Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

Priest and encyclopedist. Little is known of his personal history. The years of his birth and death are uncertain, the dates frequently assigned being 1190 and 1264 respectively. It is thought that Vincent joined the Dominicans in Paris shortly after 1218; with the exception of visits to Louis IX at Royaumont, he spent all his religious life in the monastery at Beauvais. A man of industry, Vincent undertook a systematic and comprehensive treatment of all branches of human knowledge. In the preparation of this colossal work, he was helped in the purchase of books by his royal patron Louis IX. The general title of Vincent's work is "Speculum majus". The first part, "Speculum naturale", contains thirty-two books and 3718 chapters, and treats of theology, psychology, physiology, cosmography, physics, botany, zoology, mineralogy, agriculture. Book IX, chap. 40, contains an early reference to the use of the magnet for the purpose of navigation. The edition of the "Speculum naturale" in the Wheeler collection in the Library of the American Institute of Electrical Engineers (New York) was printed in Strasburg, probably in the year 1468. It is in two royal folio volumes containing 694 double column pages of 66 lines to the column. Like other incunabula , it was published without title-page, folio-number or printer's imprint. The second part, "Speculum doctrinale", in seventeen books and 2374 chapters, treats of logic, rhetoric, poetry, geometry, astronomy, instincts, passions, education, industrial and mechanical arts, anatomy, surgery, medicine, jurisprudence, and administration of justice. The third part, "Speculum historiale", in thirty-one books and 3793 chapters, brings the history of the world to A.D. 1250. A fourth part, "Speculum morale", appears in some additions, but its authenticity is questioned, Daunou (1761- 1840) affirming that it cannot be attributed to Vincent. The "Speculum majus" contains 80 books, divided into 9885 chapters, figures which give some idea of the magnitude of the work accomplished by the Dominican Friar in the first half of the thirteenth century. Other works of Vincent of Beauvais are: "De eruditione filiorum regalium"; "Tractatus consolatorius de morte amici", addressed to St. Louis on the death of one of his sons in 1260.


More Encyclopedia

The Catholic Encyclopedia is the most comprehensive resource on Catholic teaching, history, and information ever gathered in all of human history. This easy-to-search online version was originally printed in fifteen hardcopy volumes.

Catholic Encyclopedia

Designed to present its readers with the full body of Catholic teaching, the Encyclopedia contains not only precise statements of what the Church has defined, but also an impartial record of different views of acknowledged authority on all disputed questions, national, political or factional. In the determination of the truth the most recent and acknowledged scientific methods are employed, and the results of the latest research in theology, philosophy, history, apologetics, archaeology, and other sciences are given careful consideration.

No one who is interested in human history, past and present, can ignore the Catholic Church, either as an institution which has been the central figure in the civilized world for nearly two thousand years, decisively affecting its destinies, religious, literary, scientific, social and political, or as an existing power whose influence and activity extend to every part of the globe. In the past century the Church has grown both extensively and intensively among English-speaking peoples. Their living interests demand that they should have the means of informing themselves about this vast institution, which, whether they are Catholics or not, affects their fortunes and their destiny.

Copyright © Catholic Encyclopedia. Robert Appleton Company New York, NY. Volume 1: 1907; Volume 2: 1907; Volume 3: 1908; Volume 4: 1908; Volume 5: 1909; Volume 6: 1909; Volume 7: 1910; Volume 8: 1910; Volume 9: 1910; Volume 10: 1911; Volume 11: - 1911; Volume 12: - 1911; Volume 13: - 1912; Volume 14: 1912; Volume 15: 1912

Catholic Online Catholic Encyclopedia Digital version Compiled and Copyright © Catholic Online

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Ephesians 6:10-20
10 Finally, grow strong in the Lord, with the ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 144:1, 2, 9-10
1 [Of David] Blessed be Yahweh, my rock, who trains ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 13:31-35
31 Just at this time some Pharisees came up. 'Go ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for October 30th, 2014 Image

St. Alphonsus Rodriguez
October 30: Confessor and Jay brother, also called Alonso. He was born in ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter