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Ramon Llull

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Ramón Llull – a beatified theologian, philosopher, scientist and writer, is one of the most universal figures in the history of Majorca.

He was born in 1232 in what is today the city of Palma, shortly after the Catalan-Aragonese conquest of the island in 1229, during the reign of King James I. The son of a noble family from Barcelona, he was involved in court life due to his role as tutor to King James II, son of James I the Conqueror. He married and had 2 children.

Aged around 30, he had a religious epiphany in the form of 5 visions of Christ crucified that would change the course of his life. He abandoned his family and worldly life, vowing to dedicate his life to religion. He went on to conceive the ARS, a logical combining system intended to prove that Christianity was the only true faith.

From 1263 onward he embarked on a period of self-study, acquiring a knowledge of philosophy, theology and science. He also learnt Arabic, thanks to the help of a Muslim slave. Ramón Llull believed that the message and its understanding were the keys to conversion. In 1276 he founded a school of oriental languages on Majorca (Miramar) in order to instruct missionaries in the art of converting Muslims to Christianity.

Filled with relentless determination and will, he visited many European cities including Montpelier, Marseilles, Paris, Geneva, Rome and Naples, and also travelled extensively throughout the Near East and North Africa.

At the time Majorca was a melting pot of three cultures: Christian, Arabic and Jewish. Llull is believed to have written some 265 works written in Latin, Catalan and Arabic. During the initial phase of his life and up until his mystic conversion, his writings were based mainly on the theme of love and the picaresque tradition, although he would later focus on philosophical works.

He died at the age of 84, possibly at sea on a boating bringing him home from Tunisia or on the island of Majorca itself.

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Claustre de sant Francesc (Palma) © Tolo Balaguer

Claustre de sant Francesc (Palma) © Tolo Balaguer


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