De regno
ad regem Cypri


Thomas Aquinas

translated by
Gerald B. Phelan,
revised by
I. Th. Eschmann, O.P.

Toronto: The Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies, 1949
Re-edited and chapter numbers aligned with Latin, by Joseph Kenny, O.P.


Address to the King of Cyprus


  1. Preliminary observations
  2. Different kinds of rule
  3. The absolute merits of monarchy
  4. The absolute demerits of tyranny
  5. The historical merits of monarchy. Discussion
  6. The historical merits of monarchy. Solution
  7. Limited monarchy (fragment); Christian allegiance and tyrannical domination
  8. The reward of a king: (a) honour and glory?
  9. The reward of a king: (b) eternal beatitude
  10. The reward of a king: (c) eternal beatitude (continued)
  11. The reward of a king: (d) temporal prosperity
  12. The punishment for tyranny
  13. The method of this investigation
  14. God, the Creator, and the King-Founder
  15. Divine and human government (fragment); The king in Christendom
  16. The king in Christendom (continued)


  1. The King-Founder. Geopolitical considerations
  2. Geopolitical considerations (continued)
  3. Economic autarchy
  4. Geopolitical considerations (continued)

    Appendix: Selected parallel texts

Prooemium Introduction
Cogitanti mihi quid offerrem regiae celsitudini dignum meaeque professioni congruum et officio, id occurrit potissime offerendum, ut regi librum de regno conscriberem, in quo et regni originem et ea quae ad regis officium pertinent, secundum Scripturae divinae auctoritatem, philosophorum dogma et exempla laudatorum principum diligenter depromerem, iuxta ingenii proprii facultatem, principium, progressum, consummationem operis ex illius expectans auxilio qui est rex regum et dominus dominantium: per quem reges regnant, Deus, magnus dominus, et rex magnus super omnes deos. [1] As I was turning over in my mind what I might present to Your Majesty as a gift at once worthy of Your Royal Highness and befitting my profession and office, it seemed to me a highly appropriate offering that, for a king, I should write a book on kingship, in which, so far as my ability permits, I should carefully expound, according to the authority of Holy Writ and the teachings of the philosophers as well as the practice of worthy princes, both the origin of kingly government and the things which pertain to the office of a king, relying for the beginning, progress and accomplishment of this work, on the help of Him, Who is King of Kings, Lord of Lords, through Whom kings rule, God the Mighty Lord, King great above all gods.

Liber 1 BOOK ONE
Caput 1
Quod necesse est homines simul viventes ab aliquo diligenter regi
[That people living together must be ruled responsibly by someone]
Principium autem intentionis nostrae hinc sumere oportet, ut quid nomine regis intelligendum sit, exponatur. In omnibus autem quae ad finem aliquem ordinantur, in quibus contingit sic et aliter procedere, opus est aliquo dirigente, per quod directe debitum perveniatur ad finem. Non enim navis, quam secundum diversorum ventorum impulsum in diversa moveri contingit, ad destinatum finem perveniret nisi per gubernatoris industriam dirigeretur ad portum. Hominis autem est aliquis finis, ad quem tota vita eius et actio ordinatur, cum sit agens per intellectum, cuius est manifeste propter finem operari. Contingit autem diversimode homines ad finem intentum procedere, quod ipsa diversitas humanorum studiorum et actionum declarat. Indiget igitur homo aliquo dirigente ad finem. [3] In all things which are ordered towards an end, wherein this or that course may be adopted, some directive principle is needed through which the due end may be reached by the most direct route. A ship, for example, which moves in different directions. according to the impulse of the changing winds, would never reach its destination were it not brought to port by the skill of the pilot. Now, man has an end to which his whole life and all his actions are ordered; for man is an intelligent agent, and it is clearly the part of an intelligent agent to act in view of an end. Men also adopt different methods in proceeding towards their proposed end, as the diversity of men’s pursuits and actions clearly indicates. Consequently man needs some directive principle to guide him towards his end.
Est autem unicuique hominum naturaliter insitum rationis lumen, quo in suis actibus dirigatur ad finem. Et si quidem homini conveniret singulariter vivere, sicut multis animalium, nullo alio dirigente indigeret ad finem, sed ipse sibi unusquisque esset rex sub Deo summo rege, in quantum per lumen rationis divinitus datum sibi, in suis actibus se ipsum dirigeret. Naturale autem est homini ut sit animal sociale et politicum, in multitudine vivens, magis etiam quam omnia alia animalia, quod quidem naturalis necessitas declarat. [4] To be sure, the light of reason is placed by nature in every man, to guide him in his acts towards his end. Wherefore, if man were intended to live alone, as many animals do, he would require no other guide to his end. Each man would be a king unto himself, under God, the highest King, inasmuch as he would direct himself in his acts by the light of reason given him from on high. Yet it is natural for man, more than for any other animal, to be a social and political animal, Footnote to live in a group.
[5] This is clearly a necessity of man’s nature. Footnote
Aliis enim animalibus natura praeparavit cibum, tegumenta pilorum, defensionem, ut dentes, cornua, ungues, vel saltem velocitatem ad fugam. Homo autem institutus est nullo horum sibi a natura praeparato, sed loco omnium data est ei ratio, per quam sibi haec omnia officio manuum posset praeparare, ad quae omnia praeparanda unus homo non sufficit. Nam unus homo per se sufficienter vitam transigere non posset. Est igitur homini naturale quod in societate multorum vivat. For all other animals, nature has prepared food, hair as a covering, teeth, horns, claws as means of defence or at least speed in flight, while man alone was made without any natural provisions for these things. Instead of all these, man was endowed with reason, by the use of which he could procure all these things for himself by the work of his hands. Now, one man alone is not able to procure them all for himself, for one man could not sufficiently provide for life, unassisted. It is therefore natural that man should live in the society of many.
Amplius: aliis animalibus insita est naturalis industria ad omnia ea quae sunt eis utilia vel nociva, sicut ovis naturaliter aestimat lupum inimicum. Quaedam etiam animalia ex naturali industria cognoscunt aliquas herbas medicinales et alia eorum vitae necessaria. Homo autem horum, quae sunt suae vitae necessaria, naturalem cognitionem habet solum in communi, quasi eo per rationem valente ex universalibus principiis ad cognitionem singulorum, quae necessaria sunt humanae vitae, pervenire. Non est autem possibile quod unus homo ad omnia huiusmodi per suam rationem pertingat. Est igitur necessarium homini quod in multitudine vivat, ut unus ab alio adiuvetur et diversi diversis inveniendis per rationem occupentur, puta, unus in medicina, alius in hoc, alius in alio. [6] Moreover, all other animals are able to, discern, by inborn skill, what is useful and what is injurious, even as the sheep naturally regards the wolf as his enemy. Some animals also recognize by natural skill certain medicinal herbs and other things necessary for their life. Man, on the contrary, has a natural knowledge of the things which are essential for his. life only in a general fashion, inasmuch as he is able to attain knowledge of the particular things necessary for human life by reasoning from natural principles. But it is not possible for one man to arrive at a knowledge of all these things by his own individual reason. It is therefore necessary for man to live in a multitude so that each one may assist his fellows, and different men may be occupied in seeking, by their reason, to make different discoveries—one, for example, in medicine, one in this and another in that.
Hoc etiam evidentissime declaratur per hoc, quod est proprium hominis locutione uti, per quam unus homo aliis suum conceptum totaliter potest exprimere. Alia quidem animalia exprimunt mutuo passiones suas in communi, ut canis in latratu iram, et alia animalia passiones suas diversis modis. Magis igitur homo est communicativus alteri quam quodcumque aliud animal, quod gregale videtur, ut grus, formica et apis. Hoc ergo considerans Salomon in Eccle. IV, 9, ait: melius est esse duos quam unum. Habent enim emolumentum mutuae societatis. [7] This point is further and most plainly evidenced by the fact that the. use of speech is a prerogative proper to man. By this means, one man is able fully to express his conceptions to others. Other animals, it is true, express their feelings to one another in a general way, as a dog may express anger by barking and other animals give vent to other feelings in various fashions. But man communicates with his kind more completely than any other animal known to be gregarious, such as the crane, the ant or the bee.—With this in mind, Solomon says: “It is better that there be two than one; for they have the advantage of their company.”’
Si ergo naturale est homini quod in societate multorum vivat, necesse est in hominibus esse per quod multitudo regatur. Multis enim existentibus hominibus et unoquoque id, quod est sibi congruum, providente, multitudo in diversa dispergeretur, nisi etiam esset aliquis de eo quod ad bonum multitudinis pertinet curam habens; sicut et corpus hominis et cuiuslibet animalis deflueret, nisi esset aliqua vis regitiva communis in corpore, quae ad bonum commune omnium membrorum intenderet. Quod considerans Salomon dicit: ubi non est gubernator, dissipabitur populus. [8] If, then, it is natural for man to live in the society of many, it is necessary that there exist among men some means by which the group may be governed. For where there are many men together and each one is looking after his own interest, the multitude would be broken up and scattered unless there were also an agency to take care of what appertains to the commonweal. In like manner, the body of a man or any other animal would disintegrate unless there were a general ruling force within the body which watches over the common good of all members. With this in mind, Solomon says [Eccl. 4:9]: “Where there is no governor, the people shall fall.”
Hoc autem rationabiliter accidit: non enim idem est quod proprium et quod commune. Secundum propria quidem differunt, secundum autem commune uniuntur. Diversorum autem diversae sunt causae. Oportet igitur, praeter id quod movet ad proprium bonum uniuscuiusque, esse aliquid quod movet ad bonum commune multorum. Propter quod et in omnibus quae in unum ordinantur, aliquid invenitur alterius regitivum. In universitate enim corporum per primum corpus, scilicet caeleste, alia corpora ordine quodam divinae providentiae reguntur, omniaque corpora per creaturam rationalem. In uno etiam homine anima regit corpus, atque inter animae partes irascibilis et concupiscibilis ratione reguntur. Itemque inter membra corporis unum est principale, quod omnia movet, ut cor, aut caput. Oportet igitur esse in omni multitudine aliquod regitivum. [9] Indeed it is reasonable that this should happen, for what is proper and what is common are not identical. Things differ by what is proper to each: they are united by what they have in common. But diversity of effects is due to diversity of causes. Consequently, there must exist something which impels towards the common good of the many, over and above that which impels towards the particular good of each individual. Wherefore also in all things that are ordained towards one end, one thing is found to rule the rest. Thus in the corporeal universe, by the first body, i.e. the celestial body, the other bodies are regulated according to the order of Divine Providence; and all bodies are ruled by a rational creature. So, too in the individual man, the soul rules the body; and among the parts of the soul, the irascible and the concupiscible parts are ruled by reason. Likewise, among the members of a body, one, such as the heart or the head, is the principal and moves all the others. Therefore in every multitude there must be some governing power.

Caput 2
Distinguitur multiplex dominium sive regimen
Contingit autem in quibusdam, quae ordinantur ad finem, et recte, et non recte procedere. Quare et in regimine multitudinis et rectum, et non rectum invenitur. Recte autem dirigitur unumquodque quando ad finem convenientem deducitur; non recte autem quando ad finem non convenientem. Alius autem est finis conveniens multitudini liberorum, et servorum. Nam liber est, qui sui causa est; servus autem est, qui id quod est, alterius est. Si igitur liberorum multitudo a regente ad bonum commune multitudinis ordinetur, erit regimen rectum et iustum, quale convenit liberis. Si vero non ad bonum commune multitudinis, sed ad bonum privatum regentis regimen ordinetur, erit regimen iniustum atque perversum, unde et dominus talibus rectoribus comminatur per Ezech. XXXIV, 2, dicens: vae pastoribus qui pascebant semetipsos (quasi sua propria commoda quaerentes): nonne greges a pastoribus pascuntur? Bonum siquidem gregis pastores quaerere debent, et rectores quilibet bonum multitudinis sibi subiectae. [10] Now it happens in certain things which are, ordained towards an end that one may proceed in a right way and also in a wrong way. So, too, in the government of a multitude there is a distinction between right and wrong. A thing is rightly directed when it is led towards a befitting end; wrongly when it is led towards an unbefitting end. Now the end which befits a multitude of free men is different from that which befits a multitude of slaves, for the free man is one who exists for his own sake, while the slave, as such, exists for the sake of another. If, therefore, a multitude of free men is ordered by the ruler towards the common good of the multitude, that rulership will be right and just, as is suitable to free men. If, on the other hand, a rulership aims, not at the common good of the multitude, but at the private good of the ruler, it will be an unjust and perverted rulership. The Lord, therefore, threatens such rulers, saying by the mouth of Ezekiel: “Woe to the shepherds that feed themselves (seeking, that is, their own interest) : should not the flocks be fed by the shepherd?” Shepherds indeed should seek the good of their flocks, and every ruler, the good of the multitude subject to him.
Si igitur regimen iniustum per unum tantum fiat qui sua commoda ex regimine quaerat, non autem bonum multitudinis sibi subiectae, talis rector tyrannus vocatur, nomine a fortitudine derivato, quia scilicet per potentiam opprimit, non per iustitiam regit: unde et apud antiquos potentes quique tyranni vocabantur. Si vero iniustum regimen non per unum fiat, sed per plures, siquidem per paucos, oligarchia vocatur, id est principatus paucorum, quando scilicet pauci propter divitias opprimunt plebem, sola pluralitate a tyranno differentes. Si vero iniquum regimen exerceatur per multos, democratia nuncupatur, id est potentatus populi, quando scilicet populus plebeiorum per potentiam multitudinis opprimit divites. Sic enim populus totus erit quasi unus tyrannus. [11] If an unjust government is carried on by one man alone, Footnote who seeks his own benefit from his rule and not the good of the multitude subject to him, such a ruler is called a tyrant—a word derived from strength—because he oppresses by might instead of ruling by justice. Thus among the ancients all powerful men were called tyrants. If an. unjust government is carried on, not by one but by several, and if they be few, it is called an oligarchy, that is, the rule of a few. This occurs when a few, who differ from the tyrant only by the fact that they are more than one, oppress the people by means of their wealth. If, finally, the bad government is carried on by the multitude, it is called a democracy, i.e. control by the populace, which comes about when the plebeian people by force of numbers oppress the rich. In this way the whole people will be as one tyrant.
Similiter autem et iustum regimen distingui oportet. Si enim administretur per aliquam multitudinem, communi nomine politia vocatur, utpote cum multitudo bellatorum in civitate vel provincia dominatur. Si vero administretur per paucos, virtuosos autem, huiusmodi regimen aristocratia vocatur, id est potentatus optimus, vel optimorum, qui propterea optimates dicuntur. Si vero iustum regimen ad unum tantum pertineat, ille proprie rex vocatur: unde dominus per Ezech. dicit: servus meus David rex super omnes erit, et pastor unus erit omnium eorum. [12] In like manner we must divide just governments. If the government is administered by many, it is given the name common to all forms of government, viz. polity, as for instance when a group of warriors exercise dominion over a city or province. If it is administered by a few men of virtue, this kind of government is called an aristocracy, i.e. noble governance, or governance by noble men, who for this reason are called the Optimates. And if a just government is in the hands of one man alone, he is properly called a king. Wherefore the Lord says by the mouth of Ezekiel:” “My servant, David, shall be king over them and all of them shall have one shepherd.”
Ex quo manifeste ostenditur quod de ratione regis est quod sit unus, qui praesit, et quod sit pastor commune multitudinis bonum, et non suum commodum quaerens. [13] From this it is clearly shown that the idea of king implies that he be one man who is chief and that he be a shepherd, seeking the common good of the multitude and not his own.
Cum autem homini competat in multitudine vivere, quia sibi non sufficit ad necessaria vitae si solitarius maneat, oportet quod tanto sit perfectior multitudinis societas, quanto magis per se sufficiens erit ad necessaria vitae. Habetur siquidem aliqua vitae sufficientia in una familia domus unius, quantum scilicet ad naturales actus nutritionis, et prolis generandae, et aliorum huiusmodi; in uno autem vico, quantum ad ea quae ad unum artificium pertinent; in civitate vero, quae est perfecta communitas, quantum ad omnia necessaria vitae; sed adhuc magis in provincia una propter necessitatem compugnationis et mutui auxilii contra hostes. Unde qui perfectam communitatem regit, id est civitatem vel provinciam, antonomastice rex vocatur; qui autem domum regit, non rex, sed paterfamilias dicitur. Habet tamen aliquam similitudinem regis, propter quam aliquando reges populorum patres vocantur. [14] Now since man must live in a group, because he is not sufficient unto himself to procure the necessities of life were he to remain solitary, it follows that a society will be the more perfect the more it is sufficient unto itself to procure the necessities of life. Footnote There is, to some extent, sufficiency for life in one family of one household, namely, insofar as pertains to the natural acts of nourishment and the begetting of offspring and other things of this kind. Self-sufficiency exists, furthermore, in one street Footnote with regard to those things which belong to the trade of one guild. In a city, which is the perfect community, it exists with regard to all the necessities of life. Still more self-sufficiency is found in a province Footnote because of the need of fighting together and of mutual help against enemies. Hence the man ruling a perfect community, i.e. a city or a province, is antonomastically called the king. The ruler of a household is called father, not king, although he bears a certain resemblance to the king, for which reason kings are sometimes called the fathers of their peoples.
Ex dictis igitur patet, quod rex est qui unius multitudinem civitatis vel provinciae, et propter bonum commune, regit; unde Salomon in Eccle. V, 8, dicit: universae terrae rex imperat servienti. [15] It is plain, therefore, from what has been said, that a king is one who rules the people of one city or province, and rules them for the common good. Wherefore Solomon says [Eccl. 5:8]: “The king rules over all the land subject to him.”

