ACADEMY OF KRAKÓW (University of Kraków, Jagiellonian University) — the oldest Polish university, founded in 1364 by Kazimierz Wielki (Casimir the Great) with the approval of Pope Urban V. The Academy of Kraków (the original name of the present Jagiellonian University) was the second university (after the University of Prague in 1348) to be called into existence in central Europe.
Most likely as a result of Kazimierz the Great's conflict with Bodzanta, the Bishop of Kraków, and because there were not enough men with the proper scholarly qualifications, the Pope did not allow a theological department to be opened at the Academy of Kraków. Although there was already a permission from the Pope to open a university in Kraków, King Kazimierz did not act upon it until 1366 after the death of his adversary Bishop Bodzanta (Bodzęta). The university was organized with the Universities of Bologna, Padua and Naples as models, and it was entrusted to the protection of the new Bishop of Kraków, Florian Mokrski.
The university was deprived of the King's protection. The King had also failed to deliver to the university the promised revenues from the salt mines of Wieliczka. The Kraków academy was like an empty shell, for it was limited to three departments (the liberal arts, medicine and law). It languished in the framework of a humble program of studies in association with the Kraków Cathedral School. We do not know the name of even one of the professors active in the first period of the Kraków academy. We only know the names of six students who earned their baccalaureates in liberal arts and then went to Prague to earn their magisterium. There are certain traces of lectures in medicine at the Academy of Kraków, but there is not a single mention of lectures in either canon or Roman law. After the death of Kazimierz the Great in 1370, the school of Kraków actually ceased to exist, and the Kraków Cathedral School again became a studium particulare that worked for the needs of the local clergy. The intellectual aspirations of Polish youth were then met by foreign schools, including the University of Prague, which was experiencing especially dynamic growth because of Emperor Carol IV's constant and significant protection.
The marriage of Jadwiga and Jagiełło and the union of Poland and Lithuania brought about a new situation favorable to the rebirth of the Academy of Kraków. Poland had missionary needs as it undertook the conversion of Lithuania to Christianity. Poland was also in competition with the Teutonic Knights. Queen Jadwiga was a women of great personal piety and a high intellectual development. She had been brought up in the court in Vienna and Buda (the old section of Budapest). As a result of all these things, when the Kraków court tried to establish a theological department in the Academy of Kraków, which had a formal existence as three departments, the court's efforts were met with success on January 11, 1397, by authority of a bull of Pope Boniface IX. Several factors, including rivalry over the chancellorship in the revivified academy, delayed the reactivation of the Academy until July 1400 shortly after the death of Queen Jadwiga in 1399. Jadwiga had endowed the Kraków studium generale with a portion of her own jewels and gold. The material needs of the university were covered by the royal couple, and well-educated professors, especially from Prague, came to the Academy of Kraków. This permitted the Academy to do its work without disturbance and to grow dynamically. The Academy of Kraków, renewed by Jadwiga and Jagiełło and greatly assisted by two consecutive Bishops of Kraków — John of Radliczyca (called Radlica) and Peter of Radolin (called Wyszy), and also by the collaboration of the City Council of Kraków and many professors and nobles of Kraków, such as Nicholas of Gorzków, John of Tęczyn, Matthew of Kraków, Stanisław of Skarbimierz, Nicholas of Kurów, Clement of Moskrzew and others, took a new model that differed from the studium generale of Kazimierz. The University of Paris was the new model: philosophical and theological studies were more important than legal studies. A Bull by Pope Boniface IX and a decree by Jagiłło in 1400 granted the Academy of Kraków all the same rights and privileges enjoyed by the University of Paris. The Academy of Kraków won international acclaim in the first half of the fifteenth century because of the philosophy and legal studies that were rapidly growing there, but also because of its theology and other sciences. As the most important scholarly center in Poland, the Academy of Kraków already extended over the whole Polish land including Silesia. In the fifteenth century the university library began to grow with numerous gifts from Kraków professors and purchases. Its international authority (the number of foreigners who studied there in the late fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries was close to the number of Polish youth) ensured that the Academy of Kraków had outstanding lecturers — philosophers, theologians, lawyers, political writers, astronomers, mathematicians and geographers, including the following names in the fifteenth century: Matthew of Kraków, Paul Włodkowic (Paul Vladimiri), Jacob of Paradyż, Stanisław of Skarbimierz (the first rector of the Academy), Benedict Hesse, John Kanty, John of Łudzisko, Paul of Worczyń, Peter Gaszowiec, John Dąbrówka, Wojciech of Brudzew (Copernicus' teacher), and Marcin Król of Żórawica. At the end of the fifteen and beginning of the sixteenth century we find the names of John of Głogów, Jacob of Gostynin, Michael of Biestrzyków, John of Stobnica, Adan of Bochyń, and Paul of Krosno. In the sixteen century we find the names of Gregory of Sambór (Vigilantius), Jacob Górski, Benedict Herbest, Stansław Grzepski, George of Legnica, Peter Roizjusz, Simon of Pilzno — Maricius. In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries we find the names of Jan Brożek, Petrycy John Innocenty, Petrycy Sebastian of Pilzno, Stanisław Słowakowic, John Joseoph Przypkowski, Hugo Kołłątaj. The alumni and students of the Academy of Kraków at the end of the fifteenth and the beginning of the sixteenth century included men of state, scholars and eminent writers who made important contributions to Polish learning and culture, men such as Zbigniew Oleśniki, Gregory of Sanok, John Długosz, Nicholas Copernicus, Andrew Frycz Modrzewski, Stanisław Jozjusz, John Kochanowski, Marcin Kromer, John Zamoyski, Simon Szymonowic, Kasper Siemik; Simon Starowolski, Andrew Maximilian Fredro, Hugo Kołłątaj, John Śniadecki, Jędrzej Śniadecki, Kazimierz Brodziński, W. A. Maciejowski and others.
