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Aymeric of Piacenza

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A learned Dominican, b. at Piacenza, Italy ; d. at Bologna, 19 August, 1327. Soon after his entrance into the Lombard province of the Dominican Order, he was sent (1262) to pursue his studies at Milan, where he formed a close friendship with Niccolo Boccasini, later pope under the name of Benedict XI (1303-04). After teaching philosophy and theology for twenty-four years he was elected Provincial of Greece. In this capacity he travelled to the Chapter General of Toulouse in May, 1304, where a successor to Bernard de Jusix was to be elected, but just before the first session renounced his office and vote, with the consent of the pope. That this act of humility was the cause of his election to the master generalship of the order is the unanimous verdict of all its chroniclers. His first care was to regulate studies in those provinces where the opposition of the Fraticelli to intellectual pursuits had been most felt. He definitely determined the qualifications for degrees in the order. Oriental languages were no less encouraged by him than natural sciences. In 1309 Clement IV enjoined on Aymeric who was on his way to the chapter of Saragossa in Spain, to examine into the charges brought against the Templars. He found little to complain of. In 1310 he was summoned to the Council of Vienne to take part in the process of the Templars. In the meantime, however, he resigned his office, and thus avoided the displeasure of Clement IV, whose policy he never heartily endorsed. At the same time, as he candidly avowed, he was saved from acting against the dictates of his conscience. He is the reputed author of a treatise against the heretics of his day, and of works on moral, dogmatic, and scholastic questions, none of which are known to be extant. Montfaucon (Diarium Italicum, xxvii) speaks of a curious present given by Aymeric to the convent of Bologna. It was the Pentateuch in Hebrew and learned Jews of the time declared that the manuscript had been written by Esdras. "Although this smacks of the fabulous", cautiously remarks Montfaucon". . . still it cannot be denied that the codex appears to have been old when given to Aymeric". As a man of letters Aymeric was in close touch with the learned men of his time. Pietro Crescenzio of Bologna completed his "De Re Rustica" at the repeated solicitations of Aymeric, by whom it was corrected before the author presented it to Charles II of Sicily. The letters of Aymeric are found in "Litterae Encyclicae Magistrorum Generalium Ord. Praed." (Ed. Reichert, Rome, 1900), which forms the fifth volume of the "Monumenta Hist. Fratr. Praed." (181-202).


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