Bartholomew Gutierrez, or Bartholomew of Urbino O.S.A. as he is usually called after the town of his birth where also he served as bishop during the last three years of his life (1347 – 1350), is best known for the work he completed by 1345, the Milleloquium veritatis Sancti Augustini (to use its full title). "Milleloquium" literally means "a thousand words," but Bartholomew wrote many more than that - a concordance of the truth of St Augustine.
In his youth, Bartholomew entered the Augustinian Order in Urbino, his native town, where he also began his studies. This took him to the Augustinian studium generale in Paris where he obtained the doctorate in theology. From 1321 on he was professor in the Augustinian studium in Bologna. Here he became acquainted with the future humanist author, Francesco Petrarch who was, with some interruptions, a law student there between 1322 and 1326.
His Milleloquium Sancti Augustini was his greatest work. With his motto "back to the sources”, (in this case the source being St Augustine), he gathered under a thousand articles or key words nearly fifteen thousand citations from the works of St Augustine. His intent was to assemble under each word in his dictionary the greatest possible number of Augustinian texts.
ln carrying out this task he demonstrated his ability to locate manuscripts as well as his diligence as a literary historian. A detailed examination of his work shows that he himself read and extracted all the passages quoted.
He journeyed to various libraries in order to find reliable texts and spared neither effort nor fatigue. For this reason his search was rewarded with many important finds. ln the three appendices at the end of his work the distinction librorum merits particular attention. lt presents a well ordered division of Augustine's writings into letters, books, and sermons, which for Bartholomew's era was a surprising innovation.
As well, he showed fine critical sense as an author when he separated authentic and apochryphal works, using as his guide Augustine's own Retractations, the Bishop of Hippo's own recounting of his literary production made at the end of his life.
The Milleloquium proved very successful. At the request of the author, Petrarch wrote an introduction in verse that further contributed to the Success of the book. The fact that fifty codices are still preserved attests to its wide circulation, and it achieved five editions between 1555 and 1734. Even today the work continues to be the most complete index of the writings of St Augustine, including also those works considered at the time to be authentic. Friar Bartholomew also composed a Milleloquium Sancti Ambrosii using the same format.
Bartholomew compiled of approximately fifteen hundred passages from Augustine's works, arranged alphabetically in 1,081 thematic entries (as given in the Lyon 1555 edition) under Latin subject headings from "Abel” to "Zizania," (e,g,, fides, haeresis, justicia).