of the prince as the fount of nobility and all its associated privileges. Like Bartolus, he posits distinct categories of nobility, including "spiritual" and "political," and implies that the former without the latter is of little substance: "From a doctorate one acquires political nobility; and from the study of letters without a doctoral degree one acquires nobility of spirit. Whence a twofold nobility exists in a doctor" (fol. 35r).

By emphasizing the importance of the formal doctoral degree, and the authority of the academic and political hierarchy behind it, Covarrubias suggests that sixteenth-century humanists like Erasmus are half right: it is valuable, indeed noble, to improve one's mind by study, but this alone is not enough to make one truly "noble." The study of "letters," meaning of course the "divine" science of law, imbues men with "nobility of spirit." But as Bartolus (and before him, Aristotle) have taught, spiritual nobility may be worth everything in the eyes of God and yet nothing in the eyes of other men. Proper recognition for the nobility acquired by learning can only be granted within the institutional context of a university, by other men whose "political nobility" also depends on recognition from the monarch. For letrados like Covarrubias whose own status depended on royal favor, such arguments made good sense. Like the rest of that select company of Salamanca law students who expected to leave the university and t he colegios mayores for prestigious careers in the crown's service, Covarrubias was keenly aware of the political basis of his own future prestige.

The aristocratic view of nobility was still deeply ingrained among the Spanish aristocrats who made up a small but disproportionately influential part of Salamanca's student population in the 1530s. For these students of aristocratic, or caballero, pedigree, ancestry was often a far more important source of pride than the legal learning they were supposed to acquire in the course of their studies. Academic traditions like that which exempted noble students from taking examinations reinforced such complacent assumptions. [104] These aristocratic students surely found Castiglione's humanistic vision of the well-rounded youth a worthy model for emulation, and this was precisely why Covarrubias criticized that vision. One of the sharpest thrusts of his doctoral oration was to insist that the artificial nobility conferred by a doctorate was no less prestigious than the natural nobility associated with old family names. In the surprisingly fierce conclusion to the oration, Covarrubias chided Salamanca's rector (a young nobleman named Jer[acute{o}]nimo de Manrique) for putting too much stock in his lineage and his family's military heritage and for "defending the ignorant," just as he had concluded the first of his five orations by urging the same rector not to favor "those who so often go around this school of Salamanca as though it were the field of Mars, and make the place unfit for private leisure, still less for public service." [105] If we were to insist on identifying humanism in sixteenth-century Spain strictly with the ethos of The Courtier, these rebukes would seem strange, even contradictory, at the close of an oration that opened with such obseqious homage to Greek and Roman eloquence. For Covarrubias, however, humanism was neither a creed nor a calling; it was, rather, a rich collection of words and images that could be artfully pillaged for his own professional and polemical purposes.

(*.) I am grateful to Anthony Grafton, Donald Kelley, and Frans van Liere for comments on earlier versions of this paper. For forms of citation from the Corpus iuris civilis and Corpus iuris canonici, see introductory notes to appendix, p. 92. Other abbreviations used in subsequent footnotes are: BUS = Biblioteca Universitaria de Salamanca; AUS = Archivo Universitario de Salamanca.

(1.) One of the first and most influential proponents of this revisionist view is Kristeller. See also Overfield.

(2.) Rummel challenges the more extreme formulation of the revisionist position, but agrees with Overfield that the hostilities between humanists and scholastics were rooted in specific historical contexts. She gives a useful summary of the recent historiography, 16-18.

(3.) Kristeller, 1979, 85-105; Kelley 1974, 25-49.

(4.) For an introduction to the mos italicus and the mos gallicus, see Kelley, 1970. Two examples of this uneven treatment of humanism and legal thought in otherwise excellent works are Schoeck, Nauert.

(5.) For biographical information, see Covarrubias, 1957, introduction; Van Liere, 1995.

(6.) Covarrubias spent his eariest years in Salamanca residing with his uncle Juan de Covarrubias, a wealthy prebendary of the cathedral, who provided him with private tutors in Latin and Greek. See Rom[acute{a}]n de la Higuera, fols. 180v ff. and Van Liere, chap. 3.

(7.) The orations are preserved in an autograph manuscript by Covarrubias, bound together with one of the folio-sized volumes of his legal commentaries, in BUS ms. 2038, fols. 4-36.

(8.) The term repetitio was used (somewhat confusingly) both for these formal lectures given by professors at the end of term, and for the exercises required of students assuming the licentia or the doctorate, as explained below. For a useful elucidation of the term and its uses in sixteenth-century Salamanca, see C[acute{a}]tedra, 128 ff. Of the five present pieces, only the longest (no. 4) would have been called a repetitio.

(9.) Covarrubias first lectured publicly as a summer substitute for Fernando Vello in the summer of 1538, just a month after becoming a colegial. BUS ins. 2038, fols. 57ff. contain notes for the lecture he delivered, headed: "1538. Titulus de arbitris quem legi anno 1538, mense augusti pro licenciato Fernandino a Vello."

(10.) Thus, strictly speaking, his previous lecturing appointment was premature. Such appointments were not uncommon, and it was certainly clear that Covarrubias would become a licenciado very soon. On the historical background of the licentia, see Weijers, 46-51, 386-90.

(11.) "Estatutos hechos por la Universidad de Salamanca. a[tilde{n}]o 1538," tit. 29; Esperab[acute{e}]-Arteaga, 1: 168-69. All doctors or maestros who wished were invited, and the four youngest were required to attend.

(12.) Oration 5, fols. 36r-v.

(13.) The record of his receiving the doctoral degree on 9 February 1539 can be found in AUS/807, flo, 43v; AUS/772 fol. 27; cited in Marcos Rodriguez, 45, 47-48.

(14.) Estatutos... a[tilde{n}]o 1538," tit. 29; Esperab[acute{e}]-Arteaga, I: 168-69.

(15.) Originally the licentia was the highest attainable academic degree, and "doctor" merely designated a teacher (especially of law). On the emergence of the doctorate as a degree, see Weijers, 144-51. On the relationship between the two degrees in France, see Fournier, 115 ff., 321 ff., 538 ff., 675 ff. For Germany, see Burmeister, 287-88.

(16.) Rummel, 4, citing the example of Stephan Hoest as rector of the University of Heidelberg in the 1450s, points out that in such a context the same man could, on different occasions, assume contradictory positions.

(17.) On the oration as a genre in Renaissance Castile, see G[acute{o}]mez Moreno, chap. 10.

(18.) Edited in Azcona, 122-28. Azcona gives this text the title "Arenga pronunciada para la petici[acute{o}]n de grado," but Castilla's own phrase is licentie petitio. All page numbers in references to Castilla are from Azcona.

(19.) Erasmus to Heinrich Northoff, August 1497, Collected Works 1: 128 (letter 61). Erasmus's borrowings from Gellius are too copious to cite here, but for some characteristic examples, see his Lingua (Collected Works, vol. 29); and Colloquies (Collected Works, vols. 39-40). His letters (Collected Works, vols. 1-11), are also full of admiring references.

(20.) Erasmus, De ratione studendi, in Collected Works 23: 673.

(21.) Erasmus, De copia, in Collected Works 24: 303. Cf. Antibarbari, Collected Works 23: 33.

(22.) Covarrubias, Autobiographical manuscript.

(23.) See especially Andr[acute{e}]s, 229-42.

(24.) Oration 5, fol. 34r.

(25.) It is difficult to calculate exactly what this amounted to. At Salamanca, the constitutions in force since 1422 prescribed that any licenciado wishing to be "doctored" must pay two doblas each to the university treasury and to every doctor from the relevant faculty who attended the degree-granting ceremony; fifty florins each to the chancellor (maestrescuela) and to the doctor who served as the student's patron (padrino); and one hundred reales each to the notary and to every bedel present, as well as provide ceremonial gloves and hats for the rector and all maestros who attended. ("Constituci[acute{o}]nes de Mart[acute{i}]n V para la Universidad de Salamanca," [ss] 20; Beltr[acute{a}]n de Heredia, 2:192.) This did not include the expenses for elaborate feasts and festivities which accompanied the awarding of the degree, and which may have accounted for most of the total expense. Neither the statutes of 1529 nor those of 1538 detail the full costs involved in attaining the doctorate; see "Estatutos... a[tilde{n}]o 1538," tit. 29; Esperab[acute{e}]-Arteaga, 1:169. But as these statutes frequently make reference to "the constitutions," it must be deduced that the constitutions of 1422 were still in effect. Literary references to the prohibitive costs of doctoral degrees in Salamanca are abundant. For one amusing example, see Huarte de San Juan, 551 ff.

(26.) Marcos Rodr[acute{i}]guez, 41, 47.

(27.) Burmeister, 296.

(28.) "Meum non est respondere tibi, sed ad id, propter quod principaliter hic loci convenimus, gressos meos diverto, sed prius tibi, optime adolescens, gratias egero ac progenitoribus tuis, offerens me ad tua et eorum grata beneplacita paratissimum Semper vale." Statutes of Basel, 1511, cited in Burmeister, 296.

(29.) "Propuestas las conclusiones por el doctorado le arguy[acute{o}] el Rector, D Jer[acute{o}]nimo Manrique, y dos bachilleres juristas. Fue su padrino Antonio de Benavente." Marcos Rodr[acute{i}]guez, 48. This is a transcription of either AUS/772, fol. 27r, or AUS/807, fol. 45r; Marcos Rodriguez does not make clear which one.

