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The importance of the organism in the political theory of John of Salisbury

  • Tilman Struve (a1)

Extract

The comparison of the State with an animate organism was of outstanding importance in the political theories of the Middle Ages. Despite all its various forms of appearance this comparison always served to define the place and function of each individual in particular, as well as in relation to a superior whole. John of Salisbury deserves the credit for having helped this organological view of the State to breakthrough in writing the Policraticus.

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1 [John of Salisbury], Policraticus [sive de nugis curialium et vestigiis phitosophorum] (ed C. C. J. Webb, 2 vols: Oxford 1909, reprinted Frankfurt 1965). About his life and work see the recent studies of Kerner, [M.], [Johannes von Salisbury und die] logische Struktur [seines Policraticus] (Wiesbaden 1977) and Guth, [K.], Johannes von Salisbury [(1115/20-1780). Studien zur Kirchen-, Kultur-und Sozialgeschichte Westeuropas im 12. Jahrhundert] (St. Ottilien 1978). For John’s political theory see Berges, [W.], [Die] Fürstenspiegel [des hohen und späten Mittelalters] (Leipzig 1938) pp 4052, 13143 ; also Stürner, [W.], Natur und Gesellschaft [im Denken des Hoch- und Spätmittelalters] (Stuttgart 1975) pp 11931 ; and with reference to his organological view Struve, [T.], [Die Entwicklung der organologischen] Staatsauffassung [im Mittelalter] (Stuttgart 1978) pp 12348.

2 Policraticus v.2, 1, p 282, lines 11-4.

3 Policraticus v.2, 1, p 283, lines 1-15, Princeps uero capitis in re publica optinet locum …Cordis locum senatus optinet …Oculorum aurium et linguae ofiicia sibi uendicant iudices et praesides prouinciarum. Officiates et milites manibus coaptantur. Qui semper adsistunt principi, lateribus assimilantur. Quaestores et commentarienses … ad uentris et intestinorum refert imaginem …Pedibus uero solo iugiter inherentibus agricolae coaptantur’.

4 Policraticus v.2, 1, p 282, lines 14-22, ‘Ea uero quae cultum religionis in nobis instituunt et informant …uicem animae in corpore rei publicae obtinent. Illos uero, qui religionis cultui praesunt, quasi animam corporis suspicere et uenerari oportet…. sicut anima totius habet corporis principatum, ita et hii, quos ille religionis praefectos uocat, toti corpori praesunt’.

5 For the development of this view see now Struve, Staatsauffassung, with the relevant literature.

6 Policraticus vi.24, 2, pp 71-2.

7 Policraticus vi.21, 2, p 59, line 28; see Struve, T., ‘Bedeutung und Funktion des Organismusvergleichs in den mittelalterlichen Theorien von Staat und Gesellschaft’, in: Soziale Ordnungen im Selbstverständnis des Mittelalters: Miscellanea Mediaevalia 12/1 (Berlin-New York 1979) pp 14161, esp p 147.

8 Policraticus ii.12, 1, pp 85-6, ‘Si uero Platonem sequimur qui asserit naturam esse Dei uoluntatem, profecto nichil istorum euenit contra naturam, cum ille omnia quaccumque uoluit fecerit. Ille quidem dum rerum causas exequitur, fmem omnium diuinam astruit bonitatem. Optimus est, inquit; porro ab optimo longe rclcgata est omnis inuidia. Itaque consequenter cuncta sui similia, prout natura cuiusque beatitudinis capax esse poterat, effici uoluit, quam quidem Dei uoluntatem certissimam rerum originem esse si quis ponat, rectc eum putare consentiam. Et quidem sapientia Dei et bonitas, quae rebus omnibus originem praebet, natura rcctissime appellatur’; in accordance with Plato, Tim 29 e (in the version of Calcidius, ed J. H. Waszink: Plato Latimts 4, London-Leiden 1962, pp 22-3). See Helbling-Gloor, [B.], Natur und Aberglaube [im Policraticus des Johannes von Salisbury] (Zürich 1956) pp 234 ; Stürner, Natur und Gesellschaft, p 120; Kerner, Logische Struktur, pp 174-5.

9 Policraticus vi.21, 2, pp 60-1 with reference to Vergil, Georg iv, 153-218.

10 Struve, Staatsauffassung, pp 41-2.

11 Policraticus vi.21, 2, p 60, line 1; see also iv.l, I, p 235 line 13 and passim. For the idea of the imitation of nature see Post, [G.], Studies [in Medieval Legal Thought] (Princeton 1964) pp 5179.

