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Ricaldo da Monte di Croce

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Born at Florence about 1243; d. there 31 October, 1320. After studying in various great European schools, he became a Dominican, 1267; was a professor in several convents of Tuscany (1272-99), made a pilgrimage to the Holy Land (1288), and then travelled for many years as a missionary in western Asia, having his chief headquarters at Bagdad. He returned to Florence before 1302, and was chosen to high offices in his order. His "Itinerarium" (written about 1288-91; published in the original Latin at Leipzig ; 1864; in Italian at Florence, 1793; in French at Paris, 1877) was intended as a guide-book for missionaries, and is an interesting description of the Oriental countries visited by him. The "Epistolæ de Perditione Acconis" are five letters in the form of lamentations over the fall of Ptolemais (written about 1292, published at Paris, 1884). Ricoldo's best known work is the "Contra Legem Sarracenorum", written at Bagdad, which has been very popular as a polemical source against Mohammedanism, and has been often edited (first published at Seville, 1500). The "Christianæ Fidei Confessio facta Sarracenis" (printed at Basle, 1543) is attributed to Ricoldo, and was probably written about the same time as the above mentioned works. Other works are: "Contra errores Judæorum" ( manuscript at Florence); "Libellus contra nationes orientales" ( manuscripts at Florence and Paris ); "Contra Sarracenos et Alcoranum" ( manuscript at Paris ); "De variis religionibus" ( manuscript at Turin ). Very probably the last three works were written after his return to Europe. Ricoldo is also known to have written two theological works--a defence of the doctrines of St. Thomas (in collaboration with John of Pistoia, about 1285) and a commentary on the "Libri sententiarum" (before 1288). Ricoldo began a translation of the Koran about 1290, but it is not known whether this work was completed.

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