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Ramon Llull's autograph letter (1297-1316)

Attributed autograph of Ramon Llull (ACA, Colecciones, Autógrafos, II-A-2(a))

His Life

Writer, philosopher, mystic, theologian, missionary, proponent, creator of literary Catalan, inventor, kabbalist, scientist, alchemist, polyglot, seneschal, steward, libertine, adulterer, Doctor Illuminatus. The list of dimensions to Ramon Llull’s life and work is as extensive as his writings. Blanquerna, Llibre de contemplació en Déu (Book of Contemplation of God), Llibre de meravelles (Book of Marvels), Tractatus novus d astronomia, Llibre del Gentil y els Tres Savis (Book of the Gentile and the Three Wise Men), The Book of the Order of Chivalry, Cent noms de Déu (One Hundred Names of God), Lo Desconhort (On the Superiority of Reason), Arbre de filosofia d'amor (Tree of the Philosophy of Love), Cant de Ramon (Song of Ramon), Liber reprobationis aliquorum errorum Averrois… there are two hundred and forty-three of them that have been conserved.

Born to a family originally from Barcelona in 1232 on the island of Majorca, which had recently been conquered by James I of Aragon, Llull spent his youth at the Aragonese court, in the service of Prince James, the future James II of Majorca, as a page, tutor, seneschal and finally a steward or butler. In 1267, now in his thirties, he turned his back on courtly life to acquire an education in theology, languages and philosophy. In 1274 he began his evangelistic work to Christianise Muslims and Jews, embarking on a number of journeys to every corner of the Mediterranean and starting on his vast written work. In 1286 he was appointed magister (Master) by the University of Paris. In 1295, he entered the Franciscan Order. He took part in the Council of Vienne (1311-1312) that was called by the Pope of Avignon to formally end the Order of the Knights Templar. He died in 1316 returning to Majorca from Tunisia.

His Travels

Ramon Llull travelled around Europe and the southern and Eastern coastlines of the Mediterranean, driven by his twofold purpose of teaching and evangelizing. As far as we know, he visited Paris, Rome, Barcelona, Genoa, Montpellier, Perpignan, Lyon, Majorca, Naples, Avignon, Marseille, Cyprus, Messina, Vienne and Compostela among other places in Europe and Tunisia, Jerusalem and Malta.

His Autograph

The Archives of the Crown of Aragon conserves various documents relating to the life, work and legacy of Ramon Llull, including the handwritten letter attributed to him that we present here, several manuscripts of his writings and licences and appointments relating to the teaching of his doctrine over the centuries.

In his letter to King James II of Aragon Llull informs him that he is sending him his work De Proverbis (Book of Proverbs) through Pere d’Oliveres and he suggests that the intellectual subtleties that it contains should serve the princes as part of their education and preparation for rule. He also tells him that he intends to remain in Avignon with the Pope and asks for funds to cover the expense of his stay. Salto de línea

Licence for teaching the Llullian doctrine 1399 (ACA, Generalidad, Pergaminos, 297) Pulse para ampliar
Tratado del arte de bien morir (Treaty on the art of good death), 15th-century manuscript (ACA, Colecciones, Manuscritos, Ripoll, 159) Pulse para ampliar
Documents on Ramon Llull’s beatification, 16th to 19th Centuries Pulse para ampliar