Dominican theologian, historian, humanist; b. Somerset, England, c. 1265; d. after 1334. The son of a justice in eyre, Sir Thomas Trevet (d. 1283), he entered the dominicans, studied at Oxford before 1300, and succeeded william of macclesfeld, OP, as regent master at the university (1303–07). His Quaestiones disputatae, Quodlibeta I–V, and commentary on Genesis and Exodus belong to this period. In 1307 the general chapter of his order at Strasbourg gave special commendation to these Biblical commentaries and the master general, Aymeric, urged him to complete his commentary on the Pentateuch. Later he wrote a commentary on Leviticus and sent it to Aymeric. Between 1307 and 1314 he lived in Paris, gathering material for his Annales sex regum Angliae (1135–1307), for his future Latin Historia, dedicated to Hugh of Angoulême, archdeacon of Canterbury, and for his last work, the Cronycles, written in Anglo-Norman (one version being dedicated to Princess Mary, sister of Edward II who was a nun of Amesbury Abbey). Returning to England, he resumed teaching at Oxford (1314–c. 1317) and developed a humanistic interest in the ancient classics. He commented on Seneca's Declamationes (Controversiae )—which he dedicated to John of Lenham, OP, confessor to Edward II (before 1314)—as well as on Boethius, Cicero, and Virgil. At the request of Nicholas of Prato, papal legate to England and dean of the College of Cardinals, he wrote a commentary on the Tragedies of Seneca; he was commissioned by Pope John XXII to write a commentary on Livy. He wrote also the earliest commentary on St. Augustine's De civitate Dei, later replaced in popularity and excellence by the work of his junior contemporary thomas waleys. In 1324 he was lector of the Dominican priory in London. He must still have been alive in 1334, since he mentions in the Anglo-Norman Cronycles that the reign of John XXII was 19 years.
Although not an original or speculative thinker, he was a pioneer in Biblical theology, historical accuracy, classical philology, and Christian humanism. His commentaries on Scripture revived Biblical studies in the Order of Preachers, and his interest in classical authors stimulated the renaissance of humanism in Europe. The popularity of his writings, which include approximately 30 works, is attested to by the more than 300 MSS that are extant.
Bibliography: Il commento di Nicola Trevet al Tieste di Seneca, ed. e. franceschini (Milan 1938). j. quÉtif and j. Échard, Scriptores Ordinis Praedicatorum (New York 1959) 1.2: 561–565. a. b. emden, A Biographical Record of the University of Oxford from A.D. 1500 (Oxford 1957–59) 3:1902–03. d. a. callus, Lexicon für Theologie und Kirche, ed. j. hofer and k. rahner (Freiburg 1957–65) 7:999–1000. p glorieux, La littérature quodlibétique (Kain 1925) 1:246–254. f. stegmÜller, Repertorium biblicum medii aevi (Madrid 1949–61) 4:6032–38. f. ehrle, "N.T., sein Leben seine Quodlibet und Quaestiones ordinariae, " Festgabe Clemens Baeumker, Beiträge zur Geschichte der Philosophie und Theologie de Mittelalters (1923) 1–63. r. j. dean, "Cultural Relations in the Middle Ages: N.T. and Nicholas of Prato," Studies in Philology 45 (1948) 541–564. b. smalley, English Friars and Antiquity in the Early 14th Century (New York 1961).
[j. a. weisheipl]