The life of Thomas Aquinas offers many interesting insights into the world of the High Middle Ages. He was born into a family of the south Italian nobility and was through his mother Countess Theadora of Theate related to the Hohenstaufen dynasty of Holy Roman emperors. He was born early in 1225 at his father Count Landulf's castle of Roccasecca in the kingdom of Naples. Landulf's brother, Sinibald, was abbot of the original Benedictine monastery at Monte Cassino, and the family intended Thomas to follow his uncle into that position; this would have been a normal career-path for a younger son of the nobility.
In his fifth year he was sent for his early education to the monastery. However, after studying at the University of Naples, Thomas joined the Dominican order, which along with the Franciscan order represented a revolutionary challenge to the well-established clerical systems of early medieval Europe. This change of heart did not please the family; on the way to Rome, Thomas was seized by his brothers and brought back to his parents at the castle of San Giovanni, where he was held a captive for a year or two to make him relinquish his purpose. According to his earliest biographers, the family even brought a prostitute to tempt him, but he drove her away.
Aquinas had made a remarkable impression on all who knew him. He was placed on a level with the [[Paul|The Apostle Paul]] and [[Augustine of Hippo|Augustine]], receiving the title ''doctor angelicus'' ('''''Angelic Doctor''''').
In 1319, the Roman Catholic Church began investigations preliminary to Aquinas's canonization; on July 18, 1323, he was pronounced a saint by Pope John XXII at Avignon. At the [[Council of Trent]] only two books were placed on the Altar, the Bible and St. Thomas Aquinas's Summa Theologica.