alma mater

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Alma Mater as a statue in the USA

Alma Mater (from the Latin alma "nourishing, benevolent" and mater "mother") is a common term for universities in German-speaking countries and North America .


In the Roman Empire , alma was an epithet for nourishing, blessing goddesses, e.g. B. alma Ceres , alma Tellus or alma Venus . In the Middle Ages , alma mater was mostly used to refer to Mary , the Mother of God (e.g. in the Marian antiphon of the breviary during Advent and Christmas, Alma redemptoris mater ).


Universities are known as alma mater because they metaphorically nourish students with education and knowledge . The expression in this usage comes from the motto "Alma mater studiorum" of the University of Bologna , which was founded in 1135 as the oldest university in Europe. In the German-speaking countries, the name can be found, for example, at the Alma Mater Rudolphina (1365), the Alma Mater Lipsiensis (1409) and the Alma Mater Viadrina (1506).

This use of the term, which is rather rare in British English , is extended in American English to other schools as well as to primary schools . In addition, alma mater often refers to school or university hymns there , which in the USA often begin with these words. There are also student songs in German-speaking countries that have the alma mater as their theme. So z. B. sung the Alma Mater Tubingensis in Tübingen .


See also

Web links

Commons : Alma Mater  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files
Wiktionary: Alma Mater  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations
  • Alma mater in the German vocabulary project at the University of Leipzig
  • FURIOS Online: The bad mother

Individual evidence

  1. a b c Alma mater - definition. In: Merriam-Webster Dictionary. Retrieved November 23, 2013 .
  2. a b Alma Mater. In: Duden online. Retrieved November 23, 2013 .
  3. ^ Sabine Kaufmann: Universities. (No longer available online.) In: Planet Wissen. June 1, 2009, archived from the original on December 2, 2013 ; Retrieved November 23, 2013 .