John of Salisbury: Policraticus (Cambridge Texts in the History of Political Thought) [John of Salisbury, Cary J. Nederman] on *FREE* shipping on. Editor’s introduction John of Salisbury’s Policraticus: Of the Frivolities of Courtiers and the Footprints of Philosophers is commonly acclaimed as the first extended. John of Salisbury (c) was the foremost political theorist of his age. He was trained in scholastic theology and philosophy at Paris.

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Policraticus – Wikipedia

Employing a musical metaphor, he asks, How much more care should be taken by princes to be moderate—at one time by the vigour of justice, at another by the forgiveness of mercy—so that subjects pplicraticus made to be of a single mind … and the works of peace and charity create one perfect and great harmony out of pursuits which appear discordant? Beyond doubt a large share of the divine power is shown to be in princes by the fact that at their nod men bow their necks and for the most part offer up their heads to the axe to be struck off, and, as by a divine impulse, the prince is feared by each of those over whom he is set as an object of fear.

At approximatelywords in length, the Policraticus is however far more than a theoretical treatise on politics. Since most people are susceptible to sensual gratification, one need not call oneself an Epicurean, John asserts, in order to practice its teachings.

Full text of ” John of Salisbury: The Policraticus is as much a work of moral edification as of philosophical speculation. That virtue is the unique path to being. All virtues by nature may be attained only when pursued within definite limits, and so he is not expecting courtiers to be saints.

This is so to the degree that, although everything might be disposed properly and there would seem to be no concerns or duties at all for a governor, it is generally accepted that those who at one time receive a prince into their midst will not be without a successor of his seed.

To refuse evil is a great thing in them, even if they do no great goodness, provided that they still do not permit their subjects to indulge in evil. For love is stronger than death; and the military formation that is tied together by the bonds of love will not break easily.


No one would ever be illuminated by perpetual glory unless he himself or someone else had written. While nature offers a model for human conduct and association, the natural scheme for living well may only jjohn realized with the cooperation of people who partake in it. It is only because of the inscription on a walisbury arch that the onlooker recognises that Constantine who was of British stock is proclaimed liberator of his country and founder of peace. What you believe to be obedience, assume to be friendship and judge to be attention – these are the very essence of insidiousness.

Truth is harsh and very often is the parent of difficulty in so far as it will refuse to flatter anyone.

Aristotle ought to have checked this immoderation on the part of those who identify indiscriminate volubility with the exercise of dialectic.

This refers not to the policcraticus of the law, which mortifies, but to its spirit, which stimulates the qualities of sanctity of mind, cleanliness of body, 4i John of Salisbury: Furthermore, by the law of reason, whoever wills is he who nullifies, and he who can confer rights is he who can withdraw them. And lest these examples appear to be remote, and less follow from them because we seem to depart appreciably from their laws and tradition of conduct salisbry religious worship and profession of faith although their faith and ours are the same, with the exception that what they had expected in the future, we for the most part rejoice in and venerate in completed form, since the figures of the shadow have been tossed aside by that truth which arose from the earth and is revealed in the sight of the gentiles – lest, I say, their examples be disparaged as somewhat foreign or profane, Christian princes can be instructed by our Constantine, Theodosius, Justinian and Leo and other most Christian princes.

If the ruler seeks excessive domination, if he attempts to use his power to enslave the community, then he is a tyrant. Yet he has not abandoned his end, if he has not neglected that to which he attains.

On the difference between the prince. These topics include major issues of metaphysics, cosmology, natural science, theology, and ethics. The Later LettersW. He was a convinced adherent of an Aristotelian-tinged doctrine that virtue necessarily consists in the mean, and that moderation in all things is the most valid standard for judging human thought and action Nederman Blackwell for the Ecclesiastical History Society.


If indeed virtue is hostile to prosperity, then wealth applauds its own in order to injure them; and this unhappy success follows in the path of fortune, so that in the end catastrophe occurs.

John of Salisbury: Policraticus (Cambridge Texts in the History of Political Thought)

For the prince, as the pinnacle of temporal political organisation, represents both the ordinary assurance of the security and liberty of his subjects and the authoritative source of earthly law and jurisdiction within his realm. Better indeed, testifies the holy Solomon, are lashings by friends than the fraudulent kisses of coaxers. Faith is always to be preferred to faithlessness. Yet men may accomplish much by nature alone, contrary to the Cornifician teaching that no attempt can or perhaps should be made to develop post-lapsarian man ML: John was consecrated Bishop of Chartres in a post in which he dedicated himself salisbur promoting the cult of Becket.

John of Salisbury (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)

The Cornifician error is to interpret the fixity of post-lapsarian human nature as a permanent condition, whereas, if this were correct, society could never have been formed originally, let alone maintained. Many chapters of the text are little more than a collection of such tales strung together with no apparent organisation or interconnection.

As a consequence, classical Epicureans insisted that no political lessons followed from their moral theory. If He proposes that the taxes are to be given, then the special people of the Lord, the seed of the children and the distinguished heredity of the Lord, would be slavishly subjected to such obligations as the tenth and first fruits and legal ceremonies.

All censures of law are void if they do not bear the image of the divine law; and the ordinance constitutio of the prince is useless if it does not conform to ecclesiastical discipline.