Christendom, the Muslim World, and Western Political Order

Imperialists, Separatists,
and Crusaders

The decline of Christendom involved the weakening of the two competing forms of medieval universal power—the Papal monarchy and the Empire. At the same time, the ascending territorial kingdoms attempted to appropriate Christendom's universalism. During this long and uneven process both defense and questioning of the idea of universal rule played a part. In this chapter, I first discuss the work of three late medieval writers who defended the Empire as the legitimate world monarchy, necessary for the establishment and maintenance of universal peace and the defense and spread of Christianity. I then present the ideas of three of their contemporaries whose advocacy of territorial powers called into question the legitimacy of universal rule as such. Neither the proponents nor the opponents of universal rule had overcome the Latin Christian animosity toward non-Christians (the Muslims in particular) or rejected the idea of the Crusade, even though the crusading spirit was much less prominent among the advocates of the particularism of power. The Crusade idea survived the decline of Christendom, which the Crusade had helped to create. In fact, in the second half of the fourteenth century, as the work of the two authors presented in the concluding section of this chapter shows, the crusade idea was actually rejuvenated.


When a polemicist denies reason in his adversary's ideas, it is often the reasonableness of his own argument that is the problem. The discussions of Peter the Venerable and Pierre Dubois in earlier chapters contain examples of this point. There is, however, a difference between denying the reasonableness of one's adversary, as Peter the Venerable and other Christian disputants did at the turn of the eleventh and twelfth centuries, and the polemical devices of Pierre Dubois in the early fourteenth century. Peter and his contemporaries had critiqued those unwilling to embrace the Christian faith. Pierre, on the other hand, called of unsound mind those who might disagree with his proposal for reordering of the world in favor of the French kingdom.

Whatever this French apologist may have thought, men of perfectly “sound mind” among his contemporaries were convinced that it was not only possible but desirable to have “a single temporal monarch for the whole world, who would rule all things and whom all would obey as their superior. ” In their view, such a princeps unicus et monarcha would not be the cause of “wars, rebellions and dissensions without end”, as Dubois contended, 1 but rather would bring about peace.


The most famous fourteenth-century argument for universal rule was penned by Dante Alighieri. Had Dante known Dubois, it would be easy to read the opening paragraphs of his 'Monarchia' as a polemic against the Frenchman. But Dante developed his conceptions of secular government, and especially of the Empire, independently of the “Church-state pamphlet war” of the late thirteenth and early fourteenth centuries. 2 Based on his study of Aristotle, Virgil, and Augustine, Dante wanted to “draw out of the shadows into the light” the “truth about temporal monarchy. ” 3 To him, temporal monarchy was synonymous with empire. It

1 See chap. 5 n. 342.
2 Davis 1993, 72.
3 Monarchia I, i,5. (Dante's writings are cited from Opere, ed. by Chiappelli. I quote, with minor changes, Nicholl's translation of the Monarchia and Hardie's translation of Epistolae V–VII.)

meant “a single Command exercised over all persons in time, or at least in those matters which are subject to time. ” 4 He set himself the task of proving that temporal monarchy was necessary for the well-being of the world, that it rightly belonged to the Roman people, and that the monarch's authority was derived directly from God.

Whatever the time, circumstances, and motives connected with the formulation of his ideas on empire, 5 and however abstract his discussion in the Monarchia, 6 Dante certainly had in mind the lamentable situation in his own country when he wrote that work. 7 Once envied throughout the globe, Italy was now “pitied even by Saracens. ” 8 Since for Dante (as for so many others) Saracen was a term of abuse, 9 using it shows how desperate he must have been to see “the Sun of peace” rise again. 10 That rising sun of peace was Henry VII, who in October 1310 set off from Germany for Rome with the Pope's approbation to be crowned Roman emperor and restore peace in Italy. 11 The prospect of that event led Dante to write of Italy greening again and bearing “the fruit of true peace. ” As an exile who desired peace, he kissed the ground before the feet of him who was bringing to his country “the inheritance of peace” that God in His immeasurable love had bequeathed to mankind. 12

Dante's language in a letter of vicious criticism addressed to Florence, the city from which he had been banished, was less poetic and more conceptual. “The merciful providence of the everlasting King, who does not abandon in contempt our world below while maintaining the heavens above by His goodness, has entrusted to the sacrosanct Roman Empire the governance of human affairs so that mankind might have peace under the cloudless sky that such a protection affords, and that everywhere, in accord with the dictates of nature, the organized life of society may be upheld. ” 13 For “when the throne of Augustus is vacant, the whole world

10 Epistola V,1.
11 Cf. Kaufman 1990, 42 ff.
12 Epistolae V,5; VII,1.
13 Epistola VI,1.
4 Monarchia I, ii,2. Cf. Convivio IV, iv,6–7.
5 According to d'Entrèves 1952, 31–32, whom I follow here, there is no definite answer to these questions. D' Entrèves dates the Monarchia as c. 1312. Mazzotta 1993, 10, thinks it was written in 1316. Cf. references in Vasoli 1975, 39 n. 2. 6 See Lewis 1954, 2: 443; Wieruszowski, “Der Reichsgedanke bei Dante” (originally published in 1932), in id. 1971, 575. 7 Carlyle and Carlyle 1903–36, 6: 123. Cf. Skinner 1978, 1: 18.
8 Epistola V,2.
9 See Southern 1973, 136, commenting on Purgatorio XXIII,103.

loses its way, the pilot and oarsmen in the ship of St. Peter fall asleep, and Italy, unhappy and forsaken, abandoned to private caprice and deprived of all public direction, drifts in such a battering from wind and wave as words could not express. ” 14

These citations give the impression that Dante desired imperial rule in order to see peace restored in Italy. 15 But in the philosophical underpinnings of Dante's argument for empire, peace was a means to a higher end. Temporal power was to serve the end of the universal civil order of mankind (universalis civilitatis humani generi s). 16 Humana civilitas— or la umana civilitade 17 —was a notion “embodying political jargon new in Dante's day. ” 18 It was “the keystone in demonstrating the function and necessity of the universal Empire” in the Monarchia, and the one and only point in this treatise where Dante appears to have broken away from “any known tradition of political thought in the Middle Ages. ” 19 The ultimate end of the “civil order of mankind” was the fulfillment of that particular function for which the human species in its multitudinous variety was created. That function—“beyond the capacity of any one man or household or village, or even of any one city or kingdom”— was mankind's “intellectual capacity or potentiality. ” Because that potentiality “cannot wholly and at once be translated into action by one man, or by any one of the particular communities listed above, mankind has to be composed of a multitude through which this entire potentiality can be actualized. ” 20

Laying the basis for his subsequent argument, Dante declared that “the task proper to mankind considered as a whole is to fulfil the total capacity of the possible intellect [totam potentiam intellectus possibilis] all the time, primarily by speculation and secondarily, as a function and extension of speculation, by action. ” 21 The best conditions for accomplishing this were in the “quietude or tranquillity of peace. ” Hence, “universal peace”, pax universalis, was “the most excellent means of securing

14 14. Ibid.
15 Davis 1993, 69.
16 Monarchia I, ii,8. I follow the translation in d'Entrèves 1952, 47.
17 Convivio IV, iv,1.
18 Davis 1993, 68. In early translations of the Nicomachean Ethics, civilitas was used to render the Greek politeía, later translated as politia. Ibid.; d'Entrèves 1952, 48. For politia, cf. Gewirth 1980, lxxix. In his notes to Opere, 981, Chiappelli renders umana civilitade as “società civile. ” Lewis 1954, 2: 486, translates humana civilitas as “civil society. ”
19 D'Entrèves 1952, 47.
20 Monarchia I, iii.
21 Ibid., I, iv,1.

our happiness”, “the very best means available to mankind for fulfilling its proper rôle. ” 22 From this point on it was relatively easy to demonstrate that temporal monarchy or empire was the best suited to securing peace and was therefore necessary for human happiness and well-being.

The world monarch's function—which only a single world ruler, guiding the multitude of men toward their single end, could perform—was to keep the whole in order: to create and maintain harmony and unity by reproducing (so far as human nature allowed) the perfection of the heavens, which are governed and directed in every movement by a single mover. 23 Because the world is best ordered when justice is at its strongest, and because the stronger the just man, the greater will be his justice, the emperor as the most powerful and just ruler was necessary to settle disputes, dispense justice, and guarantee freedom. 24 The emperor was the supreme lawgiver. Because imperial law, regulating things common to all men, would be issued from one source, confusion about universal principles would be eliminated. Like Moses, the emperor would leave minor judgments to inferior princes while reserving to himself the major decisions that affected everyone. 25 The empire was thus “that jurisdiction which comprehends every temporal jurisdiction within its scope. ” 26

Dante believed that “the Monarch has nothing to desire, since the ocean alone is the limit of his jurisdiction. ” 27 Freeing the emperor from the libido dominandi, Dante envisioned him dominating, in the fullness of justice, the wills of all others, 28 holding them in concord and unity, “for the wills of mortals, influenced by their adolescent and seductive delights, are in need of a director. ” 29 Thus the image of the emperor as the “rider of the human will—which had appeared earlier in the Convivio, where Dante first presented his idea of the Empire 30 —reappeared in the Monarchia. In the later work he remained true to the basic proposition of the earlier one: that empire is necessary for establishing the “civil

22 Ibid., I, iv,2–3,5.
23 Ibid., I, v–ix.
24 Ibid., I, x–xii.
25 Ibid., I, xiv.
26 Ibid., III, x,10.
27 Ibid., I, xi,12.
28 In the Convivio IV, iv,4, Dante speaks of the single “prencipe” who “tutto possedendo e più desiderare non possendo, li regi tegna contenti ne li termini de li regni, sì che pace intra loro sia…. ”
29 Monarchia I, xv,8–9.
30 Convivio IV, ix,10. Cf. Holmes 1988, 29, 39– 40.

order of mankind” to accomplish the happy life. 31 In the Monarchia the demonstration of this need led to the conclusion that “at no time do we see universal peace throughout the world except during the perfect monarchy of the immortal Augustus. ” 32

Dante pictured the human species without the “Monarch or Emperor” 33 to curb men's wills as a “many-headed beast lusting after a multiplicity of things. ” 34 Therefore, Dante argued, not only “those parts below the level of a kingdom”, but also “kingdoms themselves, must be subordinate to one ruler or rule, that is, to the Monarch or to Monarchy. ” 35 This view implied that small communities—like city republics (civitates)—were not self-sufficient. Self-sufficiency was an AristotelianThomistic requirement for a perfect community, but civitates were not perfect communities, since they “could not guarantee the peace without which the good life was impossible. ” 36 Dante's Monarchy was the world monarchy (imperium mundi), which could not suffer any divisions. The Emperor, the sole supreme ruler of the world (mundi Monarcha), stood “in immediate relationship to the prince of the world, who is God”, elected and confirmed by God alone, receiving his authority “directly, and without intermediary, from the Source of all authority. ” 37

Henry VII's Italian campaign ended disastrously, and afterwards Dante's political preferences seem to have shifted. Since Dante remains an enigmatic figure, 38 historians' interpretations of his life and work are sometimes speculative. One such speculation is that the Dante of the Monarchia was carried away by his enthusiasm for empire and temporarily forgot “the fundamental Christian idea, that from within and not from without, must mankind be redeemed and saved. ” Once the imperial cause appeared to have been lost, his passion and interest turned back to the holy Church. 39 From this perspective, his advocacy of world monarchy could seem to have been a “doctrinal error. ” 40 He was, indeed,

31 “Lo fondamento radicale de la imperiale maiestade … è la necessità de la umana civilitade, che a uno fine è ordinata, cioè a vita felice. ” Convivio IV, iv,1.
32 Monarchia I, xvi,1.
33 Ibid., I, x,5.
34 Ibid., I, xvi,4.
35 Ibid., I, vi,4.
36 Lewis 1954, 2: 442. Speaking of “the overarching importance of the value of the civitas in Dante's political thought” (Viroli 1992, 48) does not seem to be the most fortunate characterization of Dante's political thought.
37 Monarchia II, viii,1; III, x; III, xvi,2–3,13,15.
38 Mazzotta 1993.
39 D'Entrèves 1952, 51, 60– 61. This interpretation has been questioned in Davis 1993.
40 D'Entrèves 1952, 109.

accused of heterodoxy. The charge was brought against the Monarchia by its first resolute critic, the Dominican Guido Vernani, in 1327, who accused Dante of Averroism. The accusation was effective, 41 even if not fitting. It seems safe to conclude that Dante was “more interested in a universal monarchy than in the philosophy of Averroes. ” 42 It is unlikely that Guido would have seen Dante's insistence on the need for a supreme power to conduct mankind to salvation as a “doctrinal error. ” The Dominican himself believed that such a power was necessary, but he maintained that that power was vested in the Pope and that mankind needed “no other power” than that of the Pope. 43 Therein lay Dante's “error. ”

The relations among the world monarchy, the Papacy, and the kingdoms (as well as smaller units than kingdoms) were clear in Dante's vision. Because the emperor received his authority directly from God, he was not subordinated to the Pope. Kings and princes, in turn, were under the emperor's command. This notion informed Dante's judgment of contemporary politics. In his letter to the Florentines he represented the “Roman Prince”, that is, the emperor, as the king of the world (mundi regis) and the minister of God. Emperor Henry VII, in particular, was portrayed as “our Elect, our triumphant Henry”, who “carries the burden of the Roman Commonwealth, thirsting not for his own personal interest, but for the general good of the world. ” 44 Consequently, the Florentines, who led the opposition to the emperor in northern Italy, Dante saw as following “monstrous designs”—as subverting the right world order. He likened his ex-compatriots to builders of a second tower of Babel who had abandoned the Holy Empire to institute new kingdoms (nova regna). They acted as if the Florentine polity (Florentina civilitas) were separate from that of Rome, that is, outside the empire. They seemed to be attempting to “duplicate” the empire. To drive home to them the absurdity of their political designs, Dante asked why did they not feel the same envy of the “apostolic monarchy” as they did of the empire. 45 This rhetorical question, however, should not be read as Dante's wish to see the Papacy undermined as well.

The Papacy and the Pope in his official capacity were untouchable. Dante, it is true, disliked Boniface VIII; he was the Pope's declared en-

41 In 1329, the Monarchia was condemned by the Church. On the charge of Averroism, see D'Entrèves 1952, 107–9; Gilson 1963, 212 f.; 298–307.
42 Gilson 1989, 524.
43 Baethgen 1964, 196; Wilks 1964, 32.
44 Epistola VI,2, 6.
45 Epistola VI,2.

emy. 46 But he nevertheless compared the arrest of Boniface by Nogaret in Anagni to the laying of murderous hands on Christ himself. 47 The French monarchy's support of the attempt on the Pope's life was, in Dante's famous verses, la mala pianta / che la terra cristiana tutta aduggia. 48 These statements, it is true, derive from Dante's post-Monarchia phase. But even in the Monarchia, where Dante refuted the Papal monarchy, his position on the Church and Papacy was orthodox enough. Church and empire were the two guides appointed by God to lead mankind to the twofold goal: happiness in this life and eternal happiness in the life hereafter. 49 But while Dante strictly separated Papacy and Empire, he did succumb to sacralizing empire. 50 He pictured the emperor as a new Messiah, 51 with spiritual traits and a divine mission. 52 This tendency to sacralize imperial power could easily be seen as diminishing the Pope's authority. But it could also be interpreted as a reaction to the advent of national kingdoms, as “an early and premature attempt to nip the incipient concept of national sovereignty in the bud. ” 53 The “evil plant” (mala pianta) of the French monarchy was not only rising against the Pope; it was also casting a shadow over “the truth about temporal monarchy” that Dante had wanted to “draw into the light. ” In his opposition to the French kingdom Dante was close to Boniface. 54 And while Dante rejected the Papal claim to “supreme jurisdiction”, his own concept of empire was a “vindication of the necessity of some such jurisdiction if the world was to be saved from anarchy, and the blessings of civic life to be assured. ” 55

46 Morghen 1975, 41. Cf. n. 63. The Monarchia has been seen as a direct response to the Unam sanctam. Vasoli 1975, 39. Cf. Mazzotta 1993, 7– 8.
47 See Purgatorio XX,86 ff.:
“veggio in Alagna intrar lo fiordaliso, e nel vicario suo Cristo esser catto. Veggiolo un'altra volta esser deriso; veggio rinovellar l'aceto e 'l fele, e tra vivi ladroni esser anciso. ”
Cf. Kantorowicz 1957, 454.

48 Purgatorio XX,43– 44.
49 Monarchia III, xvi. Cf. Wieruszowski 1971, 568 (stressing that Dante saw the separation of powers as essential for peace), 578 f.
50 Davis 1993, 78.
51 Cf. d'Entrèves 1952, 51; Kaufman 1990, 51.
52 Cf. Wieruszowski 1971, 572.
53 D'Entrèves 1952, 21; Ullmann 1965, 191.
54 Cf. chap. 5 n. 177. Schmid 1938 played Dante against Dubois with good reason.
55 D'Entrèves 1952, 25.

Dante's argument for world monarchy was impressive. On its own terms, it was irrefutable. But I still see it as problematic. One looks in vain for any reflection, on Dante's part, concerning the implications of world monarchy for the world outside his own, or what universal peace might mean for those outside his world to whom it was brought. Of course, it might be demanding too much to expect such reflections from Dante. Like most of his contemporaries, he did not transcend the horizons of his world when it came to seeing and understanding the world outside his own. 56 He was a cosmopolitan, it is true, but myopia is all too often a friend of the cosmopolitan vision. His understanding of the little he saw beyond the limits of Latin Christendom was circumscribed by his own world's normative structure—one from which he did not deviate. But precisely because I am interested in Dante's world more than in Dante himself, or to put it differently, because I am primarily interested in Dante as a point of access to the normative structure of the world in which he lived, both his silence on the implications of world monarchy for the outside world and his few references to the infidels are important for my argument.

Dante may have exchanged Christendom for a “world state”, 57 but the new entity was Christian, and as such, it inherited the problem of Christendom's relations to those considered pagan and infidel. Dante's ignorance of the wider world and its inhabitants is evident in his writings. In the Divine Comedy, the crown of his opus, discussion of even contemporary affairs outside Italy lacks clarity of detail. Beyond the narrowest limits of western Christendom, “all is dark. ” But Dante was not “specially hostile” to the rest of the world that lay in darkness. 58

Dante's attitude toward Islam, in particular, even if not specially hostile, was a blend of indifference, ignorance, and animosity. What has appeared to some historians as sympathy came from Dante's disillusionment with Christendom. 59 He shared the view, popular among contemporary critics of the Church, that the corrupt Christian clergy was to be blamed for the rise of Islam. 60 But this did not mean he said anything good about Islam. The Crusade holds an honorable place in the Divine Comedy, conveying the poet's animosity toward the enemies of Chris-

56 Cf. Southern 1973, 138–39.
57 Morrall 1971, 102.
58 Southern 1973, 138–39.
59 Ibid., 137. Reference is to Miguel Asin Palacios, Escatología musulmana en la Divina Commedia (Madrid, 1919 [a number of subsequent ed.]).
60 Paradiso XV,142– 44; Southern 1973, 136.

tendom as well as his ignorance of what he could only see as “the large indefinite mass of the gente turpa who were outside the fold. ” 61 The Jews, Saracens, and Gentiles personified impiety. Dante pictured them as laughing at “us” and asking “where is your God?” (bringing to mind St. Bernard's meditations on the crusade). 62 It is worth remembering that Dante sent Boniface VIII to hell—that is, the Inferno of the Divine Comedy—because Boniface had waged war against Christians at home instead of fighting the Saracens and Jews. 63

The textual evidence provides no direct answer to the question of what Dante's universal peace would have brought to the Saracens, Jews, and Gentiles, but there are ample grounds for speculation. The examples in the previous paragraph are telling enough. Other statements and images of his call for reflection as well. The empire that would yield universal peace was, by Dante's pen, earthly paradise. 64 In the Paradiso of the Divine Comedy, one would look in vain for a Saracin. But one can find Muhammad and Ali in hell. There, in the Inferno, the body of the Prophet is perpetually cleft in two from his chin to his bowels, and that of his son-in-law and successor is cleft from forehead to chin. Muhammad has thus the honor of demonstrating that man's body is a wretched sack that produces filth ('l tristo sacco che merda fa). 65 This eternal punishment was incurred for sowing discord. Muhammad's and Ali's equals in hell are other sowers of scandal and schism—all secular figures, mostly from Italian factional struggles. It may not be too far-fetched to imagine that in Dante's “earthly paradise”, not belonging to Christianity would be punished as a political crime.