Caput 3
Quod utilius est multitudinem hominum simul viventium regi per unum quam per plures
His autem praemissis requirere oportet quid provinciae vel civitati magis expedit: utrum a pluribus regi, vel uno. Hoc autem considerari potest ex ipso fine regiminis. [16] Having set forth these preliminary points we must now inquire what is better for a province or a city: whether to be ruled by one man or by many.
Ad hoc enim cuiuslibet regentis ferri debet intentio, ut eius quod regendum suscepit salutem procuret. Gubernatoris enim est, navem contra maris pericula servando, illaesam perducere ad portum salutis. Bonum autem et salus consociatae multitudinis est ut eius unitas conservetur, quae dicitur pax, qua remota, socialis vitae perit utilitas, quinimmo multitudo dissentiens sibi ipsi sit onerosa. Hoc igitur est ad quod maxime rector multitudinis intendere debet, ut pacis unitatem procuret. Nec recte consiliatur, an pacem faciat in multitudine sibi subiecta, sicut medicus, an sanet infirmum sibi commissum. Nullus enim consiliari debet de fine quem intendere debet, sed de his quae sunt ad finem. Propterea apostolus commendata fidelis populi unitate: solliciti, inquit, sitis servare unitatem spiritus in vinculo pacis. Quanto igitur regimen efficacius fuerit ad unitatem pacis servandam, tanto erit utilius. Hoc enim utilius dicimus, quod magis perducit ad finem. Manifestum est autem quod unitatem magis efficere potest quod est per se unum, quam plures. Sicut efficacissima causa est calefactionis quod est per se calidum. Utilius igitur est regimen unius, quam plurium. [17] This question may be considered first from the viewpoint of the purpose of government. The aim of any ruler should be directed towards securing the welfare of that which he undertakes to rule. The duty of the pilot, for instance, is to preserve his ship amidst the perils of the sea. and to bring it unharmed to the port of safety. Now the welfare and safety of a multitude formed into a society lies in the preservation of its unity, which is called peace. If this is removed, the benefit of social life is lost and, moreover, the multitude in its disagreement becomes a burden to itself. The chief concern of the ruler of a multitude, therefore, is to procure the unity of peace. It is not even legitimate for him to deliberate whether he shall establish peace in the multitude subject to him, just as a physician does not deliberate whether he shall heal the sick man encharged to him, Footnote for no one should deliberate about an end which he is obliged to seek, but only about the means to attain that end. Wherefore the Apostle, having commended the unity of the faithful people, says: “Be ye careful to keep the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace.” Thus, the more efficacious a. government is in keeping the unity of peace, the more useful it will be. For we call that more useful which leads more directly to the end. Now it is manifest that what is itself one can more efficaciously bring about unity than several—just as the most efficacious cause of heat is that which is by its nature hot. Therefore the rule of one man is more useful than the rule of many.
Amplius, manifestum est quod plures multitudinem nullo modo conservant, si omnino dissentirent. Requiritur enim in pluribus quaedam unio ad hoc, quod quoquo modo regere possint: quia nec multi navem in unam partem traherent, nisi aliquo modo coniuncti. Uniri autem dicuntur plura per appropinquationem ad unum. Melius igitur regit unus quam plures ex eo quod appropinquant ad unum. [18] Furthermore, it is evident that several persons could by no means preserve the stability of the community if they totally disagreed. For union is necessary among them if they are to rule at all: several men, for instance, could not pull a ship in one direction unless joined together in some fashion. Now several are said to be united according as they come closer to being one. So one man rules better than several who come near being one.
Adhuc: ea, quae sunt ad naturam, optime se habent: in singulis enim operatur natura, quod optimum est. Omne autem naturale regimen ab uno est. In membrorum enim multitudine unum est quod omnia movet, scilicet cor; et in partibus animae una vis principaliter praesidet, scilicet ratio. Est etiam apibus unus rex, et in toto universo unus Deus factor omnium et rector. Et hoc rationabiliter. Omnis enim multitudo derivatur ab uno. Quare si ea quae sunt secundum artem, imitantur ea quae sunt secundum naturam, et tanto magis opus artis est melius, quanto magis assequitur similitudinem eius quod est in natura, necesse est quod in humana multitudine optimum sit quod per unum regatur. [19] Again, whatever is in accord with nature is best, for in all things nature does what is best. Now, every natural governance is governance by one. In the multitude of bodily members there is one which is the principal mover, namely, the heart; and among the powers of the soul one power presides as chief, namely, the reason. Among bees there is one king bee’ and in the whole universe there is One God, Maker and Ruler of all things. And there is a reason for this. Every multitude is derived from unity. Wherefore, if artificial things are an imitation of natural things’ and a work of art is better according as it attains a closer likeness to what is in nature, it follows that it is best for a human multitude to be ruled by one person.
Hoc etiam experimentis apparet. Nam provinciae vel civitates quae non reguntur ab uno, dissensionibus laborant et absque pace fluctuant, ut videatur adimpleri quod dominus per prophetam conqueritur, dicens: pastores multi demoliti sunt vineam meam. E contrario vero provinciae et civitates quae sub uno rege reguntur, pace gaudent, iustitia florent, et affluentia rerum laetantur. Unde dominus pro magno munere per prophetas populo suo promittit, quod poneret sibi caput unum, et quod princeps unus erit in medio eorum. [20] This is also evident from experience. For provinces or cities which are not ruled by one person are torn with dissensions and tossed about without peace, so that the complaint seems to be fulfilled which the Lord uttered through the Prophet [Jer 12:10]: “Many pastors have destroyed my vineyard.” On the other hand, provinces and cities which are ruled under one king enjoy peace, flourish in justice, and delight in prosperity. Hence, the Lord by His prophets promises to His people as a great reward that He will give them one head and that “one Prince will be in the midst of them” [Ez 34:24, Jer 30:21].

Caput 4
Quod, sicut dominium unius optimum est, quando est iustum, ita oppositum eius est pessimum, probatur multis rationibus et argumentis
Sicut autem regimen regis est optimum, ita regimen tyranni est pessimum. [21] Just as the government of a king is the best, so the government of a tyrant is the worst.
Opponitur enim politiae quidem democratia, utrumque enim, sicut ex dictis apparet, est regimen quod per plures exercetur; aristocratiae vero oligarchia, utrumque enim exercetur per paucos; regnum autem tyrannidi, utrumque enim per unum exercetur. Quod autem regnum sit optimum regimen, ostensum est prius. Si igitur optimo opponitur pessimum, necesse est quod tyrannis sit pessimum. [22] For democracy stands in contrary opposition to polity, since both are governments carried on by many persons, as is clear from what has already been said; while oligarchy is the opposite of aristocracy, since both are governments carried on by a few persons; and kingship is the opposite of tyranny since both are carried on by one person. Now, as has been shown above, monarchy is the best government. If, therefore, “it is the contrary of the best that is worst.” it follows that tyranny is the worst kind of government.
Adhuc: virtus unita magis est efficax ad effectum inducendum, quam dispersa vel divisa. Multi enim congregati simul trahunt quod divisim per partes singulariter a singulis trahi non posset. Sicut igitur utilius est virtutem operantem ad bonum esse magis unam, ut sit virtuosior ad operandum bonum, ita magis est nocivum si virtus operans malum sit una, quam divisa. Virtus autem iniuste praesidentis operatur ad malum multitudinis, dum commune bonum multitudinis in sui ipsius bonum tantum retorquet. Sicut igitur in regimine iusto, quanto regens est magis unum, tanto est utilius regimen, ut regnum melius est quam aristocratia, aristocratia vero quam politia; ita e converso erit et in iniusto regimine, ut videlicet quanto regens est magis unum, tanto magis sit nocivum. Magis igitur est nociva tyrannis quam oligarchia: oligarchia autem quam democratia. [23] Further, a united force is more efficacious in producing its effect than a force which is scattered or divided. Many persons together can pull a load which could not be pulled by each one taking his part separately and acting individually. Therefore, just as it is more useful for a force operating for a good to be more united, in order that it may work good more effectively, so a force operating for evil is more harmful when it is one than when it is divided. Now, the power of one who rules unjustly works to the detriment of the multitude, in that he diverts the common good of the multitude to his own benefit. Therefore, for the same reason that, in a just government, the government is better in proportion as the ruling power is one-thus monarchy is better than aristocracy, and aristocracy better than polity—so the contrary will be true of an unjust government, namely, that the ruling power will be more harmful in proportion as it is more unitary. Consequently, tyranny is more harmful than oligarchy; and oligarchy more harmful than democracy.
Amplius: per hoc regimen fit iniustum, quod spreto bono communi multitudinis, quaeritur bonum privatum regentis. Quanto igitur magis receditur a bono communi, tanto est regimen magis iniustum. Plus autem receditur a bono communi in oligarchia, in qua quaeritur bonum paucorum, quam in democratia, in qua quaeritur bonum multorum; et adhuc plus receditur a bono communi in tyrannide, in qua quaeritur bonum tantum unius: omni enim universitati propinquius est multum quam paucum, et paucum quam unum solum. Regimen igitur tyranni est iniustissimum. [24] Moreover, a government becomes unjust by the fact that the ruler, paying no heed to the common good, seeks his own private good. Wherefore the further he departs from the common good the more unjust will his government be. But there is a greater departure from the common good in an oligarchy, in which the advantage of a few is sought, than in a democracy, in which the advantage of many is sought; and there is a still greater departure from the common good in a tyranny, where the advantage of only one man is sought. For a large number is closer to the totality than a small number, and a small number than only one. Thus, the government of a tyrant is the most unjust.
Similiter autem manifestum fit considerantibus divinae providentiae ordinem, quae optime universa disponit. Nam bonum provenit in rebus ex una causa perfecta, quasi omnibus adunatis quae ad bonum iuvare possunt, malum autem singillatim ex singularibus defectibus. Non enim est pulchritudo in corpore, nisi omnia membra fuerint decenter disposita; turpitudo autem contingit, quodcumque membrum indecenter se habeat. Et sic turpitudo ex pluribus causis diversimode provenit, pulchritudo autem uno modo ex una causa perfecta: et sic est in omnibus bonis et malis, tanquam hoc Deo providente, ut bonum ex una causa sit fortius, malum autem ex pluribus causis sit debilius. Expedit igitur ut regimen iustum sit unius tantum, ad hoc ut sit fortius. Quod si in iniustitiam declinat regimen, expedit magis ut sit multorum, ut sit debilius, et se invicem impediant. Inter iniusta igitur regimina tolerabilius est democratia, pessimum vero tyrannis. [25] The same conclusion is made clear to those who consider the order of Divine Providence, which disposes everything in the best way. In all things, good ensues from one perfect cause, i.e. from the totality of the conditions favourable to the production of the effect, while evil results from any one partial defect. There is beauty in a body when all its members are fittingly disposed; ugliness, on the other hand, arises when any one member is not fittingly disposed. Thus ugliness results in different ways from many causes; beauty in one way from one perfect cause. It is thus with all good and evil things, as if God so provided that good, arising from one cause, be stronger, and evil, arising from many causes, be weaker. It is expedient therefore that a just government be that of one man only in order that it may be stronger; however, if the government should turn away from justice, it is more expedient that it be a government by many, so that it may be weaker and the many may mutually hinder one another. Among unjust governments, therefore, democracy is the most tolerable, but the worst is tyranny.
Idem etiam maxime apparet, si quis consideret mala quae ex tyrannis proveniunt, quia cum tyrannus, contempto communi bono, quaerit privatum, consequens est ut subditos diversimode gravet, secundum quod diversis passionibus subiacet ad bona aliqua affectanda. Qui enim passione cupiditatis detinetur, bona subditorum rapit: unde Salomon: rex iustus erigit terram, vir avarus destruet eam. Si vero iracundiae passioni subiaceat, pro nihilo sanguinem fundit, unde per Ezech. XXII, 27, dicitur: principes eius in medio eius quasi lupi rapientes praedam ad effundendum sanguinem. Hoc igitur regimen fugiendum esse, sapiens monet, dicens: longe esto ab homine potestatem habente occidendi, quia scilicet non pro iustitia, sed per potestatem occidit pro libidine voluntatis. Sic igitur nulla erit securitas, sed omnia sunt incerta cum a iure disceditur, nec firmari quidquam potest quod positum est in alterius voluntate, ne dicam libidine. Nec solum in corporalibus subditos gravat, sed etiam spiritualia eorum bona impedit, quia qui plus praeesse appetunt quam prodesse, omnem profectum subditorum impediunt, suspicantes omnem subditorum excellentiam suae iniquae dominationi praeiudicium esse. Tyrannis enim magis boni quam mali suspecti sunt, semperque his aliena virtus formidolosa est. [26] This same conclusion is also apparent if one considers the evils which come from tyrants. Since a tyrant, despising the common good, seeks his private interest, it follows that he will oppress his subjects in different ways according as he is dominated by different passions to acquire certain goods. The one who is enthralled by the passion of cupidity seizes the goods of his subjects; whence Solomon says [Prov 29:4]: “A just king sets up the land; a covetous man shall destroy it.” If he is dominated by the passion of anger, he sheds blood for nothing; whence it is said by Ezekiel: ‘ “Her princes in the midst of her are like wolves ravening the prey to shed blood.” Therefore this kind of government is to be avoided as the Wise man admonishes [Sirach 9:13]: “Keep far from the man who has the power to kill,” because he kills not for justice’ sake but by his power, for the lust of his will. Thus there can be no safety. Everything is uncertain when there is a departure from justice. Nobody will be able firmly to state: This thing is such and such, when it depends upon the will of another, not to say upon his caprice. Nor does the tyrant merely oppress his subjects in corporal things but he also hinders their spiritual good. Those who seek more to use, than to be of use to, their subjects prevent all progress, suspecting all excellence in their subjects to be prejudicial to their own evil domination. For tyrants hold the good in greater suspicion than the wicked, and to them the valour of others is always fraught with danger.
Conantur igitur praedicti tyranni, ne ipsorum subditi virtuosi effecti magnanimitatis concipiant spiritum et eorum iniquam dominationem non ferant, ne inter subditos amicitiae foedus firmetur et pacis emolumento ad invicem gaudeant, ut sic dum unus de altero non confidit, contra eorum dominium aliquid moliri non possint. Propter quod inter ipsos discordias seminant, exortas nutriunt, et ea quae ad foederationem hominum pertinent, ut connubia et convivia, prohibent, et caetera huiusmodi, per quae inter homines solet familiaritas et fiducia generari. Conantur etiam ne potentes aut divites fiant, quia de subditis secundum suae malitiae conscientiam suspicantes, sicut ipsi potentia et divitiis ad nocendum utuntur, ita timent ne potentia subditorum et divitiae eis nocivae reddantur. Unde et Iob XV, 21, de tyranno dicitur: sonitus terroris semper in auribus eius, et cum pax sit (nullo scilicet malum ei intentante), ille semper insidias suspicatur. [27] So the above-mentioned tyrants strive to prevent those of their subjects who have become virtuous from acquiring valour and high spirit in order that they may not want to cast off their iniquitous domination. They also see to it that there be no friendly relations among these so that they may not enjoy the benefits resulting from being on good terms with one another, for as long as one has no confidence in the other, no plot will be set up against the tyrant’s domination. Wherefore they sow discords among the people, foster any that have arisen, and forbid anything which furthers society and co-operation among men, such as marriage, company at table and anything of like character, through which familiarity and confidence are engendered among men. They moreover strive to prevent their subjects from becoming powerful and rich since, suspecting these to be as wicked as themselves, they fear their power and wealth; for the subjects might become harmful to them even as they are accustomed to use power and wealth to harm others. Footnote Whence in the Book of Job it is said of the tyrant [15:21]: “The sound of dread is always in his ears and when there is peace (that is, when there is no one to harm him), he always suspects treason.”
Ex hoc autem contingit ut, dum praesidentes, qui subditos ad virtutes inducere deberent, virtuti subditorum nequiter invident et eam pro posse impediunt, sub tyrannis pauci virtuosi inveniantur. Nam iuxta sententiam philosophi apud illos inveniuntur fortes viri, apud quos fortissimi quique honorantur, et ut Tullius dicit: iacent semper et parum vigent, quae apud quosque improbantur. Naturale etiam est ut homines, sub timore nutriti, in servilem degenerent animum et pusillanimes fiant ad omne virile opus et strenuum: quod experimento patet in provinciis quae diu sub tyrannis fuerunt. Unde apostolus, Col. III, 21, dicit: patres, nolite ad indignationem provocare filios vestros, ne pusillo animo fiant. [28] It thus results that when rulers, who ought to induce their subjects to virtue,” are wickedly jealous of the virtue of their subjects and hinder it as much as they can, few virtuous men are found under the rule of tyrants. For, according to Aristotle’s sentence [Eth. III, 11: 1116a 20], brave men are found where brave men are honoured. And as Tullius says [Tuscul. Disp. I, 2, 4]: “Those who are despised by everybody are disheartened and flourish but little.” It is also natural that men, brought up in fear, should become mean of spirit and discouraged in the face of any strenuous and manly task. This is shown by experience in provinces that have long been under tyrants. Hence the Apostle says to the Colossians: “Fathers, provoke not your children to indignation, lest they be discouraged.”
Haec igitur nocumenta tyrannidis rex Salomon considerans, dicit: regnantibus impiis, ruinae hominum, quia scilicet per nequitiam tyrannorum subiecti a virtutum perfectione deficiunt; et iterum dicit: cum impii sumpserint principatum, gemet populus, quasi sub servitute deductus; et iterum: cum surrexerint impii, abscondentur homines, ut tyrannorum crudelitatem evadant. Nec est mirum, quia homo absque ratione secundum animae suae libidinem praesidens nihil differt a bestia, unde Salomon: leo rugiens et ursus esuriens princeps impius super populum pauperem; et ideo a tyrannis se abscondunt homines sicut a crudelibus bestiis, idemque videtur tyranno subiici, et bestiae saevienti substerni. [29] So, considering these evil effects of tyranny King Solomon says [Prov 28:12]: “When the wicked reign, men are ruined” because, forsooth, through the wickedness of tyrants, subjects fall away from the perfection of virtue. And again he says [Prov 29:2]: “When the wicked rule the people shall mourn, as though led into slavery.” And again [Prov 28:28]: “When the wicked rise up men shall hide themselves”, that they may escape the cruelty of the tyrant. It is no wonder, for a man governing without reason, according to the lust of his soul, in no way differs from the beast. Whence Solomon says [Prov 28:15]: ”As a roaring lion and a hungry bear, so is a wicked prince over the poor people.” Therefore men hide from tyrants as from cruel beasts and it seems that to be subject to a tyrant is the same thing as to lie prostrate beneath a raging beast.

