University of Ingolstadt
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The University of Ingolstadt was founded in 1472 by Louis the Rich, the Duke of Bavaria at the time, and its first Chancellor was the Bishop of Eichstätt. It consisted of five faculties: humanities, sciences, theology, law and medicine, all of which were contained in the ''Hoheschule'' ('high school'). The university was modeled after the University of Vienna. Its chief goal was the propagation of the Christian faith. The university closed in May 1800, by order of the Prince-elector Maximilian IV (later Maximilian I, King of Bavaria).
In its first several decades, the university grew rapidly, opening colleges not only for philosophers from the realist and nominalist schools, but also for poor students wishing to study the liberal arts. Among its most famous instructors in the late 15th century were the poet Conrad Celtes, the Hebrew scholar Johannes Reuchlin, and the Bavarian historian Johannes Thurmair (also known as "Johannes Aventinus").
The Illuminati movement was founded on May 1, 1776, in Ingolstadt (Upper Bavaria), by Jesuit-taught Adam Weishaupt (d. 1830),() who was the first lay professor of canon law at the University of Ingolstadt.() The movement was made up of freethinkers, as an offshoot of the Enlightenment.() Writers at the time, such as Seth Payson, believed the movement represented a conspiracy to infiltrate and overthrow the governments of European states.() Some writers, such as Augustin Barruel and John Robison, even claimed that the Illuminati were behind the French Revolution, a claim that Jean-Joseph Mounier dismissed in his 1801 book ''On the Influence Attributed to Philosophers, Free-Masons, and to the Illuminati on the Revolution of France''.()
The group's adherents were given the name "Illuminati", although they called themselves "Perfectibilists". The group has also been called the Illuminati Order and the Bavarian Illuminati, and the movement itself has been referred to as Illuminism (after illuminism). In 1777, Karl Theodor became ruler of Bavaria. He was a proponent of Enlightened Despotism and, in 1784, his government banned all secret societies, including the Illuminati.
During the period when the Illuminati was legally allowed to operate, many influential intellectuals and progressive politicians counted themselves as members, including Ferdinand of Brunswick and the diplomat Xavier von Zwack, who was number two in the operation and was found with much of the group's documentation when his home was searched.() The Illuminati's members pledged obedience to their superiors, and were divided into three main classes, each with several degrees. The order had its branches in most countries of the European continent; it reportedly had around 2,000 members over the span of ten years.() The organization had its attraction for literary men, such as Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and Johann Gottfried Herder, and even for the reigning dukes of Gotha and Weimar. Weishaupt had modeled his group to some extent on Freemasonry, and many Illuminati chapters drew membership from existing Masonic lodges. Internal rupture and panic over succession preceded its downfall, which was effected by the Secular Edict made by the Bavarian government in 1785.()
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