Front Page Titles (by Subject) BOOK III: WHETHER THE AUTHORITY OF THE ROMAN MONARCH DERIVES FROM GOD IMMEDIATELY OR FROM SOME VICAR OF GOD - De Monarchia
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BOOK III: WHETHER THE AUTHORITY OF THE ROMAN MONARCH DERIVES FROM GOD IMMEDIATELY OR FROM SOME VICAR OF GOD - Dante Alighieri, De Monarchia 
The De Monarchia of Dante Alighieri, edited with translation and notes by Aurelia Henry (Boston and New York: Houghton, Miflin and Company, 1904).
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WHETHER THE AUTHORITY OF THE ROMAN MONARCH DERIVES FROM GOD IMMEDIATELY OR FROM SOME VICAR OF GOD
1. “He has shut the lions’ mouths and they have not hurt me; inasmuch as before Him righteousness was found in me.”1 In beginning this work I proposed to investigate three questions as far as the subject-matter would allow. For the first two questions this has been done satisfactorily in the foregoing books, I believe. We must now consider the third, the truth of which may, however, be a cause of indignation against me, since it cannot be brought forth without causing certain men to blush. But since Truth2 from her immutable throne demands it; and Solomon entering his forest of Proverbs, and marking out his own conduct, entreats that we “meditate upon truth and abhor wickedness;”3 and our teacher of morals, the Philosopher, admonishes us to sacrifice whatever is most precious for truth’s sake:4 therefore, gaining assurance from the words of Daniel, wherein the power of God is shown as a shield for defenders of truth, and “putting on the breast-plate of faith” according to the admonition of Paul,5 in the warmth of that coal taken from the heavenly altar by one of the Seraphim and touched to the lips of Isaiah,6 I will engage in the present conflict, and by the arm of Him who with His blood liberated us from the power of darkness,7 I will cast the ungodly and the liar from the arena, while the world looks on. Wherefore should I fear, when the Spirit, coeternal with the Father and the Son, says by the mouth of David, “The righteous shall be in everlasting remembrance, he shall not be afraid of evil tidings”?8
2. The question pending investigation, then, concerns two great luminaries,9 the Roman Pontiff and the Roman Prince: and the point at issue is whether the authority of the Roman Monarch, who, as proved in the second book, is rightful Monarch of the world, derives from God directly, or from some vicar or minister of God, by whom I mean the successor of Peter, veritable keeper of the keys of the kingdom of heaven.
God wills not that which is counter to the intention of nature.
1. As in the previous questions, so in the present one, we must assume some principle for informing the arguments which are to reveal the truth. For of what avail is it to labor even in speaking truth, if one have no basic principle?1 And the principle is the sole root of the assumptions,2 which are the mediums of proof.
2. Let us set up, then, this indisputable truth, that whatever is repugnant to the intention of nature is contrary to the will of God. If this were not true, its contrary would not be false, that whatever is repugnant to the intention of nature is not contrary to the will of God. And if this is not false, its consequences are not false. For in necessary consequences a false consequent is impossible without a false antecedent.3
3. But “not contrary to the will of” means one of two things, “to will” or “not to will;” just as “not to hate” means either “to love” or “not to love;” for “not to love” does not mean “to hate,” neither does “not to will” mean “to be contrary to the will of,” as is self-evident. If these statements are not false, neither will it be false to assert that “God wills what He does not will,” than which no greater fallacy exists.
4. I demonstrate as follows the verity of what has been said. That God wills an end for nature is manifest; otherwise the heavens would move to no purpose, which it is not possible to claim.4 If God should will an obstruction to this end, He would also will an end for the obstruction, or He would will to no purpose. Now the end of an obstruction is that the thing obstructed may exist no longer, so it follows that God wills the end of nature to exist no longer, when we have already said that He wills it to exist.
5. But if God did not will the obstruction to the end, it would follow from His not willing it that He cared nothing for the obstruction, whether it existed or not. Now he who cares nothing for the obstruction cares nothing for the end obstructed, and therefore has it not in his will, and what he has not in his will, he does not will. Hence if the end of nature can be impeded, and it can, it necessarily follows that God does not will an end of nature, and follows further, as before, that God wills what He does not will. That principle is therefore most true from the contradictory of which results such an absurdity.5
Of the three classes of our opponents and the too great authority many ascribe to tradition.
1. In entering on this third question,1 let us bear in mind that the truth of the first2 was made manifest in order to abolish ignorance rather than contention. But the investigation of the second3 had reference alike to ignorance and contention. Indeed, we are ignorant of many things concerning which we do not contend: the geometrician does not know the square of the circle,4 but he does not contend about it; the theologian does not know the number of the angels,5 but he renders it no cause for quarrel; the Egyptian knows naught of the civilization of Scythia, but does not therefore make the civilization a source of strife.6
2. Now the truth of the third question has to do with so keen a contention that, whereas ignorance generally causes the discord, here the discord causes ignorance. For it always happens to men who will things before rationally considering them that, their desire being evil, they put behind them the light of reason; as blind men they are led about by their desire, and stubbornly deny their blindness.7 Whence it often occurs not only that falsehood has her own patrimony, but that many men going out from her boundaries run through strange camps, where, neither understanding nor being understood at all, they provoke some to wrath, some to disdain, and not a few to laughter.
3. Three classes of men struggle hardest against the truth which we would establish.
4. First the Chief Pontiff, Vicar of our Lord Jesus Christ and successor to Peter, he to whom we should render not what is due to Christ but what is due to Peter, he, perchance in his zeal for the keys, together with some pastors of Christian flocks, and others moved solely, I believe, by their zeal for Mother Church, contradict the truth I am about to declare. They contradict it, perchance, from zeal, I repeat, not from pride.8
5. But others in their inveterate cupidity have quenched the light of reason, and call themselves sons of the Church, although they are of their father the devil.9 Not only do they arouse controversy in regard to this question, but, despising the very name of the most sacred Princehood, impudently deny the first principles of this and the previous questions.
6. The third class, called Decretalists,10 utterly ignorant and unregardful of Theology and Philosophy, depending entirely on the Decretals (which, I grant, are deserving of veneration), and I presume trusting in the ultimate supremacy of these, derogate from the imperial power. Nor is it to be wondered at, for I have heard one of them aver and insolently maintain that ecclesiastical traditions are the foundation of faith. Let those dispel this error of thought from mortal minds whom the world doubts not to have believed in Christ, the Son of God, ere ecclesiastical traditions were, believed in Him either to come, or present, or having already suffered,11 and believing hoped, and hoping burned with love, and burning with love were made co-heirs with Him.12
7. And that such mistaken thinkers may be wholly shut out from the present discussion, it must be observed that some of the Scriptures take precedence of the Church, some are equivalent to the Church, and some subordinate to it.
8. Those taking precedence of the Church are the Old and New Testaments, which, as the Prophet says, “were commanded for ever,”13 and to which the Church refers in saying to the Bridegroom, “Draw me after thee.”14
9. Equivalent to the Church are those Councils so worthy of reverence, and in the midst of which no believer doubts the presence of Christ; for we have, according to Matthew’s testimony, the words spoken to His disciples at His ascension into heaven: “Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.”15 In addition, there are the writings of the Doctors, Augustine,16 and others, and whosoever doubts the aid of the Holy Spirit therein has never seen their fruits, or if he has seen, has never tasted them.
10. Subordinate to the Church are the traditions called Decretals, which, while they must be revered for their apostolic authority, must nevertheless be held unquestionably inferior to the fundamental Scriptures, seeing that Christ rebuked the priests for not so doing. When they had inquired, “Why do thy disciples transgress the tradition of the elders?”17 (for they had omitted the washing of hands) Christ answered, as Matthew testifies, “Why do ye also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition?” Here the inferiority of tradition is clearly implied.
11. If, as we believe, traditions of the Church are subordinate to the Church, authority necessarily accrues not to the Church through traditions, but to traditions through the Church. And I repeat, those who have faith in traditions alone are excluded from this discussion. For they who would hunt down this truth must start in their search from those writings whence the authority of the Church emanates.
12. Others must likewise be excluded who, decked in the plumage of ravens, boast themselves white sheep of the Master’s flock. In order to carry out their crimes, these sons of impiety defile their mother, banish their brethren, and scorn judgments brought against them. Why should reason be sought in behalf of these whose passions prevent them from understanding our basic principle?18
13. There remains, then, the controversy with those only who, led by a certain zeal for their Mother the Church, are blind to the truth we are seeking. And with them, confident in that reverence which a loyal and loving son owes to father and mother, to Christ and the Church, to the Shepherd and all who profess the Christian religion, I enter in this book into combat for the preservation of truth.
The opponents’ argument adduced from the sun and moon.
1. Those men to whom the entire subsequent discussion is directed assert that the authority of the Empire depends on the authority of the Church, just as the inferior artisan depends on the architect.1 They are drawn to this by divers opposing arguments, some of which they take from Holy Scripture, and some from certain acts performed by the Chief Pontiff, and by the Emperor himself; and they endeavor to make their conviction reasonable.
2. For, first, they maintain that according to Genesis God made two mighty luminaries, a greater and a less, the former to hold supremacy by day and the latter by night.2 These they interpret allegorically to be the two rulers3 —spiritual and temporal. Whence they argue that as the lesser luminary, the moon, has no light but that gained from the sun, so the temporal ruler has no authority but that gained from the spiritual ruler.4
3. Let it be noted for the refutation of this and their other arguments that, as the Philosopher holds in his writings on Sophistry, “the destruction of an argument is the exposure of error.”5 And because error can occur in both the matter and the form of an argument, a two-fold fallacy is possible—that arising from a false assumption, and that from a failure to syllogize. The two objections brought by the Philosopher against Parmenides and Melissus were: “They accept what is false, and syllogize incorrectly.”6 “False” I use here with large significance, embracing the improbable, which in matters of probability becomes the false element. He who would destroy a conclusion where there is error in the form of the argument must show a failure to comply with the rules of syllogizing. Where the error is material, he must show that an assumption has been made, either false in itself, or false in relation to something else. Absolute falsity may be destroyed by destroying the assumption, relative falsity by distinction of meanings.7
4. Granting this, let us observe, in order to comprehend more clearly the fallacy of this and other arguments, that with regard to mystical interpretation a twofold error may arise, either by seeking one where it is not, or by explaining it other than it ought to be.