Caput 5
Quomodo variatum est dominium apud Romanos, et quod interdum apud eos magis aucta est respublica ex dominio plurium
Quia igitur optimum et pessimum consistunt in monarchia, id est principatu unius, multis quidem propter tyrannorum malitiam redditur regia dignitas odiosa. Quidam vero dum regimen regis desiderant, incidunt in saevitiam tyrannorum, rectoresque quamplures tyrannidem exercent sub praetextu regiae dignitatis. [30] Because both the best and the worst government are latent in monarchy, i.e. in the rule of one man, the royal dignity is rendered hateful to many people on account of the wickedness of tyrants. Some men, indeed, whilst they desire to be ruled by a king, fall under the cruelty of tyrants, and not a few rulers exercise tyranny under the cloak of royal dignity.
Horum quidem exemplum evidenter apparet in Romana republica. Regibus enim a populo Romano expulsis, dum regium vel potius tyrannicum fastum ferre non possent, instituerant sibi consules et alios magistratus per quos regi coeperunt et dirigi, regnum in aristocratiam commutare volentes et, sicut refert Salustius: incredibile est memoratu, quantum, adepta libertate, in brevi Romana civitas creverit. Plerumque namque contingit, ut homines sub rege viventes, segnius ad bonum commune nitantur, utpote aestimantes id quod ad commune bonum impendunt non sibi ipsis conferre sed alteri, sub cuius potestate vident esse bona communia. Cum vero bonum commune non vident esse in potestate unius, non attendunt ad bonum commune quasi ad id quod est alterius, sed quilibet attendit ad illud quasi suum: [31] A clear example of this is found in the Roman Republic. When the kings had been driven out by the Roman people, because they could not bear the royal, or rather tyrannical, arrogance, they instituted consuls and other magistrates by whom they began to be ruled and guided. They changed the kingdom into an aristocracy, and, as Sallust relates [Bellum Catilinae VI, 7]: “The Roman city, once liberty was won, waxed incredibly strong and great in a remarkably short time.” For it frequently happens that men living under a king strive more sluggishly for the common good, inasmuch as they consider that what they devote to the common good, they do not confer upon themselves but upon another, under whose power they see the common goods to be. But when they see that the common good is not under the power of one man, they do not attend to it as if it belonged to another, but each one attends to it as if it were his own.
unde experimento videtur quod una civitas per annuos rectores administrata, plus potest interdum quam rex aliquis, si haberet tres vel quatuor civitates; parvaque servitia exacta a regibus gravius ferunt quam magna onera, si a communitate civium imponantur. Quod in promotione Romanae reipublicae servatum fuit. Nam plebe ad militiam scribebatur, et pro militantibus stipendia exsolvebant, et cum stipendiis exsolvendis non sufficeret commune aerarium, in usus publicos opes venere privatae, adeo ut praeter singulos annulos aureos, singulasque bullas, quae erant dignitatis insignia, nihil sibi auri ipse etiam senatus reliquerit. [32] Experience thus teaches that one city administered by rulers, changing annually, is sometimes able to do more than some kings having, perchance, two or three cities; and small services exacted by kings weigh more heavily than great burdens imposed by the community of citizens. This held good in the history of the Roman Republic. The plebs were enrolled in the army and were paid wages for military service. Then when the common treasury was failing, private riches came forth for public uses, to such an extent that not even the senators retained any gold for themselves save one ring and the one bulla (the insignia of their dignity).
Sed cum dissensionibus fatigarentur continuis, quae usque ad bella civilia excreverunt, quibus bellis civilibus eis libertas, ad quam multum studuerant, de manibus erepta est, sub potestate imperatorum esse coeperunt, qui se reges a principio appellari noluerunt, quia Romanis fuerat nomen regium odiosum. Horum autem quidam more regio bonum commune fideliter procuraverunt, per quorum studium Romana respublica et aucta et conservata est. Plurimi vero eorum in subditos quidem tyranni, ad hostes vero effecti desides et imbecilles, Romanam rempublicam ad nihilum redegerunt. [33] On the other hand, when the Romans were worn out by continual dissensions taking on the proportion of civil wars, and when by these wars the freedom for which they had greatly striven was snatched from their hands, they began to find themselves under the power of emperors who, from the beginning, were unwilling to be called kings, for the royal name was hateful to the Romans. Some emperors, it is true, faithfully cared for the common good in a kingly manner, and by their zeal the commonwealth was increased and preserved. But most of them became tyrants towards their subjects while indolent and vacillating before their enemies, and brought the Roman commonwealth to naught.
Similis etiam processus fuit in populo Hebraeorum. Primo quidem dum sub iudicibus regebantur, undique diripiebantur ab hostibus. Nam unusquisque quod bonum erat in oculis suis, hoc faciebat. Regibus vero eis divinitus datis ad eorum instantiam, propter regum malitiam, a cultu unius Dei recesserunt et finaliter ducti sunt in captivitatem. [34] A similar process took place, also, among the Hebrew people. At first, while they were ruled by judges, they were ravished by their enemies on every hand, for each one “did what was good in his sight” (1 Sam 3:18). Yet when, at their own pressing, God gave them kings, they departed from the worship of the one God and were finally led into bondage, on account of the wickedness of their kings.
Utrinque igitur pericula imminent: sive dum timetur tyrannus, evitetur regis optimum dominium, sive dum hoc consideratur, potestas regia in malitiam tyrannicam convertatur. [351 Danger thus lurks on either side. Either men are held by the fear of a tyrant and they miss the opportunity of having that very best government which is kingship; or, they want a king and the kingly power turns into tyrannical wickedness.

Caput 6
Quod in regimine plurium magis saepe contingit dominium tyrannicum, quam ex regimine unius; et ideo regimen unius melius est
Cum autem inter duo, ex quorum utroque periculum imminet, eligere oportet, illud potissime eligendum est ex quo sequitur minus malum. Ex monarchia autem, si in tyrannidem convertatur, minus malum sequitur quam ex regimine plurium optimatum, quando corrumpitur. [36] When a choice is to be made between two things, from both of which danger impends, surely that one should be chosen from which the lesser evil follows. Now, lesser evil follows from the corruption of a monarchy (which is tyranny) than from the corruption of an aristocracy.
Dissensio enim, quae plurimum sequitur ex regimine plurium, contrariatur bono pacis, quod est praecipuum in multitudine sociali: quod quidem bonum per tyrannidem non tollitur, sed aliqua particularium hominum bona impediuntur, nisi fuerit excessus tyrannidis quod in totam communitatem desaeviat. Magis igitur praeoptandum est unius regimen quam multorum, quamvis ex utroque sequantur pericula. [37] Group government [polyarchy] most frequently breeds dissension. This dissension runs counter to the good of peace which is the principal social good. A tyrant, on the other hand, does not destroy this good, rather he obstructs one or the other individual interest of his subjects—unless, of course, there be an excess of tyranny and the tyrant rages against the whole community. Monarchy is therefore to be preferred to polyarchy, although either form of government might become dangerous.
Adhuc: illud magis fugiendum videtur, ex quo pluries sequi possunt magna pericula. Frequentius autem sequuntur maxima pericula multitudinis ex multorum regimine, quam ex regimine unius. Plerumque enim contingit ut ex pluribus aliquis ab intentione communis boni deficiat, quam quod unus tantum. Quicumque autem, ex pluribus praesidentibus, divertat ab intentione communis boni, dissensionis periculum in subditorum multitudine imminet, quia dissentientibus principibus consequens est ut in multitudine sequatur dissensio. Si vero unus praesit, plerumque quidem ad bonum commune respicit; aut si a bono communi intentionem avertat, non statim sequitur ut ad subditorum depressionem intendat, quod est excessus tyrannidis et in malitia regiminis maximum gradum tenens, ut supra ostensum est. Magis igitur sunt fugienda pericula quae proveniunt ex gubernatione multorum, quam ex gubernatione unius. [38] Further, that from which great dangers may follow more frequently is, it would seem, the more to be avoided. Now, considerable dangers to the multitude follow more frequently from polyarchy than from monarchy. There is a greater chance that, where there are many rulers, one of them will abandon the intention of the common good than that it will be abandoned when there is but one ruler. When any one among several rulers turns aside from the pursuit of the common good, danger of internal strife threatens the group because, when the chiefs quarrel, dissension will follow in the people. When, on the other hand, one man is in command, he more often keeps to governing for the sake of the common good. Should he not do so, it does not immediately follow that he also proceeds to the total oppression of his subjects. This, of course, would be the excess of tyranny and the worst wickedness in government, as has been shown above. The dangers, then, arising from a polyarchy are more to be guarded against than those arising from a monarchy.
Amplius, non minus contingit in tyrannidem verti regimen multorum quam unius, sed forte frequentius. Exorta namque dissensione per regimen plurium, contingit saepe unum super alios superare et sibi soli multitudinis dominium usurpare, quod quidem ex his quae pro tempore fuerunt, manifeste inspici potest. Nam fere omnium multorum regimen est in tyrannidem terminatum, ut in Romana republica manifeste apparet; quae cum diu per plures magistratus administrata fuisset, exortis simultatibus, dissensionibus et bellis civilibus, in crudelissimos tyrannos incidit. Et universaliter si quis praeterita facta et quae nunc fiunt diligenter consideret, plures inveniet exercuisse tyrannidem in terris quae per multos reguntur, quam in illis quae gubernantur per unum. [39] Moreover, in point of fact, a polyarchy deviates into tyranny not less but perhaps more frequently than a monarchy. When, on account of there being many rulers, dissensions arise in such a government, it often happens that the power of one preponderates and he then usurps the government of the multitude for himself. This indeed may be clearly seen from history. There has hardly ever been a polyarchy that did not end in tyranny. The best illustration of this fact is the history of the Roman Republic. It was for a long time administered by the magistrates but then animosities, dissensions and civil wars arose and it fell into the power of the most cruel tyrants. In general, if one carefully considers what has happened in the past and what is happening in the present, he will discover that more men have held tyrannical sway in lands previously ruled by many rulers than in those ruled by one.
Si igitur regium, quod est optimum regimen, maxime vitandum videatur propter tyrannidem; tyrannis autem non minus, sed magis, contingere solet in regimine plurium, quam unius, relinquitur simpliciter magis esse expediens sub rege uno vivere, quam sub regimine plurium. [40] The strongest objection why monarchy, although it is “the best form of government”, is not agreeable to the people is that, in fact, it may deviate into tyranny. Yet tyranny is wont to occur not less but more frequently on the basis of a polyarchy than on the basis of a monarchy. It follows that it is, in any case, more expedient to live under one king than under the rule of several men.