(30.) "Hinc etiam David prius cx gratia Spiritus sancti donum scientiae percepit, et postea regni administrationem assecutus est." Grat. D. 36, 2, 2 (Fr. 134). Cf. 2 Chron. 1:10.

(31.) Augustine, De Trinitate, XIV, 1, 3, had sundered the Stoic definition in two, insisting that sapientia consisted only in the knowledge of divine things, while the knowledge of human things constituted scientia: "Dispurantes autem de sapientia, definierunt eam dicentes: Sapientia est rerum humanarum divinarumque scicntia...ista definitio dividenda est, ut rerum divinarum scientia proprie sapientia nuncupetur, humanarum autem proprie scientiae nomen obtinea." On changing notions of sapientia, see Rice.

(32.) Lex enim est rerum humanarum et divinarum cognitio" (D.1.3.2). On this medieval tradition and its legacy in the sixteenth century particularly in France, see Kelley, 1976,267-79.

(33.) Plato, Republic B 373d-375e; Augustine, Epistle 189 (in Select Letters, 326-7).

(34.) "Sed qui hodie, si certius loquar, in deliciis carne et vestibus sunt ipsis delicatiores?... Sed merito deflendum est quod plures hodie milites videmus quam agricultores, nichil de his que tempore creationis pollicentur adimplentes... alteram militie speciem consectatus sum. ... Nam hec iuris professio est quod iuste, sancte, integre, decenter er ignoscenter equali lance presidere facit, discordias tollit, contumelias prohibet, scelera et peccata debita severitate compescit, que tandem pro meritorum diversitate, bonis premia, et malis justa infert supplicia." Azcona, 124-25.

(35.) Kantorowicz discusses the classical and medieval treatment of the armae et litterae topos in both juridical writing and emblematic art in two articles in his Selected Studies: "Kingship under the impact of scientific jurisprudence" (151-66), and "The sovereignty of the artist: a note on legal maxims and the Renaissance theory of art" (352-65).

(36.) "Cedant arma togae, concedat laurea laudi." Cicero, On his own times (poem), Book III; quoted by Cicero himself in De Officiis 1, 77.

(37.) "Qui regno ita potitus urbem novam, conditam vi et armis, iure eam legibusque ac moribus de integro condere parat" Livy, Ab urbe condita 1, 19.

(38.) "Imperatoriam malestatem non solum armis decoratam, sed etiam legibus oportet esse armatam, ut utrumque tempus et bellorum et pacis recte possit gubernari...." Institutes, in Corpus Iuris Civilis 1, proemium.

(39.) In one very early example, the Merovingian poet Venantius Fortunatus (ca. 540-600), in a panegyric to King Chilperic, played extensively on the language of both "arms and laws" and "arms and letters" to praise the achievements of this Christian ruler: "Inter utrum sagax, armis et iure probatus / belliger hinc radias, legifer inde micas. / ... / Te arma ferunt generi similem, sed littera praefert: / sic veterum regum par simul atque prior. / ... / Legibus arma regis et leges dirigis armis: / armis diversae sic simul itur iter." Fortunatus, in George, 199 ff. (Poem 9.1, lines 101-02, 107-08, 111-12.)

(40.) Barrolus, lib. XII. Further citations of Bartolus's commentary on the Code will give his book, title, and chapter numbers instead of page numbers.

(41.) See Le Bras. See also Chasseneux, discussed by Kelley, 1988, 90.

(42.) See, for example, Laudensis.

(43.) See Garnsey 221 ff, 245 ff.

(44.) D.42.1.6.

(45.) C.10.44.1; D.49.18.5(2).

(46.) D.27.1.8.

(47.) Veterans and their sons were exempt from beating: D.49.18.1, D.49.18.3; D.47.21.2. Veterans could not be thrown to the beasts: D.49.18.3; nor could soldiers: D.49.16.3(10). Soldiers could not be sent to the mines or tortured: D.49.16.3(1).

(48.) See Homodeis; Lafranchini; Lemonnier de Lesnauderie, part 3. See also the commentary of Alexander e Imola (1423-1477) on D.49.16.3; Ludovicus Pontanus de Roma (1409-1439), Singulari sive natabilia, no. 492; and Johannes de Platea on C.10.32.33. (These last three works are all cited in Vervaart.) Further late sixteenth-and early seventeenth-century examples are cited in De Ridder-Symoens, 2: 369 n. 37.

(49.) "... neque in provinciis hospites recipere nec ullo fungi munere nec ad iudicium deduci vel exhiberi vel iniuriam pati ...." Some early modern texts of this read "professores alios litterarum et doctores legum..." (emended but noted as a variation in Mommsen); but this is a later addition. Professors of law did not in fact share these privileges with professors of grammar and rhetoric in Roman times. See Schulz, 273-74.

(50.) Schulz, 270 ff

(51.) Kantorowicz, 1965, 362.

(52.) "Doctor legum est maior omnibus professoribus." Bartolus, lib. XII, tit. 1, no. 20.

(53.) Bartolus, lib. XII, tit. 1, no. 19.

(54.) Bartolus, lib. XII, tit. 1, nos. 2-16.

(55.) Denifle, I, 205; cited in Paerow, 538.

(56.) See Baumg[ddot{a}]rtner.

(57.) Antonio Garcia y Garcia, "Los dificiles inicios," in Fern[acute{a}]ndez Alvarez, 1: 24.

(58.) Novissima Recopilaci[acute{o}]n, lib. I, tit. VII, leyes 7, 8.

(59.) Ajo Gonz[acute{a}]lez, 2:34. (This document does not specify what these privileges were thought to be.)

(60.) "... . los hubiese por nuevamente incorporados de Doctores de esta Real Universidad, para gozar de las inmunidades que su Majesrad habla hecho a Ia Universidad de hacer Caballeros a los que en ella se graduasen." De La Plaza y Ja[acute{e}]n, 1: 64, cited by Peset, 217.

(61.) Or if he chose to continue teaching, the retired professor could take up a different post and earn more than before. When Le[acue{o}]n de Castro retired from his c[acute{a}]tedra of Greek in 1548, he used 7,000 of his annual salary of 20,000 maravedises to pay a substitute, and earned an additional 10,000 maravedises by serving as the substitute for Hernan Nu[tilde{n}]ez de Toledo, who had retired from a c[acute{a}]tedra of rhetoric in the same year. (AUS/16, fol. 15; cited in L[acute{o}]pez Rueda, 68-69.) Sometimes the substitute was paid partly by the retiring catedr[acute{a}]tico and partly by the university.

(62.) There is no mention of the practice in Rashdall or De Ridder-Symoens. See also Nebrija's anecdote about the absence of the practice in Italy, in Aelii Antonii Nebrissensis ... repetitio octava de numeris, quam recitavit in Salmanticensi Gymnasio, tertio idu iunias. Anno M.D.XII, quoted (in Spanish translation) in Olmedo, 42.

(63.) See Baron, 90; Kantorowicz, 1965, 277; Kelley, 1988, 88; Kelley 1990, 144ff.

(64.) C.2.7.14; cited in oration 4, fol. 34v.

(65.) Scholars of fifteenth-century Spanish humanism have differed sharply on the question of whether to apply the term "humanist" to letrados like Cartagena. Di Camillo, 1976, calls Cartagena "the first Spanish humanist" (16), while Nader argues that letrados like Carragena were too traditional-minded to deserve the appelation. For an admirably nuanced discussion of Carragena's "eclectic" approach to humanism, see Lawrance, 223ff.

(66.) "... los letrados allegando delante los tribunales humanos trabajan por escapar a los que son en peligro. Pero [acute{e}stos llamamos los cavalleros de la cavaller[acute{i}]a desarmada e los otros de la con armas. ..." "Respuesta del venerable sabio Se[tilde{n}]or Don Alfonso, Obispo de Burgos, a la questi[acute{o}]n fecha por el magnifico Se[tilde{n}]or Marqu[acute{e}s de Santillana," in L[acute{o}]pez de Mendoza, 423.

(67.) See for example, Garin; Thorndike.

(58.) Poggio, Oratio in laudem legum, in Garin, 11-15. See also Salutati (cited in Kelley, 1990, 144).

(69.) See Burke, 62ff; Krebs.

(70.) See especially part 1, chaps. 37-38.

(71.) See, for example, Curtius, 178-79. Russell also takes Castiglione's formulation as paradigmatic.

(72.) See she useful discussion in Curtius, 170-74.

(73.) Santillana, though a friend and patron of letrados like Cartagena, had no university education himself, and only the barest rudiments of Latin literacy; see his confession in a letter to his son, Don Pedro Gonz[acute{a}]1ez (who did study in Salamanca) about his difficulties with Latin; see also L[acute{o}]pez de Mendoza, 455-57. On Santillana's library, see Schiff.

(74.) Other noble Castilian authors with comparable interests included Pero L[acute{o}]pez de Ayala (1332-1407), Fern[acute{a}]n P[acute{e}]rez de Guzm[acute{a}]n (1377-1460), and Diego de Valera (1412-1488), who wrote vernacular histories and chronicles. See also Nader, 1979.