5. Of the first error Augustine says in The City of God: “Not all deeds recounted should be thought to have special significance, because for the sake of significant things insignificant details are interwoven. The plowshare by itself cuts the land into furrows, but that this may be accomplished the other parts of the plow are needed.”8
6. Of the second error he speaks in his Christian Doctrine, saying that the man who attempts to find in the Scriptures other things than the writer’s meaning “is deceived as one who abandons a certain road, only by a long detour to reach the goal whither the road led directly.”9 And he adds, “Such a man should be shown that a habit of leaving his path may lead him into cross-roads and tortuous ways.” Then he gives the reason why this error should be avoided in the Scriptures, saying, “Shake the authority of the divine writings, and you shake all faith.”10 However, I believe that when such errors are due to ignorance they should be pardoned after correction has been carefully administered, just as he should be pardoned who is terrified at a supposed lion in the clouds. But when such errors are due to design, the erring one should be treated like tyrants who never apply public laws for the general welfare, but endeavor to turn them to individual profit.
7. O unparalleled crime, though committed but in dreams, of turning into evil the intention of the Eternal Spirit! Such a sin would not be against Moses, or David, or Job, or Matthew, or Paul, but against the Holy Spirit that speaketh in them. For although the writers of the divine word are many, the dictator of the word is one, even God, who has deigned to make known his purpose to us through divers pens.
8. From these prefatory remarks I proceed to refute the above assumption that the two luminaries of the world typify its two ruling powers. The whole force of their argument lies in the interpretation; but this we can prove indefensible in two ways. First, since these ruling powers are as it were accidents necessitated by man himself, God would seem to have used a distorted order in creating first accidents, and then the subject necessitating them. It is absurd to speak thus of God, but it is evident from the Word11 that the two lights were created on the fourth day, and man on the sixth.
9. Secondly, the two ruling powers exist as the directors of men toward certain ends, as will be shown further on; but had man remained in the state of innocence in which God made him, he would have required no such direction. These ruling powers are therefore remedies against the infirmity of sin. Since on the fourth day man not only was not a sinner, but was not even existent, the creation of a remedy would have been purposeless, which is contrary to divine goodness. Foolish indeed would be the physician who should make ready a plaster for the future abscess of a man not yet born. Therefore it cannot be asserted that God made the two ruling powers on the fourth day; and consequently the meaning of Moses cannot have been what it is supposed to be.12
10. Also, in order to be tolerant, we may refute this fallacy by distinction. Refutation by distinction deals more gently with an adversary, for it shows him to be not absolutely wrong, as does refutation by destruction. I say, then, that although the moon may have abundant light only as she receives it from the sun, it does not follow on that account that the moon herself owes her existence to the sun. It must be recognized that the essence of the moon, her strength, and her function are not one and the same thing. Neither in her essence, her strength, nor her function taken absolutely, does the moon owe her existence to the sun, for her movement is impelled by her own motor and her influence by her own rays.13 Besides, she has a certain light of her own, as is shown in eclipse. It is in order to fulfill her function better and more potently that she borrows from the sun abundance of light, and works thereby more efficaciously.
11. In like manner, I say, the temporal power receives from the spiritual neither its existence, nor its strength, which is its authority, nor even its function taken absolutely. But well for her does she receive therefrom, through the light of grace which the benediction of the Chief Pontiff sheds upon it in heaven and on earth, strength to fulfill her function more perfectly.14 So the argument was at fault in form, because the predicate of the conclusion is not a term of the major premise, as is evident. The syllogism runs thus: The moon receives light from the sun, which is the spiritual power; the temporal ruling power is the moon; therefore the temporal receives authority from the spiritual. They introduce “light” as the term of the major, but “authority” as predicate of the conclusion, which two things we have seen to be diverse in subject and significance.
Argument from the precedence of Levi over Judah.
1. They also abstract an argument from the word of Moses, declaring that in Levi and Judah sprang from Jacob’s loins the types of these two sovereignties, the one being father of the priesthood, and the other father of temporal rulers.1 From this they argue: The relation of Levi to Judah is that of the Church to the Empire; Levi preceded Judah in birth according to Scripture; therefore the Church precedes the Empire in authority.
2. Refutation is here easy, for I might as before overthrow by positive denial the assertion that Levi and Judah, the sons of Jacob, typified these sovereignties; but I will concede that point. When, however, they proceed to infer from their argument that as Levi had precedence in birth, so has the Church in authority, I repeat that the predicate of the conclusion is not the term of the major premise, for the one is “authority” and the other “birth,” things different in subject and meaning. There is an error, therefore, in the form of the syllogism, which is as follows: A precedes B in C; D is related to E as A is to B; therefore D precedes E in F. But F and C are dissimilar.
3. If they become insistent, saying that F follows from C (that is, “authority” from “birth”), and that in an inference a consequent may replace an antecedent (as “animal” might replace “man”), I answer that it is untrue. Many are older in years who have no precedence in authority, but are superseded by their juniors; for instance, when bishops are younger than their arch-presbyters. And so the insistence is misplaced, for they have named as cause that which is none.
Argument from the election and deposition of Saul by Samuel.
1. Moreover, they take from the first book of Kings the election and deposition of Saul, and declare that, according to the text, Saul, an enthroned king, was dethroned by Samuel executing God’s command as His Vicar.1 And they reason from this that as the Vicar of God then had authority to give temporal power, to take it away, and to transfer it to another, so now God’s Vicar, High Priest of the Church Universal, has like authority to bestow, to withdraw,2 and even to consign to another the sceptre of temporal dominion. From this would follow undoubtedly, as they claim, that the Empire is a derived power.
2. But to destroy the premise that Samuel was Vicar of God, we need only reply that he was not Vicar; he acted merely as a special envoy for this commission, or as a messenger bringing an express command from his Lord. This is evident from the fact that what God bade him, that alone he did and that alone recounted.
3. Wherefore let it be understood that it is one thing to be a vicar, and another to be a messenger or minister; as it is one thing to be a doctor, and another to be an interpreter.3 Now a vicar is one to whom has been assigned jurisdiction according to law or to his arbitrary judgment; and so within the boundaries of the jurisdiction assigned to him he may determine legally or arbitrarily matters of which his lord has no knowledge.4 But an envoy, in so far as he is an envoy, cannot do so, for as the hammer operates only through the strength of the smith, so the envoy acts only through the will of the person who delegates him.5 Nor does it follow, though God did this when Samuel was His envoy, that the Vicar of God can do it. For through His angels God has achieved, is achieving, and will achieve, many things which the Vicar of God, the successor of Peter, was powerless to do.
4. Their argument is constructed from the whole to the part like this: Man can hear and see; therefore the eye can hear and see. However, it would hold negatively: Man cannot fly; therefore the arms of man cannot fly. And in the same way, according to the belief of Agathon,6 God cannot through a messenger undo what has been done; therefore His Vicar is unable to do so.
Argument from the oblation of the Magi.
1. From the book of Matthew they also cite the oblation of the Magi, claiming that Christ accepted both frankincense and gold, in order to signify that He was Lord and Governor of the spiritual and temporal domains.1 They draw as inference from this that the Vicar of Christ is lord and governor of these realms, and consequently has authority over both.
2. In answering this I grant the text of Matthew and their interpretation, but the inference they try to draw from it is false through deficiency in the terms. Their syllogism is this: God is Lord of the spiritual and temporal domains; the Pope is the Vicar of God; therefore he is lord of the spiritual and temporal domains. While each proposition is true, the middle term is changed to admit four terms to the argument, thereby impairing the syllogistic form. This is plain from the writings on Syllogizing considered simply.2 For one term is “God,” the subject of the major premise, and the other term is “Vicar of God,” the predicate of the minor.
3. And if any one insists on the equivalence of God and Vicar, his insistence is useless, for no vicar, divine or human, can be coördinate with His authority, as is easily seen. And we know that the successor of Peter is not coequal with divine power, at least not in the operation of nature. He could not by virtue of the office committed to him make earth rise up, or fire fall.3 It is impossible that God should have intrusted all things to him, for God was in no way able to delegate the power of creation or of baptism, as is plainly proved despite the contrary statement of the Master4 in his fourth book.
4. We know, too, that a man’s deputy, in so far as he is a deputy, is not of coördinate power with him, because no one can bestow what does not belong to him. Princely authority belongs to a prince only for his employment, since no prince can authorize himself; he has power to receive and to reject it, but no power to create it in another, seeing that the creation of a prince is not effected by a prince. If this is true, it is evident that no prince can substitute for himself a regent equal in all things to himself. Wherefore the protest is of no avail.
Argument from the prerogative of the keys consigned to Peter.
1. From the same gospel they quote the saying of Christ to Peter, “Whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven,”1 and understand this saying to refer alike to all the Apostles, according to the text of Matthew and John.2 They reason from this that the successor of Peter has been granted of God power to bind and loose all things, and then infer that he has power to loose the laws and decrees of the Empire, and to bind the laws and decrees of the temporal kingdom. Were this true, their inference would be correct.
2. But we must reply to it by making a distinction against the major premise of the syllogism which they employ. Their syllogism is this: Peter had power to bind and loose all things; the successor of Peter has like power with him; therefore the successor of Peter has power to loose and bind all things. From this they infer that he has power to loose and bind the laws and decrees of the Empire.
3. I concede the minor premise, but the major only with distinction. Wherefore I say that “all,” the symbol of the universal, which is implied in “whatsoever,” is never distributed beyond the scope of the distributed term. When I say, “All animals run,” the distribution of “all” comprehends whatever comes under the genus “animal.” But when I say, “All men run,” the symbol of the universal only refers to whatever comes under the term “man.” And when I say, “All grammarians run,” the distribution is narrowed still further.
