Franciscan Views on Papal and Royal Sovereignty

A case for a contextual approach


Bert Roest©



Information about the article

This article originally was written as a lecture for the 1997 Leeds Medieval Congress. This is a slightly expanded version



Table of Content


The mendicants as defenders of papal sovereignty

Franciscan chronicles and papal absolutism


Gil of Zamora's traditionalist view














Mediaevalists discern a development in medieval political thought from conceptions of limited authority towards more absolutist principles of princely government. Early medieval political thought, based on a mixture of Germanic, biblical and Augustinian conceptions of authority, put severe limits on the power of the ruler, whether he was a king, an emperor or a pope. Law was formed by collective actions, and it was the duty of the ruler to protect the established customs of his subjects. The reception of Roman law in the later twelfth and thirteenth century, the quick development of canon law since Gratian's Concordantia Discordantium Canonum, as well as the influx of Aristotle's Politics would have changed all this. It made available a new vocabulary to deal with matters of sovereignty and legislation (divine law, natural law, positive law), and it allowed political theorists to elaborate absolutist principles of secular and religious authority.note1

The spokesmen of imperial sovereignty developed some high-pitched conceptions of secular rule, predominantly on the basis of Roman law and its presentation of the God given imperial authority. Maybe the most well-known example of this is found in the Liber Augustalis of Frederick II (Constitutions of Melfi, 1231), in which the prince is presented as an instrument of God, whose duty is to establish laws, promote justice and correct and chastise the iniquitous, being himself the source of justice in human society. Hence princely rule is sanctioned by God, though the authority originally was derived from the people (the so-called lex imperii). From the later thirteenth century onwards, the French kings also would claim a comparable kind of authority for their own realms (rex est imperator in regno suo), therewith giving rise to innovative conceptions of state sovereignty.note2

Yet the most far-fetched absolutist conceptions were not articulated by those writing for royal or imperial authority, but by canonists, lawyer popes and mendicant theologians of the thirteenth century. For them the problem of authority was central to the government of the Church as a whole. The pope was a monarch, who ever since the days of Leo IX and Gregory IX in the eleventh century was expanding his authority, and stressed that his authority and primacy in the last instance rested not on the status ecclesiae - the transference of power through election by the body of the faithful, represented by the bishops and the cardinals - but on divine foundations. For papal authority was established by Christ himself, as could be read in the so-called biblical Petrine passages.note3

There was a certain ambiguity in the variety of canonist positions, both with regard to the range of papal authority in the Church itself, and with regard to the relationship between religious and secular authority. First of all the pope could not arbitrarily alter those doctrines and laws of the Church which were established in apostolic times, which put limits to papal initiatives. Second, the Church had a long history of corporative government, in which authority on all levels was reached after an election process, and continually was kept in check by systems of consultation. At many levels, the papal administration therefore was fully embedded in well-established traditions of church government. Not a few canonists (like Hugoccio) argued that the separation of powers was of divine descent, so that the pope had only a limited authority in temporal matters (over against other canonists (like Alanus) who declared that the pope necessarily possessed full sovereignty over spiritual and temporal affairs).note4

These many divergent positions notwithstanding, canonists and lawyer-popes of the later twelfth- and early thirteenth centuries carefully mapped out a strong conception of papal sovereignty, which described the pope's jurisdiction over the Church as a whole as his plenitudo potestatis, which did not originate in the people but in God. Thus pope Innocent III and canonists like John Teutonicus elaborated the idea that thanks to his position as vicar of Christ, bequeathed with plenitude of power, and the related right to judge all and to be judged by none, the pope's jurisdiction in principle extended throughout the Church, interpreted as the complete realm of Christianity.



The mendicants as defenders of papal sovereignty

Pope Innocent III was prepared to implement this papal supremacy in many different areas, witness his conflicts with the kings of England and France, and with the emperor Otto of Brunswick. Convinced as he was that the papacy should lead the Church on the path of righteousness, he immediately saw the possibilities of the emerging mendicant orders. The mendicants themselves, and the Franciscans in particular, were quick to realise that they needed papal support, since the pope was the only authority that could legitimate their radical program, and could provide protection against the attempts of local and regional religious authorities to contain them. Obedience to the papacy therefore became a cornerstone of Franciscan politics from the very beginning. Francis at many times professed his unwavering obedience to the pope.note5 Pope Honorius III, in his turn, stated his approval of Francis' rule (the rule of 1223) and confirmed the special relationship between the order and the sedes apostolica in the papal bull Solet Annuere. Subsequent papal bulls would re-iterate this, making the pope the acknowledged arbiter in cases pertaining to the Franciscan rule and Franciscan life in general.note6

The order saw itself confronted with traditionalists from the ranks of the secular clergy, who opposed the Franciscan breakage with existing customs. These traditionalists agreed that the pope was the head of the episcopate, just as Peter had been head of the apostles. To some degree, therefore, the pope was legitimised in judging all the other bishops. They also agreed that the pope exercised the same kind of Episcopal authority throughout the Church that each bishop had in his own diocese. But they argued that, according to the Bible and canon law, local bishops did not derive their Episcopal authority from the pope. All bishops were successors of the apostles, each of whom had received authority directly from Christ. In principle, the sacramental and disciplinary powers they held were independent from the papacy.

