Advice regarding the treatment of College Freshman. From 1495.

Whenever searching through primary source documents, you never know what you might find.  One can only imagine the circumstances surrounding the issuing of the following statute, prepared by Leipzig University in 1495, but the folks at the Ask The Past Blog were good enough to dig it up for the world to see:

Statute Forbidding Any One to Annoy or Unduly Injure the Freshmen.

Each and every one attached to this university is forbidden to offend with insult, torment, harass, drench with water…, throw on or defile with dust or any filth, mock by whistling, cry at them with a terrifying voice, or dare to molest in any way whatsoever physically or severely, any, who are called freshmen, in the market, streets, courts, colleges and living houses, or any place whatsoever, and particularly in the present college, when they have entered in order to matriculate or are leaving after matriculation.”

Leipzig University Statute (1495). From Friedrich Zarncke, ed., Die Statutenbücher der Universität Leipzig, (Leipzig, 1861), 102. Translation adapted from Robert Francis Seybolt, The Manuale Scholarium: An Original Account of Life in the Mediaeval University (Cambridge, MA, 1921), 21-2, n.6.


Perhaps at least one of these freshmen are concerned about somebody “crying at them with a terrifying voice.”

Feel free to contact the librarians or archivist for assistance with finding primary source materials for your papers and presentations!


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