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A genesis of the Speculum Doctrinale

The genesis of the Speculum Doctrinale links to that of the Speculum Naturale and the Speculum Historiale. In 1245, Vincent of Beauvais sent the first part of the Speculum Historiale to King Louis IX. At that time, the Speculum Naturale in its first version was still under construction and contained a Naturale section, a Doctrinale section, and a Morale section. In the winter of 1245 to 1246, the first part of this Speculum Naturale in its Tournai (Na) version was released for copying.

Vincent of Beauvais was not satisfied with this first version and began a thorough revision of the Speculum Naturale. First, he separated the Doctrinale section and made it into its own Speculum Doctrinale. Vincent elaborated this speculum during the 1250s. It contains a detailed exposé on all the arts and sciences known in the 13th century.


The text breaks off in the discussion of theology, the last science in the series. This speculum thus remained in an unfinished state.

Image: Paris, Bibliothèque de la Sorbonne, 53, f° 1ro.

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