Caput 7
Conclusio, quod regimen unius simpliciter sit optimum. Ostendit qualiter multitudo se debet habere circa ipsum, quia auferenda est ei occasio ne tyrannizet, et quod etiam in hoc est tolerandus propter maius malum vitandum
Quia ergo unius regimen praeeligendum est, quod est optimum, et contingit ipsum in tyrannidem converti quod est pessimum, ut ex dictis patet, laborandum est diligenti studio ut sic multitudini provideatur de rege, ut non incidant in tyrannum. [41] Therefore, since the rule of one man, which is the best, is to be preferred, and since it may happen that it be changed into a tyranny, which is the worst (all this is clear from what has been said), a scheme should be carefully worked out which would prevent the multitude ruled by a king from falling into the hands of a tyrant.
Primum autem est necessarium ut talis conditionis homo ab illis, ad quos hoc spectat officium, promoveatur in regem, quod non sit probabile in tyrannidem declinare. Unde Samuel, Dei providentiam erga institutionem regis commendans, ait I Reg.: quaesivit sibi dominus virum secundum cor suum et praecepit ei dominus ut esset dux super populum suum. Deinde sic disponenda est regni gubernatio, ut regi iam instituto tyrannidis subtrahatur occasio. Simul etiam sic eius temperetur potestas, ut in tyrannidem de facili declinare non possit. Quae quidem ut fiant, in sequentibus considerandum erit. Demum vero curandum est, si rex in tyrannidem diverteret, qualiter posset occurri. [42] First, it is necessary that the man who is raised up to be king by those whom it concerns should be of such condition that it is improbable that he should become a tyrant. Wherefore Daniel, commending the providence of God with respect to the institution of the king says [1 Sam 13:14]: “The Lord sought a man according to his own heart, and the Lord appointed him to be prince over his people.” Then, once the king is established, the government of the kingdom must be so arranged that opportunity to tyrannize is removed. At the same time his power should be so tempered that he cannot easily fall into tyranny. Footnote How these things may be done we must consider in what follows.
[43] Finally, provision must be made for facing the situation should the king stray into tyranny. Footnote
Et quidem si non fuerit excessus tyrannidis, utilius est remissam tyrannidem tolerare ad tempus, quam contra tyrannum agendo multis implicari periculis, quae sunt graviora ipsa tyrannide. Potest enim contingere ut qui contra tyrannum agunt praevalere non possint, et sic provocatus tyrannus magis desaeviat. Quod si praevalere quis possit adversus tyrannum, ex hoc ipso proveniunt multoties gravissimae dissensiones in populo; sive dum in tyrannum insurgitur, sive post deiectionem tyranni dum erga ordinationem regiminis multitudo separatur in partes. Contingit etiam ut interdum, dum alicuius auxilio multitudo expellit tyrannum, ille, potestate accepta, tyrannidem arripiat, et timens pati ab alio quod ipse in alium fecit, graviori servitute subditos opprimat. Sic enim in tyrannide solet contingere, ut posterior gravior fiat quam praecedens, dum praecedentia gravamina non deserit et ipse ex sui cordis malitia nova excogitat. Unde Syracusis quondam Dionysii mortem omnibus desiderantibus, anus quaedam, ut incolumis et sibi superstes esset, continue orabat; quod ut tyrannus cognovit, cur hoc faceret interrogavit. Tum illa: puella, inquit, existens, cum gravem tyrannum haberemus, mortem eius cupiebam, quo interfecto, aliquantum durior successit; eius quoque dominationem finiri magnum existimabam: tertium te importuniorem habere coepimus rectorem. Itaque si tu fueris absumptus, deterior in locum tuum succedet. [44] Indeed, if there be not an excess of tyranny it is more expedient to tolerate the milder tyranny for a while than, by acting against the tyrant, to become involved in many perils more grievous than the tyranny itself. For it may happen that those who act against the tyrant are unable to prevail and the tyrant then will rage the more. But should one be able to prevail against the tyrant, from this fact itself very grave dissensions among the people frequently ensue: the multitude may be broken up into factions either during their revolt against the tyrant, or in process of the organization of the government, after the tyrant has been overthrown. Moreover, it sometimes happens that while the multitude is driving out the tyrant by the help of some man, the latter, having received the power, thereupon seizes the tyranny. Then, fearing to suffer from another what he did to his predecessor, he oppresses his subjects with an even more grievous slavery. This is wont to happen in tyranny, namely, that the second becomes more grievous than the one preceding, inasmuch as, without abandoning the previous oppressions, he himself thinks up fresh ones from the malice of his heart. Whence in Syracuse, at a time when everyone desired the death of Dionysius, a certain old woman kept constantly praying that he might be unharmed and that he might survive her. When the tyrant learned this he asked why she did it. Then she said: “When I was a girl we had a harsh tyrant and I wished for his death; when he was killed, there succeeded him one who was a little harsher. I was very eager to see the end of his dominion also, and we began to have a third ruler still more harsh—that was you. So if you should be taken away, a worse would succeed in your place.” Footnote
Et si sit intolerabilis excessus tyrannidis, quibusdam visum fuit ut ad fortium virorum virtutem pertineat tyrannum interimere, seque pro liberatione multitudinis exponere periculis mortis: cuius rei exemplum etiam in veteri testamento habetur. Nam Aioth quidam Eglon regem Moab, qui gravi servitute populum Dei premebat, sica infixa in eius femore interemit, et factus est populi iudex. [45] If the excess of tyranny is unbearable, some have been of the opinion that it would be an act of virtue for strong men to slay the tyrant and to expose themselves to the danger of death in order to set the multitude free. An example of this occurs even in the Old Testament, for a certain Aioth slew Eglon, King of Moab, who was oppressing the people of God under harsh slavery, thrusting a dagger into his thigh; and he was made a judge of the people [Judges 3:14 ff].
Sed hoc apostolicae doctrinae non congruit. Docet enim nos Petrus non bonis tantum et modestis, verum etiam dyscolis dominis reverenter subditos esse. Haec est enim gratia si propter conscientiam Dei sustineat quis tristitias patiens iniuste; unde cum multi Romani imperatores fidem Christi persequerentur tyrannice, magnaque multitudo tam nobilium quam populi esset ad fidem conversa, non resistendo sed mortem patienter et animati sustinentes pro Christo laudantur, ut in sacra Thebaeorum legione manifeste apparet; magisque Aioth iudicandus est hostem interemisse, quam populi rectorem, licet tyrannum: unde et in veteri testamento leguntur occisi fuisse hi qui occiderunt Ioas, regem Iuda, quamvis a cultu Dei recedentem, eorumque filii reservati secundum legis praeceptum. [46] But this opinion is not in accord with apostolic teaching. For Peter admonishes us to be reverently subject to our masters, not only to the good and gentle but also the froward [1 Pet 2:18-19]: “For if one who suffers unjustly bear his trouble for conscience’ sake, this is grace.” Wherefore, when many emperors of the Romans tyrannically persecuted the faith of Christ, a great number both of the nobility and the common people were converted to the faith and were praised for patiently bearing death for Christ. They did not resist although they were armed, and this is plainly manifested in the case of the holy Theban legion.” Aioth, then, must be considered rather as having slain a foe than assassinated a ruler, however tyrannical, of the people. Hence in the Old Testament we also read that they who killed Joas, the king of Juda, who had fallen away from the worship of God, were slain and their children spared according to the precept of the law” (2 Sam 14:5-6).
Esset autem hoc multitudini periculosum et eius rectoribus, si privata praesumptione aliqui attentarent praesidentium necem, etiam tyrannorum. Plerumque enim huiusmodi periculis magis exponunt se mali quam boni. Malis autem solet esse grave dominium non minus regum quam tyrannorum, quia secundum sententiam Salomonis, Prov.: dissipat impios rex sapiens. Magis igitur ex huiusmodi praesumptione immineret periculum multitudini de amissione regis, quam remedium de subtractione tyranni. [47] Should private persons attempt on their own private presumption to kill the rulers, even though tyrants, this would be dangerous for the multitude as well as for their rulers. This is because the wicked usually expose themselves to dangers of this kind more than the good, for the rule of a king, no less than that of a tyrant, is burdensome to them since, according to the words of Solomon [Prov 20:26]: “A wise king scatters the wicked.” Consequently, by presumption of this kind, danger to the people from the loss of a good king would be more probable than relief through the removal of a tyrant.
Videtur autem magis contra tyrannorum saevitiam non privata praesumptione aliquorum, sed auctoritate publica procedendum. [48] Furthermore, it seems that to proceed against the cruelty of tyrants is an action to be undertaken, not through the private presumption of a few, but rather by public authority.
Primo quidem, si ad ius multitudinis alicuius pertineat sibi providere de rege, non iniuste ab eadem rex institutus potest destitui vel refrenari eius potestas, si potestate regia tyrannice abutatur. Nec putanda est talis multitudo infideliter agere tyrannum destituens, etiam si eidem in perpetuo se ante subiecerat: quia hoc ipse meruit, in multitudinis regimine se non fideliter gerens ut exigit regis officium, quod ei pactum a subditis non reservetur. Sic Romani Tarquinium superbum, quem in regem susceperant, propter eius et filiorum tyrannidem a regno eiecerunt, substituta minori, scilicet consulari, potestate. Sic etiam Domitianus, qui modestissimis imperatoribus Vespasiano patri et Tito fratri eius successerat, dum tyrannidem exercet, a senatu Romano interemptus est, omnibus quae perverse Romanis fecerat per senatusconsultum iuste et salubriter in irritum revocatis. Quo factum est ut beatus Ioannes Evangelista, dilectus Dei discipulus, qui per ipsum Domitianum in Patmos insulam fuerat exilio relegatus, ad Ephesum per senatusconsultum remitteretur. [49] If to provide itself with a king belongs to the right of a given multitude, it is not unjust that the king be deposed or have his power restricted by that same multitude if, becoming a tyrant, he abuses the royal power. It must not be thought that such a multitude is acting unfaithfully in deposing the tyrant, even though it had previously subjected itself to him in perpetuity, because he himself has deserved that the covenant with his subjects should not be kept, since, in ruling the multitude, he did not act faithfully as the office of a king demands. Thus did the Romans, who had accepted Tarquin the Proud as their king, cast him out from the kingship on account of his tyranny and the tyranny of his sons; and they set up in their place a lesser power, namely, the consular power. Similarly Domitian, who had succeeded those most moderate emperors, Vespasian, his father, and Titus, his brother, was slain by the Roman senate when he exercised tyranny, and all his wicked deeds were justly, and profitably declared null and void by a decree of the senate. Thus it came about that Blessed John the Evangelist, the beloved disciple of God, who had been exiled to the island of Patmos by that very Domitian, was sent back to Ephesus by a decree of the senate. Footnote
Si vero ad ius alicuius superioris pertineat multitudini providere de rege, expectandum est ab eo remedium contra tyranni nequitiam. Sic Archelai, qui in Iudaea pro Herode patre suo regnare iam coeperat, paternam malitiam imitantis, Iudaeis contra eum querimoniam ad Caesarem Augustum deferentibus, primo quidem potestas diminuitur ablato sibi regio nomine et medietate regni sui inter duos fratres suos divisa; deinde, cum nec sic a tyrannide compesceretur, a Tiberio Caesare relegatus est in exilium apud Lugdunum, Galliae civitatem. [50] If, on the other hand, it pertains to the right of a higher authority to provide a king for a certain multitude, a remedy against the wickedness of a tyrant is to be looked for from him. Thus when Archelaus, who had already begun to reign in Judaea in the place of Herod his father, was imitating his father’s wickedness, a complaint against him having been laid before Caesar Augustus by the Jews, his power was at first diminished by depriving him of his title of king and by dividing one-half of his kingdom between his two brothers. Later, since he was not restrained from tyranny even by this means, Tiberius Caesar sent him into exile to Lugdunum, a city in Gaul. Footnote
Quod si omnino contra tyrannum auxilium humanum haberi non potest, recurrendum est ad regem omnium Deum, qui est adiutor in opportunitatibus in tribulatione. Eius enim potentiae subest ut cor tyranni crudele convertat in mansuetudinem, secundum Salomonis sententiam, Prov.: cor regis in manu Dei, quocumque voluerit, inclinabit illud. Ipse enim regis Assueri crudelitatem, qui Iudaeis mortem parabat, in mansuetudinem vertit. Ipse est qui ita Nabuchodonosor crudelem regem convertit, quod factus est divinae potentiae praedicator. Nunc igitur, inquit, ego Nabuchodonosor laudo, et magnifico, et glorifico regem caeli, quia opera eius vera et viae eius iudicia, et gradientes in superbia potest humiliare. Tyrannos vero, quos reputat conversione indignos, potest auferre de medio vel ad infimum statum reducere, secundum illud sapientis: sedes ducum superborum destruxit Deus, et sedere fecit mites pro eis. Ipse est qui videns afflictionem populi sui in Aegypto et audiens eorum clamorem, Pharaonem tyrannum deiecit cum exercitu suo in mare. Ipse est qui memoratum Nabuchodonosor prius superbientem, non solum eiectum de regni solio sed etiam de hominum consortio, in similitudinem bestiae commutavit. Nec etiam abbreviata manus eius est, ut populum suum a tyrannis liberare non possit. Promittit enim populo suo per Isaiam requiem se daturum a labore et confusione, ac servitute dura, qua antea servierat. Et per Ezech. dicit: liberabo meum gregem de ore eorum, scilicet pastorum qui pascunt se ipsos. [51] Should no human aid whatsoever against a tyrant be forthcoming, recourse must be had to God, the King of all, Who is a helper in due time in tribulation. For it lies in his power to turn the cruel heart of the tyrant to mildness. According to Solomon [Prov 21:1]: “The heart of the king is in the hand of the Lord, withersoever He will He shall turn it.” He it was who turned into mildness the cruelty of King Assuerus, who was preparing death for the Jews. He it was who so filled the cruel king Nabuchodonosor with piety that he became a proclaimer of the divine power. “Therefore,” he said, “I, Nabuchodonosor do now praise and magnify and glorify the King of Heaven; because all His works are true and His ways judgments, and they that walk in pride He is able to abase” (Dan 4:34). Those tyrants, however, whom he deems unworthy of conversion, he is able to put out of the way or to degrade, according to the words of the Wise Man [Sirach 10:17]: “God has overturned the thrones of proud princes and has set up the meek in their stead.” He it was who, seeing the affliction of his people in Egypt and hearing their cry, hurled Pharaoh, a tyrant over God’s people, with all his army into the sea. He it was who not only banished from his kingly throne the above-mentioned Nabuchodonosor because of his former pride, but also cast him from the fellowship of men and changed him into the likeness of a beast. Indeed, his hand is not shortened that He cannot free His people from tyrants. For by Isaiah (14:3) He promised to give his people rest from their labours and lashings and harsh slavery in which they had formerly served; and by Ezekiel (34:10) He says: “I will deliver my flock from their mouth,” i.e. from the mouth of shepherds who feed themselves.
Sed ut hoc beneficium populus a Deo consequi mereatur, debet a peccatis cessare, quia in ultionem peccati divina permissione impii accipiunt principatum, dicente domino per Oseam: dabo tibi regem in furore meo; et in Iob dicitur quod regnare facit hominem hypocritam propter peccata populi. Tollenda est igitur culpa, ut cesset a tyrannorum plaga. [52] But to deserve to secure this benefit from God, the people must desist from sin, for it is by divine permission that wicked men receive power to rule as a punishment for sin, as the Lord says by the Prophet Hosea [13:11]: “I will give you a king in my wrath” and it is said in Job (34:30) that he “makes a man that is a hypocrite to reign for the sins of the people.” Sin must therefore be done away with in order that the scourge of tyrants may cease.

