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Before the StateSystemic Political Change in the West from the Greeks to the French Revolution$
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Andreas Osiander

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780198294511

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2008

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198294511.001.0001

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The universal community of christendom

The universal community of christendom

Chapter:
(p.165) 3 The universal community of christendom
Source:
Before the State
Author(s):

Andreas Osiander

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198294511.003.0003

This chapter analyses why the Roman empire — from the 3rd century onwards, decayed and contracted — as well as why the east Roman empire of Constantinople survived until the 15th century. It discusses the foundations of the ideology of the Roman empire, valid until the end of the pre-Reformation period (as reflected in authors like Eusébios (Eusebius) of Kaisáreia, Augustine, or Paulus Orosius), and examines the circumstances and meaning of the repeated revival of a western Roman empire (800, 962, 1312). The final section is dedicated to the theory of empire of three important political thinkers of the ‘age of the scholastics’: Engelbert of Admont, Dante Alighieri, and Pierre Dubois. The chapter emphasizes that supralocal political structures in pre-Reformation Latin always remained weak and were based on voluntary adhesion, the perception of a common identity, rather than on forcible submission.

Keywords:   Roman empire, east Roman empire, Constantinople, Eusebius, Eusébios of Kaisáreia, Augustine, Paulus Orosius, Engelbert of Admont, Dante Alighieri, Pierre Dubois

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