Università degli Studi di Perugia

The University in the 14th Century

In the 14th century, the University offered two degree courses: Law and General Arts. Medicine, Philosophy and Logic quickly distinguished themselves from the other Arts although, during the course of the century, they did not succeed in becoming independent faculties. Upon request by the people and the City Council, and at the will of Gregory XI, a Theology Faculty is said to have been added in 1371, but no documents exist that confirm its actual establishment. With the Statute of 1306, the City recognised the privilege of those attending the University, or the "scholars" to be able to associate in "Universitas": Scolaribus qui sunt et pro tempore erunt in civitate Perusii sit licitum universitatem constituere. The "Universitas" was no different than a corporation run by a Rector with the power to supervise all of the members and to ensure that they conduct themselves in accordance with the Statute.Being a recognised "corporation", the Universitas also had the possibility to actively participate in the City government in addition to, providing for the smooth operation of the Universitas and the quality of the courses taught.Throughout the course of this century the research and teaching activities were extremely "fertile" and many renowned professors were among the Studium's first teachers. Among these was Iacopo da Belviso of Bologna, a legal scholar of undisputed competence and remarkable originality. The course, "corso monografico", or "case study" as it would be called today, taught by Iacopo da Belviso constituted, in the first years following the University's founding, a reason for which many scholars to came to Perugia. Belviso's successor was Cino dei Sinibuldi of Pistoia, a great poet and legal scholar. Attending Cine's lectures on legal code and law digest, or collection of laws, was Bartolo da Sassoferrato, destined to become the most prominent legal scholar of medieval times. Sassoferrato was later professor at the University from 1354 until his death in approximately 1357. During Sassoferrato's tenure as Professor, the new method for studying Law, referred to as "del commento", or "Commentary" was perfected. Also from the "fertile" Bartolo School, Baldo degli Ubaldi, another great 14th Century legal scholar emerged. He became a Professor in as early as 1348, a position which he held for thirty years, during which time he managed to ever increase the University's reputation by virtue of his wealth of knowledge and his legal insight. Gentile da Foligno, the University's most illustrious professor of medicine, died during the plague which decimated the city in 1348. Da Foligno, one of the 14th Century's major scientific figures, fell victim to his insatiable desire for knowledge, which consequently led him to spend too much time with the ill.