Caput 8
Quid praecipue movere debeat regem ad regendum, utrum honor, vel gloria. Opiniones circa hoc, et quid sit tenendum
Quoniam autem, secundum praedicta, regis est bonum multitudinis quaerere, nimis videtur onerosum regis officium nisi ei aliquod proprium bonum ex hoc proveniret. Oportet igitur considerare, in qua re sit boni regis conveniens praemium. [53] Since, according to what has been said thus far, it is the king’s duty to seek the good of the multitude, the task of a king may seem too burdensome unless some advantage to himself should result from it. It is fitting therefore to consider wherein a suitable reward for a good king is to be found.
Quibusdam igitur visum est non esse aliud nisi honorem et gloriam, unde et Tullius in libro de republica definit principem civitatis esse alendum gloria; cuius rationem Aristoteles in Lib. Ethic. assignare videtur, quia princeps, cui non sufficit honor et gloria, consequenter tyrannus efficitur. Inest enim animis omnium, ut proprium bonum quaerant. Si ergo contentus non fuerit princeps gloria et honore, quaeret voluptates et divitias, et sic ad rapinas et subditorum iniurias convertetur. [541 By some men this reward was considered to be nothing other than honour and glory. Whence Tullius says in the book On the Republic [De Republica V, 7, 9]: “The prince of the city should be nourished by glory,” and Aristotle seems to assign the reason for this in his Book on Ethics [V, 10: 1134b 7]: “because the prince for whom honour and glory is not sufficient consequently turns into tyrant.” For it is in the hearts of all men to seek their proper good. Therefore, if the prince is not content with glory and honour, he will seek pleasures an riches and so will resort to plundering and injuring his subjects.
Sed si hanc sententiam receperimus, plurima sequuntur inconvenientia. Primo namque hoc regibus dispendiosum esset, si tot labores et sollicitudines paterentur pro mercede tam fragili. Nihil enim videtur in rebus humanis fragilius gloria et honore favoris hominum, cum dependeat ex opinionibus hominum, quibus nihil mutabilius in vita hominum: et inde est quod Isaias propheta huiusmodi gloriam nominat florem foeni. [55] However, if we accept this opinion a great many incongruous results follow. In the first place, it would be costly to kings if so many labours and anxieties were to be endured for a reward so perishable, for nothing, it seems, is more perishable among human things than the glory and honour of men’s favour since it depends upon the report of men and their opinions, than which nothing in human life is more fickle. And this is why the Prophet Isaiah calls such glory “the flower of grass.”
Deinde humanae gloriae cupido animi magnitudinem aufert. Qui enim favorem hominum quaerit, necesse est ut in omni eo quod dicit aut facit eorum voluntati deserviat, et sic dum placere hominibus studet, fit servus singulorum. Propter quod et idem Tullius in Lib. de officiis, cavendam dicit gloriae cupidinem. Eripit enim animi libertatem, pro qua magnanimis viris omnis debet esse contentio. Nihil autem principem, qui ad bona peragenda instituitur, magis decet quam animi magnitudo. Est igitur incompetens regis officio humanae gloriae praemium. [56] Moreover, the desire for human glory takes away greatness of soul. For he who seeks the favour of men must serve their will in all he says and does, and thus, while striving to please all, he becomes a slave to each one. Wherefore the same Tullius says in his book On Duties [De officiis, I, 20, 68] that “the inordinate desire for glory is to be guarded against; it takes away freedom of soul, for the sake of which high-minded men should put forth all their efforts.” Indeed there is nothing more becoming to a prince who has been set up for the doing of good works than greatness of soul. Thus, the reward of human glory is not enough for the services of a king.
Simul etiam est multitudini nocivum, si tale praemium statuatur principibus: pertinet enim ad boni viri officium ut contemnat gloriam, sicut alia temporalia bona. Virtuosi enim et fortis animi est pro iustitia contemnere gloriam sicut et vitam: unde fit quiddam mirabile, ut quia virtuosos actus sequitur gloria, ipsa gloria virtuose contemnatur, et ex contemptu gloriae homo gloriosus reddatur, secundum sententiam Fabii dicentis: gloriam qui spreverit, veram habebit; et de Catone dixit Salustius: quo minus petebat gloriam, tanto magis assequebatur illam; ipsique Christi discipuli se sicut Dei ministros exhibebant per gloriam et ignobilitatem, per infamiam et bonam famam. Non est igitur boni viri conveniens praemium gloria, quam contemnunt boni. Si igitur hoc solum bonum statuatur praemium principibus, sequetur bonos viros non assumere principatum, aut si assumpserint, impraemiatos esse. [57] At the same time it also hurts the multitude if such a reward be set up for princes, for it is the duty of a good man to take no account of glory, just as he should take no account of other temporal goods. It is the mark of a virtuous and brave soul to despise glory as he despises life, for justice’ sake: whence the strange thing results that glory ensues from virtuous acts, and out of virtue glory itself is despised: and therefore, through his very contempt for glory, a man is made glorious—according to the sentence of Fabius: Footnote “He who scorns glory shall have true glory,” and as Sallust [Bellum Catilinae 54, 6] says of Cato: “The less he sought glory the more he achieved it.” Even the disciples of Christ “exhibited themselves as the ministers of God in honour and dishonour, in evil report and good report” (2 Cor 6:8). Glory is, therefore, not a fitting reward for a good man; good men spurn it. And, if it alone be set up as the reward for princes, it will follow that good men will not take upon themselves the chief office of the city, or if they take it, they will go unrewarded.
Amplius: ex cupidine gloriae periculosa mala proveniunt. Multi enim dum immoderate gloriam in rebus bellicis quaerunt, se ac suos perdiderunt exercitus, libertate patriae sub hostili potestate redacta: unde Torquatus, Romanus princeps, in exemplo huius vitandi discriminis, filium, qui contra imperium suum provocatus ab hoste iuvenili ardore pugnavit, licet vicisset, occidit, ne plus mali esset in praesumptionis exemplo, quam utilitatis in gloria hostis occisi. [58] Furthermore, dangerous evils come from the desire for glory. Many have been led unrestrainedly to seek glory in warfare, and have sent their armies and themselves to destruction, while the freedom of their country was turned into servitude under an enemy. Consider Torquatus, the Roman chief. In order to impress upon the people how imperative it is to avoid such danger, “he slew his own son who, being challenged by an enemy, had, through youthful impetuosity, fought and vanquished him. Yet he had done so contrary to orders given him by his father. Torquatus acted thus, lest more harm should accrue from the example of his son’s presumption than advantage from the glory of slaying the enemy.” [Cf. Augustine, De civ. Dei, V, 18.]
Habet etiam cupido gloriae aliud sibi familiare vitium, simulationem videlicet. Quia enim difficile est paucisque contingit veras virtutes assequi, quibus solis honor debetur, multi gloriam cupientes, virtutum simulatores fiunt. Propter quod, sicut dicit Salustius: ambitio multos mortales falsos fieri coegit. Aliud clausum in pectore, aliud promptum habere in lingua, magisque vultum quam ingenium habere. Sed et salvator noster eos, qui bona opera faciunt, ut ab hominibus videantur, hypocritas, id est simulatores, vocat. Sicut igitur periculosum est multitudini si princeps voluptates et divitias quaerat pro praemio, ne raptor et contumeliosus fiat; ita periculosum est cum detinetur gloriae praemio, ne praesumptuosus et simulator existat. [59] Moreover, the desire for glory has another vice akin to it, namely, hypocrisy. Since it is difficult to acquire true virtues, to which alone honour and glory are due, and it is therefore the lot of but a few to attain them, many who desire glory become simulators of virtue. On this account, as Sallust says [Bellum Catilinae 10, 5]: “Ambition drives many mortals to become false. They keep one thing shut up in their heart, another ready on the tongue, and they have more countenance than character.” But our Saviour also calls those persons hypocrites, or simulators, who do good works that they may be seen by men. Therefore, just as there is danger for the multitude, if the prince seek pleasures and riches as his reward, that he become a plunderer and abusive, so there is danger, if glory be assigned to him as reward, that he become presumptuous and a hypocrite.
Sed quantum ex dictorum sapientium intentione apparet, non ea ratione honorem et gloriam pro praemio principi decreverunt, tanquam ad hoc principaliter ferri debeat boni regis intentio, sed quia tolerabilius est si gloriam quaerat, quam si pecuniam cupiat, vel voluptatem sequatur. Hoc enim vitium virtuti propinquius est, cum gloria, quam homines cupiunt, ut ait Augustinus, nihil aliud sit quam iudicium hominum bene de hominibus opinantium. Cupido enim gloriae aliquod habet virtutis vestigium, dum saltem bonorum approbationem quaerit et eis displicere recusat. Paucis igitur ad veram virtutem pervenientibus, tolerabilius videtur si praeferatur ad regimen qui, vel iudicium hominum metuens, a malis manifestis retrahitur. Qui enim gloriam cupit, aut vera via per virtutis opera nititur ut ab hominibus approbetur, vel saltem dolis ad hoc contendit atque fallaciis. At qui dominari desiderat, si cupiditate gloriae carens non timeat bene iudicantibus displicere, per apertissima scelera quaerit plerumque obtinere quod diligit, unde bestias superat sive crudelitatis sive luxuriae vitiis, sicut in Nerone Caesare patet, cuius, ut Augustinus dicit, tanta luxuria fuit ut nihil putaretur ab eo virile metuendum, tanta crudelitas ut nihil molle habere putaretur. Hoc autem satis exprimitur per id quod Aristoteles de magnanimo in Ethic. dicit, quod non quaerit honorem et gloriam quasi aliquid magnum quod sit virtutis sufficiens praemium, sed nihil ultra hoc ab hominibus exigit. Hoc enim inter omnia terrena videtur esse praecipuum, ut homini ab hominibus testimonium de virtute reddatur. [60] Looking at what the above-mentioned wise men intended to say, they do not seem to have decided upon honour and glory as the reward of a prince because they judged that the king’s intention should be principally directed to that object, but because it is more tolerable for him to seek glory than to desire money or pursue pleasure. For this vice is akin to virtue inasmuch as the glory which men desire, as Augustine says [De civ. Dei V, 12], is nothing else than the judgment of men who think well of men. So the desire for glory has some trace of virtue in it, at least so long as it seeks the approval of good men and is reluctant to displease them. Therefore, since few men reach true virtue, it seems more tolerable if one be set up to rule who, fearing the judgment of men, is restrained from manifest evils. For the man” who desires glory either endeavours to win the approval of men in the true way, by deeds of virtue, or at least strives for this by fraud and deceit. But if the one who desires to domineer lacks the desire for glory, he will have no fear of offending men of good judgment and will commonly strive to obtain what he chooses by the most open crimes. Thus he will surpass the beasts in the vices of cruelty and lust, as is evidenced in the case of the Emperor Nero, who was so effete, as Augustine says [loc. cit.], “that he despised everything virile, and yet so cruel that nobody would have thought him to be effeminate.” Indeed all this is quite clearly contained in what Aristotle says in his Ethics [IV, 7:1124a 16] regarding the magnanimous man: True, he does seek honour and glory, but not as something great which could be a sufficient reward of virtue. And beyond this he demands nothing more of men, for among all earthly goods the chief good, it seems, is this, that men bear testimony to the virtue of a man.