4. Therefore we must always determine what it is over which the symbol of the universal is distributed; then, from the recognized nature and scope of the distributed term, will be easily apparent the extent of the distribution. Now, were “whatsoever” to be understood absolutely when it is said, “Whatsoever thou shalt bind,” he would certainly have the power they claim; nay, he would have even greater power, he would be able to loose a wife from her husband, and, while the man still lived, bind her to another—a thing he can in no wise do. He would be able to absolve me, while impenitent—a thing which God himself cannot do.3
5. So it is evident that the distribution of the term under discussion is to be taken, not absolutely, but relatively to something else. A consideration of the concession to which the distribution is subjoined will make manifest this related something. Christ said to Peter, “I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven;” that is, I will make thee doorkeeper of the kingdom of heaven. Then he adds, “and whatsoever,” that is, “everything which,” and He means thereby, “Everything which pertains to that office thou shalt have power to bind and loose.” And thus the symbol of the universal which is implied in “whatsoever” is limited in its distribution to the prerogative of the keys of the kingdom of heaven. Understood thus, the proposition is true, but understood absolutely, it is obviously not. Therefore I conclude that although the successor of Peter has authority to bind and loose in accordance with the requirements of the prerogative granted to Peter, it does not follow, as they claim, that he has authority to bind and loose the decrees or statutes of Empire, unless they prove that this also belongs to the office of the keys. But we shall demonstrate farther on that the contrary is true.
Argument from the two swords.
1. They quote also the words in Luke which Peter addressed to Christ, saying, “Behold, here are two swords,”1 and they assert that the two ruling powers were predicted by those two swords, and because Peter declared they were “where he was,” that is, “with him,” they conclude that according to authority these two ruling powers abide with Peter’s successor.
2. To refute this we must show the falsity of the interpretation on which the argument is based. Their assertion that the two swords which Peter designated signify the two ruling powers before spoken of, we deny outright, because such an answer would have been at variance with Christ’s meaning, and because Peter replied in haste, as usual, with regard to the mere external significance of things.
3. A consideration of the words preceding it and of the cause of the words will show that such an answer would have been inconsistent with Christ’s meaning. Let it be called to mind that this response was made on the day of the feast, which Luke mentions earlier, saying, “Then came the day of unleavened bread, when the passover must be killed.”2 At this feast Christ had already foretold His impending passion, in which He must be parted from His disciples. Let it be remembered also that when these words were uttered, all the twelve disciples were together; wherefore a little after the words just quoted Luke says, “And when the hour was come, He sat down, and the twelve Apostles with him.”3 Continuing the discourse from this place he reaches the words, “When I sent you without purse, and scrip, and shoes, lacked ye anything?”4 And they answered, “Nothing.” Then said He unto them, “But now, he that hath a purse, let him take it, and likewise his scrip: and he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one.” The meaning of Christ is clear enough here. He did not say, “Buy or procure two swords,” but “twelve;” for it was in order that each of the twelve disciples might have one that He said to them, “He that hath no sword, let him buy one.” And He spake thus to forewarn them of the persecution and contempt the future should bring, as though he would say, “While I was with you ye were welcomed, now shall ye be turned away. It behooves you, therefore, to prepare for yourselves those things which before I denied to you, but for which there is present need.” If Peter’s reply to these words had carried the meaning ascribed to it, the meaning would have been at variance with that of Christ, and Christ would have censured Him, as he did oftentimes, for his witless answers. However, He did not do so, but assented, saying to him, “It is enough,”5 meaning, “I speak because of necessity; but if each cannot have a sword, two will suffice.”
4. And that Peter usually spoke of the external significance of things is shown in his quick and unthinking presumption, impelled, I believe, not only by the sincerity of his faith, but by the purity and simplicity of his nature. To this characteristic presumption all those who write of Christ bear witness.
5. First, Matthew records that when Jesus had inquired of the disciples: “Whom say ye that I am?” before all the others Peter replied, “Thou art Christ, the Son of the living God.” He also records that when Christ was telling His disciples how He must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things, Peter took Him and began to rebuke Him, saying, “Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee.” Then Christ, turning to him, said in reproof, “Get thee behind me, Satan.”6 Matthew also writes that on the Mount of Transfiguration, in the presence of Christ, Moses, and Elias, and the two sons of Zebedee, Peter said, “Lord, it is good for us to be here. If thou wilt, let us make here three tabernacles, one for thee, one for Moses, and one for Elias.”7 Matthew further writes that when the disciples were on the ship in the night, and Christ walked on the water, Peter said, “Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water.”8 And that when Christ predicted how all His disciples should be offended because of Him, Peter answered, “Though all men shall be offended because of thee, yet will I never be offended.”9 And afterwards, “Though I should die with thee, yet will I not deny thee.” And this statement Mark10 confirms, while Luke writes that, just before the words we have quoted concerning the swords, Peter had said to Christ, “Lord, I am ready to go with thee, both into prison and to death.”11
6. John tells of him, that when Christ desired to wash his feet, Peter asked, “Lord, dost thou wash my feet?” and then said, “Thou shalt never wash my feet.”12 He further relates how Peter smote with his sword the servant of the High Priest, an account in which the four Evangelists agree.13 And John tells how when Peter came to the sepulchre and saw the other disciples lingering at the door, he entered in straightway;14 and again when after the resurrection Jesus stood on the shore and Peter “heard that it was the Lord, he girt his fisher’s coat unto him (for he was naked), and did cast himself into the sea.”15 Lastly, he recounts that when Peter saw John, he said to Jesus, “Lord, and what shall this man do?”16
7. It is a source of joy to have summed up this evidence of our Head Shepherd,17 in praise of his singleness of purpose. From all this it is obvious that when he spoke of the two swords, his answer to Christ was unambiguous in meaning.
8. Even if the words of Christ and Peter are to be accepted typically, they cannot be interpreted in the sense these men claim, but rather as referring to the sword concerning which Matthew writes: “Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father,”18 and what follows. This He accomplished in word and deed, wherefore Luke tells Theophilus of all “that Jesus began to do and teach.”19 Such was the sword Christ enjoined them to buy, and Peter made answer that already they had two with them. As we have shown, they were ready for words and for works to bring to pass those things which Christ proclaimed He had come to do by the sword.
Argument from the donation of Constantine.1
1. In addition, some persons affirm that the Emperor Constantine, healed of leprosy by the intercession of Sylvester, then the Supreme Pontiff,2 gave to the Church the very seat of Empire, Rome, together with many imperial dignities.3 Wherefore they argue that no one has power to assume these dignities except he receives them from the Church, to whom it is asserted they belong. And from this it would fairly follow, as they desire, that one authority is dependent on the other.
2. So having stated and refuted the arguments which seemed to be rooted in divine communications, it now remains to set forth and disprove those rooted in Roman deeds and human reason. We have just spoken of the first of these, whose syllogism runs thus: Those things which belong to the Church no one can rightly possess, unless granted them by the Church; and this we concede. The ruling power of Rome belongs to the Church; therefore no one can rightly possess it unless granted it by the Church. And the minor premise they prove by the facts mentioned above concerning Constantine.
3. This minor premise, then, I deny. Their proof is no proof, for Constantine had not the power to alienate the imperial dignity, nor had the Church power to receive it. Their insistent objection to what I say can be met thus. No one is free to do through an office assigned him anything contrary to the office, for thereby the same thing, in virtue of being the same, would be contrary to itself, which is impossible. But to divide the Empire would be contrary to the office assigned the Emperor, for as is easily seen from the first book of the treatise, his office is to hold the human race subject to one will in all things. Therefore, division of his Empire is not allowed an Emperor. If, as they claim, certain dignities were alienated by Constantine from the Empire and ceded to the power of the Church, the “seamless coat”4 would have been rent, which even they had not dared to mutilate who with their spears pierced Christ, the very God. Moreover, as the Church has its own foundation, so has the Empire its own. The foundation of the Church is Christ, as the Apostle writes to the Corinthians: “Other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.”5 He is the rock on which the Church is founded,6 but the foundation of the Empire is human Right. Now I say that as the Church cannot act contrary to its foundation, but must be supported thereby, according to that verse of the Canticles: “Who is she that cometh up from the desert, abounding in delights, leaning on her beloved?”7 so the Empire cannot act in conflict with human Right. Therefore the Empire may not destroy itself, for, should it do so, it would act in conflict with human Right. Inasmuch as the Empire consists in the indivisibility of universal Monarchy, and inasmuch as an apportionment of the Empire would destroy it, it is evident that division is not allowed to him who discharges imperial duty.8 And it is proved, from what has been previously said, that to destroy the Empire would be contrary to human Right.
4. Besides, every jurisdiction exists prior to its judge, since the judge is ordained for the jurisdiction, and not conversely. As the Empire is a jurisdiction embracing in its circuit the administration of justice in all temporal things, so it is prior to its judge, who is Emperor; and the Emperor is ordained for it, and not conversely. Clearly the Emperor, as Emperor, cannot alter the Empire, for from it he receives his being and state. So I say, either he was Emperor when he made the concession they speak of to the Church, or he was not. If he was not, it is plain that he had no power to grant anything with regard to the Empire. And if he was, then as Emperor he could not have done this, for the concession would have narrowed his jurisdiction.
5. Further, if one Emperor has power to cut away one bit from the jurisdiction of the Empire, another may do the same for like reason. And since temporal jurisdiction is finite, and every finite thing may be consumed by finite losses, the possibility of annihilating primal jurisdiction would follow. But this is inconceivable.
6. And since he who confers a thing has the relation of agent, and he on whom it is conferred the relation of patient, according to the Philosopher in the fourth book to Nicomachus, then in order for a grant to be legal, proper qualification is essential not only in the giver, but in the recipient.9 Indeed, it seems that the acts of agents exist potentially in a properly qualified patient. But the Church was utterly disqualified for receiving temporal power by the express prohibitive command in Matthew: “Provide neither gold, nor silver, nor brass in your purses, nor scrip for your journey,” etc.10 For although we learn from Luke11 of the mitigation of this order regarding certain things, yet I am unable to find that sanction was given the Church to possess gold and silver, subsequent to the prohibition. Wherefore if the Church had not power to receive, even had Constantine power to bestow, temporal authority, the action would nevertheless be impossible, because of the disqualification of the patient. It is demonstrated, then, that neither could the Church accept by way of possession, nor could Constantine confer by way of alienation. However, the Emperor did have power to depute to the protectorship of the Church a patrimony and other things, as long as his supreme command, the unity of which suffers no impairment, remained unchanged. And the Vicar of God had power to receive such things, not for possession, but for distribution on behalf of the Church of its fruits to the poor of Christ.12 We are not ignorant that thus the Apostles did.
