The Problem of Sovereignty in the Later Middle Ages: The Papal Monarchy with Augustinus Triumphus and the Publicists

The Problem of Sovereignty in the Later Middle Ages: The Papal Monarchy with Augustinus Triumphus and the Publicists

The Problem of Sovereignty in the Later Middle Ages: The Papal Monarchy with Augustinus Triumphus and the Publicists

The Problem of Sovereignty in the Later Middle Ages: The Papal Monarchy with Augustinus Triumphus and the Publicists

Excerpt

The original aim of this book was to investigate the political ideas of Augustinus Triumphus of Ancona. However it soon became apparent that this must entail a consideration of the views of a very large number of his contemporaries, and as a result the book has become an attempt to clarify the more important problems in the political outlook of the later Middle Ages. For this purpose I have taken into account the opinions of a wide variety of authors-- politicians, philosophers, theologians, canonists, civil lawyers and many others--and have compared them with the views expressed by the different rulers of the time. But on the whole I have tended to concentrate upon that class of writers usually known as the publicists, and in particular those who flourished in what I believe to be a vital period in the development of European political life, very roughly the century between 1250 and 1350. There was a reason for emphasising the publicistic contribution to the thought of this period. The lawyers, and even more the rulers themselves, tended to take it for granted that their readers were familiar with the principles under discussion, and with the very technical vocabulary and style used in those discussions. Princes have no time to explain themselves: lawyers generally prefer to remain unintelligible except to other lawyers. The publicists on the other hand, whilst dealing with the same subjects and employing the same technicalities, were prepared, sometimes at any rate, to assume a profound ignorance on the part of the reader and would often go to a great deal of trouble to explain what they had in mind. No doubt, since so many of them were clerics and schoolmen, they benefited in this respect from their preaching and teaching experience. And this means that the works of the publicists do enable the modern historian to gain a very much clearer and more accurate picture of the issues involved . . .

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