The teaching at the Academy of Kraków in the fifteenth century and at the beginning of the sixteenth century was characterized by its universalism, but it also had its own particular character.
The universal character of what was taught at the Academy of Kraków was influenced by several things: there was the same religious base (Catholicism) as in all western Europe and the same metaphysical base (Greek-Jewish-Arab); professors in Kraków and the rest of Europe commented and lectured upon the same texts; there was the same model of education; there were the same techniques for commenting and lecturing on scientific texts, this being the scholastic method; they all used the Latin language which was the universal language for science and diplomacy in Europe; the magisters and students of Kraków stayed in close contact with many other European universities; there was a constant influx of literature from the west into the Academy of Kraków.
The particular character of mediaeval teaching at the Academy of Kraków did not consist in the development there of new philosophical and other conceptions that were unknown elsewhere (although there were such new conceptions), but especially in a particular concentration on certain intellectual problems, tendencies and currents that were important to Poland in that epoch, and a multifaceted approach in the resolution of these problems. This particularity is especially expressed in the following details.
1) Many Kraków scholars were seriously involved at a theoretical and practical level in the social and political affairs of the land (Matthew of Kraków, Paul Włodkowic, Stanisław of Skarbimierz, Benedict Hesse, Luke of Wielki Koźmin, Paul of Worczyń, John of Ludziska, Jacob of Paradyż, John Ostroróg, Andrew Gałka of Dobczyń).
2) They were influenced (especially in ethics and politics) by the devotio moderna and the practical orientation that it entailed, which demanded that the scholar should not merely acquire ethical knowledge but should also live by it (Matthew of Kraków, Paul of Worczyń, Luke of Wielki Koźmin, Jacob of Paradyż, Stanisław of Skarbimierz, John of Ludzisko, Bartholemew of Jasła, Jacob of Gostyniń, Jan Dąbrówka, Thomas of Strzempiń, Benedict Hesse, Maciej of Łabiszyń).
3) The method of concordance, which was almost universally accepted as the method for reconciling opposing scientific views and as a way to reconcile the via antiqua with the via moderna, appeared in the form of the via communis (Piotr Wysz, Jan Isner, Paul of Worczyń, Andrew Wężyk, Benedict Hesse, Peter of Sienna, Lawrence of Raciborz, John of Słupcza).
4) The via moderna, which referred to the nominalism of Ockham and his disciples, especially Buridan, Marsilius of Inghen and Londorius, was developed to an exceptional degree, especially in the philosophy of nature, but also in metaphysics, logic and ethics (Matthew of Kraków, Bartholomew of Jasło, John of Kluczborek, Luke of Wielki Koźmin, John of Ziębicy, Matthew of Legnica, John Isner, Andrew Wężyk, Benedict Hesse, Paul of Worczyń, John of Słupcza, Nicholas Budissen, Nicholas of Kozłów, John of Oświęcim, Marcin Bylica of Olkusz).
5) The scholars of Kraków did pioneering work in the new law of nations and the rights of man. They resorted to the laws of nature, to the Gospel and to the teaching of the Popes and Councils. All this was long before Machiavelli, Bartholomew de Las Casas, Balthasar Ayala, John Bodin, Francis Suarez and Grotius. The Kraków theologians of just war theory were Stanisław of Skarbimierz, Paul Włodkowic, and Benedict Hesse. The scholars who developed the theory of the law of nations and the rights of man were Paul Włodkowic, Luke of Wielki Koźmin, Benedict Hesse, Andrew Łaskarz, and Jacob of Szadek. The theory concerning the conversion of pagans based on the evangelical command of love was developed by Paul Włodkowic, John of Ludzisek, Jacob of Paradyż, Andrew Gałka of Dobczyń, John Ostroróg, and John of Szadek).