Argument from the summoning of Charles the Great by Pope Hadrian.
1. Still further, our opponents say that Pope Hadrian called1 Charles the Great2 to the aid of himself and the Church, because of oppression by the Lombards3 in the reign of Desiderius their king, and that from the Pope Charles received the dignity of Empire, notwithstanding the fact that Michael4 held imperial sway at Constantinople. Wherefore they declare that after Charles all Roman Emperors were advocates of the Church, and must be called to office by the Church. From this would follow the relationship between the Church and Empire which they desire to prove.
2. To refute this argument, I answer that their premise in it is a mere nullity, for usurpation of right does not create a right. If it did, the same method would show the dependency of ecclesiastical authority on the Empire, after the Emperor Otto restored Pope Leo, and deposed Benedict, sending him in exile to Saxony.5
Argument from reason.
1. Their argument from reason, however, is this. They lay down the principle advanced in the tenth book of the First Philosophy, that “all things of one genus are reducible to a type which is the standard of measurement for all within the genus.”1 Since all men are of one genus, they ought to be reducible to a type as a standard for all others. And since the Supreme Pontiff and the Emperor are men, they must therefore, if our conclusion is true, be reducible to one man. And since the Pope cannot be subordinated to another, it remains for the Emperor and all others to be subordinated to the Pope as their measure and rule; whence results the conclusion they desire.
2. That this reasoning may be invalidated, I agree that their statement is true that all things of one genus ought to be reduced to some one member of that genus as a standard of measurement. Likewise is it true that all men are of one genus. Also is true their conclusion drawn from these that all men ought to be subordinated to one standard for the genus. But when from this conclusion they draw the further inference concerning Pope and Emperor, they deceive themselves with the fallacy of accidental attributes.
3. To make this evident, be it known that it is one thing to be a man and another thing to be a Pope. And just so it is one thing to be a man and another thing to be an Emperor, as it is one thing to be a man and another to be a father or master. Man is man because of his substantial form, which is the determinant of his species and genus, and which places him under the category of substance.2 But a father is such because of an accidental form, that of relation, which is the determinant of a certain species and genus, and which places him under the category of relation. Otherwise everything would be reduced to the category of substance, since no accidental form exists in itself, apart from the basis of underlying substance. But this is false. Therefore since the Pope and Emperor are what they are because of certain relations, the former through the Papacy, a relation in the province of fatherhood, and the latter through the Empire, a relation in the province of government, it is manifest that the Pope and the Emperor, in so far as they are such, must have place under the category of relation, and consequently must be subordinated to something in that genus.
4. Whence, I repeat, they are to be measured by one standard in so far as they are men, and by another in so far as they are Pope and Emperor. Now, in so far as they are men, they have to be measured by the best man (whoever he may be3 ), that is, by him who is the standard and ideal of all men, and who has the most perfect unity among his kind, as we may learn from the last book to Nicomachus.4 But in as far as they are relative, it is evident that one must be measured by the other, if one is subordinate; or they must unite in a common species from the nature of their relation; or they must be measured by a third something as their common ground of unity. But it cannot be maintained that one is subordinate to the other; that is, it is false to predicate one of the other, to call the Emperor the Pope, or to call the Pope the Emperor. Nor is it possible to maintain that they unite in a common species, for the relation of Pope, as such, is other than the relation of Emperor as Emperor. Therefore they must be measured by something beyond themselves in which they shall find a ground of unity.
5. At this point it must be understood that as relation stands to relation, so stands related thing to related thing. Hence if the Papacy and Empire, being relations of authority,5 must be measured with regard to the supreme authority from which they and their characteristic differences are derived, the Pope and Emperor, being relative, must be referred to some unity wherein may be found the supreme authority without these characteristic differences. And this will be either God Himself, in whom every relation is universally united, or in some substance inferior to God, in whom is found a supreme authority differentiated and derived from His perfect supremacy. And so it is evident that the Pope and Emperor, as men, are to be measured by one standard, but as Pope and Emperor by another. And this demonstration is from the argument according to reason.
The authority of the Church is not the source of Imperial authority.
1. Now that we have stated and rejected the errors on which those chiefly rely who declare that the authority of the Roman Prince is dependent on the Roman Pontiff, we must return and demonstrate the truth of that third question, which we propounded for discussion at the beginning. The truth will be evident enough if it can be shown, under the principle of inquiry agreed upon, that Imperial authority derives immediately from the summit of all being, which is God. And this will be shown, whether we prove that Imperial authority does not derive from that of the Church (for the dispute concerns no other authority), or whether we simply prove that it derives immediately from God.
2. That ecclesiastical authority is not the source of Imperial authority is thus verified. A thing non-existent or devoid of active force cannot be the cause of active force in a thing possessing that quality in full measure. But before the Church existed, or while it lacked power to act, the Empire had active force in full measure. Hence the Church is the source neither of acting power nor of authority in the Empire, where power to act and authority are identical. Let A be the Church, B the Empire, and C the power or authority of the Empire. If, A being non-existent, C is in B, the cause of C’s relation to B cannot be A, since it is impossible that an effect should exist prior to its cause. Moreover, if, A being inoperative, C is in B, the cause of C’s relation to B cannot be A, since it is indispensable for the production of effect that the cause should be in operation previously, especially the efficient cause which we are considering here.
3. The major premise of this demonstration is intelligible from its terms; the minor is confirmed by Christ and the Church. Christ attests it, as we said before, in His birth and death. The Church attests it in Paul’s declaration to Festus in the Acts of the Apostles: “I stand at Caesar’s judgment seat, where I ought to be judged;”1 and in the admonition of God’s angel to Paul a little later: “Fear not, Paul; thou must be brought before Caesar;”2 and again still later in Paul’s words to the Jews dwelling in Italy: “And when the Jews spake against it, I was constrained to appeal unto Caesar; not that I had aught to accuse my nation of,” but “that I might deliver my soul from death.”3 If Caesar had not already possessed the right to judge temporal matters, Christ would not have implied that he did, the angel would not have uttered such words, nor would he who said, “I desire to depart and be with Christ,”4 have appealed to an unqualified judge.
4. And if Constantine had no authority over the resources of the Church, that which he transferred to her from the Empire could not have been so transferred with Right, and the Church would be utilizing an unrighteous gift. But God desires that offerings be spotless, according to the text of Leviticus: “No meat offering, which ye shall bring unto the Lord, shall be made with leaven;”5 and this command, though it seem to concern givers, refers nevertheless to recipients. For it is folly to believe that God desires that to be accepted which He forbids to be given. Indeed, in the same book is the command to the Levites: “Contaminate not your souls, nor touch anything of theirs, lest ye be unclean.”6 But it is highly improper to say that the Church uses unrighteously the patrimony deputed to her, therefore what followed from such a saying is false.
The Church received power of transference neither from God, from herself, nor from any Emperor.
1. Besides, if the Church has power to confer authority on the Roman Prince, she would have it either from God, or from herself, or from some Emperor, or from the unanimous consent of mankind, or at least, from the consent of the most influential. There is no other least crevice through which the power could have diffused itself into the Church. But from none of these has it come to her, and therefore the aforesaid power is not hers at all.
2. Here is the proof that it has come from none of these sources. If she had received it from God, it would have been by divine or natural law, for what is received from nature is received from God, though the converse is not true. But this ecclesiastical right came not by natural law, for nature imposes no law save for her own effects, and inadequacy is not possible to God where He brings something into being without secondary agents.1 Since the Church is an effect not of nature, but of God, who said, “Upon this rock I will build my Church,”2 and in another place, “I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do,”3 it is indisputable that nature gave not this law to the Church.
3. Neither did this power come by divine law; for in the bosom of the two Testaments, wherein is embodied every divine law, I am unable to discover any command for the early or later priesthood to have care or solicitude in temporal things. Nay, I find rather that the early priests were released from such care by precept, as in the words God spake to Moses;4 and the same of later priests as in the words of Christ to His disciples.5 Nor would it have been possible to have been thus released, if the authority of temporal power originated with the priesthood; for at least anxiety concerning right provision would be with them in conferring authority, and then continual precaution, lest the authorized might deviate from the path of rectitude.
4. Also, that this power came not from the Church is easily seen. Nothing can give what it does not possess, so everything must be in act what it intends to do, as is held in the treatise on simple Being.6 But if the Church gave to herself that power, it was not hers before she gave it, and she thus would have given herself that which she did not possess, which cannot be.
5. That the power came not from some Emperor is sufficiently explained by what has gone before.
6. And, indeed, who doubts that it came not from the unanimous consent of men, or from that of the most influential? Not only all the people of Asia and Africa, but even the greater part of those inhabiting Europe, are averse to her. Truly, it is bootless to adduce proofs in matters perfectly evident.
The prerogative of conferring authority upon the Empire is contrary to the nature of the Church.
1. Again, that which is contrary to the nature of anything is not numbered among its peculiar powers, since the powers of anything correspond to its nature for the attainment of its end.1 But the power to confer authority over the kingdom of our mortal life is contrary to the nature of the Church, and is therefore not numbered among her prerogatives.
2. To prove the minor premise, it must be known that the nature of the Church is the informing principle of the Church. For though the word “nature” may be used of material and form, yet it is used more properly of form, as is shown in the book on Natural Learning.2 But the form of the Church is naught else than the life of Christ as it is comprised in His teachings and in His deeds. Truly, His life was the ideal and exemplar of the Church militant, particularly of its pastors, and more than all of its Head Shepherd, whose duty it is to feed His sheep and lambs. Hence, when in the Gospel of John He bequeathed to men the informing principle of His life, He said, “I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you.”3 And especially, as we learn from the same Gospel, when He said to Peter, after He had conferred upon Him the function of shepherd, “Peter, follow me.”4 But before Pilate, Christ disclaimed any ruling power of a temporal kind, saying, “My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews; but now is my kingdom not from hence.”5
3. This must not be understood to imply that Christ, who is God, is not Lord of the temporal kingdom, seeing that the Psalmist says, “The sea is his, and he made it: and his hands formed the dry land;”6 but rather to mean that, as exemplar of the Church, He had not charge of this kingdom. Similarly, if a golden seal were to say, “I am not the standard for any class of objects,” it would not speak truly, in so far as it is gold, the standard of all metals. It would speak truly only in so far as it is a particular stamp, capable of being received by impression.7
4. Therefore it is the formal principle of the Church to declare and to believe Christ’s saying. To declare and to believe the opposite is manifestly contrary to the formal principle, or, what is the same thing, to the nature of the Church. We may gather from this that the prerogative to grant authority to the temporal domain is contrary to the nature of the Church, for contrariety in thought or in saying follows from contrariety in the thing spoken or thought. Just so truth or falsity in speech originates from the existence or non-existence of a thing, as the teaching of the Categories8 shows us. Through the above arguments, leading to an absurdity, has it been sufficiently demonstrated that the authority of Empire is not at all dependent upon the Church.
