Marsilius of Padua at the Intersection of Ancient and Medieval Traditions of Political Thought

Marsilius of Padua at the Intersection of Ancient and Medieval Traditions of Political Thought

by Vaileios Syros

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Marsilius of Padua at the Intersection of Ancient and Medieval Traditions of Political Thought by Vaileios Syros

This book focuses on the reception of classical political ideas in the political thought of the fourteenth-century Italian writer Marsilius of Padua. Vasileios Syros provides a novel cross-cultural perspective on Marsilius’s theory and breaks fresh ground by exploring linkages between his ideas and the medieval Muslim, Jewish, and Byzantine traditions.

Syros investigates Marsilius’s application of medical metaphors in his discussion of the causes of civil strife and the desirable political organization. He also demonstrates how Marsilius’s demarcation between ethics and politics and his use of examples from Greek mythology foreshadow early modern political debates (involving such prominent political authors as Niccolò Machiavelli and Paolo Sarpi) about the political dimension of religion, church-state relations, and the emergence and decline of the state.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781442663886
Publisher: University of Toronto Press, Scholarly Publishing Division
Publication date: 12/31/2012
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 320
File size: 3 MB

About the Author

Vasileios Syros is a Senior Research Fellow of the Academy of Finland at the Finnish Centre of Political Thought & Conceptual Change.

Table of Contents

Bibliographical Note




Outline of Chapters

Chapter I. Marsilius’ Life and Works

Chapter II. Major Intellectual Influences on Marsilius

Albertino Mussato and Paduan Politics

Peter of Abano and Late Medieval Natural Philosophy and Medicine

Averroes Goes West: John of Jandun

Muslim and Jewish Influences

Chapter III. Marsilius’ Political Theory

Marsilius and Aristotelian Teleology

The Origins of Social Life

Rhetoric and the Genesis of Civil Life

The Purpose of the Political Community

The Peace and Tranquility of the Political Community

The Unity of the Political Community

The Organization of the Political Community

Marsilius’ Classification of Human Acts

Marsilius and Aristotle

Marsilius and Aquinas

Marsilius and Maimonides

Plato Transformed, Avicennian Echoes, and the Ideal Social Organization

The ‘Circle of Justice’ and Functional Specialization

The Idea of the Mean and the Parts of the Political Community

The Emergence of Religion and the Civic Function of the Sacerdotal Part

Marsilius’ Notion of Citizenship

Chapter IV. Marsilius’ Legal Theory

The Definition of the Law

Giants on the Shoulders of Dwarfs: Legislation and a Well-ordered Political Community

Cyclops with Many Eyes: Laws and Collective Prudence

The legislator humanus

The legislator primus

The primus legislator and Sovereignty

Medieval Echoes

Beyond Aristotle

Chapter V. Marsilius’ Theory of Government

The Taxonomy of Constitutions

The Five Modes of Establishing Monarchy

The Appointment of the Government

The Political Community as a Living Organism



Index of Subjects

Index of Places and Proper Names

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