Turtas, Raimondo (2002) La Laboriosa formazione dell'Università di Sassari (secoli 16.-17.). Annali di storia delle università italiane, Vol. 6 , p. 51-70. ISSN 1127-8250. Article.
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It was only towards the middle of the XVIth century that the authorities became aware of Sardinia’s backwardness in the fields of education and written culture. It was the cities of Cagliari and Sassari, which already had a few grammar teachers on the public payroll, that petitioned Charles V in 1543 to become university towns: the increasingly dangerous threat posed by pirates, they claimed, and the huge expenses incurred by anyone wishing to leave the island to follow a university course on the mainland represented insurmountable problems for the regeneration of the kingdom. The request was all in vain even if it was repeated on different occasions with Philip II. And yet, despite all the difficulties, almost 150 Sards took their doctorates at the University of Pisa in the second half of the century, while another, albeit much smaller, number ventured further afield to other Italian and Spanish universities. The turning point came with the foundation of Jesuit colleges in the main cities of the island: at Sassari in 1559, at Cagliari in 1564, at Iglesias in 1580 and at Alghero in 1588. These colleges brought with them new teaching methods, a tighter-knit organization of education and the training of a new, previously unknown, social group. Grammar students, which prior to the establishment of the colleges were no more than 250-300, numbered no less than 2,500 by the 1630s: after completing their humanities education, a number of these students attended to courses at the faculties of philosophy, medicine, civil/canon law and theology at the two universities of the island (Cagliari and Sassari). There were essentially three phases in the academic rise of the college of Sassari: the first came in 1612 when the Father General of the Society of Jesus Claudio Acquaviva, using powers invested in the Society by the Pope, allowed the rector of the Sassari college to grant academic recognition for teaching work in philosophy and theology; the second came in 1617 when Philip III raised the status of the institute from college to University, albeit merely for the two afore-mentioned faculties. Finally in 1632 Philip IV established the missing faculties (civil law, canon law and medicine), with the actual courses officially getting under way in 1635.
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