Michael Scotus

Michael Scotus a learned author of the 13th century, was born at Durham, England; or, as some assert, at Balweary, Scotland. He attended lectures at Oxford, and afterwards at Paris, and devoted himself to the study of mathematics and Oriental languages. Emperor Frederick II, who reigned at that time in Germany, was the most prominent protector of art and sciences, and Michael went to his court, studying medicine and chemistry. After a stay of several years in Germany, he returned to England, where he became a great favorite of king Edward II. He died in 1291, at a very advanced age. Michael Scotus was celebrated on account of his knowledge in secret arts and magic (comp. Dante, Inferno, 20:115-118). It is said that his books on magic were buried with him. He was also actively engaged in the translation of Aristotle, which was made by command of emperor Frederick II, and was afterwards printed at Venice in 1496: Aristotelis opera Latine versa, partime Graeco, partime Arabico, per vios lectos et in utriusque linguae prolatione peritos, jussu imperatoris Fridirici II. He probably translated the natural philosophy of Aristotle from the Arabic version of Avicenna. Michael is the author of De secretis naturae, sive de procreatione hominis et physiognomia, and of the Quaestio curiosa de natura solis et lunae," i.e., of gold and silver. He has also been considered the author of Mensa philosophica seu enchiridion, in quo de quaestionibus mensalibus et variis ac jucundis hominum congressibus agitur, which has been printed several times. This latter work, however, has been attributed, by some at least, to Theobald Anguilbertus, a learned Irishman, who lived about the year 1500 as doctor of medicine and philosophy at Paris. See Tennemann, Manual list. Philos. page 223; Wetzer u. Welte, Kirchen-Lexikon, s.v.

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