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The Monarchia Controversy

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

Anthony K. Cassell

Publication Year: 2012

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

Published by: The Catholic University of America Press

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. vii

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pp. ix

It is a pleasure to thank Dr. John Harris for his essential help on the finer points of Latin and for his friendship during some very difficult times, and Dr. John Serembus of Widener University for his expert advice on matters of formal logic. In each case I learned much, but I have made my own decisions...

List of Abbreviations

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pp. xi-xii

Dante’s Monarchia and Vernani’s Refutation in Context

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pp. 1

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Prolegomena: The Crisis and Its Major Players

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pp. 3-4

When, in 1318, Dante Alighieri set his pen to the treatise he named Monarchia, or Liber Monarchiæ,1 a savage controversy had erupted concerning Pope John XXII’s refusal to recognize the election of Ludwig IV ofWittelsbach as Holy Roman Emperor. Conveniently, papal lawyers had agreed that during vacancies...

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1. Tiara and Scepter

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pp. 5-22

In broaching the problem of the separation and correlation of the priestly and the imperial powers, Dante bravely, knowingly, and carefully entered a controversy that had simmered in different guises for centuries. By the second decade of the fourteenth century, the question had reached yet one more deplorable...

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2. Dante in the Eye of the Storm

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pp. 23-49

We know from the poet’s affirmation in Monarchia 1:12 that he had, by the time of its writing, completed the Paradiso at least up to canto 5:22 where he had dealt with free will, “de la volontà la libertate”: “This liberty, or this principle of all our liberty, is the greatest gift to human nature conferred by God—as I...

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3. The Monarchia and Vernani’s Censures

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pp. 50-107

Dante opens the Monarchia echoing the first words of Aristotle’s Metaphysics 1:1, “All men desire to know,” with which he had also begun the Convivio, and turns them to further, charitable, Christian purpose: all those whom God sealed with a love of truth must share their knowledge and experience with...


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pp. 109

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DANTE’S Monarchia

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pp. 111-173

{1} For all men whom a Higher Nature1 has sealed with a love of truth,2 this must be seen to be the utmost concern: just as they have been enriched by the efforts of those who came before, they must in the same way strive for those who will come after them so that posterity will have means of being enriched...

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VERNANI’S Refutation

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pp. 174-197

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

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JOHN XXII’S Si fratrum

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pp. 198-201

{1} If we desire to preserve the rights of our Brothers and fellow Bishops, and our own, and the rights of any person whatsoever, to be inviolate and free from any danger of abridgment, and if we apply most freely our careful concern to this—more vigorously, indeed, for the conservation of the rights and...


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pp. 203-353


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pp. 355-388


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pp. 389-403

E-ISBN-13: 9780813215921
Print-ISBN-13: 9780813213385

Page Count: 416
Publication Year: 2012