Latin Constitutions of the College of San Ildefonso and of the University of Alcalá de Henares

Identity statement area

Supplied Title:

Latin Constitutions of the College of San Ildefonso and of the University of Alcalá de Henares

Reference number:


Date of formation:

1510-01-01  -  1510-10-09

Level of description:

Unidad Documental Compuesta_en

Reference code:



Archival History:

Once the Complutense University of Alcalá de Henares was transferred to the city of Madrid in 1848, Pascual Gayangos recovered a large part of the historical archive and library that ended in the new headquarters of San Bernardo Street. The historical collection of this institution that corresponds to the institutional trajectory in Alcalá de Henares was transferred to the Archivo Histórico Nacional (National Historical Archive) between 1896 and 1898.

Biography / Administrative history:

The University of Alcalá was founded by Cardinal Francisco Jiménez de Cisneros a few years after being named archbishop of Toledo and according to the "Colegio-Universidad" model, in which the College, under the advocacy of San Ildefonso, will be at the same time the college community and head of the university and it will have a single rector.

Pope Alexander VI issued the foundational bull on April 13, 1499, but the political circumstances which force Cisneros to occupy the regency, delayed the project implementation so that the classrooms would not be opened until 1508. Cisneros is not the first archbishop of Toledo who had the initiative to create a university in his diocese and in the town of Alcalá. Archbishop Gonzalo García Gudiel obtained a Sancho IV privilege on May 20, 1293, granting the city a Study of General Schools with the same exemptions as the Valladolid study. However, there are no documentary references about its proper functioning. The second initiative corresponds to Archbishop Alonso Carrillo de Acuña, son of the Counts of Buendía, to whom Pope Pius II, by bull of July 17, 1459, authorized the erection of three chairs of arts. Archbishop Carrillo, a student in the College San Clemente of Bologna, also founded the convent of San Diego and the church of Saints Justo and Pastor in Alcalá, which would later receive the title of Magistral and would be linked to the "Colegio-Universidad" through the figure of the abbot, dean of the University at the same time. The University of Alcalá initially gathered the legacy of the cathedral schools in which the priority was the study of theology as a point of reference for the approach of other disciplines and evolved to the liberal state model. The interventionist policy of Chales III was decisive for the control by the State of the University management, thanks to the separation of the Colegio Mayor de San Ildefonso and the University of Alcalá. After several frustrated attempts to transfer it to the Court, the University of Alcalá was definitively closed in 1836 and its income and teaching staff were transferred to the new University of Madrid. From 1836 to 1845 the University of Madrid was consolidated and there are documents bound in several volumes, which extend the dates of the documents beyond the suppression of the institution.

Acquisition method:


Acquisition source:

Universidad Central de Madrid

Acquisition date:


Content and Structure

Scope and Content:

The "Constituciones del Colegio de San Ildefonso" (Constitutions of the College of San Ildefonso), origin of the Cisneros University of Alcalá, were the culmination of a personal project by Cardinal Cisneros. Taking advantage of the background of Alcalá de Henares as a city with a tradition in general studies and the infrastructure that the mitre of Toledo had in it, he founded this institution with the clear objective of generating elites with a deeply humanistic basis who could carry out the transformations required by the configuration of the modern state.

The "Constituciones del Colegio de San Ildefonso" were promulgated on January 22, 1510. They contain seventy two constitutions or titles in which the social composition and peculiarities of the inhabitants of the College were organized with all kinds of details. They also included the governing bodies which governed them, the college life with all kinds of nuances and the curriculum of the University and the academic regimen, as well as the relations of this institution with the College and the sample of penalties to the possible deviations of the established norm. All these constitutions were collected in a bound book and placed in the library of the College for permanent consultation and they should be read in the refectory at least once a year, after the Feast of St. Luke. The original was signed on January 22, 1510 by all the witnesses present in the College Chapel of San Ildefonso, headed by the Archbishop of Toledo and founder Fray Francisco Jiménez de Cisneros.

It must be stress this documentary grouping is composed not only by the constitutions themselves but also by the following documents:

- Constituciones del Colegio Mayor de San Ildefonso y Universidad de Alcalá, publicly promulgated on January 1, 1510 in the presence of the cloister and confirmed and approved by the apostolic secretary and notary and witnesses on January 10, 1510 and August 10 and 14, 1511 (pages 1-63); (Image No. 7-136)

- Instructions to the "visitadores" of the Church of Santos Justo y Pastor on how to proceed in the "visitas" to the College (pages 64-68). (Image No. 137-146)

- Constituciones de los Colegios de pobres of March 23, 1513 (pages 69 74) (Image No. 147 157)

- Three white images N1 158-160

- "Testimonio notarial" of a Bull of Pope Leo X of October 9, 1513 on nomination for benefits of doctors in Theology and teachers in Arts of the College-University (pages 76-78) (Image No. 161-166)

Conditions of Access and Use

General accessibility conditions:

©MCD. Archivos Estatales (España). La difusión de la información descriptiva y de las imágenes digitales de este documento ha sido autorizada por el titular de los derechos de propiedad intelectual exclusivamente para uso privado y para actividades de docencia e investigación. En ningún caso se autoriza su reproducción con finalidad lucrativa ni su distribución, comunicación pública y transformación por cualquier medio sin autorización expresa y por escrito del propietario.

Image accessibility condition:

Images/documents have no access restrictions

Language and Scripts:

Latín (Alfabeto latino). 

Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements:

Original fuera de consulta. Consultable en microfilm

State of conservation:


Notes on the State of Conservation:

Restored. It had two metal closures, one lost and the other incomplete

Related documentation

Existence and Location of Copies:

Servicio de Reproducción de Documentos de la Subdirección General de Archivos Estatales:Microfilm SRD: C 20346 Copia en el Archivo Histórico Nacional: Microfilm AHN: Pos.7167

Medium/Archival Material:

Microfilm microfilm unit Digitized contains digitized images


Romero Fernández-Pacheco, Juan Ramón. Romero Fernández-Pacheco, Juan Ramón. Cisneros, Cardenal de España. El conocimiento contra la tenebrosa ignorancia. Archivo Histórico Nacional - Pieza del mes de noviembre de 2017.

Romero Fernández-Pacheco, Juan Ramón . Contel Barea, Concepción . Estudio Diplomático. [Constituciones del Colegio Mayor San Ildefonso de Alcalá de Henares]. María Dolores Cabañas González (Edición y Coordinación). [madrid]: Consejería de Educación y Cultura. 1999. 2 V.. 84-8138-327-9 (t.2).

Constituciones del Colegio Mayor San Ildefonso de Alcalá de Henares. María Dolores Cabañas González (Edición y Coordinación)]. Madrid: Consejería de Educación y Cultura. 1999. 2 V.. 84-8138-327-9 (t.2).

González Navarro, Ramón. Las Constituciones originales cisnerianas y su evolución hasta la reforma de Obando. Ramón González Navarro. Alcalá de Henares: Universidad de Alcalá, Servicio de Publicaciones. 1996. p.639-665.



Este es uno de los manuscritos originales que se han conservado de las Constituciones latinas. Lleva la firma autógrafa de Cisneros. En la contraportada se lee la siguiente nota de 1 de agosto de 1850: " Este manuscrito original de las Constituciones del Colegio Mayor de San Ildefonso de Alcalá, con la firma de su fundador en la página 56 fue encuadernado en 1842"

Extent and medium

1 Libro(s) .  Pergamino. 78 fol..