Hugh of Saint Victor

Hugh of Saint Victor, C.R.S.A. (c. 1096 – 11 February 1141), was a Saxon canon regular and a leading theologian and writer on mystical theology.

Hugh of Saint Victor, C.R.S.A.


As with many medieval figures, little is known about Hugh's early life. He was probably born in the 1090s. His homeland may have been Lorraine, Ypres in Flanders, or the Duchy of Saxony.[1] Some sources say that his birth occurred in the Harz district, being the eldest son of Baron Conrad of Blankenburg. Over the protests of his family, he entered the Priory of St. Pancras, a community of canons regular, where he had studied, located at Hamerleve or Hamersleben, near Halberstadt.[2]

Due to civil unrest shortly after his entry to the priory, Hugh's uncle, Reinhard of Blankenburg, who was the local bishop, advised him to transfer to the Abbey of Saint Victor in Paris, where he himself had studied theology. He accepted his uncle's advice and made the move at a date which is unclear, possibly 1115–18 or around 1120.[3] He spent the rest of his life there, advancing to head the school.[2]


Hugh wrote many works from the 1120s until his death (Migne, Patrologia Latina contains 46 works by Hugh, and this is not a full collection), including works of theology (both treatises and sententiae), commentaries (mostly on the Bible but also including one of pseudo-Dionysius' Celestial Hierarchies), mysticism, philosophy and the arts, and a number of letters and sermons.[4]

Hugh was influenced by many people, but chiefly by Saint Augustine, especially in holding that the arts and philosophy can serve theology.

Hugh's most significant works include:

  • De sacramentis christianae fidei (On the Mysteries of the Christian Faith/On the Sacraments of the Christian Faith)[5] It is Hugh's most celebrated masterpiece and presents the bulk of Hugh's thoughts on theological and mystical ideas, ranging from God and angels to natural laws.
  • Didascalicon de studio legendi (Didascalion, or, On the Study of Reading).[6] The Didascalicon is written as an introductory guide to Christianity, reflecting Hugh's desire to be an elementary teacher of Christianity. The Didascalicon reveals a very philosophical side of Hugh, in which he reflects on what basic elements of learning a Christian should focus on. One of the chapters is on music and deals with the three kinds of music in a manner strongly indebted to Boethius.[7]
  • In Hierarchiam celestem commentaria (Commentary on the Celestial Hierarchy), a commentary on the work by pseudo-Dionysius, perhaps begun around 1125.[8] After Eriugena's translation of Dionysius in the ninth century, there is almost no interest shown in Dionysius until Hugh's commentary.[9] It is possible that Hugh may have decided to produce the commentary (which perhaps originated in lectures to students) because of the continuing (incorrect) belief that the patron saint of the Abbey of Saint Denis, Saint Denis, was to be identified with pseudo-Dionysius. Dionysian thought did not form an important influence on the rest of Hugh's work. Hugh's commentary, however, became a major part of the twelfth and thirteenth-century surge in interest in Dionysius; his and Eriugena's commentaries were often attached to the Dionysian corpus in manuscripts, such that his thought had great influence on later interpretation of Dionysius by Richard of St Victor, Thomas Gallus, Hugh of Balma, Bonaventure and others.[10]

Other works by Hugh of St Victor include:

  • In Salomonis Ecclesiasten (Commentary on Ecclesiastes).[11]
  • In 1125–30, Hugh wrote three treatises structured around Noah's ark: De arca Noe morali (Noah's Moral Ark/On the Moral Interpretation of the Ark of Noah), De arca Noe mystica (Noah's Mystical Ark/On the Mystic Interpretation of the Ark of Noah), and De vanitate mundi (The World's Vanity).[12] De arca Noe morali and De arca Noe mystica reflect Hugh's fascination with both mysticism and the book of Genesis.
  • De tribus diebus (On the Three Days).[13]
  • De sapientia animae Christi.[14]
  • De unione corporis et spiritus (The Union of the Body and the Spirit).[15]
  • Epitome Dindimi in philosophiam (Epitome of Dindimus on Philosophy).[16]
  • Practica Geometriae (The Practice of Geometry).[16]
  • De Grammatica (On Grammar).[16]
  • Soliloquium de Arrha Animae (The Soliloquy on the Earnest Money of the Soul).[17]
  • On Contemplation and its Forms. This is one of the earliest works devoted to contemplation. It appears not to be composed directly by Hugh, but to have been composed by students of Hugh of St Victor, possibly from classnotes based on his teaching.[18]
  • On Sacred Scripture and its Authors.[19]
  • Various other treatises exist whose authorship by Hugh is uncertain. Six of these are reprinted, in Latin in Roger Baron, ed, Hugues de Saint-Victor: Six Opuscules Spirituels, Sources chrétiennes 155, (Paris, 1969). They are: De meditatione,[20] De verbo Dei, De substantia dilectionis, Quid vere diligendus est, De quinque septenis ,[21] and De septem donis Spiritus sancti[22]
  • De anima is a treatise of the soul: the text will be found in the edition of Hugh's works in the Patrologia Latina of J. P. Migne. Part of it was paraphrased in the West Mercian dialect of Middle English by the author of the Katherine Group.[23]

Various other works were wrongly attributed to Hugh in later thought. One such particularly influential work was the Exposition of the Rule of St Augustine, now accepted to be from the Victorine school but not by Hugh of St Victor.[24]

A new edition of Hugh's works has been started. The first publication is: Hugonis de Sancto Victore De sacramentis Christiane fidei, ed. Rainer Berndt, Münster: Aschendorff, 2008.