(75.) "La sciencia non enbota el fierro de la lanca, ni faze floxa la espada en la mano del cavallero." L[acute{o}]pez de Mendoza, 218-19.

(76.) "Este seyendo el primero ... que en nuestros tiempos congrego la sciencia con la caballeria e la loriga con la toga." G[acute{o}]mez Manrique, cited in Di Camillo, 1976, 122.

(77.) The two most important discussions of this aspect of arms and letters are Russell and Round.

(78.) Thirteen of these (with greatly overlapping arguments) are translated into English in Rabil, 1991; see especially Landino, De vera nobilitate (1487), 234-35; 239-40.

(79.) For a distinguished example, see Trebizond, 365-69.

(80.) The Salamanca canonist Juan Alfonso de Benavente's De scientiarum laudibus, to judge from its title, may have been one example from the later fifteenth century, but it is lost. It is mentioned by Marineus Siculus, 83r. For some fourteenth-century examples outside of Spain, see Fransen and Maffei. For the sixteenth century, see Alcina Rovira; Rico.

(81.) See, for example, P[acute{e}]rez de Oliva, 1976.

(82.) "El que latin non sabe, asno se debe llamar de dos pies." Lucena, 213.

(83.) In a similar vein, see Marineus Siculus's discourse before Charles V (1528-1529), in which he singles out for praise a number of contemporary noblemen ("viros et genere nobiles et litteris insignes") as embodiments of the combination of arms and letters. Don Pedro Fajardo, for example, is called "conspicuus, litteris scilicer, armis et omnique genere virtutis." Beltr[acute{a}]n de Heredia, 3: doc. 904.

(84.) Cited by Alcina Rovira, 206, n.37.

(85.) See, for example, [acute{P}]erez de Oliva, 1982, 105ff, 112ff.

(86.) "La patria, Ia cual somos obligados a defender unos con las lanzas y otros con las lenguas." Guevara, 1950, 1:50, cited in Maravall, 1972, 42. On Guevara's life and thought, see Jones; Redondo; Rallo Gruss. For a useful summary of recent scholarship on Guevara, see Garc[acute{i}]a Gual. Guevara, considered an Erasmian, often employed the language of "arms and letters" to argue that a good prince should be devoted to peace. For example, he praised the Emperor Antonius Pius for maintaining peace and justice in all provinces of the empire "not with arms, but with letters." Guevara, D[acute{e}]cada de c[acute{e}]sares, in Obras completas 1: 499. Throughout this and his other moral-political treatises, Libro dureo de Marco Aurelio and Relox de principes (Obras completas, vol. 2) Guevara repeatedly associates letras with prudence and sound government, and armas with misery and injustice.

(87.) See Bruni, "Epistola Nicolao Strozae," in Garin, 7-8. Bruni's De militia (1422) upheld the superiority of military service to other kinds of public service; see Bayley.

(88.) For an early example in Casrilian literature, see L[acute{o}]pez de Ayala, verses 314-36. This literary theme would continue through Cervantes and Quevedo and beyond. For more historical examples of popular disregard for lawyers, see Maravall, 1983; Gonz[acute{a}]lez Alvarez.

(89.) This growth in litigiousness is the central thesis of Kagan, 1981.

(90.) See, for example, Erasmus, Praise of Folly, in Collected Works 27: 125. See also Complaint of Peace, in Collected Works 27: 315-16.

(91.) Walsh, 105c.(CF. Eccl. 9:16.)

(92.) Nebrija, under the entry for letrado. Nebrija also acknowledged the application of the term to the legal profession, but only when specified as such: he equated letrado bueno en derechos with the Latin jurisconsultus.

(93.) "Hombre de buenas letras, el que es versado en buenos autores, cuyo estudlo Ilaman por otto nombre letras de humanidad...Letrado, el que profesa letras, y hanse alcado con este nombre los juristas abogados." S. Covarrubias, under the entry for letras.

(94.) Professors of law were more highly paid than those in any other faculty in the University of Salamanca in this period; see Peset and Gonz[acute{a}]lez Gonz[acute{a}]lez, "Las facultades de leyes y c[acute{a}]nones," in Fern[acute{a}]ndez [acute{A}]lvarez, 1: 9-61; 2: 25ff.

(95.) D.50.13.1(5); cited in oration 4, fol. 33v.

(96.) Baldus, commentary on D.29.1.21; cited in oration 4, fol. 33v.

(97.) "Et esta gentileza aviene en tres maneras; la una por linage, la segunda por saber, et la tercera pot bondat de armas, et de costumbres et de maneras." Siete Partidas, 2.31.2.

(98.) "Nobilitas animi sola est atque unica virtus." Juvenal, 8.2.

(99.) For further discussion of humanist ideas of vera nobilitas, see Skinner, 421 ff, 447ff.

(100.) Bartolus, lib. XII, tit. 1, nos. 57-61.

(101.) Bartolus, lib. XII, tit. 1, no. 56.

(102.) "Nobilitas apud nos inventa est ad similitudinem en imitationem illius nobilitatis, quae est apud Deum:.... Sicut ergo ille apud deum est nobilis quem deus sua gratia sibi gratum facit: ma in foro nostro, ille est nobilis, quem princeps sua gratia: vel lex sibi gratum, vel nobilem facit." Bartolus, lib. XII, tit. 1, no. 62.

(103.) "Omnes dignitates a principe profluere tamquam a fonte, unde in eo sunt omnes dignitates" Baldus, l. 1.2.10.

(104.) Statutes of 1422, 18; in Beltr[acute{a}]n de Heredia 2:191. See also Kagan, 1974, 182-86.

(105.) Oration 1, fol. 4v; oration 5, fol. 36v. In this era the rector, who held the office for one year, was elected from the student body and usually came from the ranks of the upper nobility. The noble family Manrique de Lara traced its lineage to the twelfth-century Counts of Castile.


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(Biblioteca Universitaria de Salamanca ms 2038, fols IV-36.)


No. [1.] (fols. IV-IVv), "oratio ad petendum publice legendi munus" ("Oration on the occasion of seeking a public lecturing post")

No. [2.] (fol. V), "oratio proemia examini" ("Oration preceding the [licentiate] examination")

No. [3.] (fols. V-Vv), "petitio gradus" ("Petition for the [licenciate] dcgree")

No. [4.] (fols. 33-36), "oratio" ("Oration" [for the doctoral degree])

No. [5.] (fols. 36-36v), "petitio gradus" ("Petition for the [doctoral] degree")


The autographs of the texts edited here are all found in BUS ins. 2038, a folio-sized volume containing 386 folios all in the hand of Diego de Covarrubias. The contents (mostly commentaries on the Decretum, Decretals, and Clementines) were written between 1538 and 1540; the volume was bound at a later date.

The text given here is essentially a diplomatic edition, retaining the original spelling. All recognizable abbreviations (including those for proper names and titles) have been silently expanded, except for incipits from canon and civil law citations, which are left abbreviated as written. Editorial additions are supplied in [less than] [greater than] brackets. What appear to be simple scribal errors or eccentricities have been corrected in the text, with the manuscript spelling given in a footnote. The e-caudata is rendered as "ae". Capital letters (which Covarrubias employed very irregularly) have been supplied for proper names and titles, but not for the beginnings of sentences unless they appear thus in the manuscript. Capitals appearing in other places have been printed as lower case. Headings from legal texts, and titles of books, treatises, etc., are rendered in italics. Quotation marks (never used in the original) have been supplied where it is clear that Covarrubias is quoting verbatim. Where words or letters are illegible (usually due to being hidden in the binding) and cannot be conjectured, they are replaced with asterisks (*), each asterisk representing approximately one missing letter. Covarrubias's textual sources are identified (when possible) in footnotes.


In the text, Covarrubias's forms of citation are preserved as he wrote them, with a few exceptions. Abbreviations for proper names and titles of works are silently resolved. (Where part of a word is given in [less than] [greater than] brackets, this indicates not a resolved abbreviation but a suppletion for illegible or hidden letters.) As noted above, abbreviations of incip its are not resolved. Abbreviations for civil and canon law texts (such as "c." or "ff."), which Covarrubias generally supplied himself, are supplied in [less than] [greater than] brackets where he omitted them. (The only one of these which he regularly omitted was "ff.", which was, however, common in the sixteenth century and is thus consistently supplied here as an aid to the reader.)

