Ramon Llull

Ramon Llull
Ramon Llull
Born Palma de Mallorca in 1232. Writer, philosopher, mystic and missionary, his father, a member of the Barcelona nobility, was one of the settlers who came to Mallorca with King Jaume I after his conquest of the Island. Little is known of the first thirty or so years of his life apart from the fact that he played his part in court life and that he wrote troubadour-style poetry, although this has been lost.

In 1257 he married Blanca Picany, and they had two children, Domínec and Magdalena. At that time he was administering the princely household of the future King Jaume II. Describing this period, some years later, he wrote, "I was a married man with children, rather rich, dissolute and worldly. "

One night while he was composing some amorous verse, he had a vision of Christ crucified. It was to be repeated for four successive nights and he interpreted it as a clear signal called to serve God. His vows were threefold; to convert the infidel (followers of Islam, in the main), to write books showing them the error of their ways and thirdly, to persuade the king and the Pope to build monasteries to teach would-be missionaries the language of the infidels.

He disposed of his possessions, having given a small part to his wife and children, and started a new life which was to involve pilgrimages and journeys all over Europe and North Africa where he did indeed meet kings and Popes. He studied Arabic, philosophy, theology, law and science -medicine in particular.

His first known work Compéndi de la lógica d'Algazatell was written in Arabic and he then translated it into Latin and Catalan. Many of his later works were first written in Catalan, at a time when Latin was considered to be the only literary and scholarly language. He then went on to write some 243 more books.

His most well-known novel El Blanquerna is a reflection on the several stages in the life of a man - Blanquerna - family life, friar, abbot, bishop, Pope and hermit, and provides a very interesting view of daily life and the problems of Christianity in the 13th century.

He died in Mallorca (or in Tunisia or on the return voyage from Tunisia) in 1316 and is buried in the Basilica de Sant Francesc in Palma de Mallorca. His tomb was opened on 22nd April 1985 to authenticate the remains.

The three doctors saw the skeleton of a not very muscular man, tall but not heavy with a prominent nose, and abundant hair. Although he had suffered from arthrosis, he had enjoyed good health. He was still wearing a simple denture. Lesions on his head from when he had been stoned in North Africa were not the cause of his death which was the result of the natural causes of old age.

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