Marsilius of Padua

Marsilius of Padua

Discussion
Ask a question about 'Marsilius of Padua'
Start a new discussion about 'Marsilius of Padua'
Answer questions from other users
Full Discussion Forum
 
Encyclopedia
Marsilius of Padua

Marsilius of Padua (Italian
Italian language
Italian is a Romance language spoken mainly in Europe: Italy, Switzerland, San Marino, Vatican City, by minorities in Malta, Monaco, Croatia, Slovenia, France, Libya, Eritrea, and Somalia, and by immigrant communities in the Americas and Australia...

 Marsilio or Marsiglio da Padova; (circa 1275 – circa 1342) was an Italian
Italian people
The Italian people are an ethnic group that share a common Italian culture, ancestry and speak the Italian language as a mother tongue. Within Italy, Italians are defined by citizenship, regardless of ancestry or country of residence , and are distinguished from people...

 scholar, trained in medicine who practiced a variety of professions. He was also an important 14th century political figure. His political treatise Defensor pacis
Defensor pacis
The tract Defensor pacis laid the foundations of modern doctrines of sovereignty. It was written by Marsilius of Padua , an Italian medieval scholar. It appeared in 1324 and provoked a storm of controversy that lasted through the century...

is seen by some authorities as the most revolutionary political treatise written in the later Middle Ages
Middle Ages
The Middle Ages is a periodization of European history from the 5th century to the 15th century. The Middle Ages follows the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 and precedes the Early Modern Era. It is the middle period of a three-period division of Western history: Classic, Medieval and Modern...

.

Early years


Marsillius was born in Padua
Padua
Padua is a city and comune in the Veneto, northern Italy. It is the capital of the province of Padua and the economic and communications hub of the area. Padua's population is 212,500 . The city is sometimes included, with Venice and Treviso, in the Padua-Treviso-Venice Metropolitan Area, having...

, an important Italian city, circa 1275. He initially trained in medicine, but was employed in various professions, including that of a soldier. He went to the University of Paris
University of Paris
The University of Paris was a university located in Paris, France and one of the earliest to be established in Europe. It was founded in the mid 12th century, and officially recognized as a university probably between 1160 and 1250...

 in 1311. The reputation which he had gained in what were then called the physical sciences soon caused him to be raised to the position of rector
Rector
The word rector has a number of different meanings; it is widely used to refer to an academic, religious or political administrator...

 of the university for the first term of the year 1313.

Political theory


Marsilius wrote Defensor pacis in 1324. This treatise was created in the context of a power struggle between Pope John XXII
Pope John XXII
Pope John XXII , born Jacques Duèze , was pope from 1316 to 1334. He was the second Pope of the Avignon Papacy , elected by a conclave in Lyon assembled by Philip V of France...

 and Louis of Bavaria
Louis IV, Holy Roman Emperor
Louis IV , called the Bavarian, of the house of Wittelsbach, was the King of Germany from 1314, the King of Italy from 1327 and the Holy Roman Emperor from 1328....

 (or Ludwig of Bavaria), the elected candidate for Holy Roman Emperor
Holy Roman Emperor
The Holy Roman Emperor is a term used by historians to denote a medieval ruler who, as German King, had also received the title of "Emperor of the Romans" from the Pope...

. Louis' policies in the Italian peninsula, where the Empire had important territories, threatened papal territorial sovereignty. In 1323 Louis had sent an army to Italy to protect Milan against the powerful Kingdom of Naples
Kingdom of Naples
The Kingdom of Naples, comprising the southern part of the Italian peninsula, was the remainder of the old Kingdom of Sicily after secession of the island of Sicily as a result of the Sicilian Vespers rebellion of 1282. Known to contemporaries as the Kingdom of Sicily, it is dubbed Kingdom of...

. Naples, along with France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

, was a powerful ally of John XXII. John excommunicated Louis and demanded that he relinquish his claim to the imperial crown. Louis responded to John XXII with fresh provocations.

In Defensor pacis, Marsilius sought to demonstrate, by arguments from reason
Reason
Reason is a term that refers to the capacity human beings have to make sense of things, to establish and verify facts, and to change or justify practices, institutions, and beliefs. It is closely associated with such characteristically human activities as philosophy, science, language, ...

 (in Dictio I of the text) and by argument from authority
Authority
The word Authority is derived mainly from the Latin word auctoritas, meaning invention, advice, opinion, influence, or command. In English, the word 'authority' can be used to mean power given by the state or by academic knowledge of an area .-Authority in Philosophy:In...

 (in Dictio II) the independence of the Holy Roman Empire
Holy Roman Empire
The Holy Roman Empire was a realm that existed from 962 to 1806 in Central Europe.It was ruled by the Holy Roman Emperor. Its character changed during the Middle Ages and the Early Modern period, when the power of the emperor gradually weakened in favour of the princes...

 from the Papacy and the emptiness of the prerogatives alleged to have been usurped by the sovereign pontiffs. This demonstration was regarded as heretical
Heresy
Heresy is a controversial or novel change to a system of beliefs, especially a religion, that conflicts with established dogma. It is distinct from apostasy, which is the formal denunciation of one's religion, principles or cause, and blasphemy, which is irreverence toward religion...

.

Marsilius and John of Jandun
John of Jandun
John of Jandun was an Averroist philosopher, theologian, and political writer. He was born at Jandun in the Ardennes, in what is now France...