6) In the academic milieu of Kraków in the second half of the fifteenth century and the beginning of the sixteenth century there was a return to the via antiqua in the form of various doctrinal tendencies. The most important tendencies were: a) neo-Platonism (Peter Gaszowiec); b) Thomism (Matthew Hayn); c) a syncretism combining Thomism, Albertism and the position of Giles (Aegidius) of Rome (Bernard of Nysa, Jacob of Gostyniń, John of Głogów, Michael Falkner of Wrocław); d) Scotism with elements of terminism (Michael of Biestrzyków, John of Stobnica, Matthew of Giełczew); e) the phenomenon of trends in disagreement with Catholic orthodoxy presented by certain Kraków scholars in the form of Hussitism (Andrew Gałka of Dobczyń, Henry Czech), and Averroism (Andrew Ruczel of Kościań); f) Augustinianism in the version of Alexander of Hales (especially among the Kraków theologians, including Matthew of Łabiszyń and Stanisław of Zawada).
7) Some took the position of conciliarism, which held that a council had higher authority than the Pope (Matthew of Kraków, Paul Włodkowic, Benedict Hesse, Jacob of Paradyż, Thomas of Strzempiń).
8) Several scholars emphasized the division of the orders of faith and knowledge, philosophy and theology (Matthew of Kraków, Jacob of Paradyż, Benedict Hesse, Paul of Woroczyn, Nicholas Budissen, Sigmund of Pyzdry, Matthew of Łabiszyn, John Dąbrówka, Matthew of Sąspów, Thomas of Strzempin.
9) A new school of scientific investigation arose and developed. It especially concerned mathematics, physics, astronomy and geography (Henry Czech, Andrew of Kokorzyn, Lawrence of Raciborz, Benedict Hesse, Andrew Grzymała, Wojciech of Opatów, Peter of Żwanów, Marcin Król of Żórawica, Sędziwój of Czechło, Stanisław of Zawada, Marcin Bylica of Olkusz, Wojciech of Brudzew, Jacob of Gostynin, John of Głogów, John of Stobnica, and Michael Copernicus).
10) The beginnings of humanism took shape in Kraków. This humanism was associated with the emergence of the Polish historical-philological school (John Dąbrówka, John of Ludzisko, Gregory of Sanok, Phillip Kallimach Buonaccorsi, John Długosz, John Ostroróg, and Gregory of Stawiszyn).
From the middle of the sixteenth century, the Academy of Kraków began gradually to lose its former importance. It stood somewhat to the side of the humanistic and reformative currents. Despite attempts at reform, the Academy was behind in its scientific development and did not catch up until the eighteenth century. Hugh Kołłątaj led reforms that affected the Academy of Kraków in 1777 to 1786. These reforms were part of the work of the National Commission of Education. At that time the school was renamed the Main Crown School (Szkoła Głóna Koronna) and lectures were in Polish instead of Latin. From 1782 to 1786, Kołłątaj was rector of the School. Its leading professors were Andrew Badurski, John Jaśkiewicz, John Śniadecki, and Raphael Joseph Czerwiakowski. After Poland lost its independence and Kraków was occupied by the Austrians, the school was changed into the Austrian University of Kraków and lectures were in Latin.
The school was fully Germanized in 1809 when Kraków was annexed to the Principality of Warsaw, which was followed by the creation of the Republic of Kraków (1815–1846). During that time, the Academy of Kraków regained its autonomy and Polish character. In 1809 it was reorganized under the direction of Kołłątaj. The reorganization was in part based on the directives of the Commission of National Education. The reorganized school cultivated the Renaissance tradition. A lively scientific movement developed around the Academy and the Kraków Scientific Society (Towarzystwo Naukowe Krakowskie, est. 1815), which was associated with the Academy. From 1815 on, the Academy was maintained in existence by virtue of the treaty of Vienna (thanks in large part to the efforts of Prince Adam George Czartoryski). It operated as an autonomous Polish school in the Republic of Kraków and was intended to ensure that youth from all the annexed territories would have access to studies. From that time onward, its official name would be the Jagiellonian University.
Among the eminent lecturers in the mid nineteenth century we may mention J. S. Bandtkie, A. Z. Helcel, F. Sawiczewski, L. Zejszner, J. Majer, J. Markowski, and J. E. Jankowski. The University was subject to Germanization in 1847 and 1848, then again in 1854. In 1870, after Galicia won its autonomy in 1867, the Jagiellionian University was again re-Polonized, this time permanently. From 1871 to 1873, the Jagiellonian worked together with the Academy of Applied Knowledge (Akademia Umiejętności). At that time the Jagiellonian University became the main center of Polish learning and culture (along side the University of Lwów) and its range extended over the whole nation.
