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William of Tripoli


Dominican missionary and author; b. Tripoli? (modern Tarabulus, Lebanon), c. 1220; d. after 1273. Ordained at Acre, he converted many Muslims by preaching "without benefit of arms or philosophical argument." He may have accompanied andrew of longjumeau on an embassy from (St.) louis ix to the Mongol Khan (124951), and certainly represented Urban IV before Louis IX, the archbishop of Tyre, and the Count of Haifa. Gregory X, before leaving Acre for Rome, named him and Nicholas of Vicenza as his representatives with the Polos on their journey to China (127195); but the two left the embassy in Cilicia, on news of Sultan Baybars' attack on Armenia, to seek safety with the templars in Acre. William's objective Tractatus de statu Saracenorum et de Mahumeti pseudopropheta [ed. H. Prutz, Kulturgeschichte der Kreuzzüge (1883) 575598], done in 1273 at the request of Gregory X, depends on several Arabic sources, on Eastern chronicles through william of tyre, and on his personal experience, which was unique in his day. It deals with Muhammad, the spread of Islam, and the Islamic doctrine and law as expounded in the Quran.

Bibliography: j. quÉtif and j. Échard, Scriptores Ordinis Praedicatorum (New York 1959) 1.1:264265. u. monneret de villard, Lo studio dell'Islam in Europa nel XII e nel XIII secolo (Vatican City 1944). m. voerzio, "Fra Guglielmo da Tripoli orientalista domenicano," Memorie Domenicane 71 (1954) 73113, 141170, 209250; 72 (1955) 127148. a. duval, Catholicisme 5:407408.

[j. f. hinnebusch]

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