Chapter Six

I’m still chipping away at Chapter Four. It requires some new reading so is taking a while. But Chapter Six is now done.

It begins with a discussion of the struggle between Pope Boniface VIII and King Philip the Fair of France in the late 13th and early 14th century. Although there is some detail on the politics, I’m more interested in the political theory that was produced for one or other party, or in response to the arguments. This includes works by the likes of James of Viterbo, John of Paris, Giles of Rome (Aegidius Romanus), and Henry of Cremona.

The bulk of the chapter is devoted to detailed readings of Dante Aligheri (the Commedia and the Monarchia); Marsilius of Padua’s defence of the independent city states; and William of Ockham’s arguments on behalf of the Franciscan vow of poverty. Each of these, in different ways, offers a powerful challenge to the papacy. But each is pretty vague about what the object of the kind of rule they do advocate is: in other words, what is temporal power actually over? This sets up a problem that I think the theorists discussed in the subsequent chapters deal with.

Relatively little work on this revision, though even more checking of references and I’d not previously tracked down a few sources. This included a proper reference to the Franciscan Regula Bullata; and various papal bulls, etc.  But I knew what I was trying to do when I wrote this chapter, so it was in pretty good shape. If I’m back in the British Library again there is probably one last thing I will check.

This is one of the best chapters in the book, in my view. There is even some humour. It’s also the last of the second part of the book, and in re-reading it I was struck not just by the readings of the authors noted above, but also how much secondary literature I’d dealt with. Scholars like Otto Gierke, the Carlyle brothers, Walter Ullmann, Brian Tierney, Joseph Canning, RW Dyson, Cary Nederman and others – who used to be utterly unknown to me – were indispensible guides through the debates in these chapters. As with most of the medieval work, this was undertaken largely while at the University of Tasmania, National University of Singapore, and Queen Mary, University of London between 2006 and 2009.

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One Response to Chapter Six

  1. Pingback: The Birth of Territory – Chapter Updates | Progressive Geographies

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