John of Salisbury (c. 1120–80) is a key figure of the twelfth-century renaissance. A student at the cosmopolitan schools of medieval Paris, an associate of Thomas Becket and an acute commentator on society and rulership, his works and letters give unique insights into the political culture of this period. This volume reassesses the influence of classical sources on John’s political writings, investigating how he accessed and used the ideas of his ancient predecessors. By looking at his quotations from and allusions to classical works, O’Daly shows that John not only borrowed the vocabulary of his classical forbears, but explicitly aligned himself with their philosophical positions. She illustrates John’s profound debt to Roman Stoicism, derived from the writings of Seneca and Cicero, and shows how he made Stoic theories on duties, virtuous rulership and moderation relevant to the medieval context. She also examines how John’s classical learning was filtered through patristic sources, arguing that this led to a unique synthesis between his political and theological views. The book places famous elements of John’s political theory - such as his model of the body-politic, his views on tyranny - in the context of the intellectual foment of the classical revival and the dramatic social changes afoot in Europe in the twelfth century. In so doing, it offers students and researchers of this period a novel investigation of how Stoicism comprises a ‘third way’ for medieval political philosophy, interacting with – and at times dominating – neo-Platonism and proto-Aristotelianism.
This book is our principal source for the history of the Kingdom of Sicily in the troubled years between the death of its founder, King Roger, in February 1154 and the spring of 1169. It covers the reign of Roger's son, King William I, known to later centuries as 'the Bad', and the minority of the latter's son, William II 'the Good'. The book illustrates the revival of classical learning during the twelfth-century renaissance. It presents a vivid and compelling picture of royal tyranny, rebellion and factional dispute at court. Sicily had historically been ruled by tyrants, and that the rule of the new Norman kings could be seen, for a variety of reasons, as a revival of that classical tyranny. A more balanced view of Sicilian history of the period 1153-1169 has been provided as an appendix to the translation in the section of the contemporary world chronicle ascribed to Archbishop Romuald II of Salerno, who died in April 1181. In particular the chronicle of Romuald enables us to see how the papal schism of 1159 and the simultaneous dispute between the German Emperor Frederick Barbarossa and the north Italian cities affected the destiny of the kingdom of Sicily. In contrast to the shadowy figure of Hugo Falcandus, the putative author of the principal narrative of mid-twelfth-century Sicilian history, Romuald II, Archbishop of Salerno 1153-1181, is well-documented.
This book addresses one of the most acute moral and political dilemmas of the
twelfth century: how did a judge determine how to punish an offender, and what
was the purpose of such punishment? It examines how English judges weighed a
choice which, if made wrongly, could endanger both the political community and
their own souls. That choice was between two ideas which twelfth-century
intellectual and legal thought understood as irreconcilable opposites: justice
and mercy. By examining the moral pressures on English judges, Justice and Mercy
provides a new way into medieval legal culture: rather than looking at the laws
that judges applied, it reconstructs the moral world of the judges themselves.
The book offers a fresh synthesis of the disciplines of intellectual history and
legal history, examining theological commentaries, moral treatises, letters,
sermons and chronicles in order to put the creation of the English common law
into its moral context. This broad vision brings to light the shared language of
justice and mercy, an idea which dominated twelfth-century discourse and had the
potential to polarise political opinion. Justice and Mercy challenges many of
the prevailing narratives surrounding the common law, suggesting that judges in
church courts and royal courts looked strikingly similar, and that English
judges had more in common with their continental counterparts than is often
from the Seventh and Eighth Books of the Policraticus , trans. J. Dickinson (New York: Knopf, 1927); John of Salisbury, Policraticus: Of the Frivolities of Courtiers and the Footprints of Philosophers , trans. C. J. Nederman (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1990).
49 J. Hosler, John of Salisbury: Military Authority of the Twelfth-CenturyRenaissance (Leiden: Brill, 2013); Bloch, John of Salisbury on Aristotelian Science .
50 A. Somfai, ‘The Eleventh-Century Shift in the Reception of Plato’s Timaeus and
, William II ‘the
Good’. The History of ‘Falcandus’ is also
one of the most important texts illustrating the revival of classical
learning during the twelfth-centuryrenaissance.
However, this text also poses many
problems, not least in that neither its authorship nor its date of
composition have been satisfactorily established. Furthermore, the
geographical scope of its coverage
philosophers the authority of their Christian counterparts, his education was unavoidably steeped in classical learning, from the basic tenets of rhetorical argumentation to methods for dealing with more advanced dialectical matters. Such unconscious assimilation of the classical heritage has largely been underestimated in studies of the twelfth-centuryRenaissance. This study has illustrated that some of John’s most novel adaptations of classical sources were derived from texts which would have been readily available to him. Stoicism, transmitted through the writings of
such, it forms an appropriate closing point for this study.
Theology and the common law in the twelfth-centuryrenaissance
Where do the arguments set out here fit into the broader landscape of medieval historiography? First, I would suggest, they argue for an adjustment of the way in which we conceptualise the relationship between law and theology in an English tradition. While studies of the particular influence (or lack of influence) of Roman and canon law on the common law reveal much about the genesis of the laws
law and the origins of property’, in G. S. Garnett
and J. G. H. Hudson (eds), Law and Government in Medieval England and Normandy: Essays in Honour of Sir James Holt (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press,
1994), p. 199; Hudson, Land, Law and Lordship, p. 279.
16 J. A. Green, ‘Aristocratic women in early twelfth-century England’, in C. Warren
Hollister (ed.), Anglo-Norman Political Culture and the Twelfth-centuryRenaissance
(Woodbridge: Boydell, 1997), pp. 60, 72.
17 Crouch, ‘Stenton to McFarlane’, p. 200.
18 Hyams, ‘Warranty and good lordship’.
19 F. G. Buckstaff
and cultural changes accompanying the proliferation of schools and the beginnings of the scholastic technique, often fitted under the umbrella term of the ‘Twelfth-CenturyRenaissance’. The profound changes in the way in which learning was approached and texts were read placed tremendous conceptual pressure on the term ‘justice’ ( iustitia ), and its relative ‘mercy’ ( misericordia ). It generated a level of debate which – arguably – had not been seen for eight centuries. Those discussions primarily concerned how a judge should set punishment, and how, where and why
42 For which, see La petite philosophie: An Anglo-Norman Poem of the Thirteenth Century , ed. W. H. Thethewey, Anglo-Norman Text Society 1 (Oxford, 1939). For its significance, see P. Damien-Grint, The New Historians of the Twelfth-CenturyRenaissance: Inventing Vernacular Authority (Woodbridge, 1999), ch. 1, esp. 7–8.
43 For the text: La Seinte Resureccion , ed. T. A. Jenkins, J. M. Manly, M. K. Pope and Jean Wright, Anglo-Norman Text Society 4 (Oxford, 1943).
44 In the two other manuscripts identified by Hunt