Caput 9
Qualis est verus finis regis, qui movere debet ipsum ad bene regendum
Quoniam ergo mundanus honor et hominum gloria regiae sollicitudini non est sufficiens praemium, inquirendum restat quale sit eidem sufficiens. [61] Therefore, since worldly honour and human glory are not a sufficient reward for royal cares, it remains to inquire what sort of reward is sufficient.
Est autem conveniens ut rex praemium expectet a Deo. Minister enim pro suo ministerio praemium expectat a domino; rex autem, populum gubernando, minister Dei est, dicente apostolo quod omnis potestas a domino Deo est, et quod est Dei minister vindex in iram ei qui male agit; et in Lib. Sap. reges Dei esse ministri describuntur. Debent igitur reges pro suo regimine praemium expectare a Deo. Remunerat autem Deus pro suo ministerio reges interdum temporalibus bonis, sed talia praemia sunt bonis malisque communia; unde dominus Ezech. dicit: Nabuchodonosor rex Babylonis servire fecit exercitum suum servitute magna adversus Tyrum, et merces non est reddita ei nec exercitui eius de Tyro, pro servitute qua servivit mihi adversus eam, ea scilicet servitute qua potestas, secundum apostolum, Dei minister est, vindex in iram ei qui male agit; et postea de praemio subdidit: propterea haec dicit dominus Deus: ecce ego dabo Nabuchodonosor regem Babylonis in terra Aegypti, et diripiet spolia eius, et erit merces exercitui eius. Si ergo reges iniquos contra Dei hostes pugnantes, licet non intentione serviendi Deo sed sua odia et cupiditates exequendi, tanta mercede dominus remunerat ut de hostibus victoriam tribuat, regna subiiciat et spolia diripienda proponat, quid faciet bonis regibus, qui pia intentione Dei populum regunt et hostes impugnant? Non quidem terrenam, sed aeternam mercedem eis promittit, nec in alio quam in se ipso, dicente Petro pastoribus populi Dei: pascite qui in vobis est gregem domini, ut cum venerit princeps pastorum, id est rex regum, Christus, percipiatis immarcescibilem gloriae coronam, de qua dicit Isaias: erit dominus sertum exultationis et diadema gloriae populo suo. [62] It is proper that a king look to God for his reward, for a servant looks to his master for the reward of his service. The king is indeed the minister of God in governing the people, as the Apostle says: “All power is from the Lord God” (Rom 13:1) and God’s minister is “an avenger to execute wrath upon him who does evil” (Rom 13:4). And in the Book of Wisdom (6:5), kings are described as being ministers of God. Consequently, kings ought to look to God for the reward of their ruling. Now God sometimes rewards kings for their service by temporal goods, but such rewards are common to both the good and the wicked. Wherefore the Lord says to Ezechiel (29:18): “Nabuchodonosor, king of Babylon, has made his army to undergo hard service against Tyre, and there has been no reward given him nor his army for Tyre, for the service he rendered Me against it,” for that service namely, by which, according to the Apostle, power is “the minister of God and the avenger to execute wrath upon him who does evil.” Afterwards He adds, regarding the reward: “Therefore, thus says the Lord God, ‘I will set Nabuchodonosor the king of Babylon in the land of Egypt, and he shall rifle the spoils thereof, and it shall be wages for his army.’” Therefore, if God recompenses wicked kings who fight against the enemies of God, though not with the intention of serving Him but to execute their own hatred and cupidity, by giving them such great rewards as to yield them victory over their foes, subject kingdoms to their sway and grant them spoils to rifle, what will He do for kings who rule the people of God and assail His enemies from a holy motive? He promises them not an earthly reward indeed but an everlasting one and in none other than in Himself. As Peter says to the shepherds of the people (1 Pet 5:2,4): “Feed the flock of God that is among you and when the prince of pastors shall appear (i.e. the King of kings, Christ) you shall receive a never-fading crown of glory,” concerning which Isaiah says (28:5): “The Lord shall be a crown of glory and a garland of joy to His people.”
Hoc autem ratione manifestatur. Est enim mentibus omnium ratione utentium inditum, virtutis praemium beatitudinem esse. Virtus enim uniuscuiusque rei describitur, quae bonum facit habentem, et opus eius bonum reddit. Ad hoc autem quisque bene operando nititur pervenire, quod est maxime desiderio inditum; hoc autem est esse felicem, quod nullus potest non velle. Hoc igitur praemium virtutis convenienter expectatur quod hominem beatum facit. Si autem bene operari virtutis est opus, regis autem opus est bene regere subditos, hoc etiam erit praemium regis, quod eum faciat esse beatum. Quid autem hoc sit, hinc considerandum est. Beatitudinem quidem dicimus ultimum desideriorum finem. Neque enim desiderii motus usque in infinitum procedit; esset enim inane naturale desiderium, cum infinita pertransiri non possint. Cum autem desiderium intellectualis naturae sit universalis boni, hoc solum bonum vere beatum facere poterit, quo adepto nullum bonum restat quod amplius desiderari possit: unde et beatitudo dicitur bonum perfectum, quasi omnia desiderabilia in se comprehendens. Tale autem non est aliquod bonum terrenum: nam qui divitias habent, amplius habere desiderant, et simile patet in caeteris. Et si ampliora non quaerunt, desiderant tamen ut ea permaneant, vel alia in locum eorum succedant. Nihil enim permanens invenitur in rebus terrenis, nihil igitur terrenum est quod quietare desiderium possit. Neque igitur terrenum aliquod beatum facere potest, ut possit esse regis conveniens praemium. [63] This is also clearly shown by reason. It is implanted in the minds of all who have the use of reason that the reward of virtue is happiness. The virtue of anything whatsoever is explained to be that which makes its possessor good and renders his deed good. Moreover, everyone strives by working well to attain that which is most deeply implanted in desire, namely, to be happy. This, no one is able not to wish. It is therefore fitting to expect as a reward for virtue that which makes man happy. Now, if to work well is a virtuous deed, and the king’s work is to rule his people well, then that which makes him happy will be the king’s reward. What this is has now to be considered.” Happiness, we say, is the ultimate end of our desires. Now the movement of desire does not go on to infinity else natural desire would be vain, for infinity cannot be traversed. Since, then, the desire of an intellectual nature is for universal good, that good alone can make it truly happy which, when attained, leaves no further good to be desired. Whence happiness is called the perfect good inasmuch as it comprises in itself all things desirable. But no earthly good is such a good. They who have riches desire to have more, they who enjoy pleasure desire to enjoy more, and the like is clear for the rest: and if they do not seek more, they at least desire that those they have should abide or that others should follow in their stead. For nothing permanent is found in earthly things. Consequently there is nothing earthly which can calm desire. Thus, nothing earthly can make man happy, so that it may be a fitting reward for a king.
Adhuc: cuiuslibet rei finalis perfectio et bonum completum ab aliquo superiore dependet, quia et ipsa corporalia meliora redduntur ex adiunctione meliorum, peiora vero, si deterioribus misceantur. Si enim argento misceatur aurum, argentum fit melius, quod ex plumbi admixtione impurum efficitur. Constat autem terrena omnia esse infra mentem humanam. Beatitudo autem est hominis finalis perfectio et bonum completum ad quod omnes pervenire desiderant. Nihil igitur terrenum est quod hominem possit beatum facere; nec igitur terrenum aliquod est praemium regis sufficiens. Non enim, ut Augustinus dicit, Christianos principes ideo felices dicimus, quia diutius imperarunt, vel imperatores filios morte placida reliquerunt, vel hostes reipublicae domuerunt, vel cives adversum se insurgentes et cavere et opprimere potuerunt; sed felices eos dicimus si iuste imperant, si malunt cupiditatibus potius quam gentibus quibuslibet imperare, si omnia faciunt non propter ardorem inanis gloriae, sed propter charitatem felicitatis aeternae. Tales imperatores Christianos felices dicimus, interim spe, postea re ipsa futuros, cum id quod expectamus advenerit. Sed nec aliquid aliud creatum est, quod beatum hominem faciat et possit regi decerni pro praemio. Tendit enim uniuscuiusque rei desiderium in suum principium, a quo esse suum causatur. Causa vero mentis humanae non est aliud quam Deus, qui eam ad suam imaginem facit. Solus igitur Deus est qui hominis desiderium quietare potest, et facere hominem beatum, et esse regi conveniens praemium. [64] Again, the last perfection and perfect good of anything one chooses depends upon something higher, for even bodily things are made better by the addition of better things and worse by being mixed with baser things. If gold is mingled with silver, the silver is made better, while by an admixture of lead it is rendered impure. Now it is manifest that all earthly things are beneath the human mind. But happiness is the last perfection and the perfect good of man, which all men desire to reach. Therefore there is no earthly thing which could make man happy, nor is any earthly thing a sufficient reward for a king. For, as Augustine” says, “we do not call Christian princes happy merely because they have reigned a long time, or because after a peaceful death they have left their sons to rule, or because they subdued the enemies of the state, or because they were able to guard against or to suppress citizens who rose up against them. Rather do we call them happy if they rule justly, if they prefer to rule their passions rather than nations, and if they do all things not for the love of vainglory but for the love of eternal happiness. Such Christian emperors we say are happy, now in hope, afterwards in very fact when that which we await shall come to pass. But neither is there any other created thing which would make a man happy and which could be set up as the reward for a king. For the desire of each thing tends towards its source, whence is the cause of its being. But the cause of the human soul is none other than God Who made it to His own image. Therefore it is God alone Who can still the desires of man and make him happy and be the fitting reward for a king.
Amplius: mens humana universalis boni cognoscitiva est per intellectum, et desiderativa per voluntatem; bonum autem universale non invenitur nisi in Deo. Nihil ergo est quod possit hominem beatum facere, eius implendo desiderium, nisi Deus, de quo dicitur in Psalm.: qui replet in bonis desiderium tuum; in hoc ergo rex suum praemium statuere debet. Hoc igitur considerans David rex dicebat: quid mihi est in caelo et a te quid volui super terram? Cui quaestioni postea respondens, subiungit: mihi autem adhaerere Deo bonum est et ponere in domino Deo spem meam. Ipse enim est qui dat salutem regibus, non solum temporalem, qua communiter salvat homines et iumenta, sed etiam eam de qua, per Isaiam dicit: salus autem mea in sempiternum erit, qua homines salvat, eos ad aequalitatem Angelorum perducens. [65] Furthermore, the human mind knows the universal good through the intellect, and desires it through the will: but the universal good is not found except in God. Therefore there is nothing which could make man happy, fulfilling his every desire, but God, of Whom it is said in the Psalm (102:5): “Who satisfies your desire with good things.” In this, therefore, should the king place his reward. Wherefore, King David,” with this in mind, said (Ps 72:25,28): “What have I in heaven? And besides You what do I desire upon earth?” and he afterwards adds in answer to this question: “It is good for me to adhere to my God and to put my hope in the Lord God.” For it is He Who gives salvation to kings, not merely temporal salvation by which He saves both men and beasts together, but also that salvation of which He says by the mouth of Isaiah (51:6): “But my salvation shall be for ever,” that salvation by which He saves man and makes them equal to the angels.
Sic igitur verificari potest quod regis praemium sit honor et gloria. Quis enim mundanus et caducus honor huic honori similis esse potest, ut homo sit civis et domesticus Dei, et inter Dei filios computatus haereditatem regni caelestis assequatur cum Christo? Hic est honor quem concupiscens et admirans rex David dicebat: nimis honorati sunt amici tui, Deus. Quae insuper humanae laudis gloria huic comparari potest, quam non fallax blandientium lingua, non decepta hominum opinio profert, sed ex interioris conscientiae testimonio producitur et Dei testimonio confirmatur, qui suis confessoribus repromittit quod confiteatur eos in gloria patris coram Angelis Dei? Qui autem hanc gloriam quaerunt, eam inveniunt, et quam non quaerunt gloriam hominum, consequuntur, exemplo Salomonis, qui non solum sapientiam, quam quaesivit, accepit a domino, sed factus est super reges alios gloriosus. [66] It can thus also be verified that the reward of the king is honour and glory. What worldly and frail honour can indeed be likened to this honour that a man be made a “citizen with the Saints and a kinsman of God” (Eph 2:19), numbered among the sons of God, and that he obtain the inheritance of the heavenly kingdom with Christ? This is the honour of which King David, in desire and wonder, says (Ps 138:17): “Your friends, O God, are made exceedingly honourable.” And further, what glory of human praise can be compared to this, not uttered by the false tongue of flatterers nor the fallacious opinion of men, but issuing from the witness of our inmost conscience and confirmed by the testimony of God, Who promises to those who confess Him that He will confess them before the Angels of God in the glory of the Father? They who seek this glory will find it and they will win the glory of men which they do not seek: witness Solomon, who not only received from the Lord wisdom which he sought, but was made glorious above other kings.

