Francesc Eiximenis

Francesc Eiximenis

Francesc Eiximenis

Francesc Eiximenis
Native name Francesc Eiximenis
Born between 1330 and 1335 [1]
Died 1409
Education Oxford University
Occupation writer
Religion Franciscan[2]

Francesc Eiximenis (Catalan pronunciation: [fɾənˈsɛsk əʃiˈmɛnis]) (OFM) was a Franciscan Catalan writer who lived in the 14th-century Crown of Aragon. He was possibly one of the more successful medieval Catalan writers, since his works were widely read, copied, published and translated. Therefore, it can be said that both in the literary and in the political sphere he had a lot of influence. Among his readers were numbered important people of his time, such as the kings of the Crown of Aragon Peter IV, John I and Martin I, the queen Maria de Luna (wife of Martin I), and the Pope of Avignon Benedict XIII.


Francesc Eiximenis was born around 1330, possibly in Girona. When he was very young, he became a Franciscan and his education began in the Franciscan schools of Catalonia. Later, he attended the most important universities of Europe: the University of Oxford and the University of Paris. The University of Oxford influenced him notably, since the Franciscans had there an important school. Thus, several English Franciscans (and British authors in general) are the thinkers who most influenced Eiximenis most, such as Robert Grosseteste (whom Eiximenis calls Linconiensis, since he was bishop of Lincoln), John of Wales, Richard Kilvington, Alexander of Hales, Richard of Middleton, Thomas Bradwardine, William of Ockham, John Duns Scotus.

Title page of the incunable edition of the Regiment de la Cosa Pública (Valencia, Cristòfor Cofman, 1499). Francesc Eiximenis is on the right. He offers his book to the jurats of Valencia. On the left is the guardian angel of the city and kingdom of Valencia. The six Jurats de Valencia are kneeling in front of the Serrans gothic gate of the ancient wall of Valencia.

In 1371 there was an attempt to bring him to the University of Lleida as a teacher. But he lacked the title of Doctor in Theology (magister in sacra pagina), and so this attempt did not go further. Eiximenis acquired this title in 1374 at the University of Toulouse, with the financial help and support from the king Peter IV.

Eiximenis subsequently returned to Catalonia, where he was considered very intellectual. He was on good terms with the Court of the Crown Of Aragon and with the ruling social class of Barcelona and València. Most of his works were written in Valencia, where he stayed from 1382 to 1408. There he was consultant of the jurats (the city representatives) and of the Consell (ruling organ of the city).

In Valencia Eiximenis' activity, besides his literary tasks, was tireless. 1391 was a very difficult year for the city and kingdom of Valencia, since there were many social problems. Then Eiximenis organized a kind of "praying army" in some monasteries and convents around Valencia. In 1392 he and other people received the assignment of checking the Jewish books that were stolen during the 1391 Pogrom. At te end of 1397 he was member of a commission that should advise king Martin I about the Western Schism. In 1397 and 1398 he undertook the organization of two crusades of Valencians and Majorcans against the Muslim pirates of North Africa. In 1399 Eiximenis was also president of a commission that sought to unify all the schools of Valencia. The Consell (ruling organ of Valencia) rejected that in 1400, but this attempt was anyway a clear first step towards the University of Valencia, that was founded officially in 1499. The last years of Eiximenis in Valencia (1404–1408) were devoted to the foundation and endowment of the Franciscan convent of Sant Esperit (in Gilet, near Sagunto). This convent was founded by the queen Maria de Luna.

In 1408 Eiximenis took part in the Council of Perpignan. There the Pope of Avignon Benedict XIII appointed him first Patriarch of Jerusalem and later apostolic administrator (interim bishop) of the diocese of Elna (ancient name of the diocese of Perpignan).

Eiximenis died in Perpignan possibly 23 April 1409.


In Catalan

Eiximenis wrote the following works in Catalan:

In Latin

Eiximenis wrote the following works in Latin:

Two other books have been attributed to Eiximenis: the Cercapou, and the Doctrina compendiosa. The Doctrina Compendiosa shows however a very strong influence from Eiximenis' political theories. there was also an adaptation of Llibre de las Dones in Spanish, which was called Carro de las Donas.[6]

Eiximenis' works had much success in his time, as evidenced by more than 200 manuscripts of his works that have survived. Another example was the Psaltiri devotíssim [7](Translation into Catalan of 100 out of the 344 prayers of the Psalterium alias Laudatorium). The incunabulum edition of this book had 2000 copies, i.e. more than double both editions of the Tirant lo Blanc (Valencia 1490 and Barcelona 1497). It was the biggest incunabulum edition of the whole medieval Catalan literature.

There were also a lot of translations during the 15th and 16th centuries. The Llibre de les Dones was translated into Spanish. One of the Spanish translations was used for the education of the four daughters of the Catholic Monarchs. The Llibre dels Àngels had great international success and was translated into several languages: Spanish, Latin, French and even Flemish (it was possibly the only book from the medieval Catalan literature that was translated into that language). And the Vida de Jesucrist was translated into Spanish and French.

There are finally two other examples that show the international spreading of Eiximenis' works. First of all, the French translation of the Llibre dels Àngels was the first book that in 1478 was printed in Geneva. Secondly, the Spanish translation of the Vida de Jesucrist was the first book that was printed in Granada in 1496 after the conquest of the city by the Catholic Monarchs.

Unfortunately we have few modern editions of Eiximenis' works. Most of the modern editions of his works have been prepared by Curt Wittlin and by Albert Hauf.

Beginning of the Terç del Crestià in the manuscript 1792 from the National Library of Madrid. This manuscript has the chapters 1-523 from this book (which has 1060 chapters in total).


Obres de Francesc Eiximenis (OFE) - Complete Works of Francesc Eiximenis

Other editions


Digital editions of his works



Old editions

Modern editions and transcripts

Complete works


  2. Francesc Eiximenis. Catalan Culture Guide. Government of Catalonia.
  3. Wittlin, Curt. "Era Cristià Lo Crestià de Francesc Eiximenis? Història d'un error de Paleografia". Caplletra, 48. Spring 2010. 163-77.
  4. Hauf, Albert. “Eiximenis, Joan de Salisbury i Fr. Joan de Gal.les, OFM”. Miscel·lània Sanchis Guarner, I. Quaderns de Filologia. Universitat de València. 1984. 167-174.
  5. Hauf, Albert. «La huella de Ubertino de Casale en el preerasmismo hispánico: el caso de fray Francesc Eiximenis», Actes del X Congrés Internacional de l’Associació Hispànica de Literatura Medieval [Associació Hispànica de Literatura Medieval / IIFV, Universitat d’Alacant, 16/20 September 2003]. Alacant. IIFV. 2005. 93-135.
  6. There is this digital edition (Valladolid, Juan de Villaquigrán, 1542).
  7. There is this digital edition (Girona, Diego de Gumiel, 1495)

External links

Digital biographies

(Spanish) in Spanish, (English) in English, (French) in French and (Occitan) in Occitan

Digital articles about Eiximenis

Digital books about Eiximenis

This article is issued from Wikipedia - version of the 11/15/2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.