Baumann, Die Staatslehre des h. Thomas v. Aquino, Leipz. Enke, Stuttgart, Kirchenrechtl. Maugeri, M Petrarca e. Girolamo, V. Glannotta, Catania, On and Scholasticism, cf. Fracassetti, Le Monnier, Firenze, , 11, pp. BernardaMs, Teubner Leipz. Hortis, M. Voigt, o. Teubner, Leipz. Petrarch states that he does not wish to compose a systematic work on the art of government; he is fully aware of the fact that he is broaching a topic well-known to ait, and he is satisfied with setting down random notes and ideas as they flow from his pen.
It would be unfair to compare his opuscule to the great treatises on the subject. Instead of objective and abstract ideas, he offers personal remarks which make the letter ail the more significant and attractive to the modern reader. Two qualities are of fundamental importance in the rector patriae, amiability and justice, which cause him to be loved by the good, and to bs feared by the wicked.
Thus, amiability and justice must constitute the foundations of the rule of a good prince, and not fear.
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The prince must love his subjects and his State as he loves himself. The road of justice and pietas is the road to Heaven.
Arms will not protect the unjust and bad prince from his oppressed subjects. The hour of death ought to be an eternal memento to him, for his life determines whether his end is to be happy and peaceful. Fear as a means of government had been severely condemned by ail writers on the subject since Plato and Aristotle; and strictures on it remained a commonplace of political philosophy until Machiavelli. The original passages quoted in the notes, follow M. Orellii, ed.
Petrarch's warning that the prince is to be beneficent and merciful towards the entire commonwealth, and not only towards individual citizens, 80 o. Nam qui timore subduntur, si occurrat occasio qua possint impunitatem sperare, contra praesidentes insurgunt eo ardentius, quo magis contra voluntatem, ex solo timore cohibebantur. C: I, "Let those who are to preside over the state obey two precepts of Plato, one that they have reference to it in whatever they do, forgetting their own private interests; the other, that they care for the whole body politic. The same rule was laid down by Thomas Aquinas De Reg.
Thomas Aquinas likewise stressed the importance of splendid royal residences, alleging the very practical reason that they keep the common people in wholesome awe of the royal power De Reg. Thomas devoted an entire chapter to the discussion of the necessity of good roads De Reg. Whereas, however, Thomas emphasizes merely the utilitarian point of view, Petrarch as a true humanist sees the sesthetic side of the question, protests against ugliness, and demands "a satisfaction of the eyes" also.
Then, he advises Da Carrara to have the marshes around Padua drained. Was he reminiscent on this point of Thomas Aquinas, who clearly saw the significance of a wholesome climate and the danger of swamps, which he urged to be drained in case of need De Reg. But his tone turns serious again when he repeats the Ciceronian idea De Officiis, I, 25 that the ruler must be a sort of manager of his land; he must refrain from aIl unnecessary expenditure, and all his efforts must center on the well-being of his subjects.
Corazzini, Le Monnier, Firenze, , p. Such foresight, however, is not merely a moral duty of the prince: it is political wisdom for the physical welfare of the people spells security for the prince. This idea of Petrarch has been regarded by some critics as realistic, nay Machiavellian, and as a genuine precursor of the astute diplomacy of the later Renaissance. Very wrongly, to be sure, for Thomas Aquinas underlined just as much if not more the duties of the prince concerning the physical well-being of his subjects, and did not fail to discuss the importance of abundant food De Reg.
Clemency and liberality make for friends, while cruelty and greed have ruined many a prince and tyrant. Thomas and Aegidius o. This is a weighty distinction between the ideal prince of the 13th century and that of Petrarch. The purely humanitarian and practical viewpoint, in accordance with which the prince is to base his rule rather on love than on fear, was sufficiently emphasized by both Thomas and Aegidius, as we have seen.
Both, however, insisted upon the exalted task and calling of the ruler. M II, 14 , pointed out the importance of agreeableness and of affability of conversation, and quoted letters of Philip, of Antipater, and of Antigonus concerning the effects of kindliness in accosting soldiers in a genial manner. Indeed, Thomas Aquinas populi qui magis sensibilius movetur, quam ratione ducatur.
Augustine,44 who energetically reminded the Christian ruler of being a mere man: "But we call them i. On this seemingly trifling point, Petrarch is separated by an unbridgeable gap from his scholastic precursors, who advocated Christian humility but no sociability of the ruler as he did. Then, Petrarch warns Francesco against cruelty and greed. As cruelty is alien to his nature, he does not expatiate upon this vice; the more he does, however, on greed.
If nothing else, trust in, and the love of God will assist him to rid himself of this horrid shortcoming. Thomas Aquinas similarly warned against greed, and said that just management was apt to gather more treasures than injustice De Reg. Aegidius fulminated no less against the vice of avarice in princes o. But, of course, Petrarch found ample condemnation of greed in his beloved Cicero, too: in Parad.
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Due care must be exercised in the selection of officials, an important task to the discussion of which Thomas devoted no less than three chapters 4't On the tremendous influence of St. Augustine upon the political thought of the Middle Ages, cf. Teile abers. Begteittext versehen und behandelt v. Kad V6 ker, G. Ficher, Jena, t92!. Habere enim quaestui fempttbiiCMt non ntodo turpe est, sed scelerttmn etiam et nefarium.
May Da Carrara not be misguided by friendship when discharging this duty! Petrarch is not trying to persuade him to be ungrateful, for he hates ingratitude like the blackest sin. Let Da Carrara, however, show his gratitude by gifts and presents, but not by sharing his rule. Here, Petrarch follows Cicero's Laelius, whose chapters M and 12 expound that friendship must stop before the interests of the State. In De Officiis, I, 14, Cicero likewise cautioned against ill-placed friendships.
Thomas Aquinas devoted to the discussion of charity an entire chapter of his work De Reg. He commends him for his simplicity in clothing, all the more praiseworthy as the people will imitate the prince in everything. The passage was taken from Cicero's De Legibus, , 13, as Petrarch himself mentions, but could have well been borrowed from Aegidius also, who says in o. Aegidius o. This panegyric of stoical philosophy is followed by a much more novel and remarkable precept. Petrarch urges Da Carrara to respect and to befriend men of distinction in some field of activity; this practice will make princes respected and glorious.
Such men may be soldiers, or scholars, or men of mark for some other reason, justice or holiness, nostra aetate perrarum, he adds with a meiancholy sigh, men of letters, teachers and above all theologians but only such as Theologiam sacram scientiam, modo inanibus sophismatibus incorruptam" o.
He uses the opportunity to glorify the friends and poets of Augustus. Vergil did more for the fame of Rome than all her legions. Augustus associated with men who were ennobled by their genius, as with his equals; no wonder that poets, scholars, and orators flocked to Rome to make him immortal, not only from ai! Italy but also from Greece. This passage is all the more noteworthy as it evokes the glory of Florence, Rome, Urbino, and Ferrara in the coming two centuries. A hundred years before, despite all his respect for secular!
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But there is a far cry from Aegidius's practical respect to Petrarch's soaring enthusiasm for learning and poetry. Indeed, his encomium of the poet, based on Cicero's Pro Archia, allots to the prince an inferior position: if the name of the prince is handed down to posterity, he will owe it solely to his poetfriend. The new courtoisie, a great tradition of the Renaissance which will gain its finest expression in the Cortegiano, appears here for the first time. These scholars and poets merely adorn the court, although Petrarch, too, 51 Cf.
Tomas v. Aquin, B. Filser, Augsburg, ! Another personal wish finishes the letter: Petrarch asks Da Carrara to moderate the lamentation of women at funerals.