Fordham University

 

Home | Ancient History Sourcebook | Medieval SourcebookModern History Sourcebook | Byzantine Studies Page
Other History Sourcebooks: African | East Asian | Global | Indian | IslamicJewishLesbian and Gay | Science | Women's


IHSP


MainAncientMedievalModern


Subsidiary SourcebooksAfricanEastern AsianGlobalIndianJewishIslamicLesbian/GayScienceWomen


Special ResourcesByzantiumMedieval WebMedieval NYC
Medieval MusicSaints' Lives
Ancient Law
Medieval Law
Film: Ancient
Film: Medieval
Film: Modern
Film: Saints


About IHSPIJSP Credits

Medieval Sourcebook:
Bartolo of Sassoferrato
Treatise on City Government, c. 1330


© Trans. Steve Lane [slane@tezcat.com]

Based on the text of Diego Quaglioni, "Per una edizione critica e un commento moderno del Tractatus de Regimine civitatis" di Bartolo da Sassoferrato," Pensiero Politico 9 (1976).

TREATISE ON CITY GOVERNMENT
ACCORDING TO BARTOLUS OF SASSOFERRATO

1. The first sort of government there was in the city of Rome, after the expulsion of the kings, was "for the people," which Aristotle calls "political."

A democracy is the name of a government of those who are ruling for their own advantage, in opposition to the rich, or to any people.

2. The second kind of government in the city of Rome was by the senators, and this sort of government is good if it tends toward the common good, which Aristotle calls a government of the elders.

Oligarchy is called by Aristotle the reign of a few rich people who have no interest in the common good.

3. The third sort of government was government by one man. He is called a lord if he inclines to a good and common end, a tyrant if he is inclined to pursue bad or [merely] personal ends.

4. There are six types of government, three good, three bad.

5. The seventh kind of government now rules in the city of Rome, and is called a monstrous government. (Also number 28)

6. It pertains to the jurist to investigate which sort of government is better.

7. The three forms of good government.

8. Monarchy, that is, the governance of one king, is the best sort of government.

9. Three things are required of any ruler, namely perfect reason, right intention, and perfect stability.

10. Not every sort of one-man rule is called the rule of a king.

11. Whether it is good to be ruled by kings. (And no. 13)

12. What a king may demand from his subjects.

14. A consideration of what may happen when that which is being discussed tends naturally toward this.

15. A threefold division of populaces, because some cities are large, some larger still, some the largest of all.

16. A large city, in the first degree of magnitude, is better off with a government "for the people" than it is being ruled by a few people, or by only one.

17. The city of Siena was ruled by rich nobles for eighty years, and that government was expelled by the "populars" in the time of king Charles the Fourth.

18. Government "for the people" should be called a government of God rather than of men.

Charles the Fourth approved of the government "for the people."

19. [Both] magnates and the most wretched are excluded from a government "for the people."

20. A larger city, according to the scale of magnitude, is better ruled by a few good rich men, rather then by the populace, or by one person.

The city of Venice and the city of Florence are among the "larger" cities, and are ruled by a few of the wealthy.

21. A city accustomed to being ruled in a certain way should be governed in that way.

22. The largest cities or peoples are best ruled by a single king.

23. A government which results from election is more divine than one which results from succession.

24. It is dangerous to have a king of another nation.

All Christians are called brothers.

25. The Roman empire, after it was separated from the Italians, grew ever weaker.

26. Small populaces cannot be governed in themselves, unless they submit or adhere to another people.

27. A tyrant is the worst of all of the forms of government.

28. The rule of several bad men is not so evil as the rule of a single tyrant; and how this may be determined.

29. The rule of several bad men does not last long, and easily decays to the rule of a single tyrant.

Because this is the last part of the Tiber, and thus in the city of Rome, which is the head of the world, let us therefore examine some things concerning the ways of ruling a city. And this inquiry is twofold: in the first place an inquiry into ways of ruling as far as the laws are concerned, which may concern either the written or the unwritten law,[1] and this is an inquiry I will not pursue, since this is treated in various ways in various [other] places. In the second place an inquiry into ways of ruling as far as concerns the persons of the rulers, and this deserves some sort of examination. In the first place let us see in how many ways a city may be ruled. In the second place, which ways are better, which worse. In the third place let us examine some of the doubts which arise about these matters in the course of daily events.