Caput 10
Quod praemium regum et principum tenet supremum gradum in beatitudine caelesti, multis rationibus ostenditur et exemplis
Considerandum autem restat ulterius, quod et eminentem obtinebunt caelestis beatitudinis gradum, qui officium regium digne et laudabiliter exequuntur. [67] Now it remains further to consider that they who discharge the kingly office worthily and laudably will obtain an elevated and outstanding degree of heavenly happiness.
Si enim beatitudo virtutis est praemium, consequens est ut maiori virtuti maior gradus beatitudinis debeatur. Est autem praecipua virtus, qua homo aliquis non solum se ipsum sed etiam alios dirigere potest; et tanto magis, quanto plurium est regitiva: quia et secundum virtutem corporalem tanto aliquis virtuosior reputatur, quanto plures vincere potest, aut pondera plura levare. Sic igitur maior virtus requiritur ad regendum domesticam familiam, quam ad regendum se ipsum, multoque maior ad regimen civitatis et regni. Est igitur excellentis virtutis bene regium officium exercere; debetur igitur ei excellens in beatitudine praemium. [68] For if happiness is the reward of virtue, it follows that a higher degree of happiness is due to greater virtue. Now, that indeed is signal virtue by which a man can guide not only himself but others, and the more persons he rules the greater his virtue. Similarly, in regard to bodily strength, a man is reputed to be more powerful the more adversaries he can beat or the more weights he can lift. Thus, greater virtue is required to rule a household than to rule one’s self, and much greater to rule a city and a kingdom. To discharge well the office of a king is therefore a work of extraordinary virtue. To it, therefore, is due an extraordinary reward of happiness.
Adhuc: in omnibus artibus et potentiis laudabiliores sunt qui alios bene regunt, quam qui secundum alienam directionem bene se habent. In speculativis enim maius est veritatem aliis docendo tradere, quam quod ab aliis docetur capere posse. In artificiis etiam maius existimatur maiorique conducitur pretio architector, qui aedificium disponit, quam artifex, qui secundum eius dispositionem manualiter operatur. Et in rebus bellicis maiorem gloriam de victoria consequitur prudentia ducis, quam militis fortitudo. Sic autem se habet rector multitudinis in his quae a singulis secundum virtutem sunt agenda, sicut doctor in disciplinis et architector in aedificiis et dux in bellis. Est igitur rex maiori praemio dignus, si bene subiectos gubernaverit, quam aliquis subditorum, si sub rege bene se habuerit. [69] Again, those who rule others well are more worthy of praise than those who act well under others’ direction. This applies to the field of all arts and sciences. In the speculative sciences, for instance, it is nobler to impart truth to others by teaching than to be able to grasp what is taught by others. So, too, in matters of the crafts, an architect who plans a building is more highly esteemed and paid a higher wage than is the builder who does the manual labour under his direction; also, in warfare the strategy of the general wins greater glory from victory than the bravery of the soldier. Now the ruler of a multitude stands in the same relation to the virtuous deeds performed by each individual as the teacher to the matters taught the architect to the buildings, and the general to the wars. Consequently, the king is worthy of a greater reward if he governs his subjects well than any of his subjects who act well under him.
Amplius: si virtutis est, ut per eam opus hominis bonum reddatur, maioris virtutis esse videtur quod maius bonum per eam aliquis operetur. Maius autem et divinius est bonum multitudinis quam bonum unius: unde interdum malum unius sustinetur si in bonum multitudinis cedat, sicut occiditur latro ut pax multitudini detur. Et ipse Deus mala esse in mundo non sineret nisi ex eis bona eliceret ad utilitatem et pulchritudinem universi. Pertinet autem ad regis officium ut bonum multitudinis studiose procuret. Maius igitur praemium debetur regi pro bono regimine quam subdito pro bona actione. [70] Further, if it is the part of virtue to render a man’s work good, it is, it seems, from greater virtue that one does greater good. But the good of the multitude is greater and more divine than the good of one man. Wherefore the evil of one man is sometimes endured if it redounds to the good of the multitude, as when a robber is killed to bring peace to the multitude. God Himself would not allow evils to be in the world were it not for the fact that He brings good out of them for the advantage and beauty of the universe. Now it belongs to the office of the king to have zealous concern for the good of the multitude. Therefore a greater reward is due to the king for good ruling than to the subject for acting according to rule.
Hoc autem manifestius fiet, si quis magis in speciali consideret. Laudatur enim ab hominibus quaevis privata persona, et ei a Deo computatur in praemium, si egenti subveniat, si discordes pacificet, si oppressum a potentiore eripiat, denique si alicui qualitercumque opem vel consilium conferat ad salutem. Quanto igitur magis laudandus est ab hominibus et praemiandus a Deo, qui totam provinciam facit pace gaudere, violentias cohibet, iustitiam servat, et disponit quid sit agendum ab hominibus suis legibus et praeceptis? [71] This will become clearer if considered in greater detail. For a private person is praised by men, and his deed reckoned for reward by God, if he helps the needy, brings peace to those in discord, rescues one oppressed by a mightier; in a word, if in any way he gives to another assistance or advice for his welfare How much the more, then, is he to be praised by men and rewarded by God who makes a whole province rejoice in peace, who restrains violence, preserves justice and arranges by his laws and precepts what is to be done by men?
Hinc etiam magnitudo regiae virtutis apparet, quod praecipue Dei similitudinem gerit, dum agit in regno quod Deus in mundo: unde et in Exod. iudices multitudinis dii vocantur. Imperatores etiam apud Romanos dii vocabantur. Tanto autem est aliquid Deo acceptius, quanto magis ad eius imitationem accedit: unde et apostolus monet: estote imitatores Dei, sicut filii charissimi. Sed si, secundum sapientis sententiam, omne animal diligit simile sibi, secundum quod causae aliqualiter similitudinem habent causati, consequens igitur est bonos reges Deo esse acceptissimos, et ab eo maxime praemiandos. [72] The greatness of kingly virtue also appears in this, that he bears a special likeness to God, since he does in his kingdom what God does in the world; wherefore in Exodus (22:9) the judges of the people are called gods, and also among the Romans the emperors received the appellative Divus. Now the more a thing approaches to the likeness of God the more acceptable it is to Him. Hence, also, the Apostle urges (Eph 5:1): “Be therefore imitators of God as most dear children.” But if according to the saying of the Wise Man (Sirach 13:9), every beast loves its like inasmuch as causes bear some likeness to the caused, it follows that good kings are most pleasing to God and are to be most highly rewarded by Him.
Simul etiam, ut Gregorii verbis utar: quid est tempestas maris, nisi tempestas mentis? Quieto autem mari recte navem etiam imperitus dirigit, turbato autem mari tempestatis fluctibus etiam peritus nauta confunditur: unde et plerumque in occupatione regiminis, ipse quoque boni operis usus perditur, qui in tranquillitate tenebatur. Valde enim difficile est si, ut Augustinus dicit, inter linguas sublimantium et honorantium, et obsequia nimis humiliter salutantium non extollantur, sed se homines esse meminerint. Et in Eccli.: beatus vir qui post aurum non abiit, nec speravit in pecuniae thesauris. Qui potuit impune transgredi et non est transgressus, facere mala et non fecit. Ex quo quasi in virtutis opere probatus invenitur fidelis, unde secundum Biantis proverbium: principatus virum ostendit. Multi enim ad principatus culmen pervenientes, a virtute deficiunt, qui, dum in statu essent infimo, virtuosi videbantur. Ipsa igitur difficultas quae principibus imminet ad bene agendum, eos facit maiori praemio dignos, et si aliquando per infirmitatem peccaverint, apud homines excusabiliores redduntur et facilius a Deo veniam promerentur, si tamen, ut Augustinus ait pro suis peccatis humilitatis et miserationis et orationis sacrificium Deo suo vero immolare non negligunt. In cuius rei exemplum de Achab, rege Israel, qui multum peccaverat, dominus ad Heliam dixit: quia humiliatus est Achab, non inducam hoc malum in diebus suis. [73] Likewise, if I may use the words of Gregory [Regula Pastoralis I, 9]: “What else is it (for a king) to be at the pinnacle of power if not to find himself in a mental storm? When the sea is calm even an inexperienced man can steer a ship straight; when the sea is troubled by stormy waves, even an experienced sailor is bewildered. Whence it frequently happens that in the business of government the practice of good works is lost which in tranquil times was maintained.” For, as Augustine says [De civ. Dei V, 24], it is very difficult for rulers “not to be puffed up amid flattering and honouring tongues and the obsequiousness of those who bow too humbly, but to remember that they are men.” It is said also in Sirach (31:8,10): “Blessed is the rich man who has not gone after gold nor put his trust in money nor in treasures, who could have transgressed with impunity and did not transgress, who could do evil and did not do it.” Wherefore, having been tried in the work of virtue, he is found faithful and so, according to the proverb of Bias [Aristotle, Eth. Nic. V, 3: 1130a 1]: “Authority shows the man.” For many who seemed virtuous while they were in lowly state fall from virtue when they reach the pinnacle of power. The very difficulty, then, of acting well, which besets kings, makes them more worthy of greater reward; and if through weakness they sometimes do amiss, they are rendered more excusable before men and more easily obtain forgiveness from God provided, as Augustine says (De civ. Dei, V, 24), they do not neglect to offer up to their true God the sacrifice of humility, mercy, and prayer for their sins. As an example of this, the Lord said to Elias concerning Achab, king of Israel, who had sinned a great deal: “Because he has humbled himself for My sake, I will not bring the evil in his days.”
Non autem solum ratione ostenditur quod regibus excellens praemium debeatur, sed etiam auctoritate divina firmatur. Dicitur enim in Zachar. quod in illa beatitudinis die qua erit dominus protector habitantibus in Hierusalem, id est in visione pacis aeternae, aliorum domus erunt sicut domus David, quia scilicet omnes reges erunt et regnabunt cum Christo, sicut membra cum capite; sed domus David erit sicut domus Dei, quia sicut regendo fideliter Dei officium gessit in populo, ita in praemio Deo propinquius erit et inhaerebit. Hoc etiam fuit apud gentiles aliqualiter somniatum, dum civitatum rectores atque servatores in deos transformari putabant. [74] That a very high reward is due to kings is not only demonstrated by reason but is also confirmed by divine authority. It is said in the prophecy of Zachariah (12:8) that, in that day of blessedness wherein God will be the protector of the inhabitants of Jerusalem (i.e. in the vision of eternal peace), the houses of others will be as the house of David, because all will then be kings and reign with Christ as the members with their head. But the house of David will be as the house of God, because just as he carried out the work of God among the people by ruling faithfully, so in his reward he will adhere more closely to God. Likewise, among the Gentiles this was dimly realized, as in a dream, for they thought to transform into gods the rulers and preservers of their cities.

Caput 11
Quod rex et princeps studere debet ad bonum regimen propter bonum sui ipsius et utile quod inde sequitur; cuius contrarium sequitur regimen tyrannicum
Cum regibus tam grande in caelesti beatitudine praemium proponatur si bene in regendo se habuerint, diligenti cura se ipsos observare debent ne in tyrannidem convertantur. Nihil enim eis acceptabilius esse debet quam quod ex honore regio, quo sublimantur in terris, in caelestis regni gloriam transferantur. Errant vero tyranni, qui propter quaedam terrena commoda iustitiam deserunt; qui tanto privantur praemio, quod adipisci poterant iuste regendo. Quod autem stultum sit pro huiusmodi parvis et temporalibus bonis maxima et sempiterna perdere bona, nullus, nisi stultus aut infidelis, ignorat. [75] Since such a magnificent reward in heavenly blessedness is in store for kings who have acted well in ruling, they ought to keep careful watch over themselves in order not to turn to tyranny. Nothing, indeed, can be more acceptable to them than to be transferred from the royal honour, to which they are raised on earth, into the glory of the heavenly kingdom. Tyrants, on the contrary, who desert justice for a few earthly advantages, are deprived of such a great reward which they could have obtained by ruling justly. How foolish it is to sacrifice the greatest and eternal goods for trifling, temporal goods is clear to everyone but a fool or an infidel.
Addendum est etiam quod haec temporalia commoda, propter quae tyranni iustitiam deserunt, magis ad lucrum proveniunt regibus dum iustitiam servant. [76] It is to be added further, however, that the very temporal advantages for which tyrants abandon justice work to the greater profit of kings when they observe justice.
Primo namque inter mundana omnia nihil est, quod amicitiae dignae praeferendum videatur. Ipsa namque est quae virtuosos in unum conciliat, virtutem conservat atque promovet. Ipsa est qua omnes indigent in quibuscumque negotiis peragendis, quae nec prosperis importune se ingerit, nec deserit in adversis. Ipsa est quae maximas delectationes affert, in tantum ut quaecumque delectabilia in taedium sine amicis vertantur. Quaelibet autem aspera, facilia et prope nulla facit amor; nec est alicuius tyranni tanta crudelitas, ut amicitia non delectetur. Dionysius enim, quondam Syracusanorum tyrannus, cum duorum amicorum, qui Damon et Pythias dicebantur, alterum occidere vellet, is, qui occidendus erat, inducias impetravit ut domum profectus res suas ordinaret; alter vero amicorum sese tyranno ob fidem pro eius reditu dedit. Appropinquante autem promisso die, nec illo redeunte, unusquisque fideiussorem stultitiae arguebat. At ille nihil se metuere de amici constantia praedicabat. Eadem autem hora, qua fuerat occidendus, rediit. Admirans autem amborum animum, tyrannus supplicium propter fidem amicitiae remisit, insuper rogans ut eum tertium reciperent in amicitiae gradu. [77] First of all, among all worldly things there is nothing which seems worthy to be preferred to friendship. Friendship unites good men and preserves and promotes virtue. Friendship is needed by all men in whatsoever occupations they engage. In prosperity it does not thrust itself unwanted upon us, nor does it desert us in adversity. It is what brings with it the greatest delight, to such an extent that all that pleases is changed to weariness when friends are absent, and all difficult things are made easy and as nothing by love. There is no tyrant so cruel that friendship does not bring him pleasure. When Dionysius, sometime tyrant of Syracuse, wanted to kill one of two friends, Damon and Pythias, the one who was to be killed asked leave to go home and set his affairs in order, and the other friend surrendered himself to the tyrant as security for his return. When the appointed day was approaching and he had not yet returned, everyone said that his hostage was a fool, but he declared he had no fear whatever regarding his friend’s loyalty. The very hour when he was to be put to death, his friend returned. Admiring the courage of both, the tyrant remitted the sentence on account of the loyalty of their friendship, and asked in addition that they should receive him as a third member in their bond of friendship. [Cf. Valerius Maximus IV, 7, Ext. 1; Vincent of Beauvais, Specul. Doctrinale V, 84.]
Hoc autem amicitiae bonum, quamvis desiderent tyranni, consequi tamen non possunt. Dum enim commune bonum non quaerunt, sed proprium, fit parva vel nulla communio eorum ad subditos. Omnis autem amicitia super aliqua communione firmatur. Eos enim qui conveniunt, vel per naturae originem, vel per morum similitudinem, vel per cuiuscumque societatis communionem, videmus amicitia coniungi. Parva igitur vel potius nulla est amicitia tyranni et subditi; simulque dum subditi per tyrannicam iniustitiam opprimuntur, et se amari non sentiunt sed contemni, nequaquam amant. Nec habent tyranni unde de subditis conquerantur si ab eis non diliguntur, quia nec ipsi tales se ipsis exhibent ut diligi ab eis debeant. Sed boni reges, dum communi profectui studiose intendunt et eorum studio subditi plura commoda se assequi sentiunt, diliguntur a plurimis, dum subditos se amare demonstrant, quia et hoc est maioris malitiae quam quod in multitudine cadat, ut odio habeantur amici et benefactoribus rependatur malum pro bono. [78] Yet, although tyrants desire this very benefit of friendship, they cannot obtain it, for when they seek their own good instead of the common good there is little or no communion between them and their subjects. Now all friendship is concluded upon the basis of something common among those who are to be friends, for we see that those are united in friendship who have in common either their natural origin, or some similarity in habits of life, or any kind of social interests. Consequently there can be little or no friendship between tyrants and their subjects. When the latter are oppressed by tyrannical injustice and feel they are not loved but despised, they certainly do not conceive any love, for it is too great a virtue for the common man to love his enemies and to do good to his persecutors. Nor have tyrants any reason to complain of their subjects if they are not loved by them, since they do not act towards them in such a way that they ought to be loved by them. Good kings, on the contrary, are loved by many when they show that they love their subjects and are studiously intent on the common welfare, and when their subjects can see that they derive many benefits from this zealous care. For to hate their friends and return evil for good to their benefactors—this, surely, would be too great a malice to ascribe fittingly to the generality of men.
Et ex hoc amore provenit ut bonorum regum regnum sit stabile, dum pro ipsis se subditi quibuscumque periculis exponere non recusant: cuius exemplum in Iulio Caesare apparet, de quo Suetonius refert quod milites suos usque adeo diligebat ut, audita quorumdam caede, capillos et barbam ante non dempserit quam vindicasset: quibus rebus devotissimos sibi et strenuissimos milites reddidit, ita quod plerique eorum capti, concessam sibi sub ea conditione vitam, si militare adversus Caesarem vellent, recusarent. Octavianus etiam Augustus, qui modestissime imperio usus est, in tantum diligebatur a subditis ut plerique morientes victimas quas devoverant immolari mandarent, quia eum superstitem reliquissent. Non est ergo facile ut principis perturbetur dominium, quem tanto consensu populus amat: propter quod Salomon dicit: rex qui iudicat in iustitia pauperes, thronus eius in aeternum firmabitur. [79] The consequence of this love is that the government of good kings is stable, because their subjects do not refuse to expose themselves to any danger whatsoever on behalf of such kings. An example of this is to be seen in Julius Caesar who, as Suetonius relates [Divus Iulius 67], loved his soldiers to such an extent that when he heard that some of them were slaughtered, “he refused to cut either hair or beard until he had taken vengeance.” In this way, he made his soldiers most loyal to himself as well as most valiant, so that many, on being taken prisoner, refused to accept their lives when offered them on the condition that they serve against Caesar. Octavianus Augustus, also, who was most moderate in his use of power, was so loved by his subjects that some of them “on their deathbeds provided in their wills a thank-offering to be paid by the immolation of animals, so grateful were they that the emperor’s life outlasted their own” [Suetonius, Divus Augustus 59]. Therefore it is no easy task to shake the government of a prince whom the people so unanimously love. This is why Solomon says (Prov 29:14): “The king that judges the poor in justice, his throne shall be established forever.”
Tyrannorum vero dominium diuturnum esse non potest, cum sit multitudini odiosum. Non potest enim diu conservari quod votis multorum repugnat. Vix enim a quoquam praesens vita transigitur quin aliquas adversitates patiatur. Adversitatis autem tempore, occasio deesse non potest contra tyrannum insurgendi: et ubi adsit occasio, non deerit ex multis vel unus qui occasione non utatur. Insurgentem autem populus votive prosequitur: nec de facili carebit effectu, quod cum favore multitudinis attentatur. Vix ergo potest contingere quod tyranni dominium protendatur in longum. [80] The government of tyrants, on the other hand, cannot last long because it is hateful to the multitude, and what is against the wishes of the multitude cannot be long preserved. For a man can hardly pass through this present life without suffering some adversities, and in the time of his adversity occasion cannot be lacking to rise against the tyrant; and when there is an opportunity there will not be lacking at least one of the multitude to use it. Then the people will fervently favour the insurgent, and what is attempted with the sympathy of the multitude will not easily fail of its effects. It can thus scarcely come to pass that the government of a tyrant will endure for a long time.
Hoc etiam manifeste patet, si quis consideret unde tyranni dominium conservatur. Non enim conservatur amore, cum parva vel nulla sit amicitia subiectae multitudinis ad tyrannum, ut ex praehabitis patet. De subditorum autem fide tyrannis confidendum non est. Non enim invenitur tanta virtus in multis, ut fidelitatis virtute reprimantur ne indebitae servitutis iugum, si possint, excutiant. Fortassis autem nec fidelitati contrarium reputabitur secundum opinionem multorum, si tyrannicae nequitiae qualitercumque obvietur. Restat ergo ut solo timore tyranni regimen sustentetur, unde et timeri se a subditis tota intentione procurant. Timor autem est debile fundamentum. Nam qui timore subduntur, si occurrat occasio qua possint impunitatem sperare, contra praesidentes insurgunt eo ardentius quo magis contra voluntatem ex solo timore cohibebantur. Sicut si aqua per violentiam includatur, cum aditum invenerit impetuosius fluit. Sed nec ipse timor caret periculo, cum ex nimio timore plerique in desperationem inciderint. Salutis autem desperatio audacter ad quaelibet attendenda praecipitat. Non potest igitur tyranni dominium esse diuturnum. [81] This is very clear, too, if we consider the means by which a tyrannical government is upheld. It is not upheld by love, since there is little or no bond of friendship between the subject multitude and the tyrant, as is evident from what we have said. On the other hand, tyrants cannot rely on the loyalty of their subjects, for such a degree of virtue is not found among the generality of men, that they should be restrained by the virtue of fidelity from throwing off the yoke of unmerited servitude, if they are able to do so. Nor would it perhaps be a violation of fidelity at all, according to the opinion of many,’ to frustrate the wickedness of tyrants by any means whatsoever. It remains, then, that the government of a tyrant is maintained by fear alone and consequently they strive with all their might to be feared by their subjects. Fear, however, is a weak support. Those who are kept down by fear will rise against their rulers if the opportunity ever occurs when they can hope to do it with impunity, and they will rebel against their rulers all the more furiously the more they have been kept in subjection against their will by fear alone, just as water confined under pressure flows with greater impetus when. it finds an outlet. That very fear itself is not without danger, because many become desperate from excessive fear, and despair of safety impels a man boldly to dare anything. Therefore the government of a tyrant cannot be of long duration.
Hoc etiam non minus exemplis quam rationibus apparet. Si quis enim antiquorum gesta et modernorum eventus consideret, vix inveniet dominium tyranni alicuius diuturnum fuisse. Unde et Aristoteles in sua politica, multis tyrannis enumeratis, omnium demonstrat dominium brevi tempore fuisse finitum, quorum tamen aliqui diutius praefuerunt quia non multum in tyrannide excedebant sed quantum ad multa imitabantur regalem modestiam. [82] This appears clearly from examples no less than from reason. If we scan the history of antiquity and the events of modern times, we shall scarcely find one government of a tyrant which lasted a long time. So Aristotle, in his Politics [V, 12: 1315b 11-39], after enumerating many tyrants, shows that all their governments were of short duration; although some of them reigned a fairly long time because they were not very tyrannical but in many things imitated the moderation of kings.
Adhuc autem hoc magis fit manifestum ex consideratione divini iudicii. Ut enim in Iob dicitur: regnare facit hominem hypocritam propter peccata populi. Nullus autem verius hypocrita dici potest quam qui regis assumit officium et exhibet se tyrannum. Nam hypocrita dicitur qui alterius repraesentat personam, sicut in spectaculis fieri consuevit. Sic igitur Deus praefici permittit tyrannos ad puniendum subditorum peccata. Talis autem punitio in Scripturis ira Dei consuevit nominari. Unde per Oseae dominus dicit: dabo vobis regem in furore meo. Infelix est autem rex qui populo in furore Dei conceditur. Non enim eius stabile potest esse dominium, quia non obliviscetur misereri Deus, nec continebit in ira sua misericordias suas: quinimmo per Ioelem dicitur quod est patiens, et multae misericordiae, et praestabilis super malitia. Non igitur permittit Deus diu regnare tyrannos, sed post tempestatem per eos inductam populo, per eorum deiectionem tranquillitatem inducet. Unde sapiens dicit: sedes ducum superborum destruxit Deus, et sedere fecit mites pro eis. [83] All this becomes still more evident if we consider the divine judgment, for, as we read in Job (24:30), “He makes a man who is a hypocrite to reign for the sins of the people.” No one, indeed, can be more truly called a hypocrite than the man who assumes the office of king and acts like a tyrant, for a hypocrite is one who mimics the person of another, as is done on the stage. Hence God permits tyrants to get into power to punish the sins of the subjects. In Holy Scripture it is customary to call such punishment the anger of God. Thus in Hosea (13:11) the Lord says: “I will give you a king in my wrath.” Unhappy is a king who is given to the people in God’s wrath, for his power cannot be stable, because “God does not forgets to show mercy nor does He shut up His mercies in His anger” (Ps 76:10). On the contrary, as we read in Joel (2:13): “He is patient and rich in mercy and ready to repent of the evil.” So God does not permit tyrants to reign a long time, but after the storm brought on the people through these tyrants, He restores tranquillity by casting them down. Therefore the Wise Man” says (Sirach 10:17): “God has overturned the thrones of proud princes and hath set up the meek in their stead.”
Experimento etiam apparet quod reges magis per iustitiam adipiscuntur divitias quam per rapinam tyranni. Quia enim dominium tyrannorum subiectae multitudini displicet, ideo opus habent tyranni multos habere satellites per quos contra subditos tuti reddantur, in quibus necesse est plura expendere quam a subditis rapiant. Regum autem dominium, quod subditis placet, omnes subditos pro satellitibus ad custodiam habet, in quibus expendere opus non est; sed interdum in necessitatibus plura regibus sponte donant, quam tyranni diripere possint; et sic impletur quod Salomon dicit: alii, scilicet reges, dividunt propria benefaciendo subiectis, et ditiores fiunt. Alii, scilicet tyranni, rapiunt non sua, et semper in egestate sunt. Similiter autem iusto Dei contingit iudicio ut qui divitias iniuste congregant, inutiliter eas dispergant, aut etiam iuste auferantur ab eis. Ut enim Salomon dicit: avarus non implebitur pecunia, et qui amat divitias fructum non capiet ex eis; quinimmo ut Prov. XV dicit: conturbat domum suam, qui sectatur avaritiam. Regibus vero, qui iustitiam quaerunt, divitiae adduntur a Deo, sicut Salomon, qui, dum sapientiam quaesivit ad faciendum iudicium, promissionem de abundantia divitiarum accepit. [84] Experience further shows that kings acquire more wealth through justice than tyrants do through rapine. Because the government of tyrants is displeasing to the multitude subject to it, tyrants must have a great many satellites to safeguard themselves against their subjects. On these it is necessary to spend more than they can rob from their subjects. On the contrary, the government of kings, since it is pleasing to their subjects, has for its protection, instead of hirelings, all the subjects. And they demand no pay but, in time of need, freely give to their kings more than the tyrants can take. Thus the words of Solomon are fulfilled (Prov 11:24): “Some (namely, the kings) distribute their own goods (doing good to their subjects) and grow richer; others (namely, the tyrants) take away what is not their own and are always in want.” In the same way it comes to pass, by the just judgment of God, that those who unjustly heap up riches, uselessly scatter them or are justly deprived of them. For, as Solomon says (Eccles. 5:9): “A covetous man shall not be satisfied with money and he who loves riches shall reap no fruit from them.” Rather, we read in Proverbs (15:27): “He who is greedy of gain troubles his own house.” But to kings who seek justice, God gives wealth, as He did to Solomon who, when he sought wisdom to do justice, received a promise of an abundance of wealth.”
De fama vero superfluum videtur dicere. Quis enim dubitet bonos reges non solum in vita, sed magis post mortem quodammodo laudibus hominum vivere, et in desiderio haberi; malorum vero nomen aut statim deficere, vel si excellentes in malitia fuerint, cum detestatione eorum rememorari? Unde Salomon dicit: memoria iusti cum laudibus, nomen autem impiorum putrescet, quia vel deficit, vel remanet cum foetore. [85] It seems superfluous to speak about fame, for who can doubt that good kings live in a sense in the praises of men, not only in this life, but still more, after their death, and that men yearn for them? But the name of wicked kings straightway vanishes or, if they have been excessive in their wickedness, they are remembered with execration. Thus Solomon says (Prov 10:7): “The memory of the just is with praises, and the name of the wicked shall rot,” either because it vanishes or it remains with stench.

