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C.D. Warner, et al., comp.
The Library of the World’s Best Literature. An Anthology in Thirty Volumes. 1917.

Roger Bacon (1214?–1294)

Bacon, Roger. An English philosopher, one of the greatest mediæval scholars. He was born of good family in Somersetshire, about 1214; died about 1294. He studied at Oxford, taking orders there 1233: proceeded to Paris, returned, and entered the Franciscan Order, 1250. His discoveries in chemistry and physics brought upon him accusations of magic, and he was imprisoned at Paris, 1257. At the request of Pope Clement IV. in 1265 he drew up his ‘Opus Majus.’ He gained his liberty a little later, but suffered a further imprisonment of ten years under Nicholas II., and was not finally liberated till 1292, two years before his death. He was learned in several languages and wrote elegant Latin. His wide knowledge gained for him the name of Doctor Admirabilis. His chief work, the ‘Opus Majus,’ shows great learning and remarkably advanced thinking; it was followed by ‘Opus Minus’ (a summary) and ‘Opus Tertium’ (a preamble). He treats of the unity of the sciences, of the necessity of a true linguistic science for the understanding either of philosophy, science, or the Scriptures; he treats also of mathematics, as “the alphabet of philosophy,” and of geography and astronomy as related thereto, of perspective, and of experimental science, foreshadowing the inductive method. The portion relating to geography was read by Columbus, who was strongly influenced by it.