In the first place, in how many ways a city may be ruled, three forms of good government can be garnered from our laws, and three which are contrary to them. Aristotle discusses a number of these forms quite clearly in the third book of his Politics and there he supplies his own names for those forms;[2] we will both make mention of those names and also insert names more fitting for the present time.

1 In the city of Rome, when the kings had been expelled, there were three forms of government.[3] The first by the people:[4] Aristotle called this sort of government policratia or "political," and we will call it a government "for the people," when the government is a good one, [that is] when the rulers chiefly consider the common good of all according to [each person's] state.

But if this multitude looks to its own good, and to oppose the rich, or any gens, this is a bad government and Aristotle describes it with the Greek word democratia: we call it a perverse populace. We have these two forms of government [in the laws][5], where, when honors and rewards are divided [in society] according to the appropriate degrees, we call it a good or worthy government; when these are divided unequally, such that some are burdened, others treated lightly, it is called a bad government, through which the republic is destroyed.

2 The second form of government in the city of Rome was by the senators, and thus by a few wealthy men who were good and prudent.[6] And if these few incline to the common good their lordship [principatus] is good and is called by Aristotle a government of the elders; the more common name is the one I used earlier, namely a lordship or government of the good. And if these few men do not incline to the common good, but are merely a few rich and powerful men oppressing others, eager for their own gain, then the government is a bad one, and is called by Aristotle oligarchy, which is the same as a lordship of the rich or a government of the bad: a name which is fairly common.[7]

3 The third form of government is that of one person,[8] and this according to Aristotle is called kingship. If this person is a universal lord, we call this form of government an empire [imperium]; if the rulership is particular, it is sometimes called kingship, sometimes a duchy, mark or county.[9] A duchy is what we commonly call the rule of a natural lord, if this lord works for a good and common purpose. If he works for a bad end, and for his own advantage, according to Aristotle he is called a tyrant, and is so called by the laws and customs.[10]

4 We have therefore six forms of government, three good, three bad, each one called by its own name; in truth, every bad kingship can be called in common parlance a tyranny, namely the tyranny of the people, the tyranny of certain people, and the tyranny of one person.

5 There is a seventh form of government, the worst, which now exists in the city of Rome; where there are many tyrants in different areas, so strong that none can overcome the others. There is also a common government over the whole city, so weak that it can do nothing against any of those tyrants, nor against any of their adherents except insofar as they are willing to suffer it. This sort of government Aristotle does not treat, and rightly so, for it is a monstrous thing. What is one to think, seeing a single body with a weak head, and many other heads stronger than that one, contesting among themselves? Certainly this thing would be a monster. Therefore it is called a monstrous government. It comes about through divine permission, to show how far is fallen every glory of the world. The city of Rome, the head of customs, the head of polities, has fallen into such monstrosity in its government that it can truly be said that it is no government at all, and has not even the form of a government.[11]

6 In the second place we must see which is a better form of government. This inquiry is a necessary one for jurists, since universal lords, when they consider the reformation of a city, either consult jurists or entrust the case to them; or, when the jurists are in session, an argument concerning city government may be brought before them. Therefore an inquiry as to which is the better form of government is necessary, a subject treated by Aristotle in the third book of the

7 Politics; but Aegidius Romanus, of the order of St. Augustine, who was a great philosopher and a master in theology, treats this more clearly in the book he wrote on the government of princes. I will therefore use his opinions and his arguments, in his own words, but I will not use the words of Aristotle, for they are unknown to the jurists to whom I address myself; but I will use his arguments and test them according to the laws, and afterwards I will relate my own opinion of the matter.

