Bartholomeus Anglicus

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Bartholomeus Anglicus (Bartholomew of England) (born before 1203–died 1272)[1] was an early 13th-century scholastic scholar of Paris, a member of the Franciscan order. He was the author of the compendium De proprietatibus rerum ("On the Properties of Things"),[2] dated at 1240, an early forerunner of the encyclopedia. Anglicus also held senior positions within the church and was appointed Bishop of Łuków although he was not consecrated to that position.[3]

Early life[edit]

Little is known of his early life. Anglicus is believed to have been born around the turn of the 13th century, to unknown parents. The first record of him was in 1224 in Paris as a teacher, although he is believed to have studied at Oxford University.[3]


The work De proprietatibus rerum was written at the school of Magdeburg in Saxonia and intended for the use of students and the general public.[1] Bartholomew carefully notes the sources for the material included, although, at present, it is sometimes impossible to identify or locate some of them. His annotations give a good idea of the wide variety of works available to a medieval scholar.

The original Latin work was translated into French in 1372 and a number of manuscripts of the Latin and French versions survive. The work was later printed in numerous editions.

Stages of Life by Bartholomeus Anglicus (1486).

The work was organized in 19 books. The subjects of the books, in order, are God, angels (including demons), the human mind or soul, physiology, of ages (family and domestic life), medicine, the universe and celestial bodies, time, form and matter (elements), air and its forms, water and its forms, earth and its forms including geography, gems, minerals and metals, animals, and color, odor, taste and liquids.

Church positions[edit]

He was elected as Minister of Austria in 1247 and was then elected as Minister of Bohemia in 1255. This appointment included Poland where he resolved a dispute between Duke Boleslaw and the Cathedral Chapter at Kraków. Pope Alexander IV appointed him as Papal legate north of the Carpathians in 1256 and appointed him as the Bishop of Łuków. However, he was probably not consecrated in that position due to the Mongol invasion of Poland in 1259. Anglicus was appointed as Minister at Saxonia in 1262 and served in that position until his death in 1272.

He was at some point confused with Bartholomeus de Glanvilla, another Franciscan monk who lived a century later.[4]


  1. ^ a b Oxford Dictionary of National Biography "Bartholomaeus Anglicus"
  2. ^ "De proprietatib[us] rerum". Rakow Research Library Catalog. Corning Museum of Glass. Retrieved 17 April 2014. 
  3. ^ a b Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, "Bartholomaeus Anglicus"
  4. ^ Wikisource-logo.svg "Bartholomaeus Anglicus". Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. 1913. 

Further reading[edit]

  • John De Trevisa (1988). On the Properties of Things: John Trevisa's Translation of Bartholomaeus Anglicus, de Proprietatibus Rerum: A Critical Text. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-818530-8. 
  • Lynn Thorndike (1923). A History of Magic and Experimental Science: During the First Thirteen Centuries of Our Era, Volume II. Columbia University Press. pp. 401–435. ISBN 0-231-08795-0. 
  • Heinz Meyer (1988). "Bartholomäus Anglicus, `de proprietatibus rerum´. Selbstverständnis und Rezeption". Zeitschrift für deutsches Altertum (in German) 99: 237–274. 
  • Marek Tamm. Signes d’altérité. La représentation de la Baltique orientale dans le De proprietatibus rerum de Barthélemy l’Anglais (vers 1245). In: Frontiers in the Middle Ages. Proceedings of the Third European Congress of the FIDEM (Jyväskylä, June 2003). Ed. Outi Merisalo. Textes et etudes du moyen age 35. Turnhout-Louvain-la-Neuve: Brepols, 2006. P. 147—170.

External Links[edit]

  • De proprietatibus rerum, 20 June 1492 edition published by A. Koberger in Nuremberg, held by the Corning Museum of Glass. (Accessed 17 April 2014)