Philosophy and theology

The early Didascalicon was an elementary, encyclopedic approach to God and Christ, in which Hugh avoided controversial subjects and focused on what he took to be commonplaces of Catholic Christianity. In it he outlined three types of philosophy or "science" [scientia] that can help mortals improve themselves and advance toward God: theoretical philosophy (theology, mathematics, physics) provides them with truth, practical philosophy (ethics, economics, politics) aids them in becoming virtuous and prudent, and "mechanical" or "illiberal" philosophy (e.g., carpentry, agriculture, medicine) yields physical benefits. A fourth philosophy, logic, is preparatory to the others and exists to ensure clear and proper conclusions in them. Hugh's deeply mystical bent did not prevent him from seeing philosophy as a useful tool for understanding the divine, or from using it to argue on behalf of faith.

Hugh was heavily influenced by Augustine's exegesis of Genesis. Divine Wisdom was the archetypal form of creation. The creation of the world in six days was a mystery for man to contemplate, perhaps even a sacrament. God's forming order from chaos to make the world was a message to humans to rise up from their own chaos of ignorance and become creatures of Wisdom and therefore beauty. This kind of mystical-ethical interpretation was typical for Hugh, who tended to find Genesis interesting for its moral lessons rather than as a literal account of events.

Along with Jesus, the sacraments were divine gifts that God gave man to redeem himself, though God could have used other means. Hugh separated everything along the lines of opus creationis and opus restaurationis. Opus Creationis was the works of the creation, referring to God's creative activity, the true good natures of things, and the original state and destiny of humanity. The opus restaurationis was that which dealt with the reasons for God sending Jesus and the consequences of that. Hugh believed that God did not have to send Jesus and that He had other options open to Him. Why he chose to send Jesus is a mystery we are to meditate on and is to be learned through revelation, with the aid of philosophy to facilitate understanding.


Within the Abbey of St Victor, many scholars who followed him are often known as the 'School of St Victor'. Both Achard and Andrew of St Victor appear to have been direct disciples of Hugh. Others, who probably entered the community too late to be directly educated by Hugh, include Richard of Saint Victor and Godfrey.[25] One of Hugh's ideals that did not take root in St Victor, however, was his embrace of science and philosophy as tools for approaching God.

His works are in hundreds of libraries all across Europe. He is quoted in many other publications after his death, and Bonaventure praises him in De reductione artium ad theologiam.

He was also an influence on the critic Erich Auerbach, who cited this passage from Hugh of St Victor in his essay "Philology and World Literature":[26]

It is therefore, a source of great virtue for the practiced mind to learn, bit by bit, first to change about in visible and transitory things, so that afterwards it may be able to leave them behind altogether. The person who finds his homeland sweet is a tender beginner; he to whom every soil is as his native one is already strong; but he is perfect to whom the entire world is as a foreign place. The tender soul has fixed his love on one spot in the world; the strong person has extended his love to all places; the perfect man has extinguished his.