We may mention the following eminent lecturers at the Jagiellonian University in the second half of the nineteenth century and the beginning of the twentieth century: L. Birkenmajer, M. Bobrzyński, N. Cybulski, J. Dietl, K. Estreicher, J. Fijalek, E. Godlewski, W. Kalinka, J. Łos, W. Łuszczkiewicz, L. P. Marchlewski, J. Mikulicz-Radecki, K. Morawski, K. Olszewski, L. Rydygier, S. Smolka, M. Smoluchowski, S. Tarnowski, L. Teichmann, B. Ulanowski, Z. Wróblewski, and F. Zoll.
After Poland regained its independence in 1918, the Jagiellonian University strongly reinforced the newly emerging Polish schools, including the Catholic University of Lublin, with its own scholarly staff. Between the wars, the Jagiellonian University became one of the greatest centers of Polish learning. It had five departments (philosophy, theology, medicine, pharmaceutical studies, and agricultural studies — the agricultural department became separate in 1927). The eminent professors and scholars of the Jagiellonian University in this period included T. Banachowicz, H. Barycz, A. Birkenmajer, I. Chrzanowski, J. Dąbrowski, K. Dziewoński, M. Heitzman, R. Ingarden, W. L. Jaworski, S. and T. Estriechowi, A. Krzyżanowski, W. Konopczyński, S. Kot, S. Kutrzeba, T. Lehr-Spławiński, K. Michalski, K. Moszyński, W. Natanson, K. Nitsch, J. Nowak, S. Pigoń, M. Siedlicki, T. Sinko, W. Szafer, J. Śleszyński, W. Taszycki, R. Taubenschlad, A. Vetulani, S. Wędkiewicz, W. Wolter, S. Zaremba, F. Zoll (junior), and others.
During the German occupation (1939-1945), the Jagiellonian University was closed. In November, 1939, the authorities of the occupying forces arrested 183 professors and lecturers and put them in a concentration camp and Sachsenhausen where many of them lost their lives. Starting in 1942, the Jagiellonian University began to teach in secret. Before the occupation, around 900 students (including Karol Wojtyła, later Pope John Paul II) and around 140 lecturers were involved in the clandestine schooling.
After the end of the Second World War in 1945, the Jagiellonian University resumed its operation, but it was reorganized according to the model of Soviet universities. In 1950, the department of medicine was separated from the University and became the Kraków Medical Academy, and the same happened to other departments. The Medical Academy was reunited with the maternal University only in 1993. In 1954, the theology department, which had been established in 1397, was liquidated. It continued as the independent Papal Theological Department until December 8, 1981, when it was transformed into the Papal Theological Academy in Kraków with three departments.
H. Barycz, Alma Mater Jagiellonica, Kr 1958, 30–38; Dzieje UJ [History of the Jagiellonian University], I–II, Kr 1964–1965; A. Vetulani, Początki najstarszych wszechnic ńrodkowoeuropejskich [Beginnings of the oldest central European universities], Wr 1971, 68–103, 125–163; Historia nauki polskiej [History of Polish science], VI, Wr 1974 (biographies); M. Rechowicz, Po założeniu Wydziału Teologicznego w Krakowie (wiek XV) [After the established of the Theological department in Kraków (15th century)], in: Dzieje teologii katolickiej w Polsce [History of Catholic Theology in Poland], Lb 1974, I 95–144; J. Wojnowski, UJ [Jagiellonian University], in: Literatura Polska [Polish literature], Wwa 1985, II 522–524; J. Domański, Wieki XIII-XV [13th-15th Centuries], in: Zarys dziejów filozofii polskiej, I 1, Wwa 1989, 7-210; S. Wielgus, Średniowieczna łaczynskojęzyczna biblistyka polska [Mediaeval Latin-language Polish biblistics], Lb 1993; idem, Z badań nad średniowieczem [From researches on the Middle Ages], Lb 1995, 51–116; idem, Polska średniowieczna doktryna "ius gentium" [Polish mediaeval doctrine of "jus gentium"], Lb 1996; M. Markowski, Dzieje Wydziału Teologii Universytetu Krakowskiego w latach 1397–1525 [History of the Department of Theology of the University of Kraków in the years 1937–1525], Kr 1996; Wydział Teologiczny w Krakowie. Księga Jubileuszowa [The Theological Department in Kraków. The Jubilee Book], Kr 1997.