Pierre d’Ailly

Peter Marguerite of Ailly (Pierre d’Ailly, Petrus de Allicao/Allyaco, Petrus Alliacensis, Cardinalis Cameracensis), born around 1350 in Compiègne, France, was one of the leading intellectuals and churchmen of the second half of the fourteenth century. Compiègne is a historic city located along the Oise River about 38 miles Northeast of Paris, although d’Ailly’s name identifies his family with Ailly-sur-Noye, a small village located just south of Amiens in Picardy.  The Marguerites were Picards, who by the time of d’Ailly’s birth had moved to Compiègne and were a successful bourgeois family.

The young Pierre would have been educated by a local cleric in Compiègne before making the relatively short journey to the University of Paris sometime in 1363 or 1364. He entered the College of Navarre in 1364 and completed his study of grammar in 1368 earning the Bachelor of Arts.  He joined the theological faculty in 1368, becoming a bachelor of theology in 1374.  During this time he also taught in the Arts faculty of the College of Navarre as a regent master.  Having completed his basic theological education, d’Ailly became a baccalaureus Biblicus between 1375 and 1377 and a baccalaureus Sententiarum between 1377 and 1378. Thus, between 1364 and 1378—in accordance with the statutes of the University of Paris—he lectured on the Bible and the Sentences of Peter Lombard respectively.

D’Ailly’s commentary on the Sentences (the Quaestiones super primum, tertium et quartum Sententiarum) is his most significant philosophical and theological work. In my dissertation, I edited questions 4-8 and 10 of his first book of the Sentences from two of the extant manuscripts. The extant manuscripts include:

Paris, BNF, Ms. lat. 15898, ff. 1-144;
Paris, Bibl. Mazarine, Ms. 934, ff. 1-152;
Paris, Bibl. Mazarine, Ms. 935, ff. 1-196; and
Paris, Bibl. de l’Université, Ms. 194.

Work on the critical edition has already begun. In 2013 Monica Brinzei published the first volume as: Questiones super primum, tertium et quartum librum Sententiarum: I: Principia et questio circa prologum (CCCM 258). I am currently editing the remainder of book I of d’Ailly’s commentary on the Sentences with Monica Brinzei and Chris Schabel.




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