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Academy (from ancient Greek Ἀκαδήμεια Akademeia or the hero Hekademos declining older form Ἑκαδήμεια Hekadḗmeia ) refers to a learned society and also covers a wide range of publicly funded and / or private (so-called "free") research - teaching , education - and training institutions .

More commonly used than the noun academy is the corresponding adjective academic , which refers to anything related to universities , as well as the derivation of academics (university graduate).

To the subject

The term academy is derived from the location of Plato's philosophy school (see Platonic Academy ) , which was located near the grove of the Greek hero Akademos in Athens . It existed - albeit not continuously - until its closure by Emperor Justinian I in 529 (see also the modern Academy of Athens founded in 1926 ) . The first successors in modern times were the Italian academies in the Renaissance humanism of the 15th and 16th centuries.

Academies can be divided as follows:

  1. Academies of Science
  2. Institutions for the promotion of scientific and artistic studies
  3. Incompletely developed universities

The first two institutions differ from the many related and affiliated universities in that they are no or no state training institutions, their orientation is not directed towards practical purposes, but rather conduct the scientific work essentially for its own sake.

In extension of the use of the word for study and performance circles of music, events for public music performance themselves were sometimes referred to as academies. However, the term concert has replaced this.


Academy of Science

Academies of Sciences are (originally private) learned societies for scientific or artistic research that are subject to self-administration. At best, they teach in the research institutes they operate . The research results are presented and discussed in joint meetings of their members, which are then published in meeting reports or papers. These self-governing bodies, which are typically state -run, are divided into two to three classes, usually a philosophical-historical class, a mathematical-scientific class and sometimes a class for art and literature. The narrow subject limitation has now been lifted, so that almost all disciplines are represented. The classes each have around 30 to 50 full members, that is usually from the country, and around 80 corresponding members, that is usually from outside the country. In Austria, each subsequent full member initially receives the status of the corresponding member. Medical academies are also often subsumed under the academies of science.

The ordinary, almost always honorary members elect a temporary president from among their ranks. New members are co-opted, that is, elected by full members. The fields of work of the Academy of Sciences are mostly lengthy scientific investigations such as the publication of dictionaries, the supervision of collective publications such as that of the Monumenta Germaniae Historica , the Flora Sibirica or that of imperial certificates , etc.

Institutions for the promotion of scientific or artistic studies

Institutions for imparting certain specialist knowledge were established early on. It was this, for example, mining academies , building academies , art schools , and many others. The Bergakademie Clausthal was founded in 1775, the Bergakademie Freiberg Sachsen was founded in 1765 and the Bergakademie Montanhochschule Ostrau was founded in 1716.

This term also includes academies that are dedicated to the study and performance of musical works, such as the Académie nationale de musique in Paris (today's great opera) founded in 1669 , the Academy of Ancient Music founded in London in 1726 , the Academies of music (Opera houses) founded in New York in 1854 and in Philadelphia in 1856, the singing (first in Berlin in 1791), music and philharmonic academies .

In addition to research, such academies also conduct teaching on a university basis and are comparable to a university faculty. They often show a tendency towards higher education.

Incompletely developed universities

It is understood as

Academies for cultural education

These are advanced and advanced training institutions, especially for multipliers in social or cultural professions, which are supported by the state. Have supraregional importance: The Akademie Musik & Bühne GmbH, the Akademie Remscheid for Cultural Education e. V. , the Federal Academy for Musical Youth Education Trossingen , the Federal Academy for Cultural Education Wolfenbüttel , the North Sea Academy and Burg Fürsteneck, Academy for professional and musical-cultural training in the district of Fulda. Craftsmen can qualify as designers in the craft at the academies for design nationwide .


In addition to the institutions mentioned, there were and are academies in the military and in business, which were founded taking very different criteria into account, for example knight or war academies and academies for training young people in business. Further academies are educational institutions in private or church sponsorship. Even if the term "academy" is not legally protected, the commercial register courts and the advisory chambers usually (but not generally) apply very high standards for the entry of this term as part of the name in the commercial register. As a rule, care is taken to ensure that such institutions meet the demands that the academy concept arouses. Some examples of this are the TÜV Rheinland Academy, the Academy of German Bakers' Crafts in Weinheim , the Academy of the Chamber of Architects NRW GmbH, the Expert Academy Aachen GmbH, the Technical Academy Wuppertal e. V., in the artistic field the Akademie Musik & Bühne GmbH and others. The numerous summer academies are examples of a, if not necessarily misleading, at least less justified use of the word academy .

