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Dominic (St.)


(1170–1221.) A Spanish priest who founded the Inquisition, and the order called the Dominicans or Preaching Friars. He was called by the Pope “Inquisitor - General,” and was canonised by Gregory IX.

⁂ Some say the Inquisition existed in 1184, when Dominic was under fourteen years of age.

He is represented with a sparrow at his side, and a dog carrying in its mouth a burning torch. The devil, it is said, appeared to the saint in the form of a sparrow, and the dog refers to a dream which his mother had during pregnancy. She dreamt that she had given birth to a dog, spotted with black and white spots, which lighted the world with a burning torch.

He is also represented sometimes with a city in his hand and a star either on his forehead or on his breast; sometimes also with a sword in his hand and a pile of books burning beside him, to denote his severity with heretics.

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Entry taken from Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, edited by the Rev. E. Cobham Brewer, LL.D. and revised in 1895.

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