Bartholomaeus Anglicus and his Encyclopedia

1st Edition

Michael Seymour

Published November 12, 1992
Reference - 272 Pages
ISBN 9780860783268 - CAT# Y284583

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The present volume offers the first systematic investigation of the encyclopedia of Bartholomaeus Anglicus, prepared by the Anglo-American team of scholars who previously published the edition of John Trevisa’s English translation of the text. The encyclopedia, De Proprietatibus Rerum, was written by the Englishman Bartholomaeus in about 1245, while lector in the Franciscan studium of Magdeburg. His aim was to provide a synthesis of current knowledge, in a form that could be used for novice friars and university students, in order to promote a greater understanding of the Bible by explaining all its references to the phenomena of natural science. The encyclopedia opens with a survey of the nature of God, then proceeds to treat the spiritual and physical nature of man, the heavens and time, the four elements of the physical world, its geography and all the minerals and beasts contained within it, ending with the accidentals of colours, numbers and music. The work achieved a popularity far beyond its intended audience (as can be seen from the quantity of copies that survive) especially in England where it remained the most popular work of its kind into the 16th century. Trevisa’s translation was one of the first books to be printed in English, by De Worde in about 1495. In its final form, edited by Stephen Batman in 1582, and known as ’Batman upon Bartholomew’, the work is often known as Shakespeare’s encyclopedia. The introductory chapters of the present volume establish what is known about Bartholomaeus, his career as a Franciscan, and the circumstances in which he wrote his encyclopedia. They also analyse how he used his source material and which versions of which works he had at his disposal. The commentary discusses the range of sources employed for each book, and identifies line by line, with reference to the author’s edition of Trevisa’s translation, the passages Bartholomaeus cited or used as the basis for his text: the Bible, cla

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