When is it most likely that Albertus Magnus finished writing On Animals ?

I can't seem to find any guesses more accurate than "within his lifetime"

1 Answer 1


De animalibus was a huge undertaking and took Albertus Magnus several years to write. When exactly he was writing it is unknown (as are many details of his life), but he probably began it around the late 1250s and finished it sometime in the 1260s, perhaps as early as 1263 or as late as 1268. There is a lack of scholarly consensus on more precise dates.

Kenneth F. Kitchell Jr. & lrven Michael Resnick's 1999 translation includes the following commentary on the dating:

It is unclear precisely when Albert composed De animalibus.... Most scholars would locate the beginning of De animalibus in the period between 1256 and 1260. Weisheipl, for example, insists that Albert began writing this work about 1260, during his episcopacy in Regensburg, completing it at Viterbo (where he had gone to resign his bishopric) by 1263. Pelster argues for a much later date, namely 1268. Regardless of the date one assigns to the completion of the work, it is clear that Albert occupied himself with De animalibus for many years, producing several versions, although perhaps never a final redaction.

Source: Kenneth F. Kitchell Jr. & lrven Michael Resnick (trans), 'On Animals: A Medieval Summa Zoologica, Volume 1' (Johns Hopkins University Press, 1999)

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge that you have read and understand our privacy policy and code of conduct.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.