OF PARIS, 1215

Chartularium universitatis Parisiensis, I, 78-79.

Robert, cardinal legate, prescribes the mode of lecturing in arts and in theology, indicates what books the masters of arts should not read, formulates the discipline of the scholars and the state of the university generally.

Robert, servant of the cross of Christ by divine pity cardinal priest of the title, St. Stephen in Mons Caelius, legate of the apostolic see, to all the masters and scholars of Paris eternal greeting in the Lord. Let all know that, since we have had a special mandate from the pope to take effective measures to reform the state of the Parisian scholars for the better, wishing with the counsel of good men to provide for the tranquillity of the scholars in the future, we have decreed and ordained in this wise:

No one shall lecture in the arts at Paris before he is twenty-one years of age, and he shall have heard lectures for at least six years before he beams to lecture, and he shall promise to lecture for at least two years, unless a reasonable cause prevents, which he ought to prove publicly or before examiners. He shall not be stained by any infamy, and when he is ready to lecture, he shall be examined according to the form which is contained in the writing of the lord bishop of Paris, where is contained the peace confirmed between the chancellor and scholars by judges delegated by the pope, namely, by the bishop and dean of Troyes and by P. the bishop and J. the chancellor of Paris approved and confirmed. And they shall lecture on the books of Aristotle on dialectic old and new in the schools ordinarily and not ad cursum.[1] They shall also lecture on both Priscians[2] ordinarily, or at least on one. They shall not lecture on feast days[3] except on philosophers and rhetoric and the quadrivium[4] and Barbarismus[5] and ethics, if it please them, and the fourth book of the Topics. They shall not lecture on the books of Aristotle on metaphysics and natural philosophy or on summaries of them or concerning the doctrine of master David of Dinant or the heretic Amaury or Mauritius of Spain.

In the principia and meetings of the masters and in the responsions or oppositions of the boys and youths there shall be no drinking. They may summon some friends or associates, but only a few. Donations of clothing or other things as has been customary, or more, we urge should be made, especially to the poor. None of the masters lecturing in arts shall have a cope except one round, black and reaching to the ankles, at least while it is new. Use of the pallium is permitted. No one shall wear with the round cope shoes that are ornamented or with elongated pointed toes. If any scholar in arts or theology dies, half of the masters of arts shall attend the funeral at one time, the other half the next time, and no one shall leave until the sepulture is finished, unless he has reasonable cause. If any master in arts or theology dies, all the masters shall keep vigils, each shall read or cause to be read the Psalter, each shall attend the church where is celebrated the watch until midnight or the greater part of the night, unless reasonable cause prevent. On the day when the master is buried, no one shall lecture or dispute.

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

Each master shall have jurisdiction over his scholar. No one shall occupy a classroom or house without asking the consent of the tenant, provided one has a chance to ask it. No one shall receive the licentiate from the chancellor or another for money given or promise made or other condition agreed upon. Also, the masters and scholars can make both between themselves and with other persons obligations and constitutions supported by faith or penalty or oath in these cases: namely, the murder or mutilation of a scholar or atrocious injury done a scholar, if justice should not be forthcoming, arranging the prices of lodgings, costume, burial, lectures and disputations, so, however, that the university be not thereby dissolved or destroyed.

As to the status of the theologians, we decree that no one shall lecture at Paris before his thirty-fifth year and unless he has studied for eight years at least, and has heard the books faithfully and in classrooms, and has attended lectures in theology for five years before he gives lectures himself publicly. And none of these shall lecture before the third hour on days when masters lecture. No one shall be admitted at Paris to formal lectures or to preachings unless he shall be of approved life and science. No one shall be a scholar at Paris who has no definite master.

Moreover, that these decrees may be observed inviolate, we by virtue of our legatine authority have bound by the knot of excommunication all who shall contumaciously presume to go against these our statutes, unless within fifteen days after the offense they have taken care to emend their presumption before the university of masters and scholars or other persons constituted by the university. Done in the year of Grace 1215, the month of August.

[1] Ordinary lectures were the regular and more important ones, given first in the morning by the older and more highly paid professors. Extraordinary lectures were delivered later in the day by lesser lights and to some extent were on supplementary or less important texts and subjects. However, the same text that had been commented on in ordinary lectures one year might be relegated to extraordinary lectures the next year, thus making way for ordinary lectures that year on some other text. According to Rashdall, I (1936), 433-34, at Paris extraordinary lectures were called cursory. The term cursor, however, was commonly applied to a bachelor who was giving a lecture course for practice and would not go into the subject so deeply or at such length as a full-fledged doctor. Hence a cursory treatment was more rapid and superficial.

[2] Books 1-6 of Priscian's grammar were called Priscianus major, books 17-18 Priscianus minor.

[3] Ordinary--and extraordinary--lectures were not given on the numerous religious holidays, but, as here indicated, some separate and special courses were put on feast days.

[4] That is, four of the seven liberal arts: arithmetic, geometry, music and astronomy. The other three, grammar, rhetoric, and logic, made up the trivium.

[5] The title of the third book of the Ars maior of Donatus, the fourth-century grammarian who taught St. Jerome and whose grammar was so much used in the middle ages.



Chartularium universitatis Parisiensis, I, Il2-I3.

The prior of the province or kingdoms, if he shall have brothers fitted for teaching who can be trained for it in short order, shall send them to study in a place where there is a university, and let not those to whom they are sent dare to employ them otherwise or send them back to their province unless they shall have been recalled.

Since great care is to be taken concerning students, let them have some special brother without whose permission they shall not take notes or hear lectures and who shall correct those matters which require correction in their studies. And if he cannot control them, let him lay the matter before the prelate.

They shall not study in the books of the Gentiles and philosophers, although they may inspect them briefly. They shall not learn secular sciences nor even the arts which are called liberal, unless sometimes in certain cases the master of the Order or the general chapter shall wish to make a dispensation, but shall read only theological works whether they be youths or others. Moreover, we have decreed that each province shall provide for its brothers sent to the university at least three books of theology, and the brothers sent to the university shall study histories and sentences, and text and glosses especially.

In the case of those studying thus the prelate shall issue a dispensation lest they be held back or impeded from study because of the offices or otherwise. And as shall seem good to the master of studies, an appropriate place shall be set aside, in which, after disputations or vespers or at other times when they are free, they may meet in his presence to propound doubts or questions. And while one is asking or propounding, the rest shall be silent, lest they impede the speaker. And if anyone gives offense by questioning or opposing or responding indecently or confusedly or loudly or basely, he shall straightway be rebuked by the presiding officer.

Let no one receive the doctorate unless he has attended lectures in theology for at least four years.


Chartularium universitatis Parisiensis, I, 116-17.

William of Auvergne, previously a canon in Paris and a master of theology in the university, author of De universo and other important works, was bishop of Paris from 1228 until his death in 1249. The house here reformed by him was, next to the College of Eighteen, the oldest college at Paris, but had declined scarcely forty years after its foundation. By 1247 it had come to be called "the hospital of the poor scholars of St. Nicholas of the Louvre" (Chartularium, I, 198), and was composed of a master or provisor, a chaplain and fifteen boursiers or foundationers. Presently a second chaplain was added and, in 1350, three more boursiers. The house was suppressed by Jean du Bellay, bishop of Paris, on January 25, 1541.