From this perspective, the secular clergy was able to insist that local bishops had a say in the pastoral privileges given to the friars by the pope, and that the local clergy possessed an intrinsic right to hear the confessions of their own parishioners, many of whom they had `lost' to the mendicants when the latter settled in `their' urban centres. The parishioners, the secular clergy argued, were under the `power of the keys' of the local clergy. William of St. Amour and Gerard of Abbeville in the thirteenth, and John de Pouilli in the early fourteenth century, to name only the most notorious champions for the cause of the secular clergy, held that the friars were undermining the whole pastoral structure of the Church, a structure established by Christ himself. To make things worse, the mendicant orders were supported in these undermining activities by a series of privileges issued by the papacy.note7

In reaction to these attacks, Franciscan scholars therefore became spokesmen for a strong papal authority. In several academic quaestiones and polemics with the champions of the cause of secular clergy, the friars argued that their activities were nothing but a useful supplement to the pastoral work of local secular priests. In their opinion the pope was fully legitimised, by virtue of the powers entrusted to him by Christ as head of the Church and his representative on earth, to authorise the activities of the mendicant orders, since the bishops derived all their authority from him. Their sacramental and disciplinary powers were fully dependent on the papal `power of the keys'.note8 Having placed all authority in the pope, Franciscan scholars in particular argued further that the same pope in subsequent papal bulls had confirmed and defined the Franciscan way of life; that he had declared that the Franciscan way of life was in accordance with evangelical perfection; and that he rightfully held dominium over the moveable and immovable goods used by the members of the Franciscan order. Whoever did not accept this, to quote the Franciscan minister general Bonaventure`...belittled apostolical authority and the power of the keys in prelates, as well as the plenitude of power in the supreme pontiff.'note9 In this line of argument, Franciscan poverty, mendicancy, as well as pastoral activities in the dioceses of the secular clergy were incorporated in a papalist ecclesiological vision, in which all authority belonged to the pope. Whereas the other prelates were nothing but dependent stewards.note10 In close co-operation with this supreme papal authority, the mendicant orders were restoring the Church to a prior and more perfect status.

Mendicants defended this view of papal authority also with regard to imperial and royal power, in particular in the context of the struggle between pope and emperor about the so-called regnum Italicum. On the basis of Roman law, the emperor Frederick II presented himself as the dominus mundi, and he suggested that the Church should return to an evangelical state (without secular power and worldly possessions) - a view remarkably close to the position of Ockham and Marsilius of Padua a century later. Subsequent popes, like Gregory IX and Innocent IV, however, exploited Gelasian arguments as well as the vicarius Christi concept to legitimize the deposition of the emperor by the pope and the right of the latter to transfer temporal power from one ruler to another.note11 And in this prolonged struggle for Italy, which came to a temporary conclusion with the creation of the Angevin kingdom of Naples in 1268, many mendicant friars were used as propagandists and agents for the papal cause.



Franciscan chronicles and papal absolutism

In view of these developments it is no surprise to find strong papalist views in Franciscan political treatises, as well as in related kinds of Franciscan writing in which polemics with the secular clergy or with the emperor shine through. We can for instance point at Franciscan academic Gospel commentaries and at some Franciscan universal chronicles, such as the Flores Temporum and the Chronica Minor Auctore Minorita Erphordiensi. These chronicles in particular deserve our attention, as they enjoyed a considerable popularity during the later Middle Ages - and hence contributed to a wide dissemination of a papalist view of Church government. The Chronica Minor Erphordiensi alone has survived in dozens of early manuscripts as well as in a mass of later adaptations. In addition, its use by a range of fourteenth-century authors - historians, theologians, and canonists alike - testify to its nearly immediate success. Not seldom the chronicle is found in the midst of a larger collection of pope-and bishop-catalogues and , treatises `de ordinacione ecclesiae'.note12 This does suggest that the chronicle figured in specific ecclesiological contexts, probably connected with the religious formation of Franciscan friars destined for an ecclesiastical career in service of the order and the papacy.