So: this Aegidius says that there are three good forms of government, as was mentioned above. The first is a form for ruling [by] the multitude, or "for the people," and it is good if it tends toward this end. The second form of government is better, namely the rule of a few.

8 The third form of government is best, namely monarchy, or the government of one king;[12] this fact, namely that the rule of one person is the best lordship, he demonstrates by four reasons,[13] from which he concludes these two things, the first being: the peace and union of the citizens should be the final intention of the ruler.[14] But this peace and unity can be better brought about and observed if it is overseen by one, than if it is overseen by several: therefore it is better to be ruled by one person. This is proved in this way: in a government of several people there can be no peace except insofar as these several are of one will, which is clear since if they disagree, their action is impeded by their competition.[15] But the government of several is good as regards its unity; therefore the good government of this unity is much better when it is brought about through one person. Secondly this is proved in this way, since through this the city and republic is made stronger, which is proved thusly: the more strength is united, the stronger it is in comparison to its being dispersed among many.[16] If therefore the whole strength of the city were gathered into one person it would be more effective, and will better be able to be governed by that prince, on account of his greater strength.[17] In the third place an art or artifice is better insofar as it imitates nature;[18] but the whole city is a single person and a single artificial and imagined man.[19] But in a natural man we see one head and many members; therefore if a city is ruled thus it is ruled better, because it imitates nature more closely. On this see [X.1.31.14] and this is determined in Gratian [ii, c. 7, q. 1.41], where bees, and many other creatures lacking reason, set up a king for themselves. In the fourth place Aegidius says that this is established through experience, since he says he sees that provinces which are not governed by one king are in poverty, and do not enjoy peace, but rather are beset by strife and wars. Those which are under a king do not know wars, rejoice in peace, flourish in abundance.[20] From these things Aegidius concludes that the government of the people or multitude, which tends to a single end, is good, but that the government of a few is better, since it has a measure of unity. Monarchy though, of the rule of single king, is best, because a perfect unity is found therein.[21]

But against the aforementioned arguments the same Aegidius proposes other arguments, which he draws from the sayings of Aristotle, and

9 attempts to respond to them.[22] I will pass on these arguments, testing them by the laws. I will preface my examination of these arguments with the statement that three things are required in anyone who rules well. The first is a perfect discerning reason, so that he may know how to separate the just from the unjust, the licit from the illicit.[23] Second, he must have right intention. Third, he must have a perfect stability. These things are proven by the definition of justice, since it is said that justice is a constant and perpetual will which renders to each one his due.[24] from these three things there are three arguments against the aforementioned arguments. The first is this: the more people there are, the more things they see, and in them there is a more perceptive and discerning reason than in one person:[25] therefore, in this respect, it is better to be ruled by many. The second is this: the ruler has right intention when he looks more to the public good than to his own.[26] But if the multitude is in command, assuming that they look to their own good, they nonetheless withdraw from the common good no further, in so doing, than if one person were ruling and were acting for his personal good: therefore it is better to be ruled by many.[27] Thirdly, the ruler must have a perfect stability so that he may on no account be corrupted: because, as the law says, the will must be constant, and perpetual. But the multitude is born and is corrupted with more difficulty than is a single person.[28]. Therefore it is better to be ruled by many people.[29]

Responding to these arguments he says that a single king or prince should have with him many counselors and powerful men, and therefore he will see things as if he were many, nor will he easily be able to be corrupted, unless his entire council is corrupted. But if this king were

10 to follow his own head he would not be a king, but a tyrant. It would not be good for such a person to rule, so says Aegidius.[30] I do not put forward these arguments to be understood simply, and for that reason, speaking in the manner of jurists on behalf of the aforementioned arguments I say at the beginning that not every government of that one person is the government of a king. For sometimes there is one who rules, and that one is only a judge, such as the praesides provinciarum and the proconsuls.[31] There are also podestà and civic rectors.[32] It falls to these people to judge according to the law, and they hold a regal position, namely that which pretains to ministers, but regalian powers do not pertain to them, but rather to the cities which they rule, or to some other superior, or to the fisc.[33] through judges like these God ruled the Jewish people for a long time,[34] as we can see throughout the Jewish book. Whenever one person rules a city or a province, and makes laws as he wishes, all things pertain to him, and this is called the rule of a king.[35]

