The Life and Works of Roger Bacon (Rogerus Baco)June 27, 2021
Rogerus Baco, or better known as Roger Bacon, is often confused with Francis Bacon, a 17th century thinker (1561-1626). Both philosophers had a philosophy that prioritized knowledge derived from experience.
What we know about the life of Rogerus Baco, who lived long before Francis Bacon, is based on some conflicting information. The traditionally accepted date of birth is 1214. Some sources suggest that Baco was born in 1220. He was born in Ilchester, present-day England. He studied at Oxford University between 1228-1236, then went to France and took courses at the University of Paris between 1237-1247. During his stay in Paris, he gave lectures on Aristotle’s natural philosophy and became the first teacher to teach in this field at the University of Paris.
The issue of when the university emerged in the modern sense has always created controversy, but we know that the official foundation date of the University of Oxford, where Baco was educated, was 1215. In the early years of the University of Paris, which was also a thirteenth century educational achievement, there were faculties of Art, Theology, Law and Medicine. Every university in Europe had a specialization in a certain field.
After a long period in Paris, he returned to Oxford and taught between 1247 and 1250. During this period, he was especially influenced by the works of Robertus Grossetesta and continued to pursue his studies intensively in the scientific field. Rogerus Baco joined the Franciscan order in 1257. The end date of Opus Majus, one of his most important works, is 1267 and this work is the Pope of that period, IV. presented to Clementus. The work was perceived at that time as a great hope for reform studies on the education of the Christian religion.
Robertus Grossetesta (1168-1235) is an important thinker who was educated in Oxford and Paris and served as the first rector of Oxford. Influenced by Franciscan thought. Oxford, through his work, became an important center dealing with the sciences especially in the Quadrivium of Septem Artes Liberales (Seven Free Sciences). Grossetesta has important works especially in the field of optics.
However, in 1277, the leaders of the Franciscan order, in which Rogerus Baco was a member, accused him of teaching new ideas that could be considered dangerous. Rogerus Baco, who was accused especially of his work in the field of astrology, was imprisoned until 1292. He died in the same year. Rogerus Baco had a very interesting personality in the Middle Ages. He was never under the influence of the Church Fathers. The idea of absolute obedience to authority was something he disliked. While not reflecting his past in his works; Through his independent experimental research, he opened a serious door for the future of science. He was a pioneer of Thomas Aquinas with the Aristotle lectures he gave at the University of Paris. It would not be an exaggeration to say that Aquinas was influenced by him in some matters, even though they were from different sects with him.
There are, of course, many factors in the emergence of Rogerus Baco’s works. Some of these factors are very important. One of the names that positively influenced Baco’s thoughts was the famous Islamic philosopher Ibn al-Haytham (d. 1041). Ibn al-Haytham, who was influenced by Kindi, who is considered to be the first Islamic philosopher who made the transition from theology to philosophy, is a name that influenced Rogerus Baco through his optical studies. Another name that influenced Baco is the pseudo-Aristotle, who is believed to have penned the work Secretum Secretorum. He was also influenced by Baco, Aristotle and Seneca, and gained a well-deserved reputation with his lectures on Aristotle’s Meteora and Seneca’s Quaestiones Naturales (Questions Concerning Nature). His work entitled De Multiplicatione Specierum (About the Multiplicity of Species) is an important work in the field of natural philosophy. Perspectiva, which is also one of Baco’s scientific-based studies, is about perception and vision. We can list Rogerus Baco’s other works as follows: Opus Maius (Great Work), Opus Minus (Small Work), Opus Tertium (Third Work), Communia Naturalium (Partnership of Nature), Communia Mathematica (Partnership of Mathematics), Summulae Dialectices (Above Logic). Narration), Geometria Speculativa (Speculative Geometry), Compendium Studii Philosophiae (Concise Information on Philosophical Studies), and Compendium Studii Theologiae (Consistent Information on Theological Studies). Rogerus Baco died before he could complete this last work.
Rogerus Baco’s works on medicine, astrology and optics made him famous in the seventeenth century. Perspectiva, one of the above-mentioned works, was published in Frankfurt in 1614. His most important work, Opus Majus, was first published in its entirety in London in 1733 (Hackett, 1983: 618).