Who was Ramon Llull?
To start speaking about this illustrious Majorcan philosopher, we can say that he was the son of Ramón Llull and Isabel de Erill. He was born in the city of Majorca in 1232. His father was a page to King James I, the Conqueror, who arrived in Majorca in 1212 when he conquered the islands leading his Catalonian troops. His father was also a tutor to Prince Jaume, the future King of Majorca. In his youth he served as butler to the Royal family and lived a happy and sometimes wild life in the courts because he came from quite a well-to-do Majorcan family of the times.
In 1257 he married Blanca de Picany who he had two children with, Domènec and Magdalena. When he was in his early thirties he had four visions of Christ on the cross. Among these, he used to speak about the time that he had arranged a meeting with one of his lovers in Santa Eulalia square in Palma and on his arrival he felt an urgent need to go into the church of the same name and pray; from that moment on Ramon Llull dedicated his whole life to studying and religious contemplation, his whole life changed drastically. He felt that he had been called by God. He gave up the good life and dedicated himself to converting non-believers by persuasion, writing books and by asking the local authorities to found monasteries. Today, Ramon Llull is considered to be one of the greatest philosophers of the XIII century.
He went on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land (1265) where he was taught Arabic by a Moorish slave. He studied Latin, Muslim philosophy and ancient Christian philosophy and theology. In 1276, with all this knowledge he was able to found the Miramar monastery (a must see for tourists) in the beautiful Tramuntana mountain range where he taught Arabic as well as the way to convince Muslims to the missionaries.
He travelled to several European (Germany, France, Italy, etc.) and Northern African countries (Algeria, Ceuta, Tunisia, Jerusalem, Egypt, etc.). He visited philosophers, popes and Kings and he explained his thoughts at the Paris University. He died in 1325 on his way back from a trip to Tunisia. His body was buried in the Saint Francis church in the island capital.
He wrote more than 250 books about philosophy (Ars Magna), science (Arbre de la sciència, Tractat d'astronomia), education (Blanquerna, which includes el Llibre de Amic e Amat), mysticism (Llibre de contemplació), grammar (Retòrica nova), novels (Llibre de les marevelles which includes the well known book of the beasts), etc., all of which were translated to Arabic, Catalonian and Latin.
Ramon Llull (Majorca, 1232-1316) wrote more than three hundred works in Catalonian, Latin and Arabic (So far no manuscripts at all have been found in this language). He is also considered to be the first author to have used Catalonian rather than Latin in his literary prose as a normal form of communication and as a useful instrument in cultural expression. Ramon Llull managed to overcome the linguistic situation of the times that favoured the use of Latin and Provençal in philosophic and literary texts.
Ramón Lull is called «Arabicus christianus» or also «Doctor inspiratus». Llull’s ideal was always the unity of mankind and that is what he mentioned in:
‘When I was older and perceived the vanity of the world, I started to do wrong things and fell into sin, forgetting our glorious father and pursued carnal passion. I implore Jesus Christ in his compassion to show himself unto me on the cross five times over, so as to remind me of him and for me to love him’.
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