The following abbreviations were common in the sixteenth century:

Corpus Iuris Civilis:

ff. Digest

cott. Code

lib. book

l. lex of Code or Digest (corresponds to chapter in Mommsen edition)

c. capitulum of Code or Digest (corresponds to title in Mommsen edition)

g. Gloss (Accursius)

fi. finalis (For example, "in 1. fi. c." = "in lege finale capituli")

Corpus Iuris Canonici:

c[degrees] canon

q. quaestio

tit. title

Modern references for citations of the Corpus Iuris Civilis and Corpus Iuris Canonici are given in footnotes. The most accessible modern editions are Krueger/Mommsen and Friedberg, respectively (see bibliography.) The following abbreviations are used in footnotes:

Corpus Iuris Civilis:

C. Code

D. Digest

Inst. Institutes

Corpus Iuris Canonici:

Grat. Decretum Gratiani

Grat. D. Distinctiones

Grat. C. Causae

X. Decretales

Sext. Liber Sextus

Clem. Clementinarum Liber

(Fr. [p.]) Page reference from Corpus Iuris Canonici, ed. Friedberg

[1.] FOLS. IVr-v:


M. ille Cato generosissime ac eruditissime rector egregii utriusque juris professores viri ornatissimi ille inquam Cato qui Nummantiam obsidebat milites ad laborem hortaturus, "siquid," inquit, "labore gestum sit labor ille abiit egregie gestum permanet." quod Aulus quoque Gelius libro noctium Atticarum 16. Musonio philosopho tribuit. [1] quorum sententiam dum ipse anxius perpendissem cum earn negare minime auderem fateri coactus sum viris studiosis totam vitam valde laboriosam esse. tot enim transactis laboribus tot perpessis ac exhaustis vigiliis petenda denique munera sunt subeunda litterarum palestra experiendum cujusque ingenium quo notum esse possit an vere magister evaseris. omnes tamen ut ille ait incendimur ad studia gloria ne viventes diu lateamus quod Plutarchus ille Cheronensis eo quo potest conatu evertit ac pulchre Valerius Flaccus de suo agens Jasone in hunc modum exclamat, "tu sola animas mentemque peruris gloria te nitidum videt immunemque senectae Phasidis ad ripas extantem juvenesque vocant em." [2] verum illud magis timendum esse arbitror nostra in publicum promere in tot doctissimorum virorum sententiis judicanda emittere. quis enim unquam Hieronymo in libris evolvendis vertendisque plus laboris impendit? at is a Damaso admonitus ut novum testamentum e graeco in latinum verteret auram hanc humanam hominumque linguas horret ac timet. [3] quam etiam ob causam divus Agustinus ipsum senem jam Hieronymum ad luctam provocat ac canere palinodiam praecipit. [4] Hinc etiam Atteyus et Labeo juris civilis scientia praestantes auctore Pomponio primi omnium jurisconsultorum diversas sectas fecerunt, [5] sed his minime terreri oportet qui ignaviae notam fugere cupiunt. quid enim aliud ex ea nobis evenire posset praeter poenirentiam? Quam nobis egregie exhibuit Ausonius post temporis velocitation postque ipsam occasionis ca1viciem. [6] quo factum est ut his omnibus adducar hoc subire periculum munus legendi petere vestrum omnium judicium experiri ac nostra in publicum prodere, nimis ut fateor audax [v] vestr a tamen humanissima benevolentia confessus. agite igitur viri quibus tota Hispaniarum respublica commitenda est favete his qui rei litterariae studio vestrae utilitati assidue incumbunt non his qui hostiatim haec munera petant non denique his qui veluti campum Marrianum hoc celebre Salmanticense gymnasium adeo frequenter circumeunt ut nec privato ocio, multo minus [7] publicae utilitati locus supersit.

(1.) Aulus Gellius XVI, 1.1. Marcus Cato (the Elder) put down a revolt in the Iberian city of Numantia while serving as consul in 193 B.C.

(2.) Gaius Valerius Flaccus, Argonautica, I, 77.

(3.) Jerome, Praefatio Sancti Hieronymi Presbyteri in Evangelio. In Biblia Sacra, 2:1515-16.

(4.) On Augustine's criticisms of Jerome's biblical translation and interpretation, see White's edition of the Correspondence, esp. Ep. 28.

(5.) D.1.2.2(47); Giulio Pomponio Leto (1428-1497), De romnanibus magistratibus.

(6.) Ausonius (ca. 310-395), Epigrammata 12. The image of occasio (opportunity) as being calva (bald) at the back of the head was meant to suggest that she could only be grasped by the forelock, not from behind; in other words, once opportunity has passed, it is too late to seize her. Ausonius's epigrams were popular in Covarrubias's day; Juan Luis Vives recommended them in his De tradendis disciplinis of 1531. See Green's introduction to Ausonius, xv. On the dissemination of this particular emblem in sixteenth-century art and literature, see Wittkower, 98-112.

(7.) multo minus]tamen non ante corr.


Est adeo conspicua Magnificissime cancellarie juris utriusque consultissimi patres nostra isthaec juris pontificis disciplina totque celebratur encomiis ut quivis tanquam Syrenum cantu affectus ad eam accedere festinet, celeriter vela det oramque solventibus bene precetur. tot tamen scaturit voraginibus ut cautius quam si juxta Maleam navigemus ejusce sacra adire necesse sit. quod impensius ille viderit qui Luciani Hermotimum legerit. [1] is enim Licinum quendam a philosophiae studiis conatur avertere propter inextricabile philosophorum discrimen. quod non minus apud nos reperiet qui Bartolum, [2] Baldum, [3] Panormitanum, [4] caeterosque hujus professionis primarios legerit, quos cum duces sequamur eorum tandem opinionibus passim adversis deterremur. quam ob rem nobis quottidie preconis voce illud admonendum esset ardua est virtutis via multumque sudoris habet. michi profecto est quod in hac insignis professionis palestra accerrimi ac pene intolerandi laboris multa videri possint. hoc tamen hujus horrendae n octis certamen gravius videtur quam quod a viro etiam exercitatissimo pro vestra opinione expediri queat durius quam quad juvenis quavis eruditione praeditus ferre valeat. quis enim patres gravissimi hunc vestrum conspectum ferat? quippe cui non immerito dici possit illud quod apud Sextum Aurelium memini me legisse. is enim scribit Galbam "adeo severissime milites tractasse ut eo ingresso castra vulgaretur statim 'disce inquam militare miles Galba est.'" [5] vestra tamen benevolentia ductus rem hanc etsi difficillimam esse satis compertam habuerim. eam tamen aggredi decrevi quod actis jam fere tredecim annis quibus juris utriusque professionem aggressus nullo nec alearum lusu nec allio quovis ocii sive delectorum genere impeditus, videbar plurimorum opinioni nec me satisfacere posse si licentiae gradum consequi pro viribus minime conarer. eia igitur praeceptores humanissimi hanc praesignem audaciam bone [6] consulite: studiis favete. ac libenti animo ea quae dicturi sumus pro vestra humanitate percipite. dixi ./.

(1.) Lucian, Hermotimus. (Covarrubias's memory is faulty here; in this dialogue it is in fact Lycinus, the relentless Sceptical philosopher, who undermines Hermotimus's faith in philosophy and eventually persuades him to give up the study of it altogether.)

(2.) Bartolus of Saxoferrato (1314-57); the most famous Bolognese jurist of the fourteenth century, author of commentaries on all books of the Corpus Iuris Civilis.

(3.) Baldo degli Ubaldi (1327-1400); prominent Bolognese jurist, author of commentaries on Code and Digest.

(4.) Panormitanus (Niccol[grave{o}] Tedeschi/Nicholas de Tudeschis, 1368-1445); prominent canonist (taught at Bologna, Parma, Siena, and Florence), author of commentaries on five books of Decretals.

(5.) Sextus Aurelius, Epitome de caesaribus 6.13. Servius Sulpicius Galba, Nero's successor as emperor of Rome (68-69 A.D.), was declared emperor by Roman troops in Spain at the advanced age of seventy-three. Covarrubias is likening his examiners to the stern, elderly figure of Galba and himself to the frightened young soldier.

(6.) bone ] boni in ms.

[3.] FOLS. Vr-v:


Homines a natura ita conditos esse percepimus gymnasiarcha magnifice ut gloriam appetant impense vehementer affectent quam citissime eandem assequi contendant. quo fit ut ad studia capessenda pro viribus quisque festinet ne cum "vita brevis sit ars vero longa" [1] medio itinere praerreptus ab inceptis desistere cogatur, quad animum virilem arguit secum ratiocinantem [2] nichil durum esse quo paretur aeterna felicitas ac "verum decus non in opibus sed in virtute positum." [3] quid enim alliud coegit Cratetem pecuniam in mare dejicere praeter philosophiae capessendae studium. [4] cujus et divus Hieronymus et Plutarchus ille Cheronensis meminerunt ut viri doctrina praediti nos omnibus relictis ad studium hortarentur. [5] quibus admonitus patria ac parentibus fere viginti annis orbatus ad hoc litterarum emporium accessi. quo non tantum [6] qui mediterraneam Hispaniae partem habitant sed et qui maritimam oram incolunt accedere festinant, ubi juris utriusque professionem aggressus ad hanc usque diem insudavi. felic i profecto fortuna gymnasiarcha magnifice. quippe qui te unum et generis claritate insignem vitae integritate inimitabilem et quavis doctrina percelebrem meis [Vv] vigiliis meis laboribus indefessis fuerim fautorem adeptus. Decet enim ac moris est ut qui militiae cingulo ornatur ab imperatore vel a rege aut ab illustri quodam viro cinctus miles evadat. cum igitur nostra isthaec res litteraria nil alliud quam militia sit, justum valde existimamus ejus cingulum ab illustris prosapie viro, qualis tu es, humiliter petere. quam ob rem magnificissime cancellarie etsi immeritus esse videar ad hunc licentiae gradum a te consequendum obsecro tamen ur praelustria Gusmanoniorum ac Quinionum facinora intuens hunc licentiae gradum, ob quem multa perpessus florem juventutis labore indefesso marcescentem reddidi michi concedere digneris, quo propitior [7] sim ut quae velis michi in posterum injungere animo obsequentissimo ministare valeamus. dixi.

