Petrus de Dacia

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Dominican, Swedish author; b. probably Gotland Island, c. 1235; d. Visby, 1289. Of Petrus's early life nothing is known except that he entered the Dominican Order of the province of Dacia. Presumably he was educated in the Dominican monastery of Visby (founded 1228). In 1266 be was sent to the studium generale of the order in Cologne, and in 1269 he went to Paris, where he may have studied under thomas aquinas. Returning to Sweden in 1270, he became lector in the monastery of Skänninge; after a short time as prior of the Vüsterås monastery (127879), he was appointed lector in the monastery of Visby, becoming prior in 1284.

During his stay in Cologne, Petrus met the visionary virgin Christina of Stommeln, around whom had gathered a circle of followers. Petrus became one of her ardent admirers, and from Paris and later on from Sweden he carried on correspondence with her. Twice (1279,1287) he journeyed to Stommeln to see her, and before his last visit he had written a Latin biography of her, the Vita Christinae Stumbelensis, which he brought with him, along with Christina's letters to him. The whole correspondence, as well as Petrus's biography of Christina, was copied in a manuscript (Cod. Juliacensis ) that is now the chief source of knowledge of the idylle monacale, as E. renan named her. Petrus's writings reveal him as a master of elevated prose style, a scholar with profound theological insight and knowledge, and a sensitive and sometimes mystical mind.

Bibliography: h. schÜck, Vår Förste Författare (Stockholm 1916). Ny illustrerad svensk litteratur-historia, ed. e. n. tigerstedt, 5 v. (Stockholm 195558) 1:143150; bibliog. 380.

[t. d. olsen]