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Medieval history, hagiography and science

800 years of Dominican books

The Dominican contribution to scholarship in canon law, philosophy, theology, preaching and teaching has been much more emphasised than their contribution in the fields of history, hagiography and science, but in terms of surviving medieval manuscripts their work in these areas of study were as much read as in those other fields. Some of these works like the Golden Legend of Jacobus de Voragine and Vincent of Beauvais’ Speculum historiale were translated into several European vernacular languages thus reaching a wide lay audience. Martin of Troppau’s Chronicon pontificum et imperatorum was one of the most extensively read of medieval chronicles and survives in hundreds of manuscripts from all over Europe. Of particular note also are the scientific works of Albertus Magnus and his pupil, Thomas of Cantimpré, which also survive in many manuscripts. Thomas’s De natura rerum was translated into German, Dutch and part of it into French.

Image reproduced by kind permission of the Master and Fellows of Gonville and Caius College.