Academic journal article Medium Aevum

Bartholomaeus Anglicus and His Encyclopedia

Academic journal article Medium Aevum

Bartholomaeus Anglicus and His Encyclopedia

Article excerpt

M. C. Seymour et al., Bartholomaeus Anglicus and his Encyclopedia (Aldershot and Brookfield: Variorum, 1992). vii + 163 pp. ISBN 0-86078-326-x. L45.00.

Following on from the critical edition of John Trevisa's English translation of the De proprietatibus rerum by the friar minor Bartholomaeus Anglicus, one of the most influential encyclopaedias of the thirteenth century, M. C. Seymour and his team of collaborators are now able to present their study of the sources. This is an extremely important project, especially in view of the lack of a complete critical edition of the Latin. For books III and IV we have the edition and commentary by R. J. Long (Toronto 1979), whereas for the rest we are dependent on the 1964 reprint of the Frankfurt edition of 1601 Bartholomaeus claims to be completely dependent on secondary authorities (`de meo pauca vel quasi nulla apposui'), and his list of 105 authorities is known to be incomplete.

It becomes apparent that the basic sources of Bartholomaeus' work are the Bible, the Gloss of Gilbert de la Porree, the Sententiae of Peter Lombard, the natural sciences of Aristotle, and the ancient encyclopaedias of Pliny and Isidore of Seville. The patristic framework is provided by Ambrose, Jerome, Gregory the Great and Basil. Others, like Orosius, Bede, Rabanus Maurus, Remigius of Auxerre and Solinus, are occasionally referred to, whereas the use of Augustine and Boethius, as well as Macrobius, Chalcidius, pseudoDenys and St John Damascene, augments the Aristotelian basis with Neoplatonic elements. He also used pseudo-Aristotelian works such as the Liber de cau.ris, the De plantis of Nicholas of Damascus in the version by Alfred of Sareshel, and Alkindi's De quinque substanciis, as well as the translations of Aristotle's writings on the natural sciences by James of Venice, Michael Scot and Gerard of Cremona, sometimes accompanied by the commentaries of Averroes. …

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