The authority of the Empire derives from God directly.
1. Although by the method of reduction to absurdity it has been shown in the foregoing chapter that the authority of Empire has not its source in the Chief Pontiff, yet it has not been fully proved, save by an inference, that its immediate source is God, seeing that if the authority does not depend on the Vicar of God, we conclude that it depends on God Himself. For a perfect demonstration of the proposition we must prove directly that the Emperor, or Monarch, of the world has immediate relationship to the Prince of the universe, who is God.1
2. In order to realize this, it must be understood that man alone of all beings holds the middle place between corruptibility and incorruptibility, and is therefore rightly compared by philosophers to the horizon which lies between the two hemispheres.2 Man may be considered with regard to either of his essential parts, body or soul.3 If considered in regard to the body alone, he is perishable; if in regard to the soul alone, he is imperishable. So the Philosopher spoke well of its incorruptibility when he said in the second book on the Soul, “And this only can be separated as a thing eternal from that which perishes.”4
3. If man holds a middle place between the perishable and imperishable, then, inasmuch as every mean shares the nature of the extremes, man must share both natures.5 And inasmuch as every nature is ordained for a certain ultimate end, it follows that there exists for man a two-fold end, in order that as he alone of all beings partakes of the perishable and the imperishable, so he alone of all beings should be ordained for two ultimate ends. One end is for that in him which is perishable, the other for that which is imperishable.
4. Ineffable Providence has thus designed two ends to be contemplated of man: first, the happiness of this life, which consists in the activity of his natural powers,6 and is prefigured by the terrestrial Paradise;7 and then the blessedness of life everlasting, which consists in the enjoyment of the countenance of God, to which man’s natural powers may not attain unless aided by divine light, and which may be symbolized by the celestial Paradise.8
5. To these states of blessedness, just as to diverse conclusions, man must come by diverse means. To the former we come by the teachings of philosophy, obeying them by acting in conformity with the moral and intellectual virtues;9 to the latter through spiritual teachings which transcend human reason, and which we obey by acting in conformity with the theological virtues, Faith, Hope, and Charity.10 Now the former end and means are made known to us by human reason, which the philosophers have wholly explained to us; and the latter by the Holy Spirit, which has revealed to us supernatural but essential truth through the Prophets and Sacred Writers, through Jesus Christ, the coeternal Son of God, and through His disciples.11 Nevertheless, human passion would cast all these behind, were not men, like horses astray in their brutishness, held to the road by bit and rein.12
6. Wherefore a twofold directive agent was necessary to man, in accordance with the twofold end; the Supreme Pontiff to lead the human race to life eternal by means of revelation,13 and the Emperor to guide it to temporal felicity by means of philosophic instruction.14 And since none or few—and these with exceeding difficulty—could attain this port, were not the waves of seductive desire calmed, and mankind made free to rest in the tranquillity of peace, therefore this is the goal which he whom we call the guardian of the earth and Roman Prince should most urgently seek; then would it be possible for life on this mortal threshing-floor15 to pass in freedom and peace. The order of the world follows the order inherent in the revolution of the heavens. To attain this order it is necessary that instruction productive of liberality and peace should be applied by the guardian of the realm, in due place and time, as dispensed by Him who is the ever present Watcher of the whole order of the heavens. And He alone foreordained this order, that by it in His providence He might link together all things, each in its own place.16
7. If this is so, and there is none higher than He, only God elects and only God confirms. Whence we may further conclude that neither those who are now, nor those who in any way whatsoever have been, called Electors,17 have the right to be so called; rather should they be entitled heralds of divine providence. Whence it is that those in whom is vested the dignity of proclamation suffer dissension among themselves at times, when, all or part of them being shadowed by the clouds of passion, they discern not the face of God’s dispensation.
8. It is established, then, that the authority of temporal Monarchy descends without mediation from the fountain of universal authority. And this fountain, one in its purity of source, flows into multifarious channels out of the abundance of its excellence.
9. Methinks I have now approached close enough to the goal I had set myself, for I have taken the kernels of truth from the husks of falsehood, in that question which asked whether the office of Monarchy was essential to the welfare of the world, and in the next which made inquiry whether the Roman people rightfully appropriated the Empire, and in the last which sought whether the authority of the Monarch derived from God immediately, or from some other. But the truth of this final question must not be restricted to mean that the Roman Prince shall not be subject in some degree to the Roman Pontiff, for felicity that is mortal is ordered in a measure after felicity that is immortal. Wherefore let Caesar honor Peter as a first-born son should honor his father, so that, refulgent with the light of paternal grace, he may illumine with greater radiance the earthly sphere over which he has been set by Him who alone is Ruler of all things spiritual and temporal.18
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[1. ]Dan. 6. 22. The word “righteousness” is the Latin “justitia,” which in chapters 11, 12, etc., of Book 1 was translated “justice.”
[2. ] Note that it was love of truth that started Dante on his task in De Mon. 1. 1.
[3. ]Prov. 8. 7. Dante’s idea here expressed does not exactly coincide with that in the verse cited, which runs: “For my mouth shall speak truth; and wickedness is an abomination to my lips.”
[4. ]Eth. 1. 6. 1: “For the preservation of truth . . . we should even do away with private feelings, especially as we are philosophers; for both being dear to us, it is a sacred duty to prefer truth.”
In Letter 9. 5, to the Italian Cardinals, Dante says again: “I have the authority of the Master Philosopher, who, in treating of all morality, taught that truth is to be preferred beyond any friend whatsoever.”
[5. ]1 Thess. 5. 8.
[6. ]Is. 6. 6, 7.
[7. ]Col. 1. 13, 14.
[8. ]Ps. 112. 6, 7. Much the same idea is in Par. 17. 118: “If I am a timid friend to the truth, I fear to lose life among those who will call this time ancient.”
[9. ]De Mon. 3. 4 takes up in detail the argument of the sun and moon.
[1. ]De Mon. 1. 2. 2; 2. 2. 1.
[2. ] “Assumptions” are the major and minor premises.
[3. ]Anal. Pr. 2. 2.
[4. ] Dante proves this point De Mon. 1. 3. 2; 1. 10. 1; 2. 7. 2, 3; and 3. 15. 1. See also the quotations in the notes to these paragraphs. Dante expresses the idea most clearly, perhaps, in Par. 1. 109: “In that order which I say have all natures their propension, through divers lots, more or less near to their origin; whereby they move to divers ports through the sea of being, and each with instinct given to it to bear it.”
[5. ] Miss Hillard notes the use of proof by reduction to absurdity, Conv. 2. 9. 4.
[1. ] “Whether the authority of the Roman Monarchy derives from God immediately, or from some vicar of God.”
[2. ] “Whether temporal Monarchy is necessary for the well-being of the world.”
[3. ] “Whether the Roman people rightfully appropriated the office of Monarchy.”
[4. ]Conv. 2. 14. 12: “The circle by reason of its arc cannot be exactly squared.”
Par. 33. 133: “As is the geometer who applies himself wholly in order to measure the circle, and finds not by thinking that principle whereof he is in want, such was I.”
In 1761 Lambert proved that the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter was incommensurable. Lindemann has since demonstrated that this ratio was transcendental, and that the quadrature of the circle by means of the rule and compass only is impossible.
[5. ] The number of the angels Dante discusses in Conv. 2. 6, concluding in chapter 2. 6. 2: “It is proved to us that these creatures exist in immense numbers; because His Spouse and Secretary, the Holy Church . . . says, believes, and preaches that these most noble creatures are almost innumerable; and she divides them into three hierarchies.”
[6. ]Eth. 3. 3. 6: “About things eternal no man deliberates, as about the world, or the diagonal and the side of a square, that they are incommensurable, . . . nor about things accidental, as the finding of a treasure, nor yet about everything human, as no Lacedaemonian deliberates how the Scythians might be best governed.” Moore thinks that Dante’s substitution of “Egyptian” for “Lacedaemonian” was merely a slip of memory.
[7. ]Purg. 18. 16: “Direct toward me the keen eyes of thy understanding, and the error will be manifest to thee of the blind who make themselves leaders.” So wickedness to Dante was largely a matter of ignorance, of blindness, of inability to understand. With sight and comprehension of good came right action.
[8. ] Dante even in his moments of greatest indignation had only reverence for the papal office. Inf. 19. 100: “Were it not that still forbids it to me my reverence for the supreme keys which thou heldest in the glad life, I would use words yet more grievous;” so he says to Pope Nicolas placed among the simoniacs in Malebolge. And of the persecution of Boniface VIII, whom Dante hated above all men, he writes Purg. 20. 86: “I see the fleur-de-lys enter into Alagna, and in his Vicar Christ himself made captive. I see Him being mocked a second time, I see the vinegar and the gall renewed, and Him between live thieves put to death. I see the new Pilate so cruel that that sates him not, but without decree he bears into the temple his greedy sails.”
[9. ]John 8. 44: “Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do.” For cupidity as the greatest of human sins, see De Mon. 2. 12. 1; 1. 11. 5, and note 12. The worst form of cupidity was simony, trafficking in spiritual matters, shown forth in Inf. 19. 1 ff.: “O Simon Magus! O unhappy followers! because the things of God, which ought to be spouses, and yet in your greed make to commit whoredom for gold and for silver—now it is meet that for you the trumpet sound, seeing that in the third pit ye are stationed.”
