Princely Academy from Bucharest

Princely Academy from Bucharest

The Princely Academy from Bucharest was an institution of higher education, active from the end of the 17th century to the beginning of the 19th century.


The Academy was founded in 1694, at the initiative of the Prince Constantin Brâncoveanu. It underwent several reorganisations, under Gheorghe Ghica, Constantin Mavrocordat, Constantin Racoviţă and Alexandru Ipsilanti. The Academy’s language of study was Greek, the universal language of culture in the Eastern Orthodox world. For the most part, the teachers were also Greek. The students of the Academy came from all over the Orthodox world. In 1818 Gheorghe Lazăr began teaching courses in Romanian. In 1821, as a consequence of the Hetairia movement, the Greek-speaking Academy was disestablished, and replaced with a similar institution where teaching was done in Romanian, the Saint Sava Academy.

Organisation and curriculum

We do not know very much about the Academy’s structure before the reforms of Ipsilanti. From 1776, however, by the decree of Ipsilanti, the studies in the Academy were organised in 5 cycles, each of them lasting 3 years. The first three-year cycle was dedicated to the study of the Greek and Latin grammar. The following was dedicated to the study of Greek, Latin, and classic literature. In the third cycle the students studied poetics, rhetoric, Aristotle’s ethics, Italian and French. In the fourth cycle the arithmetic and the geometry, as well as the history and the geometry were taught. Finally, the last cycle was dedicated to the study of philosophy and astronomy. If at the beginning the teaching was done mostly after the commentaries of Korydaleos to the works of Aristotle, later the courses took a modern orientation. The natural sciences, the philosophy, were taught after occidental handbooks, many of them translated in Greek.

Notable academics

  • Gregorios Constantas (1782 – 1787)
  • Lambros Photiades (1792-1805)
  • Konstantinos Vardalachos (1803-1815; 1820-1821)
  • Neophyitos Doukas (1815-1818)
  • Stephanos Commitas (1816-1818)
  • Benjamin Lesvios (1818)

Notable alumni


  • Camariano-Cioran, Ariadna, Les Academies princières de Bucarest et de Jassy et leurs professeurs, Thessaloniki : Institute for Balkan Studies, 1974

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