11 But let us see what is the rightness [ius] of this kingship, so that we may thus see whether it is good to be ruled by kings. Of this the Lord says, through the prophet Samuel, I Kings 8:[36] "This shall be the law of the king who will rule over you: he shall take your sons and appoint them to his chariots, and to be his horsemen and to run before his chariots, and he shall appoint for himself tribunes and centurions and tillers of his fields. He will take your daughters to be perfumers and cooks and bakers, and he shall take your finest fields and vineyards and olive-groves and give them to his servants. He will take the tenth of your crops and vines, to give to his eunuchs and his servants. He will take the best of your servants and maids and your asses and the best of your youth and put them to work for him. He shall take the tenth of your flocks and you shall be servants to him" etc.

Here are the words of God, according to which it seems worst of all to be ruled by kings, because they bring so much ill upon their subjects and (what is worse) reduces them to slavery, which is like death.[37]

But these words are explained by the holy doctors in the following way, namely that all of these things should not be understood to be permitted to the king, but only those things which are set out above, since the king does these things when he begins to become a tyrant, which happens easily.[38] And because this was going to happen to them, therefore Samuel made the following prediction, "This shall be the law of the king who will rule over you," as if to say: let this not be permitted to every king, but rather to the one who is going to rule over you, since he will usurp this right for himself. It was displeasing to God that a king should have been made at all, as the chapter [of Scripture] says. That this is true appears in what one reads in Deuteronomy 17 [16-20], where it is taught what a good and right king ought to do.

And the Lord said these things concerning the future king: "When he has been established he shall not multiply horses for himself, nor shall he lead his people into Egypt to swell the ranks of his horsemen, since the Lord has said to you that you shall not return that way again, he shall not have many wives to beguile his soul, nor great masses of gold and silver. After he sits upon his throne he shall copy out for himself the Deuteronomy of this law in a book, taking his example from the priests of the Levite tribe, and he shall keep it with him and read from it all the days of his life, that he may learn to fear the Lord his God, to keep His words and ceremonies which are laid down in the laws, that his heart not be lifted up in pride against his brothers, that he turn aside neither to the right nor to the left. And he shall rule for a long time, as will his son, in Israel." These are the words of God which we should examine somehow. For he says "when he has been established." From this it is conceded that one must be made king by another, rather than assuming the kingship on one's own authority: in this case one would not be a king, but a tyrant, as we have said above. Then he says "he shall not multiply horses for himself:" "to multiply" is to have more than is sufficient for one's needs. "Nor shall he lead his people into Egypt" etc.: these words can be taken literally as they stand, namely that the king of the Jews ought never to go forth to occupy the land of Egypt. They can also be understood allegorically, as though He were saying: let the king not lead his people into slavery, which slavery is represented by Egypt, where that people was being held in captivity. With these words, therefore, He prohibits burdening the people with personal burdens, which are a sort of slavery. "He shall not have many wives:" above he forbade empty glory, here he forbids luxury to the king. for luxury separates the king's soul from true judgement, not only toward men, but toward God, as befell in the case of Solomon, who became an idolator as is read in 3 Kings 11.[39] "Nor great masses of gold and silver:" here He prohibits avarice. Inasmuch as through excessive ceremony a great deal of money is expended, and through this the people are burdened, so also through avarice a great deal is extorted from the people. After He has above prohibited certain things from being done, he then orders that certain things be done: "he shall write out for himself the Deuteronomy" of this law, this is interpreted by Isidore as a second law, and it is the image [figura] of the evangelic law.[40] The king must therefore be faithful and catholic.[41] "Taking his example from the priests of the Levite tribe:" in those priests holy mother Church is figured, from which every king must take the exemplar of the Christian law. "Nor let his heart be lifted up in pride:" here He goes back in order to prohibit something again, namely that pride of the heart which is the root of all evils. "Against his brothers:" it is plain, therefore, that those who are subjects are not the king's slaves, but his brothers, and thus what the preceding authority said concerned not the true king, but the tyrant. "That he turn aside neither to the right nor to the left," it is as if He said: let his judgement be right, neither out of love nor out of hatred, as if He had said: let him be just. The good king must therefore be faithful, Christian, just, neither overweening nor one who burdens his people, no lover of luxury, neither greedy nor proud.

