speculum vincent book books chapters history printed time naturals
CENSIS (c. 1190 - c. 1264), the encyclopedist of the Middle monastery founded at Beauvais in 1228-29. There is no evidence to show that the Vincent who was sub-prior of this foundation in 1246 is the encyclopedist; nor indeed is it likely that a man of such abnormally studious habits could have found time to attend to the daily business routine of a monastic establishment. It is certain, however, that he at one time held the post of " reader " at the monastery of Royaumont (Mons Reyalis), not far from Paris, on the Oise, founded by St Louis between 1228 and 1235. St Louis read the books that he compiled, and supplied the funds for procuring copies of such authors as Ile reNavarre are also named among those who urged him to the composition of his "little works," especially the De Institufione Prineipuni. Though Vincent may well have been summoned to Royaumont even before 1240, there is no actual proof that he lived there before the return of Louis IX. and his wife from the Holy Land, early in the summer of 1254. But it is evident that he must have written his work De Eruditione Fitiorunt Regaliuin (where he styles himself as "Vincentius Belvacensis, de ordine priedieatorum, qualiscumque lector in monasterio de Regali Monte ") after this date and yet before January 1260, the approximate date of his Tractatus Consolatorius. When own Dominican house, whether at Beauvais or elsewhere.
The dJajus Sp2eaboa, the groat compendium of all the knowledge of the Middle Ages, as it lea the pen of Vincent, seems to have consisted of three parts only, viz., the Specqum Naturals, Doetrimale, and Historialc. Such, at least, is Eehard's conclusion, derived from an examination of the earliest extant MSS. All the printed editions, however, consist of four parts, the additional one being entitled Speculum Morale. This has been clearly shown to 143 the production of a later hand, and is ascribed by Erhard to the period between 1310 and 1325. In arrangement and style it is quite different from the other three ',arts, and indeed it is mainly a compilation from Thomas Aquinas, Stephen de Bourbon, and two or three other contemporary writers.
The Speculum Naturals fills a bulky folio volume of 848 closely-printed double-columned pages. It is divided into thirty- two books and 3718 chapters. It is a vast summary of all the natural history known to western Europe towards the middle of the 13th oentury. It is, as it were, the great temple of median-al science, whose floor and walls are inlaid with an enormous mosaic of skilfully-arranged passages from Latin, Greek, Arabic., and even Hebrew authors. To each quotation, as he borrows it, Vincent prefixes the name of the book and author from whom it is taken, distinguishing, however, his own remarks by the word "actor." The ,*sculunt Naturals is so constructed that the various subjects are dealt with I He is sometimes styled Vincentius Burgundus ; hut, according to M. Daimon, this appellation cannot be traced back further than the first half of the 15th century.
, 2 Apparently confirmed by the few enigmatical lines preserved by Echard from his epitaph" Pertnlit iste necem post annes mills ducentos, Sexaginta decent sex babe, sex milli retentos."