61 Southern 1973, 139. “Gente turpa” (abject, vile, despicable folk): Paradiso XV,145.
62 Epistola XI,3. Cf. Bernard, On Consideration II, i,1.
63 Inferno XXVII,85–90:
“Lo principe de' nuovi Farisei, avendo guerra presso a Laterano, e non con Saracin né con Guidei, ché ciascun suo nimico era Cristiano, e nessun era stato a vincer Acri né mercatante in terra di Soldano. ”

For a more comprehensive discussion of the reasons for Dante's condemnation of Boniface, see Grundmann 1977

64 Monarchia III, xvi,7. In the Divine Comedy, “God's government in paradise resembles imperial court life”; in Dante's vision, “imperial government and undivided sovereignty reflected God's reign in heaven. ” Kaufman 1990, 51. 65 Inferno XXVIII,26 ff. Cf. Southern 1973, 137–38.


Dante's vision of the empire was a “philosophical ideal”, 66 and his imperialism was correspondingly uncritical. The defense of the empire elaborated by Engelbert, who in 1297 became the abbot of the Benedictine monastery of Admont in Styria, was of a different quality. Engelbert, reputed to be a man of broad learning, was acutely aware of the existing empire's weakness. In his De ortu et fine Romani imperii, he tackled both the contemporary crisis and the contemporary critique of the empire. Like Dante, Engelbert relied on Aristotelian philosophical arguments. In De ortu et fine he buttressed the conviction that the empire was essential to the safety of Christendom with “the principles of Augustine and Aristotle, the technicalities of the lawyers, and the questions of practical men. ” 67 Because he composed this work a few years earlier than Dante wrote the Monarchia, 68 Engelbert may be credited as “the first to ground the argument for empire on the new range of political concepts and arguments available from Aristotle. ” 69

Working within the Aristotelian conceptual framework, Engelbert first dealt with the general history of “kingdom. ” Regnum, for him, was the generic term for government, of which the Roman empire was a species. He began his discussion with the principle that felicity (felicitas) is the general aim of all kingdoms and with the classification of human communities according to their size. With these standards he set out to examine the question of which form of human community was the most conducive to achieving felicity: that is, which was the most likely to be self-sufficient (lacking nothing), tranquil (suffering nothing), and secure (fearing nothing). 70

66 Nardi 1944, 202.
67 Lewis 1954, 2: 444. Cf. Woolf 1913, 280, 296 ff.; Menzel 1941, 401. Black 1992, 93, has rightly added Cicero to the list. On Engelbert's life and intellectual pursuits, see Riezler 1874, 159 ff.; Fowler 1947 (with further references); on the reception and influence of the De ortu et fine, see Menzel 1941, 403 ff.
68 That is, if the Monarchia was indeed written around 1316, and De ortu between 1308 and 1313. Posch 1920; Mazzotta 1993, 10.
69 Black 1992, 93. Cf. Woolf 1913, especially 289. Engelbert's reliance on Aristotle— so much so that “der christliche Einschlag fehlt”—is stressed by Posch 1920, 33, 35. Cf. Menzel 1941, 401–2.
70 De ortu IX, XIV. (Whenever possible, I cite the translation in Lewis 1954, 2: 473– 84. If not otherwise indicated, page references are to this edition.) Cf. Woolf 1913, 280– 82; Lewis 1954, 2: 444– 46; Black 1992, 93–95.

Because felicity thus defined would be concurrent with peace, peace could be seen as the aim toward which all human communities and societies strove. 71 Engelbert's initial question—Which human community is most conducive to achieving felicity?—was thus translated into: Which community best promotes peace? In answer, Engelbert advanced the argument that by the dictates of art and reason (both of which imitate nature) and by the ordination of divine providence, it was better, and also more just, that all kingdoms be under one king or emperor as monarch of the whole world, 72 this being the order most likely to advance peace and the most favorable for the defense and propagation of Christianity.

To substantiate this argument, Engelbert discussed the merits of communities smaller than empire. The willingness to consider merits of smaller communities shows that his imperialism—in contrast to Dante's —was marked by a cautious relativism. This may be partly due to Engelbert's respect for Augustine, who had been critical of the Roman Empire of his own time, and partly a result of his living under imperial power. For Engelbert, “the great monarchy was an experience and not a prayer. ” 73

Engelbert rested his argument for the necessity of the empire on his understanding of the diversity of the human condition. In his outlook, the “whole constitution of this world” was “made up of things diverse, unlike, and contrary. ” Kingdoms of this world were “diverse from one another, according to the diversity of fatherland and tongue, and of customs and laws”, as well as of “inherited rites. ” 74 But the world made of “things diverse, unlike, and contrary” could not endure “except through the concord of the diverse, the unlike, and the contrary. ” Concord lacking, superiors would destroy inferiors, the active would by their power conquer and destroy the passive, and the greater would consume the lesser. But agreement and peace do not come about automatically; they have to be made. An omnipotent power, distinct from all these elements, was needed “to harmonize all things with one another, and to preserve their peace. ” 75 It was against the background of discord generated by the diversity of nations and kingdoms that Engelbert asserted that “there

71 De ortu XIV; Woolf 1913, 282 n. 7.
72 De ortu XV. In the title he himself gave to his treatise (De ortu, progressu et fine regnorum et praecipue regni seu imperii Romani), the preface, and elsewhere, Engelbert speaks of “Roman empire or kingdom” and “Roman kingdom or empire. ” For an interpretation of this use of categories, see Woolf 1913, 280 ff.
73 Lewis 1954, 2: 446.
74 De ortu XV (p. 475); XVI (p. 479).
75 Ibid., XV (p. 475).

will necessarily be some one power and dignity which is supreme and universal in the world, to which all kingdoms and nations of the world should by right be subject in order to make and preserve the concord of nations and kingdoms throughout the world. ” 76

Speaking of the diversity of kingdoms of this world according to “fatherland and tongue”, “customs and laws”, and “inherited rites” amounted to saying that all of mankind was not one people, for a people was understood to be a multitude associated together by a common and harmonious consent to divine and human law. 77 But this very definition of the people as the basis of the notion of respublica (implying the understanding of respublica as res populi) was used by Engelbert to argue that there was one people after all—the Christian people—and to promote his ideal of one Christian republic. The empire was precisely a unitary Christian republic; a non-Christian imperial commonwealth was inconceivable. 78 Arguing in favor of the empire, Engelbert stated that there was but one true divine law: the one true cult of the one true God; one human law: the canons and laws consonant to the divine law; one consent of the people to that one divine and human law: the Christian faith; one people: the Christian people; and therefore there was but one commonwealth: that of the whole Christian people. 79

Engelbert presented the main objections against empire, 80 and after refuting them point by point, asserted his final conclusion:

[S]o long as the course marked out by God for the things of the world shall please Him, it is and always will be better and more just that all kingdoms and all kings be under one empire and Christian emperor, so far as is proper and suitable for each kingdom by right or by rational and established custom, than the single kingdoms and kings should stand apart without any subjection and obedience to the empire, like many heads in the one body of the Christian commonweal, which is one commonweal of one Christian people and therefore has one head of all, unless someone should wish to make a many-headed monster of that commonweal, of that one Christian people. 81

Engelbert's understanding of world monarchy as a unitary Christian

76 Ibid., 476.
77 Ibid., XVI (p. 479). See chap. 4 n. 362.
78 Cf. Menzel 1941, 401, that Engelbert “sich kein außerchristliches Kaisertum denken konnte. ”
79 De ortu XV (pp. 474–75); cf. Woolf 1913, 285. Rather than arguing that “Engelbert is one of the first medieval writers to develop accurately the conception that mankind is one people with only one true law”, Fowler 1947, 173, should have seen Engelbert as reviving the traditional notion of the Christian republic.
80 De ortu XVI.
81 Ibid., XVIII (p. 480); cf. XV (p. 475).

republic was directed toward securing the spread of Christianity and preventing the coming of the Antichrist. In his firm conviction, kingdoms should be brought under one empire in order that “the world may be at peace and Christianity protected and extended. ” 82 In this sense, it is not unfair to call Engelbert's world monarchy “the crusading empire. ” 83 World peace went hand in hand with the defense and extension of Christianity. Indeed, the idea of universal peace was pregnant with war. As Engelbert made clear, “if there should be war today, as there has often been in the past, between all Christendom and the pagan world, or between greater parts of both, it would be more just and more noble that all Christians should be united under the one head of the empire, the emperor (since such a war could not prosper unless all were united under one head), than that someone else should be elected captain, leader, or king for that particular period. ” 84 A peacemaking empire was necessary for a successful war of united Christians against the sum total of the pagans. The subjection of kingdoms to the empire, Engelbert argued, “is just and useful and necessary especially for this purpose: that the church and the faith may be defended by all its members when they are brought to concord and unity under their own proper head against those who are outside the church, and outside the faith, and against the church, and against the faith, and that it may extend its boundaries to enlarge the place of its tabernacle. And for this reason we believe that no Christian kingdom is free or exempt from subjection and obedience to the empire. ” 85 At this point, Engelbert turned his argument against the emergent territorial kingdoms. “The privileges of a few do not make a common law”, he asserted against the French and the Aragonese, who in the past had been granted liberty by Roman emperors. Engelbert spoke with precisely chosen words of the “tribe of the Franks” and the “tribe of the Goths”—not of their kingdoms—to stress that it was not the French and Aragonese kingdoms that had been granted imperial privileges. But the weightier point was that such privileges were null and void anyway, because as a matter of principle, it had been disallowed for the emperors to limit and restrict the boundaries of the Roman Empire. 86

Should kingdoms seek to exempt themselves from imperial rule, they

82 Ibid., XVIII.
83 Lewis 1954, 2: 447.
84 De ortu XVIII (p. 481).
85 Ibid., 482– 83.
86 Ibid., 483– 84.

would destroy the empire and thus clear the way for the coming of the Antichrist. Invoking the prophecy of the apostle Paul (2 Thes 2.3), Engelbert wrote that “in the approaching time of the coming of Antichrist there will come first the falling away of all kingdoms from the empire, then of churches from their obedience to the apostolic see, and finally of the faithful from their faith. ” Consequently, “those who apply their zeal and ingenuity to weakening and shattering the empire seem to be hastening directly toward the preparation of room and opportunity for the tyranny of Antichrist. ” 87 This conclusion shows that it is inaccurate to interpret the De ortu et fine as a treatise advocating the restoration of the empire that was necessary for defense against the Antichrist. 88 Rather than arguing for a restoration of the empire, Engelbert furnished a justification for its continuing existence. The empire was needed to defend and extend the Christian faith. Obversely, kingdoms seeking to free themselves from the imperial rule served the Antichrist.

Engelbert's notion of the empire, however, was riddled with conceptual problems. As the unitary republic of the Christian people, the empire would encompass “the greater part of the world. ” 89 Yet Engelbert did not want to accept that the Christian empire would be less than the entire world. But if the empire was to hold sway throughout the world, and assuming that the spread of Christianity would not do away with all non-Christians at one go, a basis had to be found for the coexistence of Christian and non-Christian peoples. For Engelbert, that basis was natural law and the law of peoples (jus gentium). Following the dictates of necessity and usefulness, diverse peoples, each governed according to their own laws, would also be ruled in accordance with “natural law, which is common to all peoples and kingdoms, or in accordance with those parts of the Roman law which can justly and usefully be suitable to all peoples and kingdoms, and which all peoples and kingdoms are bound to observe within themselves and with their neighbors and with foreigners. ” 90 Nevertheless, the emperor whom all should obey was to be a Roman, that is, a Christian, prince, for the lasting benefit of Christians: either in order that the peace and quiet of each kingdom and people within itself and with outsiders should be preserved, as in the case of Christian kingdoms, or at least in order that those Christian kingdoms themselves should

87 Ibid., 483.
88 Cf. Ullmann 1965, 186– 87; Burns, 1988, 667.
89 Cf. De ortu XV (p. 476).
90 Ibid., XVIII (pp. 483– 84).

not be invaded nor disturbed by others, as by kingdoms of infidels and pagans, which are considered to be under [the] Roman Empire to this extent; for to assign to each his own and not to injure another unjustly are not only principles of Christian law but also of the law of peoples and of all men as such; and in order that this may be preserved for the Christian kingdoms infidels and pagans themselves can and should be legally subject to the coercion of the empire. 91

The introduction of natural law and the law of peoples broadened the discussion of empire conceptually without solving the problem of the rightful basis for legally subjecting “infidels and pagans” to the coercive power of the Christian monarch. The resort to natural law only served to veil, rather than exclude or eliminate, divine law, for natural law was only conceivable with reference to divine law. And “there is only one true divine law in the whole world”, asserted Engelbert—the one codified in Christian canons. 92 Given the principle that there “never was, nor could be, nor can be a true empire outside the church” (“although there were emperors of a sort, in a relative, not absolute sense, outside the Christian faith and church”), 93 the subjection of the infidels and pagans to the emperor's coercive jurisdiction would either annul the principle that “to each should be assigned and maintained what is his own, and that none should be unjustly injured by others”, 94 or would leave open to interpretation what was “one's own” or “just”—at least for those who did not accept the one true divine law as the ultimate basis for all law and for discerning the just from unjust. Moreover, the argument for Christian lordship over the whole world on the basis of natural law and the law of peoples did not do away with the issue of war between Christians and non-Christians, addressed earlier in Engelbert's treatise.

Engelbert recognized that eternal peace could truly be enjoyed only in the perfect felicity of the heavenly kingdom. As for earthly kingdoms, the best they could do was to strive with zeal and joy toward a peace they could never fully attain. 95 This, of course, did not mean that Engelbert renounced the vision of universal peace. To the contrary. The empire as he imagined it was synonymous with a permanent struggle for peace. But with universal peace inextricably coupled with war between Chris-

91 Ibid., 484. It is not clear to me on what basis Fowler 1947, 178, came to the conclusion that Engelbert advocated “a world federation of states. ”
92 De ortu XV (p. 475). Cf. n. 79.
93 De ortu XV (p. 475), referring to Augustine De civitate Dei XIX.
94 De ortu XVIII (p. 484).
95 Ibid., 481– 82.

tendom and the infidel and pagan world, 96 one cannot brush aside the impression that world peace was a recipe for perpetual world war.


Neither Dante nor Engelbert of Admont were ultimately hostile to the Papacy. Their vindication of empire rested on the assumptions that between the two universal powers instituted by God there was a division of labor, and that these two ought to cooperate. 97 Marsiglio of Padua was an imperialist of a different stamp: a fundamentalist enemy of Papal power. Whereas Giles of Rome formulated the idea of papal “total” power, Marsiglio elaborated the idea of its total destruction. Giles of Rome's De Potestate Ecclesiastica and Marsiglio of Padua's Defensor pacis have thus been seen as “the two really epoch-making political books appearing between 1300 and 1500. ” 98

Marsiglio's fame rests almost exclusively on his authorship of the Defensor pacis, one of the most remarkable political treatises of the Middle Ages. He completed this virulent anti-Papal polemics in 1324. Marsiglio had taught at the University of Paris; in 1313, he had been its rector. When he was identified as the author of the "Defensor pacis," he fled Paris to the court of Lewis of Bavaria. Lewis was himself engaged in a protracted conflict with the Papacy and offered hospitality to the learned exile. 99 When Lewis had himself crowned Roman emperor in Rome in January of 1328, he appointed Marsiglio (who had accompanied him on his Italian expedition) as the “spiritual vicar of Rome. ” Because Lewis's imperial coronation is considered inspired by Marsiglio's ideas, the 'Defensor pacis' is regarded as a theoretical work that had “the fortunate privilege of being immediately put into practice in the historical and political reality of its day, albeit for a short time. ” 100 Not all historians, however, think Marsiglio's influence on Lewis a fortunate thing. The application of the Defensor pacis's theories, they maintain, ushered in a politics of violence against the Papacy, including a military campaign in

100 Black 1992, 58 (referring to J. Quillet, La philosophie politique de Marsile de Padoue [Paris, 1970]).
96 Regarding Jews, Engelbert wrote that they are persecuted now and will forever be persecuted by the blood of Christ, which they brought on themselves. Fowler 1947, 174.
97 See n. 49; McIlwain 1932, 274.
98 Ibid., 313 (McIlwain still considered John of Jandun the coauthor of the Defensor Pacis).
99 Cf. Pennington 1993b, 193–94; Lewis 1954, 2: 456–59.

Italy aimed at putting the Pope on trial and deposing him. 101 The coronation of Lewis was a “charade” that ended with the emperor's retreat. 102 But Marsiglio had had his brief moment of power. As imperial vicar in Rome, he persecuted those clergy who remained loyal to the Pope, and he acquired a reputation for cruelty. He may have indeed “enjoyed himself enormously at Rome. ” 103

A few months before Marsiglio assumed his vicariate in the eternal city, Pope John XXII had condemned him for teaching heresies in the Defensor pacis. 104 Soon after Marsiglio's death in 1343, Pope Clement VI also condemned the book, in which he detected 240 heretical opinions, as the most heretical work he had ever read. But whereas the Roman curia was unanimous in condemning the Defensor pacis, this cannot be said of the book's reception in later centuries. Marsiglio has been claimed by Protestants, liberals, democrats, and National Socialists alike as their predecessor. 105 He has been praised as a pioneer of popular sovereignty and originator of a concept of the state that embodies genuine democratic elements. 106 He has also been given bad press as an early inspirer of the modern totalitarian state. 107

Marsiglio's political philosophy has attracted great interest for its allegedly “modern character”, 108 and he has been admired as “in advance of its time. ” It is easy to agree that such a characterization is “foolish. ” 109 But Marsiglio has been tendentiously modernized and actualized. 110 Because “so many writers on Marsiglian thought have all too often taken the opportunity to interpret it in the dubious light of their own convictions for or against the Catholic Church, the lay State, democracy, liberalism, totalitarianism and whatever not”, studies of Marsiglio are notable for their frequent imposition of anachronisms. 111

101 Lagarde 1932, 468– 69.
102 Morrall 1971, 105.
103 Allen 1923, 191.
104 Licet iuxta doctrinam (Mirbt and Aland, Quellen, no. 755; trans. in Ozment 1980, 154).
105 See Segall 1959, 14; Ozment 1980, 155.
106 Cf. Gierke 1913, 46; Ullmann 1965, 204 ff.; Skinner 1978, 1: 65; Black 1992, 71. This view has been questioned, for example, in Lewis 1954, 1: 30, 256.
107 Cf. Gewirth 1956; Lagarde, Marsile de Padoue, vol. 2 of La naissance de l'esprit laïque au déclin de moyen âge (St. Paul-trois-Chateaux, 1934– 46), as summarized in Morrall 1971, 142.
108 Figgis 1922, 60– 61.
109 “[W]hen someone says that the thought of a book was far ahead of its time he really means that the view it expresses is nearer his own than the views of most people at that time were. ” Allen 1923, 172.
110 See Segall 1959.
111 Morrall 1971, 106.