Modern editions

Latin text
  • Latin texts of Hugh of St. Victor are available in the Migne edition at Documenta Catholica Omnia,
  • Henry Buttimer, Hugonis de Sancto Victore. Didascalicon. De Studio Legendi (Washington, DC: Catholic University Press, 1939).
  • Hugh of St Victor, L'oeuvre de Hugues de Saint-Victor. 1. De institutione novitiorum. De virtute orandi. De laude caritatis. De arrha animae, Latin text edited by H.B. Feiss & P. Sicard; French translation by D. Poirel, H. Rochais & P. Sicard. Introduction, notes and appendices by D. Poirel (Turnhout, Brepols, 1997)
  • Hugues de Saint-Victor, L'oeuvre de Hugues de Saint-Victor. 2. Super Canticum Mariae. Pro Assumptione Virginis. De beatae Mariae virginitate. Egredietur virga, Maria porta, edited by B. Jollès (Turnhout: Brepols, 2000)
  • Hugo de Sancto Victore, De archa Noe. Libellus de formatione arche, ed Patricius Sicard, CCCM vol 176, Hugonis de Sancto Victore Opera, I (Turnhout: Brepols, 2001)
  • Hugo de Sancto Victore, De tribus diebus, ed Dominique Poirel, CCCM vol 177, Hugonis de Sancto Victore Opera, II (Turnhout: Brepols, 2002)
  • Hugo de Sancto Victore, De sacramentis Christiane fidei, ed. Rainer Berndt (Münster: Aschendorff, 2008)
  • Hugo de Sancto Victore, Super Ierarchiam Dionysii, CCCM vol 178, Hugonis de Sancto Victore Opera, III (Turnhout: Brepols, forthcoming)
English translations
  • Hugh of St Victor, Explanation of the Rule of St. Augustine, translated by Aloysius Smith (London, 1911)
  • Hugh of St Victor, The Soul's Betrothal-Gift, translated by FS Taylor (London, 1945) [translation of De Arrha Animae]
  • Hugh of St Victor, On the sacraments of the Christian faith: (De sacramentis), translated by Roy J Deferrari (Cambridge, MA: Mediaeval Academy of America, 1951)
  • Hugh of Saint-Victor: Selected spiritual writings, translated by a religious of C.S.M.V.; with an introduction by Aelred Squire. (London: Faber, 1962) [reprinted in Eugene, Oregon: Wipf & Stock Publishers, 2009] [contains a translation of the first four books of De arca Noe morali and the first two (of four) books of De vanitate mundi].
  • The Didascalicon of Hugh of St. Victor, translated by Jerome Taylor (New York and London: Columbia U. P., 1961) [reprinted 1991] [translation of the Didascalion]
  • Soliloquy on the Earnest Money of the Soul, trans Kevin Herbert (Milwaukee, WI: Marquette University Press, 1984) [translation of Soliloquium de Arrha Animae]
  • Hugh of St Victor, Practica Geometriae, trans. Frederick A Homann (Milwaukee: Marquette University Press, 1991)
  • Hugh of St Victor, extracts from Introductory Notes on the Scriptures and on the Scriptural Writers, trans Denys Turner, in Denys Turner, Eros and Allegory: Medieval Exegesis of the Song of Songs (Kalamazoo, MI: Cistercian Publications, 1995), 265-274
  • Hugh of Saint Victor on the Sacraments of the Christian Faith, trans Roy Deferrari (Eugene, Oregon: Wipf & Stock Publishers, 2007) [translation of De Sacramentis Christianae Fidei]
  • Boyd Taylor Coolman and Dale M Coulter, eds, Trinity and creation: a selection of works of Hugh, Richard and Adam of St Victor (Turnhout: Brepols, 2010) [includes translation of Hugh of St Victor, On the Three Days and Sentences on Divinity]
  • Hugh Feiss, ed, On love: a selection of works of Hugh, Adam, Achard, Richard and Godfrey of St Victor (Turnhout: Brepols, 2011) [includes translations of The Praise of the Bridegroom, On the Substance of Love, On the Praise of Charity, What Truly Should be Loved?, On the Four Degrees of Violent Love, trans. A.B. Kraebel, and Soliloquy on the Betrothal-Gift of the Soul]
  • Franklin T. Harkins and Frans van Liere, eds, Interpretation of scripture: theory. A selection of works of Hugh, Andrew, Richard and Godfrey of St Victor, and of Robert of Melun (Turnhout, Belgium: Brepols, 2012) [contains translations of: Didascalion on the study of reading, introduced and translated by Franklin T Harkins; On Sacred Scripture and its authors and The diligent examiner, introduced and translated by Frans van Liere; On the sacraments of the Christian faith, prologues, introduced and translated by Christopher P Evans]