The original work presents itself as a historical compilation built around a catalogue of popes and emperors, from the apostle Peter and emperor Octavian to the year 1261, predominantly supplemented with excerpts from the Historia Ecclesiastica of Eusebius, Bede's Ecclesiastical history, the Decretum of Gratian and the Decretals of Gregory IX.note13 The real back-bone of the Chronica Minor is the succession of popes, their deeds, and their disciplinary and doctrinal statements, as incorporated in canon law. For the eyes of the reader is unfolded the ritual and doctrinal development of a hierocratic Roman Church in time, the validity of which is attested by the miracles performed throughout Church history.note14 History hencewith is reduced to a straightforward story of divinely approved papal initiatives, backed by a co-operative clergy and a submissive laity.note15 The deeds of secular rulers are only mentioned insofar as they benefit or harm the papal Church directly, hence the stress in the introduction on the good or bad disposition of the emperors over and against the papacy. There is no room for lengthy expositions on dynastic policies or other matters of a more worldly political nature. It simply wouldn't fit in the overall description of the development of a hierocratic Church, which in the eyes of the author clearly represents the natural order of things.note16 Not surprisingly, there even is a tendency to trim down serious conflicts between the secular and the clerical powers which could damage the ideal model of harmonious co-operation under the spiritual guidance of papal authority. The chronicle contains eulogical statements on ideal rulers, such as Charlemagne,note17 Otto I, and - somewhat surprisingly - even Frederick Barbarossa.note19 Disputes are passed over in silence, or swiftly dealt with in a disapproving fashion. The final litmus test centres on the acceptance of papal authority. When rulers overtly continue to defy the pope's orders, they become the heretical other, sharing the fate of all heretics: they endanger their own spiritual wellbeing and face excommunication. The chronicle gives several instances of papal rebukes in this matter.note20

The success of the Franciscan life of evangelical perfection is directly linked with the `apostolic' approval by subsequent popes, who are consciously represented as the order's natural guardians, exemplified in the person of a cardinal protector appointed by the pope himself. And as sometimes the cardinal protector becomes the next pope - as was the case with Gregory IX - the chronicler can almost suggest that the function of cardinal protector is an adequate preparation for the papacy, as if the person who has served the Franciscan order in this way has become worthy to lead the Church as a whole towards the same level of evangelical perfection.note21 In the case of Gregory IX this not only is born out by the facts, but also would be prophesised by Francis, who as perfect servant of God had a divine foreknowledge of future events.note22



Important as these Franciscan papalist positions are, it is only part of the story. Most mendicant defences of absolute papal sovereignty which emphasise the papal plenitude of power took place in the context of mendicant-secular controversies, or in the context of specific ecclesiological programs. They therefore almost always had to elaborate a strong position. Yet at other junctures the idea of corporate government in secular and religious realms with clearly limited conceptions of authority also did play an important role in mendicant thought. This can be seen in several thirteenth-century commentaries of canon law, especially when dealing with matters of Episcopal authority over and against his canons, but also with regard of the relationship between pope and general council, which would become acute in the later fourteenth century.

Advanced ideas of corporate government were strongly re-inforced by the influx of Aristotle's idea of a mixed constitution, in which the best qualities of monarchy, aristocracy, and democracy were combined. The implications of this idea were certainly grasped by several leading Dominican scholars, theologians and lawyers alike. It was the Dominican doctor Thomas Aquinas who could read Aristotle's conception of the mixed constitution with a carefully circumscribed competence for the different layers of religious and secular authority, back in the government of Ancient Israel, as related in the books Exodus, Leviticus, Deuteronomy, Judges, Kings, and in Jewish traditions of Talmudic literature.note23 Having thus established a biblical authority for Aristotelian political views - something which would be done again and again until the Tractatus Theologico-Politicus of Spinoza in the seventeenth century - Aquinas in theory had established a paradigm for constitutional government in Church and state. The consequences of this were drawn by the Dominican John of Paris, who in his work De Potestate Regia et Papali (ca. 1301), gave religious and secular authority different tasks and different spheres, and placed the origin of secular authority in natural law, making it, in principle, independent from the Church, except for matters of faith and doctrine.note24

Comparable views were also present in Franciscan circles, especially when it became apparent that an ardent papalism could have some unforseen disastrous results for the order, such as when pope John XXII negated the absolute poverty of Christ and the apostles, which cut at the roots of the official Franciscan conception of evangelical perfection. In this context a lot of attention always goes to the circle of William of Ockham and Marsilius of Padua at the court of the emperor Louis of Bavaria in Munich, where the struggle for imperial sovereignty and the struggle for the vindication of evangelical perfection over and against the Avignon papacy in many ways revolutionised political thought. To thwart the disastrous consequences of the papal plenitude of power, Ockham c.s. made a case for strong imperial sovereignty in secular affairs, restraining papal authority to matters of faith and pastoral care.note25

But just as it is questionable as to whether extreme papalism in the context of the mendicant-secular controversy and during the struggles between Frederick II and subsequent popes in the thirteenth century adequately represents mainstream political thought in the Franciscan order, we also should be weary to focus too much on minorite views elaborated in the embittered atmosphere of the conflict between John XXII and Louis of Bavaria in the first half of the fourteenth century.


