Discovery at Carolina Rediviva of a Unique 16th Century Academic Certificate
Uppsala University Library has found a unique document from the earliest history of Uppsala University. The document is an academic certificate from 1503 and is particularly valuable because there are very few sources that can shed light on the University's earliest years.
No official documents, known to this day, have been preserved in their original form from the period between 1477 (the University's charter) and 1595 (the oldest student register). What remains from the University's inception are lecture notes from the 1480s, and now also this certificate which provides new information about teaching at the University.
Lectures on Metaphysics, Logic, Physics, and the Soul
The academic certificate tells of how Henningus Ghetelen, likely a German student, participated in lectures in pursuit of a bachelor’s degree. The subjects were metaphysics, logic, physics (including celestial bodies), and the soul. The certificate is dated 21st August, 1503.
-We value this discovery very highly, as it reveals that Uppsala University offered study courses that were essentially identical to those held at continental universities. The presence of foreign students is indicative of our university's reputation. In addition, we now have the names of a previously unknown teacher and student, says Anna Fredriksson, Manuscript Librarian at Uppsala University Library.
The academic certificate was found during an inventory of the Library's collection of uncatalogued manuscript fragments. It was submitted to the circulation desk in the 1950s by a Library user who discovered it in one of the Library's mediaeval books. Since then, the certificate has been part of the Fragment Collection.
Academic Certificate from 16th Century
A digital version of the Academic Certificate is available in Alvin while the original is kept at Uppsala University Library.
- C. Annerstedt, Uppsala universitets historia 1 (History of Uppsala University 1), 1877, s.24-44
- Die Matrikel der Universität Rostock I, 1889, s. 281.
More about teaching at Uppsala University in the Middle Ages
- Piltz, Anders (red.), Studium Upsalense: specimens of the oldest lecture notes taken in the mediaeval University of Uppsala, Univ., Uppsala, 1977.
- Piltz, A., Den äldsta Uppsalapsykologien; kring några studentteckningar från 1480-talet (The oldest Uppsala psychology; around some student drawings from the 1480s). Lychnos 1975-1976, s.274-278.