12 Policraticus v.2, 1, p 282, lines 5-8.

13 Liebeschütz, [H.], ‘John of Salisbury and Pseudo-Plutarch’, Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes 6 (1943) p 39 ; Mediaeval Humanism [in the Life and Writings of John of Salisbury] (Studies of the Warburg Institute 17: London 1950) pp 24-5.

14 For details see now Kerner, M., ‘Zur Entstehungsgeschichte der Institutio Traiani’, DA 32 (1976) pp 55871 , esp pp 562f; ‘Natur [und Gesellschaft bei Johannes von Salisbury’], Soziale Ordnungen im Selbstverstättdnis des Mittelalters: Miscellanea Mediaevalia 12/1 (Berlin-New York 1979) pp 179-202, exp p 194.

15 Struve, Staatsauffassung, p 128. See also Desideri, S., La ‘Institutio Traiam, (Pubblicazioni dell’istituto di filologia classka 12, Genoa 1958), who dates the Institutio in the 4th or 5th century. For Vegetius as the author of Pseudo-Plutarch recently stands up Ullmann, [W.], [‘John of Salisbury’s] Policraticus [in the Later Middle Ages]’, Geschichtsschreibung und geisliges Leben im Mittelalter: Festschrift für H. Löwe (Köln-Wien 1978) p 537 nil. For the survival of Trajan in medieval legend see Paris, G., ‘La légende de Trajan’, Bibliothèque de l’école des hautes études, sciencesphilologiques et historiques 35 (1878) pp 26198 ; Renucci, P., ‘Gaston Paris et la légende de Trajan’, Bulletin de la faculté des lettres de Strasbourg 26 (1947) pp 110.

16 EdFitting, H., Juristische Schriften des früheren Mittelalters (Halle 1876) p 148, lines 23-9. See Struve, Staatsauffassung, p 125 n 10; Kerner, Logische Struktur, p 179; ‘Natur’, p 198.

17 As pointed out by Kerner,’Natur’, pp 196-9; Logische Struktur, pp 179-81. See also Gierke, O., Das deutsche Genossenschaftsrecht (Berlin 1881) iii.549 n 77. The fundamental importance of Roman law for the theory of government in the Policraticus has recently been emphasised by Ullmann, ‘Policraticus’, pp 519-20. For John’s knowledge of Roman law see also Kantorowicz, [E. H.], The King’s Two Bodies (Princeton 1957) pp 94f; Liebeschütz, [H.], ‘Chartres und Bologna. [Naturbegriff und Staatsidee bei Johannes von Salisbury’], AKG 50 (1968) pp 21f.

18 Ullmann, W., ‘The Influence of John of Salisbury on Medieval Italian Jurists’, EHR 59 (1944) pp 38491 ; ‘Policraticus’, pp 523-4, 526-30; see further Lindner, A., ‘The Knowledge of John of Salisbury in the Late Middle Ages’, Studi Medievali (3a ser.) 18 (1977) pp 31566, esp pp 3423 . About the Neapolitan jurist Lucas de Penna see also Ullmann, W., The Medieval Idea of Law as Represented by Lucas de Penna (London 1946) esp pp 165f.

19 William of Conches, Glosae super Platonem (ed É. Jeauneau: Paris 1965) 15, p 75: ‘Ad hanc vero similitudinem voluit Socrates in arce civitatis esse senatum ut in arce capitis est sapientia, sub isto esse milites ut in corde animositatem, sub quibus sunt cupidinarii ut in lumbis est concupiscentia. Et ut pedes bruti et in inferiori parte calcant terram, ita agricole et venatores etpastores extra muros terram exercent’; similarly in his Glosae super Macrobium: Bern, Burgerbibliothek MS 266, fols 1rb/va (see Struve, Staatsauffassung, p 119 n 116). Bernardus Silvestris has a similar division: Commentum super sex libros Eneidos Virgilii (ed G. Riedel: Greifswald 1924) iii.15, line 24-16, line 9, ‘quemadmodum in civitate quattuor sunt mansionum diversitates et quattuor hominum ordines mansiones illas incolentes, ita quoque in humano corpore quattuor sunt mansiones et potentiae in illis sedem habentes. Prima civitatis mansio est arx, quam sapientes incolunt: ita quoque in corpore prima et eminentior mansio et arx corporis est caput, in quo sapientia sedem habet…. Secunda civitatis mansio est militum: ita secunda corporis est mansio animositatis in corde…. Tertia civitatis mansio est mansio cupidinariorum: ita tertia in corpore mansio est cupiditatis, haec autem est de renibus. In ultimo civitatis est suburbium, sedes agricolarum: ita in extremo corporis sunt manus et pedes ad agendum. Ideoque civitas corpus dicitur’. The influence of William should be evident; for details see Jeauneau, É., ‘L’usage de la notion d’integumentum a travers les gloses de Guillaume de Conches’, Lectio Philosophorum (Amsterdam 1973) pp 12792 . See Struve, Staatsauffassung, pp 118-9; also Kerner, Logische Struktur, pp 177-8.