Gil of Zamora's traditionalist view

Many mendicant authors developed their political thought in less controversy ridden and hence less loaded ideological situations. And then, we do not automatically have to expect absolutist principles of government, whether lay or religious. Political thought apparently is very much influenced by the actual political situation on which it feeds. When we, for instance, look at one of the many mendicant educational treatises written in the thirteenth and fourteenth century, we might find a far more traditional political vision, strongly based on biblical, canonist and feudal conceptions. I here will offer a small venture into the political vision of Gil of Zamora, the `Spanish Aristotle' of the later thirteenth century, whose De Preconiis Hispanie still is relatively unknown compared with the educational writings of Vincent of Beauvais, Giles of Rome, John of Wales, and Gilbert of Tournai.

The Spanish Franciscan friar Juan Gil of Zamora wrote De Preconiis Hispanie between ca. 1278 and 1282 for his young master Sancho `el Bravo' of Castilia.note26 Gil just had returned from Paris, where he had studied theology for at least four years, and where he had met leading Franciscan spokesmen in the secular-mendicant controversy.note27 He also was an old acquaintance of the Castilian king Alfonso X `el Sabio' and his wife doña Violante, who on the whole were ardent supporters of the mendicant orders in their own realms. Already before his departure to Paris, Gil had taken an active part in Castilian court culture, and it has been suggested that at times he was involved in some of the king's mega-historical projects.note28 After his return to Spain, Gil was assigned the lectureship at the studium of Zamora in the Franciscan province of Santiago. Eventually, he would end his life as provincial minister. These Franciscan obligations did not prevent him to play an active role at the Castilian court as historiographer, theologian, and counsellor of the king. And it seems likely that Alfonso commissioned him with the education of his son Sancho, the king's intended successor.note29

De Preconiis Hispanie, of which, according to some manuscripts, the full title is Tractatus de Preconiis Hispanie ad Informationem Principium et Magnorum, consists of a series of twelve treatises, especially written for the education of the infant prince. They should prepare him for his difficult future task as monarch of Castile and Léon. The work of Gil certainly pays tribute to the comparatively new Aristotelian political traditions.note30 Nevertheless, his work is rather more historical than most mendicant educational treatises. In this regard, Gil's work probably was in line with long-standing literary traditions of princely education, in which historizing narrative literature - epics, chansons de geste, romances, histories, and saints' lives - always had played an important role.note31 No doubt this was motivated by Gil's conviction - at least in the context of educational treatises for young and ambitious princes - that abstract political theory in itself is not as compelling as the examples from the past.note32

The Dutch historian Frank Tang has pointed out that Gil's work not only adheres to a fairly traditional Christian approach to politics on Augustinian and Victorine lines - not unlike the educational works of Guibert of Tournai and John of Wales - but also, according to its title, structure and content, fits in with some peculiar Spanish literary traditions. In Spain the production of mirrors of princes, like Gil's De Preconiis, apparently was stimulated by the ongoing reception of Arab-Spanish and Hebrew-Spanish treatises on the education of rulers. Moreover, as also the title of his work indicates, Gil consciously placed himself in a Spanish historiographic tradition of eulogy literature, among which can also be reckoned the Chronicon Mundi of Lucas of Tuy (1236), De Rebus Hispanie of Rodrigo Jiménez de Rada (finished after 1243), and the volumes of the Estoria de España, produced in the Castilian Royal scriptoria from the times of Alfonso X onwards. All these works betray a growing national consciousness, or at least a feeling of patriotism, strengthened by a concept of territorial sovereignty, and they all voice that the Spanish kingdoms should be exempted from imperial jurisdiction (the Spanish `liberty').note33

De Preconiis was written in the latter years of the reign of Alfonso X (1254-1284), when Castile suffered some major social and political upheavals, resulting from the attempts of Alfonso to strengthen royal power, to the detriment of long-standing local and regional privileges. Especially in the latter parts of De Preconiis, which were written ca. 1282, when prince Sancho rebelled against his father and sided with the discontent cities, these tensions become visible. Whatever De Preconiis' editor Manuel de Castro might say about Franciscan love of obedience, which automatically would have ensured Gil's unshakeable loyalty to the king, Tang probably is right when he suggests that Gil sided with Sancho and not with the ageing and ever more erratic Alfonso. This was not only due to Gil's local ties with Zamora, a city which supported Sancho, but also because of Gil's own vision of princely rule.note34

Gil presents us with a truly Christian monarch who, like the heroes in Spanish courtly literature, exhibits strenuitas and animositas - virtues which the king shares with the noble military cast. The monarch should cultivate the philosophical virtues and the liberal arts. These are handmaidens to a proper understanding of Christian ethics, as is dealt with - not unlike Hugh of St. Victor's Didascalicon - in a separate treatise on Spanish philosophers, historians, poets and theologians. Moreover, he should be well-informed not only about the size, the diversity and the history of his cities, but also about the obligations and rights of his nobles and vassals. A digression on famous rulers throughout world history was to put all this in wider perspective. Finally, the author concludes with many practical admonitions concerning the waging of war and conquests, which again is richly illustrated by examples drawn from profane and biblical history, and in particular the books of Judges, Kings, and Maccabees.