Typical of such anachronisms are claims that with Marsiglio, “secularization attained the status of political ideology” and “the State” came of age. 112 The 'Defensor pacis' has been represented as the “ compendium of the rights of lay societies facing the Church”, and Marsiglio has been credited with formulating “something like the idea of the modern state. ” 113 Marsiglio, however, never used the term state. 114 What is commonly taken to be Marsiglio's theory of the “secular state” in the first of the three discourses of the 'Defensor pacis' is in fact a generic account of the origins and nature of political community, developed with extensive use of quotations from Aristotle. Marsiglio's use of Aristotle is another source of oversimplification and misunderstanding. Some believe that through “close reading of Aristotle, Marsilius made available the image of politics as the art of instituting and preserving a community of free and equal people under the rule of law. ” 115 It seems to me, however, that those scholars who question Marsiglio's dedication to Aristotelianism have the stronger argument. In their view, Marsiglio only cloaked the doctrines of the first discourse of the Defensor pacis in Aristotelian garb “in order to attract fellow schoolmen by demonstrating that opposition to the Papacy was an inescapable consequence of Aristotle's teaching. ” He colonized Aristotelian scholasticism in the name of antipapalism, and as a “Pope adversary who firmly relied on the Bible”, “forcibly adapted” Aristotle for his own purposes. 116

The Defensor pacis is a thoroughly medieval book. 117 Its “main purpose” was the “annihilation of the Papacy” 118 and refutation of any possible claim by the Church to have a say in ordering the civil community. Marsiglio's anticlericalism (about which there was “nothing really peculiar”) 119 should not be mistaken for secularism. He was not an antiChristian writer. There is no reason to doubt the sincerity of his adherence to the Holy Scriptures. 120 He was a self-styled herald of the Chris-

112 Le Goff 1990, 97; Morrall 1971, chap. 7.
113 Lagarde 1932, 464; Black 1992, 67.
114 Cf. Morrall 1971, 106. For problems concerning the translation of Marsiglian terms into English and German, see Segall 1959, 64 (who suggested that “das Wort 'Staat' … durch die Ausdrücke 'Gesamtheit' oder 'Gemeinschaft der Bürger' ersetzt [werden sollte]”); Gewirth 1980, lxxvi ff. In my citations of Gewirth's translation, checked against Scholz's ed., I render regnum as “kingdom” and civitas as “city. ”
115 Viroli 1992, 52.
116 Segall 1959, 46– 47, 50; Nederman 1993, xxi.
117 Carlyle and Carlyle 1903–36, 6: 9–10; Allen 1923, 172.
118 Setton 1976, 171.
119 Allen 1923, 172–73; Segall 1959, 38–39, 41.
120 Cf. Defensor pacis II, v,8; II, xix,2. (I cite Gewirth's translation, with changes mentioned in n. 114.) Marsiglio “believed that all the valid claims of Christianity would be satisfied by his solution. ” Lewis 1954, 2: 544. The Defensor Pacis “[will] die Grundfesten des Glaubens weder verrücken noch erschütern. ” Segall 1959, 27; cf. 28, 43 ff.

tian truth, 121 who regarded the Papacy's claims to temporal power as the work of the devil 122 and his own negation of those claims as godly work. He opposed the Papal monarchy in the name of peace. He called his famous work the Defender of Peace because, in his words, “it discusses and explains the principal causes whereby civil peace or tranquillity exists and is preserved, and whereby the opposed strife arises and is checked and destroyed. ” 123 His principal aim was to demonstrate that “tranquillity or peace” is the benefit and fruit of a well-ordered civil community. 124 The peace he defended was thus “civil peace” (civilis pax sive tranquillitas). 125 But this civil peace he understood as pax Christi and his use of the notion of pax et tranquillitas placed him firmly within medieval conventions. 126 The intonation of Marsiglio's exploration of peace with Jesus's words, citing all four evangelists, 127 was not dissimulation.

Marsiglio's defense of peace was intimately linked to his fundamentalist antipapalism and anticlericalism because he considered the Church as corpus juridicum and its striving for temporal power as the main threat to civil order and, therefore, the worst enemy of peace. 128 His leading

121 Defensor Pacis II, xxv,18.
122 Ibid., II, xxv,7. Pope John XXII, too, called Marsiglio and John of Jandun (who had long been considered the coauthor) “filii Belial. ” Licet iuxta doctrinam(Mirbt and Aland, Quellen, no. 755).
123 Defensor pacis III, iii.
124 Seeing pax et concordia as “the most desirable effects of just government” was typical of the early trecento political thought. N. Rubinstein, “Political Ideas in Sienese Art: The Frescoes by Ambrogio Lorenzetti and Taddeo di Bartolo in the Palazzo Pubblico”, Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes 21 (1958), criticized in Skinner 1978, 1: 57. Skinner understands Marsiglio as saying that “just government is the effect of which pax is taken to be the precondition. ” Cf. Gewirth 1956, 95 ff. (maintaining that Marsiglio departed from the notion of peace as “concord”); Rubinstein 1965, 55 ff. 125 Defensor pacis III, iii. For A. Dempf, Sacrum imperium (Munich and Berlin, 1929), 450, Marsiglio's peace was “Ruhe als Bürgerpflicht. ” Cited in Segall 1959, 20.
126 Segall 1959, 19, 23 (polemicizing with Gewirth 1956, 95–98). For a discussion of peace in contemporary Italian republican tracts, see Gewirth 1956, 55 ff.; Davis 1959; Skinner 1978, 1: 56 ff.; 1986;
127 Lk 2.14; Jn 20.19; 14, 27; Mk 9.50; Mt 10.12. See Defensor pacis I, i,1.
128 It appears unwarranted to regard “the specific problems of the Italian City Republics”, especially the “prevalence of faction”, as the context in which Marsiglio's work is to be analyzed. Skinner 1978, 1: 57– 65. Cf. id. 1986, 1; Rubinstein 1965. Rather than with the “factious disturbances” of Italian cities, Marsiglio was occupied with the socalled church-state conflicts. The whole thrust of his argument was directed against the plurality of overlapping jurisdictions, and his “practical interests” were completely absorbed with the need to eliminate the coercive jurisdiction of the Church. See Ozment 1980, 150; Morrall 1971, 104. For the conflict between Philip IV and Boniface VIII as an important inspiration for Marsiglio, cf. Riezler 1874, 227; Lagarde 1932; Segall 1959, 31; Rubinstein 1965, 44; Oakley 1991, 45– 46. See also Defensor pacis I, xix,10; II, v,5; II, xviii,18; II, xx,8–9; II, xxi,9, 14.

thought, expressed time and time again, was that “it is necessary for the peace of the city or polity [necessarium est ad civilitatis seu policie quietem] that every bishop, priest, and clergyman be subject to the coercive judgement of the rulers in accordance with human law. ” 129

Marsiglio defined the priesthood as one of the offices, or parts, of the political community. 130 By incorporating the priesthood into the civil order, Marsiglio, right at the beginning of the 'Defensor pacis', stepped out of the conventional discussion of power, which was focused on the relation between the temporal /secular and the spiritual /sacerdotal powers. 131 This alone distinguished him from other fourteenth-century opponents of the Pope, who “continued to assert some variant of Gelasian theory. ” 132 Marsiglio's concept of civil power was all-inclusive: spiritual power ceased to exist as a power and the notion of secular power was obliterated as well. Next, he subordinated the priesthood to the government, or the ruling part of civil community, as civil community's first and most important part. This subordination was unquestionable, unless the very civil order were threatened, since the existence of the civil order depended on the government's establishing and differentiating the other, subordinate parts of civil community so that each could perform its proper function without disruptive interference from the rest. Within this scheme, the government exercised coercive jurisdiction in accordance with the law made by the “human legislator”: by the people, or the whole body of citizens (universitas civium), or its “weightier part” (valencior pars). 133

Marsiglio's definition of the human legislator as the primary and proper efficient cause of civil community, and more specifically, as the body with the efficient power to establish or elect government, 134 simply and elegantly erased any role for the Church in instituting civil power. Once defined as an office within civil community, the priesthood was not

129 Ibid., II, xxx,5.
130 Ibid., I, v.
131 Cf. Gewirth 1956, 92–93.
132 Lewis 1954, 2: 540.
133 Defensor pacis, I, xi,1; xii,3; cf. I, xii,5. Elusive as the concept of valencior pars is (see Segall 1959, 65– 67; Gewirth 1956, 182 ff.), the “human legislator” is “highly inclusive”, at least by medieval standards, with regard to its social composition (Nederman 1993, xxi–xxii). It encompasses all free male adults regardless of social or economic status, and excludes “children, slaves, aliens, and women. ” Defensor minor II,7; Defensor pacis I, xii,4.
134 134. Ibid., I, vii,3; I, xv,2; II, xv,1.

only prevented from rising above the civil community but was subordinated to its laws. Because coercive jurisdiction belonged to the government—and the supreme government “must necessarily be one in number, not many, if the kingdom or city is to be rightly ordered” 135 —all ecclesiastical persons were excluded from exercising temporal jurisdiction and subjected to the coercive power of civil government. 136 Any attempt by the priesthood to exercise coercive judgment itself would amount to interference with government and impediment to its proper functioning, leading to disturbances of civil government and finally to the worst of all evils, civil death. 137

Complementary to Marsiglio's definition of civil community was his concept of the Church. The Church was the universitas fidelium: “the whole body of the faithful who believe in and invoke the name of Christ, and all the parts of this whole body in any community, even the household. ” Should the priests appropriate for themselves the name Church, they would be “abusing the word in order to advance fraudulently their own temporal well-being to the detriment of others. ” Since it was not the “ministers of the temple” alone who were the Church, “all the Christian faithful, both priests and non-priests, are and should be called churchmen. ” 138 With any Christian believer set equal with priests and with all the faithful regarded as churchmen of the Marsiglian Church, the Church as a clerical institution ceased to exist. Once the Church as corpus juridicum was dissolved into the universitas fidelium, what distinguished the priests from lay believers and made them a separate civil body, the priesthood, was purely their priestly office in the civil community. They were priests because they dutifully had to perform a specific civil service.

Both Marsiglio's definition of political community and his concept of the Church were informed by the desire to thwart any attempt by the Church to play a role in ordering civil affairs. His account of the nature of civil community in the first discourse of the Defensor pacis, it is true, was abstract and applicable to any “assemblage of men”, 139 to any form of polity, be it city, province, kingdom, and empire, or at least to “every species of temperate regime. ” 140 But at the close of the first discourse,

135 Ibid., I, xvii,2.
136 Ibid., I, xix,12; II, iv, v.
137 Ibid., II, xxiv,15; xxv,14; xxiii,11; xxvi,12.
138 Ibid., II, ii,3.
139 Ibid., I, xvii,9.
140 Ibid., I, ii,2. It seems to me that there is little basis in the Defensor pacis itself to justify its interpretation as a vindication of the city republics, much as Marsiglio's argument may have been influenced by their experience. Cf. n. 128; Gewirth 1956; Segall 1959, 51 ff.; Rubinstein 1965; Morrall 1971, 104 ff.; Black 1992, 59; Canning 1996, 157. Rubinstein 1965, 69, himself noted that Marsiglio was reluctant “to commit himself to an opinion on the best constitution. ”

his argument switched from the generic to the highly specific: the Papacy was expressly made the main target of Marsiglio's writing. He considered the Papacy's desire for temporal power and wealth the “singular cause of wars” and the principal menace to civil order. That “pestilence” was “the common enemy of the human race”, 141 endangering all kingdoms and cities. Marsiglio most frequently mentioned Italian kingdoms and cities as suffering from the interference of papal politics. 142 He also dedicated a whole chapter to Papal meddling with the affairs of the Empire 143 and referred to the French king's valiant struggle against the Pope. 144 He pictured the Pope as stealthily worming his way “through all the kingdoms in the world”, stating that if the Pope's insatiable desire for power went unchallenged, this would allow “the root of all governments to be cut up, and the bond and nexus of every city [civilitas] and kingdom to be destroyed. ” 145 Marsiglio was convinced that it was his own Christian duty to unravel this “hidden malignity” and “pernicious pestilence”, so “completely opposed to all the peace and happiness of man”, 146 and called for “the coercive power of rulers” to “enter upon the final rout of the shameful patrons and stubborn defenders of this evil. ” 147 His generic definition of civil community served as the basis for marshalling the support of all civil powers for the struggle against the Papacy.

The struggle to exclude ecclesiastical persons from exercising temporal jurisdiction was in the vital interest of any civil authority, and following from Marsiglio's definition of civil community, it was an imperative. But he did not want to rest his argument there. Drawing on Christian authorities, 148 he demolished both the concept of Papal fullness of power, which legitimized the Pope's appetite for power, and the notion of the

141 Defensor pacis I, i,3–5.
142 Ibid., I, i,2; I, xix,4,11–12; II, xxiii,11; II, xxv,14–5; II, xxvi,19.
143 Ibid., II, xxvi; cf. I, xix,8,11–12; II, xxv,10–16.
144 For Marsiglio, Philip IV was “of bright memory. ” Ibid., I, xix,10; II, xvii,17; II, xx,8–9; II, xxi,9.
145 Ibid., II, xxvi,13,15; cf. I, xix,12.
146 Ibid., I, xix,4,13. “Following the example of Christ”, he wrote, “we must strive to teach the truth whereby the aforesaid pestilence of civil regimes may be warded off from the human race, especially the worshipers of Christ—the truth which leads to the salvation of civil life, and which also is of no little help for eternal salvation. ” Ibid., I, i,5 147 Ibid., I, i,5; cf. I, xix,13.
148 Cf. ibid., lxii–lxiv. In these anti-Papal polemics, Aristotle appeared rarely, and when he did, it was as “the wise Gentile. ” Ibid., II, xxiv,15; cf. Scholz 1932, lxi–lxii.

Petrine commission, upon which rested the idea of Papal plenitudo potestatis (plenitude of power). 149 Having done away with that “sophistic opinion, wearing the guise of the honourable and beneficial”, upon which the Papal claims for temporal power were based, 150 Marsiglio could more effectively assert that “the office of coercive rulership” over any individual, community, or group “does not belong to the Roman or any other bishop, priest or spiritual minister”, and that all ecclesiastical persons should be subject to the coercive power of secular rulers. 151 For ecclesiastical persons only had the power to administer sacraments, which is uncoercive. 152

More important still for buttressing his anti-Papal argument was Marsiglio's concept of the Church. He uncompromisingly drew out the consequences of his concept of the priesthood as civil service and of his conceptual dissolution of the Church as a clerical corporation into the community of all the faithful. All the priests, the Pope included, were to be elected and appointed to their office—one of the “offices of the city”— by the human legislator. 153 This was a view subversive of the entire ecclesiastical hierarchical structure. 154 In the face of the ultimate authority of the human legislator, all priests were equal; they were all subjects of the government. But priests were equal in their “essential” or “inseparable” authority as priests as well; that authority was “the same in kind among all priests”, and the “Roman or any other bishop” had no more of it than had “any simple priest. ” 155 Having thus made the Pope “essentially” equal to any other priest, Marsiglio still wanted to do away with the Pope's privileged position among bishops. Because bishops as the successors of the apostles were equal among themselves just as the apostles had been, the Pope as the bishop of Rome had no coercive power over them. In their own “priestly household”, no particular bishop had coercive juridical authority or power over his fellow bishops or priests. 156 Marsiglio, in his thoughts, annihilated the Papal monarch, allowing him

149 Defensor pacis I, xix,12; II, iii, xvi, xxiii; cf. II, xxiv–xxvi; Defensor minor XI.
150 Defensor pacis I, i,3–5.
151 Ibid., I, xix,12; II, iv–v.
152 Ibid., II, vi–x.
153 Ibid., I, xix,6; II, xvi,1; II, xvii,8 ff. This involved the prerogative to determine the number of clergymen, “lest by their undue increase they be able to resist the ruler's coercive power, or otherwise disturb the polity, or deprive the city or kingdom of its welfare by their insolence and their freedom from necessary tasks. ” Ibid., II, viii,9. For the election of the Pope, the “head bishop”, see ibid., II, xxii,11.
154 Gewirth 1956, 262.
155 Defensor pacis II, xv,4.
156 Ibid., II, xvi,1,8.

and other bishops to survive as managers or stewards (oeconomi) 157 of the sacerdotal department of the political community.

Once elected to their posts, priests would not have a free hand in exercising their office. The human legislator, or the government instituted by the legislator, had the final say in a number of sacerdotal matters affecting civil life, such as excommunications, 158 the persecution of heretics, 159 the canonization and veneration of saints, 160 the dissolution of marriage or the removal of impediments to a marriage within a certain degree of consanguinity, 161 the determination of the meaning of doubtful sentences of the Holy Scripture, and the definition of the articles of faith. 162 This last task was assigned to a general council of the faithful, composed of priests and laymen elected and summoned by the human legislator, who also was to enforce the council's decision. 163 Finally, no ecclesiastical person was to be allowed to bestow teaching licenses, since this prerogative had enabled bishops to “subject to themselves colleges of learned men, taking them away from the secular rulers, and use them as no slight but rather powerful instruments for perpetrating and defending their usurpations against the secular rulers. ” Teaching appointments were to be a domain of the human legislator, so that the learned and the wise would serve the civil government and become a prime aid for “stabilizing and defending governments and constitutions. ” 164

When Marsiglio began to discuss these matters—that is, when he moved from the realm of generic politico-theoretical discourse to his specific attack on the Papacy—an essential transition occurred in his argument. The “human legislator” metamorphosed into the “faithful (human) legislator”, legislator humanus fidelis, and the whole body of citizens, universitas civium, became faithful: universitas civium fidelium. The relation between the two categories may be seen as “largely” coex-

157 See Defensor minor IV, 3; cf. Defensor pacis II, xxii, 6.
158 Ibid., II, vi,11 ff.; Defensor minor X. Marsiglio's particular concern in this context was to dogmatically preclude the possibility of the papal excommunication of Christian rulers and of absolving the subjects from the oath binding them to their ruler. Cf. ibid., VIII–IX.
159 Defensor pacis II, x.
160 Ibid., II, xxi,15.
161 De matrimonio and Forma dispensationis super affinitatem consanguinitatis, incorporated as the last four chapters into the Defensor minor. (The “secular” background for writing these two treatises was Emperor Lewis's engineering of such a legally delicate marriage for his son.) See especially Defensor minor XV–XVI.
162 Defensor pacis II, xviii,8; II, xix,3; II, xx.
163 Ibid., II, xx–xxi.
164 Ibid., II, xxi,15.

tensive 165 and as having a common fundamentum in re. 166 It is unclear whether they corresponded “entirely” and whether all their members were “the same. ” 167 For inclusive as the concept of human legislator may have been, 168 the “faithful (human) legislator” was clearly broader yet. But Marsiglio did not elaborate upon the problematic relationship between the human legislator and the faithful human legislator, or between the whole body of the citizens and the whole body of the faithful. He simply used the concept of faithful legislator analogously with the concept of human legislator. 169 This analogy allowed him to employ the logic by means of which he had constructed polity in the first, more generic, discourse of the Defensor pacis to take apart the Church in the more practical and political second discourse. This conceptual demolition of the Church had been, it seems, the aim of Marsiglio's enterprise. But because the faithful legislator had the fundamentum in re in common with the human legislator, Marsiglio's discussion of the faithful legislator, specific as it may have been, rebounded on his generic theory of polity. With the demolition of the ecclesiastical hierarchy in the second discourse of the Defensor pacis, the political community qua political community of the first discourse acquired the distinctive traits of Christian polity.

