Martinus Polonus (also Martin von Troppau, Martinus Oppaviensis, and Martin z Opavy); no birth information; died after June 22, 1278, in Bologna. Martinus Polonus, one of the most respected chroniclers of the Middle Ages, probably came from Troppau (Czech: Opava). This accounts for the often used descriptive surname "von Troppau," whereas the surname "Polonus" indicates his home monastery which belonged to the Polish province of the Dominican Order. The scarce biographical information on the Dominican monk Martinus comes mostly from his own writings.
According to the Dominican monk Hyacinth of Prague, Martinus was ordained in Prague after his education at the preacher monastery there. He later successfully worked for the advancement of his home monastery at the pontifical court, where during the papacy of Alexander IV (1261-78), it is documented that he was there as "poenitentiarius minor" on June 22, 1278, Martinus was appointed Archbishop of Gnesen by Pope Nicolaus III, though he died on the return trip in his church province in Bologna.
The modern importance of Martinus lies in the writings he left behind, which exclusively originate from concrete assignments which he had to manage as a member of the preacher order and the papal administration.
Besides the "Tabula Martiniana Decreti," a collection of ecclesiastical sources, and the "Sermones de tempore, de sanctis," a collection of sample homiletic pieces, his work "Chronicon pontificum et imperatorum," a chronicle of the popes and emperors since Pope Nicolaus III contained in 500 manuscripts, is regarded as the most important work of the so-called chronicles of the mendicant orders.
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