New Advent
 Home   Encyclopedia   Summa   Fathers   Bible   Library 
 A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z 
New Advent
Home > Catholic Encyclopedia > P > University of Pavia

University of Pavia

Please help support the mission of New Advent and get the full contents of this website as an instant download. Includes the Catholic Encyclopedia, Church Fathers, Summa, Bible and more — all for only $19.99...

Pavia was, even in Roman times, a literary centre (Ennodius); as the capital of the Lombard kingdom it had its "grammar" schools, and Emperor Lothair erected a "central" school there (825). In the tenth and twelfth centuries there were professors of dialectic and law as well as of literature, and, although the authority of Bologna was then incontestable, the opinions of the "Papienses" were cited with respect. One of these was a certain Lanfranco. Another Lanfranco, who died bishop of the city, had been professor of arts and theology. Until 1361 there was no Studium Generale at Pavia; whoever sought legal honours went to Bologna. There were other schools, however, at the beginning of the fourteenth century. In 1361 Galeazzo II obtained from Charles IV a studium generale with the privileges accorded to the most renowned universities. Promotions were made by the bishop, who issued the licence to teach. Galeazzo forbade his subjects to study in any other university. In 1389 Boniface IX confirmed its rights and privileges. In 1398 it was transferred to Piacenza, and from 1404 to 1412 it was suspended on account of continued warfare. Reestablished by Filippo Maria Visconti in 1412, it excelled in Roman Law, soon surpassing Bologna.

Among the professors of the first epoch may be mentioned: the jurisconsults Cristoforo Castiglioni (legum monarca); Castiglione Branda, afterwards cardinal, founder of the Collegio Branda; Catone Sacco, founder of a college for poor students; Giasone del Maino the Magnificent (XV century); Andrea Alciato (from 1536); Gasp. Visconti, afterwards cardinal; Filippo Portalupi, first professor of criminology (1578); Ant. Merenda (1633); the canonists Francesco Bossi, afterwards Bishop of Como, and Trivulzio Scaramuccia, afterwards cardinal. The first teacher of medicine was Augusto Toscani (from 1370); in 1389 the chair of surgery was founded. Other celebrated professors were Giovanni Dondi, who constructed the clock in the Torrione of Padua; Marsiglio S. Sofia (medicinœ monarca, XIV century); Francesco Vittuone (1442-43), philosopher and physician; Benedetto da Norcia (1455); Gerolamo Cordano, naturalist and astrologer (died 1576); Gabriele Carcano, first professor of anatomy. Lectures in astrology (astronomy) were held from 1374. The first to teach mathematics was Francesco Pellacani (1425); in the seventeenth century the professors of mathematics were often chosen from the religious, e.g. the Servites Fil. Ferrari (1646), and Gio. Batt. Drusiano, who first taught military architecture (1645) and assisted in the defence of the city during the French siege of 1655.

Philosophical branches were taught from 1374, the professors of which also taught medicine; in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries the professors were mostly religious. The study of rhetoric and the classics began in 1389, and in 1399 a chair of Dante was instituted and was held by Filippo da Reggio. Lorenzo Valla, Francesco Filelfo, Giorgio Valla (first professor of Greek literature, 1466), and Demetrios Chalcocondylas (1492) shed lustre on the university during the Renaissance. Hebrew was first taught by Benedetto di Spagna (1491); Bernardo Regazzola (1500), the Antiquary, was one of the founders of archæology. The first professor of theology was the Franciscan Pietro Filargo, afterwards Alexander V; after this many of the professors were Augustinians, as Bonifacio Bottigella; Alberto Crespi (1432), prominent at the Council of Basle; and Blessed Giovanni Porzio, author of many commentaries on the Bible. Others were Francesco della Rovere (1444), afterwards Sixtus IV; Cardinal Gaetano (1498-99); the Orientalist Enrico della Porta, O.P. (1751).

The fame of the university diminished greatly from 1600. In 1763 Maria Theresa reorganized the courses, especially by increasing the number of chairs and adding various institutes and collections. But the theological faculty then became a source of anti-Romanism through the professors Tamburini and Zola; in 1859 it was suppressed. Among the professors of this second epoch were Gandolfi; the gynæcologist Porro; the physiologist Mantegazza; Cesare Lombroso; Golgi, awarded the Nobel prize for his studies on the nervous system; in jurisprudence: Giovanni Silva; Luigi Cremani (1775); Domenico Vario; Romagnosi, the reformer of public law; in the natural sciences: the Abbate Spallanzani (1769); and Alessandro Volta; in mathematics: the Jesuit Boscovich; Mascheroni; Codazza, renowned for his researches on heat and magnetism; in philosophy: the Olivetan Baldinotti (1783); and Ruggero Boughi; in literature: Vincenso Monti; Ugo Foscolo; and the Orientalist Hager. Connected with the university are a museum of mineralogy, zoology, and comparative anatomy, cabinets of physics, of normal anatomy, and pathology, of physiology, and experimental pathology, various clinics, a chemical laboratory, and a cabinet of numismatics and archæology. There are eighteen burses for graduate study. Two colleges — Ghislieri and Borromeo — are under university supervision. A school of applied engineering and a school of pharmacy are also connected with the university. In 1910 there were 50 professors holding 102 different chairs, besides 103 tutors; the students numbered 1507.


Memorie e documenti per la storia dell' Università di Pavia (Pavia, 1878); DENIFLE, Die Universitäten des Mittelalters, I, 572, sqq.; Cenni storici sulla R. Università di Pavia (Pavia, 1873).

About this page

APA citation. Benigni, U. (1911). University of Pavia. In The Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company.

MLA citation. Benigni, Umberto. "University of Pavia." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 11. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1911. <>.

Transcription. This article was transcribed for New Advent by Douglas J. Potter. Dedicated to the Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Ecclesiastical approbation. Nihil Obstat. February 1, 1911. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York.

Contact information. The editor of New Advent is Kevin Knight. My email address is webmaster at Regrettably, I can't reply to every letter, but I greatly appreciate your feedback — especially notifications about typographical errors and inappropriate ads.

Copyright © 2023 by New Advent LLC. Dedicated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.