Order from Chaos: Linnaeus Disposes

The rise of the universities

Universities are a creation of the Western Middle Ages; they were under the control of a political authority that guaranteed the quality of teaching. First created in Italy (Bologna and Padua), they appeared in cities like Paris and Montpellier, for example, and then flourished all over Europe, from Louvain in Belgium to Vienna. During the Renaissance, they were the main centers of innovative research, as was the case for botany.


Map showing Mediaeval Universities
Courtesy of the General Libraries, The University of Texas at Austin


The Paduan Garden, in Roberto de Visiani’s L’Orto Botanico de Padova nell’ anno MDCCCXLII (Padova, 1842, frontis).