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Medieval Sourcebook: Robert de Courçon: Statutes for the University of Paris, 1215


The basic course was in the arts. Of the other faculties theology was best represented at Paris, law at Bologna, and medicine at Salerno. Robert de Courçon's statutes lay down the course in arts and enumerate the books to be studied. Students were expect to be able to teach as well as learn.

R., servant of the cross of Christ, by the divine mercy cardinal priest with the title of St. Stephen in Monte Celio and legate of the apostolic seat, to all the masters and scholars at Paris - eternal safety in the Lord. Let all know, that having been especially commanded by the lord pope to devote our energy effectively to the betterment of the condition of the students at Paris, and wishing by the advice of good men to provide for the tranquility of the students in the future, we have ordered and prescribed the following rules:

No one is to lecture at Paris in arts before he is twenty years old. He is to listen in arts at least six years, before he begins to lecture. He is to promise that he will lecture for at least two years, unless he is prevented by some good reason, which be ought to prove either in public or before the examiners. He must not be smirched by any infamy. When he is ready to lecture, each one is to be examined according to the form contained in the letter of lord P. bishop of Paris (in which is contained the peace established between the chancellor and the students by the judges appointed by the lord pope, approved and confirmed namely by the bishop and deacon of Troyes and by P. the bishop, and J. the chancellor of Paris).

The treatises of Aristotle, on logic, both the old and the new, to be read in the schools in the regular and not in the extraordinary courses.

[note:
The "old logic " (Vetus logica) is a little indefinite. According to Chartularium 1, No. 246 (A. D. 1255), where the term is defined, it included the liber Porphyrii, or Introduction to the Categories of Aristotle; the Predicmenta (Categories); the Hermeneia (Interpretations); and the Divisions Topics (except the fourth book) of Boethius. But in Chart. I, No. 201 D. 1252), only the Predicamenta and Hermeneia seem to be included. These two were always constituent parts and generally the liber Porphyrii. Atwhat date - before 1255 - the two books by Boethius were added is very uncertain.
The "new logic " (Nova logica) included the Topics, the Elenchi, the Analytica priora and posteriora.
]

The two Priscians, or at least the second, are to be read in the schools in the regular courses.

[note:
The first sixteen books of Priscian's Institutiones Grammaticae were called the Priscianus maior or magnus; the last two the Priscianus minor.
]

On the feast-days [about 100 a year] nothing is to be read except philosophy, rhetoric, quadrivialia [books relating to the "quadrivium" -arithmetic, geomtry, music and astronomy], the Barbarisms, [The third book of the Ars major of Donatus], the Ethics [Nichomichean Ethics of Aristotle], if one so chooses, and the fourth book of the Topics [of Boethius]. The books of Aristotle on Metaphysics or Natural Philosophy, or the abridgements of these works, are not to be read, nor "the doctrine" of master David de Dinant, of the heretic Almaric, or of Maurice of Spain.

[note: David of Dinant was a Disciple of Almeric and probably died before 1209. Almeric of Bene was one of the most renowned teachers at Paris at the beginning of the 13th century. He adopted the ideas of Aristotle's metaphysics and attempted to reconcile them with the teachings of the Bible. His book, Physion, was condemned in 1204, and he died between 1204 and 1209. His disciples expanded his ideas and called the pope Antichrist.. Both were condemned at the Council of Paris in 1210. We know nothing of Maurice.]

In the inceptions and meetings of the masters and in the confutations or arguments of the boys or youths there are to be no festivities. But they may call in some friends or associates, but only a few. We also advise that donations of garments and other things be made, as is customary or even to a greater extent and especially to the poor. No master lecturind in arts is too wear anything except a cope, round and black and reaching to the heels-at least, when it is new. But he may well wear a pallium [proper garment for a monk]. He is not to wear under the round cope embroidered shoes and never any with long bands.

If any one of the students in arts or theology dies, half of the masters of arts are to go the funeral, and the other half to the next funeral. They are not to withdraw until the burial is completed, unless they have some good reason. If any master of arts or theology dies, all the masters are to be present at the vigils, each one is to read the psalter or have it read. Each one is to remain in the church, where the vigils are celebrated, until midnight or later, unless prevented by some good reason. On the day when the master is buried, no one is to lecture or dispute.

We fully confirm to them the meadow of St. Germain in the condition in which it was adjudged to them.

Each master is to have jurisdiction over his scholars. No one is to receive either schools or a house without the consent of the occupant, if he is able to obtain it. No one is to receive a license from the chancellor or any one else through a gift of money, or furnishing a pledge or making an agreement. Also, the masters and students can make among themselves or with others agreements and regulations, confirmed by a pledge, penalty or oath, about the following matters: namely, if a student is killed, mutilated or receives some outrageous injury and if justice is not done; for taxing the rent of Hospitia; concerning the dress, burial, lectures and disputations; in such a manner, however, that the university is not scattered nor destroyed on this account.

We decide concerning the theologians, that no one shall lecture at Paris before he is thirty-five years old, and not unless he has studied at least eight years, [later prolonged to 14 years] and has heard the books faithfully and in the schools. He is to listen in theology for five years, be he reads his own lectures in public. No one of them is to lecture before the third hour on the days when the masters lecture.

No one is to be received at Paris for the important lectures or sermons unless he is of approved character and learning. There is to be no student at Paris who does not have a regular master.

In order moreover that these may be inviolably observed, all who presume contumaciously to violate these our statutes, unless within fifteen days from the date of the transgression take care, to correct their presumption in the presence of the university masters and scholars, or in the presence of some appointed by the university, by the authority of the legation with which we are intrusted, we bind with the bond of excommunication.

Done in the year of grace 1215, in the month of August.

From, Chart. Univ. Paris. 1, No. 20, P. 78. Latin., trans in University of Pennsylvania. Dept. of History: Translations and Reprints from the Original Sources of European history, published for the Dept. of History of the University of Pennsylvania., Philadelphia, University of Pennsylvania Press [1897?-1907?]. Vol 2: no.3, 12-15


This text is part of the Internet Medieval Source Book. The Sourcebook is a collection of public domain and copy-permitted texts related to medieval and Byzantine history.

Unless otherwise indicated the specific electronic form of the document is copyright. Permission is granted for electronic copying, distribution in print form for educational purposes and personal use. If you do reduplicate the document, indicate the source. No permission is granted for commercial use.

(c)Paul Halsall Feb 1996
halsall@murray.fordham.edu