William, by divine permission bishop of Paris, to all who shall see this letter, greeting in the Lord. Your university should know that we, coming to the house of the poor scholars of St. Thomas of the Louvre, in order to correct and reform by diocesan authority those things which we might find required correction and reformation there, among other things found that certain scholars, who for a long time past had lived on the goods of that house, had reached such a point of insolence that flowers already have appeared in our land and the time of putation is at hand.

Therefore let no Deidamia detain our Achilles going forth to philosophic war, that he attain not this second Troy, of which our Toulousan Statius might sing once more:

All honor there, there great names strive;
Fearful mothers and groups of virgins
With difficulty remain idle.
Here he is condemned to many sterile years
And hateful to God, if sluggishly
He lets this new glory pass him by.

So let each upright man put on the warlike mien of Achilles, lest meticulous Thersites take the laurel promised to magnanimous Ajax, so that at least, the war finished, he may admire the zeal of the militant and the zeal of the philosophizing. And that the studious may more willingly know the glory of Toulouse and its university, let them know that this is the second land of promise flowing with milk and honey, green with lush pastures, where fruit trees are leafing, where Bacchus reigns in vineyards, where Ceres rules in fields, where the temperate air was preferred by the ancient philosophers to other stations of earth. O, how incomprehensible are the greatnesses of almighty God!

Here is peace, elsewhere Mars rages in all the world.
But this place received Mars and death formerly.

Further, that ye may not bring hoes to sterile and uncultivated fields, the professors at Toulouse have cleared away for you the weeds of the rude populace and thorns of sharp sterility and other obstacles. For here theologians inform their disciples in pulpits and the people at the cross-roads, logicians train the tyros in the arts of Aristotle, grammarians fashion the tongues of the stammering on analogy, organists smooth the popular ears with the sweet-throated organ, decretists extol Justinian, and physicians teach Galen. Those who wish to scrutinize the bosom of nature to the inmost can hear here the books of Aristotle which were forbidden at Paris.

What then will you lack? Scholastic liberty? By no means, since tied to no one's apron strings you will enjoy your own liberty. Or do you fear the malice of the raging mob or the tyranny of an injurious prince? Fear not, since the liberality of the count of Toulouse affords us sufficient security both as to our salary and our servants coming to Toulouse and returning home. But if they suffer loss of their property through the hands of brigands in the domain of the count, he will pursue our malefactors with the forces of the capital of Toulouse, the same as on behalf of citizens of Toulouse. To what has been said we add further that, as we hope truly, the lord legate will summon other theologians and decretists here to enlarge the university and will set a time which scholars ought to spend at Toulouse to receive the indulgence, if that prevaricator envious of the human race does not impede their stay, which Cod forbid, that henceforth they may magnify the place and the folk of Romanus, fighting by the salubrious triumphal mystery of the cross.

As for prices, what has already been said should reassure you and the fact that there is no fear of a failure of crops. On this point you may trust both report and the nuncio and these verses:

For a little, wine, for a little, bread is had;
For a little, meat, for a little, fish is bought.

The courtesy of the people should not be passed over. For here is seen that courtly good humor has struck a covenant with knighthood and clergy. So if you wish to marvel at more good things than we have mentioned, leave home behind, strap your knapsack on your back, and make your motto the words of Seneca: "I shall see all lands as mine, mine as of all; I shall so live that I shall know I am known to others; for to aim high and have enlarged ideas is characteristic of a noble soul."


Chartularium universitatis Parisiensis, I, 136-39.

The "great dispersion" of the university of Paris in 1229, to which we referred in the introduction to the previous selection, had important results. The masters and scholars did not return until they had obtained from the papal court a series of bulls punishing those who had injured them, requiring the king to enforce the privilege of Philip Augustus and to allow a board of two masters and two Parisians to set the rents for buildings occupied by students, and requiring the bishop of Paris and the abbot of S. Germain-des-Pres to respect the privileges of the university. The document that follows the bull Parens scientiarum, was the capstone of all and has been called the Magna Carta of the university. It restricts the power of the chancellor of Paris in bestowing the licentiate, recognizes the right of the university to legislate and to suspend lectures, and protects the scholars in venous ways.

Gregory, bishop, servant of the servants of God, to his cherished sons, the masters and scholars of Paris, greeting and apostolic benediction. Paris, parent of sciences, like another Cariath Sepher, city of letters, shines clear, great indeed but raising still greater hopes in teachers and pupils, where, as it were in wisdom's special workshop, veins of silver have their beginning and there is a proper place for forging gold, from which those prudent in mystic eloquence stamp golden earrings vermiculated with silver, fabricate necklaces adorned with precious stones, nay fit and decorate the spouse of Christ with priceless jewels. There iron is mined, whose earthy fragility is solidified by firmness, and from which is made the breastplate of faith, sword of the spirit, and other armor of Christian soldiery, potent against the powers aerial. And the ore dissolved by heat is turned to copper, because while stony hearts flame with the fervor of the Holy Spirit, they take fire and are made to herald praises of Christ in sounding preaching. Wherefore there is no doubt that he would gravely displease God and men who in the said city should strive in any way to disturb such signal grace or who should not openly oppose those disturbing it with all his might and main. Hence, since concerning dissension arisen there by instigation of the devil, greatly disturbing the university, we have dilgently considered questions brought before us, by the advice of our brethren we have decided that they should be quieted by moderate provision rather than judicial sentence.

Concerning the state therefore of schools and scholars we decree that these things are to be observed: namely, that every chancellor of Paris to be named henceforth shall swear in the presence of the bishop or by his mandate in the Paris chapter, to which shall be summoned and present two masters on behalf of the university of scholars. He shall swear in good faith on his conscience, at the time and place according to the state of the city and honor and respect of the faculties, that he will not bestow the licentiate to teach theology or decretals except to the worthy nor admit the unworthy, ratification by persons and nations being abolished. But before he shall license anyone, within three months from the time of the petty license, in the presence of all masters of theology in the city and other respectable and learned men by whom the truth can be learned, he shall make diligent inquiry as to the life, knowledge, facility, and also the promise and hope of success and other points which are required in such cases, and, having made such inquiry, according to what seems proper and expedient he shall give or deny according to his conscience the license asked for. The masters, moreover, of theology and decretals, when they begin to lecture, shall publicly take oath that they will furnish faithful testimony on the aforesaid points. The chancellor shall also swear that he will in no wise reveal the advice of the masters to their hurt, maintaining in their integrity the Parisian rules, liberty and law which obtain in incepting.[1]

Concerning the medical men and artists and others the chancellor promises to examine the masters in good faith, to repel the unworthy and admit only the deserving.

