The other Italian job

Following on from Olivia’s ‘Italian Job’ blog series, we really should mention the ‘Italian Job’ that laid the foundations of the University back in the fifteenth-century.

At  the request of James II, William Turnbull, Bishop of the Diocese of Glasgow, obtained a Bull from Pope Nicholas V in 1451 to establish a university in Glasgow. The bull erected a new studium generale for the teaching of “theology, canon and civil law, as well as the arts and any other lawful faculty”. The Constitution of the University was made the same as that of the University of Bologna, considered to be the oldest university in the Western world dating back to around 1088.  The new University’s doctors, masters, readers and students were also granted all the privileges, honours and immunities enjoyed by their counterparts at Bologna.

Pope Nicholas V was also a product of the University of Bologna. Originally known as Thomas of Sarzana,  he had been Bishop of Bologna before taking on the name of Nicholas out of gratitude to his benefactor Cardinal Nicholas Albergati who maintained him at the University of Bologna, when he was raised to the pontificate on 6 March 1447.

So Italy’s connections with the University went much further back than engineering and ice-cream!

Source: Inaugural addresses by Lords Rectors of the University of Glasgow; to which are prefixed, an historical sketch and account of the present state of the University. By John Barras Hay, Glasgow, 1839 (Special Collections Bh11-b.21).  

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