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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.

Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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