28 January 2010

The Dumb Ox

Getting toward the end of the day and having sought the intercession of the Angelic Doctor, St Thomas Aquinas, it was good to read an account of St Thomas as the Dumb Ox by Lawrence Lew OP over on that fab blog; godzdogz. In regards to the size of St Thomas, Lawrence write the following which I know will be of interest to many Oscotians!

The first thing that strikes us when we look at someone is their appearance. The rounded face and large stature which the artist has given to St Thomas is one that is almost immediately recognizable, and it is similar to one of the earliest paintings of St Thomas. There is a certain verisimilitude in such depictions of the saint, for according to contemporary accounts, Thomas was noted for his height and bulk. So, his mentor, St Albert the Great, famously called him a 'dumb ox', on account of both his size, we suppose, and also of his quietness in class. Later in his life, a Cistercian priest commented that Thomas was "large and heavy and had a bald forehead", and indeed, Thomas' own student, Remigio of Florence, says that he was "very fat". St Thomas' biographer, Tocco, also mentions that he was "large in body" with a "large head", and adds that he had thin blonde hair. This physical characteristic and his height are both thought to be derived from his noble Norman ancestry.

Makes for a refreshing change!

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