1The new work published by Prof. Dr. Ramis Barceló explores Legal education and Catholic Church in Early Modern Age, through the study of the doctoral degrees at La Sapienza University (Rome). Specifically, this book is the volume 39 of the great book series titled History of Universities furthered by the Figuerola Institute of Social Science History, belonging to the Carlos III University of Madrid. In this sense, the legal training of Spaniard jurists and ecclesiastics in Early Modern times is a research topic that has been successfully studied by Ramis. For example, his works have contributed to the knowledge of university training in Spanish territories such as Majorca1 and Lleida,2 among others. His pages also show the cultural and social significance of peregrinatio academica of students in Italian universities.3
2The Rami’s new book about history of legal education is divided into five sections. First of all, the introduction contains his main purposes, paying special attention to the demonstration of the international origin of several doctoral candidates in the fields of Civil and Canon Law. Consequently, La Sapienza University was not only an Alma mater for Italian students, but a strategic place for Spanish clergymen that intended a mercy or a concession during their stays in Rome.
3The second section is the preliminary study of the list of the individuals that received the mentioned doctoral degrees. The author approaches the essential historiography about the said European University and the level of its prestige in the Italian Early modern period. Another topic explained is the academic activity and the competences of the Collegio degli Avvocati concistoriali in regard to the doctoral examinations.
4An interesting subject-matter is the profile of the candidates. They had diverse geographical origin in European continent. Furthermore, Ramis pays attention to Spaniard individuals that received the doctoral degree in Canon Law, in Civil Law or utriusque iuris. His pages contain some statistic tables about the number of Spanish doctoral candidates for each decade between 1549 and 1769. Another significant question is the origin of these graduates. In this sense, the author detects their dioceses, belonging to the Crown of Castile, the Crown of Aragon, the Principality of Catalonia, the Kingdom of Majorca and the Kingdom of Valencia. Ramis also shows the successful career or the aristocratic status of some graduates, such as the individuals belonging to the House of Borgia, among others.
5Along the pages of the conclusions of this section, the author demonstrates efficiently that the number of foreign graduates in La Sapienza was significantly higher than the number estimated by Dr. Giorgio Cagno in 1932 and by Prof. Dr. Paul Grendler in his important work titled The Universities of the Italian Renaissance (2002). Moreover, Ramis shows that most students received the degree in utroque, also as the relevant presence of candidates that received the doctoral degree in Canon Law.
6The third section of the reviewed book exposes the list of Spaniard doctoral graduates at La Sapienza between 1549 and 1769. The identity of each candidate (name and at least the first surname) is accompanied by his origin (diocese, city or both places), the kind of doctoral degree (Canon Law, Civil Law or utriusque iuris), the date, the identity of the academic sponsor, the name of the examiners – they were Italian – and the name of the witnesses. Furthermore, the author offers biographical information about several graduates. Numerous candidates were from the diocese of Barcelona because the cultural, economic and political links between Catalonia and Italy in Ancien Regime were very strong.
7After the largest chapter of his work, Ramis includes an illustrative appendix of Portuguese doctoral graduates that received their degrees at the mentioned University between 1565 and 1755. Finally, the last section of the book is the bibliography.
8The fundamental sources of Ramis’s work are mainly the records belonging to Registrum doctorum et decretorum, Privativum Doctoratum, Registra studenti and Laureandi from the Archivio di Stato di Roma (ASR), also as some records pertaining to Registro de Camara del Collegio degli Avvocati concistoriali from the Archivio Segreto Vaticano (ASV: Vatican Secret Archives).
9In regard to the bibliographical fundamentals, we appreciate the use of scientific literature about the history of universities and ecclesiastical institutions in Italy and Spain. The interdisciplinary perspective of Rami’s interpretation of the studied facts is revealed by the inclusion of works concerning to cultural and social history. Additionally, the author has consulted works printed during the Early Modern centuries, in order to obtain the biographical testimonies about several individuals that received the doctoral degree at La Sapienza University. It is important to asseverate that most of them were ecclesiastics and in some cases they were involved in regional and international conflicts, like la Guerra dels Segadors in XVIIth century or the conflicts between Philip V of Spain and the Pope in the first years of XVIIIth century.
10We must affirm that the new book prepared by Ramis is a highly important contribution to the history of the doctoral degrees in regard to the ecclesiastical career in Catholic Europe. Furthermore, his work is a valuable tool that facilitates the identification of several members of institutions that belonged to Catholic Church in Spain, also as the study of the strategies developed by the ecclesiastical individuals in the vicinity of Roman Pontiff. We can consider that La Sapienza University was an academic destination of Catholic students from diverse European territories. Its lecture rooms received Polish, Flemish or German fellows, in spite of the higher reputation of other Universities in Catholic Europe. For this reason, we asseverate that the said Italian University had an important role in regard to the strengthening of international networks in political and religious spheres during the Early Modern centuries.
11The doctorates were not merely prestigious degrees, but important steps that rendered possible the promotion to high positions in religious and lay institutions. Rami’s provides a valuable contribution to the history of legal education after the restrictions to the circulation of Spaniard students outside Castile promulgated by Philip II of Spain in 1559.