Through all these outstanding examples the ruler should learn how to become prudent, just, strong, magnificent, temperate, and wise.note35 Or, as Gil reformulates it at the end of the tenth treatise: the ruler should exhibit the cardinal virtues of justice, temperance, fortitude, and prudence.note36 But it is only possible if the ruler recognises the redeeming activities of Christ in this world, and abides by his obligations towards the same Christ, who after all is the ultimate way, truth and life.note37 For Gil the final goal of Christian education lies in eternity beyond this world. All deeds of the king should aim at the life to come. Earthly power is only small catch in comparison with heavenly glory, but as kings have received this earthly power from God, and will be held responsible by God for the ways in which they use it, they better listen to the divine commandments.

Notwithstanding many references to Aristotle, such remarks concerning the origin of royal power and the virtues of princely rule subscribe to a world-view inspired by Augustinian neoplatonism, and they betray a fairly traditional medieval political vision. Royal power is derived from God. It is given to the ruler so that he can protect and correct his people. The king does not receive his kingdom to do as he pleases. In all his actions he must respect the needs and privileges of his subjects. Like the heart in the body, the king must ensure that his power works for the benefit of his subjects, for only then his deeds will be paid back to him with interest. But when he exacts too much from them, both he and the people entrusted to him will suffer severe damage.note38

A true king upholds justice and peace (iustitia et pax). Moreover, he aspires to become a king-philosopher (rex sapiens), like Salomon and other Old-Testament judges and kings, who succeeded to defend their kingdom as long as they were virtuous but failed to do so when they fell into sin. This analogy, which props up repeatedly, explains the emphasis on the Old Testament in the work of Gil de Zamora, and more specific on the books of Genesis, Exodus, Samuel and Kings, Wisdom, and Maccabees. It shows that Gil still stood in a long tradition of biblical political writing in which, from the Merovingian period onwards, the Old Testament has a dominant place.note39 In this fairly traditional picture of medieval kingship, the king does not have extensive legislative and fiscal powers that infringe upon well-established liberties and traditions. Gil was quite ill-disposed towards power-abuse of this kind.note40 His narrative tells us that tyrannical government by princes and magnates in the past has lead to disastrous results. This view probably is partly inspired by current misgivings concerning the policies of the ageing Alfonso X. In Gil's political vision, the ruler is bound to the existing feudal ties, the laws, and the liberties granted to the regions and cities in the past.note41

For Gil the Old Testament (together with its authoritative commentary) is the most important source to prescribe the nature of feudal relations (like in his tenth chapter De iuribus et obligationibus vassalorum). Yet in describing these relations, extensive use also is made of Codex Justiniani as well as the Decretum and the Decretals, a clear indication that as far as the use of source materials is concerned, it is not always fruitful to postulate a strict distinction between medieval theologians and canonists. But whereas many lawyers used canon law and Roman law to defend absolutist political views, Gil did not use these sources to strengthen royal sovereignty, but to curtail it and to uphold existing laws and feudal customs.note42

Hence, using a mixture of new and old authorities, Gil developed a rather traditional political vision, which in nothing suggests a Franciscan or mendicant centralist position, notwithstanding his own Parisian education.


From this short and avowedly impressionist venture into several Franciscan writings, several conclusions can be drawn. First of all, many traditional biblical and Augustinian positions continued to inform mendicant political thought, even after the reception of Aristotle and the whole new vocabulary of natural and divine law. Moreover, mendicant writings could present secular and religious authority many different ways, and friars did not always see a need to defend innovative centralist positions, either papalist of imperialist, even when sources were used which did allow for a non-compromising stance towards royal and/or papal sovereignty. In fact, the staunch defence of a papal church or a strong sovereign by mendicant authors was almost always directly connected with attempts to provide a convincing self-image for the order within a wider ecclesiological picture (as can be seen in the Franciscan chronicles mentioned earlier) or with specific polemical contexts, such as the ongoing secular-mendicant controversy, and the sovereignty conflicts between pope and emperor. In such a context mendicant spokesmen often had very good reasons to defend papal plenitude of power or the primacy of royal or imperial rule. At other junctures, however, mendicant authors, writing as educators or counsellors for princes and local magnates, had other interests to defend. Then they did not hesitate to read the same sources for different arguments and to portray completely different visions of the body politic.

Therefore I end with a plea for a more contextual or historical approach towards later medieval political thought, an approach that asks to locate specific theoretical positions in the socio-historical contexts in which they were vocalised. Hence Gil of Zamora's work in the first place reflects contemporary Spanish concerns in the face of centralising efforts by king Alfonso of Castille and the political ambitions of the young prince Sancho `el bravo'. Besides, scholars should take into account the generic contexts from which political writings emerge. Gil of Zamora, who was well-acquainted with the latest theoretical trends - witness his sources -, deliberately reached back towards the literary tradition of Spanish eulogy literature connected with treatises on princely government ever since the eleventh century. Gil wrote a mirror for a young ruler. As such, his work had to follow venerable rules laid out for Spanish mirror literature; rules which privileged certain feudal conceptions over the latest theoretical insights, even when the latter had to be referred to for reasons of authority and sophistication.