Letter 9. 7 To the Italian Cardinals: “Every one has taken Cupidity to wife, even as ye have,—Cupidity, who is never, like Charity, the mother of Piety and Equity, but always of Impiety and Iniquity. Ah, most holy Mother, Bride of Christ, what sons dost thou bear of water and of the spirit to shame thee! Neither Charity nor Justice, but the daughters of the horse-leech have become thy daughters-in-law, and all save the Bishop of Luni attest what kind of sons they have brought to thee. Thy Gregory lies among the cobwebs; Ambrose lies on the neglected shelves of the clergy; Augustine lies forgotten; Dionysius, Damascenus, and Bede have been thrown aside; and I know not what Speculum, Innocent, and he of Ostia preach. Wherefore is this? They sought God as their end and best good; these run after riches and benefices.”
[10. ] Two of these men are named Par. 12. 83, Henry of Susa, Archbishop of Embrun and Cardinal of Ostia, and Thaddeus of Bologna. In Letter 9. 7, quoted in the note preceding, the Speculum of Guglielmo Durante, Innocent III, and the Cardinal of Ostia make another list.
The Decretals were those papal decrees which form the groundwork of the ecclesiastical law. The most important compilation was issued by Gregory IX in 1234. The Code of the Papal Decretals was promulgated as the statute law of Christendom, the authority of which was superior to all secular law. See Toynbee, Dict. s. v. Decretali; Hallam, Middle Ages, Ch. 8, part 2.
Par. 9. 133: “For this the Gospel and the great Doctors are deserted, and study is given to the Decretals alone, as appears on their margins.”
[11. ]Par. 20. 103: “They issued not from their bodies as thou deemest Gentiles, but Christians, in firm faith, he of the Feet that should suffer, he of them having suffered.”
[12. ]Rom. 8. 16, 17.
[13. ]Ps. 111. 9. This is a rather strained interpretation of “He hath sent redemption unto his people; he hath commanded his covenant for ever.”
[14. ] Cant. 1. 4. Dante, as was customary in his times, interprets the Canticles allegorically as applying to the Church.
[15. ]Matt. 28. 20.
[16. ] St. Augustine (354-430). Dante quotes in the next chapter from two of his works, De Civitate Dei and De Doctrina Christiana. The ideals of Augustine in the former treatise and those of Dante in the De Mon. are very similar. For his relation to Dante see Moore, Studies, Vol. 1. pp. 291-294. Augustine is honored with a seat in the Celestial Rose by St. Francis and St. Benedict Par. 32. 35. For further mention of him see note 9, above.
[17. ]Matt. 15. 2, 3.
[18. ]Phys. 1. 2. “Cupiditas” is the word I have this time translated “passions.” Cf. Purg. 19. 121: “As avarice extinguished our love toward every good, whence labor was lost, so justice here holds us straitly bound.” See also note 9, above.
[1. ]Metaphys. 1. 1: “We reckon the chief artificers in each case to be entitled to more dignity, and to the reputation of superior knowledge, and to be more wise than the handicraftsmen, because the former are acquainted with the causes of things that are being constructed, whereas the latter produce things as certain inanimate things do, . . . unconsciously.” Bryce dates the successful claim of the papacy to rule in temporal matters to Gregory VII (1073-1086).
[2. ]Gen. 1. 15, 16.
[3. ] “Dua regimina”—two guiding or governing powers. Bryce, Holy Roman Empire, c. 15: “The analogy between the lights of heaven and the potentates of earth is one which mediaeval writers are very fond of. It seems to have originated with Gregory VII” (1073-1086).
“Two lights, the sun and the moon, illumine the globe; two powers, the papal and the royal, govern it; but as the moon receives her light from the more brilliant star, so kings reign by the chief of the Church who comes from God,” are the words of Innocent IV (1243-1254).
Bryce speaks in the chapter cited above of a curious seal of the Emperor Otto IV (1208-1212), figured in J. M. Heineccius’ De veteribus Germanorum atque aliarum nationum sigillis, on which the sun and moon are represented over the head of the Emperor: “There seems to be no reason why we should not take the device as typifying the accord of the spiritual and temporal powers which was brought about at the accession of Otto, the Guelfic leader, and the favored candidate of Pope Innocent III.”
[4. ] Dante’s real view, that the spiritual and temporal rulers are coördinate but different, is expressed De Mon. 3. 16. 6. Again in Purg. 16. 106 is the idea in more figurative language: “Rome, that made the good world, was wont to have two suns, that showed the one and the other road, both of the world and of God. The one has put out the other, and the sword is joined with the crook; and the one and the other together of very necessity it behoves that they go ill.”
Letter 6. 2 (To the Florentines) has the following figure: “Why, then, such a foolish supposition being disposed of, do ye, deserting legitimate government, seek new Babylonians to found new kingdoms, in order that the Florentine may be one policy and the Roman another? Why may it not please you to envy the apostolic monarchy likewise? that if Delia is to have a twin in heaven, the Delian One may also?”
After the death of Henry VII and Clement V Dante wrote in Letter 9. 10: “Rome, that city now deprived of both its luminaries.”
[5. ]Soph. Elenc. 18.
[6. ]Phys. 1. 3. Parmenides was a Greek philosopher, born at Elea in Italy circ. 513 bc, founder of the Eleatic School of philosophy, in which he was succeeded by Zeno. Melissus of Samos was one of his followers. These two false reasoners serve for illustration again in Par. 13. 122: “He returns not the same as he sets out, who fishes for the truth and has not the art; and of this are to the world open proofs Parmenides, Melissus, and Bryson.”
[7. ] “Distinction” marks out two possible meanings in a proposition; one, the sense in which it must be understood to make it true; the other, the sense in which it must be understood in order to support a given conclusion.
[8. ]De Civit. Dei 16. 2.
[9. ]De Doctr. Christ. 1. 36. Here Dante departs from our present reading of Augustine’s text by using the words “per gyrum” instead of “per agrum.”
[10. ]L. c. 37.
[11. ] “Litera,” Witte says, was a solemn word used for “text,” especially in referring to sacred writings, during the Middle Ages.
[12. ] “Man restored to the state of Eden would not need ecclesiastical any more than he would need imperial guidance or authority. Hence Virgil ‘crowns and mitres’ Dante at the entrance of the Garden of Eden, Purg. 27, 42. It follows that Beatrice, whose ministrations begin here, may be Revelation, but cannot be Ecclesiastical Authority.” Wicksteed.
[13. ] The heaven of the moon was the first of the ten Dantean heavens. It is described Conv. 2. 3-7, and Par. 2-5. Nine of these were the so-called moving heavens, each having for its motor a certain order of spiritual creature. Conv. 2. 6. 5: “Wherefore it is reasonable to believe that the motive powers of the Heaven of the Moon are of the order of Angels.”
Conv. 2. 6. 7: “These motive powers guide by their thought alone the revolutions over which each one presides.”
[14. ]De Mon. 3. 16. 9, and note.
The apostolic benediction even of Clement V, whom Dante punishes among the simoniacs in Inf. 19, is thus spoken of, Letter 5. 10: “This is he whom Peter, the vicar of God, admonishes us to honor; whom Clement, now the successor of Peter, illuminates with the light of the apostolic benediction, in order that where the spiritual ray does not suffice, the splendor of the lesser light may illumine.”
[1. ]Gen. 29. 34, 35. Reference is made to the sons of Levi as men of churchly and not secular authority Purg. 16. 127. Marco Lombardo is speaking to Dante: “Say from this day forth that the Church of Rome, through confounding of herself two governments, falls in the mire, and befouls herself and her burden.” “O my Marco,” said I, “thou reasonest well; and now I perceive why the sons of Levi were exempted from the heritage.”
[1. ]1 Sam. 10. 1, Samuel anoints Saul; 15. 23, he deposes him; 15. 28, he transfers the authority of ruler “to a neighbour of thine, that is better than thou.”
[2. ]Decretals of Gregory, 2. 13. 2: “The Pope has power to depose the Emperor for legitimate causes.” Boniface VIII not only deposed Philip the Fair, but offered the French crown to Emperor Albert I.
[3. ] “Sicut aliud est esse doctorem, aliud esse interpretem.”
[4. ] Witte quotes from the Decretals of Gregory IX, 1. 28. 5: “A vicar can do whatever pertains to the jurisdiction of him in whose stead he acts.”
[5. ]Gen. Anim. 5. 8. The figure is again used Par. 2. 128: “The movement and virtue of the holy circles, as from the smith the craft of the hammer, must needs from the blessed movers have their breath.”
Conv. 4. 23. 2: “The fire and the hammer are efficient causes of the knife, although the principal cause is the smith.”
[6. ]Eth. 6. 2. 6: “But what is past does not admit of being undone; therefore Agathon rightly says, ‘Of this alone even God is deprived, the power of making things that are past never to have been.’ ”
Agathon is mentioned as being one of the Greek poets in Limbo Purg. 22. 107. Historically, nothing is known of this poet except his friendship with Socrates, Plato, and Euripides, and the references to him in Aristotle’s Poetics and Rhetoric.
[1. ]Matt. 2. 11.
[2. ]Anal. Pr. 1. 25.
[3. ]Eth. 2. 1. 2. This thought is used by Dante, De Mon. 1. 15. 2, and the words from Aristotle are given in note 6 to that paragraph.
[4. ] Peter Lombard (1100-1164), whom Dante places among the great doctors in the Heaven of the Sun Par. 10. 107. This reference is to his Libri Sententiarum 4. 5. 2, 3: “Christ gave to his servants the administering of baptism, but the power he retained for himself, which had he so wished he could have given them; . . . but he did not wish to, lest a servant should put his hope in a servant.” As Wicksteed remarks, Dante does not believe in the deputing of ministry without power.
[1. ]Matt. 16. 19: “And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”
This argument from the keys of Peter is set forth by Thomas Aquinas, De Regimine Principium 3. 10; S. T. 3, Suppl. Q. 17; in the Decretals of Gregory IX 1. 33. 6; 2. 1. 13. Dante’s reverence for the pontifical office can never be questioned even in the expression of sentiments the most Ghibelline. De Mon. 2. 3. 4, and note 8. The main references in the Comedy that show his attitude toward the successors of Peter are:—
Inf. 19. 90-101: “My reverence for the supreme keys . . .”