See also


  1. ^ B McGinn, The Growth of Mysticism, (1994), p365
  2. ^ a b Catholic Encyclopedia:Hugh of St. Victor
  3. ^ McGinn (1994), p365, gives 'around 1120' as the date.
  4. ^ A helpful, though not necessarily complete, list of Hugh's work – along with modern editions and translations – is printed in Hugh Feiss, ed, On Love, (2010), pp15-20.
  5. ^ Reprinted in PL 176:173-618 and in Hugonis de Sancto Victore De sacramentis Christiane fidei, ed. Rainer Berndt, Münster: Aschendorff, 2008. There is an English translation in Hugh of St Victor, On the sacraments of the Christian faith: (De sacramentis), translated by Roy J Deferrari, (Cambridge, MA: Mediaeval Academy of America, 1951). An English translation of the Prologues is made in Franklin T. Harkins and Frans van Liere, eds, Interpretation of scripture: theory. A selection of works of Hugh, Andrew, Richard and Godfrey of St Victor, and of Robert of Melun, (Turnhout, Belgium: Brepols, 2012), pp253-268.
  6. ^ The Latin text is in Henry Buttimer, Hugonis de Sancto Victore. Didascalicon. De Studio Legendi, (Washington, DC: Catholic University Press, 1939). An older English translation is in Jerome Taylor, The Didascalicon of Hugh of St Victor, (New York: Columbia University Press, 1961). A more recent translation is Franklin T. Harkins and Frans van Liere, eds, Interpretation of scripture: theory. A selection of works of Hugh, Andrew, Richard and Godfrey of St Victor, and of Robert of Melun, (Turnhout, Belgium: Brepols, 2012), pp61-202.
  7. ^ Andrew Hughes & Randall Rosenfeld. "Hugh of St Victor". In Deane L. Root (ed.). Grove Music Online. Oxford Music Online. Oxford University Press. (subscription required)
  8. ^ An older edition of the Latin text is in PL 175:928A. The modern edition is Hugonis de Sancto Victore Opera III: Super Ierarchiam Dionysii, (Turnhout: Brepols), CCCM, vol. 178.
  9. ^ David Luscombe, "The Commentary of Hugh of Saint-Victor on the Celestial Hierarchy", in T. Boiadjiev, G. Kapriev and A. Speer, eds, Die Dionysius-Rezeption im Mittelalter, (Turnholt:Brepols, 2000), pp160-164; D. Poirel, "Le 'chant dionysien' du IXe au XIIe siècle", in M. Goullet and M. Parisse (eds), Les historiens et le latin medieval, (Paris: Publications de la Sorbonne, 2001), pp151–176.
  10. ^ For further commentary on this work, see Rorem, Paul (2008). "The Early Latin Dionysius: Eriugena and Hugh of St. Victor". Modern Theology. 24 (4): 601–614. doi:10.1111/j.1468-0025.2008.00488.x.
  11. ^ Reprinted in PL 175:115A.
  12. ^ These three treatises are printed in PL 176:617-740.
  13. ^ Reprinted in PL 176. A detailed study of this work exists in Dominique Porel, Livre de la nature et débat trinitaire au XXe siècle, Le De tribus diebus de Hugues de Saint-Victor, (Turnhout: Brepols, 2002), 169-198. Much of this introduction is summarised in the introduction to the English translation in Boyd Taylor Coolman and Dale M Coulter, eds, Trinity and creation: a selection of works of Hugh, Richard and Adam of St Victor, (Turnhout: Brepols, 2010).
  14. ^ Reprinted in PL 176:845-856.
  15. ^ Reprinted in PL 177:285-294.
  16. ^ a b c Reprinted in Roger Baron, ed., Hugonis de Sancto Victore Opera Propaedeutica (Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 1966).
  17. ^ Reprinted in Muller, Karl, ed., Hugo von St. Victor: Soliloquium de Arrha Animae Und De Vanitate Mundi (Bonn: A. Marcus Une E. Weber's Verlag,1913). There is an English translation in Soliloquy on the Earnest Money of the Soul, trans Kevin Herbert, (Milwaukee, WI: Marquette University Press, 1965).
  18. ^ See Bernard McGinn, The Growth of Mysticism, (1994), pp384-390. A French translation is in Roger Baron, Hugues de Saint-Victor: La contemplation et ses espèces, (Tournai-Paris: Desclée, 1958).
  19. ^ An English translation is in Franklin T. Harkins and Frans van Liere, eds, Interpretation of scripture: theory. A selection of works of Hugh, Andrew, Richard and Godfrey of St Victor, and of Robert of Melun, (Turnhout, Belgium: Brepols, 2012)
  20. ^ Printed in PL176:993-998
  21. ^ Printed in PL175:405-414.
  22. ^ Printed in PL176:405-414.
  23. ^ Eggebroten, Anne. ""Sawles Warde": a retelling of "De Anima" for a female audience" (PDF). Retrieved 23 December 2009.
  24. ^ Thomas F Martin OSA, Our Restless Heart: The Augustinian Tradition, (2003), p82
  25. ^ B McGinn, The Growth of Mysticism, (1994), p366
  26. ^ Erich Auerbach (2009). Damrosch, David; Melas, Natalie; Buthelezi, Mbongiseni (eds.). The Princeton Sourcebook in Comparative Literature. Princeton: Princeton University Press. p. 124.

Further reading

  • Sicard, P. (2015) Iter Victorinum. La tradition manuscrite des œuvres de Hugues et de Richard de Saint-Victor. Répertoire complémentaire et études (Bibliotheca Victorina 24), Turnhout: Brepols Publishers, 2015 (ISBN 978-2-503-55492-1)
  • Acton Institute (1992) "In the Liberal Tradition: Hugh of St Victor (1096–1141)". Religion and Liberty, 2:1 (Jan.–Feb., 1992)
  • Coolman, Boyd Taylor. (2010) The Theology of Hugh of St. Victor: An Interpretation. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press
  • Evans, G. R. (2002) Fifty Key Medieval Thinkers. London: Routledge.
  • Harkins, Franklin T, Reading and the Work of Restoration: History and Scripture in the Theology of Hugh of St Victor, (Brepols, 2009)
  • Illich, Ivan (1993) In the Vineyard of the Text: a Commentary to Hugh's Didascalicon. Chicago: University of Chicago Press
  • Luscombe, David, "The Commentary of Hugh of Saint-Victor on the Celestial Hierarchy", in T. Boiadjiev, G. Kapriev and A. Speer (eds), Die Dionysius-Rezeption im Mittelalter (Turnholt: Brepols, 2000).
  • McGinn, Bernard, The Growth of Mysticism, (1994), pp 370–395
  • Moore, R. (1998) Jews and Christians in the Life and Thought of Hugh of St. Victor. USF
  • Rorem, Paul (2009). Hugh of Saint Victor. Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press.
  • Rudolph, Conrad, "First, I Find the Center Point": Reading the Text of Hugh of Saint Victor's The Mystic Ark (2004)
  • Wilson, R. M., ed. (1938) Sawles Warde: an early Middle English homily; edited from the Bodley, Royal and Cotton MSS. Leeds: University of Leeds, School of English Language
  • Conrad Rudolph, The Mystic Ark: Hugh of Saint Victor, Art, and Thought in the Twelfth Century ( 2014)

External links


Year 1115 (MCXV) was a common year starting on Friday (link will display the full calendar) of the Julian calendar.