20 See Congar, Y., ‘Les laics et l’ecclésiologie des “ordines” chez les théologiens des XIe and XIIesiècles’, I laici nella ‘societas Christiana’ dei secoli XI e XII (Miscellanea del centro di studi medioevali 5, Milano 1968) pp 83117 , esp pp 101-2; Struve, Staatsauffassung, pp 121-2.

21 Struve, Slaatsauffassung, pp 126-7; see also Kerner, ‘Natur’, pp 189-93. About John’s educational stay see his Metalogicon ii.10 (ed Webb, Oxford 1929) pp 79-80; for the background Kerner, Logische Struklur, pp 20-3; Guth, Johannes von Salisbury, pp 40f. For criticism of Southern, R. W.Humanism and the School of Chartres’, Medieval Humanism and other Studies (Oxford 1970, pp 61 f) see now Dronke, P., ‘New Approaches to the School of Chartres’, Annuario de estudios medievales 6 (1969) pp 11740 , esp pp 121 f, and Häring, N.Chartres and Paris Revisited’, Essays in Honor of A. Ch. Pegis (Toronto 1974) pp 268329.

22 Metalogicon i.8, p 23: ‘Est autem natura …uis quedam genitiua, rebus omnibus insita’; Policraticus ii.12 (see above n 8). Compare with William of Conches, Dragmaticon philosophiae (Strasbourg 1567) 1, p 31: ‘Natura est uis quedam rebus insita, similia de similibus operans’; the same in his Glosae super Plat 37, p 104; Alanus ab Insulis, Deplanctu naturae (ed N. Häring: Studi Medievali 3a ser. 19, 1978) 7, p 831, line 1: ‘genitrix rerum’; compare ibid 16, p 871, line 187: ‘N(atura), dei gracia mundane ciuitatis uicaria procuratrix’ (in some codices: ‘procreatrix’); Silvestris, Bemardus, De mundi universitate (edd Barach, C. S. and Wrobel, J.: Innsbruck 1876) i.2, p 9, lines 3-4: ‘natura, uteri mei (sc. of Noys) beata fecunditas’ (see now the recent edition of Dronke, P., which rightly is entitled Cosmographia: Leiden 1978, pp 989). For the background see Gregory, T., Anima Mundi (Firenze 1955) esp pp 1789 ; Chenu, [M.-D.], ‘Découverte [de la nature et philosophic de l’homme à l’école de Chartres au XIIe siècle], Cahiers d’histoire mondiale 2 (1954) pp 31325, esp pp 3202 ; Helbling-Gloor, Natur und Aberglaube, pp 23-4; Post, Studies, pp 505-6. See also Goff, [J.] Le, Les intellectuels [au tnoyen âge] (Paris 1957) pp 567 . About other correspondences with the School of Chartres, Kerner, Logische Struktur, pp 177-8.

23 See esp William of Conches, Glosae super Plat 37’, pp 104-5, ‘secundum quod omne opus vel est opus Creatoris, vel opus nature, vel artificis imitantis naturam (in accordance with Calcidius, 23, p 73, lines 10-2)…. Opus artificis est opus hominis quod propter indigentiam operatur ut vestimenta contra frigus, domum contra intemperiem aeris. Sed in omnibus que agit naturam imitatur’; Dragmaticon 1, p 32; Alanus ab Insulis, Planctu 6, p 826, lines 43-5: ‘Ego (sc. Natura) ilia sum, que ad exemplarem mundane machine similitudinem hominis exemplaui naturam’.

24 Saltman, A., Theobald Archbishop of Canterbury (London 1956) pp 1756 . For this point of view see now Kerner, ‘Natur’, pp 196-8.

25 See Berges, Fürstenspiegel, pp 44-5; Liebeschütz, ‘Chartres und Bologna’, pp 13-6; Kerner, ‘Natur’, pp 195-6; see also Helbling-Gloor, Natur und Aberglaube, pp 24-5 who points out John’s negative attitude towards astrology.

