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Cesare Cremonini

(Cento, 1550 – (?), 18.07.1631)

Cesare Cremonini probably trained and graduated from the University of Ferrara, and this university appointed him a “special secondary professor of natural philosophy” in 1578.

He began teaching in Padua in 1591 with the same title, the same year in which he played a leading role in the battle of the universitas artistarum against the Gymnasium Patavinum of the Society of Jesus. This dispute led to him obtaining the condition that the Jesuit college could only accept members of the Society as students, thereby defending the University of Padova from the hegemonic aims of the papal curia and the Society of Jesus itself. This event meant that the pro-papal Venetian nobility frowned upon Cremonini and he was put on trial for this during the Roman Inquisition.

Interpreter and supporter of epistemology and Aristotelian physics, he was promoted to the University of Padova between 1601 and 1602, primarily in the field of natural philosophy. During the following years, he played a leading role in a number of disputes with figures who symbolised the culture of the time, from Galileo Galilei to Giorgio Raguseo and many others. For decades, he was a patron of the Natio germanica artistarum of the University of Padova, a natio that included many protestant students. As part of this role, he vigorously campaigned for the Venetian college of artists to be established, which came into being in 1616. This institution allowed protestant students to graduate in Padua without necessarily having to profess the Catholic faith.
Today, Cremonini is considered to be an intelligent university professor who used his role to defend tolerance and to guarantee civil liberties also for his own students.