according to the order of their creation ; it is in fact a gigantic commentary on Genesis i. Thus bk. i. opens with an account of the Trinity and its relation to creation ; then follows a similar series of chapters about angels, their attributes, powers, orders, &c., down to such minute points as their methods of communicating thought, on which matter the author decides, in his owl] person, that they have a kind of intelligible speech, and that with angels to think and to speak are not the same process. The whole book, in fact, deals with such things as were with God "in the beginning." Bk. ii. treats of our own world, of light, colour, the four elements, Lucifer, and his fallen angels, thus corresponding in the main with the sensible world and the work of the first day. Bks. iii. and iv. deal with the phenomena of the heavens and of time, which is measured by the motions of the heavenly bodies, with the sky and all its wonders, fire, rain, thunder, dew, winds, kc. Bks. v.-xiv. treat of the sea and the dry land : they discourse of the seas, the ocean, and the great rivers, agricultural operations, metals, precious stones, plants, herbs, with their seeds, grains, and juices, trees wild and cultivated, their fruits and their saps. Under each species, where possible, Vincent gives a chapter on its rise in medicine, and he adopts for the most part an alphabetical arrangement. In bk. vi. c. 7 he incident' ally discusses what would become of a stone if it were dropped down a hole, pierced right through the earth, and, curiously enough, decides that it would stay in the centre. Bk. xv. deals with astronomy - the moon, stars, and the zodiac, the sun, the planets, the seasons, and the calendar. Bks. xvi. and xvii. treat of fowls and fishes, mainly in alphabetical order and with reference to their medical qualities. Bks. xviii.-xxii. deal in a similar way with domesticated and wild animals, including the dog, serpents, bees, and insects ; they also include a general treatise on animal physiology spread over bks. xxi.-xxii. Bks. xxiii.-xxviii. discuss the psychology, physiology, and anatomy of man, the five senses and their organs, sleep, dreams, ecstasy, memory, reason, &e. The remaining four books seem more or less supplementary ; time last (xxxii.) is a summary of geography and history down to the year 1250, when the book seems to have been given to the world, perhaps along with the Speculum Historialc and possibly an earlier form of the Speculum Doetrinals.
The Speculum Doetrinalc, in seventeen books and 2374 chapters, is a summary of all the scholastic knowledge of the age and does not confine itself to natural history. It is intended to be a practical mammal for the student and the official alike ; and, to fulfil this object, it treats of the mechanic arts of life as well as the subtleties of the scholar, the ditties of the prince, and the tactics of the general. The first book, after defining philosophy, Fee., gives a long Latin vocabulary of some 6000 or 70110 words. Grammar, logic, rhetoric, and poetry are discussed in bks. ii. and iii., the latter including several well-known fables, such as the Lion and the Mouse. Bk. iv. treats of the virtues, each of which has two chapters of quotations allotted to it, one in prose and the other in verse. Bk. v. is of a somewhat similar nature. With bk. vi. we enter on the praetical part of the work ; it deals with the ars cesonomica, and gives directions for building, gardening, sowing, reaping, rearing cattle, and tending vineyards ; it includes also a kind of agricultural almanac for each mouth in the year. Bks. vii.-ix. have reference to the ars politica: they contain rules for the education of a prince and a smninary of the forms, terms, and statutes of canonical, civil, and criminal law. Bk. xi. is devoted to the arIes mcchanica; namely, those of weavers, smiths, armou•ers, merchants, hunters, and even the general and the sailor. Bks. xii.-xis. deal with medicine both in practice and in theory : they contain practical rules for the preservation of health according to the four seasons of the year, and treat of various diseases from fever to gout. Bk. xv. deals with physics and may be regarded as a summary of the ,Speculum Naturals. Bk. xvi. is given up to mathematics, under which head are included music, geometry, astronomy, astrology, weights and measures, and metaphysics. It is noteworthy that in this book Vincent shows a knowledge of the Arabic numerals, though Ile does not call them by this name. With him the unit is termed "digitus " ; when multiplied by tell it becomes the "articulus "; while the combination of the artieulus and the digitus is the "munerus compositus." In this chapter (xvi. 9), which is supersc•ibed "actor," he clearly explains how the value of a number increases tenfold with every plaee it is moved to the left. lie is even acquainted with the later invention of the " cifra " or cipher. The last book (xvii.) treats of theology or (as we should now say) mythology, and winds up with an account of the Holy Scriptures and of the fathers, from Ignatius and Dionysius the Areopagite to Jerome and Gregory the Great, and even of later writers from Isidore and Bede, through Alcuin, Lanfranc, and Anselm, dawn to Bernard of Clairvaux and the brethren of St Victor.
