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The first university in Europe was founded in the ninth century in Salerno, Italy. It was primarily a medical school that survived until the early nineteenth century. Other famous universities were founded around this time in Bologna, Italy (1088), Montpellier, France (thirteenth century), and Paris, France (twelfth century). These institutions specialized in such diverse subjects as medicine, law, and theology (study of religion) and set standards of education that remain important around the world today.
The University of Paris, which includes the Sorbonne (the liberal arts and sciences division), became the largest and most famous university in Europe. By the sixteenth century universities flourished throughout Europe. Institutions that have survived into the modern era include Cambridge and Oxford in England; others are located at Montpellier, Paris, and Toulouse in France; Heidelberg, Germany; Bologna, Florence, Naples, Padua, Rome, and Siena, Italy; and Salamanca, Spain.
Further Information: Cormack, Leslie B. Charting an Empire: Geography at the English Universities 1580-1620. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1997; Pederson, Olaf, and Richard North. The First Universities: Studium Generale and the Origins of University Education in Europe. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1998; Rudolph, Frederick, and John R. Thelin. American College and University: A History. Athens, Ga.: University of Georgia Press, 1991; Stray, Christopher. Classics Transformed: Schools, Universities, and Society in England, 1830-1960. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1998; "University of Paris." Catholic Encyclopedia. [Online] Available http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/11495a.htm, October 23, 2000; "University of Paris." Electric Library. [Online] Available http://www. encyclopedia.com/articles/09843.html, October 23, 2000.
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