- A humanistic educational institution that taught all three of the ancient languages in which classical literature, the Bible, and patristic writings were written, Hebrew, Greek, and (classical) Latin. The founding of institutes for the teaching of these three languages and for study of the ancient texts written in them was one of the major demands of the "biblical humanists" of the late 15th and early 16th centuries. The first school organized along these lines was the College of San Ildefonso in the new University of Alcalá, founded by Archbishop Francisco Ximénes de Cisneros (formally established in 1499; instruction began in 1509). In 1517 a similar in-stitution, the Collegium Trilingue, was founded at the University of Louvain. The appointment of a group of scholarly specialists as Royal Readers to lecture on similar subjects by King Francis I in 1530 marks a parallel development in France, though these lectures did not have a real institutional foundation until much later in the 16th century; eventually, they developed into the Collège Royal. Al-though not conventionally labelled a trilingual college, the Univer-sity of Wittenberg under the leadership of Martin Luther in 1519 underwent reforms that by classicizing the teaching of Latin and adding permanent chairs of both Greek and Hebrew transformed it also into a trilingual institution.
Historical Dictionary of Renaissance. Charles G. Nauert. 2004.
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