But because, where there is no order, horror easily creeps in, we have conceded to you the function of making due constitutions or ordinances as to the method and hour of lectures and disputations, as to the costume to be worn, as to funerals of the dead, and also, concerning the bachelors, who should lecture and at what hour and on what subject, as to rentals of lodgings or even their prohibition, and of duly punishing rebels against those constitutions or ordinances by expulsion from your society. And if it chance that the rental of lodgings is taken from you or that--which God forbid--injury or enormous excess be inflicted on you or any of you, such as death or mutilation of a limb, unless, after due complaint has been lodged, satisfaction is given within fifteen days, it shall be permitted you to suspend lectures until condign satisfaction is given. And if any of you shall have been unjustly imprisoned, it shall be right for you, unless the injury ceases when complaint is made, to stop lectures immediately, if it shall seem expedient.

We order, moreover, that the bishop of Paris so punish the excesses do not remain unpunished; but because of delinquents the innocent shall not suffer, nay, if probable suspicion shall arise against anyone, after honorable detention on furnishing suitable bail he shall be dismissed and exactions of the jailers cease. But if he has committed a crime which calls for imprisonment, the bishop shall retain the culprit in prison, it being utterly forbidden to the chancellor to have a prison of his own. We further prohibit that a scholar henceforth be arrested for debt, since this is forbidden by the canons and lawful sanctions. But neither the bishop nor his official nor the chancellor shall require a fine for raising an excommunication or any other censure, nor shall the chancellor demand from licentiates an oath or obedience or other pledge, nor shall he receive any emolument or promise for conceding the license, abiding by the terms of his oath named above.

Furthermore, the summer vacation shall henceforth not exceed a month, and in vacation time the bachelors may continue their lectures if they wish. Moreover, we expressly enjoin that scholars shall not go about town armed, and that the university shall not defend disturbers of the peace and of studies. And those who pretend to be scholars but do not attend classes or have any master shall privileges of scholars.

We further order that masters of arts always give one ordinary reading of Priscian and one other afterwards, and those books on nature which were prohibited in provincial council for certain cause they shall not use at Paris until these shall have been examined and purged from all suspicion of errors. Moreover, the masters and scholars of theology shall strive to exercise themselves praiseworthily in the faculty which they profess and not show themselves philosophers but endeavor to know God, nor speak in the vernacular nor confound the Hebrew popular language with the Azotic, but dispute in the schools concerning those questions only which can be settled by theological works and the treatises of the holy fathers.

Furthermore, concerning the goods of scholars who die intestate or do not commit the care of their affairs to others, we have decided to provide thus, namely, that the bishop and one of the masters whom the university shall ordain for this, receiving all the goods of the defunct and depositing them in a safe and fit place, shall set a day by which his death can have been announced in his native place and those upon whom the succession to his goods devolves can come to Paris or delegate an appropriate messenger; and if they come or send, the goods shall be restored to them with a security which has been determined. But if no one appears, then the bishop and master shall use the goods for the soul of the defunct as they shall see fit, unless it chance that the heirs for some just cause cannot come, in which case the disposition shall be deferred to a suitable time.

But since the masters and scholars who suffered injury and damage from the breaking of the oath made to them by the city of Paris have departed from the university, they seem to have pled not so much their own case as the common cause. We, with the general need and utility of the church in view, will and order that henceforth the privileges shall be shown to the masters and scholars by our dearest son in Christ, the illustrious king of France, and fines inflicted on their malefactors, so that they may lawfully study at Paris without any further delay or return of infamy or irregularity of notation. To no man then be it licit to infringe or with rash daring to contradict this page of our provision, constitution and inhibition. If anyone shall presume to attempt this, let him know that he will incur the wrath of almighty God and of the blessed apostles Peter and Paul. Given at the Lateran on the Ides of April, the fifth year of our pontificate.

[1] Inception was the final process of becoming a master, entering the university or scholastic gild, and beginning to teach.

IN ARTS, 1252

Chartularium Universitatis Parisiensis, I, 227-30.

This selection depicts in detail the exercise of determining or Determinations, prolonged public disputations during Lent by which the candidates for the licenciate, each in his own classroom, gave proof of their ability. For further discussion of this institution as it developed subsequently the reader may consult Rashdall, I (1936), 450-56. Incidentally the required texts in logic are listed, and explicit mention is made of the "university of artists" with its rector and common chest, and of the four Nations into which the university was divided with their proctors and statutes such as the present selection. For an earlier reference to rector and proctors see Selection 25, and for their previous history, Rashdall, I (1936), 311-14.

In the year since the Incarnation, 125l, the masters of the English nation, teaching in arts at Paris and for the good of the university and of learning taking multifold measures, and by God's grace continuing in the future without diminution, decreed by their common counsel and that of good men the form noted below for bachelors in arts determining in Lent, as is the custom. In the first place the proctor, touching the Bible, shall select two persons whom he believes qualified to choose examiners of those determining, who, touching the Bible, shall swear that without hate or love of any person or any part of their nation, they will choose three masters, whom they know to be strict and qualified in examining faithfully, more intent on the promotion and advantage of the university, less susceptible to prayer or bribe. These three when chosen shall similarly swear on the Bible that they will faithfully examine and proceed with rigor of examination, licentiating the worthy and conducting themselves without hate of any person or group of their nation, also without envy or any rancor of mind or other sinister perturbation. Moreover, those who have insufficient standing in the examination and are unworthy to pass they shall fail, sparing no one, moved neither by prayer nor bribe nor fear nor love or any other occasion or indirect favor of persons.

The masters presenting candidates, moreover, and the bachelors themselves shall give personal security that they will make no entreaties on behalf of bachelors nor seek favor from the examiners or from the nation or from the university, either by themselves or through others, but will accept the simple statement of the examiners. By the same token, if it happens that bachelors are failed, that they will not bring contumely or complaints or threats or other evils against the examiners, either by themselves or through others, because they ought to suppose that the examiners have acted according to their consciences and good faith for the honor of the university and the nation.

Moreover, a bachelor coming up for the licentiate in arts at Paris should be twenty years old or at least in his twentieth year, and of honorable life and laudable conversation. He should not have a cope without a hood of the same cloth, nor a hood with knots. He should not wear a mitre on his head in the classrooms while he is determining. If he has the right to the tonsure, he may have the tonsure, nor may he or should he be blamed on this account. Also before he is admitted to examination he shall give personal security that he has his own classroom of a master qualified to teach in it throughout Lent, and has his own master under whom he seeks the license of determining, or a bachelor about to incept in arts at the latest before Lent, in whose classroom he will determine. Further, that he has attended lectures in arts for five years or four at least at Paris continuously or elsewhere in a university of arts. Further, that he has heard the books of Aristotle on the Old Logic, namely, the Praedicamenta and Periarmentae at least twice in ordinary lectures and once cursorily, the Six Principles at least once in ordinary lectures and once cursorily, the three first books of the Topics and the Divisions once in ordinary lectures or at least cursorily, the Topics of Aristotle and Elenchi twice in ordinary lectures and once at least cursorily or if not cursorily at least thrice in ordinary, the Prior Analytics once in ordinary lectures and once cursorily, or, if he is now attending, so that he has heard at least half before Lent and is to continue, the Posterior Analytics once in ordinary lectures completely. Also that he shall have heard Priscian minor (books 17-18 ) and the Barbarismus twice in ordinary lectures and at least once cursorily, Priscian major (books 1-16) once cursorily. Also he shall have heard De anima once or be hearing it as aforesaid. Also he shall give satisfaction that he has diligently attended the disputations of masters in a recognized university for two years and for the same length of time has answered as required concerning sophisms in class. Also he shall promise that he will respond to question for a full year from the beginning of one Lent to the beginning of the next.