Bert Roest

Groningen, 25 July 1997



1 Probably the most influential work on this is Brian Tierney, The Crisis of Church and State, 1050-1300 (Buffalo, 1964). For him, the guiding theme of this process is the rise of rational argumentation to construct sophisticated theories of state power, which gradually replaced both traditional and theological argumentations.

2 See on this for instance J.P. Canning, `Ideas of the State in Thirteenth and Fourteenth-Century Commentators on the Roman Law', Transactions of the Royal Society, 5th series, 33 (1983), pp. 1-27; F.L. Cheyette, `The Invention of the State', in: B. Lackner and R. Philp (eds.), Essays on Medieval Civilisation (Austin, 1978), pp. 143-178.

3 See especially John A. Watt, The Theory of Papal Monarchy in the Thirteenth Century: The Contribution of the Canionists (London, 1965).

4 Tierney, The Crisis of Church and State, pp. 117-119.

5 In the prologue of the Regula non Bullata, this is voiced as follows: `Haec est vita evangelii Jesu Christi, quam frater Franciscus petiit a domino papa concedi et confirmari sibi. Et ille concessit et confirmavit sibi et suis fratribus habitis et futuris. Frater Franciscus et quicumque erit caput istius religionis promittat obedientiam domino Innocentio papae et reverentiam et suis successoribus.' Francis of Assisi, Écrits, Sources Chrétiennes, 285 (Paris, 1981), pp. 122. The Regula Bullata states in its first chapter: `Frater Franciscus promittit obedientiam et reverentiam domino papae Honorio ac successoribus eius canonice intrantibus et Ecclesiae Romanae.' Ibidem, pp. 182. See also: K. Eßer, `Sancta Mater Ecclesia. Die Kirchenfrömmigkeit des hl. Franziskus von Assisi', in: Sentire Ecclesiam, ed. J. Daniélou & H. Vorgrimler (Freiburg in Breisgau, 1961), pp. 218-250.

6 Quo Elongati (1230), Prohibente Regula Vestra (1240), Gloriantibus Vobis (1241), Ordinem Vestrum (1245), Quanto Studiosus (1247), Exiit qui Seminat (1279), Exultantes in Domino (1283) en Exivi de Paradiso (1312).

7 Y. Congar, `Aspects ecclésiologiques de la querelle entre mendicants et séculiers dans la seconde moitié du xiiie siècle et le début du xive', Archives d'histoire doctrinale et Littéraire du moyen âge, 136 (1961), pp. 35-51; B. Tierney, Origins of Papal Infallibility, 1150-1350, Studies in the History of Christian Thought, 6 (Leyden, 1972), pp. 83-84; J.T. Marrone, The Ecclesiology of the Parisian Secular Masters, 1250-1320 (Ithaca-New York, 1972), pp. 13-20.

8 Tierney, Origins, pp. 64-67. See on the views of Franciscan spokesmen (notably Adam Marsh, Walter of Bruge, Bonaventure, Thomas of York, John Pecham, William de la Mare, Matthew of Aquasparta, Francis of Meyronnes, and Peter John Olivi) also: J. Ratzinger, `Der Einfluss des Bettelordenstreites auf die Entwicklung der Lehre vom päpstlichen Universalprimat, unter besonderer Berücksichtigung des hlg. Bonaventura', in: Theologie in Geschichte und Gegenwart: Michael Schmaus zum 60. Geburtstag, ed. J. Auer & H. Volk (Munich, 1957), Vol. II, pp. 697-724; J. Miethke, `Geschichtsprozeß und zeitgenössisches Bewußtsein - die Theorie des monarchischen Papats im höhen und späteren Mittelalter', Historische Zeitschrift, 226 (1978), pp. 564-599 (esp. 582-594); O. Capitani, `Il francescanesimo e il papato da Bonaventura a Pietro di Giovanni Olivi: una riconsiderazione', Rivista Storica, 13 (1983), pp. 595-611.

9 `...derogat apostolicae auctoritati et potestati clavium in praelatis et plenitudini potestatis in summo Pontifice.' Bonaventura, Quaestiones de perfectione evangelica, Opera Omnia, V (Quaracchi, 1891), p. 155a.

10 Friar Thomas of York formulated this as follows: `Sed totum, quod habetur autoritatis aut potestatis, ex uno pendet et ab uno descendit, et ideo in potestate illius est vel auffere vel permittere in aliquo potestatem vel mutare. Hinc est, quod prelati non sunt domini, sed dispensatores rerum ecclesiasticarum.' Thomas of York, Manus Quae Contra Omnipotentem Extenditur, ed. Bierbaum, XVIII, pp. 160-161.

