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The original institution comprised a main college, called San Ildefonso, and a series of smaller colleges which depended on it; these grew in number until in the 17th century there were as many as 40 . Cisneros' creation of the Colegio Mayor was imbued with a wealth of religious symbolism: the founder, as head of the university, symbolised Jesus. The 33 prebendary colleges represented the age of Christ, and the 12 chaplains stood for the apostles. Arts subjects (Logic, Summulas (an introduction to logic), Metaphysics and Physics) were taught for four years in the lower colleges. This entitled the students to a Bachelor's degree, which enabled them to graduate to higher studies, where theology and medicine were the university's true specialisation. One of the most renowned professors who taught at the university was Elio Antonio de Nebrija, the author of the first grammar of a modern European language. The splendour and decline of the College of San Ildefonso paralleled that of the Spanish empire. The institution was moved to Madrid in 1836. In 1977 the university returned to Alcalá and the former Colegio Mayor was reopened as the vice-chancellor's officie A large number of the prominent figures of the Spanish Golden Age attended the university, including religious figures, writers, playwrights, physicians and scientists. As the university grew and flourished, there was a simultaneous resurgence in the centre of the town of Alcalá and new streets, squares and convents were built. By far and away the most important work published by the Complutense University is the Complutensian Polyglot Bible by Cardinal Cisneros, as this was the first in the world to show the Hebrew, Greek, Latin and Aramaic texts together. In 1836 Isabella II moved the university to Madrid, and all academic activities were suspended in Alcalá until 1977.
Javier Ruiz y Jesús Díaz