Inf. 27. 103: “I have power to lock and unlock Heaven as thou knowest; since two are the keys which my forerunner held not dear.” These are words put into the mouth of Boniface VIII.
The two keys which Statius held from Peter in his office as guardian of the gate of Purgatory are described Purg. 9. 117 ff.
Par. 23. 136: “Here triumphs, under the high Son of God, and of Mary, for his victory, . . . he who holds the keys of such glory.”
Par. 24. 34: “O eternal light of the great man to whom our Lord left the keys, which He bore below, of this wondrous joy.”
Par. 27. 46: “It was not our intention . . . that the keys which were granted to me should become a device on a banner to fight against men baptized.” So Peter rebukes the wickedness of the Church and its officials.
Par. 32. 124: “On the right behold that ancient Father of Holy Church to whom Christ entrusted the keys of this lovely flower.”
[2. ]Matt. 18. 18; John 20. 23.
[3. ]Rom. 7. 3. Inf. 27. 118: “Absolved he cannot be, who does not repent; nor is it possible to repent and to will at the same time, by reason of the contradiction which agrees not in it.”
[1. ]Luke 22. 38. This was one of the most popular arguments in mediaeval writers for the supremacy of the Church. In the bull “Unam Sanctam” Boniface VIII says: “We are taught by the words of the gospel to recognize that two swords are in the power of this man, that is, the spiritual and temporal. For when the apostles said, ‘Here are two swords,’ the Lord did not respond, ‘It is too much,’ but, ‘It is enough.’ Both are in the power of the Church: the one the spiritual, to be used by the Church, the other the material, for the Church; the former that of priests, the latter that of kings and soldiers, to be wielded at the command and by the sufferance of the priest. One sword must be under the other, the temporal under the spiritual. . . . The spiritual instituted the temporal power, and judges whether that power is well exercised. . . . We therefore assert, define, and pronounce that it is necessary to salvation to believe that every human being is subject to the Pontiff of Rome.”
Generally with Dante the sword typifies Empire. Purg. 16. 109: “The sword is joined with the crook.” Par. 8. 145: “But ye wrest to religion such an one as shall have been born to be girt with the sword, and ye make him a king who is a man of sermons.”
[2. ]Luke 22. 7.
[3. ]Luke 22. 14.
[4. ]Luke 22. 35, 36.
[5. ]Luke 22. 38.
[6. ]Matt. 16. 15, 16, 21, 22, 23.
[7. ]Matt. 17. 4.
[8. ]Matt. 14. 28. Peter’s faith on this occasion is the subject of praise again in Par. 24. 34: “O eternal light of the great man to whom our Lord left the keys, which he bore below, of this wondrous joy, try this man concerning points easy and hard as pleases thee, about the faith by which thou didst go upon the sea.”
[9. ]Matt. 26. 33, 35.
[10. ]Mark 14. 29.
[11. ]Luke 22. 33.
[12. ]John 13. 6, 8.
[13. ]John 18. 10; Matt. 26. 51; Mark 14. 47; Luke 22. 50.
[14. ]John 20. 5, 6. Dante’s second reference to this incident is in Par. 24. 125: “O holy father, O spirit who seest that which thou so believest, that thou didst outdo younger feet toward the sepulchre.”
[15. ]John 21. 7.
[16. ]John 21. 21.
[17. ] “Head Shepherd” is in the Latin “Archimandrita.” St. Francis is given this name Par. 11. 99: “The holy desire of this head shepherd of his flock was crowned with a second diadem by the eternal spirit through Honorius.” And in Letter 9. 6 Dante calls the unfaithful officers of the Church, “Archimandrites throughout the world in name alone.”
[18. ]Matt. 10. 34, 35.
[19. ]Acts 1. 1.
[1. ] Near the end of the eighth century the decretals and donation of Constantine were forged, documents which purported that when that Emperor removed his capital to Byzantium, 324 ad, he left Rome in order to give to the Church temporal sway in the western world. That this donation was a forgery was not discovered until 1440 by Laurentinus Valla. See Gibbon, vol. 6. 49 (notes 68-76), the Milman-Smith edition. It is scarcely necessary to add that Dante had firm faith in the genuineness of the donation.
[2. ]Inf. 27. 94: “Constantine sought Sylvester within Soracte to heal him of his leprosy.” This legend Butler thinks Dante took from Brunetto, Trésor, Bk. 1, Pt. 2, c. 87, but Toynbee traces it to the Legenda Aurea of Jacobus de Voragine. See Toynbee, Studies, p. 297. Cf. De Regim. Princ. 3. 16.
[3. ] The donation is mentioned De Mon. 2. 12. 2; 2. 13. 5; 3. 13. 4.
Inf. 19. 115: “Ah, Constantine, of how great ill was mother, not thy conversion, but the dowry which the first rich pope got from thee.”
In the vision of Church and Empire, Purg. 32, the worldly wealth of the papacy is thus described l. 124: “Next from thence, whence it had before come, I saw the eagle come down into the ark of the car, and leave it feathered with itself;” line 136: “That which remained, like ground alive with herbage, covered itself again with feathers, offered haply with sound and benign intention, and was covered again.”
The eagle describes Constantine Par. 20. 55: “The second who follows, with the laws and with me, under a good intention which bore ill fruit, to give way to the Pastor, made himself a Greek. Now knows he how the ill deduced from his good work is not harmful to him, albeit that the world be thereby destroyed.”
[4. ]John 19. 23, 24, 34. The seamless robe is again used as the type of undivided monarchy De Mon. 1. 16, and note 6.
[5. ]1 Cor. 3. 11.
[6. ]Matt. 16. 18.
[7. ]Can. 8. 5 (Vulg.). The English version has not the words “deliciis effluens,” “abounding in delights.” Dante quotes the verse, as here, in Conv. 2. 6. 2, as definitely signifying the Church.
[8. ] Witte refers to Engelbertus Admonteus, De Ortu et Fine Rom. Imp. 18: “It was not permitted that the Emperor Hadrian or Jovinian should surrender the imperial boundaries, . . . nor has it been, nor will it be permitted to any Emperor, because then would it fall from the name and dignity of Augustus, which means that the Empire should be augmented and not diminished.”
[9. ]Eth. 4. 1. 8: “The liberal man will give for the sake of the honorable, and will give properly, for he will give to proper objects, in proper quantities, at proper times.”
[10. ]Matt. 10. 9.
[11. ]Luke 9. 3; 10. 4.
[12. ]De Mon. 2. 12. 1, and note 2.
[1. ] “Advocavit” in the original, and closely related to “advocati” in the following sentence, the “advocates” or “those called.”
[2. ] Charlemagne became king of the Frankish people in 771; petitioned for aid against the Lombards by Pope Hadrian, he defeated Desiderius in 774, and became king of the Lombards; he was made Emperor of the West by Pope Leo III on Christmas Day, 800. Pope Hadrian did not give Charlemagne the imperial dignity. Dante places Charlemagne among the defenders of the faith in the Heaven of Mars Par. 18. 43.
[3. ]Par. 6. 94: “And when the Lombard tooth bit the Holy Church, under its wings great Charles conquering succoured her.” Cf. De Regim. Princ. 10. 10, 18.
[4. ] Michael I reigned in Constantinople from 811 to 813. The ruler at the time of Charlemagne was the Empress Irene (797-802).
[5. ] Otto I was Emperor 962-973. In 963 the Roman synod elected his nominee for the papacy, but in the following year, while the Emperor was absent from Rome, they deposed Leo III and put Benedict V in the chair. On Otto’s return in 964, he sent Benedict to Hamburg and reinstated Leo.
[1. ]Metaphys. 10. 1. In Conv. 1. 1. 1, as here, Dante calls the Metaphysics the First Philosophy.
[2. ] The two main categories are those of substance and accident. Under accident are the sub-categories of relation, position, quality, etc. In the category of substance, Pope and Emperor are measurable by the same standard. In the category of accident, they are in the same sub-genus of relation, and in different but coördinate species of the sub-genus. So in the category of accident they are not measurable by the same standard. In the text Dante uses the word “praedicamentum” for category, and in De Mon. 3. 15. 4 he calls Aristotle’s Categories by that name.
[3. ] Then the best man might be other than the Pope or Emperor.
[4. ]Eth. 10. 5. 10: “Excellence and the good man, so far forth as he is good, are the measure of everything.”
[5. ] “Quum sint relationes superpositionis.”
[1. ]Acts 25. 10.
[2. ]Acts 27. 24.
[3. ]Acts 28. 19.
[4. ]Phil. 1. 23.
[5. ]Lev. 2. 11.
[6. ]Lev. 11. 43.
[1. ] Dante seems to imply that things brought to pass through nature are brought to pass through a secondary agent.
[2. ]Matt. 16. 18.
[3. ]John 17. 4.
[4. ]Num. 18. 20: “And the Lord spake unto Aaron, Thou shalt have no inheritance in their land, neither shalt thou have any part among them. I am thy part and thine inheritance among the children of Israel.”
Purg. 16. 131: “The sons of Levi were exempted from the heritage.”
[5. ]Matt. 10. 9: “Provide neither gold, nor silver, nor brass in your purses;” Mark 6. 8; Luke 9. 3; 10. 4; 22. 35.
[6. ]Metaphys. 8. 8. The priority of energy or activity to capacity or potentiality is discussed here at length.
[1. ]Phys. 7. 3. Conv. 3. 15. 4: “The natural desire of everything is regulated according to the capacity of the thing desiring; otherwise it would oppose itself, which is impossible, and nature would have made it in vain, which is also impossible.” De Mon. 1. 3. 1; 1. 10. 1; 2. 7. 2, repeat the same idea.
[2. ]Phys. 2. 1: “Form is nature.”
Metaphys. 6. 7. 4: “From art are generated those things of whatsoever there is a form in the soul. But I mean by form the essence or very nature of a thing.” L. c. 6. 9: “Art is form.” S. T. 1-2. 94. 3: “Every being is naturally inclined to an activity befitting itself, according to its form.”
[3. ]John 13. 15.
[4. ]John 21. 19.
[5. ]John 18. 36.
[6. ]Ps. 95. 5.
[7. ]De Mon. 2. 3, notes 6 and 13.
[8. ]Categ. c. 12. De Mon. 3. 12, note 2.