-: Salmanticae.

Concessa michi fuit licentiae laurea. anno m.d.xxxviii. penultima die totius anni. anno aetatis xxvi.

(1.) A popular adage, originating with Hippocrates.

(2.) ratiocinantem] ratiotinantem in ms.

(3.) Cicero, Epistolae ad Familiares, X, 12, fin. ("Verum decus in virtute positum est, quae maxime illustratur magnis in rempublicam meritis.")

(4.) Diogenes Laertius, VI.86 (Life of Crates).

(5.) Plutarch, Lives, Demetrius, IX, 116. (Plutarch mentions Crates inducing Demetrius to lift the seige of Athens, but not this particular episode). Jerome, Commentarii in Matheum III, 1. 922; Adversus Iovinianum II, 9, 312, 1.9; Epistulae 58, 2, 1. 10; 66, 8, 1. 12; 71, 3, 1. 19. (All five passages in Jerome recall Crates tossing his money into the sea.)

(6.) non tantum ] tantum non ante corr.

(7.) propitior ] propiptior in ms.

[4.] FOLS. 33r-36r:


Athenas olim adeo celebres [1] fuisse constat magnificentissime cancellarie, generossissime rector, senatus amplissime, adeo celebres [2] inquam ut etiam funditus eversa tanti nominis causa ad hanc nostram aetatem fama earum accesserit, non, ut arbitror, quod illustres ac praeclari in bellis gerendis Athenienses fuerint. legimus enim duce Miltiade in Campis Marathoniis, ubi et Cinegiri facinus et Themistoclis adolescentis gloria emicuit, item duce Alicibiade [3] adversus Syracusanos partas victorias si quod in militia decus habuerint eis dedisse. praeterque non admodum multa reperia quae eorum vel nomen vel gloriam auxerint. quo fit ut Athenarum celebritas non ex belli gerendi industria sed ex creberrimis otta fuerit sapientum titulis. A primis enim initiis orti non ut caeterae gentes a sordidis ad summa crevere. nam primi lanificis olei et vini usum docere. arare quoque ac serere frumenta glande vescenribus monstraverunt. litterae certe ac facundia et hic civilis ordo disciplinae veluti templum Athenas hinc. quarum rex Solon eligitur vir justitia insignis qui velut novam civitatem legibus conderet. quas patres illi Romani veluti rem arduam petituri missis legatis describi jusserunt. floruit tandem urbs illa sacratissima et philosophorum studiis. quorum avidi .M. ille Cicero caeterique Romanae eloquentiae principes illuc pergere proprios liberos decreverunt, quo feliciores rem Romanam prout tantae reipublcae decebat agerent. Crevit igitur magnificentissime cancellarie Atheniensium civitas litteris eruditione sapientum ac philosophorum judicio fulta. quorum gloria nusquam profecto cecidit quin proficua utilis et multis nominibus commendanda constet. at Romanae res cum armis creverint miserenda ruina collapse jacent. et quamvis eorum gloriam Romani adhuc nimis elati jactare non erubescant, veterem tamen illam Romam, ut ille ait, "jucundissime somniat." [4] quamobrem minime mirandum si Graecorum quidam Athenas Graeciae [mu]o[upsilon][sigma][varepsilon]lov dixerint, Pithius vestam Graecorum at Thucidides Graeciae Gra eciam appelaverit. [5] foelix tamen Romanorum respublica quippe quae gloriam armis toto terrarum orbe subacto undique partam [33v] magna rerum jactura amissam pontificia jura a summis christiani orbis praesulibus sibi sortita restituerit. hinc enim non minus illustris per totum orbem ejus fama quam ex armorum gestis evagatur. foeliciores me Hercule Hispani qui vere Romanorum coloni urbem hanc Salmanticensem litterarum emporium fuerimus adepti. quo nomine reliqua Hispanis comunia omnibus dicere possimus at quae fama in celum provehant homines solos scire Salmanticensis academiae cultores quos tanto caeteris excellentiores fore arbitror quantum aves allias excedat in nubibus aquila. cujus civitatis insignes video clarissimorum virorum familias a juris utriusque doctoribus ortas non minorem apud Hispanos gloriam assecutas quam si earum primi hanc rempublicam Maurorum armis oppressam in libertatem asservissent. hinc omnibus muneris commendanda fore existimo quae nostris assertionibus sub vestra omnium censura pan duntur. quibus si nostra studia non pili facienda sunt id obsecro patres ornatissimi non parvo ingenio quale michi contigit sed illustri Divi Salvatoris collegio [6] acceptum referre libeat. dixi:

Summo igitur omnium patre ductore, ejusque genitricis immaculatae virginis Mariae praesidio invocato, pro praesenti actu expediendo assumo interpretandum canonem. qui ecclesiasticis 36. dist. [ss]. hinc etiam David. cujus verba sunt. "hinc etiam David prius ex gratia spiritus sancti donum scientiae precepit et postea administrationem regni assecutus est." [7] ex quo assertionem hanc collegi existimo.

[less than]1.[greater than] Nobilitatem e litteris ortam non minus illustrem esse quam quae ex armorum gestis clarissimis quamvis originem ducat: quae quidem assertio primo formari potest per. lex in. l. 1. [ss]. est enim ff. de var. et extraord. cognit. "civilis" inquit "sapientia sanctissima quidem res est sed quae precio numario comparari non potest nec aestimanda est" [8] ecce ergo quod mercede retribui non potest et tamen videmus quod milities mercede conducti pugnant et eorum gesta precio numario estimantur. hinc dicebat Baldus [9] in proemium ff. [10] idem Baldus in .l. quod constitutum ff. De test. milit. [11] quod doctores [34r] debent praecedere milites. idem not. Joannes de Ann. [12] in c[degrees] quanto cott. 5. de magist. [13] Alexander Imola [14] in l. centurio. [less than]ff.[greater than] de vulg. [15] confirmatur per lex. in. l. judices [16] et ibi Bartolus. c. de dignitatibus lib. 12. [17] et in. l. providendum c. de postul. [18] ubi doctores appellantur ab imperatoribus "nobilissimis." ad idem est lex er ibi Bartolus in. l. 2. [ss] amp lius ff. de excus. tut. [19]

2. pro eadem assertione allego lex. in capitulo finale ea distinctionis et verba Solomonis 2[degrees] Paralypomenon c. 1. "Da michi," inquit, "sapientiam et intelligentiam ut ingrediar et egrediar coram populo tuo." [20] ecce quod Solomon non petit vires nec armorum industriam ad regendum populum sed scientiam. et Sapientiae. 8. "habebo," inquit, "per hanc immortalitatem et memoriam aeternam his qui sunt futuri post me relinquam. disponam populos et nationes michi erunt subditae." [21] et Sapientia .7. "omnibus nobilibus nobilior est sapientia." [22] et Ecclesiastes .9. "melior est sapientia quam arma bellica." [23] unde non inconcinne Homerus Mynoa dei Oaristea [sic] appellat [24] .1. familiarem ac discipulam. nec enim censebat privatos homines esse deorum discipulos sed reges. ex quibus nostra 2 assertio probari videtur satis apperte.

3. pro eadem assertione accedat lex. in. 1. proximos c. deproxi. sacro. scrini. lib. 12. ubi lex appellat "litteratam militiam." [25] ecce ergo quod quemadmodum miles pro republica armis militat ita et viri litterati eruditione et scientia rempublicam defendunt ne sub[less than]v[greater than]ertatur. quod Philippi Macedonis testimonjo juvatur. is inquam filium Alexandrum hortabatur ut auscultaret Aristoteli cui traddirus erat instituendus. [26] ne, inquir, multa committas quae me fecisse nunc penitet. prospexit egregius princeps neminem litrerarum expertem regno idoneum esse. nam qui experimentis discunt administrare regnum licet ingenio felicissimo nati sint ramen et sero er magno reipublicae malo tandem evadunt boni reges. defenditur ergo respublica litterarum peritia a multis intestinis malis sicut et armis ab inimicorum oppressionibus. unde vero venus existimo quod Socrates apud Plaronem lib. 5. De Justo. dissent, a M. Tullio Epistola ad Quintum Fratrem, relatum. [27] hanc inquit conjunctionem potestatis et sapientiae saluti c ensuit civitatibus esse posse princeps ingenii et doctrinae Plato. hinc falsam esse arbitror asserrionem illam quam nuper apud quendam ex junioribus bonis litteris egregie eruditum legisse me memini is inquam, asseruit. philosophos qui impenia arripuerint crudelius illireratis rem administrasse. falsa profecto assertio et viro docto maxime indigna.

