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  • Kurienuniversität und stadtrömische Universität von ca. 1300 bis 1471 by Brigide Schwarz
  • David Chambers
Kurienuniversität und stadtrömische Universität von ca. 1300 bis 1471. By Brigide Schwarz. [Education and Society in the Middle Ages and Renaissance, Vol. 46.] (Boston: Brill. 2013. Pp. xxii, 923. €226,00. ISBN 978-90-04-23589-2.).

This weighty volume stands in the grand tradition of German scholarship regarding late-medieval papal institutions. Brigide Schwarz explains in her preface that she started research in the Vatican Archives in the 1960s, not only for her thesis but also on behalf of the Repertorium Germanicum, for which she was allocated two years of the pontificate of Eugenius IV. Her Roman researches, drawing in particular upon the underused registers of supplications, have continued ever since; and she has many other publications, notably about minor functionaries of the papal curia (abbreviators and correctors of papal letters, couriers, and so forth). Over the years, she has collected an enormous amount of data about the development and personnel (professors, students, and others) of the two confusingly parallel bodies named in the title of the present book. The Studium Urbis has received much attention in recent years, and Schwarz has contributed and clarified a great deal more about it, but above all she has advanced knowledge about the so-called Studium of the Roman Curia. She nevertheless claims only to have opened up pathways and that much more can be discovered. She warmly acknowledges the help of many scholars—above all, of her mentor, Hermann Diener (whose vast collection of notes she has used), and of a colleague who contributed a prosopographical appendix. This reviewer is grateful for generous citations of his long-superseded article about the Studium Urbis and its funding, written more than forty years ago, and also for a humorous correction (p. 197). [End Page 132]

The book is divided into two main parts. Following a rather personal foreword, the introduction explains some of the problems involved, the methodology employed, the principal sources, and the previous literature. What follows is, first, a historical outline divided into two periods: 1303–1417 and 1417–71. It is not altogether clear why the survey ends in 1471, coinciding with the death of Paul II, except that this was a high point for the Studium Urbis, but it would be churlish to expect an even longer time span; the end of the Great Schism makes a good hiatus, although one of Schwarz’s revelations is that a University of the Roman Curia still operated during the Council of Constance (and indeed, most suggestively, in the 1430s during the Councils of Basel, Ferrara, and Florence). A second section analyzes organization: first of the Studium Urbis (statutes, administration, professors, locations, funding, and so forth), then of the University of the Curia. A third section probes more closely problems about the refounding enactments of Boniface VIII (1303) and Eugenius IV (1431–34) as well as about the teaching of theology, in which the studia in Rome of the mendicant orders were also involved. There is a long summary of all this (pp. 421–50) in English.

Schwarz affirms that these were never wholly two separate institutions. Both were ultimately under papal authority; formulaic references are found naming the “Studium almae Urbis sive Romanae Curiae” or the “Romanae Curie et alme Urbis studium” (significantly in the nominative singular). Apparently Boniface VIII, even before his surviving decretal of 1303, had wanted to extend teaching beyond the papal curia itself and to strengthen the cultural prestige of the city of Rome by the provision for a wider student public of further lectures and disputations, mainly in theology and canon law but also in civil law. During the “exile” of the papacy to Avignon, the University of the Roman Curia continued to flourish. The law faculties expanded under John XXII, a lawyer; a room for oriental languages was hired by the Apostolic Camera; and a large hall in the papal palace was known as the “Studium Romanae Curiae.” Urban V himself gave lectures, and even some (limited) teaching of medicine is recorded. There was, moreover, a “symbiotic relationship” with the University of Avignon...


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