If, moreover, a bachelor shall be found sufficiently qualified in knowledge according to the examiners and shall not have completed the required number of years or books or lectures, the nation reserves to itself the power to dispense with these, as shall seem expedient to it. And in such case only it shall be permissible for his master to petition the nation for him.

Also if, after the exercise of cursory lectures has been made and finally completed, he shall have transgressed in the said exercise in any way, he shall in no case be admitted to the examination for determination. Nor similarly shall a master, whether now teaching or not, who, after the said exercise has been made as stated and finally confirmed by the masters, shall have transgressed in the said exercise, be accepted as presenting a bachelor, until full satisfaction shall have been made to the rector or proctors for the university by the master or the bachelor who has transgressed.

Also the bachelor licensed to determine shall begin to determine at the latest on the next day after Brandons [the first week in lent]. If he shall not have begun to determine then, he shall not be allowed to do so during Lent. And from the said Monday he shall determine continuously till the middle of Lent, unless he shall have lawful cause excusing him. And then let it be licit for no one to determine for him as substitute, unless such substitute has the license to teach in arts at Paris or has determined elsewhere through Lent or is licensed to determine in that present Lent, always providing that the same shall have determined continuously from the said Monday following Brandons until the middle of Lent. Also if a bachelor shall have been licensed to determine in the arts at Paris in one year and from a legitimate cause shall have failed to determine in that Lent in which he was licensed, which sometimes happens, he may afterwards determine in some subsequent Lent, regularly however and as others do, but he shall not substitute for others unless he shall have first determined during Lent in a fixed place. Also, until he shall have paid for the university a sum such and so great as he offered for personal security, and another for the nation, he shall not be given license to determine. Also if at the latest he shall not have been licensed before the last Sunday before Lent, he shall not be admitted later that year to the examination for determination.

Also, it shall be enjoined on him that all through Lent, and thereafter so long as he shall belong to the faculty of arts as student or teacher, he shall obey the mandate of rector and proctor in lawful and honorable matters. Also he shall not give drinks except on the first day he begins to determine and the last, unless this is done by the permission of the rector or the proctor of his nation, who can give him a dispensation in this regard as shall seem expedient to them, considering nevertheless the many factors about the determiners which are here involved.

Also, the examiners shall diligently collect from the bachelors the money to be paid to the university and nation and faithfully keep what is collected, and at the summons of the rector and proctors of the four nations deposit it at the day set in the common chest of the university of artists. Also the money received for the nation they shall deposit in the common chest before the Sunday after Ash Wednesday. Also none of the said examiners can by himself, without his associates deputed with him for determinations, license anyone or presume alone to examine.

Also, in addition to the aforesaid, after the candidates shall have been licensed, let them be present every Friday at the Vespers of the blessed Virgin and at mass the Saturday following, until Palm Sunday, under the penalty by which masters are bound.

But inasmuch as by this form it is not right nor will be for rich or poor, noble or ignoble, to put it off later, if they do not appear to seek license of determining in the aforesaid manner, therefore, to notify them it is provided by the masters that the present form be twice announced in classes each year, so that the first time it shall be read in the classrooms of masters between Purification and Lent, and the other time between the feast of St. Remy and All Saints or thereabouts when there shall be a general meeting. Moreover, individual masters shall be bound on their honor to observe this ordinance. Also, however, if anyone is found acting contrary to the said ordinance, he shall be suspended from lecturing for a month.



Chartularium universitatis Parisiensis I, 252-58.

The Dominicans had come to Paris in 1217, the Franciscans in 1230. They not merely gave instruction, more particularly in theology, in their own convents, but sought admission to university degrees and the faculty of theology, in which effort they received papal support. At first the other masters raised little objection, but when friars who had been so admitted refused to participate in the suspension of lectures and the "great dispersion" of 1229-1231, the other masters began to look at them askance. In 1253 the two Dominican and one Franciscan professors of theology again refused to participate in a cessation of lectures, called because of injuries inflicted on scholars by the local police. When they further refused to take an oath of obedience to the university as members thereof, the university expelled and excommunicated them. In the following letter to the secular clergy and to scholars generally, the university defends its action.

In the bitter struggle which followed, the friars were temporarily victorious because of papal support but after the death of Alexander IV in 1261 the university gradually made good its contentions. Friars were admitted to the faculty of theology but not to that of arts, and secular students could incept for the doctorate only under secular doctors. By 1318 an oath of obedience to the statutes of the university was once more imposed upon the friars.

To the reverend fathers in Christ, archbishops, bishops, abbots, deans, archdeacons, and other prelates of churches, also to chapters and to scholars generally, the university of masters and scholars studying at Paris sends greeting everlasting in the Lord. The right hand of the Most High once planted at Paris the paradise of delights, the venerable gymnasium of letters, whence the fount of wisdom rises which, distributed in four faculties of theology, jurisprudence, medicine, and rational, natural, and moral philosophy, like the four rivers of Paradise flowing through the four climes of the world, waters and irrigates the whole earth. From which how multifarious spiritual and temporal advantages Christendom experiences is clearer than light to all.

Over this venerable and wholesome gymnasium there once were masters who were men of reverend life, most illustrious in learning, religious of mind, yet all clad in secular garb, who, having become more numerous as the number of auditors increased with time as it should, in order that they could devote themselves the more freely and tranquilly to learned study, if they should be associated by a bond of special law, obtained from king and pope a corporate college or university with many privileges and indulgences. Under the happy regime of these doctors the said university grew and blossomed into the most beautiful flowers and bore richest fruit of honors, because, just as they differed neither in costume nor profession, so they varied not in studies or vows, knowing that still waters run deep.

But in our recent times certain men of religion who are called Friars Preachers, living in Paris in small numbers, coming in under an appearance of piety and public utility, pursued the study of theology together with us, fervently and humbly; on which account they were kindly received by our predecessors and ourselves, embraced sincerely with the arms of charity, lodged in our own house, which we conceded to them to live in [the Hospital of Saint-Jacques] and in which they dwell to this day, carefully educated with the food of learning as well as of the body; and having obtained many benefits from us and our predecessors, by entry of our scholars they simultaneously grew in science and numbers, so that today they are scattered everywhere in many colleges. But although in their first institution they chose to serve Christ the Lord in perfect humility, later, led by we know not what spirit against the evangelical rule of perfect humility which they professed (in which the Lord says to the perfect, "Do not wish to be called Rabbis," and a little after, "Be ye not called masters," in the first utterance forbidding the appetite for mastery, in the second interdicting too the word, Master), seeking the solemn honor of the master's degree and magisterial chairs, they nevertheless, when the greater part of the university of Paris was transferred to Angers because of an atrocious and notorious injury done us, in that paucity of scholars which remained at Paris gained their desire with the connivance of the bishop and chancellor of Paris at that time and in the absence of the masters won the master's degree and one professorial chair.

