Thomas Aquinas

“Av_, peregr_n_ (Greetings, pilgrim)!” Allow me to introduce myself. Thomas, son of Count Landulf of Aquino, at your service. Most people call me Thomas Aquinas. My birthplace was the castle of Roccasecca in Italy. The youngest son of Count Landulf, I was born around the year 1225. Like many of you, I had a nickname. Mine was "the dumb ox." Apparently, some people thought I was portly. You know how it is.

When I was about five years old, my family placed me in the Benedictine monastery of Monte Cassino. An uncle of mine had been abbot there and my parents had ambitions for me in that direction. Being abbot of Monte Cassino was a pretty prestigious position in the medieval church.

As a teenager, around the year 1244, I got it into my head that I wanted to join the Dominicans, otherwise known as the Order of Preachers. You’ll hear more about that order later as you wander through this website. Anyway, around April 1244, my parents abducted me and imprisoned me in one of the family castles in an attempt to encourage me to remain with the Benedictines. But I was stubborn. Perhaps, being called a dumb ox had more to do with my will than with my size. I won and returned to the Dominicans in the summer of 1245. After that I went north to study in the novitiate until 1248. At that time, I came under the guidance of Albertus Magnus (Albert the Great). I stayed with him until 1252. During those years I became a priest.

As you travel through this website, you’ll hear more about me and my theological work, as well as about philosophy, science, heresy, and the structure of the university in the Middle Ages.