Marsiglio conceptualized a polity with differentiated offices in which the Church ceased to exist while religion permeated the political community as a whole. The dissolution of the Church as a clerical corporation (which the denial of temporal, coercive jurisdiction to the Church, based on the postulate that the supreme government must be one in number, did not logically necessitate) resulted in a transformation of the civil community into a church. Developing his argument in conscious opposition to Boniface's Unam sanctam, Marsiglio constructed a new “one and holy” Church, a popular and healthy “mystical body of Christ”, 170 into which transmigrated the fullness of power (once the papal monarchy had conceptually been eliminated). 171 This structureless

165 Gewirth 1956, 291.
166 Segall 1959, 70.
167 Gewirth 1956, 291; Lewis 1954, 2: 545.
168 See n. 133.
169 Black 1992, 67– 68, sees the faithful legislator as “doubling” the human legislator.
170 In Marsiglio's view, the Church's claim to coercive jurisdiction made the mystical body of Christ ill. Defensor pacis II, xxiv,2,11,15.
171 Watt 1988, 421; Lewis 1954, 2: 545. Cf. Hay 1977, 17. For Marsiglio's slandering of the Unam sanctam, see Defensor pacis II, xx,8; II, xxv,15. (Against Boniface, Marsiglio even praised a papal statement, namely Clement V's denunciation of the Unam sanctam.)

“lay church” 172 became the effective cause of the polity. The people as the human legislator, the ultimate source of political community, were the faithful, Christian people. Marsiglio's theory had set out to explain the origin of political community as natural. But as it unfolded, it incorporated the true faith into the very foundations of polity.

Just how much the generic polity was transfigured into Christian polity, and just how much the generic principles on which was organized the political community as political community were transmuted into principles of Christian political communities called “perfect”, becomes very clear when Marsiglio addresses the question of infidel rulers. One of his absolute principles of political community, postulating unquestioned subjection of civil community's members to the ruler, was not necessarily binding for the faithful living under infidel rulers. Significant in this context is Marsiglio's formulation of the imperative that “the church and all the Christian faithful must be subject to secular rulers, especially faithful ones. ” 173 The word “especially” specified that the Church and the faithful must be subject to Christian secular princes and thus relativized the imperative and permitted its suspension under certain conditions. For example, “in a place where the legislator and the ruler by its authority were infidel”, the priest alone or together with the “sounder part of the faithful multitude” would be allowed to appoint prelates or curates “without any consent or knowledge on the part of the ruler”, especially if doing so might lead to the “spreading of Christ's faith and salutary doctrine among the people. ” 174 (To act this way was, to be sure, “in default of the legislator”, 175 not in default of Marsiglio's doctrine.)

Consistent with his generic theory of political community, Marsiglio wrote that even infidel rulers ought to be obeyed. 176 But since Christian polity was the perfect political community, the imperative was, once again, relativized. It applied, Marsiglio argued, only in “those cases where obedience is not contrary to divine law in word or deed. ” 177 In principle, divine law and human law should be consistent and reinforce each other. In this sense, “divine law commands obedience to human rulers and laws”—but only to those “which are not contrary to divine

172 Cf. Morrison 1969, 357.
173 Defensor pacis II, v,7.
174 Ibid., II, xvii,15.
175 Ibid.
176 Ibid., II, v,5, 8; II, xxviii,17.
177 Ibid., II, xxvi,13.

law. ” 178 If prescriptions of human and divine laws conflict, “then one ought to observe the precepts of divine law, condemning or dismissing human law or its contrary precept or permission since the precepts of divine law contain infallible truth, whereas human law does not encompass this. ” 179 But because there is only one true divine law, Christian law 180 —with other religions at best containing certain elements of the (Christian) truth 181 —it is only in a Christian political community that divine and human laws can be in concord and that the legislator can be not “in default. ”

The implication that, ultimately, it is only Christians who can form and maintain perfect political communities may help explain Marsiglio's vagueness as to the form of government. His polity falls short of being a genus and fails to appear as a species: it is a family, the family of Christian political communities. One can imagine any Christian political community conforming to his definition of the nature and purpose of the political community. But it is impossible, in the end, to characterize Marsiglio's doctrine as a departure from either medieval tendency: particularism or universalism. 182 True enough, his insistence on the numerical unity of government abolished the plurality of jurisdictions within political communities. But he still left the door open to a plurality of political communities, without saying anything about how relations among them should be organized. At one point Marsiglio mentioned that “some rulers perhaps claim exemption from the authority of the ruler of the Romans”, but he did not give his own opinion on the matter, 183 and on the whole, the relations of the empire to regna and civitates in his writings “remained indefinite. ” 184 His concern with order within the Christian family did not go beyond an ardent desire to suppress Papal ambitions for rulership. As a fighter against the Papal monarchy, Marsiglio departed from one form of medieval universalism. But the same cannot be said with respect to the other form of medieval universalist rule: the empire.

178 Defensor minor VIII,3.
179 Ibid., XIII,6.
180 Defensor pacis I, x,3.
181 At one point, the Qur'an is said to contain “certain elements common to the law of Moses and the Gospel. ” De translatione imperii III. (From this conciliatory view it followed that Muhammad was an apostate. Ibid., IV.) Defensor pacis I, x,3 denies that religions (sectae) “of Mohammed or of the Persians” contain the truth. Defensor minor XII,4 argues that the Greeks “ought not to be judged schismatics”, but De translatione III presents them as having knowingly fallen into diverse errors.
182 Cf. Gewirth 1956, 126.
183 Defensor pacis II, xxv,17.
184 Lewis 1954, 2: 459.

On the desirability of one supreme government in the world, Marsiglio gave answers that were sometimes negative, sometimes affirmative, and sometimes—by avoiding discussion of the problem—neutral. 185 In his negative bent, he argued that it was neither expedient nor necessary to have a numerically single head of the entire world. “For in order that men may live together in peace, it is sufficient that there be a numerically single government in each province…. But that it is necessary for eternal salvation that there be one coercive judge over all men does not yet seem to have been demonstrated, although this seems more necessary for the believers than that there be one universal bishop, because a universal ruler can better preserve the believers in unity than can a universal bishop. ” 186 Moreover, because a single world government would establish peaceful coexistence of men and abolish wars, Marsiglio feared that it might cause excessive procreation of men. In his view, wars were a means (in addition to epidemics) by which nature “moderated the procreation of men and the other animals in order that the earth may suffice for their nurture. ” 187

Even in his rejection of world monarchy, Marsiglio expressed a preference for the empire over the papal monarchy. A clearly affirmative view of world government is to be found in Marsiglio's writings subsequent to the Defensor pacis. In the De translatione imperii—a treatise which is, “to all intents and purposes, a copy of Landulfus Collona's De statu et mutatione Romani imperii, with Landulfus's papalist arguments reversed” 188 —Marsiglio described the transfer of the empire, meaning “a universal or general monarchy over the whole world”, 189 from Rome to Greece to the Franks to the Germans. Here he did not question the imperial idea. To the contrary, he accepted the ideal of the pax romana: the image of all the “kings, princes and tyrants of the age with all their people”, subject to the Roman rule, living in ease and enjoying “the blessings of peace. ” 190 That “peaceful lordship” was broken when the peoples of the East seceded from Latin rule, breaking not only with the imperial government but also with Christianity.

The secession of the eastern peoples from the empire was caused by

185 E.g., Defensor pacis I, xvii,10.
186 Ibid., II, xxviii,15.
187 Ibid., I, xvii,10.
188 Rubinstein 1965, 44 n. 2.
189 De translatione I.
190 Ibid. The enjoyment of “sweet fruits of peace” enabled the “inhabitants of Italy” to bring “the entire habitable world under their sway. ” Defensor pacis I, i,2.

the prophet Muhammad: “But so as to set aside their obedience to the Roman Empire irrevocably, following the advice of Mahomet, who at that time was allied with rich and powerful Persians, they adopted a different religion, so that on account of different beliefs and faiths or sects they would not return to this first lordship from the other one. ” 191 For a moment, “this Mahomet” appeared as prudent, but Marsiglio immediately fell back into the familiar pattern of portraying him as an impostor who, by “trickeries, by his own power, by a loosening of the laws concerning matters of sexual desire, and by promising much for the future, … seduced many nations and by the power of arms compelled them to follow him in his apostasy. ” Muhammad's followers were the peoples “who had taken up arms against the Empire”, spread with violence from Arabia through Egypt to Africa and Spain, compelled “whatever territories they occupied to follow the law of Mahomet”, and “multiplied beyond number. ” 192 They were the anti-empire.

In the Defensor minor, Marsiglio's last word on the matter, his proimperial stance is even clearer. Here Marsiglio argued that the supreme human legislator, especially from the time of Christ up to the present, “was and is and ought to be the community [universitas] of human beings who ought to be subject to the precepts of coercive laws, or their greater part, in each region and province. And since this power or authority was transferred by the communities of the provinces, or their greater part, to the Roman people in accordance with their exceeding virtue, the Roman people have and had the authority to legislate over all of the world's provinces. ” The empire—universal legislation by the Roman people and its rulers—was thus to endure until it might be revoked from the Romans by the communities of the provinces that had once transferred their own legislative authority to the Romans, or by the Roman people itself from its ruler. 193 That, of course, had not yet happened. In this late work Marsiglio even claimed that he had given evidence—in the Defensor pacis—supporting the view that the Roman people and ruler “exercised a just monarchy over the whole of the world's provinces. ” 194 Moreover, in contrast to his earlier view that the Romans “sent their armies all over the world with such courage and might and crushed all the kingdoms of the world by their strength”, 195 he now felt

191 De translatione III. The Greeks followed the same pattern.
192 Ibid., IV.
193 Defensor minor XII,1.
194 Ibid., XII,2 (referring to Defensor pacis II, iv–v).
195 195. De translatione I.

he had to strengthen his pro-imperial argument by refuting the objection raised by “some people” 196 that “the lordship [dominium] of the Roman people as well as their rulers had been violent and had originated out of violence. For although the Roman people sometimes coerced certain wicked peoples who willed to live unjustly and barbarously, still it did not subject the whole of the provinces or their greater parts by means of violence. ” 197

Also driving Marsiglio's “politics” toward universalist rule was his concept of the Church. 198 With the people as legislator coeval with the Church, the one and universal Christian faith was built into the foundations of the political community itself. The oneness of the faith was not threatened by Marsiglio's conceptual deposition of the Pope. He viewed as invalid the analogy between the necessity for the numerical unity of coercive jurisdiction in political community on the one hand and, on the other, the need for such a unity within the Church. 199 But with the papal monarchy ruled out, the question of the “universal church”, that is, the question of the unity of Christianity, remained unsolved. Marsiglio had to suggest how the affairs of “all the church offices in the world” could be managed. Thoroughly medieval in his views, 200 he argued that decisions concerning the “universal church”—for example, defining the articles of universal faith or excommunicating Christian rulers or provinces—could only be made by the “supreme faithful legislator” (who was also described as “universal” or “primary”) or the “general council of Christians. ” 201 But to summon a general council lay within the authority of the faithful human legislator who had no superior (superiore carentis), or those to whom this legislator had granted such authority. 202

The unity of Christianity as the true and universal faith required a unitary universal human legislative authority, a preeminent civil, even if religious, power: the supreme faithful legislator. Once Marsiglio introduced the primacy of the supreme faithful legislator, the possibility was

196 One of them was John of Paris. Cf. n. 241. Lagarde 1932, 478–79, thinks that Marsiglio did not know John's work.
197 Defensor minor XII,3.
198 Cf. Gewirth 1956, 129 ff.
199 Defensor pacis II, xxviii,13–14.
200 Lewis 1954, 2: 457.
201 Defensor pacis II, xxi,9; Defensor minor XI. On supremus, or universalis, or primus “humanus fidelis legislator”, see Defensor pacis II, xviii,8; II, xxi,8.
202 Ibid., II, xviii,8.

open for the traditional figure of the emperor (who was juristically equivalent to the legislator) 203 to assume this newly defined universal rule. It is true that Marsiglio, whose position on the question of the empire (especially in the Defensor pacis) was “far from clear or consistent”, 204 recognized the necessity of a universal legislator rather obliquely. There are only indications that his supremus legislator fidelis referred to the universal authority of the Holy Roman Empire. 205 He never spelled out relations between the supreme faithful legislator and territorially based (if territorially unspecified) faithful legislators, nor did he specify the relationship between the “universal church” and universitas fidelium. But even if obliquely, Marsiglio brought the emperor back in. 206

When Marsiglio discussed the crusade, however, the emperor came directly and clearly to the fore as the rightful ruler not only of the Christian political family or the universal church, but also of the world outside. Even if Marsiglio did not deal with the crusade systematically, the crusade was integrated into his doctrinal system. Since he rejected the papal monarchy, Marsiglio placed the crusade under the authority of the human and faithful legislator. He denied the Pope the right to remit sins, for the total or partial forgiveness of sins was reserved for no one but God, “who alone knows the inner condition of sinners and the hearts of penitents as well as the quality or quantity of the penance to be offered by those who are deserving or blameworthy. ” 207 He also disallowed the Pope the power to grant “certain immunities from public or civil burdens”, 208 to confer indulgence of punishment in the future world upon those “who travel across the ocean in order to subdue or otherwise constrain the infidels”, 209 and to absolve the faithful from a vow. 210 Denying these rights to the Pope meant negating the papal authority to organize the crusade. “[I]f a foreign journey is made or will be made in order to subdue or restrain infidels for the sake of the Christian faith, then

203 Lewis 1954, 1: 28.
204 Gewirth 1956, 131; Lewis 1954, 2: 457; cf. 459.
206 The logic of Marsiglio's argument is well depicted in Lewis 1954, 2: 543. Cf. Landry 1929, 156 (seeing the Defensor pacis as opposing “un monisme impérial” to “monisme papal”); Watt 1988, 387 (speaking of a reasoned exposition of the imperial ideology); Black 1992, 68; Canning 1996, 157–58. Defensor pacis, 272 n. 21. He did, however, refer to the supremus Imperii Romani humanus legislator. Ibid., II, xxx,8. Cf. Gewirth 1956, 131.
207 Defensor minor VII,4.
208 Defensor pacis II, ix,9.
209 Defensor minor V,3.
210 Ibid., IV,3; V,3– 4; VII,1,4; VIII,1.

such a foreign journey would in no way seem to be meritorious”, Marsiglio argued. “But if such a foreign journey is to be made in order to obey the Roman ruler and people in civil precepts and in order that the tribute owed to them may be surrendered, as is their right, then I think that such a trip should be considered meritorious for the sake of the peace and tranquillity of all who live civilly. ” 211

Defining the purpose of the crusade as “the aiding of the republic”, Marsiglio repudiated the crusade as an instrument of priestly power, but he did not renounce its religious merit. The “overseas crossing” retained a “pious purpose”; 212 and because the crusade was an eminently pious deed, Marsiglio could use it as a weapon against the Pope (whom he saw as impious). He denounced bishops, especially those in Rome, for neglecting “almost entirely the defense of the true bride, that is, the faith, … taking no measures to prevent her from being destroyed through vicious practices or acts, or through attack by infidels. ” 213 Marsiglio leveled the same words of criticism specifically against Pope John XXII, invoking as his witnesses the king and kingdom of Armenia. 214 With reference to his crusading policy, John was also accused of bringing about the eternal confusion and destruction of the Christians. Marsiglio singled out as “the most vicious and most gravely harmful of all the acts of this present Roman bishop” his use of the crusade against the emperor and his supporters: “[H]e has issued oral and written pronouncements 'absolving from all guilt and punishment' every soldier, in cavalry or in infantry, that has waged war at a certain time against those Christian believers who maintain steadfast and resolute subjection and obedience to the Roman ruler. ” And “what is horrible to hear, this bishop declares that such action is just as pleasing in God's sight as fighting the heathen overseas. ” 215 Moreover, the Pope also unjustly laid claim to and tried to make “vicious use” of the temporal funds that had been bequeathed for “the cause of religion, such as for crossing overseas. ” 216 All temporal goods set aside for religious purposes, “such as legacies bequeathed for overseas crossing to resist the infidels”, were to be “dis-

211 Ibid., VII,3.
212 Defensor pacis II, xxiv,16.
213 Ibid., II, xxix,11.
214 Ibid., II, xxviii,18. On Armenian pleas for help and on plans for a crusade to help them, cf. Housley 1986, 21 ff., 30–31; 1992, chap. 6; Edbury 1991, chap. 6.
215 Defensor pacis II, xxvi,16. Popes fomented wars among the Christians (spending wealth on mercenary soldiers) in order that they may in the end be able to subject the faithful to their own tyrannical power. Ibid., II, xxiv,11.
216 Ibid., II, xxiv,16; II, xxvi,16.

tributed only by the ruler in accordance with the designation of the legislator and the intention of the donor. ” 217

Marsiglio's charge that the Pope had neglected the Crusade overseas is, of course, at odds with the principles of his doctrine, which precluded the Pope from organizing the crusade. The charge also contradicted Marsiglio's insistence on the traditional ban on the use of arms by clerics, including the illicitness of priests and bishops ordering others to take up arms on their behalf. 218 But such charges were a powerful propaganda weapon not to be left unused for the sake of theoretical consistency. And in any event, for Marsiglio the crusade was more than an idea to be used for propagandistic purposes. His remarks on the crusade succinctly summarize the crusade idea and show that he was well acquainted with the crusading movement. Incorporated into his doctrine, the crusade became a pious and meritorious war fought for civil purposes, “for the sake of the peace and tranquillity of all who live civilly”, to exact the tribute owed to the universal faithful ruler, 219 and to bring about civil peace worldwide.

Only with Marsiglio can one speak of “political crusades” in the strict sense of the word. 220 Understood politically, as a civil mission, the crusade was to be directed against the peoples who appeared to Marsiglio as “hateful foreign nations”, “wicked”, and “stupid in an absolute sense”—that is, because they did not know the true God. 221 But most importantly, these non-Christian peoples lacked civility. They were used to living under despots because of their “barbaric and slavish nature and the influence of custom. ” They were willing “to live unjustly and barbarously”, 222 while peace and tranquillity were only to be enjoyed by those “who live civilly. ” With Marsiglio, the infidels became civil enemies of the Christian polity.


The world order was being reshaped at the turn of the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. But established ideas of “the right order in the world”

217 Ibid., III, ii,28.
218 Ibid., II, xxv,5.
219 See n. 211. As such, the crusade was not affected by Marsiglio's rejection of the compulsion to faith (Defensor pacis II, v,6–7; II, ix,2,5,7; Defensor minor III,2).
220 The term political Crusades was made popular by Strayer 1992 (1st ed. 1971).
221 The deicidal Jews he called malicious and insane. Defensor pacis I, i,2; I, xiii,4; I, xix,4; Defensor minor XII,3.
222 Defensor pacis I, ix,4; Defensor minor XII,3.

were not discarded overnight. As we have seen, the old universalism retained “a quite remarkable degree of currency” in fourteenth-century political thought. 223 This century, however, also witnessed the first serious questioning of universal power as such.