11 Brian Tierney, The Crisis of Church and State, pp. 140-142.

12 This is for instance the case with Mödling MS Abbatiae H 59. See: Ibidem, p. 173.

13 The author himself states: `In hac conpilacione, que de diversis excerpta est, videlicet de iure canonico, de ecclesiastica hystoria, de Orosio, de cronicis Eusebii et Ieronimi et aliorum, de libro qui dicitur Gemma anime, de opusculo quod vocatur Ordo Romanus...' Ibidem, 178. For Holder-Egger's identification of these and various other sources, see the introduction, Ibidem, p. 176.

14 While the same holds true for the Franciscan Flores Temporum, which at many junctures contains almost the same sort of information, the Chronica Minor Erphordiensi is organized around the double series of emperors and popes.

15 See on this for instance the description of the relationship between Boniface and the popes Gregory III and Zachary, Ibidem, 179-181, and the appraisal of the pious behaviour of the `chaste' emperor Henry II of Bavaria (1002-1024) and his wife Cunegunde, Ibidem, p. 187.

16 In this matter the author of the Chronica Romana was even more radical than his Franciscan colleague responsible for the Flores Temporum, who still allowed room for secular history insofar as it shed light on the glory of contemporary saints and marvellous divine interventions: `Et hoc quidem non ad ipsorum regum laudem vel gloriam annotavi, sed ad sanctorum eisdem contemporaneorum famam interminabilem et honorem, ut inter spinas principum terrenorum celice rose generosius pullulent et nitidius excolantur paradisiaca iugiter virencia lilia beatorum.' Flores Temporum, Prologue, p. 321.

17 On pages 181-182 the deeds of Charlemagne are exalted, concluding in the judgement: `Hic dilatavit fidem katholicam, plantavit ecclesiam, fundavit monasteria et ecclesias, expugnavit Sclavos et repulit paganos, vicit Saxones, subegit Ungaros, et Saxones christiani effecti sunt et Frisones. Multa quoque prodigia visa sunt: Signum enim crucis in vestimentis hominum apparuit, et sanguis e celo terraque profluxit.' Chronica Minor, p. 182.

18 Otto is especially hailed because `...dedit privilegium Iohanni pape, sicut et Karolus Magnus et Ludewicus inperatores dederant ecclesie Romane, ut de eleccione Romani pontificis et de aliis pertinentibus beato Petro se non intromitteret, nisi de consilio pape.' Ibidem, p. 185. How this `privilege' coheres with papal supremacy is left in the dark.

19 Ibidem, 192-193. Holder-Egger's partial edition in the MGH leaves out those sections which deal with the early Church up till ca. 700 AD. It would be interesting to see how in the manuscripts the chronicle deals with earlier emperors, such as Constantine the Great and Diocletian.

20 See for instance pope Adrian's condemnation of emperor Lotharius, the son of Louis the Pious, Ibidem, p. 184; or Gregory VII's excommunication of Henry IV in the investiture contest, Ibidem, p. 190.

21 `Hic papa, cum esset cardinalis et episcopus Hostiensis, fovit sanctum Franciscum a principio nascentis ordinis sui, quem ad modum gallina fovet pullos suos; ipse namque ab Honorio papa constitutus fuerat protector ordinis novelli.' Ibidem, p. 198.

22 `Sicut et beatus Franciscus prefato Gregorio pape, cum esset Hostiensis episcopus cardinalis, prophetice predixerat, quod futurus esset ipse papa.' Ibidem, p. 199.

23 Aquinas presents Moses as a king , the seventy-one elder (Sanhedrin), elected for their wisdom, represented the aristocracy, while their election by the people represented the democratic element. See: James M. Blythe, Ideal Government and the Mixed Constitution in the Middle Ages (Princeton, 1992), esp. pp 39-59.

24 B. Roest, `Johannes Quidort en Willem van Ockham over oorsprong en functie van wereldlijk gezag', Groniek, 110 (1991), 35-50, esp. pp. 42-45.

25 Ibidem, pp. 45-48. See also A.S. McGrade, The Political Thought of William of Ockham, Studies in Medieval Life and Thought (Cambridge, 1987), pp. 145-148. For the theological Werdegang of several Franciscan theologians in this difficult period, see Ulrich Horst, Armut und päpstliches Lehramt: Minoritentheologen in Konflikt mit Papst Johannes XXII (Stuttgart, 1996).

26 Juan Gil of Zamora, De Preconiis Hispanie, ed. Manuel de Castro y Castro (Madrid, 1955). It must have been a fairly popular work in the late middle ages, for it has survived either complete or incomplete in at least 20 Spanish and Italian manuscripts.

27 Four years of study at a general studium was a requirement for friars who were to be appointed lector at a provincial studium. Archivum Franciscanum Historicum, 34 (1941), p. 72. In Paris he became well-acquainted with Raymond Gaufredi (general minister between 1289 and 1295) - to whom Gil later would dedicate his Liber Contra Venena et Animalia Venenosa. He probably also heared Bonaventure, when the latter gave his Hexaemeron-lectures in the Franciscan studium generale in 1273/1274. De Preconiis, p. lxiii.

