Bartholomew of Lucca
Bartholomew of Lucca also known as Tolomeo da Lucca or Ptolemy da Lucca (c. 1227 – c. 1327) was a medieval Italian
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...


Born in Lucca
Lucca is a city and comune in Tuscany, central Italy, situated on the river Serchio in a fertile plainnear the Tyrrhenian Sea. It is the capital city of the Province of Lucca...

, at an early age he entered the Dominican Order
Dominican Order
The Order of Preachers , after the 15th century more commonly known as the Dominican Order or Dominicans, is a Catholic religious order founded by Saint Dominic and approved by Pope Honorius III on 22 December 1216 in France...

. He was distinguished for piety, and his intense application to study, for which reasons he won the respect and warm friendship of St. Thomas Aquinas. He was not only his disciple, but also his confidant and confessor
-Confessor of the Faith:Its oldest use is to indicate a saint who has suffered persecution and torture for the faith, but not to the point of death. The term is still used in this way in the East. In Latin Christianity it has come to signify any saint, as well as those who have been declared...

. In 1272 he accompanied St. Thomas from Rome
Rome is the capital of Italy and the country's largest and most populated city and comune, with over 2.7 million residents in . The city is located in the central-western portion of the Italian Peninsula, on the Tiber River within the Lazio region of Italy.Rome's history spans two and a half...

 to Naples
Naples is a city in Southern Italy, situated on the country's west coast by the Gulf of Naples. Lying between two notable volcanic regions, Mount Vesuvius and the Phlegraean Fields, it is the capital of the region of Campania and of the province of Naples...

 where he still was in 1274, when the news of his master's death at Fossa Nuova reached him. He was elected prior of the convent of his native city in 1288. At Naples (1294), he took an active part in the public demonstration which was made to prevent Pope Celestine V
Pope Celestine V
Pope Saint Celestine V, born Pietro Angelerio , also known as Pietro da Morrone was elected pope in the year 1294, by the papal election of 1292–1294, the last non-conclave in the history of the Roman Catholic Church...

 from resigning.

In 1301 he was elected Prior of Santa Maria Novella at Florence
Florence is the capital city of the Italian region of Tuscany and of the province of Florence. It is the most populous city in Tuscany, with approximately 370,000 inhabitants, expanding to over 1.5 million in the metropolitan area....

. Later he removed to Avignon
Avignon is a French commune in southeastern France in the départment of the Vaucluse bordered by the left bank of the Rhône river. Of the 94,787 inhabitants of the city on 1 January 2010, 12 000 live in the ancient town centre surrounded by its medieval ramparts.Often referred to as the...

 where he was chaplain for nine years (1309–18) to Cardinal Patrasso, Bishop of Albano, and after the Cardinal's death in 1311 to his fellow-religious Cardinal William of Bayonne. Jacques Échard
Jacques Échard
Jacques Échard was a French Dominican and historian of the order.As the son of a wealthy official of the king he received a thorough classical and secular education. He entered the Dominican Order at Paris and distinguished himself for his assiduity in study...

 affirms that he was the close friend and often the confessor of John XXII, who appointed him Bishop of Torcello
Torcello is a quiet and sparsely populated island at the northern end of the Venetian Lagoon. It is considered the oldest continuously populated region of Venice, and once held the largest population of the Republic of Venice.-History:...

, March 15, 1318. A conflict with the Patriarch of Grado
Patriarch of Grado
This is a list of the Patriarchs of Grado . The patriarchate came into being when the schismatic Patriarch of Aquileia, Paulinus , moved to Grado in the mid 6th century. But in their reunion with Rome in 606, a rival office was set up in Old-Aquileia. Aquileia later entered communion with Rome but...

 concerning the appointment of an abbess of St. Anthony's at Torcello led to his excommunication
Excommunication is a religious censure used to deprive, suspend or limit membership in a religious community. The word means putting [someone] out of communion. In some religions, excommunication includes spiritual condemnation of the member or group...

 in 1321, and exile. In 1323 he made peace with the patriarch, returned to his see, and died there in 1327.


The best-known work of Bartholomew is his Annales (1061–1303), finished about 1307, wherein are recorded in terse sentences the chief events of this period. His Historia Ecclesiastica Nova in twenty-four books relates the history of the Church from the birth of Christ
Christ is the English term for the Greek meaning "the anointed one". It is a translation of the Hebrew , usually transliterated into English as Messiah or Mashiach...

 till 1294; considering as appendixes the lives of Pope Boniface VIII
Pope Boniface VIII
Pope Boniface VIII , born Benedetto Gaetani, was Pope of the Catholic Church from 1294 to 1303. Today, Boniface VIII is probably best remembered for his feuds with Dante, who placed him in the Eighth circle of Hell in his Divina Commedia, among the Simonists.- Biography :Gaetani was born in 1235 in...

, Pope Benedict XI
Pope Benedict XI
Blessed Pope Benedict XI , born Nicola Boccasini, was Pope from 1303 to 1304.Born in Treviso, he succeeded Pope Boniface VIII , but was unable to carry out his policies...

, and Pope Clement V
Pope Clement V
Pope Clement V, born Raymond Bertrand de Got was Pope from 1305 to his death...

, it reaches to 1314 (Muratori, loc. cit., XI, 751 sqq.; the life of Clement V is in Baluze, Vitae pap. Aven., 23 sqq.).

He also wrote a Historia Tripartita known only from his own references and citations. The Extract[us] de chronico Fr. Ptolomaei de Luca and the Excerpta ex chronicis Fr. Ptolomaei are no longer considered original works by separate authors, but are extracts from the Historia Ecclesiastica Nova by some unknown compiler who lived after the death of Bartholomew. He is also well known for his completion of the De Regimine Principum ("On the Government of Rulers"), which Aquinas had been unable to finish before his death. This was no small task, for the share of Bartholomew begins with the sixth chapter of the second book and includes the third and fourth books (vol. XVI, in the Parma, 1865, edition of St. Thomas). Though he does not follow the order of the saint, yet his treatment is clear and logical.

A work on the Hexaemeron
The term Hexameron refers either to the genre of theological treatise that describes God's work on the six days of creation or to the six days of creation themselves. Most often these theological works take the form of commentaries on Genesis 1...

by him was published by Masetti in 1880. With a few exceptions, the writings of Bartholomew have always been held in high esteem. He showed great care in verifying his statements. The lives of the Avignon popes
Avignon Papacy
The Avignon Papacy was the period from 1309 to 1376 during which seven Popes resided in Avignon, in modern-day France. This arose from the conflict between the Papacy and the French crown....

 were written from original documents under his hands and were controlled by the statements of eyewitnesses. His acceptance of fables now exploded, e.g. the Popess Joan
Pope Joan
Pope Joan is a legendary female Pope who, it is purported, reigned for a few years some time in the Middle Ages. The story first appeared in the writings of 13th-century chroniclers, and subsequently spread through Europe...

, must be attributed to the uncritical temper of his time.


  • Ptolemy of Lucca. On the Government of Rulers (De Regimine Principum). Tr. James M. Blythe. Philadelphia, 1997.

External links

Bartholomew of Lucca at the Catholic Encyclopedia
Catholic Encyclopedia
The Catholic Encyclopedia, also referred to as the Old Catholic Encyclopedia and the Original Catholic Encyclopedia, is an English-language encyclopedia published in the United States. The first volume appeared in March 1907 and the last three volumes appeared in 1912, followed by a master index...

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