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JORDANUS (JORDAN CATALANI) (ft. 1321–...

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Originally appearing in Volume V15, Page 513 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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JORDANUS (JORDAN CATALANI) (ft. 1321–1330), French Dominican missionary and explorer in Asia, was perhaps born at Severac in Aveyron, north-east of Toulouse. In 1302 he may have accompanied the famous Thomas of Tolentino, via Negropont, to the East; but it is only in 1321 that we definitely discover him in western India, in the company of the same Thomas and certain other Franciscan missionaries on their way to China. Ill-luck detained them at Tana in Salsette island, near Bombay; and here Jordanus' companions (" the four martyrs of Tana ") fell victims to Moslem fanaticism (April 7, 1321). Jordanus, escaping, worked some time at Baruch in Gujarat, near the Nerbudda estuary, and at Suali (?) near Surat; to his fellow-Dominicans in north Persia he wrote two letters —the first from Gogo in Gujarat (October 12, 1321), the second from Tana (January 24, 1323/4)—describing the progress of this new mission. From these letters we learn that Roman attention had already been directed, not only to the Bombay region, but also to the extreme south of the Indian peninsula, especially to " Columbum," Quilon, or Kulam in Travancore; Jordanus' words may imply that he had already started a mission there before October 1321. From Catholic traders he had learnt that Ethiopia (i.e. Abyssinia and Nubia) was accessible to Western Europeans; at this very time, as we know from other sources, the earliest Latin missionaries penetrated thither. Finally, the Epistles of Jordanus, like the con-temporary Secreta of Marino Sanuto (1306-1321), urge the pope to establish a Christian fleet upon the Indian seas. Jordanus, between 1324 and 1328 (if not earlier), probably visited Kulam and selected it as the best centre for his future work; it would also appear that he revisited Europe about 1328, passing through Persia, and perhaps touching at the great Crimean port of Soidaia or Sudak. He was appointed a bishop in 1328 and nominated by Pope John XXII. to the see of .Columbum in 1330. Together with the new bishop of Samarkand, Thomas of Mancasola, Jordanus was commissioned to take the pall to John de Cora, archbishop of Sultaniyah in Persia, within whose province Kulam was reckoned; he was also commended to the Christians of south India, both east and west of Cape Comorin, by Pope John. Either before going out to Malabar as bishop, or during a later visit to the west, Jordanus probably wrote his Mirabilia, which from internal evidence can only be fixed within the period 1329 1338; in this work he furnished the best account of Indian regions, products, climate, manners, customs, fauna and flora given by any European in the Middle Ages—superior even to Marco Polo's. In his triple division of the Indies, India Major extant before 1529) and amounted to over 200 in number. His magnum opus was 'T Wonder Boeck (n.d. 1542, divided into two parts; 1551, handsomely reprinted, divided into four parts; both editions anonymous). Its chief claim to recognition is its use, in the latter part, of the phrase Restitutio Christi, which apparently suggested to Servetus his title Christianismi Restitutio (1553). In the 1st edition is a figure of the " new man," signed with the author's monogram, and probably drawn as a likeness of himself; it fairly corresponds with the alleged portrait, engraved in 1607, reproduced in the appendix to A. Ross's Pansebeia (1655), and idealized by P. Burckhardt in 1900. Another work, Verklaringe der Scheppenissen (1553) treats mystically the book of Genesis, a favourite theme with Boehme, Swedenborg and others. His remaining writings exhibit all that easy dribble of triumph-ant muddiness which disciples take as depth. His wife died on the 22nd of August, and his own death followed on the 25th of August 1556. He was buried, with all religious honours, in the church of St Leonard, Basel. Three years later, Nicolas Blesdijk, who had married his eldest daughter Jannecke (Susanna), but had lost confidence in Jorisz some time before his death, denounced the dead man to the authorities of Basel. An investigation was begun in March 1559, and as the result of a conviction for heresy the exhumed body of Jorisz was burned, together with his portrait, on the 13th of May 1559. Blesdijk's Historia (not printed till 1642) accuses Jorisz of having plures uxores. Of this there is no confirmation. Theoretically Jorisz regarded polygamy as lawful; there is.no proof that his theory affected his own practice. The first attempt at a true account of Jorisz was by Gottfried Arnold, in his anonymous Historia (1713), pursued with much fuller material in his Kirchen and Ketzer Historie (best ed. 1740—1742). See also F. Nippold, in Zeitschrift fur die historische Theologie (1863, 1864, 1868) ; A. van der Linde, in Allgemeine Deutsche Biographie (1881) ; P. Burckhardt, Basler Biographien (1900) ; Hegler, in Hauck's Realencyklopadie (1901), and the bibliography by A. van der Linde, 1867, supplemented by E. Weller, 1869. (A. Go.*)
End of Article: JORDANUS (JORDAN CATALANI) (ft. 1321–1330)
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