- "Qui voluerit in iure promoveri . . .": I dottori in diritto nello Studio di Bologna (1501-1796)
This very substantial volume presents information about 9,482 doctorates of law conferred by the University of Bologna from 1501 through April 1796. It is based on the remarkably complete archival records of the colleges of civil law and canon law, the organs that examined degree candidates. Guerrini does not quote the formulaic documents. Rather, she gives a short summary of each degree: name of recipient; any additional identifying information, such as claims of noble or priestly status; place of residence, usually a city, diocese, or secular state; date; whether the doctorate was in civil law, canon law, or both; archival reference; and printed sources, if any. The amount of material is extraordinary and must have taken years of archival research to gather. The volume has good indices of names and of places; hence, the reader can locate all the doctorates received by men from a particular city or region. All this is very well done.
Guerrini also offers some comments on the degrees in an eighty-five-page introduction. She explains the membership of the colleges and how they went about the business of examining candidates. She tells us that of the 9,482 doctorates conferred, 8,648 were in utroque iure (both civil and canon law), 569 in canon law only, and 267 in civil law only (the numbers add up to 9,484). But she does not mention that one of the reasons for taking both degrees was that the canon law doctorate required only a little more study and a few more lectures [End Page 845] beyond the requirements for the civil law degree. On the basis of limited evidence she points out that the average age of degree recipients ranged from twenty-three to twenty-seven years of age, which is consistent with what other scholars have noted. She comments on the great increase in the number of law doctorates awarded from 1520 until 1630, especially from 1560 onward, a phenomenon found in other Italian universities. After the middle of the seventeenth century the number of degrees declined drastically and was relatively low in the eighteenth century. For the entire period 1501–96, 76% of the degree recipients came from the Italian states, and 24% were ultramontanes: 11% from the Holy Roman Empire and 13% from elsewhere, especially Spain. This is found in Table 2.10, which has a misprint: the 13% "citramontani" should be "ultramontani." It is interesting that 23% of the recipients of law doctorates asserted that they were nobles, although it should be mentioned that a growing number of members of society claimed noble status in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.
Guerrini also speculates on the reasons for the ebb and flow of degrees and other matters. Here the introduction is less successful. The author throws out a number of large ideas without development or suggesting further reading. There are problems of documentation on two levels. On the one hand, Guerrini offers opinions that other scholars, including this reviewer, have developed, without listing the authors and works that would lend support for her large assertions. On the other hand, Guerrini is occasionally careless in the documentation that she offers. Some references are confusing or incomplete, there are misprints (for example, "Barbazi" should be "Barzazi"), and pagination is sometimes missing. The bibliography omits many references found in the notes. Guerrini offers the usual boilerplate about growing social control and the repressive effects of the Counter-Reformation on Italian universities as major contributors to the decline of Italian universities. These are complicated issues. It is true that after 1564 degree recipients had to make a profession of their Catholic faith before receiving the degree, and this probably reduced the number of Protestants who took degrees through regular channels. For example, Bologna did not award any more degrees to recipients from Wittenberg, as it had...