Article published in:Reinardus: Yearbook of the International Reynard Society
Edited by Baudouin Van den Abeele and Paul Wackers
[Reinardus 21] 2009
► pp. 158–172
The fish section in Engelbert of Admont’s Tractatus de naturis animalium (ca. 1250–1331)
Engelbert’s unedited work on animals is delivered to posterity in a limited number of manuscripts. The second part of the treatise that is discussed here closely follows the structure of Isidore of Seville’s encyclopaedia. In order to illustrate Engelbert’s work method and the emphasis of this part, the article focuses on the fourth category (de piscibus) which is an interesting section for a number of reasons. The main sources are specified and the text is compared to similar writings. Finally the edition of ten chapters out of 53 from this section completes the study. Born in Styria in the middle of the 13th century, Engelbert entered the Benedictine abbey of Admont as a teenager. Most facts of his life are related in his autobiographical letter written to his friend Ulric of Vienna. According to the letter he left the abbey for Prague in 1271, where he studied grammar and logic at the cathedral school. Political troubles caused by the election of Rudolph I for Roman king in October 1273, forced him to leave Bohemia one year later. Engelbert then returned to Admont for a short time; then decided to complete his education in Padua. There, he studied the liberal arts for five years (around 1276–1281) followed by theology for four more years at the Dominican monastery of St. Augustine. He then returned to Admont before being elected abbot of St. Peter in Salzbourg. He remained the head of the mother abbey of Admont for eleven years. In 1297, the abbot of Admont, Henri II, was murdered and Engelbert was chosen to replace him. He ruled the abbey for 30 years until 1327, when he resigned and retired. Four years later he died.
Published online: 17 December 2009