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Observatories in Jesuit Colleges and Universities in Europe (1540–1773)

  • Augustín Udías
Part of the Astrophysics and Space Science Library book series (ASSL, volume 286)

Abstract

In 1548, eight years after its foundation by Ignatius of Loyola (1491–1556), the Society of Jesus founded its first college in Messina, Sicily and three years later in 1551, the Collegio Romano in Rome. The Collegio Romano became a university in 1553, with the right to award doctoral degrees in philosophy and theology. Throughout the first centuries of the Society, the Collegio Romano served as a model for the approximately 625 Jesuit colleges and universities founded in Europe before the Society’s suppression. Colleges were of two types minor colleges, equivalent to primary and secondary schools today, with teaching of grammar, oratory and poetics, and major colleges, with faculties of philosophy and theology. Major colleges provided higher education and some of them were actually called universities. In 1710 there were in Europe 24 universities run by Jesuits, but many of the major colleges had a similar level of higher education. For example in France, 46 out of the 89 colleges had faculties of theology. The method of teaching in these colleges was based on the system used in the University of Paris, where Ignatius and his first companions had studied. Modified through the teaching experience in the new Jesuits colleges, the method was formalized in the Ratio Studiorum, first published in 1586 and in its definite form in 1599. The Ratio Studiorum specified the programs and methods of teaching which were to be followed in all Jesuit colleges. Among the disciplines in the curriculum of the faculty of philosophy, an important place was given to mathematics, which included at that time astronomy, mechanics and optics Mathematics was established as an obligatory subject in all Jesuit major colleges which had studies of philosophy. Mathematics was generally taught in the second or third year of the philosophical studies. However, not all philosophy students were obliged to attend the courses of mathematics. For example, according to the Jesuit historian of education, François de Dainville (1978), in 1627 in the colleges of Paris and La Flèche in France out of the 873 students following the philosophy courses, only 64 took the courses in mathematics. As we will see not all major colleges had stable chairs of mathematics.

Keywords

Solar Eclipse Astronomical Observation Major College Newtonian Physic Lunar Eclipse 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Augustín Udías
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Geophysics and MeteorologyUniversidad ComplutenseMadridSpain

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