4. loco considero adeo doctorum dignitatem praevalere quod si per viginti annos legerir militia missi ea dignitate funguntur qua principum vicarii. lex. est in 1. grammaticos .c. de profess. qui in urb. Const. [28] nec immerito nam doctorum scientia mundus illuminatur. [29] .c[degrees]. cum ex injuncto, [less than]tit.[greater than] tie haeret. [30] c. 1. [less than]tit.[greater than] tie reliq. et ven. san. [31] g. in c[degrees] cum ex eo [less than]tit.[greater than] de elect, in 6 [Liber Sextus]. [32] interest, enim republicae doctores habere unde doctoratus non est impediendus secundum Card. [33] in Clementinarum 2 de magist. [34] maxime si calumniis ac pravo animo impediatur id profecto turpe est et minime tolerandum./ [34v]

5. accedat lex. elegans in 1. sciant, c. de off. divers. jud. [35] ubi est lex. quod doctoribus debet patere janua principis cui maxima utilitas est cum doctoribus versari non minor quam cum militibus. nam si doctor principem aut magistratum attigerit per unum prodest compluribus quemadmodum fecit Anaxagoras Pericli familiaris [36] Diogeni Plato. [37] Pithagoras Italiae primatibus [38] ac Cato ipso relicto exercitu navigavit ad Athenodorum. [39] Scipio Panetium accersuit cum a Senatu legatus esset. [40] Sic etiam Plato navigavit in Siciliam futurum sperans ut philosophiae decreta leges et facra gigneret in Dionisii negociis verum repent Dionisium ceu librum litteris egentem ac maculis mendisque plenum nec remittentem Tyrannidis tincturam qua longo jam tempore fuerat imbutus. [41] Hinc etiam legimus Offelium et Nervam juris consultos cesaribus admodum familiares fuisse ut est lex. in l. 2. ff. de origi. iur. [42] hinc etiam dicebat Azo [43] in proemio Instititionum scientiae civilis facit ejus professores per orbem terrarum solemniter principari et in aula imperiali sedere. Hinc etiam doctores amici principum appelantur. l. ex. divi. c. locat. [44] et l. secundurn responsum. c. de contrahend. et com. stipul. [45] hinc etiam dicit. l. 1. c. de hono. vehi. lib. 11. [46] quod doctor potest uti vehiculo sicut princeps. imo ex antiquorum monumentis constat Dionem Chrysostomum adeo Traiano cesari familiarem fuisse ut in regio curru cum illo simul veheretur. [47]

6. Militiae summa laus est communi utilitati intendere. lex. in summa. 23. q. 1. [48] Lucas de Pena. [49] in. 1. unica. 2. cott. c. ut armorum usus. lib. 11. [50] est enim instituta propter injuriam propulsandem et vindictam inferendam 23. q. 1. c[degrees]. 7. [51] est autem exercenda ea intentione ut mali coerceantur et boni sublimentur. ut ibidem notatur. sed etiam juris peritia et scientia istud consequimur. ergo non minus illustris est litterarum peritia quam armorum industria. probatur antecedens .l. advocati .c. de advo. diver. jud. "nec enim solos nostro imperio militare credimus illos qui gladiis clipeis et toracibus nitantur sed etiam advocatos, militant namque causarum patroni qui gloriosae vocis confessi minime [52] laborantium spem vitam et posteros defendunt." [53] ad idem c[degrees] factoe sunt leges. [tilde{s}]. 4. dist. [54]

7. ut multis aliis argumentis ita et hoc probari potest non solum non esse minus illustrem sed etiam esse illustriorem. illa scientia est nobilior altera per quam homo magis efficitur obediens deo sed per scientiam litterarum maxime legum efficimur virtuosi. .l. 1. in proemium ff. de justitia et jure.[55] et probatur per illud psalmistae. "et enim benedictionem dabit legislator et ibunt de virtute in virtutem."[56] lex enim est rerum humanarum et divinarum cognitio. [57] .l. nam et Demosthenes ff. de legibus.[58] at per scientiam rei militaris videmus multa scelera committi et quottidie committantur. ergo hinc probatur illustriorem esse nobilitatem e litteris ortam.[35r]

8. nobilitas ex scientia orta ab auctore scientiae commendatur. is enim est Deus a quo omnis scientia originem ducit. cum "omnis ratio supernae scientiae vel terrenae creaturae in eo est qui est caput et auctor" lex. in .ca. legimus. .. fi. 37. dist. c[degrees]. 1.[59] de summa trinit. l. 2. ff. de legibus[60] c[degrees]. revertimini 16. q. 1.[61] et Ecclesiasticus 24. "ego ex ore altissimi prodii."[62] particulariter considerando origo juris a deo immortali procedit cum enim Adam creatus fuisset statim data fuit eidem lex ne de fructu arboris vesceretur. quam statim violavit et juris ordine servato penam sustinuit. quin etiam ipsa lex seu justitia gloriatur quod semper fuerat cum deo ut habetur Proverbiorum. 8. c. "Dominus possedit me ab initio viarum suarum."[63] ille enim fuit qui dedit leges Moysi ut tradderet Haebreis Exodi. 31.[64] leges enim illae non habuerunt auctorem Moysen. nam deus per angelum traddidit illas soli Haebreorum populo. secundum Thomam 12. q. 98. art. 2.[65] hinc caute dixit Isidorus . lib. 5. Ethymologiarum[66] "Moyses primus divinas leges sacris litteris explicavit."[67] caute etiam Pomponius Letus lib. De Magistratibus Romanis inquit Moyses celo elapsas leges Hebreis traddidit.[68] ad idem est lex. in. l. fi. c. de prescrip. longi. tempo.[69] l. 1. [ss] sed neque c. de veter jur. enucle. auct.[70] ut hi qui perhibent se habere res minorum. cott. 6.[71] et illud "per me reges regnant et conditores legum justa decernant."[72]

9. accedat illud proverb. 24. "vir sapiens fortis est et vir doctus robustus est." [73] et Gregorius in Moralibus. "valde fortitudo destruitur nisi per consilium fulciatur." [74] et Cicero.1. De Officiis "parva sunt foris arma Si non sit consilium domi." [75] quod citat Panormitanus [76] in co. de multa [less than]tit.[greater than] de prebend. [77] ex quibus probatur milites laudari propter sapientiam. ad idem est lex. in l. postliminium [ss] fi. ff. de captivis [78] /. et illud Horatii "vis consilii expers mole ruit sua." [79]

10. accedat lex. In co. de multa [less than]tit.[greater than] de preb. ibi sublimes et litteratas personas ubi aequiparantur litterati et sublimes. [80] Hinc dicebat glo. in. l. societas. ff. pro socio [81] quod litterati ita sunt recipiendi in canonicos sicut nobiles. si ex statuto ad canonicatum nobilitas requiratur. hinc etiam regula cancellariae dictans ut illustris ex sanguine praeferatur non illustri, intelligi non debet de doctore ve1 licentiato. nam ex doctoratu adquiritur polytica nobilitas et ex litteris absque doctoratu adquiritur nobilitas animi. unde duplex nobilitas concurrit in doctore. non ergo a vero abest nostrae assertionis corolarium, eadem privilegia doctoribus quae etiam militibus conceduntur.

Hinc primo infercur ratio decidendi ad g. in l. 1. [ss] est et allius ff. si quis apar. fuer. manioss. [82] et ibi Bartolus quod testamentum doctoris non rescinditur per contra tabulas. [35v]

[less than]1.[greater than] bonorum possessionem pro qua [con.sup.e] facit lex. in 1. fi. c. de inoff test. [83] ubi testamentum milicis nec doctoris non subjacet querallae. nam racione dignitatis et praeeminentum competit hoc privilegium verum camen est quod doct aliquot in 1. quamquam. [less than]c.[greater than] de test. milit [84] c. contrarium tenent salva tamen vestra dignissima correctione sic arbitror dicendum. jure antiquo privilegium hoc concessum fuisse militibus testantibus de peculio [cascrensi.sup.**] doctoribus in quasi castrensi. dist. 1. Fi c. de inoff test. [85] sed hodierno jure hanc [less than]legem[greater than] sublatam tam militibus quam doctoribus affirmo ex sententia lex. in corpore un[less than]de[greater than] praesumitur aucc. ex causa. et auct. presbiteros. c. de epis. et cler. [86] Bartolus [in.sup.*] filio prQterito. no 22. if. de injust. rupt. [87] comuniter recepto ut testatur ibi Alexander ** cott. 5. et notant doct. in dist. 1. fi. et in dist. auct. ex causa.

2. hinc provenit quod sicut miles habet privilegium quad non possit conveniri ultra quam facere possit ita nec doctor ut notat Accursius comuniter receptus in .1. miles ff. de re judicata. [88]

3. hinc probatur quod sicut miles non potest pro debito civili personaliter capi ita re* *ret doctor. lex. in 1. medicos. c. de profess. et med [89] notat Bartolus in. 1. si libertus ff. de in jus vocand. [90] ex quo extenditur decissio Baldi in 1. 1. ad finem .c. qui **ced possunt [91] dicentis militem non posse personaliter capi pro debito etiam si debitum procedat ex ultima voluntate. comendat Andreas Siculus. [92] in [c lator [less than]tit.[greater than] de pignoribus [93] ** in doctore. ex quo etiam lex Stili 99 [94] dicens quod pro expensis possit incarcere lex non habet locum nec in milite nec in doctore. hinc etiam per nostram assertionem leges regiae quae hoc disponunt in nobilibus habent etiam locum in doctoribus.

4. hinc infero quod sicut contra militantes existentes in bello non currit praescriptio ut traddit Martinus Laudensis in tractatus De Milite. [95] art. 2. ira nec contra doctores ordinarie legentes in aliqua universitate. [96]

5. quemadmodum miles non potest cogi esse tutor nisi filiorum commilitum sed miles in primo et ibi Bartolus ff. de excus. tut. [97] idem Bartolus in .1. propter si in castris eodem titulo [98] [ss]. idem in milite Inst. eo. [99] ira nec doctor poterit cogi esse tutor nisi filiorum alterius docroris.

