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Humanism and EmpireThe Imperial Ideal in Fourteenth-Century Italy$
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Alexander Lee

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780199675159

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780199675159.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 16 September 2021

Imperium and Sacerdotium

Imperium and Sacerdotium

(p.212) 6 Imperium and Sacerdotium
Humanism and Empire

Alexander Lee

Oxford University Press

For many years, humanist attitudes towards the relationship between papacy and Empire have tended to be viewed in terms of the rivalry between the Guelfs and the Ghibellines. As this chapter argues, however, such a heuristic approach is anything but helpful. Indeed, it actually distorts our understanding of humanist thought. Rather than being constrained by narrow factional designations, the humanists nurtured a resolutely dualistic vision of imperium and sacerdotium throughout the fourteenth century. Carefully following the course of the conflict between Empire and papacy, they sought to refute papal claims to plenitude of power, while still upholding the emperor’s obligation to defend the Church from her enemies, and even to resolve schisms. Yet though they were not averse to pouring scorn upon successive popes—both contemporary and historical—this chapter will show that they were also prepared to criticize emperors whenever they felt the separation of powers was being violated.

Keywords:   humanism, Church, papacy, schism, dualism, Avignon, Rome, Franciscans, antipope

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