The advocates and defenders of empire believed world monarchy was necessary for the reign of peace. In support of their belief, they often referred to the pax romana. Their idealized image of the Roman Empire as a pacifying force bringing peace to the whole world had been cultivated by imperial apologists since the reestablishment of the western empire under the Carolingians. Dante, as we have seen, was a devotee of the idea of “Roman peace. ” Under Emperor Augustus, he maintained, mankind had been “resting happily in universal peace. ” 224 Marsiglio of Padua wrote, in a similar vein, that under Roman imperial rule all had enjoyed “the blessings of peace. ” 225 Engelbert of Admont, however, under the influence of Augustine's concept of the civitas terrena and his critical judgment of the Roman Empire in particular, relativized the pax romana ideal. Augustinian “pessimism” about the earthly city colored Engelbert's reflections on empire as well. If empire was the most perfect regnum, as a terrestrial regnum it could only be imperfect. Peace was thus something it could ever strive for but never fully achieve.

The idealized image of “Roman peace” fared much worse at the hands of French royalist propagandists from the beginning of the fourteenth century—not because they disagreed with the idea of universal peace, but because that universal peace had been Roman and not French. Obsessed as they were with the mystique of French kingship and kingdom, and driven by the idée fixe of the universal mission of their “most Christian” king and people, they could not feel at rest until pax romana had been replaced by pax gallica. Universal peace remained the ideal, but now this peace was to be made and kept by the king—by the French king, that is, since the ideal peace could only be realized by the ideal king.

Refutation of the “Roman peace” went hand in hand with rejection of empire. By the time the idea of empire came to be contested by the king's asserting himself as the supreme authority within the territory of his rule, the western “Holy Roman” empire had reclaimed its Roman lineage. As such, the empire in the West was supposed to be the realization of a lofty ideal. Rejection of the existing late-medieval empire could not

223 Wilks 1964, 422.
224 Monarchia I, xvi,2. Cf. n. 32.
225 See n. 190.

hope to be really effective unless it involved renunciation of the empire's ideal image and ideal claims.


Historians concur that among the polemical treatises written in support of Philip IV, John of Paris's work was “much the ablest” in its “comprehensiveness of treatment and in its overall intellectual force. ” 226 John's most famous treatise, On Royal and Papal Power (De potestate regia e papali), was written in the first years of the fourteenth century. 227 Together with Giles of Rome's On Ecclesiastical Power and James of Viterbo's On Christian Government, it is one of the key theoretical tracts in the conflict between Philip IV and Boniface VIII. 228

John directed his argument against the Papal claim to jurisdiction in temporal affairs. His opposition to Papal temporal power rested on the affirmation of kingdom as “the government of a perfect or self-sufficient community by one man for the sake of the common good” and the form of government most suited to providing unity and peace. 229 But John's justification of kingdom was a polemical device. To undermine the basis on which the Pope could claim temporal authority over the king, John had to demonstrate that “neither in principle nor practice does the royal power … come from the Pope but from God and the people who choose a king either as an individual or as a member of a dynasty. ” 230 Given kingdom's nature, origin, and goal, there were no grounds for the priesthood to claim superiority over royal power in temporal matters. 231 But John's antipapal argument was simultaneously anti-imperial. By declaring that kingly power rested on the choice of God and the people, John was asserting the independence of royal power from imperial authority as well.

John's central thesis was that universal power in temporal affairs could be founded on neither divine nor natural law. His first “systemic” argu-

226 See Watt 1971, 11.
227 On John of Paris and his De potestate, see Bleienstein 1969; Watt 1971. Cf. Scholz 1903, 275 ff.; Carlyle and Carlyle 1903–36, 5: 422 ff.; Rivière 1926, 148 ff., 281 ff.; McIlwain 1932, 263 ff.; Lewis 1954, 1: 115 ff.; Tierney 1988, 195 ff.; Canning 1996, 145 ff.
228 Canning 1996, 142.
229 On Royal and Papal Power I (pp. 76, 78).
230 Ibid., X (p. 124).
231 Cf. ibid., XVIII (p. 190).

ment to substantiate his thesis went as follows: While the “ordering of all to one supreme head” was valid for the Church, this principle of order did not apply to secular rule. It did not follow from the monarchical structure of the Church that “the ordinary faithful are commanded by divine law to be subject in temporalities to any single supreme monarch. ” Their natural instinct, implanted by God, taught them to live as citizens in ordered communities. But “[n]either man's natural tendencies nor divine law commands a single supreme temporal monarchy for everyone. ” 232 John rested this conclusion on four premises. First, temporal power is characterized by diversity of climate and differences in physical constitution. Second, “one man cannot rule the world in temporal affairs as can one alone in spiritual affairs”, because it is far easier to extend the verbal authority by which spiritual power governs than to establish physical authority over space. The length of the arm that wields the sword is limited. Third, “the temporalities of laymen are not communal” and there is therefore no need for one “to administer temporalities in common. ” 233 And fourth, from the fact that all the faithful are united in the one universal faith without which there is no salvation, it does not follow that “all the faithful should be united in one political community. ” Against such a view John asserted that “there are different ways of life and constitutions adapted to the different climates, languages and conditions of people. ” 234 To support his final conclusion—that “the temporal rulership of the world does not demand the rule of a single man as does spiritual rulership”—John mustered the authority of Aristotle and Augustine. Aristotle, John pointed out, had shown in his Politics that individual political communities “are natural but not that of an empire or one-man rule. ” And in book IV of the City of God Augustine had said that “a society is better and more peacefully ruled when the authority of each realm was confined within its own frontiers. ” 235 John also referred to Augustine's denunciation of the expansion of the Roman Empire, which he said was driven by Rome's ambition to dominate and by injurious provocation of others. 236 Augustine indeed had portrayed the expansion of the Roman Empire as an unhappy story. “Is it wise or

232 Ibid., III (p. 85).
233 For the discussion by twelfth-century and thirteenth-century lawyers on whether the emperor had the right over his subjects' private property, see Pennington 1993b, 13 ff.
234 On Royal and Papal Power III (pp. 85– 86). On the medieval theory of climate and its implications for the moral teaching of the Church, see Tooley 1953.
235 On Royal and Papal Power III (p. 87).
236 Ibid.

prudent to wish to glory in the breadth and magnitude of an empire when you cannot show that the men whose empire it is are happy?” Augustine asked. And he continued: “For the Romans always lived in dark fear and cruel lust, surrounded by the disasters of war and the shedding of blood which, whether that of fellow citizens or enemies, was human nonetheless. The joy of such men may be compared to the fragile splendour of glass: they are horribly afraid lest it be suddenly shattered. ” 237 Augustine also wrote that had the wars that aided the growth of the Roman Empire not taken place, human affairs would have been happier and all kingdoms would have been small, rejoicing in concord with their neighbors. “There would be as many kingdoms among the nations of the world as there are now houses of the citizens of a city. ” 238

John further demystified the Roman imperial peace in his discussion of the Donation of Constantine. This famous eighth-century forgery claimed that Emperor Constantine the Great had exalted “the most sacred seat of St. Peter” above the “empire and earthly throne”; given it “imperial power, the dignity of glory, strength, and honor”; and “translated” the western empire to Pope Sylvester I and to his successors at the Papal See. 239 As such, the document bolstered the Pope's position vis-à-vis the emperor. The aim of John's critique of the alleged translation of the western empire was to prove that the Pope had no power over the king of France. Even if the Donation of Constantine were valid, that would be of no consequence for the Franks. The Franks, John argued, had never been subject to the Roman emperor. Therefore the emperor could not transfer power over them to the Pope, since the emperor had not possessed that power. 240 Once again, a polemical blow directed against the Pope struck the empire as well. Another blow was dealt by John directly to the empire. “The world was never as peaceful in the time of the emperors”, he stated, “as it was beforehand and afterwards. ” Under the rule of the emperors, “[b]rother would murder brother and mother her son and vice versa, while dreadful crimes and great strife ran riot throughout the world. ” 241

If the Romans had usurped the empire from the Greeks and estab-

237 The City of God IV,3 (Dyson's translation).
238 Ibid., IV,15 (Dyson's translation).
239 Constitutum Constantini 11, 17; trans. in Cantor 1963, 130, 132. Cf. Morrison 1969, 155 ff.; Herrin 1987, 304; Canning 1996, 73 f.
240 On Royal and Papal Power XXI (pp. 224–25). Cf. Carlyle and Carlyle 1903– 36, 5: 147, 432–33.
241 On Royal and Papal Power XXI (p. 227).

lished their domination by force, then others would be justified in throwing off Roman lordship by force as well. After all, their submission to Roman rule had been imposed on them. 242 But John went beyond representing the Roman Empire as perishable, that is, just as transient as the empires that had existed before the Romans created theirs. He declared empire itself as undesirable. It is true that he showed a sympathetic understanding for imperial power when he reflected on the “defence of the people against infidels and pagans” in cases “when there seemed no possibility of any other defender presenting himself. ” 243 This amounted to saying that imperial rule was preferable to infidel rule. But in normal circumstances, there seemed to be nothing to say in defense of empire. And when it came to imagining an ideal world order and to formulating principles, John of Paris wrote a famous, path-breaking 244 sentence: “it is better that many should rule in many kingdoms than one alone should rule the whole world. ” 245


In the year 1382, Pope Urban IV complained to Emperor Wenceslas that the “French nation has always aspired to the empire”, not to speak of the Papacy's sufferings at the hands of the French. “It is not only the Papacy, not only the empire, that the French would be prepared to usurp if only their means matched their ambitions, but the monarchy of the whole world. ” 246 In their common decline, the two universal powers seem to have found some mutual understanding. But the universalist idea did not diminish along with them. It only became dissociated from its traditional bearers.

The development of French universalism was based on the growing power of the king. It blossomed first under Philip IV and flourished again under the rule of another king who had a vivid sense of princely grandeur, Charles V (1364– 80). Charles was reputed to be wise, and his rule was described as intelligent and responsible. His court attracted a

242 Ibid., 227–28.
243 Ibid., XV (p. 173).
244 Cf. Zeller 1934, 296: “C'est la première atteinte portée à la conception unitaire du monde, dont la pensée du Moyen Age avait fait un dogme. Le monisme politique cesse d'être hors de discussion. ”
245 “[M]ellius est tamen plures in pluribus regnis dominari quam unum dominari toti mundo. ” Über königl. u. päpstl.
Gewalt XXI (p. 190). Cf. On Royal and Papal Power, 227.
246 Quoted in Zeller 1934, 307– 8.

number of able intellectuals. 247 In the political literature of Charles V's period, however, there was hardly anything new. Historians have argued that everything had been said in Philip IV's time, and the remainder was said by the close of the contest between Pope John XXII and Emperor Lewis of Bavaria (Marsiglio's Defensor pacis is a good example). 248 With regard to political ideas, especially those concerned with the relation between temporal and secular powers, the conflict between Philip IV and Boniface VIII held central place—at least from the time when early Gallican and Protestant authors began their search for sources that could buttress their arguments. 249

A tract that has often been singled out among the literary productions of Charles V's court is a fictitious dialogue between a priest and a knight, the Somnium viridarii, probably written in 1376 or 1377. It also circulated in a vernacular translation as the Songe du vergier. This piece is said to merit the attention of historians of political ideas in particular. 250 The dialogue it contains is a “vast compilation of material on relations between Church and State and on royal rights in general. ” Apparently, it was commissioned by the king to be used as a dossier of arguments for royal power, “perhaps in view of his drive against clerical privileges and jurisdiction. ” 251 It drew heavily on French royalist polemics from the turn of the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries—so much that it has been characterized as an expansion of the Dispute between a Priest and a Knight. 252 The unidentified author also incorporated parts of the Defensor pacis. 253 In sum, the work is a “clumsy blend of extracts from many sources” and a “strange mosaic. ” 254 While all this is true, I argue that the Songe du vergier's author not only added new emphases to the old themes 255 but, within a fairly conventional framework of discussion, also accomplished an important shift in the articulation of royal power.

The relation between temporal and spiritual powers was the Songe du vergier's leading theme. 256 The priest unsuccessfully argued that

247 Cf. ibid., 305 f.; Willard 1984, 20 ff., 126 f.
248 McIlwain 1932, 314; Zeller 1934, 305. Cf. Beaune 1991, 177.
249 Lewis 1954, 1: 130; Lagarde 1956, 210.
250 Cf. McIlwain 1932, 315.
251 Smalley 1965, 38.
252 Lewis 1954, 1: 130.
253 Defensor pacis II, viii,9-II, ix,2; II, xxiii,3-II, xxiv,7.
254 Coopland 1949, 33–34.
255 Zeller 1934, 305.
256 For a comprehensive treatment of the political philosophy of the Songe, see Quillet 1977.

monarchical lordship over the world in spiritual and temporal affairs— la monarchie du monde en espiritualité & temporalité— belonged to the Pope. 257 The priest's invocation of the pontiff's dignity and the ensuing claim that the Pope had the right to “lordship over the whole world” were refuted by the knight as nonsensical. Such a claim was as absurd as if France had wished to rule over Spain just because France was more noble, dignified, and perfect than the royaulme d'Espaigne. 258 This argument is interesting for more than one reason. It reiterates the view that the Pope could not claim power in the temporal sphere as a self-evident truth. It was simply “not true” that the Pope was souverain du maistre de la loy seculiere. 259 It followed from this “truth”, moreover, that the French Church was in temporal affairs subject to the king. 260 And finally the argument displays a very clear sense of the rightful independence of territorial powers and represents them as morally and politically selfsufficient. 261 The king is responsible for seeing that men refrain from doing evil and for inducing them to good. Kingly power is limited, it is true, 262 but in governing their kingdoms, kings recognize no power above themselves:ne recognoissent souverain en terre. 263 They were “most sovereign” princes and lords 264 and considered themselves emperors in their own realms. 265

The juristic tag of king as emperor in his own kingdom was of course not new. The novelty here was that the author of the Songe du vergier overcame a feeling of royal inferiority vis-à-vis the emperor, which had been inherent in the rex imperator formula. The priest in this dialogue (whose literary role was to lose one argument after another) had to vindicate not only the Pope but also the emperor. He defended the position that the emperor was “the lord of the world”, that to the emperor belonged “monarchy over the whole world”, and that all nations of the world were subject to the emperor. 266 The knight responded first with an argument familiar from John of Paris's 'On Royal and Papal Power': there

257 Le songe du vergier I,55.
258 Ibid., I,50.
259 Ibid., I,96
260 E.g., ibid., I,98.
261 Ibid.
262 This aspect is of special interest to Carlyle and Carlyle 1903–36, 6: 37–39.
263 Songe du vergier I,136.
264 Cf. the addresses of the king in the Songe's opening and closing exhortation. See Babbitt 1985, 32, 43 (warning against considering such addresses and statements a “sovereignty in the sense given by Bodin”).
265 Songe du vergier II,15. For Imperator vel Rex, cf. II,33.
266 Ibid., I,35.

was no law, either divine or human, on which the imperial monarchy and lordship (monarchie & seigneurie de l'empire) could be founded. 267 The emperor's lordship over the whole world and over kings and princes of the earth was, first of all, contrary to the “ordinance of God who had divided the lordships of the world among kings, dukes, and other earthly lords. ” 268 It could not be derived from either the Old or the New Testament. Nor could the justification of the imperial monarchy be deduced from any other species of law: natural, civil, ecclesiastical, or the law of nations. The empire had no legal basis.

After combining juridical with theological and historical arguments, the knight became more specific. He proffered evidence that France had never been subject to the Empire or to a part of it 269 and that the king of France, neither de facto nor de jure, had recognized any superior. 270 The Emperor had as much right to dictate laws to France as the French king had to dictate them to the Empire. 271 In making these points, the knight drew on a stock of conventional ideas, but he used them to propound an unprecedented view that was, “from the Roman point of view, quasisacrilegious. ” 272 The priest insinuated that by representing the king as a prince who recognized no power superior to his own, the knight aimed at creating a “new emperor”; 273 the knight responded that the king of France well might call himself emperor and his realm an empire. 274 But it was a much greater honor to him to be called roy de France. “The name of king”, the royal apologist argued, “is namely older and more dignified: for the Old and New Testament evidence that the name emperor is of a newer date. ” Moreover, the knight continued, in the Scriptures the Creator of the world had been called the king of kings and not the emperor of emperors. The conclusion was emphatic: “I know”, said the knight, that the king of France is “emperor in his realm and that he could call himself emperor, yet he cannot call himself by a more dignified name than King of France. ” 275

267 Ibid., I,36.
268 Ibid.
269 Ibid., I,88.
270 Ibid., I,36. Cf. I,88 (“le roy de France peut estre dit empereur en son royaulme, car il ne recongnoist souverain en terre”); I,110 (“sur le roy de France n'a aucune seigneurie en la temporalité”).
271 271. Ibid., I,8, 36.
272 Zeller 1934, 306.
273 Songe du vergier I,37.
274 Ibid., I,36.
275 Ibid., I,39.

The Songe du vergier was generally not as rhetorically efficient as this. Its author took almost a hundred chapters to arrive at the point that “all jurisdiction in any people or community is dependent on him who is the head and principal of that community. ” 276 An important element of that power was the right to wage war, which belonged exclusively to the prince who recognized no superior on earth. No other person could justly make war unless authorized by his sovereign prince. 277 The king was the prins en guerre. 278 This view of royal authority would have considerable material consequences. The right to make war, in the first place, would license “the kings who do not recognize a superior power in this world, such as the king of France”, to levy extraordinary taxes if “the king wishes to go [to war] against the heretics, Saracens and other enemies of the faith. ” 279

Extraordinary jurisdiction of the king had been discussed before, and the polemical literature from the confrontation between Philip IV and Boniface VIII, in which this issue had figured prominently, was not forgotten in Charles V's France. But the writer of the Songe du vergier took the debate on the authority to make war to a new conclusion. He denied the Pope—whom he called somewhat inaccurately, given the Pope's residence in Avignon, the “Roman Holy Father” 280 —the right to make war. The Pope was not entitled to “give permission to Christians to wage war against the Saracens or against those who held in their hands and occupied the Church's patrimony. ” Nor was he allowed to grant remission of sins to “those who go beyond the sea to make war on the infidels or to those who go against the rebels against the Church without permission of their sovereign lord secular prince. ” 281 As a subsidiary argument, the author of the Songe du vergier reminded the reader of the old interdict barring clerics from bearing arms. But the author's main argument was that it was unlawful for the Pope to make war because the right to make war, and to give his subjects permission to go to war, belonged solely to

276 Ibid., II,146.
277 Ibid., I,154.
278 Ibid., I,136.
279 Ibid.
280 A whole chapter was dedicated to demonstrating “que le saint pere doit mieulx demourer en France que à Romme” because France was the holiest place in Christendom. Ibid., I,156. An anonymous writer, probably Oresme, argued that Christ's vicar should dwell in the midst of Christendom, which was Marseille, but that, in any case, “ubi papa, ibi Roma. ” See Hay 1968, 75. 281 Songe du vergier I,154.

the secular ruler. The author insisted on the secular prince's exclusive right to war-making, even concluding (forgetting for a moment the canonical ban on the clerical participation in warfare) that the secular prince could give license to make war to the Pope himself. 282 From Papal monarchism's (Caesaro-Papism) point of view, this was indeed the world turned upside down. However, not even the souverain was permitted to go to war against the Saracens if they “wished to live in peace”, for if God had let them live in peace, Christians should as well. 283