, who has sometimes been credited as a co-author of Defensor pacis, left France for Louis' court
Alter Hof
The Alte Hof in the center of Munich is the former imperial residence of Louis IV, Holy Roman Emperor and consists of five wings Burgstock, Zwingerstock, Lorenzistock, Pfisterstock and Brunnenstock....

 in Bavaria
Duchy of Bavaria
The Duchy of Bavaria was the only one of the stem duchies from the earliest days of East Francia and the Kingdom of Germany to preserve both its name and most of its territorial extent....

. Louis admitted Marsilius and John to his circle. Others were also under his protection, including Michael of Cesena
Michael of Cesena
Michael of Cesena was an Italian Franciscan, general of that Order, and theologian.-Biography:...

 and the philosopher William of Ockham
William of Ockham
William of Ockham was an English Franciscan friar and scholastic philosopher, who is believed to have been born in Ockham, a small village in Surrey. He is considered to be one of the major figures of medieval thought and was at the centre of the major intellectual and political controversies of...

, an advocate of an early form of church and state separation. In 1326, Marsilius accompanied Louis to Italy, where he preached or circulated written attacks against the pope. The Lord of Milan Galeazzo I Visconti, suspected of conspiring with John, was deposed and Louis was crowned King of Italy in Milan
Milan
Milan is the second-largest city in Italy and the capital city of the region of Lombardy and of the province of Milan. The city proper has a population of about 1.3 million, while its urban area, roughly coinciding with its administrative province and the bordering Province of Monza and Brianza ,...

 in 1327.

In January 1328 Louis entered Rome
Rome
Rome is the capital of Italy and the country's largest and most populated city and comune, with over 2.7 million residents in . The city is located in the central-western portion of the Italian Peninsula, on the Tiber River within the Lazio region of Italy.Rome's history spans two and a half...

 and had himself crowned emperor by the aged senator Sciarra Colonna
Sciarra Colonna
Sciarrillo Colonna, byname of Giacomo Colonna , was a member of the powerful Colonna family, and a strong enemy of Pope Boniface VIII. During the Outrage of Anagni, in September 1303, Sciarra reportedly slapped the pope in the face. He was brother to Stefano Colonna the Elder.The Colonna family was...

, called captain of the Roman people. Three months later Louis published a decree declaring "Jacque de Cahors" —Pope John XXII—deposed on grounds of heresy
Heresy
Heresy is a controversial or novel change to a system of beliefs, especially a religion, that conflicts with established dogma. It is distinct from apostasy, which is the formal denunciation of one's religion, principles or cause, and blasphemy, which is irreverence toward religion...

. He then installed the Franciscan
Franciscan
Most Franciscans are members of Roman Catholic religious orders founded by Saint Francis of Assisi. Besides Roman Catholic communities, there are also Old Catholic, Anglican, Lutheran, ecumenical and Non-denominational Franciscan communities....

 Pietro Rainalducci as Nicholas V
Antipope Nicholas V
Nicholas V, born Pietro Rainalducci was an antipope in Italy from 12 May 1328 to 25 July 1330 during the pontificate of Pope John XXII at Avignon. He was the last Imperial antipope, that is, set up by a Holy Roman Emperor.-Life:Rainalducci was born at Corvaro, an ancient stronghold near Rieti in...

. Nicholas was deposed upon Louis departure from Rome in 1329.

In Bavaria, as imperial vicar, Marsilius persecuted the clergy who had remained faithful to John XXII. In recompense for his services, he was appointed archbishop of Milan, and John of Jandun obtained from Louis IV the bishopric of Ferrara.

Marsilius also composed a treatise De translatione [Romani] imperii, which some authorities consider is a rearrangement of a similar work by Landolfo Colonna called De jurisdictione imperatoris in causa matrimoniali. This work, and Marsilius' variation, sought to justify the exclusive jurisdiction of the emperor in matrimonial affairs: Louis of Bavaria had recently annulled the marriage of the son of the King of Bohemia.

Legacy


Some authorities consider Defensor pacis one of the most important political and religious works of fourteenth-century Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

. In the Defensor minor
Defensor minor
The Defensor minor is a work by Marsilius of Padua written around 1342. The Defensor minor is a restatement and defense of Marsilius's best known work, the Defensor pacis....

, Marsilius completed and elaborated on different points in the doctrine laid down in the Defensor pacis. He dealt here with problems concerning ecclesiastical jurisdiction, penance
Penance
Penance is repentance of sins as well as the proper name of the Roman Catholic, Orthodox Christian, and Anglican Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation/Confession. It also plays a part in non-sacramental confession among Lutherans and other Protestants...

, indulgence
Indulgence
In Catholic theology, an indulgence is the full or partial remission of temporal punishment due for sins which have already been forgiven. The indulgence is granted by the Catholic Church after the sinner has confessed and received absolution...

s, crusades and pilgrimage
Pilgrimage
A pilgrimage is a journey or search of great moral or spiritual significance. Typically, it is a journey to a shrine or other location of importance to a person's beliefs and faith...

s, vows, excommunication
Excommunication
Excommunication is a religious censure used to deprive, suspend or limit membership in a religious community. The word means putting [someone] out of communion. In some religions, excommunication includes spiritual condemnation of the member or group...

, the general church council, marriage and divorce, and unity with the Greek Orthodox Church
Greek Orthodox Church
The Greek Orthodox Church is the body of several churches within the larger communion of Eastern Orthodox Christianity sharing a common cultural tradition whose liturgy is also traditionally conducted in Koine Greek, the original language of the New Testament...

. In this work he even more clearly articulates imperial supremacy over the Church.

Further reading

  • The defender of peace (Cambridge University Press, 2005).
  • Writings on the Empire: Defensor minor and De translatione imperii (Cambridge University Press, 1993).