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Gervase, of Tilbury.

Gervase, of Tilbury (b. c. 1152--d. c. 1220)

Scholar and courtier who wrote the Otia imperialia, a book of marvels intended as a compendium of geography, history, and natural history.

Gervase studied at Bologna and afterward taught canon law there. He returned to England about 1180 and served in a series of royal households. He later received an appointment from the Holy Roman emperor Otto IV as marshal of the kingdom of Arles, and he appears to have remained in the imperial service until Otto's death in 1218. Soon afterward Gervase returned to England, where he retired to an unnamed house of regular canons.

Gervase's claim to fame rests upon the Otia imperialia , dedicated to Otto IV. The work was still in progress in 1215 and cannot have been presented to the emperor until near the end of his life. Extracts have been published from the 17th century onward, and an edition of the whole work was published by the German philosopher G.W. Leibniz in 1707 and 1710.

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Publication:Merriam Webster's Encyclopedia of Literature
Article Type:Brief biography
Date:Jan 1, 1995
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