6. hinc infero quod quemadmodum miles praefertur aliis creditoribus etiam anterionibus in re empta ex pecunia sua glo. in .1. idemque [100] ff. qui potiores hab. [101] arg. 1. si ut proponis c. de rei vind. (102.) idem in doctore existimo qui etiam militat pro republica. et de hac nobilitate litteris et sapientia adquisita tradit late Matthaeus de Afflictis (103.) in [ru.sup.**] quis dicatur dux ecl. n[degrees]. 13 ubi late de nobilitatis materia. [36r]

Et si omnibus compertum sit. generossissime rector quanta generis claritate emineas quanta et illustris prosapiae celebritate fulgeas mirari tamen non desino quod ita vehementer litteratos viros tuis argumentis insecteris quippe qui litteris omnigenae eruditionis addictus non minus doctrina clarissimum genus illustres quam tui majores armis illustraverint. quare vir doctissimus juris utriusque professione admodum eruditus indoctos defendis ut hostis pro hoste ipse contra te ipsum stare ac patriocinari simulares et ut tam ingens in me benefitium conferres quod quamvis immerito contuleris tua tamen insignis benevolentia qua erga studiosos quottidie uteris labem hanc dilluit ac me ipsum ab hoc crimine purgat. (104.) tua ergo ac tanti senatus censura preamissa ad dilluenda quae adversus meas assertiones subtiliter objecisti breviter accingor.

(1.) adeo celebres ] celebratissimas ante corr.

(2.) adeo celebres ] celebratissimas ante corr.

(3.) Alcibiade ] Altibiade in ms.

(4.) Cicero, De finibus, 5, 55, 1. 15.

(5.) The quote from Thucydides (ca. 460 - ca 400 B.C.) is obviously from his classic History of the Peloponnesian War. The other reference in this sentence is more puzzling; it evidently refers to Pythius of Priene, the Greek architect of the fourth-century B.C. who wrote books on the temple of Athena at Priene and the mausoleum of Halicarnassus. (See Vitruvius, 1.1, 4.3, 7 praefatio; Pliny, Historia naturalis, 36.30-31.) But Covarrubias's source for Pythius's comment remains a mystery, for it is not mentioned in either Vitruvius or Pliny, and Pythius's own books are lost.

(6.) The Colegio de San Salvador de Oviedo (est. 1517) was one of the University of Salamanca's four elite colegios mayores, which housed graduate students in law and theology. Covarrubias had been a fellow (colegial) there for seven months when he gave this doctoral address.

(7.) Grat. D. 36, 2, 2 (Fr. 134). Cf. 2 Kings, 5.

(8.) D.50.13.1(5). (The incipit which Covarrubias quotes as "est enim" is "est quidem" in the Krueger/Mommsen edition.)

(9.) Baldus, In primam Digesti veteris partem (vol. 1 of Opera, Venice, 1586).

(10.) D.1.1.

(11.) D.29.1.21.

(12.) Probably canonist Joannes Andreae (d. 1348), who wrote glosses (Apparatus) on Liber Sextus and Clementines. Possibly Joannes Ananias (d. 1423); or canonist Johannes Andreas, Bishop of Aleria (d. 1493).

(13.) C.5.75 ("c[degrees] quanto" could not be identified).

(14.) Alexander Tartagni de Imola (1423/4-1477). Taught civil law at Ferrara, Padua, and Bologna. Wrote Opiniones, lectures on Digest, annotations to Bartolus.

(15.) D.28.6.15. A marginal insertion after "de vulg." is concealed in the binding.

(16.) C.12.1.12.

(17.) Bartolus, In tres codicis libros, Lib. XII (Vol.9 of Opera, Venice, 1567). This is the commentary in which Bartolus expounds at greatest length on the superior dignity of doctors.

(18.) C.2.6.7.

(19.) D.27.1.

(20.) Chronicles 1:10.

(21.) Wisdom, 8:13-4.

(22.) Wisdom, 7:24. An alternative (or erroneous) reading of "Wisdom is more mobile than all mobile things" ("Omnibus enim mobilibus mobilior est sapientia.")

(23.) Ecclesiastes, 9:18. et Sapientia... arma bellica] added in margin.

(24.) Homer, Odyssey 19,1. 179: "Mi[nu][omega][varsigma] [acute([varepsilon]}] [nu][nu] [acute{[varepsilon]}][omega]po[varsigma] [beta][alpha][sigma]I[lambda][varepsilon][nu][varepsilon] [Delta]t[grave{o}] [varsigma] [mu][varepsilon][gama]o[nu] [acute{o}][alpha]pt[sigma][varepsilon]

(26.) Diogenes Laerrius, V.4 (Life of Aristotle).

(25.) C.12.19.1.

(27.) De Justo is a spurious work attributed to Plato. The cited passage in Cicero (Epistolae ad Quineum Fratrem, 1, i, 29) refers to Plato's Republic, 473 D.

(28.) C.12.1 5.1. This law provides that Greek and Latin grammarians, "sophists," and jurisperiti who have taught well and lived respectfully for twenty years deserve to be honored and numbered with those who are ex vicaria dignitate. Covarrubias's wotds here clearly echo Bartolus's commenttary on this law: "Sunt digni ea dignitate, qua funguntur vicarii principis." (Bartolus, In tres codicis libros, Lib. XII, lex 1.)

(29.) A marginal insertion after "illuminatur" is concealed in the binding.

(30.) X. V, 7, 12 (Fr. 784). This decretal prohibits laymen from preaching; it justifies the special powers and exclusive knowledge of priests on the grounds of Christ's commission to Apostles.

(31.) X. III, 45, 1 (Fr. 650). This decretal prohibits the worship of unofficial saints without papal approval.

(32.) Sext. I, 6, 34 (Fr. 964). This decretal concerns the number of years of study required for election to the priesthood.

(33.) Probably Franciscus Zabarella (d. 1417), also called "Cardinalis Florentinus" or Cardinal Gratian (d. 1198; a glossarist, nor the author of Decretum); possibly Johannes Monachus Cardinalis (d. 1313), whom Juan Alfonso de Benavente praised as the best commentator on the Liber Sextus (Benavente, 72).

(34.) Clem. V, 1, 2 (Fr. 1179). This decretal, issued by Clement V at the Council of Vienne in 1312, calls for the establishment of schools of Hebrew, Arabic, and Chaldean at Rome, Paris, Oxford, Bologna, and Salamanca.

(35.) C. 1.48.3.

(36.) Anaxagoras of Clazomenae (ca.500 -- ca.428 B.C.), the first resident philosopher at Athens, was a friend and teacher of Athenian statesman Pericles (ca. 495--429 B.C.). See Diogenes Laetsius II.12-14 (Life of Anaxagoras).

(37.) "Diogeni Plato" is somewhat problematic; from the rest of the sentence, it seems clear that Covarrubias is listing philosophers who have had personal influence on rulers: Anaxagoras on Pericles; Plato on Diogenes; Pythagoras on the "nobles of Italy"; and Cato on Athenodorus. Yet there is no ruler named Diogenes associated with Plato. Covarrubias may have been intended Dion of Syracuse; see below, n. 41. Alternatively, he may have meant to name Diogenes Laertius, his source for the story of Anaxagoras and Pericles; but in this case the meaning of "Plato" here is unclear.

(38.) Pythagoras (ca. 582- ca. 500 B.C.) founded a religious society in the Greek colony of Croton in Italy; he and his followers wrote a constitution for the city and governed it for some time. Diogenes Laertius, VIII.3.

(39.) Athenodorus of Tarsus (d. Ca. 50 B.C.), Stoic philosopher. In 67 B.C. Marcus Porcius Cato ("Cato the Younger", 95-46 B.C.), while on military duty in Macedonia, used his two-month furlough to sail to Pergamum and visit the aged Athenodorus and persuade him to return to camp with him. Plutarch, Lives, Cato Minor, X.

(40.) Panaetius (ca. 185 - 109 B.C.), Stoic philosopher of Rhodes, counted Publius Cornelius Scipio "Africanus" (185/4-129 B.C.) among his pupils. Panaetius moved to Rome in the 1400s and joined Scipio's entourage, and may have accompanied Scipio on an embassy to the eastern Mediterranean in 140/139. The friendship between Panaetius and Scipio is mentioned several times in Cicero, De republica.

(41.) Plato had a long and difficult acquaintance with Dionisius the Elder, tyrant of Syracuse (ca. 430 - 367 B.C.). On Plato's first visit to Sicily Dionisius sought the philosopher's friendship, but Plato incurred the ruler's wrath by accusing him of putting his own interests above those of his subjects. Dionysius threatened him with death, and thereafter Plato became friendly with Dionysius's brother-in-law, rival, and eventual successor, Dion (409? - 354? B.C.). Diogenes Laertius, III.18 ff.

(42.) On Aulus Ofilius, see D.1.2.2 (44); on Nerva, D.1.2.2 (47).

(43.) Azo (fl. 1198-1230). One of the first jurists to teach Roman law at Bologna; author of commentaries on Institutes, Code, Digest.

