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The Carraresi “professorship policy”

Relations between the university and the signoria were encouraged by the fact that the latter continued to intervene in university affairs, also during the second period of the Da Cararra rule,
 after the Scaliger and Visconti interlude between 1338 and 1405. In particular, from the forties onwards, the lords of Padua implemented a series of policies in favour of the university, probably with the aim of creating a jewel in the city’s crown. One of the practical ways of doing this was to call famous professors to Padua, thereby attracting more students and, above all, ‘foreign’ students, who were attracted by the prestigious teaching on offer.

This “professorship policy” has a chronologically precise beginning in Padua’s first news source which clearly refers to a famous professor being called to the university. The professor in question was the well-known jurist Ranieri Arsendi from Forlì, who was called to take on the professorship of civil law in 1344 for the generous salary of 600 florins. Previously a professor at the universities of Bologna and Pisa, it is thought that he also had a leading role in the government of Francesco I da Carrara, as an adviser.

Another prominent figure called to Padua by the Carraresi nobility was Biagio Pelacani da Parma, who was a famous figure in the history of medieval philosophy. He was assigned the professorship of philosophy and astrology in 1384. The Carraresi nobility also played a key role in the hiring of the great lawyer Baldo degli Ubaldi, his brother Angelo and the Florentine canonist Lapo da Castiglionchio as teachers. Sometimes other professors were asked to intervene as mediators, as was the case for Giovanni Ubaldini, a professor of canon law, who was appointed to make contact with Pietro d’Ancarano in Bologna.