As the fifteenth book of the Speculum boetrinals is a summary of the Speculum Naturals, so the Speculum Historiale may lie regarded as the expansion of the last book of the same work. It Consists of thirty-one books divided into 3793 chapters. The first book opens with the mysteries of God and the angels, and then passes on to the works of time six days and the creation of 1111111. It includes dissertations on the various vices and virtues, the different arts and sciences, and carries down the history of the world to the sojourn in Egypt. The next eleven books (ii.-xii.) conduct us through sacred and secular history down to the triumph of Christianity under Constantine. The story of Barlaain and Josaphat occupies a great part of bk. xv. ; and bk. xvi. gives an account of Daniel's nine kingdoms, in which account Vincent differs from his professed authority, Sigebert of Gembloux, by reckoning England as the fourth instead of the fifth. In the chapters devoted to the origincs of Britain he relies on the Brutus legend, but cannot carry his catalogue of British or English kings further than 735, where he honestly confesses that his authorities fail him. Seven more books bring us to the rise of Mohammed (xxiii.) and the days of Charlemagne (xxiv.). Vincent's Charlemagne is a curious medley of the great emperor of history and the champion of romance. He is at once the ,gigantie eater of Turpin, the huge warrior eight feet high, who could lift the armed knight standing on his open hand to a level with his head, the crusading conqueror of Jerusalem in (lays before the crusades, and yet with all this the temperate drinker and admirer of St Augustine, as his character had filtered down through various channels from the historical pages of Eginhard. Bk. xxv. includes the first crusade, and in the course of bk. xxix., which contains an account of the Tartars, the author enters on what is ahnost contemporary history, winding up in bk. xxxi. with a short narrative of the crusade of St Louis in 1250. One remarkable feature of the Speculum Historiale is Vincent's constant habit of devoting several chapters to selections from the writings of each great author, whether secular or profane, as he mentions him in the course of his work. The extracts from Cicero and Ovid, Origen and St John, Chrysostom, Augustine, and Jerome, are but specimens of a useful custom which reaches its culminating point in bk. xxviii., which is devoted entirely to the writings of St Bernard. One main fault of the Speculum Historiale is the unduly large space devoted to miracles. Four of the mediwval historians from whom lie quotes most frequently are Sigebert of Gembloux, Hugh of Fleury, lielinand of Froidmont, and -William of Mahnesbury, whom he uses for Continental as well as for English history.
-Vincent has thus hardly any claim to be reckoned as an original writer. But it is difficult to speak too highly of his immense industry in collecting, classifying, and arranging these three huge volumes of 80 books and 9885 chapters. The undertaking to combine all human knowledge into a single whole was in itself a colossal one and could only have been born in a mind of no mean order. Indeed more than six centuries passed before the idea was again resuscitated ; and even then it required a group of brilliant Frenchmen to do what the old Dominican had carried out unaided. The number of writers quoted by Vincent is almost incredible : in the Speculum Natantle alone no less than 350 distinct works are cited, and to these must be added at least 100 more for the other two Specula. His reading ranges from Arabian philosophers and naturalists to Aristotle, Eusebius, Cicero, Seneca, Julius Caesar (whom he calls Julius Celsus), and even the Jew Peter Alphonso. But Hebrew, Arabic, and Greek he seems to have known solely through one or other of the popular Latin versions.
A list of Vincent's works, both MS. and printed, will be found in the Histoire Littkraire de France, vol. xviii., and in Echard. The Tractatus Consolatorius pro Merle Amid, and the Liber de Eruditione Filiorum Regalium(fled icated to Queen Margaret) were printed by Auerbach at Basel in December 1480. The Ltiber de Institutione Printipum has never yet been printed, and the only MS. copy the writer of this article has beemable to consult does not contain in its prologue all the information which Echard seems to imply is to he found there. The so-called first edition of the Speculum Majus, including the Speculum Morale, ascribed to Mentelin and long celebrated as the earliest work printed at Strasburg, has lately been challenged as being only an earlier edition of Vincent's three genuine Specula (e. 1468-70), with which has been bound up the Spectaum. Monde first printed by Mentelin (c. 1473-76). (T. A. A.)