A preaching order founded in 1216 by Dominic,* a Castilian who became a canon in the diocese of Osma, where the bishop had adopted the Augustinian Rule for his canons. Dominic became head of this community and remained there until 1203. Having spent several unsuccessful years trying to convert the Albigenses, he applied for papal authority to found a new monastic order devoted to defense of the Faith. It was granted on condition that he choose an established Rule. Dominic chose the Augustinian, and the order was officially established by
Each house was ruled by a prior chosen by its members and sent its prior together with one elected member to an annual provincial chapter which in turn elected a provincial prior for four years. The provinces sent representatives to the general chapter-the supreme legislative authority-which chose the master general. There is a second and third order attached to the Dominican order. The second order consists of nuns who observe a similar rule to that of the men but who live an enclosed and contemplative life somewhat mitigated later by their undertaking to educate girls. The third order is not enclosed, and a majority of its members live active lives in the world.
Well-organized and having preaching at the center of their activities, the Dominicans were particularly useful to the pope for preaching crusades, collecting monetary levies, and the execution of various diplomatic missions. Their zeal for missionary work led them to seize the opportunities for such activity provided by the Spanish and Portuguese explorations in the West and East. They were interested in establishing their order in the centers of intellectual life such as Rome, Paris, and Bologna. This concern was furthered by Dominic's successors-with the result that by the middle of the thirteenth century each province had its own Dominican university. Many of the leaders of European thought in the
B. Jarrett, The English Dominicans (2nd ed., 1927); R.F. Bennett, The Early Dominicans (1937); W.A. Hinnebusch, History of the Dominican Order (1966).