(44.) C.4.65.4.

(45.) C.8.37.4.

(46.) C.11.20.1.

(47.) Dio Chrysostomus (ca. 40 -- ca. 120 A.D.), a popularizer of the philosophy of Plato, the Stoics, and the Cynics, was a close friend of the Emperor Trajan; see, for example, his "Third Discourse on Kingship," 2-3 (Cohoon ed., 105). I have not been able to substantiate the intriguing claim that he is depicted on an ancient monument riding in Trajan's carriage.

(48.) Grat. C. 23, 1, 7 (Fr. 894).

(49.) Lucas de Penna (ca. 1320--ca.1390), tres posteriores libros Codicis Iustiniani.

(50.) C.11.47.1.

(51.) Grat. C. 23, 1,7 (Fr. 894).

(52.) minime ] minimine in ms.

(53.) C.2.7.14.

(54.) Grat. D. 4, 1, 1 (Fr. 5).

(55.) D.1.1.

(56.) Psalms 83/84:8.

(57.) Cf. Augustine, De Trinitate, XIV 1, 50.

(58.) D.1.3.2.

(59.) Grat. D. 37,7,6 (Fr. 137). (From Ambrose, Epistola ad Coloss., c. 2.)

(60.) C.1.1.

(61.) Grat. C. 16, 1, 65 (Fr. 783).

(62.) Ecclesiasticus, 24:1-3.

(63.) Proverbs, 8:22.

(64.) Exodus 31:18.

(65.) Aquinas, Summa, Ia 2ae, q.98, art.2: "Utrum lex fuerit a Deo." Here Aquinas demonstrates that the laws of the Old Testament are in fact God's laws despite their many imperfections.

(66.) A marginal insertion after "Ethymologiarum" is concealed in the binding.

(67.) Isidore of Seville, Etymologiarum Libri XX 5, 1, 1.

(68.) Giulio Pomponio Leto, De Romanis magistratibus, proemium.

(69.) C.7.39.9.

(70.) C.1.17.1(6).

(71.) C.6.(?) ("Hi qui perhibent" could not be identified.)

(72.) Proverbs 8:15.

(73.) Proverbs, 24:5.

(74.) Gregory. Moralia in Job (CCSL 143), I, 32, 1. 30.

(75.) Cicero, De officiis, I, 22.

(76.) Panormitanus, Super I - V Decretalium.

(77.) X. III, 5, 28 (Fr. 477).

(78.) D.49.15.19.

(79.) Horace, Odes, III, 4, 65.

(80.) X. III, 5,28 (Fr. 477). This decretal simply says that "eminent and lettered people" may deserve papal dispensations allowing them to hold more than one ecclesiastical office.

(81.) D.17.2.1.

(82.) (Not identified.)

(83.) Probably C.3.28.37; possibly C.6.21 .3.

(84.) C.6.21.3.

(85.) C.3.28.37.

(86.) C.1.3.6.

(87.) D.28.3.17.

(88.) D.42.1.6

(89.) C. 10.53.6.

(90.) D.2.4.12.

(91.) (Not identified.)

(92.) Andreas Siculus (Andreas Barbazza of Sicily, ca. 1400 - 1479); probably from his commentaries Super secundo Decretalium.

(93.) X. 111,21, 2 (Fr. 526).

(94.) Leyes de Estilo, 99. In Op[acute{u}]sculos legates del rey don Alfonso el Sabio.

(95.) Martinus (Caraziis/Caractus/Garatus) Laudensis (fl. 1438-45), Tractatus de milite.

(96.) The implicit distinction is between "ordinary" and "extraordinary" lecturers, or the holders of c[acute{a}]tedras ordinarias and c[acute{a}]tedras extraordinarias. The latter were part-time instructors with lower status and generally lower academic degrees.

(97.) D.27.1.8.

(98.) D.27.1.23.

(99.) Inst. 1.25.14.

(100.) idemque] ideoque in ms.

(101.) D.20.4.7.

(102.) C.3.32.8.

(103.) Matteo d'Afflitto (c. 1443-1523); it is not dear which of his many commentaries contains he "de nobilitatis materia" to which Covarrubias refers.

(104.) quod quamvis... crimine purgat] added in margin.

[5.] FOLS. 36r-v:


Catonem illum, cui censura severissima cognomentum dedit, magnificentissime gymnasiarcha solitum dicere accepimus populum Romanum non tantum purpurae verum etiam virtuti plurimum conducere. quemadmodum enim tinctores eum potissimum colorem inducunt quo vident homines maxime delectari. ita juventus ad ea studia potissimum incumbit quibus honos et gloria defertur. [1] 1 hoc pacto monebat populum ut magistratus his primum committeret, qui de se virtutis specimen dedissent ita fore ut quamplurimi ad egregia studia sese conferrent. idque jure optimo si quidem pauci sint qui a carcere erumpentes studium currant nisi victoriae premiis incitentur, nec minimum irritamentum est si allios per Olympia coronatos incedere conspicias. cujus rei minime contemnendus testis esse vir Themistocles ille Atheniensis qui cum esset adolescens in compotationibus ac mulieribus volutabatur. [2] at postquam Miltiades factus imperator barbaros devicisset jam nullus illum offendit quidquam agentem praeter decorum. percontantibus quibusdam unde sic esset repente mutatus. "Miltiadis," inquit, "tropheum non patitur me dormire nec cessare." [3] virtus enim premiis invitatur ignavii autem exortantur ignominia. interroganti enim Persae quam maxime rempublicam probaret, respondit Lysander, "eam in qua fortibus viris ac meticulosis congrua utrisque redduntur," [4] frequentissimo igitur et omnium sapientum calculo haec nostra celebris academia probanda est in qua tot [5] undique circumstent premia ad virtutem excitandam. inter quae maxime veneranda est doctorum dignitas qua praeditos video viros eminentissimos, eruditione admodum insignes ac proprios praceptores conspicio, quibus, siquid in hac juris utriusque professione profecerim, acceptum refero libenter, quorum eruditione fretus ausus sum licentiae gradum ab utriusque juris professoribus petere quorum sincaeros [sic] animos testor si quid in horrendo ac tremendo illo examine commisserim, quo cujusquam virulentum animum provocarem, nisi quod [36v] viderer juvenis admodum ad tantum munus in hoc cel ebratissimo gymnasio consequendum. obsecro patres gravissimi num sit aliqua lex quae juventutis causa munus hoc petentem repellat? consulo vos patres ornatissimi sit aliquis qui vigessimo quinto aetatis anno jus canonicum profiteri incipiens trigessimo tandem expleto ac si praesulatum peteret gradum doctoratus in hac insigni academia postulet. sit alter, quem esse me profiteor, qui anno aetatis quinto ferulae tradditus primas litteras didiscit ac decimo aetatis anno sub latinae linguae praeceptoribus mediocriter profecerit. ac demum decimo quarto accerrimi laboris juris utriusque professionem aggressus perpetuo ac continuo sudore studens sub illustrium praeceptorum disciplina quo ad vigessimum septimum aetatis annum attigerit. is inquam coram tanto senatu doctorem fieri vestro suffragio contendat. obsecro nunc cui tandem debetur tantae dignitatis honos? primo profecto hujus almae universitatis constitutiones adversantur. huic certe vestra probatissimorum virorum suffragia. Sanctae [6] leges. parentum decreta, perpessus in studendo accerrimus labor suffragantur. Verum magnificentissime cancellarie cum tibi divinitus tantum munus obtigerit Ut possis velut alter Mecenas juvenes studiosos et quibus nichil prater litterarum cognitionem curae fuit, muneribus exornare, fasciis insignire. immensis beneficiis prosequi. vidimus Salmanticae te hujus academiae principe doctissimorum praeceptorum industria, non minima nec contemnenda juvenum [7] ingenia viguisse illustras profecto morum disciplina. juventutis censura hanc. quam in te fulget dignitatem majorem promeritus. illud tamen Agesilai Lacedemoniorum regis obsecro memoria repetas "non locum viris sed viros loco dignitatem conciliare" [8] quam oh rem non parva felicitate favimur qui a te lauream doctoratus consequi speramus. quam oro suplex hinc concedere michi digneris in quem tot benefitia hactenus contuleris. quo felices admodum simus qui tuae munificentiae et participes fuimus et nunc esse in aeternum profitebimur.

DIXI. Domingo a ix de hebrero rescebi el grado de doctor anno m.d.xxxix. ad laudem et gloriam omnipotentis dei. El doctor Covarruvias.

(1.) Plutarch, Lives, Marcus Cato, VIII, 4. (Purple was the color traditionally worn by magistrates and kings.)

(2.) Plutarch, Lives, Themistocles, II, 5.

(3.) Plutarch, Lives, Themistocles, II, 3-4, referring to Miltiades's success as commander at the Greek victory over the Persians at Marathon (490 B.C.).

(4.) Plutarch, Moralia, Apophthegmata Laconica, 229E, 11.

(5.) tot] added later.

(6.) Sanctae ] sancitae in ms.

(7.) juvenum ] added in margin.

(8.) Plutarch, Moralia, Apophthegmata Laconica, 208D, 6.
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Publication:Renaissance Quarterly
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Date:Mar 22, 2000
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