The king must also do other things which are laid down by Gratian.[42]

12 But the things put forward there are adapted to the foregoing statements: although it is there established what the king should do and how he should be in himself, it is not there established what he may exact from his subjects. This is my answer: he may exact expenses which are appropriate for the royal majesty. But we have this written expressly [in the feudal laws], where it is said that all tributes, public rents [vectigalia] and public taxes [census], which are named there explicitly, pertain to the king; and that it also pertains to the king to impose taxes [collectas] out of necessity, as is written there, and it is also shown by the law of the Digests that kings have every power.[43]

13 Having seen what the rights of a king are, let us return to the question whether it is useful for a city or a people to be ruled by a king; insofar as that king is a good one according to the above conditions, the best rule is the rule of a king, for the reasons discussed above. And this is how I understand the opinion of Aristotle and of Aegidius.

14 If we then consider the things which may come about, since a king sometimes turns into a tyrant, either he or his descendants, then I say we must consider what can happen when the situation being examined has a natural and likely tendency toward this end.[44]

15 Having said this I will make a three-fold division of cities or of populaces; for one may have a large city or a people [gens], in the first degree of magnitude, a city or people which is larger and hence in the second degree of magnitude, or a city or people of the largest sort, and hence in the third degree of magnitude.

16 If we talk about a large city or populace, in the first degree, then I will say that it not suitable to that populace to be ruled by a king. This is shown in the first place by a text, because, when the city of Rome was in the first degree of magnitude it expelled the kings, who had fallen into tyranny.[45] And it is also proved by reason, since it is in the nature of kings to be magnificent in making great expenditures:[46] but the royal revenues of a populace large only in the first degree are not going to be enough for royal expenses, and so the king will have to extort them from his subjects, and thus he will become a tyrant. The situation of such a king tends very likely toward tyranny, and hence this is not a good form of government, if you consider how the situation is likely to turn out. This is the reason, because it displeases God when a people seeks a king, as in I Kings.[47] Nor is it useful to such a populace to be ruled by a few people, as, for example, by the city's rich men. For if it happens that in these cities the rich are few in number, one of two things will happen: the populace may well be offended by the rule of these few now matter how well the populace is ruled, as occurred in the city of Siena. There was for about eighty years a certain group of rich men who governed the city wisely and well, but nevertheless, since the multitude of the populace was angry with them, they had to hold on by armed force. This group was thrown out upon the arrival of Charles IV, most illustrious emperor of the Romans, who was ruling at that time. The deed of this prince shows that this sort of government is not good in cities of this type.

Another inappropriate thing can follow from this, because those few people, as it naturally happens, could be divided among themselves, from which fact rumors, plots, fires and civil wars run round the cities, as we often see in the city of Pisa. It is therefore fitting for that populace which is in the first degree of magnitude to be ruled by the multitude, which is called a government "for the people."[48] That this is a good form of government is clear, because in that time the city of Rome grew greatly.[49] It also is clear from the aforementioned authority of the book of Kings: it seems more a government of God rather than of

17 men. And we have seen this in the city of Perugia, which in this way is ruled in peace and grows in unity and flourishes, and those who rule the city according to their offices are on guard against no one, but they themselves are guarded by the people, and it is often seen that something will be decided by the common counsel of the city's men that the wiser and more prudent may think to be a bad decision; but, as things turn out, the decision is seen to have been an excellent one.

