Saturday, April 24, 2010

Study Salamanca

Salamanca University--Photo via Wikimedia.

Salamanca's Living Room: Plaza Mayor--photo via Virtual Tourist.

My niece, Caitlin, is getting settled in as a college student in Salamanca, Spain. Today she posted on her blog about what her typical day is like. As background, you should know that she is somewhat of a coffee connoisseur. She works at Starbucks when she is at home in Birmingham, AL.

Her initial perceptions about Spain are covered in her April 3rd post, Them Europeans is Weird.

Cait's dad, Stephen, traveled with her to Spain and spent about a week with her, sightseeing and getting last-minute school arrangements taken care of. Read his posts--so far there are five-- about the experience, beginning with Prelude and Day One.

I hope they both write a lot more.

Here's some background on the school via Salamanca University:

In 1218, King Alfonso IX of Leon founded the University of Salamanca, which is considered the oldest of the existing Spanish universities. Outstanding among the legislation founding the University of Salamanca is the Charter granted by King Alfonso X, dated 8 May, 1254, which established the rules for organization and financial endowment. Also important are the Papal Bulls of Alexander IV, issued in 1255, which confirmed the founding of the University, recognised the universal validity of the degrees awarded by it and granted it the privilege of having its own seal.

The regulation of studies and academic life fell to the Papacy during the Middle Ages (the constitution of 1411, of Benedict XIII, and that of 1422, of Martin V), and to the Monarch and his Council beginning in the 16th century: the statutes of 1538, 1551, 1561, 1594, 1604 and 1618. These university regulations established certain books, authors and teaching matter and were to be in force until the reforms of the Enlightenment: Roman or Justinian Law in Law, Papal decrees in Canon Law, scholastic metaphysical theology in Theology, Galen and Hippocrates in Medicine, Aristotelian philosophy in Arts-Philosophy, Euclid and Ptolomy in Astrology/Mathematics and the Latin and Greek classics.

Throughout the 15th and 16th centuries, the University of Salamanca took part in the new humanist trends, Nebrija’s teaching being a good example. Furthermore, there were a great amount of scientific manuscripts in some of the Colleges, such as the Major College of St. Bartholomew, linked to the Chairs of Natural Philosophy, Mathematics and Astronomy. In the middle years of the 16th century, the coming together of Law, Thomist Theology, the new logics and the classical languages crystallized in the so-called “School of Salamanca”, represented in the figure of Francisco de Vitoria. Some of his most important contributions were the practical reflection on certain problems derived from European expansion and colonization and American trans-culturation: the nature of power and justice, the rights of the person and the State, international community and the law of nations or peoples, international conflicts and just wars. Together with the predominant official channels of transmission of knowledge, in the different subject matter, other interpretations of knowledge and teaching were added, such as the theological and philological thought of Fray Luis de Leon, which brought complexity and cultural richness to 16th century Salamanca.
(Read more here.)

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