Year 1141 (MCXLI) was a common year starting on Wednesday (link will display the full calendar) of the Julian calendar.

Andrew of Saint Victor

Andrew of Saint Victor (died 19 October 1175) was an Augustinian canon of the abbey of Saint Victor in Paris, a Christian Hebraist and biblical exegete. His learning "reflects a great humanist culture ... put at the service of theology," while he emphasised the literal meaning of the Old Testament "to an extent not found elsewhere in the Middle Ages."Originally from England, Andrew went to Paris and studied under Abbot Hugh of Saint Victor. Around 1147 he was elected the first abbot of the Victorine daughter house of Saint James at Wigmore in England. He was at Wigmore between 1148/1149 and 1153, when he left after disagreements with the canons. He returned to Saint Victor for a time before finally returning to Wigmore between 1161 and 1163. He died at Wigmore in October 1175.Andrew wrote commentaries exclusively on the Old Testament, covering the Octateuch, the major and minor Prophets, the Book of Proverbs and Ecclesiastes. To an even greater extent than his teacher, Hugh, he employed a literal exegesis. His hermeneutical scheme was based on the littera–sensus–sententia division of classical rhetoric. Besides classical authors, he made use of the church fathers and of Jewish Peshat exegesis.

Antonio Rosmini

Blessed Antonio Francesco Davide Ambrogio Rosmini-Serbati (Italian pronunciation: [anˈtɔːnjo roˈzmiːni serˈbaːti]; Rovereto, 25 March 1797 – Stresa, 1 July 1855) was an Italian Roman Catholic priest and philosopher. He founded the Rosminians, officially the Institute of Charity or Societas a charitate nuncupata, pioneered the concept of social justice, and was a key figure in Italian Liberal Catholicism. Alessandro Manzoni considered Rosmini the only contemporary Italian author worth reading.

Catholic moral theology

Catholic moral theology is a major category of doctrine in the Catholic Church, equivalent to a religious ethics. Moral theology encompasses Roman Catholic social teaching, Catholic medical ethics, sexual ethics, and various doctrines on individual moral virtue and moral theory. It can be distinguished as dealing with "how one is to act", in contrast to dogmatic theology which proposes "what one is to believe".

Conrad Rudolph

Conrad Rudolph (born 1951) is an American art historian. He is Distinguished Professor of Medieval Art History at the University of California, Riverside. He is an elected Fellow of the Medieval Academy of America, and has received fellowships and grants from the Guggenheim, J. Paul Getty, Mellon, and Kress foundations, as well as from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the College Art Association. He has served on the board of editors/advisors of or acted as consultant for several academic journals (Art History,, Speculum, Architectural Histories, etc.) and university presses.

He has worked on resistance to art in the West, using this to understand the origin of Gothic art at Saint-Denis. He has also worked on depictions of violence and daily life as complex depictions of monastic spiritual life (particularly in the Cîteaux Moralia in Job), medieval theories and images of creation, the pilgrimage in the Middle Ages, architectural building miracles as topoi of significant social meaning, the historiography of medieval art, the tour guide in the Middle Ages, and other subjects related to medieval artistic culture.

Some of his major studies include Bernard of Clairvaux's Apologia (the most important document we have to provide an understanding of medieval artistic culture and the twelfth-century controversy over art), Suger of Saint-Denis and the origin of Gothic art (including the invention of the Gothic portal and the exegetical stained-glass window), and Hugh of Saint Victor's Mystic Ark.

He conceived of and was the initial impetus to Courthouse Square in the city of Riverside, California. The original proposal recommended the creation of a new public space incorporating the entire city-block in front of the historic County Courthouse through the gradual demolition of the undistinguished buildings on the block (preserving the few historic ones), while at the same time opening up a view of the essentially hidden but magnificent Courthouse to the heavy public traffic on the main thoroughfare on the far side of the block. Groundbreaking begins 2016, though only incrementally because of property rights issues. Renamed "Courthouse Piazza" by the city.

As part of his interest in medieval culture, he undertook the grueling medieval pilgrimage on foot from Le Puy in south-central France to Santiago de Compostela in northwestern Spain—a journey of two and a half months and a thousand miles.Conrad Rudolph is the son of Richard C. Rudolph, who was a professor of Chinese Literature and Archaeology at UCLA. He is married to Roberta Peterson Rudolph; they have two children, Anna Katharina Rudolph and John Caspar Rudolph.