18 This is so because it is a government more of God than of men: the aforementioned and most illustrious emperor commended this form of government, when I was in his presence.[50]

This sort of government is so called when jurisdiction lies with the populace or with the multitude, not that the whole multitude should rule at once, but that the government should be committed to different people over time, according to the offices, and according to a cycle.[51] The

19 things I say concerning the multitude, I understand to mean "excluding the lowest people."[52] One can also exclude from this government any magnates so powerful as to oppress others,[53] and we see that this is done. But in the above-mentioned cities, if honors and rewards are distributed according to the appropriate ranks, the government is good and looks toward a superior reform.[54]

20 In the second place we need to inquire about a larger populace or a people in the second degree of magnitude. It does not suit them to be ruled by one king, for the previous reasons, nor does it suit them to be ruled by the multitude: it would in fact be extremely difficult and dangerous to get such a multitude together. But it does suit these people to be ruled by a few, that is, by the good and rich men of the city; this is shown expressly [in the laws][55], where, when the city of Rome had grown, senators were created and all power was given to them. the city of Venice is ruled this way, as is the city of Florence. These cities I rank among the "larger" cities. In these cities the previous worries do not apply. For although they are said to be ruled by "a few," I say that they are a few with respect to the multitude of [their own] citizens, but many with respect to other cities: hence they are many, since the multitude does not scorn to be ruled by them. Further, since they are many, they may not easily be divided among themselves, since many will remain in the middle and sustain the city. And the Gloss speaks of this way of ruling a city, when the city has grown into the

21 second degree of magnitude.[56] These things are true, unless something else appears concerning the old way of ruling the city. It is possible for a populace or a people to become so accustomed to a certain form of government that it becomes a sort of nature to them, and they do not know how to live otherwise: then the old form of government is to be preserved.[57]

22 In the third place we have to consider the largest populace or people, which is in the third degree of magnitude. This could come about in a city which is "one in itself": but if it were a city which ruled over many other cities and provinces, it would be better for that people to be ruled by one person. This is shown [in the laws],[58] where, when the Roman empire had grown greatly and taken over many provinces, rulership devolved upon one person, the princeps. All of the above arguments of the aforementioned brother Aegidius show this; this is the point at which counter arguments fail. In such a great multitude there will be of necessity many good men with whom it will befit the king to take counsel, people whom it will befit him to entrust with the duties of justice. We commonly see this in actual fact, because a people or populace is better ruled, the greater or more powerful the king who rules it. For this we have the authority of holy Scripture, as in Deuteronomy 17, where the Lord speaks thus: "When you have entered the land which the Lord God shall give you and possessed it, and have inherited within it, you shall say: 'I will set up for myself a king like those of the nations all around.' You will set up him whom the Lord your God chooses, out of the number of your brothers, nor shall you make a king from another people, who is not your brother." These are the words of the Lord. Concerning his words: "when you have entered and possessed and inherited" etc., one can see that a small people is not going to have a king: but a large people, in an important position and ruling over many, [will have a king], as was said above. Concerning the words "your God shall elect," it is clear that all kings are chosen by God, either directly or indirectly, or by electors with the inspiration of God. For the heart of the electors is in the hand of God, and he turns it whither he wishes.[59]

23 And from this you should note that a government [which is created] by election is more divine than [one which comes about] by succession. For this reason succession is absolutely abhorred where ecclesiastical goods are concerned,[60] and therefore the election of a prince who is a universal lord comes about through election by the princes and prelates, and it does not occur through succession.[61]