26 For the scientific background see my forthcoming study: Der Mensch und seine Organe in der Sicht der mittelalterlichen Naturphihsophie und Medizin. Ein Beitrag zu einer Anthropologie des Mittelalters (Schriften zur Wissenschaftsgeschichte); see also Struve, , ‘Die Anthropologie des Alfredus Anglicus in ihrer Stellung zwischen Platonismus und Aristotelismus’, AKG 55 (1973) pp 36690.

27 Policraticus vi.20, 2, p 59, lines 21-7.

28 Policraticus v.2, 1, p 283, lines 14-22; vi.20, 2, p 58, line 21-59, line 3. See now Struve, T., ‘Pedes rei publicae: Die dienenden Stände im Verständnis des Mittelalters’, HZ 236 (1983) pp 148.

29 See Adalbero of Laon, Carmen ad Rotbertum regenm, 297-8 (ed G.-A. Hückel, Université de Paris. Bibliothèque de la faculté des lettres 13: Paris 1901) p 156. See the well-informed study of Oexle, O. G., ‘Die funktionale Dreiteilung der “Gesellschaft” bei Adalbero von Laon’, Frühmittelalterliche Studien 12 (1978) pp 154 ; see also Duby, G., Les trois ordres ou Vimaginaire du féodalisme (Paris 1978) pp 6281.

30 Policraticus iv.12, 1, p 278, lines 27-31.

31 Policraticus vi.20, 2, p 59, lines 16-8.

32 Policraticus iv.8, 1, p 264, lines 7-11.

33 Policraticus iv.22, 2, p 63, lines 19-21; vi.29, 2, p 86, lines 13-7.

34 Policraticus vi.24, 2, p 73, lines 26-9; vi.22, 2, p 63, lines 22-3.

35 Policraticus vi.20, 2, p 59, lines 20-1.

36 Policraticus iv.2, 1, p 237, lines 10-7. See also Stürner, Natur und Gesellschaft, p 122.

37 Policraticus iv.l, 1, p 235, lines 9-19.

38 Policraticus v.6, 1, p 298, lines 20-3; compare with William of Conches, Glosae super Platonem 15, p 75.

39 Policraticus vi.26, 2, p 79, lines 13-5.

40 Policraticus v. 2, 1, p 283, lines 11-4; v. 9, 1, p 322, lines 14-6.

41 Policraticus iv.8, 1, p 262, lines 8-9. For the medieval tradition of this point of view see Beumann, H., ‘Zur Entwicklung transpersonaler Staatsvorstellungen’, in: Das Königtum (Lindau-Konstanz 1956) pp 1934 ; Struve, Staatsauffassung, passim.

42 Policraticus iv.2, 1, p 239, lines 5-7: ‘sicut lex culpas persequitur sine odio personarum, ita et princeps delinquentes rectissime punit, non aliquo iracundiae motu sed mansuetae legis arbitrio’; see also viii. 17, 2, p 345, line 14.

43 Policraticus iv. 2, 1, p 237, lines 13-6; in accordance with Justinian, Inst I.i.l. For the interpretation of aequitas as a principle of the divine Seinsordnung see Berges, Fürstenspiegel, pp 134-5. See further Wohlhaupter, E., Aequitas canonica (Paderborn 1931).

44 Policraticus iv.2, 1, p 237, line 16:’Lexueroeius (sc. aequitatis) interpresest’; viii. 17, 2, p 345, line 11: ‘aequitatis forma’. For the meaning of lex see Post, Studies, p 156.

45 Policraticus iv.2, 1, p 237, lines 26-7: ‘secundum quam decet uiuere omnes qui in politicae rei uniuersitate uersantur’.

46 Policraticus v. 2, 1, p 283, line 13 (see above n 2).

47 Unlike Ullmann, ‘Policraticus’, p 522, who quotes Leges Visigothorum I.ii.2 (MGH LNG 1, p 41) it must be remarked that in no case within the Policraticus does a human law, but the divine aequitas, function as anima of the body politic.

48 Policraticus viii. 17, 2, p 345, line 12. A corresponding view occurs Leges Visigothorum I.ii.2 p 41: ‘emula divinitatis’.

49 Policraticus iv.2, 1, p 238, line 16;see Kantorowicz, Two Bodies, p 105; Post, Studies, pp 259-60. Compare in this connection the rather classical definition of government given by Wipo, Proverhia 3 (ed H. Bresslau, MGH SRC, 3rd ed Hannover 1915) p 66: ‘Legem servare est regnare’.

