Ricold Of Monte Croce - Encyclopedia

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RICOLD OF MONTE CROCE (1242-1320), Italian Dominican missionary, was born at Monte Croce, near Florence. In 1267 he entered the Dominican house of Santa Maria Novella in Florence, and in 1272 that of St Catherine in Pisa. He started for Acre with a papal commission to preach in 1286 or 1287: in 1288 or 1289 he began to keep a record of his experiences in the Levant; this record he probably reduced to final book form in Bagdad. Entering Syria at Acre, he crossed Galilee to the Sea of Tiberias; thence returning to Acre he seems to have travelled down the coast to Jaffa, and so up to Jerusalem. After visiting the Jordan and the Dead Sea he quitted Palestine by the coast road, retracing his steps to Acre and passing on by Tripoli and Tortosa into Cilicia. From the Cilician port of Lajazzo he started on the great high road to Tabriz in north Persia. Crossing the Taurus he travelled on by Sivas of Cappadocia to Erzerum, the neighbourhood of Ararat and Tabriz. In and near Tabriz he preached for several months, after which he proceeded to Bagdad via Mosul and Tekrit. In Bagdad he stayed several years, studying the Koran and other works of Moslem theology, for controversial purposes, arguing with Nestorian Christians, and writing. In 1301 Ricold again appeared in Florence: some time after this he proposed to submit his Confutatio Alcorani to the pope, but did not. He died on the 31st of October 13 20. As a traveller and observer his merits are conspicuous. His account of the Tatars and his sketch of Moslem religion and manners are especially noteworthy. In spite of strong prejudice, he shows remarkable breadth of view and appreciation of merit in systems the most hostile to his own.

Of Ricold's Itinerary (Itinerarius [sic]) fifteen MSS. exist, of which the chief are: (I) Florence, Laurentian Library, Fineschi, 326; (2) Paris, National Library, Lat. 4955, fols. 46-55; (3) Wolfenbiittel, Cod. Weissenb. 40, fols. 73 B.-94 B. (all of 14th century). Of his Epistles there is one MS., viz. Rome, Vatican, 3717, fols. 249 A.- 267 A. The best edition of the Itinerary is by J. C. M. Laurent, in Peregrinatores Medii Aevi Quatuor, pp. 105 (IoI)-41 (Leipzig, 1864 and 1873). The Epistles have been edited by R. Rohricht in Archives de l'orient latin, vol. ii. part ii. (Documents) pp. 258-96 (Paris, 1884). The Confutatio Alcorani, printed at Seville in 1500, at Venice in 1607, adds hardly anything to the sections of the Itinerary devoted to Moslem belief, &c. Ricold's Libellus contra Nationes Orientales and Contra errores Judaeorum have never been printed. See also C. Raymond Beazley, Dawn of Modern Geography, iii. 190-202, 218, 39 0 -9 1, 547, 554, 564.

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