Huesca temática

Number 127 - December of 2008Spanish language Principal menu

Miguel Servet

A doctor and a theologian
born in Upper Aragon

      Miguel Servet was born in Villanueva of Sigena (Huesca) September 29 1511 - although the exact date of the birth is uncertain -. His authentic name was Miguel Serveto y Conesa, alias "Revés". Call also Miguel de Villanueva, Michel de Villeneuve or, in Latin, Michael Servetus. Miguel's father, Antón - from Villanueva -, was a real Notary of the Monastery of Sigena, with headquarters in it, and assisted the juridical conflicts of their monastery mainly. His mother, Catalina Conesa, came from Barbastro.
      He had a brother, Juan, who was priest of Poleñino, and another older brother, Pedro, that would inherit the notary's office, and that was his successor's father, also named Antón, and of two important clergymen: Pedro Antonio, bishop of Albarracín, and Marco Antonio, abbot of Montearagón. Miguel's childhood lapses in his native town, where receives the first letters, also studying in Huesca and in the Monastery of Montearagón.
      He studied Law in the university of Toulouse, medicine in the universities of Paris and Montpellier and theology in Leuven. Starting from yera 1540, he practiced the medicine in Vienne, France, where also exercised as the archbishop's personal doctor. Around year 1540 he began to maintain correspondence with the Protestant French theologian Calvin.
      With hardly 13 years, he enters as page of Quintana, deputy, with which travels for Spain. He dominates for then Latin, Greek and Hebrew. Three years later, he will return to Villanueva, but his father will send him to study laws in Toulouse (France). Lapsed two years, he starts to the service of Quintana again, confessor of Carlos I. He will travel for Italy, attending the Emperor's Coronation in Bologna, and later he will move to Germany. He was 19 years old, when left the Court to transform himself into reformer. Lutero called him "Moorish" for that time. Being guest of Ecolampadio in Basle, he will discuss violently with him. Next year we will find him in Strasbourg, where his relationships with Bucero and Capito, finish sourly. He publishes "De Trinitatis erroribus", signing with his complete name. One year later he is already pursued by the reformers and Catholic in Switzerland and Germany, for what escapes from Lyon, changing name and his origin country, making call Miguel Villanovano, Navarrese of nation and son of the town of Tudela.
      The theological thoughts of Serveto were rigorously criticized a lot of time by the Catholics and Protestants of his time. In 1531, he rejected, in 'De Trinitatis Erroribus' (Of the errors on Trinidad), the tripartite personality of God, as well as the ritual of the baptism, and in 1532 he wrote 'Dialogorum of Trinitate Libri Duet' (Second book of dialogues on Trinidad). Four were the men that more influential in his life: Quintana, Champier, Pagnini and Palmier.

     To survive he works of corrector of printing tests; for his domain of the languages and big knowledge take charge of the publication of Ptolomeo's Geography that he improved, for what he has been considered founder of the Ethnography and of the compared Geography. He corrected a Botany, demonstrating his disposition for the Biological Sciences. He was also professor of Mathematics (then it also understood Geography, Astronomy, and Astrology), where desirous numerous public went of hearing "Doux savant espagnol."      
      In Paris, where he studied Medicine, Silvio wrote: "I had for assistants to Vesalio, young very diligent in Anatomy, and later to Miguel Villanovano, eminent male in all the letters and to none inferior in the doctrine of Physician." His scientific contributions were notables also, because he was the first in describing the lung circulation in Christianismi Restitutio (Restitution of the Christianity), published a little before his death.
      When the Inquisition publishes its ordinance calling to 40 fugitives, the list will be headed by Miguel Servet.
      Although Servet continued being considered Catholic (although only by name), He described his heretical opposition to the concept of Trinidad (Trinity) and he requested permission to visit the theocratic city of Geneva. Once there he was arrested, accused of heresy and blasphemy against the Christianity, and burned in the blaze October 27 1553. He was executed then by the Calvinist government of Geneva because of his beliefs.

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      Miguel Servet is in many aspects one of the most remarkable men in the sixteen century. His interests embraced many sciences: the astronomy and the meteorology, the geography, the jurisprudence, the theology and the study of the Bible, the mathematics, the anatomy and the medicine. The tragic death that he suffered, transformed him into the first and more famous martyr for a faith whose trajectory has continued per centuries. The documents about the life of Servet are scarce and nconsistents and the many gaps are completed with all series of conjectures that, such and like it has been demonstrated later, have turned out to be erroneous.

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**  Aragonese Great Encyclopedia
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