Now this is an empire [imperium] which God has constituted from the beginning, and the law warns us concerning these things.[62] Particular kings, though, more often are set up by men.[63] In this case it is permitted that the government should be passed on through succession: this is the sense in which Aegidius' statements in his book on princely government should be taken.[64] He determined that is was better for this government to descend by succession, for it should be transmitted, like all other goods and rights; but it is otherwise in the case of universal [governance], for [such transmission] would be against the canons and divine authority. Now, from His words "out of the number of your brothers" note that it is dangerous to have a king of another nation. But, you will say, in that case, how was the empire of the Romans handed over [translatum] to the Germans, that is, the Teutons, by the Church?[65] My answer: all Christians are called our brothers, and so there was no contravention of the aforementioned authority. But it may not be transferred to a man of the Saracens, to a pagan or an infidel, and thereupon it follows that "you shall not make a king from another people," and on this account one needs to look closely at the person who is going to be crowned emperor. Or you could explain the words the way Augustine does,[66] as the Gloss says in the same place "you may not: that is, you should not"[67] about the king, since the rulership of another

25 people is not preserved so faithfully. And therefore the Roman empire, once it was separated from the Italians, grew ever weaker in our eyes: this could nevertheless not have about without the hidden judgement of God.

26 I will not speak of small populaces. These are either subject to another city,[68] or are tied to another city or a king by some treaty so that that revere some other majesty.[69] We see this in castles and cities which are under the protection of this city of Perugia. Much as a small and weak human body cannot govern itself without the air of a caretaker and guardian, thus these small peoples can in no way be ruled in themselves, unless they are subjected or bound to another.

So much for the three forms of good government.

27 I ask then, of the three bad forms of government, which is worse. In this matter all the philosophers says that a tyranny is the worst principate, and occupies the final degree of malice. And the same Aegidius in his book said, as has been said, that a government is called good insofar as it tends toward the common good. But under a tyranny the common good is looked to least: whence a tyranny is the worst principate. Whence if several are ruling, who are held to be wealthy and good, or the multitude rules, even if these rulers incline to their own good, which is indeed not of God, and thus it is a rule "of the bad" or "of a perverse populace," nevertheless it would not diverge much from the intention of the common good; because, since they are many, they know something about the nature of the common good. But if the tyrant is a single person then he does recede from the common good. Furthermore, since virtue united for a good thing is better, virtue united for a bad thing is worse.[70] That a tyrant is the worst is so obvious as to require no demonstration. and what was said above, that the rule of several bad men is not so bad as the rule of a single tyrant, should be understood to be true when the many tend to one purpose, and can do nothing except together: it is a different matter if each exercises his own tyranny, so that one cares not about the other, as I said above concerning the monstrous regime which now exists in Rome. Similarly when in one body there is a single corrupt humor which predominates and is bad; but if all the humors are corrupted they oppose each other etc., as has already

29 been said. Woe then to that city which has many tyrants with no common ground. This warning should be made, that the rule of several bad men or of a perverse people does not last long, but easily turns into a one-man tyranny; we often see this actually happen. This is God's own will, as it is written: "He who makes a hypocrite to rule, for the sins of the people," Job 34, [71] and because Italy today is full up with tyrants.


FOOTNOTES

[1]I.1.2.3 (=D.1.1.6.1)

[2]Aristotle, Politics, III.7.1279a-1279b.

[3]Cf. Aquinas, De reg. princ. ad regem Cyp. 1.4.

[4]D.1.2.2.3-9.

[5]D.4.3.15.

[6]D.1.2.2.9.

[7]D.1.18.6.2.

[8]D.1.2.2.11.

[9]Consuetudines Feudorum II.55

[10]C.1.2.16, C.1.2.6. (Cf. De Tyranno 3.) D.42.4.7.4.

[11]D.1.5.14, and Decretals of Gregory IX 1.31.14.

[12]Aegidius Romanus, De reg. princ. 3.2.3.

[13]Aegidius Romanus, De reg. princ. 3.2.3.

[14]D.1.18.13 and Auth.3.4.2 (Novella 17).

[15]D.27.10.7 and D.8.3.28. References also to Aristotle, Posterior Analytics 1.2.72a, and Bartolus' comments on C.1.2, as well as D.12.2.24.

