Page:An Academic Sketch.djvu/17

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14
The Romanes Lecture 1892

application of the great idea, during the first and not least brilliant period of academic history.

It is to Italy, richer as she was than any other country in the remains of the ancient civilisation, that we must accord the honour of having owned the earliest establishments to which the name of University has been accorded[1]. Salerno is the oldest among them; drawing doubtfully its title from the ninth century, and famous only as a medical school. Bologna follows in the twelfth century, and is joined with Paris by Denifle, partly on the ground of a priority enjoyed by both, Bologna perhaps having slightly the advantage, and partly because these exhibited the two forms of foundation which had most to do with supplying patterns for later establishments. Bologna[2], however, earned its early fame only as the grand school of law: in which capacity it attracted students largely from beyond the Alps; while in the course of time other studies were gradually grouped around it without at first forming part of the University.

One, and only one, other University commenced its career in the twelfth century. It was then that Oxford became definitely entitled to the name, with an equipment in all the faculties.

Cambridge dated somewhat later; for it is first in the year 1209 that a trustworthy notice of it is found[3]. Like Oxford, it was supplied with the four faculties. And, like Oxford, as well as Paris and Bologna, it owed

  1. Denifle, p. 307.
  2. Ibid. pp. 40 seqq.
  3. Ibid. p. 369.