Early use of "universitas" in the sense of "university"

Latin after CDLXXVI
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Carolus Raeticus
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Early use of "universitas" in the sense of "university"

Post by Carolus Raeticus » Sat Mar 21, 2020 1:09 pm

Salvete,

I am currently proofreading (first of two proofreading runs) the third and last volume of Fratris Felicis Fabri Evagatorium in terram Sanctam. He is homeward bound, currently in Padua. There he mentions the university:
Frater Felix wrote: In ea civitate sunt conventus medicantium insignes, et multi in
eis Doctores studentes; antiqua enim est universitas ibi et notabilis
in omni facultate.
I was surprised that the Latin word universitas was already being used in 1484 in its modern sense of "university". Quite surprising. Yes, the university of Padua was founded in 1222, but still.

Valete,

Carolus Raeticus
Sperate miseri, cavete felices.

Aetos
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Re: Early use of "universitas" in the sense of "university"

Post by Aetos » Sat Mar 21, 2020 2:58 pm

Hi Carole,
Checking the DMLBS in Logeion, it appears that Oxford and Cambridge were referred as universitates as early as 1231 for Oxford and 1333 for Cambridge.

1231 consimiles literas habet universitas Oxonie directas vicecomiti Oxonie, majori et ballivis Oxonie ‥ ponitur ‘ad mandatum cancellarii et magistrorum Oxonie’ Cl 587;

1333 lx li. ‥ quos dicit se solvisse magistro J. de L. magistro scolarium de elemosina regis ad scolas universitatis Cantebrigie LTR Mem 105 m. 165;

Carolus Raeticus
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Re: Early use of "universitas" in the sense of "university"

Post by Carolus Raeticus » Mon Mar 23, 2020 6:00 pm

Interesting, I would have thought that "universitas" in its modern sense was a late bloomer. Thank you for the info. By the way, universitas of what? Does this refer to all branches of knowledge being taught there, or does it have a different meaning?

Vale,

Carolus Raeticus
Sperate miseri, cavete felices.

Aetos
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Re: Early use of "universitas" in the sense of "university"

Post by Aetos » Mon Mar 23, 2020 7:03 pm

Aetos wrote:
Sat Mar 21, 2020 2:58 pm
ad scolas universitatis Cantebrigie
At least in the case of Cambridge, the citation would indicate a group of schools making up the university. Pretty much the same as it means today. But then again, as my favourite comic fantasy author (Tom Holt) likes to quip, you could fit what I know about mediaeval Latin on the head of a pin and still have room for 1000 dancing angels!

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