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Vincent of Beauvais

speculum mirror history concerning

The major work of the French Dominican scholar Vincent of Beauvais (c.1190–c.1264) was the massive and influential encyclopedia: the Speculum maius , which he composed between 1244 and 1260, with support from the French king *Louis IX. Drawing from over 400 sources, Vincent arranged the encyclopedia in three parts: the Speculum naturale (Mirror of Nature) dealing with natural history and *God’s *Creation, the Speculum historiale (Mirror of History) concerning the history of humankind from Creation  , and the Speculum doctrinale (Mirror of Instruction) concerning the arts and sciences. The Speculum morale (Mirror of Morals) , largely derived from the writings of Saint *Thomas Aquinas, was added by an anonymous author c.1310–1315. The Speculum maius was frequently copied—whole or in sections—summarized and excerpted. Translations (into several languages) were frequently illustrated, especially for aristocratic patrons. Vincent authored several other works, including a treatise on the education of royal children and a text concerning the *virtues and duties of rulers, but the encyclopedia takes prominence as a comprehensive source of medieval knowledge, thought, and typological method.
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