[16]Auth.6.13.1 = Novellae 85.

[17]Aegidius Romanus, De reg. princ. 3.2.3.

[18]D.1.7.15-16, and Bartolus' commentary on these passages.

[19]D.5.1.76, D.46.1.22 and Bartolus' commentary on the latter.

[20]Aegidius Romanus, De reg. princ. 3.2.3.

[21]Aegidius Romanus, De reg. princ. 3.2.3.

[22]Aristotle, Politics 3.10.1287b, 3.11.1281a-1281b, 3.15.1286a, 5.1.1302a, 5.9.1309a.

[23]D.1.1.1.1.

[24]D.1.1.10.

[25]C.6.22.8.

[26]C.6.51.1.14a.ß

[27]Aegidius Romanus, De reg. princ. 3.2.4.

[28]C.4.20.9.

[29]Aegidius Romanus, De reg. princ. 3.2.4.

[30]Aegidius Romanus, De reg. princ. 3.2.4.

[31]Offices of the Roman state. D.1.16, D.1.1.8, C.1.35.

[32]C.7.44.3, C1.55, Auth.3.2 = Novella 15.

[33]C.1.54.5, C.3.26, D.49.14.1.

[34][Ptolemy of Lucca], De reg. princ. ad regem Cyp. 4.1.

[35][Ptolemy of Lucca], De reg. princ. ad regem Cyp. 4.1.

[36]1 Samuel 8:11-17

[37]D.50.17.209

[38]Aquinas, Summa theologiae Ia, IIae, q. 105, art. 1.

[39]I Kings 11:1-5.

[40]Isidore, Etymologies 6.2.7.

[41]C.1.4.19.6 and Bartolus' comment.

[42]Decretum II c. 23 q. 5 c. 23 and c. 40.

[43]Cons. Feud. 2.56 and D.1.2.2.1.

[44]D.19.2.9.1, D.39.2.13.2 and Bartolus' commentary, D.45.1.83.5. and Bartolus' commentary.

[45]D.1.2.2.16, D.1.2.2.14.

[46]Auth.6.3. = Novella 92, and Aristotle, Nichomachean Ethics 4.2.1122b-1123a; 8.11.1161a.

[47]I Sam. 8:18.

[48]D.1.2.2.3-9.

[49]D.1.2.2.10-11.

[50]Bartolus was part of a Perugian delegation to the imperial tribunal of Charles IV in Pisa, May 1355.

[51]D.1.2.2.16 and Auth.3.2.1 = Novella 15.

[52]C.12.1.6.

[53]D.1.18.6.2.

[54]D.50.4.3.15.

[55]D.1.2.2.9.

[56]Accursius, gloss on Auth.coll. III.2.1.

[57]D.50.4.1.1 and D.50.4.3.15

[58]D.1.2.2.11.

[59]C.1.1.8.3.

[60]X.1.17.7.

[61]X.1.6.34, Sextus 2.14.

[62]Auth.1.1. = Novella 6.

[63]D.1.1.5.

[64]Aegidius Romanus, De reg. princ. 3.2.5.

[65]X.1.6.34.

[66]Quaestiones in Heptateuchum, in Deut. 17:14-15 q. 26.

[67]Glossa interlinearis in Deut 17:14.

[68]D.50.1.30.

[69]D.49.15.7 and Bartolus' commentary.

[70]Aquinas, De reg. princ. ad regem Cyp. 1.3.

[71]Job 34:30.


This text is part of the Internet Medieval Source Book. The Sourcebook is a collection of public domain and copy-permitted texts related to medieval and Byzantine history.

Unless otherwise indicated the specific electronic form of the document is copyright. Permission is granted for electronic copying, distribution in print form for educational purposes and personal use. If you do reduplicate the document, indicate the source. No permission is granted for commercial use.

Paul Halsall May 1997
halsall@murray.fordham.edu