Then, when our university was reformed at Paris by apostolic provision, by means of the same chair they multiplied successive doctors for themselves against the will of the then chancellor--our predecessors who were not yet hampered by other convents of scholars of the orders dissimulating--and by themselves they erected a second professorship and for some time maintained both, acquired by such titles. But as time went on, our predecessors considered that there were six colleges of different orders, namely, Cistercians, Premonstratensians, Vallis Scholarium, Trinitarians, Friars Minor, and that other regular clergy, not having colleges among us, had come to Paris for the sake of studying theology and some of them had become professors, while others not yet properly qualified for professorial chairs aspired to them according to what they themselves said. They considered also that the canons of the church of Paris, of whom three teach in this field among us, were accustomed to increase their number as persons endowed them in accordance with the custom of their church. They considered furthermore that the state of the city and the reputation of the theological faculty, according to the apostolic statute sworn to by the chancellor of Paris and individual masters of theology, could hardly support twelve chairs because of the scarcity of scholars studying theology with us, since now in cities and other large-sized places generally the said subject is taught by the same friars and others, not without great peril. Therefore, they perceived more clearly than light that, after one of those twelve chairs were occupied, as they were about to be, irrevocably by the said colleges, which because of the continued succession of friar teachers would never henceforth revert to secular masters, two or three at the most would be left over which could be reserved for the secular persons who flock from every region under the sun to the university of Paris. But should it happen that the said colleges double their chairs, as the Preachers had done, since from what we have said it would then follow that there would be fifteen immortal classes in theology in our university, it would inevitably result that all secular scholars, the canons of Paris alone excepted, would be excluded forever from the chairs of theology at Paris, on which account we would have, because of the regulars coming in, to leave the city of Paris, so suitable to our studies and for so long past made suitable by us at great expense, and migrate to less suitable places not without serious loss, or, alienated from the domain of theology, all turn to the secular sciences.

We therefore, carefully observing that the eminence of sacred letters is more necessary to the secular clergy, who are frequently called to care for souls and rule churches, than to the regular clergy who are rarely promoted to such positions, noting also how a scholar is spurred to study, if he hopes that sometime he may attain a professorial chair, having held diligent deliberation, decided to decree that no convent of regular clergy in our community should be allowed to have two full professors actually teaching at the same time, not meaning by this statute to prevent the friars from multiplying their own extraordinary lecturers as they might see fit. Which statute the Friars Preachers resist with all their might.

Then after Lent, being in great anguish of heart because of death, imprisonment and other atrocities committed against our scholars by the police of Paris, in accordance with a certain ordinance of the apostolic see granted us, we made a certain mutual agreement as to following up the said injuries before God and justice, if it should happen that secular justice failed us, so far as each of us might, saving his rule or order and also without labor of his own body, not in the name of individuals but of the university. When we did this, the aforementioned masters of the Preachers who were then teaching among us would by no means agree to our said agreement, except on the condition that under testimony of our common seal we concede to their order in perpetuity two chairs in the faculty of masters of theology. This could not be conceded to them, our statute mentioned above preventing, nor was it then a question of their classes or ours but rather of removing the aforesaid injuries. Wherefore the said friars, pertinaciously resisting the said agreement, delayed it by their rebellious attitude for seven weeks, on which account our security being in jeopardy we had to abstain the longer from lecturing. Having finally effected this agreement despite their resistance, there immediately followed satisfaction of the said injuries for our future security.

But while this was still pending, lest we experience a similar rebellion in any masters in the future, we unanimously decided to decree that henceforth no master be admitted to the college of masters unless he should first have sworn to observe faithfully our statutes, licit and honorable and useful to us; further, to join in our licit and honorable and expedient agreements which have especial vigor from the tenor of our privileges, so that in the words of Augustine the part be not shameful from not harmonizing with the whole. To which statute, although we were afterwards willing in their favor to insert this clause, "provided, however, that to me who profess the rule of the Friars Preachers the said statutes according to that rule are not illicit or dishonorable or contrary to the safety of souls, or adverse to law divine or human or to public utility, nor harmful to the holy church of God," nevertheless they refused to give their assent except on the aforesaid condition of two professorships being conceded in perpetuity, and, since the condition was not accepted by us for the reason already stated, they pertinaciously resisted the same statute so far as in them lay and still do.

Now when, because of this rebellion and contumacy, in accord with the tenor of the aforesaid ordinance of the apostolic see after the lapse of fifteen days, they incurred sentence of excommunication, we on account of their excommunication for the said rebellions separating them and their adherents from our society, as is the custom, caused their separation according to our custom to be announced in all the classes. On which account the entire convent of the Friars Preachers at Paris, forgetful of its ancient humility and our baneficence, contrary to the word of the Apostle saying, "I beseech you brethren that you walk worthily of that calling in which you are called in all humbleness and gentleness," and in another place, "Forget not favors," raising their heel against our university their patron, as they themselves would not dare to deny, gravely defaming the persons of our predecessors, falsely and foully calling them persecutors of holiness and all religion, finally plotting danger against our persons, they suggested with deliberate malice to the illustrious count of Poitiers, then regent of the realm of France, with many magnates of his court assisting him and in the presence of our masters summoned for this, that we had issued statutes against God and the church universal, likewise had perpetrated conspiracies unlawful against the honor of the king and profit of the realm, which God forbid, whereas really we had done nothing whatever except what has been stated above and in which they had joined with us to the extent of their power, subject merely to their stipulated condition.

Nor yet sated with our calamities, going to the apostolic see and gravely defaming, as we have learned, our predecessors to the pope and cardinals, maintaining complete silence as to the causes of their separation, without anyone there of our side, by the elaborate falsehoods of their entreaties and their importunity they extorted from the pope certain surreptitious letters, as we have learned, to the venerable father, the bishop of Evreux, by which (although from reverence to the apostolic bull and the entreaties of the said count of Poitiers and to avoid giving scandal to many who were shocked by their insolences we were willing to readmit them to our society saving only our statutes aforesaid, at least until the pope, more fully informed, should decree otherwise) they nonetheless by means of an executor of theirs delegated at their instance by the bishop mentioned, namely a master Luke, a canon of Paris, favorable to them but entirely hostile to us--without our ever being summoned to judgment, never heard in our defense, not sufficiently warned, our exceptions not admitted nor the falsity of their pleas and many other things proposed extra judicium as we could before God, after a legitimate appeal interposed from these grievances and many other causes, pending nevertheless a citation by which they had had us cited to the tribunal of the supreme pontiff by a letter obtained from the apostolic see to the same judge--they procured the suspension of all masters and everyone of all faculties, all auditors even of theology, law and medicine, without any knowledge of the cause, without process of law, de facto since de lure they could not, and to the greater contumely of us and every clerk published the same in the parish churches of the city of Paris on a Sunday in the presence of all the laity and to their grave scandal.

