homas was born in Roccasecca, in the Aquino county of the Kingdom of Sicily (present-day Lazio region, Italy), circa January 28, 1225. According to some authors, he was born in the castle of his father, Landulf of Aquino. Thomas's father didn’t belong to the most powerful branch of the family and simply held the title miles, while Thomas's mother, Dame Theodora, belonged to the Rossi branch of the Neapolitan Caracciolo family. Landulf's brother Sinibald was abbot of the original Benedictine abbey at Monte Cassino. While the rest of the family's sons pursued military careers, the family intended for Thomas to follow his uncle into the abbacy; this would have been a normal career path for a younger son of southern Italian nobility.
At the age of five, Thomas began his early education at Monte Cassino but after the military conflict that broke out between the Emperor Frederick II and Pope Gregory IX spilled into the abbey in early 1239, Landulf and Theodora had Thomas enrolled at the studium generale (university) recently established by Frederick in Naples. It was here that Thomas was probably introduced to Aristotle, Averroes and Maimonides, all of whom would influence his theological philosophy. It was also during his study at Naples that Thomas came under the influence of John of St. Julian, a Dominican preacher in Naples, who was part of the active effort by the Dominican order to recruit devout followers. There his teacher in arithmetic, geometry, astronomy, and music was Petrus de Ibernia. The Castle of Monte San Giovanni Campano
At age nineteen, Thomas resolved to join the Dominican Order. Thomas's change of heart did not please his family, who had expected him to become a Benedictine monk and perhaps the abbot of the powerful Montecassino Abbey near his family's domains. In an attempt to prevent Theodora's interference in Thomas's choice, the Dominicans arranged for Thomas to be removed to Rome, and from Rome, sent to...
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