Dubrovačke vlasti su već od 14. stoljeća vodile brigu o školovanju muške mladeži, a djelovanje škola je od polovice 16. stoljeća (1557.) reguliralo zakonom koje je donijelo Veliko vijeće Dubrovačke Republike. Iako Dubrovčane na studiju u Padovi susrećemo i ranije, tim zakonom uređeno je stipendiranje Dubrovčana za odlazak na studije. Uz radove koji su se temeljili na istraživanjima manjih grupa studenata, u domaćoj historiografiji još uvijek nema rada koji bi u fokus istraživanja stavio upravo dubrovačke mladiće i jedno od najznačajnijih europskih sveučilišta kamo su odlazili mnogi studenti s hrvatskih područja, ono u Padovi. Zbog toga je istraživanje usmjereno na dubrovačke studente u Padovi od druge polovice 14. stoljeća (kada nalazimo prve podatke o njima), kroz čitavo vrijeme postojanja Dubrovačke Republike, do pada 1808. godine.
Da bi se dobio okvir za obradu teme, najprije je kratko prikazana povijest sveučilišta u Italiji općenito, te početak i razvitak Sveučilišta u Padovi. Nakon toga je razmotreno funkcioniranje sveučilišta, troškovi studija i života, te način stjecanja doktorskih titula, pri čemu su iz tog konteksta analizirani i podaci o dubrovačkim studentima. Treća cjelina donosi kratku povijest osnovnog i srednjeg školstva u Dubrovniku, te podatke o stipendiranju: uvjete za stjecanje stipendije, obveze nakon završetka stipendije, stipendije po namjeni, te prema izvoru financiranja. Četvrta cjelina donosi detaljne biografije studenata, s naglaskom na podacima iz vremena njihova studija, dok se u petome dijelu donose odgovori o njihovoj dobi, društvenom sloju, titulama koje su stekli, te njihovim karijerama nakon povratka u grad.
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Since the 14th century, the Dubrovnik authorities have taken great care of the instruction of male youth, especially from the ranks of the nobility, and eventually the whole system of education has been regulated by the law issued by the Major Council (Veliko vijeće) of the Dubrovnik Republic in 1557. Although the presence of young men from Dubrovnik at the University of Padua is not confirmed earlier than 16th century, by the law of 1557 a system of public grants met the ambition of young men who wanted to go abroad to study. The reputation of the University of Padua, as well as a member of practical reasons, attracted young Ragusans to continue their education in that city. Besides few works based on the research of smaller groups of students, there is still no comprehensive analysis of the male youth from Dubrovnik at one of the most important European universities of the time, especially popular among the Croatian students, the one in Padua. Therefore, the research was focused on the Dubrovnik students in Padua from the second half of the 14th century (when we find the first information about them), throughout the time of the existence of the Dubrovnik Republic, until its fall of 1808.
In the first chapter, I refer to the sources, their availability and attainability, the goals of the research and the methods I applied. Second, a brief history of the Italian universities in general, and the beginning and development of the University of Padua are presented. After that, the functioning of the university itself, as well as the costs of studies and student life, and the acquisition of academic titles are shown. The third chapter is a brief history of elementary and secondary education in Dubrovnik, as well as scholarship data: conditions for their acquisition, obligations upon completion of the scholarship, scholarships by purpose and source of funding. The fourth part is dedicated to the biographies of students, especially data on their student years. The fifth part presents prosopographic analysis and forwards answers about the age of Ragusan studens in Padua, their social background, the titles they have acquired, and their career after returning to the natal city.
The analysis is based on the research of two main typology of sources. First source regards published documents of University of Padua (Acta graduum academicorum Gymnasii Patavini), and they relate to the doctoral exam. This source often notes not only the name of the doctoral candidate, but also the names of the students attending the ceremony as witnesses, on the basis of which some of those who have not completed their studies can be recognised. Additionally, the Fasti Gymnasii Patavini edition was scrutinized to obtain data on the specific individuals who acted as rectors or professors. The second source represents the very abundant material from the State Archives in Dubrovnik. The specific data on carriers of the students patricians (laymen) upon returning from their studies was collected from the registers called Specchio (Ogledalo Velikog vijeća (ser. 21.1, vol. 1-4), where all the offices in the state administration were recorded.
The details on the scholarships, that I have studied, were provided by the minutes of the three Councils of Dubrovnik Republic: Acta Maioris Consilii (ser. 8), Acta Minoris Consilii (ser. 5), Acta Consilii Rogatorum (ser. 3). I used also the wills from Testamenta Notariae series (10.1), of the persons who once studied in Padua or their closest relatives to explore additional personal data or other details pertaining to my topic, such as the books owned or borrowed. For biographies and careers of clerics of great help were published sources on the history of the Dominicans (S. Krasić) and the secondary literature. Archival material data were complemented by all available information provided by old Dubrovnik biographers (Cerva, Slade etc.) and literature. During the research it has been shown that old biographers' allegations are not always reliable, especially when they misunderstood the terminology about "teaching" at the study of theology.
In the Dubrovnik Republic, the whole process of obtaining a state-financed scholarship had several stages. The same rules applied for obtaining scholarships for all the studies and universities. At the earliest occasions case-by-case decisions on scholarships were made, and in that earlier period no clear pattern emerged, for example to what time and exactly what amount. After 1557 a clear scholarship award procedure was established, after which scholarships were regularly granted for a period of 5 years and were paid annually.
University of Padua has been very attractive for students from Dubrovnik throughout the whole research period, but the highest number of students studying at Padua was in 15th and 16th century, conform to the general prosperity of the city in the period. Also, the reputation of specific studies at the University of Padua played a role and changed over time. Prosopographic analyzes showed what was typical and what was extraordinary in this group of students, and how it changed over time. At the same time these analyzes enabled students from Dubrovnik to be compared with students from other areas (countries, cities etc.) as a group.
Nobleman went abroad to study after they became members of Great Council, and after few years of study they returned home with or without degree to participate in Councils and other duties in the state. Their university education did not affect their career, except that the Dubrovnik Republic took profit from their experience abroad, language skils and network and employed them for embassies and other delicate tasks (Example of Stjepan Beneša). More than half of the students were clerics, and can be divided in three groups: diocesan clergy (commoners), cannons (nobleman only) and monks (Franciscan, Dominicans and later Jesuits). All cannons until 1530 studied cannon law, which was the most prestigious study, monks studied mosty teology and diocesan clergy gained either only degree in arts, or doctorates in law and theology. Student commoners, except the clergymen, developed only two careers – doctors and teachers.
The time they spent at the university was mostly from five to seven years, with some deviations in some fields.
Regardless of their carrier, what all the students gained was a thorough education and an experience of life in an intellectually stimulating millieu. From Padua, they have brought not only the knowledge of the profession and language skills, but also new views, books and contacts in the foreign environment.