How radical this argument was may be better appreciated after comparison with Bonet's popular Tree of Battles, written a decade later. As did the author of the Songe du vergier, Bonet cited Matthew 5.45—that the heavenly Father “makes his sun rise on good and bad alike”—when discussing arguments against waging war on the unbelievers. 284 But Bonet's position was that “war can be made against the Saracens” on a number of grounds. First, God has power over both the faithful and the infidel. His vicar and provost-general on earth, the Pope, therefore can punish the Saracens and Jews for their sins if they act against the law of nature. Second, the Pope can give indulgences to those fighting against the unbelievers to “recover the holy land of Jerusalem which was gained by lawful conquest for Christians by the passion of Jesus Christ our Lord. ” Third, the Pope can grant the right to conquest over those infidels who oppress the Christians living under their rule. A fourth reason was probably not found in canon law: If the emperor or Christian kings wished to undertake an expedition beyond the sea, the Pope should not forbid it, “for he should confirm the devotion of Christian princes and aid them with all his power; but only if it appeared to him, on good counsel, that the war was expedient. ” 285 Moreover, for Bonet, the common weal of Christendom overrode the jurisdiction of a Christian prince within his own territory. Discussing, for example, the question of “whether a Christian king can give safe-conduct to a Saracen king”, Bonet argued that, as a rule, such a treaty or agreement should be honored by neither Christian princes nor the Christian people. 286 In the Songe du vergier, on the other hand, jurisdiction of the territorial kingdom was

282 “[P]ar especial il n'appartient pas au pape faire guerre sans la licence du prince seculier. ” Ibid. 283 Ibid.
284 Le songe du vergier refers, among others, to Innocent IV.
285 The Tree of Battles IV, ii.
286 Ibid., IV, cvi.

rendered supreme. One proof that the Pope was not seigneur de tout le monde was that he did not have power over the pagans. 287

With the Pope denied power over Christian kings and the infidels, one might expect that the crusade would be done away with. Actually, it was not. But holy war had to undergo a “structural adjustment. ” As I showed earlier, it began to pass from the hands of the universal powers into the hands of the territorial ruler. In the Songe du vergier, the king of France still wages war against the heretics, Saracens, and other “enemies of the faith”, 288 but no longer “at the bidding of the priest and at the command of the emperor. ” 289 Moreover, the king's first responsibility was to his own peace and the peace of his subjects, the “people. ” 290 But the enemies of the faith and the Church could not be forgotten, even though war against them could not be undertaken under just any circumstances or fought in just any manner. 291

The discussion of war in the Songe du vergier relies heavily on the doctrine of just war. It deviates from that doctrine, however, on one important point. The author argues that the authority to make war descended from God. 292 Because the authority to make war belonged exclusively to the “sovereign prince”, the author implies that that authority descended from God directly to the king. In the context of the Songe du vergier's main argument, this is just another assertion of the independence of the territorial souverain from the universal powers, in particular, the elimination of any mediator between the prince and God. (The author even made the souverain mediator between God and the Pope.) 293 But bringing the prince's action closer to God has tricky consequences. It divinifies the princely business. In contrast to the traditional Christian doctrine of just war, in which the edict as a necessary requirement for just war is issued by a legitimate worldly authority, 294 the writer of the Songe du vergier argues that just war is dependent on God's will and command. 295 But war willed by God is holy. If just war as willed by God can only be waged by the “sovereign prince”, then the secular ruler's war becomes

287 Songe du vergier II,35.
288 Cf. n. 279.
289 Cf. chap. 3 n. 341.
290 Songe du vergier I,154.
291 Cf. n. 283; Songe du vergier I,158.
292 Songe du vergier I,154.
293 See n. 282.
294 Cf. chap. 2 n. 22.
295 Songe du vergier I,154.

holy. Thus, I would maintain, the just war argument used in the Songe du vergier was directed against the Pope, not against holy war.


Nicole Oresme's view of power was so similar to that of the Songe du vergier that that text has been attributed to him. But only Oresme's influence on the author of the Songe du vergier seems to be certain. 296 Oresme is reputed to have been “the theoretician of kingly power” and “the advocate of the strictest particularism. ” 297 Arguing against universal rule, he introduced the notion of universal monarchy, marking, in my opinion, a decisive break with the belief in the legitimacy of the medieval universal powers; this notion was to become of great significance in the political literature of the early modern period.

Oresme was an adviser to King Charles V who translated into French a number of Aristotle's works so the king and his counselors could read them. 298 Oresme's argument against universal lordship is concentrated in a lengthy gloss to his translation of Aristotle's Politics. Oresme first summarized and then refuted one by one the arguments in favor of monarchie sus tous, empire universel et total. His refutation is based on the Aristotelian notion of perfect community— communitas perfecta (or, in Moerbeke's Latin translation, communitas perfecta civitas)—as a respectable alternative to the Empire. 299 Oresme granted fullness of power to the Pope. This, however, did not undermine Oresme's negative assessment of universal power in the temporal sphere, since different laws applied to the government of civil communities (policies humaines) 300 on

296 See Quillet 1977, pt. 3. Meunier, who compiled an annotated list of Oresme's work, had disputed Oresme's authorship of the Somnium viridarii; a more likely author, to his mind, was de Mézières, who had read Oresme's translation of Politics. Meunier 1857, 134 f., 85.
297 Quillet 1977, 130. Cf. Babbitt 1985.
298 Cf. Babbit 1985, 8–9; Guenée 1991, 109 f. These translations are listed in Meunier 1857, 85 ff.
299 Cf. Babbitt 1985, 46.
300 Oresme explained the French terms he used in the “Table des expositions des fors mos de Politiques. ” “ Policie est l'ordenance du gouvernement de toute la communité ou multitude civile. Et policie est l'ordre des princeys ou offices publiques. Et est dit de polis en grec, qu'est multitude ou cité. ” And: “ Princey est la puissance et auctorité ou domination et seigneurie du prince. Et est ce qui est en latin appellé principatus. Et en ceste science cest mot est pris assés largement. Car si comme il appert ou quart livre par le .xxi.e chapitre [of Politics], tous offices sunt diz princeys qui ont povoir de conseillier des choses publiques ou de faire jugemens ou de commander. ” Le Livre de Politiques, 373. A dictionary of Oresme's French terms was also compiled by Meunier 1857, 161 ff.

the one hand, and to the exercise of papal power on the other. Whereas the Holy Father was given power by divine miracle through the special grace of the Holy Spirit, political life was ruled by “practical reason”, the science taught by the Philosopher. 301 According to that science, to be effectively and justly governed, a political community should be neither too small nor too big, but just big enough to be self-sufficient. Akingdom was such a moderate and measured political community. “Temporal universal monarchy”, on the other hand, was “neither just nor expedient. ” 302 Belief in the possibility of just and effective universal monarchy was so removed from practical reason— trop loing de raison pratique— that, following Aristotle, it should be called a political sophism, deserving ridicule rather than serious debate. 303 This comment, however, did not stop Oresme from seriously discussing and refuting universal monarchy. (He even claimed credit for being the first to do so.) 304 It was unacceptable, he argued, mainly because it was ungovernable. The world in its entirety was ruled by divine knowledge and power. “But there is no human knowledge and power sufficient for ordering [ordener] all the men in the world. ” 305

A similar argument, also referring to Aristotle's teaching, had been made by Dante's critic Guido Vernani. Because “the king must surpass and excel in virtue the entire multitude of his subjects, the monarch of the whole human race must surpass the whole human race in the moral virtues and in prudence. ” But since it was “impossible ever to find such a faultless human, … Jesus Christ alone and none other was the true monarch. ” 306 Guido admitted that Dante's argument for the need of temporal monarchy “has some truth. ” He agreed that “it is a good thing for the world to have a single monarch. ” Yet, Dante's “foolish mind” had been darkened by the “spirit of faction”, and he had been “unable to discover the true monarch. ” For Guido, that true monarch was the Pope. “God alone must principally possess and does possess the rank and power of a monarch. ” Through the Petrine commission, the monarchi-

301 Le Livre, 292–93 (250d, 251a).
302 Ibid., 292 (250d). The expediency argument was repeated by Bonet, but within a limited political horizon: it was not “expedient for the Holy Church, or for Christendom, that the King of France should be subject to the Emperor. ” The Tree of Battles IV, lxxxiii.
303 Le Livre, 293 (251c, 252a).
304 Ibid., 289–90 (247c-d).
305 Ibid., 288 (246a).
306 De reprobatione Monarchiae (Caesar 1989, 112).

cal power was given to His vicar on earth. Therefore “the monarch of the world is the supreme pontiff of the Christians. ” 307

Although their premises were similar, Guido and Oresme came to diametrically opposite conclusions. Oresme parted ways with the very logic of universal power—which had been shared, for example, by both Dante and his critic Guido. For Oresme, there was no “true monarch. ” The world needed to be governed, but it could not be governed by any single person. “Practical reason” demonstrated that in too extensive a realm, no prince, even with the help of his plenipotentiaries, could know all the facts and all the persons of distinction and so would be unable “to either judge well or to distribute honors and offices. ” 308 He would have to rule foreign peoples, but this was both “against nature that a man rules a people whose mother tongue he does not know”, 309 and against the divine commandment that “you are not permitted to put a foreigner over you. ” 310 In such a situation, communication civile would be impossible, and as a consequence, political community would decline. 311 Because too big a polity could not be well ordered, “such big kingdoms were not true kingdoms but violent and tyrannical usurpations. ” 312 Oresme resolutely rejected the view that such huge monarchies created benefits for all. They were, rather, tyrannies in which only the princes grew rich while their subjects lived in misery and poverty. 313 Moreover, once kingdoms became excessively big, they inevitably declined and were destroyed. 314 Nature itself, with its variety of climates, dictated the existence of many separate kingdoms (divisio regnorum). Seas, large rivers, and deserts divided peoples from each other, and peoples divided in this way had different temperaments and customs. Human laws had to accommodate to

307 Ibid., 112–13. Cf. Lewis 1954, 1: 237; Wilks 1964, 417.
308 Le Livre, 291 (249c).
309 Marsiglio used this argument against the priests. It was scandalous that “the Roman bishops, using their plenary power …, appoint persons who are ignorant of divine letters, uneducated and incapable, and very often men of corrupt morals and notorious criminals, who cannot even speak the language of the people over whom they are placed. ” Defensor pacis II, xxiv,2; cf. II, xxiv,3.
310 “L'en ne doit pas avoir roy d'estrange nation. ” Le Livre, 291 (250a); referring to Deut 17.15. Claude de Seyssel repeated this argument in the early sixteenth century in his La Monarchie de France I,8, but applied it only to France itself, not to the countries conquered by France. For Seyssel, language was the most efficient and reliable instrument of imperial rule, and with this in view he lauded his king “[que] vous travaillez à enrichir et magnifier la langue française. ” Exorde, 65–7. The idea was to become a “humanistic commonplace. ” Pagden 1990, 55–56.
311 Le Livre, 291 (249d–250a).
312 Ibid., 289 (247c); 293 (252b).
313 Ibid., 293 (252b).
314 Ibid., 292 (250b-d).

these diversities. Both Oresme and the Songe du vergier argued against the universal validity of Roman law, and Oresme asserted that different peoples had to have different “positive laws. ” 315 Universal monarchy, contradicting this imperative, would be a monster: it would cease to be a cité and would become une chose confuse. 316 This was why “God and nature do not will such a monarchy. ” Divisio regnorum was not only a fact of nature, it was God's will: God “ordered things in such a way that there are many sovereign princes in the world. ” 317 It was right for different peoples to have different human laws and different governments.

Oresme not only rejected the idea of universal unity that had been central to medieval political thought (and survived well beyond the Middle Ages); he also did not spare the principle of ordinatio ad unum of the Philosopher he so admired. Because this Aristotelian principle played such a prominent role in Dante's imperial political vision, Oresme has been called the antipole of Dante's universalist aspirations. 318 Oresme's rejection of universal monarchy was indeed consistent and radical. While universal rule embodied the ideal of unity, its opposite, separatism, was a bête noire of medieval political thought. Oresme overthrew the value system in which the idea of universal unity was highly praised and separatism was disallowed. In response to the critique of separatism (que multitude de princeys ou de royalmes est une separation), he made the previously unheard of assertion that separatism was prudent and expedient, and drew out the logical conclusion of his argument: One should put a stop to the process of unification, met[tre] arrest ou procés de la uniement. 319

Universal lordship had ceased to be self-evidently legitimate, natural, and accepted as a given. True enough, it had been questioned before. But never had the rejection of universal worldly rule been as clear as with Oresme. (John of Paris's advocacy of the pluralism of powers, for example, was, in at least one instance, fuzzy.) 320 Oresme founded the rejec-

315 Ibid., 291 (249d); 293 (251d).
316 Ibid., 291 (249b); 289 (247a).
317 Ibid., 291 (249d).
318 Quillet 1977, 158.
319 Le Livre, 294 (252c-d). Oresme's reference here was Augustine De civitate Dei XIX,7.
320 “[E]ach king is head in his own kingdom, and the emperor, if there is one, is monarch and head of the world [et imperator monarcha si fuerit est caput mundi].
” On Royal and Papal Power XVIII (p. 193); Über königl. u. päpstl. Gewalt, 165. For Carlyle and Carlyle 1903–36, 5: 147, it was “not very easy to say what John means. ” In addition, John accepted empire as a shield against the infidels. Cf. n. 243.

tion of universal rule on firm theoretical principles and a positive vision of an alternative to empire. He considered universal temporal power an excessive augmentation of kingdom; it tended to accrestre un royaulme excedenment, and he rejected precisely this tendency to disproportionate growth. 321 Conventionally, the territorial kingdom had been seen as pathological and a pathogen—as a departure from the norm of unity and as eating away at empire. Oresme turned this picture upside down: empire became a deformation of kingdom, a deformed kingdom. Royal propagandists at the turn of the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries had striven to substitute the kingdom for empire and/or Papacy as the new bearer of political universalism. Oresme rejected political universalism as such. He posited the territorially limited kingdom as the normal and ideal perfect political community. Others, inspired by the rediscovery of Aristole's political philosophy, had attempted to construct transitions from polis to kingdom and then to universal forms of power unknown to the Greek philosopher but dominating the medieval world. 322 Oresme, in contrast, assimilated the Aristotelian polity to the idea of kingdom, thus establishing a standard for judging worldly power.

For Oresme, kingdom was a well-ordered and legitimate territorial monarchy. 323 If a monarchy were to be the government of a perfect political community and not degenerate either in tyranny or “confusion”, it had to be territorial—that is, limited in size. From this insight Oresme introduced the concept of universal monarchy (universele monarchie or monarchie universele), meaning a political monstrosity, a deformed political community (cité). At first glance, it seems odd to argue that the concept of universal monarchy was introduced only at this late stage of medieval political thought. The term 'universal monarchy' is often used in histories of political thought as a description for a variety of claims to universal power. It is most frequently associated with Dante's 'Monarchia'. 324 A closer scrutiny of the Monarchia shows, however, that what Dante argued for was empire. He used the term universal monarchy only once, in a descriptive, explanatory clause: “undivided universal

321 Le Livre, 292 (250d).
322 Cf. Woolf 1913, 266 ff.
323 “ Monarche est cellui qu'un seul tient le souverain princey sus une cité ou sus un païz…. ” “ Monarchie est la policie ou le princey que tient un seul. Et sunt .ii. especes generals de monarchie; une est royaulme et l'autre est tyrannie. ”
“Table des expositions”, Le Livre, 372.
324 Cf. Mastnak 1993. For Dante (in this context), see especially Burns 1992, chap. 5. Cf. Jordan 1921.

monarchy [is] the essence of the Empire. ” 325 But elsewhere he asserted that the notion of empire did not need descriptive explanations. 326

Universal monarchy, in Oresme's gloss to Aristotle's Politics, was not identical with empire. Oresme divested empire of its glamour by reducing the concept to its etymological meaning: imperium became a term merely denoting the exercise of power, a trait belonging to any form of princely power or authority. 327 By rejecting universal temporal power as such, Oresme extricated himself from his contemporaries' habit of playing one universal power against the other. 328 But what really distinguishes Oresme is that he saw universal monarchy not as a form of government but as a territorial power, albeit one that had lost its bearings. On the other hand, because by definition empire was without borders, it could not be a territorial power. It meant instead the lordship of the world, monarchia mundi. 329 For Oresme, universal monarchy was characterized by the excessive growth of princely power and territory beyond its due. With Oresme, the universalization of power had ceased to be legitimate. If not an outright usurpation, universal monarchy was bound to end up in usurpation. It was a tendency that had to be arrested.

Universal monarchy is an early modern concept. 330 It was a “new ideology” that finally emerged in the sixteenth century on the ruins of the respublica christiana. 331 It signified claims to power and domination

325 “[C]onsistente Imperio in unitate Monarchie universalis. ” Monarchia III, x,9. For another use of universal monarchy to describe the empire, cf. Marsiglio's De translatione I: “the term 'Roman Empire' signifies a universal or general monarchy over the whole world. ”
326 Having defined universal rule as the supreme office of command, “universale e inrepugnabile officio di commandare”, Dante added: “E questo officio per eccellenza Imperio è chiamato, senza nulla addizione. ” Convivio IV, iv,6–7. 327 See “Table des expositions” (cf. n. 300), the entry Princey: “les souverains princes sunt appellés empereurs. Car imperare, ce est commander. ” Le Livre, 373.
328 A typical case in point was Guido Vernani's critique of Dante. See n. 307. Around 1400, another adversary of Dante, William of Cremona, similarly accepted world monarchy, but argued that the universal monarch was Christ: “Christus, verus deus, totius humani generis fuit et est universalis monarcha verus. ” Tractatus de iure Monarchie; quoted in Nardi 1944, 187.
329 For this reason I find Robertson's explanation of the introduction of the concept monarchia universalis questionable: “The development of the concept of empire in particular was complicated by the existence of the—Holy Roman—Empire, an association which encouraged the elaboration of a synonym, 'universal monarchy,' to convey the more general idea of rule over extensive territory. ” Robertson 1995, 5. In support of his explanation, Robertson refers to Bosbach 1988, whom I do not understand as saying precisely this.
330 Bosbach 1988.
331 Saitta 1948, 23; Brezzi 1954, 77.

beyond a ruler's own proper —legitimate— sphere of authority. 332 I see in Oresme's conceptualization of the universal monarchy two centuries earlier a decisive shift toward such an early-modern understanding. The time when the Papacy would be portrayed as “no other, than the Ghost of the deceased Romane Empire, sitting crowned upon the grave thereof”, 333 or when the European powers would be pictured as hounds on the chase of the “exorbitant power”, 334 was still far away. There would be a revival of universalist ideology in the fifteenth century. 335 However, Oresme's refutation of the process of unification and his affirmation of separation marked the beginning of the end of an era.


During the mid to late fourteenth century the papal monarchy and the empire were being challenged and Christendom was disintegrating, but the crusading movement did not share the fate of the world it had helped to create and whose expression it was. While the crusading movement remained relevant and popular, its character changed slightly. Three factors were important in determining the character of crusading in this period. One of these was the plague. The widespread economic and social dislocation it caused in Latin Christendom is well known. The destructiveness of the bella intestina (the wars among Christians, especially the Hundred Years' War) and the violence of the routiers, or “free companies” (unemployed mercenary soldiers who harassed the civilian population), were more acutely felt because of the devastating effects of the Black Death. 336 The perception of the horrors of warfare became sharper and the attitude toward war more critical. 337 John Gower in England deplored the “dedly werre” by which Christendom was being destroyed. In his desire to put an end to the wars between Christian nations, he sometimes “revived the arguments of Urban II that the crusade against the infidel provided an honourable outlet for the aggressive spirit of the

332 Bosbach 1988, 46.
333 Hobbes Leviathan 47 (p. 480).
334 “The Chase is Exorbitant Power; all the Powers of Europe are the Hounds. ” Defoe, Review VI,7 (19 April 1709). For the contemporary English debate on universal monarchy, see Pincus 1995.
335 See Eckermann 1933; Folz 1969; Burns 1992, 97–98, 100.
336 Cf. Setton 1976, 173; Housley 1986, 222 f.
337 Barnie 1974, 129; Housley 1992, 264.

second estate. ” 338 But the cumulative effect of these different “plagues” crippled practical crusade efforts.

