(SCOTT or SCOT)
A thirteenth century mathematician, philosopher, and scholar. He was born in Scotland, about the year 1175. The contention that he was an Irishman seems to be disposed of by the fact that when, in 1223, he was offered the Archbishopric of Cashel, he declined on the ground that he was ignorant of the Irish language. It is not clear whether "Scotus" indicates merely a native of Scotland, or one of the clan Scott, or Scot, which was very numerous in the Scottish lowlands. There is a tradition to the effect that he studied first at the cathedral school of Durham, and afterwards at the Universities of Oxford and Paris. At the last mentioned place he was known as "the mathematician", which implies that he studied in the Faculty of Arts . it is probable that he studied theology also. At any rate, he was beyond doubt a cleric. It seems likely that, on leaving Paris, he visited the University of Bologna, before repairing to Sicily, to the Court of Frederick II. This occurred about 1200. At Palermo, he joined the circle of learned men who surrounded the emperor; by some, indeed, he is said to have been elevated to the rank of imperial tutor, although the Manuscripts, as a rule, entitled him " astrologer to the Lord Emperor Frederick". In 1209 he went to Toledo, made the acquaintance of several distinguished Arabian scholars and wrote his "Abbreviatio Avicennæ", the Manuscript, of which bears the date 1210. He also took up the study of astronomy and alchemy, and translated from the Arabic several works on those subjects. That he was interested in the philosophy of the Arabians is evident from the fact that he translated several philosophical commentaries of Averroes.
After his return to Palermo, about 1220, Michael devoted special attention to the science and practice of medicine. He received several signs of pontifical as well as imperial favour. By Pope Honorius III he was offered several ecclesiastical benefices, among them being the Archbishopric of Cashel, in Ireland. He was also offered the Archbishopric of Canterbury both by Honorius in 1223, and by Gregory IX in 1227. In this case, however, it was the unwillingness of the local clergy and not that of the candidate himself that stood in the way of Michael's preferment. His disappointment is, according to his latest biographer, reflected in the gloomy "prophecies" which he composed about this time, and which were so well known during the Middle Ages. According to Roger Bacon, Michael visited Oxford "about the year 1230", bearing with him "certain books of Aristotle and commentaries of learned men concerning physics, and mathematics". The date of his death is uncertain; it is generally given as 1234. The legend which grew up around the name of Michael Scot was due to his extraordinary reputation as a scholar and an adept in the secret arts. He figures as a magician in Dante's "Inferno" in Boccaccio's "Decamerone", in local Italian and Scottish folk-lore, and in Sir Walter Scott's "Lay of the Last Minstrel". The most important of his original works are;
Besides the translations mentioned above, a Latin version of Aristotle's "Ethics" made from the Greek text is sometimes attributed to Michael Scot.
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 between 1907 and 1912 in fifteen hard copy volumes.
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