[1. ]De Mon. 1. 7. 1. Purg. 32. 100: “Here thou shalt be a little time a woodman, and with me shalt thou be without end, a citizen of that Rome whereof Christ is a Roman.”
[2. ]De Causis, Lect. 2: “Generated intelligence comprehends both nature and the horizon of nature, that is to say the soul, for it is above nature.”
[3. ] The nature and origin of the human soul is discussed Conv. 4. 21. In Purg. 25 Statius discourses on generation and the soul, and its attributes find due place there. Other references are:—
Conv. 4. 21. 2: “We must know that man is composed of soul and body; but of the soul is that nobility . . . which is as the seed of the Divine virtue.”
Par. 7. 139: “The soul of every brute and of the plants, being endued by complexion with potency, draws in the ray and the movement of the holy lights. But your life the highest Goodness inspires.”
So Thomas Aquinas, S. T. 1. 76. 4. 4: “The soul is the substantial form of man;” so also l. c. 1-2. 94. 3: “The proper form of man is his rational soul.”
[4. ]De Anima 2. 2. 21.
[5. ]De Part. Anim. 3. 1.
[6. ]Conv. 3. 15. 5: “Felicity . . . is action according to virtue, in the perfect life.” So Aristotle says in Eth. 1. 13. 1: “Happiness is a certain energy of the soul according to perfect goodness.” Dante uses this definition again Conv. 4. 17. 14.
[7. ]Purg. 28-33 describes the terrestrial Paradise and its place in the order of the universe.
[8. ] The whole of the Paradiso develops the gradual revelation of God’s self to man. For Dante’s valuation of the active and speculative life, see De Mon. 1. 3. 3, and note 14; 1. 4, and note 1. See Conv. 2. 5, many parts of Conv. 3, and Conv. 4. 21, 22, 23.
Conv. 4. 22. 5: “The use of the mind is double, that is, practical and speculative. . . . Its practical use is to act through us virtuously, that is, righteously, by temperance, fortitude, and justice; the speculative is not to operate actively in us, but to consider the works of God and nature; and the one and the other use make up our beatitude.”
Conv. 4. 22. 9: “In our contemplation God is always in advance of us; nor can we ever attain to Him here, who is our supreme beatitude.”
Conv. 4. 22. 10: “Our beatitude . . . we may first find imperfectly in the active life, that is, in the exercise of the moral virtues, and then almost perfectly in the contemplative life, that is, in the exercise of the intellectual virtues.”
S. T. 1. 2. 3. 8: “The last and perfect happiness of man cannot be other than in the vision of the Divine Essence.”
[9. ]Conv. 4. 17 treats of the twelve moral virtues, which include the cardinal,—fortitude, temperance, liberality, munificence, magnanimity, love of honor, meekness, affability, truth, discretion, justice, and prudence.
Canz. 3. 5: “All virtues take their rise from one sole root—that primal virtue, which makes mankind blest in acting it—which is the elective habit.”
The cardinal virtues were the active virtues, as the theological were the contemplative. So Purg. 31. 107: “Before that Beatrice descended to the world were we ordained to her for handmaids.” And in Purg. 29. 130 the cardinal virtues are on the left of the symbolic car.
[10. ] The theological virtues are called in Purg. 7. 34, “the three holy virtues.” Purg. 31. 111: “The three beyond who look more deeply.” They are on the right of the car in Purg. 29. 121: “Three ladies, whirling on the right wheel’s side, came dancing, the one so red that hardly would she have been marked with fire; the second was as if her flesh and bones had been made out of emerald; the third appeared snow but lately driven.”
Thomas Aquinas discusses the cardinal virtues S. T. 1-2. 61; the theological virtues S. T. 1-2. 62.
Conv. 3. 14. 5: “We believe that every miracle may be reasonable to a higher intellect, and therefore possible. Whence our precious faith has its origin, from which comes the hope of things desired, but not seen; and from this are born the works of charity. By which three virtues we ascend to philosophize in that celestial Athens, where Stoics, and Peripatetics, and Epicureans, by the art of Eternal Truth, harmoniously concur in one desire.”
[11. ]De Mon. 2. 8, and note 1; De Mon. 3. 16. 6.
[12. ] This figure, which compares man to a horse needing bit and spur to keep him in his road and under control of his rider, is almost as much a favorite with Dante as that of the wax and seal. He must have found it originally in Ps. 32. 9: “Be ye not as the horse or as the mule, which have no understanding: whose mouth must be held in with bit and bridle, lest they come near unto thee.” The most important uses of this metaphor are as follows:—
Conv. 4. 9. 3: “The Emperor . . . is the rider of human will, and it is very evident how wildly this horse goes over the field without a rider.”
Conv. 4. 26. 4: “This appetite . . . should obey the reason, which guides it with curb and spur.”
Purg. 6. 88: “What boots it that Justinian should have put thy bit in order again, if the saddle is empty?”
Purg. 13. 40: “This circle scourges the sin of envy, and therefore are the lashes of the scourge wielded by love. The rein will have to be of the contrary sound.”
Purg. 14. 143: “That was the hard bit which ought to hold the man within his bound.”
Purg. 16. 94: “It behoved to lay down laws for a bit; it behoved to have a king who should discern of the true city at least the tower.”
Purg. 20. 55: “I found so fast within my hands the rein of government of the kingdom, and such power of new acquirement, and so full of friends, that to the widowed crown was the head of my son promoted.” The words are Hugh Capet’s. L. c. 22. 19; 25. 119: “Through this place needs one to keep the rein tight on the eyes, because for a little cause one might go astray.” L. c. 28. 71: “The Hellespont, . . . a bridle still to pride of men.”
Purg. 33. 141: “The bridle of my art lets me go no further.”
Par. 7. 26: “For not enduring to the faculty that wills any curb, for its own advantage, that man who was never born, in damning himself, damned all his progeny.”
[13. ]Par. 5. 76: “Ye have the old and new Testament, and the Pastor of the Church who guides you; let this suffice you to your salvation.” See De Mon. 3. 16. 5, and note 9.
[14. ] From the philosophic nature of the Convito and the Comedy it is impossible to indicate here even the most important sections devoted to philosophy, classical or mediaeval. Conv. 3. 11. 2 defines philosophy as “No other than a friendship for knowledge; wherefore any one might be called a philosopher, according to that natural love which inspires all men with a desire for knowledge.” L. c. 3. 11. 3: “Philosophy has for subject the understanding, and for form an almost divine love for the intelligible.” L. c. 3. 12. 4: “Philosophy is a loving use of Wisdom; which exists above all in God, because in Him is supreme Wisdom, and supreme Love, and supreme Power, which cannot exist elsewhere, except as it proceeds from Him.”
In Conv. 4. 6. 9 relations are established between philosophic and imperial authority. “When joined together they are most useful and most full of power. . . . Unite the philosophical and the imperial authority to rule well and perfectly.”
Philosophy is, Purg. 6. 45, “A light betwixt the truth and understanding.”
Purg. 18. 46: “All that reason has seen I can tell thee.”
[15. ] “In ainola ista mortalium.” The same word is used in the Italian form, “aiuola,” in Par. 22. 151 and 27. 86.
[16. ]De Consol. Phil. 3. 9: “All things Thou dost produce after the Divine Exemplar, Thou the most beautiful, carrying in thy mind the beautiful world.”
This idea of God’s foresight and the foreordination of all things in the universe is found repeatedly in all Dante’s writings. See quotations in notes to De Mon. 1. 6.
Inf. 7. 72: “He, whose knowledge transcends all, made the heavens, and gave them their guide.”
Par. 18. 118: “The Mind wherein thy motion and thy virtue have their origin.”
[17. ] “In the Holy Roman Empire the college of lay and ecclesiastical princes in whom the right of choosing the King of the Romans was vested. With the extinction of the Carolingian line, after the breaking up of the Empire of Charles the Great, the kingship in Germany became elective, the right of election residing in certain of the great feudatories, though just in whom or on what grounds is not clear from the early mediaeval accounts. An electoral body is vaguely mentioned in chronicles of 1152, 1198, and 1230, but there is no clear indication as to who composed the body. . . . The electoral college was first clearly defined in 1356 in the Golden Bull, a constitution for the Holy Roman Empire, issued by Emperor Charles IV. This document prescribed the exact form and manner of election of the ‘King of the Romans and future Emperor.’ Seven electors are there named, each holding some hereditary office in the Imperial court. (1) Archbishop of Mainz, as Archchancellor of the Holy Roman Empire for Germany; (2) Archbishop of Cologne, as Archchancellor for Italy; (3) Archbishop of Treves, as Archchancellor for the Gallic Provinces and Arles; (4) King of Bohemia, Arch-Cupbearer; (5) Count Palatine of the Rhine, Arch-Steward; (6) Duke of Saxony, Arch-Marshal; (7) Margrave of Brandenburg, Arch-Chamberlain. It seems that the electors had no legal powers beyond that of election, and though the German princes held that an election by the German electors held for the Holy Roman Empire, the popes contended that they alone as Vicars of God could bestow the Imperial dignity.”—New International Encyc. See also Bryce, Holy Roman Empire, c. 14; Hallam, Middle Ages, chap. 8, part 2; Turner, Germanic Constitution (New York, 1888); the Golden Bull is translated in Henderson, Select Historical Documents of the Middle Ages (London, 1892).
[18. ] This harmonious rule of two powers by the acknowledgment of filial relationship between Pope and Emperor, by recognition of the differing character of their functions, is prayed for by Dante in many parts of the Convito and Comedy, and is stated most briefly and forcibly in Purg. 16. 107: “Rome, that made the good world, was wont to have two suns, that showed the one and the other road, both of the world and of God.”
The close of the Letter to the Princes and Peoples of Italy is strangely like the close of the De Monarchia. Proclaiming Henry VII as the rightful Emperor, Dante writes: “This is he whom Peter, the Vicar of God, admonishes us to honor; whom Clement, now the successor of Peter, illuminates with the light of the apostolic benediction, in order that where the spiritual ray does not suffice, the splendor of the lesser light may illumine.’ ”
The dual organization of Church and Empire is also set forth in symbolic fashion in Inf. 14. 102 ff., and in Dante’s vision Purg. 32.