Devotio Moderna

Devotio Moderna, or Modern Devotion, was a movement for religious reform, calling for apostolic renewal through the rediscovery of genuine pious practices such as humility, obedience, and simplicity of life. It began in the late fourteenth-century, largely through the work of Gerard Groote, and flourished in the Low Countries and Germany in the fifteenth century, but came to an end with the Protestant Reformation. It is most known today through its influence on Thomas à Kempis, the author of The Imitation of Christ, a book which proved highly influential for centuries.

Genoese map

The Genoese map is a 1457 world map. The map relied extensively on the account of the traveler to Asia Niccolo da Conti, rather than the usual source of Marco Polo. The author is not known, but is a more modern development than the Fra Mauro world map, with fairly good proportions given to each continents. The map also depicts a three-masted European ship in the Indian Ocean, something which had not occurred yet at the time.A Genoese flag in the upper northwest corner of the map establishes this map’s origin, along with the coat of arms of the Spinolas, a prominent Genoese mercantile family. Niccolò de'Conti was from a noble mercantile family; at an early age he decided to follow in the family tradition by establishing a lucrative trading operation in the East.[1]

The Genoese map’s sea monsters reflect the cartographer’s interest in exotic wonders, which is everywhere in evidence on the map, and typical of the scientific outlook of the early modern period, which was driven by curiosity and took a great interest in marvels. The demon-like monster in particular is evidence of the cartographer’s research in recent travel literature to find sea monsters for his map.

This map was done in rich color and was not made particularly used for anything but for display.They say this map was sent to the Portuguese court in 1474 and then to Columbus and this is the map that he used to travel the India sea to the Atlantic but was never proven. The map is now the property of the Italian government and is to be found in the Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale of Florence however the map was not taken care of due to the way it’s been handled throughout the years.

The ships that could carry a thousand men—six hundred seamen and four hundred soldiers. The larger vessels also carried small boats, which were used, as Marco Polo states, “to lay out the anchors, catch fish, bring supplies aboard, and the like. When the ship is under sail, she carries these boats slung to her side.” Many of the vessels had as many as four decks, and even the smaller ones, fifty or sixty cabins. Vegetables, we are told, were sometimes grown on board.

The oval form is not unknown among medieval maps. Hugh of Saint Victor had described the world as being the shape of Noah’s Ark, and Ranulf Higden world maps were oval. A standard way of describing the earth was to compare it to an egg. The main purpose of the analogy seems to have been to describe the various spheres surrounding the earth (egg white, shell), but the idea of an egg shape could have been derived from these works. Another possibility is that the oval form represents the mandorla, or nimbus, which surrounded Christ in many medieval works of art.

Hendrik Mande

Hendrik Mande (1350-60 – 1431) was a Dutch mystical writer, an early member of the Brethren of the Common Life, and an Augustinian Canon.

Index of medieval philosophy articles

This is a list of articles in medieval philosophy.

Abd al-Karīm ibn Hawāzin al-Qushayri


Abner of Burgos

Abraham bar Hiyya

Abraham ibn Daud

Abū Hayyān al-Tawhīdī

Abu Rayhan Biruni

Abu Yaqub Sijistani

Acharya Hemachandra

Active intellect

Actus et potentia

Actus primus

Actus purus

Adalbertus Ranconis de Ericinio

Adam de Buckfield

Adam de Wodeham

Adam of Łowicz

Adam Parvipontanus

Adam Pulchrae Mulieris

Adelard of Bath

Adi Shankara

Ahmad Sirhindi






Al Amiri

Alain de Lille

Albert of Saxony (philosopher)

Albertus Magnus


Alessandro Achillini

Alexander Bonini

Alexander Neckam

Alexander of Hales

Alfred of Sareshel



Amalric of Bena

André of Neufchâteau

Anselm of Canterbury

Anselm of Laon

Antonio Beccadelli

Arab transmission of the Classics to the West

Athīr al-Dīn al-Abharī

Auctoritates Aristotelis

Augustine Eriugena

Augustine of Hippo




Ayn al-Quzat Hamadani

Barlaam of Seminara

Bartholomew of Bologna (philosopher)

Bartolommeo Spina

Basilios Bessarion

Bernard of Chartres

Bernard of Clairvaux

Bernard of Trilia

Bernard Silvestris

Berthold of Moosburg


Boetius of Dacia


Brethren of Purity

Brunetto Latini

Byzantine philosophy

Byzantine rhetoric

Cahal Daly


Cardinal virtues

Carolus Sigonius

Catherine of Siena

Celestial spheres

Cesare Cremonini (philosopher)

Choe Chung

Christine de Pizan

Condemnations of 1210–1277

Consolation of Philosophy

Constantine of Kostenets

Contra principia negantem disputari non potest


Cosmographia (Bernard Silvestris)

