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Vita coetanea

The universities and the scholasticismLlull dictated the Vita coetanea, probably around September 1311, to a monk from the charterhouse of Vauvert, situated in Paris, outside the city walls where the Jardins du Luxembourg now stand. The first redaction was in Latin because the work was conceived as a way of presenting Ramon to the Church’s general council, held that year in the city of Vienne on the Rhône river, south of Lyon. The Catalan translation was by a disciple from the end of the 14th century and introduced a number of changes. The Vita coetanea was a well-argued justification of the life, work, and character of ‘Ramon’ lacking in literary embellishment: from the time of his conversion to that of his journey to the council there is a perfect distribution of verve and action which present Llull as a being guided at all moments by a higher will. The pilgrimages, the stays in Montpellier, Paris and Rome, the diplomatic steps and the missionary journies follow the chronological thread, though all are centred on the culminating moment of the text, namely the discourse spoken by Ramon before the King of Tunis, in 1293: the demonstration of the truth of Christianity by means of the Art.

Thomas Le Myésier, a disciple of Llull’s who was physician to the French court, produced an illustrated version of the Vita coetanea containing twelve magnificent miniatures preserved in a codex called the Breviculum, now at the Badische Landesbibliothek at Karlsruhe (Germany).

See: Anthony Bonner and Lola Badia, Ramon Llull. Vida, pensament i obra literària (Barcelona: Empúries, 1988), pp. 11-54 and 158; Raimundi Lulli, Breviculum seu electorium parvum Thomae Migerii, Charles Lohr-Theodor Pindl-Büchel-Walburga Büchel, eds. (Turnhout: Brepols, 1990 = Corpus Christianorum Medievalis, 77).