Università degli Studi di Perugia

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The Seal of the University

From its origin and up until modern times, there have been several different more-or-less autonomous members comprising the University: the City, that served an administrative function by way of the Savi judiciary, the various groups or boards of elite academicians to which professors from various disciplines belonged, the studentUniversitates, organised according to the geographic provenance of the students, and the Bishop, responsible for degree conferment.Each one of these member bodies had adopted a characteristic symbol to be used as a seal.
Even individual professors or the student presidents used their own seal, in many cases, adopting that of their family.However, despite the multiplicity of contributing member bodies, the most prevalent one seemed always to be the City; not only because the City had been the founder of the University and had maintained it since its establishment, but above all, because the University, in every period, was considered a "creature" of the City, a source of pride and fame. Given this, the University chose, Saint Herculan, the patron Saint of Perugia, as its symbol.Then, in the 17th Century, the University adopted the grifo or griffin, (a mythological creature that is half eagle and half lion) the symbol of excellence, as its coat of arms. The grifo was portrayed as standing on its hind legs, holding a book, symbol of the University, and a laurel branch, symbol of the university degree.
Since then, the grifo has been present in all of the University's coat of arms, albeit with small alterations made in accordance with the times, up until the crowned grifo holding a fascio littorio, (a symbol composed of a bail of straw and an axe; this symbol was usually displayed by the Roman Emperor upon returning to Rome after victory in battle and then was later adopted by the Italian Fascist party) with the larger symbol of the Casa Savoia (the Savoia family) above. In 1925, the Ministry of Public Education ordered that all Italian universities have a seal displaying their respective coat of arms.Therefore, also in Perugia, the work of deciding upon a seal commenced.
Professor Luigi Tarulli was entrusted with the task of conducting historical research whilst the graphic production of was the responsibility of Professor Alberto Iraci.
The problem was what symbol to adopt. After a period of long discussion and consideration, a final design was chosen: a shield surrounded by a circle with the Latin inscription: Studium Generale civitatis Perusii constitutum A.D. MCCLXXVI.The shield was divided into two halves. In the left half, Saint Herculan is depicted with the inscription: Sanctus Herculanus, and in the right half, the grifo is depicted.
The University banner was also created, embroidered by hand using gold thread and displaying the same image of the seal, lined on each side by the fascio littorio symbols, eliminated in 1949 and substituted by laurel branches.In the years following the Second World War, a circular seal with two halves was created, like the actual one containing the grifo and Saint Herculan, but lacking all chronological references.Only in the last years, in memory of the Clement V's granting of the Studium Generale privilege to the University, has the date 1308 been inserted in the external inscription.
Reference to the Papal Bull as the moment of the University's establishment was preferred to the year 1276, date of the first news of teaching activity in the City.
Instead, this date was adopted in the 1925 seal and remains today in the University's banner.


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