About Mandeville

The name Mandeville refers to a number of historic persons with singular character traits and merits that together form the motto of Mandeville Academy: Ad Tempus Vitae. A Mandevillian is a highly intelligent, non-dogmatic thinker, has a somewhat tattered and torn surface, is curious, restless, courageous and anti-authoritarian, and knows the value of friendship and loyalty.

Bernard Mandeville (Rotterdam, 1670 – London, 1733)

NPG 1261; Unknown man, formerly known as Sir James Thornhill by John ClostermanPhilosopher, doctor, economist and satirist. Bernard Mandeville left the Netherlands after being accused of involvement in the Costerman uprising in 1690: an anti-tax movement in Rotterdam. Mandeville wrote a satiric poem about alderman Jacob van Zuijlen van Nievelt. Fearing reprisals, he sailed for England. Mandeville’s most significant statement is: ‘So vice is beneficial found, when it’s by justice lopt and bound.’ In other words: virtue is damaging. He is the author of the much-quoted paradox of private vices creating public benefits. He is mostly famous outside his country of birth. Bernard Mandeville was inspired by Michel de Montaigne (1533-92), Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679) and Pierre Bayle (1647-1706). He was cited by Karl Marx (1818-1893) and inspired the works of Adam Smith (1723-1790), David Hume (1711-76), Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712-78), Voltaire (1694-1778), Jeremy Bentham (1748-1832) and John Stuart Mill (1806-1873). Bernard Mandeville taught us not to think according to dogma. A tattered and torn surface is necessary to be of use to society.

Jan van Mandeville (St. Albans, 1300 – Liege, 1358)

Author of ‘Les voyages de Jehan de Mandeville’. This ‘travelogue’, deemed a work of fiction by most historians, was a source of inspiration for Christopher Columbus and Marco Polo. Mandeville’s journey in 1356 can be divided into two parts. One is his route through the Byzantine Empire, Asia Minor, the Holy Land, the Sinai desert, Egypt and the non-existent country of the legendary Prester John. In the second part he travels to the Far East: India, China, and other regions. The first translation of his work into Dutch dates from 1434 and was made in the monastery of Canons Regular at St. Maartensdal in Leuven. Besides ‘The Travels of John de Mandeville’, the manuscript contains a beautiful copy of the ‘Rijmbijbel’, or: rhyming bible, by Jacob van Maerlant. Traveling in the 14th century was a dangerous undertaking. It required curiosity, restlessness and courage. These characteristics are of great significance at Mandeville Academy.

Geoffrey de Mandeville, second earl of Essex (1191-1216)

Geoffrey de Mandeville was a medieval knight. Together with 24 friends he opposed the increasing centralist power of the British king John Lackland. On June 15, 1215 they forced the king to sign the Magna Carta. In the Magna Carta the king’s power was curtailed and greater political freedom was guaranteed. The church was protected against the king’s rule. Law and justice were reformed. Geoffrey de Mandeville died in 1216 as a consequence of the wounds sustained while jousting in a London tournament. The second earl of Essex taught us that no authority is above criticism. Authority and power always need to be questioned in order to prevent corruption.

Geoffrey de Mandeville, first earl of Essex (1100-1144)

Geoffrey de Mandeville rose against the British king who confiscated his castles, including the Tower of London. The argument escalated and he was even excommunicated by the Pope in 1143. Mandeville died due to an enemy arrow during a battle with the king’s soldiers. Because of his excommunication, burial at Walden Cloister, that he founded around 1136, was forbidden. Put under pressure by Mandeville’s friends, Pope Celestine II reluctantly allowed him to be buried in Temple Church, London, with the condition that Mandeville’s soul would be prevented from entering heaven. His comrades, obeying the Pope, buried Geoffrey in a lead coffin but not before making holes in it so his soul could escape. This is true friendship and loyalty. In a medieval manuscript Geoffrey de Mandeville’s death is symbolised by a broken lance, accompanied by an upturned coat of arms symbolising his excommunication from the herd of the faithful. This upside down coat of arms is the logo of Mandeville Academy; highly gifted people are rarely part of a herd. Good for them.

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