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University of Montpellier

From Academic Kids

The University of Montpellier, (Université de Montpellier), is a French university in Montpellier.

It is considerably older than its formal founding date, associated with a bull issued by Pope Nicholas IV in 1289, combining all the long-existing schools into a university.

It is not known exactly when the schools of liberal arts were founded that developed into the Montpellier faculty of arts; it may be that they were a direct continuation of the Gallo-Roman schools that gathered around masters of rhetoric. The school of law was founded by Placentinus, from the school of law at Bologna, who came to Montpellier in 1160, taught there during two different periods, and died there in 1192. The faculty of law has had a long career. Professors from Montpellier were prominent in the drafting of the Napoleonic Code, the civil code by which France is still guided and a foundation for modern law codes wherever Napoleonic influence extended. The faculty of law was reorganized in 1998.

The famous school of medicine was founded perhaps by Jews trained in the Spanish medical schools; it is certain that, as early as 1137, there were excellent physicians at Montpellier. The school of medicine owed its success to a policy of the Guilhem lords of Montpellier, by which any licensed physician might lecture there: with no fixed limit to the number of teachers, lectures multiplied, and there was a great choice of teachers. The statutes given in 1220 by Cardinal Conrad von Urach, legate of Pope Honorius III, which were confirmed and extended in 1240, placed this school under the direction of the Bishop of Maguelonne, but the school enjoyed a great deal of de facto autonomy. Rabelais took his medical degree at Montpellier, and his portrait hangs among the gallery of professors. The botanical garden, founded in 1593, is the oldest in France. It was in this school that the biological theory of vitalism, elaborated by Barthez (1734-1806), had its origin. The French Revolution did not interrupt the existence of the faculty of medicine.The Benedictine monastery that had been converted into the bishop's palace, was given to house the medical school in 1795. A gallery devoted to the portraits of professors since 1239 contains one of Rabelais.

The school of theology had its origins in lectures in the convents: St. Anthony of Padua, Raymond Lulles, and the Dominican Bernard de la Treille all lectured. Two letters of King John prove that a faculty of theology existed at Montpellier independently of the convents, in January, 1350. By a Bull of 17 December, 1421, Martin V granted canonical institution to this faculty and united it closely with the faculty of law.

In the 16th century the local triumph of Calvinism interrupted the somewhat somnolent Catholic school of theology, which was reinstated in 1622; but the rivalries of Dominicans and Jesuits interfered seriously with the prosperity of the faculty, which disappeared at the Revolution. In better days, among Montpellier's illustrious pupils of law were Petrarch, who spent four years at Montpellier, and among its lecturers were William of Nogaret, chancellor to Philip IV, Guillaume de Grimoard, afterwards Pope Urban V, and Pedro de Luna, afterwards antipope Benedict XIII.

The faculties of science and of letters were re-established in 1810; that of law in 1880.

The modern University of Montpellier II concentrates in science and technology. The Paul-Valéry University "Montpellier III" completes the trio of universities in the old city.

See also


Coimbra Group
(of European research universities)
Coimbra Group
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