Credo ut intelligam

Cristoforo Landino

Daniel of Morley

Dante Alighieri

David ben Merwan al-Mukkamas

De divisione naturae

Demetrius Chalcondyles

Denis the Carthusian

Divine apathy

Doctrine of the Mean


Dominicus Gundissalinus

Duns Scotus

Dynamics of the celestial spheres

Early Islamic philosophy

Elia del Medigo

Ethica thomistica

Étienne Tempier

Eustratius of Nicaea

Euthymius of Athos

Everard of Ypres

Fakhr al-Din al-Razi

Federico Cesi

Five wits

Francesco Filelfo

Francis of Marchia

Francis of Mayrone

Francis Robortello

Francisco de Vitoria

Francisco Suárez

Franciscus Bonae Spei

Fujiwara Seika

Gabriel Biel

Galileo Galilei

Garlandus Compotista

Gasparinus de Bergamo

Gaunilo of Marmoutiers

Gemistus Pletho

George of Trebizond

Gerard of Abbeville

Gerard of Bologna

Gerard of Brussels

Gerard of Cremona

Gerardus Odonis


Gilbert de la Porrée

Giles of Lessines

Giles of Rome

Giovanni Pico della Mirandola

Godfrey of Fontaines

Gonsalvus of Spain

Great chain of being

Gregor Reisch

Gregory of Rimini

Grzegorz of Stawiszyn

Guarino da Verona

Guido Terrena

Guillaume Pierre Godin

Guru Nanak Dev



Hayy ibn Yaqdhan

Henry Aristippus

Henry Harclay

Henry of Ghent

Herman of Carinthia

Hermannus Alemannus

Hervaeus Natalis

Heymeric de Campo

Hibat Allah Abu'l-Barakat al-Baghdaadi



How many angels can dance on the head of a pin?

Hugh of Saint Victor

Hugh of St Cher


Ibn al-Nafis

Ibn al-Rawandi

Ibn Arabi

Ibn Bajjah

Ibn Hazm

Ibn Khaldun

Ibn Masarrah

Ibn Taymiyyah

Ibn Tufail

Immanuel the Roman



Intelligible form

Ioane Petritsi


Isaac Abrabanel

Isaac Israeli ben Solomon


Isotta Nogarola

Jacob ben Nissim

Jacopo Zabarella

Jakub of Gostynin

Jan Szylling


Jean Buridan

Jean Capréolus

Jedaiah ben Abraham Bedersi



Jiva Goswami

Jocelin of Soissons

Johannes Scotus Eriugena

John Argyropoulos

John Blund

John de Sècheville

John Dumbleton

John Halgren of Abbeville

John Hennon

John Italus

John Major (philosopher)

John of Damascus

John of Głogów

John of Jandun

John of Mirecourt

John of Paris

John of Salisbury

John of St. Thomas

John Pagus

John Peckham

Joseph Albo

Joseph ben Judah of Ceuta

Judah ben Moses Romano

Judah Halevi

Julius Caesar Scaliger

Kitabatake Chikafusa

Kwon Geun

Lambert of Auxerre

Lambertus de Monte

Leo the Mathematician

Leon Battista Alberti

Leonardo da Vinci

List of scholastic philosophers

Madhusūdana Sarasvatī



Manuel Chrysoloras

Marcus Musurus

Marsilio Ficino

Marsilius of Inghen

Marsilius of Padua

Matheolus Perusinus

Matthew of Aquasparta

Medieval philosophy

Meister Eckhart

Michael of Ephesus

Michael of Massa

Michael Psellos

Michał Falkener


Mohammad Ibn Abd-al-Haq Ibn Sab’in

Moralium dogma philosophorum

Mu'ayyad fi'l-Din al-Shirazi

Muhammad ibn Muhammad Tabrizi

Muhammad ibn Zakariya al-Razi



Nasir al-Din al-Tusi

Nasir Khusraw


Niccolò Machiavelli


Nicholas of Autrecourt

Nicholas of Kues

Nicole Oresme

Nikephoros Choumnos

Odo of Châteauroux

Omar Khayyám

Oxford Calculators

Oxford Franciscan school

Palla Strozzi

Paolo da Pergola

Passive intellect

Patriarch Gennadios II of Constantinople

Paul of Venice

Peripatetic axiom

Peter Abelard

Peter Aureol

Peter Ceffons

Peter Crockaert

Peter de Rivo

Peter Helias

Peter Lombard

Peter of Auvergne

Peter of Capua

Peter of Corbeil

Peter of Poitiers

Peter of Spain (author)

Peter Olivi


Petrus Aureolus

Petrus Ramus

Photios I of Constantinople

Pierre d'Ailly

Pierre de Bar

Pietro Alcionio

Pietro d'Abano


Porphyrian tree


Primum movens

Problem of universals


Qotb al-Din Shirazi


Quinque viae

R. De Staningtona

Rabia al-Adawiyya

Radulfus Ardens

Radulphus Brito

Ralph of Longchamp

Ralph Strode



Ramon Llull

Remigius of Auxerre


Renaissance humanism

Renaissance philosophy

Richard Brinkley

Richard Kilvington

Richard of Campsall

Richard of Middleton

Richard of Saint Victor

Richard Rufus of Cornwall

Richard Swineshead

Richard Wilton

Robert Alyngton

Robert Cowton

Robert Grosseteste

Robert Holcot

Robert Kilwardby

Robert of Melun

Robert Pullus

Rodolphus Agricola

Roger Bacon

Roland of Cremona

Roscelin of Compiègne


Rota Fortunae


School of Saint Victor


Sensus communis



Shahab al-Din Suhrawardi


Siger of Brabant

Simon of Faversham

Simon of Tournai

Solomon ibn Gabirol


Sperone Speroni

Stephen of Alexandria

Substantial form

Sum of Logic


Summa contra Gentiles

Summa Theologica

Summum bonum

Supposition theory


Temporal finitism

Term logic

Theodore Metochites

Thierry of Chartres

Thomas Aquinas

Thomas Bradwardine

Thomas Gallus

Thomas of Sutton

Thomas of Villanova

Thomas of York (Franciscan)