28 Ibidem, lxxx. Gil wrote an Officium Almifluae Virginis on request of king Alfonso. He also dedicated several of his hagiographical and educational works to the king. In these works, Gil often drew on the same sources as Alfonso did for his histories of Spain, such as Jiménez de Rada's De Rebus Hispanie (1243). Fact is that Gil wrote in Latin, while the chronicles of the king were written in Castilian prose. See: N.J. Dyer, `Alfonsine Historiography: the literary narrative', in: Emperor of Culture. Alfonso X the Learned of Castile and his Thirteenth-Century Renaissance, ed. R.T. Burns (Philadelphia, 1990), pp. 141-158.

29 For his career as court theologian and counsellor of the king, see J.W. Marchand & S.W. Baldwin, `A Maculist at the Court of Alfonso el Sabio: Gil de Zamora's lost treatise on the immaculate conception', FS, 47 (1987), pp. 171-180.

30 Among later generations Gil was renowned for his knowledge of Aristotle. See: F. Rico, `Aristoteles Hispanus: En torno a Gil de Zamora, Petrarca y Juan de Mena', IMH, 10 (1967), pp. 143-154.

31 Orme, From Childhood to Chivalry, pp. 79-80, 82-83. Orme makes clear that in nearly all these forms of narrative literature is expressed an overt educational concern. Thus Gottfried of Strassburg's Tristan (ca. 1210) gives a full account of the education of its hero. The mirrors of princes too tend to illustrate their advice with literary references and allusions to historical events.

32 In his introduction, Gill assures his pupil that `...magis movent exempla quam verba, facta quam dicta, experimenta quam ostentamenta; exemplum Alexandri pugnantis quam verba Aristotelis disputantis; exempla Octaviani et Traiani quam verbum Tulli et Ioviniani...' De Preconiis, Prologus, pp. 3-4.

33 Frank Tang, `De `sterke' koning. Juan Gil de Zamora en zijn vorstenspiegel', Theoretische geschiedenis, 21 (1994), pp. 385-403.

34 Ibidem, p. 398.

35 Aside from Frank Tang's article mentioned above, see for a more detailed discussion of the virtues and obligations of the ruler in De Preconiis: M. de Castro, `Las ideas politicas y la formacion del principe en el `De preconiis Hispanie' de Fr. Juan Gil de Zamora', Hispania, Revista Española de Historia, 22 (1962), pp. 507-541.

36 `Sic ergo, Regnum vestrum erit virtutis regnum, scilicet, iustitie, temperantie, fortitudinis et prudencie que sunt virtutes quatuor cardinales, si dederitis quod suum est celesti Regi...' De Preconiis, p. 346.

37 `...via non errans, veritas non fallens, vita indeficiens ad quam nos perducere dignetur Almifluus Dei Filius, qui cum Patre et Spiritu Sancto vivit et regnat, Deus per infinita secula. Amen' Ibidem, p. 376. A clear allusion to John 14, 6.

38 `Iterum rex consideret quod principium animalis est cor, quod natura situavit in medio ambitu ab omnibus que sunt extra, a quo virtus in omnia membra diffunditur, et ab ipsis cum fenore reddit in ipsum, et gravaretur cor et membra perirent si plus acciperet de nutrimento quam necessarium est nature sue.' Ibidem, p. 40.

39 See on the use of the Old Testament to define kingship and royal behaviour in the early and high middle ages M. de Jong, `Het rijk als huishouding. Kanttekeningen bij de Karolingische wetgeving', Feit & Fictie, II,3 (1995), pp. 35-53.

40 Ut ergo reges virtutem posideant largitatis, non accipiant maiorem partem de pecuniis subditorum quam ius exposcit vel natura dictavit, nec leges exarent ut populum opprimant et marsupia auriant, quia scriptum est: Vhoe qui condunt leges iniquas, et scribentes, iniustitias scripserunt: ut opprimerent in iuditio pauperes, ut vim facerent [cause] humilium populi nostri, ut essent vidue preda eorum, et pupillos diriperent [Isai., 10, 12]', De Preconiis, pp. 270.

41 Thus with respect to his native town Zamora, Gil states: `Hec civitas principibus exhibuit servitia copiosa, et servitia sumptuosa rerum corporum et armorum. Set quoniam semper stetit pro tuitione suorum iurium et phororum, infestos habuit principes qui volebant tirapnice dominari et angariis popularibus saginari.' De Preconiis, pp. 275-276. See on this aspects also Tang, `Een `sterke' koning', pp. 397-400.

42 First of all, the prince should not obligate his vassals to do anythings against God or their own souls (with reference to Augustine, De Natura Boni). Second, the prince should not force his vassals to do anything not in accordance with the promisses made by the vassals as recorded in the statutes, laws and consuetudines of the land (with reference to the Codex Justiniari, Gratian's Decretum, and the Decretals. Third: the prince ows those subjected to them at least as much fides/fidelitas as the other way around (with reference to the book of Wisdom and the Decretum).

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