The Monarchia Controversy

The Monarchia Controversy: an historical study with accompanying translations of Dante Alighieri's Monarchia, Guido Vernani's Refutation of the Monarchia composed by Dante and Pope John XXII's bull, Si fratrum

Anthony K. Cassell
Copyright Date: 2004
DOI: 10.2307/j.ctt284wh6
Pages: 416
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    The Monarchia Controversy
    Book Description:

    The Monarchia Controversy provides both the background to the imperial and ecclesiastical machinations that drove Dante Alighieri to begin penning the Monarchia in 1318 and also the subsequent history of the efforts by papal authorities to ban the book after the writer's death

    eISBN: 978-0-8132-1592-1
    Subjects: Philosophy

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
    DOI: 10.2307/j.ctt284wh6.1
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
    DOI: 10.2307/j.ctt284wh6.2
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-x)
    DOI: 10.2307/j.ctt284wh6.3
  4. List of Abbreviations
    (pp. xi-xii)
    DOI: 10.2307/j.ctt284wh6.4
  5. Dante’s Monarchia and Vernani’s Refutation in Context
    • Prolegomena: The Crisis and Its Major Players
      (pp. 3-4)
      DOI: 10.2307/j.ctt284wh6.5

      When, in 1318, Dante Alighieri set his pen to the treatise he named Monarchia, or Liber Monarchiæ,¹ a savage controversy had erupted concerning Pope John XXII’s refusal to recognize the election of Ludwig IV of Wittelsbach as Holy Roman Emperor. Conveniently, papal lawyers had agreed that during vacancies of the imperial throne, the pope became the true sovereign. The aged pope’s power play crowned an effort made by preceding pontiffs to encroach ever more upon temporal control.² Dante’s patron, Can Grande della Scala of Verona, was meanwhile defying the pope’s prohibitions imposed by the bull Si fratrum, of 1316–1317,³...

    • CHAPTER 1 Tiara and Scepter
      (pp. 5-22)
      DOI: 10.2307/j.ctt284wh6.6

      In broaching the problem of the separation and correlation of the priestly and the imperial powers, Dante bravely, knowingly, and carefully entered a controversy that had simmered in different guises for centuries. By the second decade of the fourteenth century, the question had reached yet one more deplorable crisis not only because certain “modern” theorists argued that the papacy had direct power and jurisdiction over the domain of temporal princes, but because the pope then reigning, John XXII, insisted on the precedent recently reiterated by Clement V that he, in fact, wielded imperial authority in the case of the death...

    • CHAPTER 2 Dante in the Eye of the Storm
      (pp. 23-49)
      DOI: 10.2307/j.ctt284wh6.7

      We know from the poet’s affirmation in Monarchia 1:12 that he had, by the time of its writing, completed the Paradiso at least up to canto 5:22 where he had dealt with free will, “de la volontà la libertate”: “This liberty, or this principle of all our liberty, is the greatest gift to human nature conferred by God—as I have already said in the Paradiso of the Comedy.” As recent scholars have concluded, we cannot disregard the remark or treat it, as many editors once did, as a mere scribal interpolation.¹ The passage, attested by all the manuscripts, is...

    • CHAPTER 3 The Monarchia and Vernani’s Censures
      (pp. 50-108)
      DOI: 10.2307/j.ctt284wh6.8

      Dante opens the Monarchia echoing the first words of Aristotle’s Metaphysics 1:1, “All men desire to know,” with which he had also begun the Convivio, and turns them to further, charitable, Christian purpose: all those whom God sealed with a love of truth must share their knowledge and experience with others. Thus he will himself be like the Psalmist’s tree planted near running water (Ps 1:3), not only in blossoming, but in revealing the fruit of new knowledge and hidden truths for the public good.¹ He will not be like those who did not share or practice their knowledge and...

    • DANTE’S Monarchia
      (pp. 111-173)
      DOI: 10.2307/j.ctt284wh6.9

      {1} For all men whom a Higher Nature¹ has sealed with a love of truth,² this must be seen to be the utmost concern: just as they have been enriched by the efforts of those who came before, they must in the same way strive for those who will come after them so that posterity will have means of being enriched by their efforts. {2} For there is no doubt that anyone is remiss in his duty, who, nourished by teachings on public life,³ neglects to bring some contribution to the public good⁴: such a man is certainly not that...

      (pp. 174-197)
      DOI: 10.2307/j.ctt284wh6.10

      {1} To Graziolo de’ Bambaglioli,² greetings from Fra Guido Vernani of Rimini, of the Order of Preachers, to his most beloved son and chancellor of the noble Commune of Bologna, that he may so pass through earthly goods that he may not lose those eternal.

      {2} Just as it often occurs that a vessel, holding in its bowl food or drink poisonous and deadly to our corporeal and transitory life, flaunts³ outside on its convex surface, such a false and counterfeit beauty that it may deceive not only the ignorant and slothful but even the diligent,⁴ so, likewise, we experience...

    • POPE JOHN XXII’S BULL, Si fratrum A Warning Lest Anyone Dare to Assume the Title of Imperial Vicar When the Empire Is Left Vacant
      (pp. 198-202)
      DOI: 10.2307/j.ctt284wh6.11

      {1} If we desire to preserve the rights of our Brothers and fellow Bishops, and our own, and the rights of any person whatsoever, to be inviolate and free from any danger of abridgment, and if we apply most freely our careful concern to this—more vigorously, indeed, for the conservation of the rights and honors of Our Bride the Roman Church—we are obliged to discharge the functions of the apostolic provision according to the obligation of our office imposed upon us, lest in our times these rights may suffer the violation of usurpation or incur the harm of...

  7. Notes
    (pp. 203-354)
    DOI: 10.2307/j.ctt284wh6.12
  8. Bibliography
    (pp. 355-388)
    DOI: 10.2307/j.ctt284wh6.13
  9. Index
    (pp. 389-403)
    DOI: 10.2307/j.ctt284wh6.14
  10. Back Matter
    (pp. 404-404)
    DOI: 10.2307/j.ctt284wh6.15