At the beginning of the 14th century, the great poet Dante published an imaginative proposal for world order. His experience had led him to believe that the multiplicity of cities, states, and kingdoms was the source of great discord and strife. They were depriving mankind of that tranquility which was necessary for the full development of its intellectual powers. There was a need for a single impartial ruler who, standing above the contentiousness of lesser governments, could bring about a regime of universal justice and peace. In the De monarchia the holder of universal authority was to be the Roman emperor. The genius of the Romans devised the most effective forms of government that the world had ever known. As the Roman Catholic Church had universal authority in matters spiritual, the Holy Roman emperor should exercise a supreme, global authority to which all the various kingdoms and republics would be politically subordinate.