The princely head
in John of Salisbury and the medieval Roman renaissance
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This chapter opens with a treatment of two of the cardinal virtues - fortitude and justice - virtues which have particular relevance for the prince. It suggests that, just as the good prince is obliged to be virtuous, so the tyrant is defined by his lack of respect for the virtues and moderation. It investigates John’s account of tyranny in detail, looking at his grounds for validating tyrannicide. It situates John’s political theories in their context of production by looking his presentation of three contemporary political events - the reign of King Stephen, the activities of Frederick Barbarossa, and the exile and subsequent murder of Thomas Becket.

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