50 Policraticus iv.2, 1, p 238, lines 9-12.

51 Policraticus iv.2, 1, p 238, line 2; in accordance with Dig I.iii.31. See Kantorowicz, Two Bodies, pp 95-6, 104-5; Post, Studies, pp 259-60; see further Tierney, B., “The Prince is not Bound by the Laws”, Comparative Studies in Society and History 5 (1962/3) pp 378400 . See now Wyduckel, D., Princeps Legibus Solutus (Berlin 1979) pp 1301 , who ignores however the ruler’s obligation towards aequitas.

52 Policraticus iv.1, 1, p 235, line 22-p 236, line 1; iv.2, 1, p 238, line 16.

53 Policraticus iv.1, 1, p 236, lines 11-12.

54 Policraticus vi.25, 2, p 73, line 29. p 74, line 5; in accordance with Dig XLVIII.iv.1. See Berges, Fürstenspiegel, p 31 n 1; Post, Studies, pp 259-60.

55 Policraticus vi. 7, 2, p 20, lines 22-3; in accordance with Vegetius, Epitoma rei militaris ii.5; see also Policraticus vi.8, 2, p 21, lines 29-31. For this view see Berges, Fürstenspiegel, pp 30-1; Kantorowicz, Two Bodies, p 92 with n 16.

56 Policraticus iv.1,1, p 236, lines 7-11; compare v.6, 1, p 299, lines 23-4. See Affeldt, W., Die weltliche Gewalt in der Paulus-Exegese (Göttingen 1969) pp 1445 ; and further Ullmann, W., ‘The Bible and Principles of Government in the Middle Ages’, in: La bibbia nell’alto medioevo (SS Spoleto 10, 1963) pp 190f, 202f.

57 Policraticus iv.1, 1, p 235, line 22-p 236, line 1; compare vi.24, 2, p 74, line 1; viii.17, 2, p 345, line 21. See Berges, Fürstenspiegel, pp 25f, esp pp 30-1.

58 In this manner Spörl, J., Crundformen hochmittelalterlicher Geschichtsanschauung (1935, reprinted Darmstadt 1968) p 109.

59 This point of view is emphasised by Ullmann, ‘Policraticus’, p 534; see also Post, Studies, p 520.

60 Policraticus viii. 17, 2, p 345, lines 9-11; viii.22, 2, p 397, lines 3-6. About tyranny as a res publico impiorum (Policraticus viii. 17, 2, p 348, line 24) see Struve, Staatsauffassung, pp 143-6 with the relevant literature.

61 Policraticus iv.6, 1, p 255, lines 5-8; see also p 251, line 20.

62 See Miczka, y, ‘“Utrumque lus”-eine Erfindung der Kanonisten?’, ZRG KAbt 57 (1971) pp 12749 , esp pp 148-9. For the reading of law see Policraticus iv.6, 1, p 254, lines 19-20.

63 Policraticus v.2, 1, p 282, lines 14-22 (see above n 4). See Miczka, G., Das Bild der Kirche bei Johannes von Salisbury (Bonn 1970) pp 1789.

64 Policraticus iv.3, p 239, lines 20-7. See Hoffmann, H., ‘Die beiden Schwerter im hohen Mittelalter’, DA 20 (1964) pp 78114, esp 945.

65 Policraticus v.4, 1, p 295, lines 24-8.

66 Policraticus vi.26, 2, p 79, lines 18-28; p 80, lines 3-4.

67 Policraticus viii.17, 2, p 346, lines 14-5; compare with Isidore of Seville, Etym IX.iii,4. For the medieval tradition see Kern, F., Gottesgnadentum una” Widerstandsrecht im frühen Mittelalter (2nd ed Munster-Köln 1954) pp 3348.

68 Policraticus iii.1, 1, p 171, lines 19-23.

69 Ullmann, ‘Policraticus’, p 536.

70 Liebeschütz, ‘Chartres und Bologna’, p 21.

71 Liebeschütz, Mediaeval Humanism, p 43; ‘Chartres und Bologna’, pp 30-1.

72 For this point of view see Chenu, ‘Découverte’, pp 316-7; Le Goff, Les intellectuels, pp 63-4.

73 See for example, William of Conches who wishes to investigate perceptible nature not as a philosopher, but as a scientist-’ut physicus’ (De philosophia mundi i.21, PL 172, 50 C; and see Glosae super Plalonem 59, p 130).

74 Policraticus v.2, 1, p 282, line 14 (see above p. 303).

75 See Nitschke, A., Naturerkenntnis und politisches Handeln im Mittelalter (Stuttgart 1967) pp 79113 ; Stürner, Natur und Gesellschaft, pp 20-65 with additional literature.

The importance of the organism in the political theory of John of Salisbury

  • Tilman Struve (a1)

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