History of the Scientific Academies


The oldest academy in the true sense, i.e. scientific academy, was the museum in Alexandria created by Ptolemy II . The free associations of scholars, thinkers and aestheticians that formed in the Arab East in the 2nd century of the Hejra and, like the Lauter Brothers , sometimes gained a far-reaching spiritual influence, have little in common with this .

middle Ages

The academy, which Bardas set up in Constantinople around the middle of the 9th century, was only planned as a state institute for the promotion of science . In the West, the name Akademie der Schehrtenkreis was added, which found its center at the court of Charlemagne in Alcuin . Besides, during the Middle Ages science and learning had no refuge here, with the exception of some monasteries. The Academy of Fine Arts in Florence (1270) founded by Brunetto Latini , the Society for the Care of Italian Poetry founded in Palermo by King Frederick II of Sicily in 1300 , and the Académie des jeux floreux founded in Toulouse in 1323 were only dedicated to the care of poetry .

Early modern age

It was only with the resurgence of classical studies that associations of learned men with a humanistic tendency emerged in Italy from the middle of the 15th century , first the academy founded in 1433 by Antonio Beccadelli from Palermo in Naples, that of Laurentius Valla and especially Giovanni Pontano and therefore mostly academia Called Pontaniana . The “Platonic Academy”, which is said to have been founded in Florence under Cosimo de 'Medici in 1438 and headed by Marsilio Ficino , was only a casual discussion group . This society dealt with Platonic philosophy, with the refinement of the Italian language and the study of Dante . Many other associations of this type were formed in all major Italian cities during the 16th century.

There is also the Accademia antiquaria in Rome, which was founded in 1498 by Pomponio Leto , but was persecuted by Pope Pius II for heresy and pagan beliefs and dissolved in 1550. There was also the Philological Academy of Aldus Manutius , which was founded in Venice in 1495 and took care of the new editions of ancient writers. The Accademia e Compagnia dell'Arte del Disegno , founded in Florence in 1563, was dedicated to the fine arts, while the Accademia della Crusca , founded there in 1582, to the purification and refinement of the Italian language. In 1560 the Academia Secretorum Naturae was founded in Naples , which looked after the natural sciences and was soon suppressed by the church. One of its successor organizations is the Accademia de 'Lincei in Rome, which was founded in 1603. It was received several times and was rebuilt. In 1870 it was divided into a papal and a royal part. Today it is active as the Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei .

With the humanistic studies, the academies also reached other European countries. At the instigation of Konrad Celtes , Johann Clemens von Dalberg founded the Sodalitas Celtica or Rhenana in Worms in 1490 and at the same time Konrad Celtes himself founded the Sodalitas literaria Danubiana , which was moved to Vienna in 1498. While the Florentine Crusca found imitators in the German-speaking area of ​​the 17th century, the Italian societies of the Royal Society in London and the Leopoldine-Carolinian Academy ( Leopoldina ) , which were dedicated to the natural sciences, served as models.

In France, in 1635 , Richelieu transformed a private company founded in 1630 into a national organization, the Académie française , which was later placed under the umbrella organization Institut de France together with its sister institutions . This institute, highly supported by the state, but also dependent on the government, had a profound influence on the development of the so-called classical literary epoch in France.

The academies of science, which are often state-sponsored, received their public law status in the 18th century.

See also


  • Heinz Wismann , Klaus Garber (ed.): European society movement and democratic tradition. The European academies of the early modern period between the early Renaissance and the late Enlightenment . Tübingen: Niemeyer 1996, 2 vols. ISBN 3-484-36526-9
  • Ingo Herklotz, The Academia Basiliana. Greek Philology, Church History and Union Efforts in the Rome of the Barberini = Roman Quarterly for Christian Antiquity and Church History, Supplement 60, Herder: Freiburg, Basel, Vienna 2008.

Web links

Wiktionary: Academy  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations
Wikisource: Academic Writings  - Sources and Full Texts

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Henry George Liddell , Robert Scott , Henry Stuart Jones : A Greek – English Lexicon. Lemma Ἑκαδήμεια . Retrieved June 6, 2020 .
  2. Ute Mauch: Academies, Medical. In: Werner E. Gerabek , Bernhard D. Haage, Gundolf Keil , Wolfgang Wegner (eds.): Enzyklopädie Medizingeschichte. De Gruyter, Berlin / New York 2005, ISBN 3-11-015714-4 , pp. 22-24.
  3. ^ Akademie Musik & Bühne GmbH ( Memento from November 19, 2011 in the Internet Archive )
  4. Ute Mauch (2005), p. 22.