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Collegio Romano

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  • Education
  • Mathematics
  • Philosophy
  • Religious Science


Connexions module: m11939 1 Collegio Romano ∗ Albert Van Helden This work is produced by The Connexions Project and licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution License † In 1534 Ignatius de Loyola and six companions bound themselves in vows of poverty, chastity, and apostolic labors. Six years later, Pope Paul III recognized the order as the Society of Jesus and authorized the framing of a detailed constitution. Rather than turning away from daily life in the tradition of monastic orders, the Jesuits formulated their mission in the world at large, and specifically in three areas, teaching, service to the nobility, and missionary work in foreign lands. In all three areas they were extraordinarily successful, but almost from the start they made their greatest mark in education. By 1556, when the Society had about a thousand members, three-fourths were engaged in education in 46 colleges. In 1579 there were 144 colleges, and by 1626 444 colleges, 56 seminaries, and 44 houses of training for Jesuits. At the apex of all Jesuit seminaries stood the Collegio Romano, founded by Ignatius in 1551. By papal bulls of 1552 and 1556 it received the right to grant doctorates in philosophy and theology as well as the privileges enjoyed by the universities of Paris, Louvain, Salamanca, and Alcalà. By 1567 the Collegio Romano had over a thousand students, and Pope Gregory XIII erected a large building to house the students and faculty. Over the years the college gradually became known as the Gregorian University in honor of that pope. Although the mathematical sciences occupied a subservient role in the curriculum, they did have a role. In the ratio studiorum (curriculum rules) promulgated in 1566, we find the following: Concerning mathematics, the mathematician shall teach, in this order, the [first] six books of Euclid, arithmetic, the sphere [of Sacrobosco], cosmography, astronomy, the theory of the planets, the Alphonsine Tables, optics, and timekeeping.

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