John Of Salisbury, called also Johannes Parvus (John the Little), an English scholastic philosopher, born in the old town of Salisbury (Old Sarum) about 1120, died in Chartres, France, Oct. 25, 1180. He studied at Oxford, and in 1136 passed over to France, where he attended the lectures of Abelard and others. He opened a school in Paris about 1140, but with little success, and on account of his poverty retired to the abbey of Montier-la-Celle. About 1151 he returned to England, and was appointed secretary to Theobald, archbishop of Canterbury, who introduced him to his future successor Thomas a Becket. He was sent on important diplomatic missions to Popes Euge-nius III., Anastasius IV., and Adrian IV., with the last of whom he was an especial favorite. He was the secretary of Becket when he became archbishop of Canterbury, was called his eye and his arm, supported him in his contest with Henry II., shared his exile and disgrace, and returned with him to England. In 1176 he was elected bishop of Chartres, and passed the rest of his life in his diocese. He was highly reputed not only as a scholar, but as a poet and orator.
His most important works are Polycraticiis, sive de Curialmm Nugis et Vestigiis Philosophorum, an erudite and caustic satire on the follies of courtiers and philosophers, and Metalogicus, in which he vindicates the studies of the schools against the sneers and outcries of the ignorant. His complete works were first collected by J. A. Giles (5 vols., Oxford, 1848).