Add to this that, to increase the peak of their presumption, when, for the sake of new scholars arriving who did not know what had happened, we caused the afore-mentioned edict of separation together with their declaration to be announced to all classes as is the custom by our public servants whom we call bedells, when the said servants came to a class of these friars and one of them began to read a copy of the edict, a multitude of the friars who were there with a great vociferation and clamor rushed at those servants, after many contumelies tore the copy of the edict from the hands of the reader, and, pushing another servant aside, struck a third so that blood flowed, and so they shamefully drove them away. Finally, when they returned to the rector of our university and revealed what had happened to them, the rector taking three masters of arts with him went to the same class. But when he tried to read another copy of the same edict, the same friars rushed at him and assailed him with many contumelies. At length when they charged that he came armed and, to find out, felt his person with their hands, the rector wishing to show his innocence turned up his cope to his neck and demonstrated in the sight of all that he WQS unarmed, and thus escaping their hands he returned with the business unaccomplished.

Moreover, the iniquities of the Amorites not yet completed, the friars mentioned turning wickedly to machinations of fraud, not to say falsity, extorted from their said executor by his mistake as he asserts, not without vice of falsity, a letter containing that certain of our masters and students mentioned by name to the number of forty had agreed in his presence to admit to our society and college of masters the aforesaid friars who once taught among us. Which letter indeed they displayed at secret conferences to some of us in order to induce them after the example of the aforesaid to join them and secretly withdraw from the agreement of our university, and in this way they brought about dissensions and schisms among us, until the same letter by God's aid was brought to us by one of ours and read in public, and those whose names were inscribed were aroused by such falsity and denied the fact stoutly. The said executor hearing this became red in the face and in detestation of the said letter broke his seal with an axe and sent part of the same broken seal to our rector as a sign of his own sadness and remorse. Also at the petition of certain persons named in the said letter, seized by fear, he granted them to have their letters asserting the contrary sealed with the seal of the court of Paris, since he did not yet have a seal of his own, which we keep with the prior letter aforesaid to show at the proper time and place.

The defamations and detractions, which they have not feared to make against us and especially against our predecessors in their public sermons as well as in private, we cannot explain in a few words. In all which things aforesaid not without grave damage we have experienced the truth of that vulgar proverb, "A mouse in one's wallet, a serpent in the bosom, a fire in one's lap, repay their hosts evilly," Solomon saying, "He who nourishes a serpent in his bosom will be stung by it," and also the truth of the Council of Seville where it says, "Men of diverse profession ought not to be in one and the same office," which likewise is forbidden in divine law, Moses saying, "You shall not plow with an ox and an ass together," that is, you shall not associate men of different profession in one office together. And later on, "Those cannot associate and hold together whose studies and vows differ" [Gratian, causa 16, quaest. 7, cap. 22].

Lest therefore certain of the friars who are scattered through all churches, wishing perchance to justify the case of their Parisian friars to the ears of men, should succeed in obfuscating the truth of events by one-sided narration, we, taking into account the public utility of the church universal, not on our own account merely but for certain greater matters which are imminent, desiring that the said truth be known to all, have decided to give a summary of the aforesaid events, collecting briefly the terrors and oppressions and other unexpected grievances which they insolently inflict upon us--passing over for the present many things which they devise against us through the power of laymen whom they win over in wondrous ways--to your discretion, reverend fathers, in the present writing, in order that you, who are fathers by the clemency of divine providence, remembering that you once were sons, may now endure with us sons in paternal affection and, noting carefully and clearly how great perils may follow from the said insolence which they display, especially since you are given as watchmen to the house of Israel, do you ascend the watchtowers and gaze and contemplate and, if you shall deem expedient, take care to provide such means as with God you can, lest if that foundation of the church known as the university of Paris be shaken, the edifice itself in consequence unexpectedly sink in ruin. For he who begins by sapping the foundations leaves no doubt whatever that he intends to level the entire edifice.

Given at Paris in the church of St. Julien le Pauvre and read there in the presence of the masters of all faculties, all masters being specially summoned for this purpose, in the year of the Lord 1253, on the Wednesday immediately following the Feast of the Purification of the blessed virgin Mary.


Chartularium universitatis Parisiensis, I, 277-79.

In the year of the Lord 1254. Let all know that we, all and each, masters of arts by our common assent, no one contradicting, because of the new and incalculable peril which threatens in our faculty--some masters hurrying to finish their lectures sooner than the length and difficulty of the texts permits, for which reason both masters in lecturing and scholars in hearing make less progress--worrying over the ruin of our faculty and wishing to provide for our status, have decreed and ordained for the common utility and the reparation of our university to the honor of God and the church universal that all and single masters of our faculty in the future shall be required to finish the texts which they shall have begun on the feast of St. Remy [October 1] at the times below noted, not before.

The Old Logic, namely the book of Porphyry, the Praedicamenta, Periarmentae, Divisions and Topics of Boethius, except the fourth, on the feast of the Annunciation of the blessed Virgin [March 25] or the last day for lectures preceding. Priscian minor and major, Topics and Elenchi, Prior and Posterior Analytics they must finish in the said or equal time. The Ethics through four books in twelve weeks, if they are read with another text; if per se not with another, in half that time. Three short texts, namely Sex principia, Barbarismus, Priscian on accent, if read together and nothing else with them, in six weeks. The Physics of Aristotle, Metaphysics, and De animalibus on the feast of St. John the Baptist [June 24]; De celo et mundo, first book of Meteorology with the fourth, on Ascension day [40 days after Easter]; De anima, if read with the books on nature, on the feast of the Ascension, if with the logical texts, on the feast of the Annunciation of the blessed Virgin; De generatione on the feast of the Chair of St. Peter [February 22]; De causis in seven weeks; De sensu et sensato in six weeks; De sompno et vigilia in five weeks; De plantis in five weeks; De memoria et reminiscentia in two weeks; De diferentia spiritus et animae in two weeks; De morte et vita in one week. Moreover, if masters begin to read the said books at another time than the feast of St. Remy, they shall allow as much time for lecturing on them as is indicated above. Moreover, each of the said texts, if read by itself, not with another text, can be finished in half the time of lecturing assigned above. It will not be permitted anyone to finish the said texts in less time, but anyone may take more time. Moreover, if anyone reads some portion of a text, so that he does not wish, or is unable, to complete the whole of it, he shall read that portion in a corresponding amount of time.

If a bachelor shall incept before the feast of St. Denis [October 9], he may end his lectures with those resuming on the feast of the blessed Remy. Those who begin after the feast of St. Denis shall finish their texts by as much later as they began later than others. Each in good faith shall according to his estimate portion out his text proportionally to the time allowed for his lectures. Further, no one shall be allowed to give more than two ordinary lectures [or, give ordinary lectures more than twice], nor to make them extraordinary, nor to give them except at the ordinary hour and in ordinary wise.

Moreover from the feast of St. John the Baptist till the feast of St. Remy each shall arrange his lectures as shall seem most convenient for himself and his auditors. Also no one shall presume to give more than two cursory lectures on any day when lectures are held, nor more than three on a day when there are not regular lectures, nor to begin any course until he has finished the preceding course, unless he shall have been detained by serious illness over fifteen days or shall have been out of town for good reason more than fifteen days, or if the scholars do not want to hear him further. Also, no one shall be permitted to deliver any lectures on the days of the apostles and evangelists or on the three days immediately following Christmas, Easter, and Pentecost, or after the third hour on the eve of those three days. These things, moreover, we have decreed and ordained to be observed inviolate. Let no one, therefore, infringe this page of our ordinance or rashly go against it. But should anyone presume to attempt this, let him know that he will incur the wrath of the whole university and suspension of lectures for a year. In testimony and support of which thing we have decreed that the present letter be sealed with the seals of the four nations by their consent. Given in the year 1254 on the Friday before Palm Sunday.


