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Marsilius of Padua and 'the Truth of History'$
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George Garnett

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780199291564

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199291564.001.0001

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The History of the Holy Roman Empire

The History of the Holy Roman Empire

(p.160) 5 The History of the Holy Roman Empire
Marsilius of Padua and 'the Truth of History'


Oxford University Press

This chapter begins with the hitherto unremarked parallels between Defensor Pacis and Dante's Monarchia. Both argued for a single monarch, who had to be the Roman emperor. According to Dante, he should rule all mankind; according to Marsilius, all Christendom. In his tract De Translatione Imperii, Marsilius goes into more detail than in Defensor Pacis about the post-Constantinean history of the Empire, but both works are mutually consistent. The Empire should always be one, and co-terminous with Christendom. Although Marsilius recognizes that there are cities and provinces within the Empire, he pays little attention to them, or how their internal administrations might be related to the emperor's overall control. This gives the lie to those historians who have claimed that Marsilius was concerned above all with the communal government of Northern Italian cities.

Keywords:   Dante, Monarchia, De Translatione Imperii, Roman Empire, Christendom

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