Latin Sources of Brunetto Latini's World History

Francis J. Carmody

Speculum, 11:3 (July), 1936, 359-370

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"Originality or artistry in an encyclopaedia are likely to defeat the purpose of science, which seeks accuracy, simplicity, and convenience. These last virtues are those of Vincent's Speculum Naturale and of Brunetto Latini's Tresor (1268 A.D.), at least in accordance with thirteenth-century standards. ... Li Tresors did not seek out controversial points, it desired merely to vulgarize as much and as varied knowledge as possible. Nevertheless, Li Tresors was carefully composed and based on standard source materials. Latini was a capable scholar, and his epitome is concise, clear, and not too detailed for the ordinary reader. He was not bound to reproduce his sources literally, so he added personal ideas and recollections from other reading, though never distorting the facts. Sermonizing and moralizing, whose bad effects are evident in the Image du Monde, do not find any place whatsoever in Latini's encyclopaedia. Latini's method of compilation is evident from a study of his sources. He had before him, at one time or another, a number of standard works; from these he made notes on special topics, such as the history of a certain country, limiting himself naturally to a single sufficient source for a given chapter. Thus it is that several sections have been derived in full from a single source, which may have been completely put aside in later pages. Other chapters, however, seemed insufficient as prepared from a single source, so Latini added further details from other works." - Carmody

Language: English


Last update December 6, 2021