Thomas Wilton


Thought of Thomas Aquinas

Timeline of Niccolò Machiavelli

Ulrich of Strasburg

University of Constantinople


Urso of Calabria

Vācaspati Miśra


Vincent Ferrer

Vital du Four

Voluntarism (metaphysics)

Voluntarism (theology)

Walter Burley

Walter Chatton

Walter of Bruges

Walter of Mortagne

Walter of St Victor

Walter of Winterburn

Wang Yangming

William Crathorn

William de la Mare

William of Alnwick

William of Auvergne (bishop)

William of Auxerre

William of Champeaux

William of Conches

William of Falgar

William of Heytesbury

William of Lucca

William of Moerbeke

William of Ockham

William of Saint-Amour

William of Sherwood

William of Ware

Works by Thomas Aquinas

Yi Hwang

Yohanan Alemanno

Zhang Zai

Zhu Xi

List of Catholic philosophers and theologians

This is a list of Catholic philosophers and theologians whose Catholicism is important to their works. The names are ordered by date of birth in order to give a rough sense of influence between thinkers.

Luis de Molina

Luis de Molina (; 29 September 1535, Cuenca, Spain – 12 October 1600, Madrid, Spain) was a Spanish Jesuit priest and scholastic, a staunch defender of free will in the controversy over human liberty and God's grace. His theology is known as Molinism.

Nicolas Malebranche

Nicolas Malebranche, Oratory of Jesus (; French: [nikɔlɑ malbrɑ̃ʃ]; 6 August 1638 – 13 October 1715), was a French Oratorian priest and rationalist philosopher. In his works, he sought to synthesize the thought of St. Augustine and Descartes, in order to demonstrate the active role of God in every aspect of the world. Malebranche is best known for his doctrines of vision in God, occasionalism and ontologism.

Peter Kreeft

Peter John Kreeft (; born 1937) is a professor of philosophy at Boston College and The King's College. He is the author of over a hundred books on Christian philosophy, theology and apologetics. He also formulated, together with Ronald K. Tacelli, "Twenty Arguments for the Existence of God".

Peter Lombard

Peter Lombard (also Peter the Lombard, Pierre Lombard or Petrus Lombardus; c. 1096, Novara – 21/22 July 1160, Paris), was a scholastic theologian, Bishop of Paris, and author of Four Books of Sentences, which became the standard textbook of theology, for which he earned the accolade Magister Sententiarum.

Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite

Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite (Greek: Διονύσιος ὁ Ἀρεοπαγίτης), also known as Pseudo-Denys, was a Christian theologian and philosopher of the late 5th to early 6th century, who wrote a set of works known as the Corpus Areopagiticum or Corpus Dionysiacum.

The author pseudonymously identifies himself in the corpus as "Dionysios", portraying himself as the figure of Dionysius the Areopagite, the Athenian convert of Paul the Apostle mentioned in Acts 17:34. This false attribution to the earliest decades of Christianity resulted in the work being given great authority in subsequent theological writing in both East and West.

The Dionysian writings and their mystical teaching were universally accepted throughout the East, amongst both Chalcedonians and non-Chalcedonians, and also had a strong impact in later medieval western mysticism, most notably Meister Eckhart. Its influence decreased in the West with the fifteenth-century demonstration of its later dating, but in recent decades, interest has increased again in the Corpus Areopagiticum.

Romano Guardini

Romano Guardini (17 February 1885 – 1 October 1968) was an Italian-born German Catholic priest, author, and academic. He was one of the most important figures in Catholic intellectual life in the 20th century.

The Mystic Ark

The Mystic Ark is a painting by Hugh of Saint Victor (ca. 1096–1141).

Theological virtues

Theological virtues are virtues associated in Christian theology and philosophy with salvation resulting from the grace of God. Virtues are traits or qualities which dispose one to conduct oneself in a morally good manner. Traditionally they have been named Faith, Hope, and Charity, and can trace their importance in Christian theology to Paul the Apostle in 1 Corinthians 13, who also pointed out that “the greatest of these is love.”

The medieval Catholic philosopher Thomas Aquinas explained that these virtues are called theological virtues "because they have God for their object, both in so far as by them we are properly directed to Him, and because they are infused into our souls by God alone, as also, finally, because we come to know of them only by Divine revelation in the Sacred Scriptures".

Early Church
Early Middle Ages
High Middle Ages
Mysticism and reforms
19th century
20th century
21st century

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