A second factor was the weakness of the Papacy and the related growing strengthening of territorial powers, which led to problems with the “political leadership” of the crusade. 339 But despite its increasing weakness, the Papacy continued to play a central role in the crusading movement. 340

A third factor was the rising power of the Ottoman Turks, because of which the anti-Turkish crusade emerged and grew in importance. In the second half of the fourteenth century the “Turk” became the most dangerous enemy of Christianity and Christendom. 341 Yet though the figure of the “Saracen” was fading, it had not yet disappeared. When Pope Urban V appealed in 1363 to mercenary companies in the Midi, hoping to recruit them for the crusade, the old and the new enemy figures made a joint appearance in his address. The routiers were reminded that “both the perfidious Saracens and those cruel pagans commonly called Turks, who live in the East close to Christian peoples … have invaded the lands of the faithful with such force and audacity that none or few can resist them. ” 342

While specific crusading projects written at the turn of the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries may indeed have been gathering dust by the 1340s and thereafter, 343 the Crusade idea itself lived on. The two authors considered in the remainder of this chapter, Philippe de Mézières and Catherine of Siena, both confronted the specific problems of their day. At the same time, they seem to have been inspired by and to have revived some distinctive features of the “pristine”, “original” crusade idea. Their writings make it clear that far from becoming obsolete, the crusade idea was actually rejuvenated in this period.


Philippe de Mézières was a leading crusade propagandist of the late fourteenth century. An “extraordinary, eccentric and extravagantly verbose

338 Barnie 1974, 124, 130.
339 Housley 1986, 239.
340 Cf. Setton 1976.
341 Cf. Housley 1992, chap. 3.
342 Quoted in Setton 1976, 248. “In all and any of the crusade plans in the 1360s, the companies were necessarily a vital element. ” Keen 1987, 103.
343 Housley 1986, 239.

figure”, he was a “self-appointed herald to all Christendom of the crusading cause”—in a word, a “crusading fanatic. ” 344 From his youth, when he fed on chronicles relating to the Holy Land, 345 till his death, de Mézières had a single goal in his life: “to recommence the crusades and restore the Kingdom of Jerusalem. ” 346 He was a man of action. For about forty years of his life he worked on creating his own military order, the Militia Passionis Jhesu Christi. 347 He traveled throughout Latin Christendom as the chancellor of King Peter I of Cyprus on diplomatic and peacemaking missions and was a moving spirit behind, and a leading participant in, the crusading expedition that sacked and destroyed Alexandria in 1365. 348 He kept referring to that pillage as a prise glorieuse, 349 even though his feelings were not universally shared. Because the rich booty had cooled the crusading zeal, the expedition actually caused quite a bit of resentment and anger among the Latin Christians back home. 350 After Peter I's assassination, de Mézières became adviser to King Charles V of France and tutor to the young Charles VI. The king and the adviser dreamt together about the deliverance of Jerusalem, 351 and it was possibly de Mézières who organized a dramatic staging of the fall of Jerusalem during the First Crusade at Charles V's court in 1378 in honor of Emperor Charles IV's visit. 352 When King Charles V died, de Mézières retired to a convent of the Celestines in Paris, where he liked to call himself “the old pilgrim” or “the old solitary”—even while cultivating his connections with the world of power. He also wrote extensively and dedicated even the remainder of his life to the crusade.

In his younger years, de Mézières was a close collaborator with Pierre Thomas, the papal legate in the Levant. Pierre was “one of the most distinguished churchmen and devout crusaders of the fourteenth century”, and a “personification of the crusade. ” 353 De Mézières was his loyal

344 Keen 1987, 106; Housley 1992, 39.
345 Setton 1976, 241.
346 Iorga 1896, 512.
347 Cf. Iorga 1896, 453 ff., 490f., 502f.; Atiya 1938, 140 ff.; Coopland 1975, xxxiii– xxxiv; and de Mézières's own works: Le songe du vieil pèlerin; Letter to King Richard II, 103 f.; Epistre lamentable.
348 See Iorga 1896. For the broader context in which de Mézières operated, see especially Setton 1976, chap. 11–12; Edbury 1991, chap. 7; Guenée 1991, 114–15. Cf. Le songe, 2: 434 ff.; Epistre lamentable, 489 f.
349 Iorga 1896, 473.
350 Thibault 1986, 39– 40.
351 Rousset 1983, 132–33. Cf. Coopland 1975, xii–xiii. But Setton 1976, 249, remarked that “Charles lacked a crusading mentality. ”
352 Housley 1992, 393.
353 Setton 1976, 258–59.

friend and companion. His love for Thomas rested on their common hatred of the enemies of the cross. In his biography of Thomas, Philippe described the legate as a man who almost wore himself out by his exertions: “By such works, that is by preaching, teaching, fighting, baptizing infidels, bringing schismatics back into the fold, and extending God's church, the lord legate was unremitting in his service, now at Smyrna, now off to Rhodes, Constantinople, Cyprus, the island of Crete, and Turkey, now with many galleys, now with a few, and sometimes with only one. He did not spare himself, putting to sea and making war, opportunely and otherwise, in winter as in summer, amid the perils of the sea. ” 354 These two men, “by their dominating personality and influence, contributed more to the promotion of crusades than probably any other of their contemporaries. ” 355

De Mézières was at the center of politics in his times, and his crusading ideas faithfully reflected the concerns of the day. They can be best seen in his Le songe du vieil pèlerin (1388), 356 the Epistre au Roi Richart (Letter to King Richard II, a letter commissioned by Charles VI and addressed to the English king in 1395), and the Epistre lamentable, written after the crushing defeat of the Christian army by the Turks at Nicopolis in 1396. 357 Prominent among de Mézières's concerns were inter-Christian violence and, in response to that violence, efforts to establish peace in Christendom. Without peace, it would be impossible to get a new crusade under way. De Mézières was instrumental in negotiating a peace settlement between the Papacy and Bernabò Visconti of Milan, 358 but the conflict dominating his thoughts was the war between England and France. Weighing heavily on him also was the Church schism, which he desired to heal. Compared to the Anglo-French war and the Great Schism, the routiers appeared as a minor problem—although a problem serious enough to engage the curia and princes alike. 359 When Urban V proclaimed the crusade in 1363, he especially addressed the routiers as men in the most dreadful need of absolution who should respond promptly to his call to arms “in a spirit of devotion and union. ” Skilled in the exercise of arms, they should seek forgiveness for the crimes they

354 Life of St. Peter Thomas; quoted in Setton 1976, 237.
355 Atiya 1938, 129. Edbury 1991, 167, calls them “the two most ardent exponents of the crusade ideal. ”
356 A résumé, published before Coopland's edition, is Bell 1955.
357 On the Nicopolis crusade, see Setton 1976, chap. 14; Housley 1992, 75 ff.
358 See Setton 1976, 246– 47.
359 See Housley 1986, 223–27; 1992, 264.

had committed against God, ecclesiastics, and the innocent in a service acceptable to God. They could take possession of the Holy Land, and so “in this life they might seize the wealth of the enemies of Christendom, and by mending their ways also earn eternal wealth in the life to come. ” 360 De Mézières, seeing the crusade as an outlet for routiers' violence, was in line with this papal policy, and the routiers were with him in the sack of Alexandria. 361

De Mézières's grand idea of peace and unity within Christendom coupled with the Crusade for the recovery of the Holy Land was first clearly formulated in the Le songe du vieil pèlerin. The “old pilgrim” addresses the young King Charles VI and confides to him that his royal father, Charles V, had thought out a plan for reuniting and reforming Christendom. The ghost of the father and de Mézières himself now expected Charles VI to make their dreams come true. He was chosen by destiny to realize the ideal: to deliver the Holy Land. It is la royne Verite, Queen Truth, who explains to the young prince: “[B]ecause you have received more grace of the sweet Jesus, my Father, than other Christian kings, you have to work harder and be the first to commence what is the will of God; that is, to bring about peace and unity among the Christians. And, reasonably, the other kings will not refuse this holy request that you will present to them, that is, to bring about charity and amity, peace and calm. ” 362 This plan for peace and unity included the convocation of a general council (grant conseil et parlement general) in which the envoys of all the kingdoms and other dominions of Catholic Christians would meet to accomplish two things: first, to reach an agreement on the reform of Christendom and establish charity and unity among the kingdoms, principalities, and communes; and second, to heal the schism of the Church by electing a single Pope. 363 After this had been achieved, a golden age would come. All the Christian princes would work for the spread of the Catholic faith and for the common good of Christendom. They would bring the schismatics, infidels, Tartars, Turks, Jews, 364 and

360 Setton 1976, 248; cf. 238.
361 Keen 1987, 104.
362 Le Songe, 2: 292.
363 Ibid., 2: 293–95.
364 What was, for Philippe, most disturbing about the Jews not living in the ghettos was that he could not discern them from the Christians: “alant parmy les rues de Paris, on ne pourroit cognoistre qui est Juif ou Crestien. ” Ibid., 2: 285. But de Mézières was far from being the first in the Latin Christian West to depict this as a problem. Canon 68 of the Fourth Lateran Council, for example, ordered that the Jews should wear distinctive clothes to prevent confusion, which could result in “mixed” marriages. See Hefele 1912– 13, 5.2: 1386– 87.

Saracens into the true faith by preaching, good example, and admonition, or—with the obstinate and rebellious ones—by the “holy sword. ” In this way the holy city of Jerusalem and the Holy Land would be delivered and the whole world would submit in holy obedience to the true cross. 365

Besides this general plan, de Mézières worked out a more concrete and politically practicable project, outlined in the Songe 366 and elaborated in the Letter to King Richard. He invested his hopes in Charles VI and Richard II, newly ascended kings of France and England, and called on them to make peace between their two countries. The project was not mere wishful thinking, and its timing was good. Since 1384, when a truce was concluded, a reconciliatory mood had begun to predominate at the French and English courts. Peace had become a “matter of overriding concern to the governments of both kingdoms”, 367 and Richard II surrounded himself with advisers who sought a settlement with France rather than the escalation of hostilities. 368 But auspicious circumstances aside, Philippe was also on principle strongly opposed to war among Christians. The opening tones of his Letter to King Richard, his descriptions of the horrors and evils of war (reminiscent of later, Erasmian pacifist rhetoric), are a typical expression of the new awareness of and sensitivity to atrocities of warfare. 369 This new sensibility, however, continued to be buttressed with doctrinal and political underpinnings.

Philippe grieved over hostilities between Christian princes and condemned them because God, he said, abhors the spilling of “baptized Christians' blood. ” 370 Shedding the “human blood of Christians” should be held in abomination 371 as a great and inadmissible cruelty. By “shedding the blood of our brothers, English and French alike, once more we have killed sweet Jesus Christ. ” 372 War among Christians was therefore an offence against God, moreover, “war against Him. ” 373 De Mézières implied that there could be no just war between Christians, 374 and prayed to Lord God to “scatter and destroy all those who seek war against their

365 Le Songe, 2: 296.
366 Ibid., 2: 373 ff.
367 Barnie 1974, 31.
368 Tyerman 1988, 334. Cf. Barnie 1974, 24.
369 See n. 337.
370 Letter, 12/85. (The first page number refers to Coopland's translation, the second to his edition of the original.)
371 Ibid., 43/116.
372 Ibid., 44/117.
373 Ibid., 46/119.
374 Ibid., 52–53/126.

Christian brothers. ” For they are His enemies “who strive to prevent the descent of the peace of Heaven on our Kings. ” No mercy should be shown to them: “Let them be crushed and let them flee before the face of God. ” 375

De Mézières also protested against war among Christians because it had led to the loss of the Holy Land. He admitted that the king of Jerusalem had ruled with “lack of justice and neglect of knightly discipline”, and so his kingdom had been lost. But that did not excuse the westerners: “This failing was evident to the Emperor, the Roman Pope, and all the kings of the Christian world, who, for the sake of the Faith of Jesus Christ, were responsible for remedying these failings, in what was the common concern of all Christians. ” On account of their negligence, they were “parties to the loss of the Holy Land. ” To make things worse, they had “so long delayed the recovery of the Holy Land” because they were “occupied in shedding the blood of one another. ” 376 On top of these troubles, the schism in the Holy Church was an open wound in Christendom. 377 With all this in mind, Philippe's peace formula was obvious, simple, and clear: peace within Christendom, the union of the Church, and the crusade, le saint passage d'oultremer. 378

Obsessed with the “holy passage” and aware that the political geography of the Latin West was being increasingly shaped by the rising territorial powers, 379 de Mézières entrusted his project to two of those powers. He hoped to advance his aims by bestowing on England a share in France's title of the elect Christian nation, 380 and he beseeched the two greatest kings of Christendom to end their protracted war and to make peace between their countries. But his objective was even more ambitious. It was no less than “the perpetual union [confederacion] and alliance, under God, true peace and comely, brotherly love between the

375 Ibid., 50/124.
376 Ibid., 27/100. Cf. Iorga 1896, 464, summarizing the argument of the Armenian king Leo IV, who in 1386, with French consent, visited the English court: “[I]l exposa l'état déplorable de l'Orient, qui souffrait depuis soixante ans les cruautés et les dévastations des Sarrasins…. La guerre entre chrétiens, cette guerre honteuse et inutile, puisques toutes les conquêtes avaient été perdues, devait cesser pour la confusion des ennemis de la croix. C'est ainsi qu'on pourrait reprendre aux Infidèles Bethléem et Sion. ”
377 Letter, 21 ff. /93 ff.
378 Ibid., 115/42; cf. 50/123, 65/139; 119/45: “Il a este revele a vous ii. roys que par vous sera faitte la paix, et de vous et de la crestiente, l'eglise raunie, et conquise Surie. ”
379 “Lombardie demourra aus Lombars, Espaigne aus Espaigneux, France aus Francois, et Engleterre aus Anglois. ” Ibid., 14/87.
380 For a more conventional (and exclusivist) view on the roy très-crestien, see Epistre lamentable, 457.

two sons of St. Louis, King of France, that is, between Charles and Richard, by the grace of God, worthy kings of France and England, and among all their subjects, and, hence, the peace and unity of the Church and within the whole of Christendom. ” 381

As de Mézières imagined things, Charles VI and Richard II, at peace with each other and united in brotherly love, would kindle the light, “and by their light all Catholic peoples [toutes les generacions des Chrestiens Catholiques], who until now through war and division have wandered in darkness, will see clearly the straight way leading to Jerusalem. ” 382 A contemporary epistle to the kings of France and England by Deschamps made the same point: the two kings should choose the love of God, stop fighting each other, and henceforth direct their war against the Saracens so that their subjects may live in peace. 383 But similar ideas had also been a subject of diplomatic negotiations. Already Pope Gregory XI, at the time of peace talks between France and England in 1375, had conceived a “grand design for an Anglo-French peace to be sealed symbolically by the co-operation of the two powers in a crusade. ” 384 And in May 1395, when de Mézières's Letter to King Richard was probably composed, 385 Charles VI had sent a letter to Richard II expressing very same ideas. If the two kings made peace, “our mother, Holy Church, crushed and divided this long time by the accursed Schism, shall be revived in all her glory”, wrote Charles. “Then, fair brother, it will be a fit moment”, he continued, “that you and I, for the propitiation of the sins of our ancestors, should undertake a Crusade to succour our fellow Christians and to liberate the Holy Land…. And so through the power of the Cross we shall spread the Holy Catholic Faith throughout all parts of the East, demonstrating the gallantry of the chivalry of England and France and of our other Christian brothers. ” 386

De Mézières may have assisted in composing this letter. But be that as it may, this letter shows that he was not writing in a vacuum, an isolated figure spinning strange thoughts. Many of his peace-loving contemporaries wanted to kindle the crusading light. Philippe, for example, pictured those walking in the circle of that light as striving “toward the

381 Letter, 43/116.
382 Ibid., 18/91.
383 “Soit l'amour de Dieu prise, / Ne guerriez l'un l'autre desormais, / Sur Sarrazins soit votre guerre remise, / A voz subgez soit donné bonne paiz. ” Iorga 1896, 489.
384 Housley 1986, 227. See Thibault 1986, 174–75.
385 Coopland 1975, ix.
386 Quoted in Housley 1992, 74.

goal of peace in the service of God. ” He cursed those who might work to extinguish the rays of that light and hinder the crusade: “It were better for them had they never been born. ” 387 And he reminded Charles and Richard that Jesus had made them leaders of “His people of Israel, that is, of western Christendom” to take them to the Promised Land. 388 The “old solitary” had a glorious vision: God's temple in Jerusalem, presently “befouled every day by the false followers of Mahommet, condemned in the sight of God”, 389 “will once again shine with light, and the holy sepulchre of Jesus and Mount Calvary will be restored to the glory of the Catholic Faith. ” 390

For Philippe de Mézières, Jerusalem was “the capital city of all Christendom” and “the foundation stone of the Catholic Faith. ” The Holy Land was the “public land of Christendom” (terre publique de la crestiente) that belonged on grounds of faith and honor “not only to Christian peoples but also to all the kings and princes of Christendom. ” 391 The conquest of Turkey, Egypt, and Syria would thus be a work done for the Christian respublica, for la chose publique de la cresteinte. 392 The fact that the Levantine countries were “overflowing with all manner of riches and delights” while the western kingdoms were “cold and frozen” 393 appears to have been merely circumstantial. What really mattered for de Mézières was that “the glory of the venerable Lady Holy Faith should be from now on better guarded than it has been in our lamentable days. ” 394

It was as a Catholic republican that de Mézières preached and organized the Crusade. His austere republicanism took shape in the Militia Passionis Jhesu Christi, his military order that never grew strong enough to accomplish the historic mission for which it was intended, but which is of interest as a semi-embodied idea. The order was to be summa perfectio, the model as well as the agent of spiritual and moral reform. 395 Especially after the defeat of the Crusaders at Nicopolis, de Mézières gave vent to his critique of Christian knights who impeded their own efforts by avarice, vain-glory, incompetence, and lack of discipline and

387 Letter, 18/91.
388 Ibid., 45/118.
389 Ibid., 28/101.
390 Ibid., 18/90–91.
391 Ibid., 26/99.
392 Ibid., 30/103.
393 Ibid., 71/145.
394 Epistre lamentable, 523.
395 Tyerman 1985a, 109.

order and, as such, were easy prey for the Ottoman army. The defeat at Nicopolis was the divine chastisement of unworthy Christian knights. 396 The “Turks and enemies of faith” would never be defeated by an undisciplined armed multitude, Philippe wrote. Only a well-ordered and strictly disciplined Christian chivalry, unreservedly dedicated to holy war for the love of God and ready to die for the holy cause without hesitation, 397 stood a chance of overcoming the Turks. Philippe de Mézières's Militia Passionis Jhesu Christi was a model for this new type of Christian army. Its mission was to recommence the holy war. Here Philippe the peacemaker really let his warmonger self take wing. With great passion he urged the Christians to wage war against the infidels. He claimed that the destruction of the enemies of the Cross 398 was the teaching of St. Paul: “one has to make every effort and use violence according to the teaching of Saint Paul the Apostle. ” 399 Such a war would undoubtedly be “God's own war”, fought with God's assistance: God Himself would assail the Saracens. 400 As a military strategist, de Mézières proposed attacking Sultan “Baxhet” (Bayezid I), for to kill a serpent one has to crush its head. 401 But de Mézières was a prophet of holy war rather than a military strategist. To make a bonne et forte guerre against the Turks, “ferocious and dishonourable enemies of faith”, and to either convert or wreak havoc on and destroy “the false sect of Mahomet” and “all idolatry”, Philippe declared, was the will of God: the chose Dieu nous veuille ottroier! 402