Savigny, Geschschte des romischen Rechts im Mittelalter, III, 1822, pp. 501-2, 511.

If you please, I will begin the Old Digest [1] on the eighth day or there abouts after the feast of St. Michael [September 29] and I will finish it entire with all ordinary and extraordinary, Providence permitting, in the middle of August or thereabouts. The Code [3] I will always begin within about a fortnight of the feast of St. Michael and I will finish it with all ordinary and extraordinary, Providence permitting, on the first of August or thereabouts. The extraordinary lectures used not to be given by the doctors. And so all scholars including the unskilled and novices will be able to make good progress with me, for they will hear their text as a whole, nor will anything be left out, as was once done in this region, indeed was the usual practice. For I shall teach the unskilled and novices but also the advanced students. For the unskilled will be able to make satisfactory progress in the position of the case and exposition of the letter; the advanced students can become more erudite in the subtleties of questions and contrarieties. I shall also read all the glosses, which was not done before my time....

For it is my purpose to teach you faithfully and in a kindly manner, in which instruction the following order has customarily been observed by the ancient and modern doctors and particularly by my master, which method I shall retain. First, I shall give you the summaries of each title before I come to the text. Second, I shall put forth well and distinctly and in the best terms I can the purport of each law. Third, I shall read the text in order to correct it. Fourth, I shall briefly restate the meaning. Fifth, I shall solve conflicts, adding general matters (which are commonly called brocardsca) and subtle and useful distinctions and questions with the solutions, so far as divine Providence shall assist me. And if any law is deserving of a review by reason of its fame or difficulty, I shall reserve it for an afternoon review.

[1] The Old Digest, like the Old Logic, was the portion of the text which had been longest known and of which the study was earliest revived. It comprised books l-28 and the first two titles of book 29. The New Digest included the closing books of Justinian's compendium of Roman legal literature. The intervening section from book 29, titulus 3, to book 38, titulus 3, was called the Infortiatum and, like the other two, was usually made the subject of a distinct course of lectures.



Chartularium universitatis Parisiensis, III, 143-46.

First, concerning the faculty of theology we decree by the said authority that all incepting and from the moment they begin to lecture on the Sentences, even cursors in the said university, shall parade through town in costume befitting their state, degree, and the honor of the said faculty, visiting in particular classes, churches and sermons.

Also, that no one be admitted to lecture on the Sentences in vacations.

Also, that students may be promoted to honors in the said faculty not by leaps and bounds but according to merit, we have decreed that cursors in theology conduct their courses in order, commenting on the text and noting important glosses according to the ancient method approved in the said university.

Also, that no cursor of the Bible presume to cover more than one chapter of the book which he is reading in a single lecture except those giving ordinary biblical lectures.

Also, that no one be admitted to giving courses in theology unless he has reached his twenty-fifth year.

Also, that every cursor in theology in the time between his first course and the Sentences be required to respond in theology at least once, unless he shall have been lawfully excused by will of the chancellor and said faculty.

Also, that scholars who are just beginning to study theology for the first four years shall bring or have brought to classes of the Bible teacher the Bible, in which they shall hear lectures on the Bible diligently.

Also, that scholars just beginning to hear the Sentences shall for the first four years bring or have brought to classes of the bachelor from whom they hear the Sentences copies of the same in order that they may follow the text attentively.

Also, that lecturers on the Sentences shall perform their collations and principis honorably without any proud or offensive or scandalous words, abstaining from any injury and preserving to each the honor due him.

Also, that lecturers on the Sentences do not treat logical or philosophical matters and questions, except so far as the text of the Sentences requires or the solutions of arguments demand, but they shall raise and treat theological questions, speculative or moral, bearing on the Distinctions of the Sentences.

Also, that lecturers on the Sentences read the text of the same in order and expound it for the utility of their hearers.

Also, that no one lecturing on the Sentences shall read his question or principium from a manuscript. However, by this we do not forbid a bachelor to carry to the lecturer's desk some memorandum from which he can, if need be, recall to memory difficult points touching his question or arguments and authorities bearing on the question and its exposition.

Also, we decree that no master or bachelor who lectures on the Sentences shall communicate his lectures directly or indirectly to the booksellers until his lectures have been examined by the chancellor and masters of the said faculty.

Also, that no one can become a licentiate in theology or incept to lecture on the Sentences or any course in theology under any master absent from Paris, unless that master is recognized as giving instruction by the faculty, nor shall the bedell of the absent master receive anything in any way from those incepting.

Also, we ordain that those bachelors who have lectured on the Sentences, if they wish to obtain the master's degree, shall be required to remain in the university for the time accustomed to elapse between the lecturing and master's degree, in order that their science, character and life may be tested more certainly.

Moreover, concerning the reformation of the faculty of Decreta we decree by the aforesaid authority that no dispensation be granted anyone as to the books and lectures which according to the ordinance of the apostolic see and statutes of the faculty should have been heard and read before admission to the licentiate.

Moreover, concerning the faculty of medicine we decree that the medical students hear their books, complete their lectures, frequent disputations, as is contained in the statutes of the faculty of medicine, all dispensation to the contrary being forbidden.

Moreover, concerning the faculty of arts, which is as it were the foundation of the others, we decree that those determining and about to receive the licentiate be required to wear their copes or cassocks to classes when they go to hear their lectures and at sermons, especially from the feast of All Saints till the end of great Ordinary, that the faculty may be honored in them and their degree recognized.

Also, that the said scholars hearing their lectures in the said faculty sit on the ground before their masters, not on seats or benches raised above the ground, as was the custom when the studies of the faculty were more flourishing, so that occasion of pride may be removed from the young.

Also, we decree by the said authority that scholars, before they are admitted to determining in arts, be properly trained in grammar and have heard the Doctrinale and Graecismus, provided the said books are read in the schools or other places where they have learned grammar.

Also, that they have heard the entire Logica vetus, the book of Topics or at least four books of it, and the Elenchi, Prior and Posterior Analytics completely; also De anima in whole or part.

Also, that no one be admitted to determining in arts unless he has studied at Paris for two years at least, all dispensation being prohibited.

Also, that no one be admitted to the licentiate in the said faculty either in the examination of the Blessed Mary or in that of Sainte Genevieve, unless in addition to the aforesaid books he has heard at Paris or in another university the Physics, Generation and Corruption, Celo et mundo, Parva naturalia, namely the books De sensu et sensato, De sompno et vigilia, De memoria et reminiscentia, De longitudine et brevitate vitae, the Metaphysics or that he will hear it and that he has heard other mathematical works.

Also, that no one henceforth shall be admitted to the degree of master in arts unless he has heard the said books, also the moral works, especially most of the Ethics, and the Meteorology, at least the three first books, all dispensation being prohibited.

