Pedro Hispano

With José Meirinhos, Armando Norte and Henrique Leitão

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The conversation between professors Armando Norte and José Meirinhos, moderated by professor Henrique Leitão, will focus on Pedro Hispano, an illustrious Portuguese figure who lived between 1215 and 1277 and who, according to tradition, made his name as a doctor, philosopher, theologian, professor and mathematician, as well as Pope from 20 September 1276 until his death.

Because this conversation is being held in the context of the exhibition Visions of Dante. The Inferno According to Botticelli, emphasis will be given to the brief pontificate of Pope John XXI and to Pedro Hispano’s work on logic, which led Dante Alighieri, in his famous Divine Comedy, to place him in Paradise, among the souls that surround Saint Bonaventure, calling him ‘the one who shines in twelve books,’ a clear reference to the twelve logic treatises traditionally attributed to the erudite Portuguese pontiff.


Armando Norte has a degree in History from the Faculty of Humanities of the University of Lisbon and a doctorate in Medieval History from the same institution. He teaches at the Faculty of Humanities of the University of Lisbon. He has been a researcher at the University of Lisbon’s History Centre since 2007 and at the University of Coimbra’s Centre for the History of Society and Culture since 2017. He is also in charge of the Portuguese Society of Medieval Studies and the Scientific Commission of the international network Héloïse: European Network on Digital Academic History. In the area of science, his work Os intelectuais em Portugal na Idade Média (Intellectuals in Portugal in the Middle Ages) is worthy of mention for winning the CTT - D. Manuel I prize, awarded by the Portuguese Academy of History, in 2020; another notable work is a biography entitled João XXI: o papa português (John XXI: the Portuguese Pope), which has recently been translated into Italian.

Henrique Leitão is lead researcher in the Department of History and Philosophy of Science, at the Faculty of Sciences of the University of Lisbon. His work has focused on scientific activities in Europe during the 15th and 16th centuries, particularly in the areas of mathematics, astronomy, cosmography and cartography.  He was scientific curator for exhibitions such as 360º Ciência Descoberta (360º Science Discovered), at the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, in 2013.  He is a member of several scientific associations and societies, in Portugal and abroad, and his work has been recognised with various prizes and awards.

José Meirinhos is a professor and director of the Philosophy Department of the Faculty of Humanities at the University of Porto. He coordinates the line of research on ‘Medieval and Early Modern Period Philosophy’ at the Institute of Philosophy at the same university. He is the author of a work on the anthropology of Pedro Hispano and the catalogue of manuscripts including works attributed to Pedro Hispano (published by the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation and the Foundation for Science and Technology in 2011). He has written and published studies on the History of Philosophy, focusing mainly on the medieval period.

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