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Lullus, Reymundus (1235-1312).

Practica compendiosa

Lyons, Impressum in edibus Joannis Moylin als de Cambray, 1523.

"Ramon, or Raymond, Lull was born on the island of Majorca. At first a Dominican he became a Fransiscan in 1295 and achieved a great reputation as an educator and Christian missionary, learning Arabic with the purpose of converting the Muslims. He travelled widely and was active in Rome, Paris and Montpellier, the latter city at that time belonging to Aragon. He headed three apostolic missions to Africa, where he was killed in 1316. Lull composed some 150 books, treatises and poems, writing on logic, theology, Christian apologetics, chivalry, education, physics, medicine and alchemy. His knowledge of medicine was superficial, and 'his writings on the subject are negligible, except as illustrations of his logical obsession'(Sarton). His reputation as an alchemist became very great after his death although, during his lifetime, he attacked the alchemy of his time and did not believe in the transmutation of metals. He has been credited with the discovery of 'sweet vitriol' (sulphuric ether) even though a search through his works reveals no description of thei discovery. In the years following his death, his reputation as a scholar and alchemist was very great, his fame equalling that of the other grear Catalan, Arnald of Villanova" (A History of Medicine, Major).

An early edition of the famous "Art" of the great Catalan mystic philosopher, a scheme of teaching which became famous as the "Lullian method" and was later revised and improved by Giordano Bruno. Lull set himself to construct a method which by mechanically presenting all predicates which could attach to any subject was adapted to answer any questions on any topic He gave himself up with the fervour of a divinely appointed missionary to the work of spreading his "great art" in every country.

There are sections on geometry, arithmetic, music, astrology, perspective, hunting, architecture, navigation, medicine, law, etc. The ninth book is on artificial memory.

The handsome woodcuts, mostly with bold decorative borders, include several representations of trees systematising branches of learning, four large astrological woodcuts, and two large anatomical woodcuts in a section on medicine extending to 30 leaves.

Lull, a native of Majorca learned Arabic in order to devote himself to the conversion of Saracens and thus doubtless imbibed Arabic scientific and philosophical ideas.

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