Also, that no one be admitted to the licentiate in any examination of the said faculty, unless he has attended disputations of masters of the same faculty for a year or the greater part of a year at the time of great Ordinary and unless he has responded in two disputations in the presence of masters, concerning which he shall be required to inform the chancellor in whose examination he seeks to obtain the licentiate by notes from the disputing masters.

Also, that in the tests of the examination of Sainte Genevieve there be present four masters of the four nations with the chancellor or vicechancellor, who have sworn in the presence of (he faculty that they will examine faithfully, admitting the deserving and rejecting the unworthy, just as there are four masters sworn and chosen by the chancellor of blessed Mary as examiners.

Also, we decree that the chancellor of Ste. Genevieve shall be a canon of that monastery, a master of arts, if such there be there, and should swear before the faculty that he will give the license according to the merits of persons and the deposition of the masters who examine. But if no such master is canon in the monastery, that the existing chancellor, who always should be from the said monastery, shall be required to choose a master in theology who shall swear in his hands and in the presence of the faculty to bestow the licenses in the way above said.

Also, that bachelors in arts may read cursorily such books as they wish pertaining to the same faculty, as they did of old, notwithstanding a statute of the same faculty made to the contrary, by which it is forbidden that any bachelor lecture on a text cursorily at that hour at which any master lectures on that book cursorily. .

Conflict between Town and Gown at Paris (1269)

Proclamation of the Official of the Episcopal Court of Paris against Clerks and Scholars Who Go about Paris Armed by Day and Night and Commit Crimes; January 11, 1269

The official of the court of Paris to all the rectors of churches, masters and scholars residing in the city and suburb of Paris, to whom the present letters may come, greeting in the Lord. A frequent and continual complaint has gone the rounds that there are in Paris some clerks and scholars, likewise their servants, trusting in the folly of the same clerks, unmindful of their salvation, not having God before their eyes, who, under pretense of leading the scholastic life, more and more often perpetrate unlawful and criminal acts, relying on their arms: namely, that by day and night they atrociously wound or kill many persons, rape women, oppress virgins, break into inns. also repeatedly committing robberies and many other enormities hateful to God. And since they attempt these and other crimes relying on their arms, we, having in mind the decree of the supreme pontiff in which it is warned that clerks bearing arms will be excommunicated, also having in mind that our predecessors sometimes excommunicated those who went about thus, and in view of the fact that this is so notorious and manifest that it cannot be concealed by any evasion and that their proclamation was not revoked, wishing to meet so great evils and to provide for the peace and tranquillity of students and others who wish to live at peace, at the instance of many good men and by their advice do excommunicate in writing clerks and scholars and their servants who go about Paris by day or night armed, unless by permission of the reverend bishop of Paris or ourself. We also excommunicate in writing those who rape women, break into inns. oppress virgins, likewise all those who have banded together for this purpose. No less do we excommunicate all those who have known anything about the aforesaid, unless within seven days from the time of their information, after the proclamation issued against the aforesaid has come to their notice, they shall have revealed what they know to the said reverend bishop or ourselves and have submitted to fitting emendation. Nevertheless we specially reserve to the lord bishop or ourselves the right to absolve clerks excommunicated for the aforesaid reasons.

But inasmuch as some clerks and scholars and their servants have borne arms in Paris, coming there from their parts or returning to their parts, and likewise certain others, knowing that clerks, scholars and their servants have borne arms in Paris, fear that for the said reasons they have incurred: the said penalty of excommunication, we do declare herewith that it neither is nor was our intention that those clerks, scholars and their servants should be liable to the said sentence who, coming to Paris for study and bearing arms on the way, on first entering the city bear the same to their lodgings, nor, further, those, wishing to return home or setting out on useful and honest business more than one day's journey from the city of Paris, who have borne such arms going and returning while they were outside the city. We further declare that in the clause in which it is said, "We excommunicate all those who have known anything about the aforesaid," etc., we do not understand that word, aforesaid, to refer to all and each of the aforesaid but to the clauses immediately preceding, namely, concerning those who rape women, break into inns, oppress virgins and those who band together for these ends. Moreover, you shall so observe the present mandate that you cannot be charged with or punished for disobedience. Given in the year 1268 [medieval calendar] A.D., the Friday following Epiphany.


These are the articles which bachelors about to incept in arts are required to swear to, when they come before the rector pledging faith in person. First, it should be said to them: You are to deliver ordinary lectures in the round cope or in the pallium. You will dispute at the hour set and you will discuss your questions for forty days continuously after you have incepted. You are to carry on for fifteen (forty?) days in the said costume. You shall not have shoes with pointed toes or ornaments or openings, nor are you to wear a surcoat slashed on the sides, nor shall you have a mitre on your head so long as you lecture or dispute in the round cope. You will attend the meetings, obey the commands of the rector and proctor in things lawful and honorable. You shall not permit dances to go on before your house nor anything unseemly to occur at your opening lecture under penalty of degradation from being a master. You shall not reveal the secrets of the university. You are to be present at the burial of students on feast days when you know of them; on other days, when you shall be asked, you shall in the aforesaid costume read or cause to be read the Psalter at the death of a master of the faculty. You will observe and defend the accustomed freedom of examination of Ste. Genevieve. You will promise to incept under the master under whom you were licentiated, or with his consent under another, so that you have adequately sought his consent or would gladly have done so if you could, and so that you intend no guile or fraud towards your master under whom you gained the licentiate with respect to your inception. Also, you will observe the order or ordinance as to the method of giving ordinary lectures and of disputing. Also, you will stand with the secular masters and defend their status, statutes, and privileges all your lifetime, to whatever position you may come. Also, so long as you shall teach in arts, you will dispute no purely theological question, for example, concerning the Trinity and incarnation. And if you chance to discuss any question which has to do with the faith and philosophy, you will settle it in favor of the faith and answer the arguments contrary to the faith as it shall seem to you they should be answered.

Also, you shall swear without any fraud that you have fulfilled the requirements in arts at Paris according to the custom hitherto observed, or in some university where there are at least twelve teachers. Also, that you will observe the ordinance recently passed as to the method of announcing general meetings to the dean of the canon law faculty and the dean of the medical faculty. Also, you shall swear that, if you shall have known that a nation is going to rise against a nation or a province against a province or a person against a person, you will reveal it to the nation against which there is to be made an insurrection of a person or province. Also, you shall swear that you will not incept while you see another bachelor incepting, but you will wait until he has given his lecture and finished his discussion before you begin. Also, that you will observe the ordinance of the masters as to bachelors examined on the island by masters not of the faculty. Also, you shall swear to, and to the best of your ability, obtain freedom of the university from debt. Also, you shall swear that you will incept in your own cope, not one borrowed or hired, if you put two solid) or more in the purse. Also, you shall swear that you have heard lectures for six years in arts. Also, you shall swear that you will lecture for two years continuously unless a reasonable excuse shall occur. Also, you shall swear to defend the particular liberties of the faculty and the honorable customs of the faculty and the privileges of the whole university, to whatever position you may come.

From University Records and Life in the Middle Ages, edited and translated by Lynn Thorndyke (New York: Columbia University Press. 1944), pp. 103-5. Some footnotes deleted.).