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Student associations

Following the multi-national chancellor posts attested in 1228 and 1241, the structure of the students’ associations was clearly set out in the charters of jurist students, whereby, from 1260 onwards, there was recognition of the activities carried out by a number of students coming from various parts of Europe.

These students had held the role of chancellor and stood out for having contributed to drawing up the charters themselves.
Scholars were divided into two groups, the “beyond the mountains” (or “Transalpine”) group and the “Cisalpine” group and were then subdivided into national groups (“nationes”). In the XIV century, there were nine national subgroups in the Transalpine group and ten in the Cisalpine group.

These groups of scholars belonged to two separate but closely linked associations headed by two chancellors or, at certain points in time, by one chancellor who alternated between the Transalpine Cisalpine groups. As was the case in Bologna, it was the students in Padua who approved the charters, elected chancellors within the student body and chose their professors, paying them with the proceeds from collections.
In Padua, the first study centre was focused on law. This is also why the jurists dominated the university for a long time, as both students and professors. Students of the arts, on the other hand, were incorporated into the university by the jurists and they therefore depended on them, having no rights of representation themselves. In fact, only students of law could become “graduates”, whereas others became “masters”. However, in 1399, the Universitas iuristarum (teaching civil law, canon law and theology) and the Universitas artistarum (teaching medicine, philosophy, grammar, dialectics, rhetoric and astronomy) were founded, each with their own chancellor, their own charters and their own powers of legislation. The two universities were united in 1813.

In the 16th century, Padua’s study centre was very famous and attracted a high number of students from all over Italy and Europe. At the time, there were 22 ‘nationes’ for the university of jurists and seven for the university of ‘artists’, and all played a very important role within academic life, including appointing advisers who helped the chancellors to govern their respective university.
Out of all the national groups, the German one was dominant in terms of its number of members, it special privileges and for the influence that it had. The Polish, Gallic and Anglican groups were also important. There was a great spirit of belonging in each group. In fact, students had to enrol with both the university’s general registers and the registers of their respective national groups, having the chance to recreate their own traditions within their respective ‘nationele‘. Many students came from noble families or belonged to the middle class, whether laypeople or clerics, rich with their own tutors and servants. However, there were also poorer students, who were guests in the various colleges created by benefactors, or were supported by patrons or subsidies from their home countries.
Not all students in Padua completed the entire study programme here: some came to listen to famous professors, hone their knowledge, complete their studies or obtain a graduate qualification which, if awarded in Padua, would guarantee them access to the most prestigious roles.
The self-governing bodies started to break up and the student universitates began to lose their powers and privileges more and more from the end of the XVI century onwards.

Nel Cinquecento quello di Padova è un centro di studi molto celebrato che richiama un numero molto alto di studenti che provengono da ogni parte d’Italia e d’Europa. Le nationes erano a quel tempo 22 per l’Università giurista e sette per quella artista e tutte avevano un ruolo molto importante all’interno della vita accademica tra cui la nomina dei consiglieri che assistevano il rettore nel governo della rispettiva Università.
Di tutte le nazioni, quella germanica era la predominante per numero di iscritti, per speciali privilegi, per l’influenza che esercitava. Importanti erano anche quella polacca, quella gallica e l’anglica. In tutte, lo spirito di corporazione era molto sentito. Gli scolari erano tenuti infatti a iscriversi sia nelle matricole generali dell’Università, sia in quelle della rispettiva nazione d’appartenenza e potevano far rivivere nell’ambito della propria nationele proprio tradizioni. Molti degli scolari appartenevano alla nobiltà, altri erano borghesi, laici o chierici, ricchi con precettori e servi ma anche studenti più poveri, ospitati nei vari collegi istituiti da benefattori, oppure mantenuti da mecenati o da sussidi forniti dalla nazione d’appartenenza.
Non tutti gli studenti a Padova completavano l’intero corso di studi; alcuni venivano per ascoltare professori famosi, per perfezionarsi, per completare gli studi, per ottenere quel titolo dottorale che, conseguito a Padova, garantiva loro l’accesso ai più alti incarichi.
La sfaldamento degli organi di autogoverno e la perdita dei poteri e dei privilegi delle universitates studentesche inizia a farsi sempre più forte a partire dalla fine del XVI secolo.

Timbro (aquila bicipite coronata) Nazione Germanica Artista 1546-1801 Timbro (aquila bicipite coronata) Nazione Germanica Artista 1546-1801