Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Encyclopaedia, a barbarous Greek compound, denoting originally, according to its etymology, the circle or rouhd of knowledge that constituted an ordinary liberal education. Later the name came to be employed to a kind of compendium of general knowledge, or of the special knowledge existing of any particular branch or subject. The Summa Theologica of St. Thomas Aquinas is an example of the second kind of encyclopaedia, while the earliest general work of the kind was the Speculum Historiale, Naturale, Doctrinale, Morale, begun and almost finished by a Dominican monk, Vincent of Beauvais. Francis Bacon designed a scientific encyclopeedia in his Novum Organum, and there have been many since, both general and special, among which may be mentioned the Encyclopeedia Britannica, with its nine editions; the Encyclopedia Metropolitans, in which S. T. Coleridge wrote upon Method, and Whately wrote the articles on Logic and Rhetoric; and Larousse's Dictionnaire.