Three hundred years after Clermont, the cry of Deus le volt! could still be heard, voiced not by a robber, an incendiary, or a homicide, 403 but by a man who rubbed shoulders with eminent figures, like Pierre d'Ailly, for example. 404 This was a cry for holy war. 405 But the aim of the Militia Passionis Jhesu Christi was not only to engage in la bataille de Dieu

396 Cf. Setton 1976, 241.
397 Epistre lamentable, 473–74.
398 Cf. Setton 1976, 238, 241 (quoting the Life of St. Peter Thomas).
399 Epistre lamentable, 499.
400 Setton 1976, 261, 168 (quoting the Life of St. Peter Thomas).
401 Epistre lamentable, 494.
402 Ibid., 489, 467, 498. Cf. Le Songe, 2: 223.
403 Cf. chap. 1 n. 310.
404 D'Ailly dedicated an early work of his to de Mézières. Guenée 1991, 116. A founding father of radical conciliarist thought, d'Ailly has a share in the praise some historians of political thought lavish on conciliarism as a moment in the development of “modern theory of popular sovereignty in a secular state. ” Cf. Skinner 1978, 1: 65. For d'Ailly's linking the fight against the infidels with the reform of the Church, see his De reformatione ecclesiae,75.
405 De Mézières's vocabulary belonged “à l'ancienne école. ” Rousset 1983, 133.

that would open the gates of the heavenly kingdom; 406 these “valiant combatants and God's elect” appeared almost as a church, a “holy congregation”, no less so than God's “new people of Israel. ” 407 They were more than the new model army: they were the model settlers. These knights were to settle in the Holy Land and establish the City of God in the conquered territories, for “the time has come to build the City of God, according to Saint Augustine. ” 408 Their military order was to be the model settlement as well. The Militia Passionis Jhesu Christi was itself la cité de Dieu. 409 Occupied Palestine was to be ruled by military force. The new order in the Holy Land was to be a monarchie militaire 410 or—as de Mézières's biographer pointedly described it—a Christian Sparta. 411


Catherine of Siena was a mystic and a saint, a Dominican tertiary who lived a deeply religious life and stopped taking food and died when still a young woman. It was her intense piety that led her to take part in public life (vivere civile). She believed she had a mission, and in the 1370s she campaigned energetically for the return of the Pope to Rome; for dolce pace, that is, peace among Christians; and for the crusade, santo passagio. 412 She traveled and sent epistles to whomever she thought might be instrumental in achieving those goals. Her three aims were closely interdependent. The return of the Pope from his Avignon “Egyptian captivity” to the “Promised Land” of Rome was expected to lead to the spiritually reformed Church's victorious march to Jerusalem. 413 The causal link between the “sweet peace” and the crusade was expressed, among others, by Pope Gregory XI himself: “The crusade is particularly conducive to peace, and peace itself leads to the Crusade. ” 414 In this, the Pope—who was in Catherine's view the Archimedean point for getting the Crusade under way—was a continuator of “the very old tradition of

406 Epistre lamentable, 490, 499.
407 Ibid., 490, 473.
408 Ibid., 500; cf. 503.
409 Ibid., 475; cf. 499: “Cette chevalerie sera la Cité portative de Dieu. ”
410 Ibid., 458.
411 See Iorga 1896, 455.
412 Cardini 1993c, 428, sees the reform of the Church, instead of peace, as one of the three goals of Catherine's public activity. For a sympathetic account of Catherine's notion of peace, see Petrocchi 1975.
413 Cf. Cardini 1993c, 426.
414 Quoted in Housley 1986, 223. On Gregory XI's crusade, see Thibault 1986, 49 ff.

regarding peace within Christendom. ” 415 The same may be said of Catherine of Siena. Her gift to her contemporaries was not only a “mystical version of the traditional theology” 416 but also a mystical version of the traditional crusade idea.

A strong mystical fervor colored Catherine's understanding of the crusade. Her letters drip with blood: the blood that Christ had shed to redeem humankind. She wrote “in his precious blood. ” 417 The crusade was a “mystery”, 418 and the mystical formula for the crusade was blood for blood. Just as Christ had shed his blood for the salvation of men, so Christians now had to shed their blood for Christ to free his patrimony from impious hands. “Fire up your desire to pay blood for blood”, Catherine called on to Christian believers. 419 A martyr's death was high on the agenda again. To die for Christ and for the holy faith (morire per la sante fede) was to gain eternal life. The crusade was reunion with the Redeemer. Gregory XI's crusading bull was, for Catherine, “sweet good news. ” The “holy crusade” it proclaimed was “the fragrance of the flower that is just beginning to open. ” And when she urged her fellow Christians to join the crusade, she was inviting them “to the wedding feast of everlasting life. ” The crusade was “this sweet glorious wedding feast … full of joy, sweetness, and every delight. ” 420

Her passionate mysticism aside, Catherine of Siena's crusading language was firmly conventional. A continuity of intention and argument can be traced from Urban II and the chroniclers of the First Crusade up to Catherine's writings. 421 It is as if the crusade idea had been filtered through the centuries to leave its pure essence in Catherine's letters: Peace among Christians and war against the infidels! This was the leading theme of Catherine's crusading propaganda, expressed time and again, sometimes strengthened by mention of the illegitimate possession of the Holy Land by the Muslims. To a legally minded person this point

415 Housley 1986, 223. A “deeply ingrained traditionalism” regarding the crusade blinded Gregory XI to the “realities of his age” and doomed his crusading efforts to fail. Thibault 1986, 37.
416 Knowles and Obolensky 1991, 326.
417 Catherine to Pope Gregory XI, 31 March 1376, The Letters of St. Catherine of Siena, 203.
418 Catherine to King Charles V of France, a.d. 1376, ibid., 239. For a more detailed (and sympathetic) discussion of Catherine's crusade idea, see Castellini 1938; Cardini 1993c.
419 Catherine to Nicolò Soderini, a.d. 1375, The Letters, 116–17.
420 Catherine to Giovanna d'Angiò, Queen of Naples, July 1375; to Nicolò Soderini, a.d. 1375; to Monna Paola, after 1 July 1375; to Bartolomeo della Pace Smeducci da Sanseverino, a.d. 1375 or 1376, ibid., 114, 116, 119, 161.
421 Rousset 1983, 122. Cf. Castellini 1938, 325; Cardini 1993c, 433.

could offer a justification for the Crusade. But for Catherine the Crusade did not need to be justified.

In the world of Catherine's political mysticism, the only thing needing justification, though in fact unjustifiable, was resisting or impeding the Crusade. I let Catherine speak for herself: “What a shame and disgrace it is for Christians to allow the base unbelievers to possess what is rightfully ours. Yet we act like punyhearted fools, waging wars and campaigns only against one another! We are divided from one another in hatred and bitterness when we ought to be bound by ties of blazing divine charity—a bond so strong that it held the God-Man nailed fast to the wood of the most holy Cross. ” 422 Catherine begged Cardinal Orsini to encourage the Pope to press on with the crusade “so that the war Christians are waging against each other may be waged against them”, the unbelievers. 423 The Pope and Catherine differed in this regard. When Gregory XI gave audience to Catherine, he explained that he wanted first to make peace among Christians, and then he would command the Crusade. Catherine replied that there was no better way to pacify Christians then to issue that command. 424 But this seems to be a difference in accentuation rather than substance. Though she believed in an apparently instant peace through the crusade, Catherine still saw inter-Christian peace as a necessary condition for the holy journey.

Catherine was aware of the problem of mercenary military companies that were either employed in wars against their fellow Christians or, when idle, harassed the civilians. She wrote about the issue to John Hawkwood, an English condottiere working for Italian employers. She considered him in “the devil's service and pay” and urged him to change his course and enlist himself and all his followers and companies instead in the service of Christ crucified:

Then you would be one of Christ's companies, going to fight the unbelieving dogs who have possession of our holy place, where gentle First Truth lived and endured sufferings and death for us. You find so much satisfaction in fighting and waging war, so now I am begging you tenderly in Christ Jesus not to wage war any longer against Christians (for that offends God), but to go instead to fight the unbelievers, as God and our Holy Father have decreed.

422 Catherine to Bernabò Visconti, between 3 Nov. 1373 and 9 Jan. 1374, The Letters, 71.
423 Catherine to Cardinal Iacopo Orsini, a.d. 1374, ibid., 91.
424 Raymond of Capua De Sancta Catherina Senensi Vita; quoted in Castellini 1938, 340; Cardini 1993c, 443. But Gregory XI seems to have said different things at different times. Cf. n. 414.

How cruel it is that we who are Christians, members bound together in the body of holy Church, should be persecuting one another! 425

This letter was written soon after Gregory XI's crusading bull was published on July 1, 1375, but the formulation that “God and our holy father” had decreed the crusade was dogmatic rather than just circumstantial. Catherine appears to have firmly believed that the Crusade was “God's will. ” 426 “God wants it”, she wrote. 427

When the anti-Papal rebellion led by the Florentines had broken out, Catherine, in January 1376, exhorted the Pope not to postpone the Crusade, “for it is with the fragrance of the Cross that you will gain peace. I beg you to invite those who have rebelled against you to a holy peace, so that all this fighting can be diverted toward the unbelievers. ” 428 And again, in a subsequent letter: “Ah— God sweet love!—do raise the standard of the most holy cross soon, babbo, and you will see the wolves become lambs. Peace! Peace! Peace!—so that war may not delay this sweet time!” 429 But she also addressed the signori of Florence: “So we must not go against our head [the Pope], no matter what injustice may have been done to us. Nor must one Christian go against another. No, we should be going together against the unbelievers who are doing us injustice because they are holding what is not theirs but ours. ” 430

In the same year Catherine reproached Charles V of France for obstructing the crusade by being at war with England. “No more, for love of Christ crucified!” For Catherine, Christians fighting Christians alone was war; the crusade she did not call war but “this sweet time. ” She was well aware of the immense physical and spiritual destruction that fighting between Christians caused. She referred to all the religious persons and women and children who were abused and displaced by soldiery. But all this became as if nothing before “the mystery of the holy Crusade. ” When the violence was for the sake of the holy, it lost all its terrifying features and ceased to be violence. When it came to holy war, the agent of evil was he who did not promote it. She threatened the king with divine judgment should he continue to be “the obstacle to such a good as the recovery of the Holy Land. ” On this point, Catherine was less than

425 27 June 1375, The Letters, 106.
426 Catherine to Pope Gregory XI, 31 March 1376, ibid., 205.
427 Catherine to Pope Gregory XI, Sept. 1376, ibid., 243.
428 Catherine to Pope Gregory XI, Jan. 1376, ibid., 169.
429 Catherine to Pope Gregory XI, 31 March 1376, ibid., 205.
430 Catherine to the Signori of Florence, near Easter 1376, ibid., 215.

gracious to the monarch. “What a scandal, humanly speaking, and what an abomination before God, that you should be making war against your brother and leaving your enemy alone, and that you should be seizing what belongs to another and not get back what is yours! Enough of this stupid blindness! I am telling you in the name of Christ crucified to wait no longer to make this peace. Make peace! Make peace! Make peace, and turn the whole war against the unbelievers. Help promote and raise the standard of the most holy Cross. ” 431

But in this letter Catherine also voiced concern for “all those poor souls who have no share in the blood of God's Son. ” This concern reappeared in Catherine's letters more than once. She wrote to the Pope that by the Crusade “we shall be freed—we from war and the divisions and many sins, and the unbelievers from their unbelief. ” 432 Thus the Crusade became a war of liberation, delivering “our gentle Saviour's holy place from the unbelievers' hands, and their souls from the devil's hands so that they may share in the blood of God's Son as we do. ” 433 She even considered the unbelievers “our brothers and sisters, ransomed as we are by Christ's blood. ” 434

I do not wish to question Catherine's sincerity in this regard. The fact is, however, that these tender feelings modified neither her view of the Muslims as “the wicked unbelieving dogs who have possession of what is ours”, 435 nor her determination “to rescue what has been stolen from us” so that “the holy place will no longer be held by these evil unbelievers. ” 436 Some historians have warned against being misled by the contemptuous terms Catherine used for the infidels, like cani, cani infedeli, cani malvagi. They argue that Catherine regarded the infidels as having the right to be loved, since they were called to conversion, and that the contradiction lay not in Catherine's “intention” but in the “customary and unreflected” vocabulary she employed. 437 But it seems to me

431 Catherine to King Charles V, July 1376, ibid., 239.
432 Catherine to Pope Gregory XI, 21 March 1376, ibid., 202. Cf. De Sancta Catherina Senensi Vita (quoted in Cardini 1993c, 443), that one of the three good things brought about by the Crusade was “salus multorum sarracenorum. ”
433 Catherine to Giovanna d'Angiò, Queen of Naples, July 1375, The Letters, 114. Cf. Catherine to Bartolomeo della Pace Smeducci da Sanseverino, a.d. 1375 or 1376, ibid., 161.
434 Catherine to Bartolomeo della Pace Smeducci da Sanseverino, a.d. 1375 or 1376, ibid., 161.
435 Catherine to the Queen Mother, Elisabeth of Hungary, Summer 1375, ibid., 132.
436 Catherine to the Queen Mother, Elisabeth of Hungary, Summer 1375; to Giovanna d'Angiò, Queen of Naples, 4 Aug. 1375, ibid., 133, 129.
437 Rousset 1983, 124; Cardini 1993c, 452–53.

that such an argument comes close to taking the intention too lightly or to playing down the power of language. Moreover, considering the crusade an “act of love” was nothing new. 438 And Catherine's sisterly feelings for the unbelievers did not cool her crusading zeal or undermine her “holy resolve to make this sweet holy crusade. ” 439 To the contrary, they made the crusade appear even more urgent, for it was to save “all those poor souls” as well. But how anyone except Christ could save souls by shedding blood, especially the blood of others, remained a mystery embedded in the context of the Crusade, itself seen as mystery—so much more so because Catherine did not specify any scheme for converting the infidels. Her thoughts were beyond the duality of the crusade and mission. Conversion was a result of the Crusade. 440 Crusade was itself the mission.

Catherine of Siena has been praised for her keen intelligence, which could master even the most difficult problems. She has been described as “doubtlessly the most representative woman and saint of her own time. ” 441 But her intellectual brilliance never led to rejection of the crusade. When it came to the Crusade, Catherine did not escape the common, “thoughtless” language of her age; 442 rather she expressed “the thought of the multitude”, became “the echo of the voice of the public. ” 443 This is precisely what asks us to take Catherine's Crusading propaganda seriously. She said what the public desired to hear and was used to hearing. And the public hears best when its own voice returns to it as an echo.

In her dealing with the conflict between Christendom and the Muslims, Catherine was no exception among intellectuals of the Latin Middle Ages. The greatest minds of the medieval Western world—the most profound, distinguished, subtle, sublime, illuminated, and angelic thinkers, as they used to be called by their contemporaries and by the admiring subsequent generations—as well as mystics and visionaries, all bent their heads and their knees before the spirit of the Crusade. They all subscribed—rarely with silence, often with admirable eloquence—to the

438 See Riley-Smith 1980.
439 Catherine to the Queen Mother, Elisabeth of Hungary, Summer 1375, The Letters, 132.
440 Cf. Cardini 1993c, 452.
441 Knowles and Obolensky 1991, 398.
442 Cf. n. 437.
443 Rousset 1983, 120.

declaration that it was necessary to eliminate those who had been named infidels and declared enemies. This made the greatest minds at one with the mindless, those capable of the subtlest reasoning at one with those considered reasonable only because God had endowed all humans with reason. The most sublime idea and the most brutal force dwelt in a common house that they built together. This is not to say that the Crusades cast a shadow on western Christian intellectual and spiritual achievements. To the contrary, these achievements blind us to the crusades as an important force that shaped the Western world, 444 as a factor without which the creativity of the big names of the Christian West would not have been what it was.

Intimately connected with the highest ideals and values of Christian society—the ideals of unity and peace, in particular—and seen as a prominent vehicle for achieving them, the Crusades were unchallenged throughout the Middle Ages. They enjoyed continuing popularity and the passionate support of all ranks of society all over Christendom. 445 But their impress is not limited to the Middle Ages. As an ideal and as a movement, the Crusades had a deep, crucial influence on the formation of Western civilization, shaping culture, ideas, and institutions. 446 The Crusades set a model for “expansionist campaigns by European Christians against non-Europeans and non-Christians in all parts of the world. ” 447 The ideas, iconography, and discourse associated with the Crusades made a profound imprint on “all Christian thinking about sacred violence” and exercised influence long after the end of actual crusading. 448 They continued to play a prominent role in European politics and political imagination. In fact, the crusading spirit has survived through Modernity well into our own postmodern age. 449

Manifestations of that survival can seem absurd. When a great histo-

444 The Crusades have played a far greater role in Western history than in the history of the Muslim world. For this asymmetry, see Sivan 1985.
445 See, for example, Munz 1969, 371 n. 2; Hillgarth 1971, 73; Siberry 1985, 21, 220; Schein 1991, 264, 266; Housley 1992, 11, 392; Riley-Smith 1992, 173. What Medieval Latin Christians criticized, if they criticized anything at all, were “abuses” of the crusade, most prominent of which were “crusades against Christians. ” Villey 1942, 36; Housley 1985; 1992, 11–12, 377 ff.; Siberry 1985, 217.
446 Cowdrey 1976, 11, 27; Brundage 1997, 251.
447 Brundage 1976, 124; 1997, 260.
448 Housley 1992, 456. When the “actual crusading” ended, remains an open question. The last of the crusading bulls granted by the Popes to the kings of Spain expired in 1940—when there was “no longer a Spanish king to receive another. ” Mayer 1993, 287– 88.
449 Cf. Djuvara 1914; Boehm 1957; Cardini 1993b; Mastnak 1998a; 1998b, chap. 4–5; Tyerman 1998.

rian describes the spillover of World War I into the Near East as a direct replay of the Crusades and calls Marshal Allenby's soldiers the descendants of King Richard I (possibly the best of all crusade commanders), it is easy to laugh. 450 We can laugh because it is clearly such an inaccurate assessment of the historical facts to interpret that episode of World War I as the fulfillment of the “ePopee of Crusades. ” 451 But this is not a laughing matter. Such interpretations need to be taken seriously. Their inaccuracy only underscores the strength of the Crusades as a force shaping our thinking; their absurdity is a fact of the life we live today. The persistence of the crusading spirit was certainly clear to both the perpetrators and victims of the war on Bosnia as the twentieth century drew to a close. Both perpetrators and victims found in the language of the crusade a way to describe their goals and their predicaments. Those who stood by and watched the crimes unfold often found little to call absurd or reprehensible in that postmodern crusade. Their talk of peace only helped the crusade succeed. That success is still all too much with us today. If the story I have told in these pages has an end, then that end does not yet appear to be in sight.

450 In 1914, the “Franks” set foot in Syria again in order to, four years later, “deliver Tripoli, Beirut, and Tyre, the city of Raymond of Saint-Gilles, the city of John of Ibelin, the city of Philip de Montfort. As to Jerusalem, it was to be 'reoccupied' on December 9, 1917, by the descendants of King Richard under the command of Marshal Allenby. ” Grousset 1939, 384– 85. For the characterization of Richard I, see Riley-Smith 1992, 113.
451 Mayer 1993, 288, is of course right to point out that “when the French army in 1914 established its first camp in the Levant where the Templars had left their last base in 1303, i.e. on the island of Ruad off Tortosa, it did so not as a distant reminder of the crusades but simply as a matter of military tactics. ”

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