Caput 12
Quod bona etiam mundialia, ut sunt divitiae, potestas, honor et fama, magis proveniunt regibus quam tyrannis, et de malis in quae incurrunt tyranni etiam in hac vita
Ex his ergo manifestum est quod stabilitas potestatis, divitiae, honor et fama magis regibus quam tyrannis ad votum proveniunt, propter quae tamen indebite adipiscenda declinat in tyrannidem princeps. Nullus enim a iustitia declinat nisi cupiditate alicuius commodi tractus. [86] From the above arguments it is evident that stability of power, wealth, honour and fame come to fulfil the desires of kings rather than tyrants, and it is in seeking to acquire these things unduly that princes turn to tyranny. For no one falls away from justice except through a desire for some temporal advantage.
Privatur insuper tyrannus excellentissima beatitudine, quae regibus debetur pro praemio, et, quod est gravius, maximum tormentum sibi acquirit in poenis. Si enim qui unum hominem spoliat, vel in servitutem redigit, vel occidit, maximam poenam meretur, quantum quidem ad iudicium hominum mortem, quantum vero ad iudicium Dei damnationem aeternam; quanto magis putandum est tyrannum deteriora mereri supplicia, qui undique ab omnibus rapit, contra omnium libertatem laborat, pro libito voluntatis suae quoscumque interficit? [87] The tyrant, moreover, loses the surpassing beatitude which is due as a reward to kings and, which is still more serious, brings upon himself great suffering as a punishment. For if the man who despoils a single man, or casts him into slavery, or kills him, deserves the greatest punishment (death in the judgment of men, and in the judgment of God eternal damnation), how much worse tortures must we consider a tyrant deserves, who on all sides robs everybody, works against the common liberty of all, and kills whom he will at his merest whim?
Tales insuper raro poenitent, vento inflati superbiae, merito peccatorum a Deo deserti et adulationibus hominum delibuti, et rarius digne satisfacere possunt. Quando enim restituent omnia quae praeter iustitiae debitum abstulerunt? Ad quae tamen restituenda nullus dubitat eos teneri. Quando recompensabunt eis quos oppresserunt et iniuste qualitercumque laeserunt? [88] Again, such men rarely repent; but puffed up by the wind of pride, deservedly abandoned by God for their sins, and besmirched by the flattery of men, they can rarely make worthy satisfaction. When will they ever restore all those things which they have received beyond their just due? Yet no one doubts that they are bound to restore those ill-gotten goods. When will they make amends to those whom they have oppressed and unjustly injured in their many ways?
Adiicitur autem ad eorum impoenitentiam quod omnia sibi licita existimant quae impune sine resistentia facere potuerunt: unde non solum emendare non satagunt quae male fecerunt, sed sua consuetudine pro auctoritate utentes, peccandi audaciam transmittunt ad posteros, et sic non solum suorum facinorum apud Deum rei tenentur, sed etiam eorum quibus apud Deum peccandi occasionem reliquerunt. [89] The malice of their impenitence is increased by the fact that they consider everything licit which they can do unresisted and with impunity. Hence they not only make no effort to repair the evil they have done but, taking their customary way of acting as their authority, they hand on their boldness in sinning to posterity. Consequently they are held guilty before God, not only for their own sins, but also for the crimes of those to whom they gave the occasion of sin.
Aggravatur etiam eorum peccatum ex dignitate suscepti officii. Sicut enim terrenus rex gravius punit suos ministros, si invenit eos sibi contrarios; ita Deus magis puniet eos, quos sui regiminis executores et ministros facit, si nequiter agant, Dei iudicium in amaritudinem convertentes. Unde et in libro sapientiae ad reges iniquos dicitur: quoniam cum essetis ministri regni illius, non recte iudicastis, neque custodistis legem iustitiae (nostrae), neque secundum voluntatem Dei ambulastis, horrende et cito apparebit vobis quoniam iudicium durissimum his qui praesunt fiet. Exiguo enim conceditur misericordia, potentes autem potenter tormenta patientur. Et Nabuchodonosor per Isaiam dicitur: ad Infernum detraheris in profundum laci. Qui te viderint, ad te inclinabuntur teque prospicient, quasi profundius in poenis submersum. [90] Their sin is made greater also from the dignity of the office they have assumed. Just as an earthly king inflicts a heavier punishment upon his ministers if he finds them traitors to him, so God will punish more severely those whom He made the executors and ministers of His government if they act wickedly, turning God’s judgment into bitterness. Hence, in the Book of Wisdom (6:5-7), the following words are addressed to wicked kings: “Because being ministers of His kingdom, you have not judged rightly nor kept the law of justice nor walked according to the will of God, horribly and speedily will He appear to you, for a most severe judgment shall be for them that bear rule; for to him that is little, mercy is granted, but the mighty shall be mightily tormented.” And to Nabuchodonosor it is said by Isaiah (14:15-16): “But you shall yet be brought down to hell, into the depth of the pit. They who see you shall turn toward you and gaze on you” as one more deeply buried in punishments.
Si igitur regibus abundant temporalia bona et proveniunt, et excellens beatitudinis gradus praeparatur a Deo, tyranni autem a temporalibus bonis quae cupiunt plerumque frustrantur, multis insuper periculis subiacentes, et, quod est amplius, bonis aeternis privantur ad poenas gravissimas reservati, vehementer studendum est his, qui regendi officium suscipiunt, ut reges se subditis praebeant, non tyrannos. [91] So, then, if to kings an abundance of temporal goods is given and an eminent degree of beatitude prepared for them by God, while tyrants are often prevented from obtaining even the temporal goods which they covet, subjected also to many dangers and, worse still, deprived of eternal happiness and destined for most grievous punishment, surely those who undertake the office of ruling must earnestly strive to act as kings towards their subjects, and not as tyrants.
De rege autem quid sit, et quod expediat multitudini regem habere; adhuc autem quod praesidi expediat se regem multitudini exhibere subiectae, non tyrannum, tanta a nobis dicta sint. [92] What has been said hitherto should suffice in order to show what a king is, and that it is good for the multitude to have a king, and also that it is expedient for a ruler to conduct himself towards the multitude of his subjects as a king, not as a tyrant.

Caput 13
Procedit ad ostendendum regis officium, ubi secundum viam naturae ostendit regem esse in regno sicut anima est in corpore et sicut Deus est in mundo
Consequens autem ex dictis est considerare quod sit regis officium et qualem oporteat esse regem. Quia vero ea quae sunt secundum artem imitantur ea quae sunt secundum naturam, ex quibus accipimus ut secundum rationem operari possimus, optimum videtur regis officium a forma regiminis naturalis assumere. [93] The next point to be Considered is what the kingly office is and what qualities the king should have. Since things which are in accordance with art are an imitation of the things which are in accordance with nature (from which we accept the rules to act according to reason), it seems best that we learn about the kingly office from the pattern of the regime of nature. Footnote
Invenitur autem in rerum natura regimen et universale et particulare. Universale quidem, secundum quod omnia sub Dei regimine continentur, qui sua providentia universa gubernat. Particulare autem regimen maxime quidem divino regimini simile est, quod invenitur in homine, qui ob hoc minor mundus appellatur, quia in eo invenitur forma universalis regiminis. Nam sicut universa creatura corporea et omnes spirituales virtutes sub divino regimine continentur, sic et corporis membra et caeterae vires animae a ratione reguntur, et sic quodammodo se habet ratio in homine sicut Deus in mundo. Sed quia, sicut supra ostendimus, homo est animal naturaliter sociale in multitudine vivens, similitudo divini regiminis invenitur in homine non solum quantum ad hoc quod per rationem regitur unus homo, sed etiam quantum ad hoc quod per rationem unius hominis regitur multitudo: quod maxime pertinet ad officium regis, dum et in quibusdam animalibus, quae socialiter vivunt, quaedam similitudo invenitur huius regiminis, sicut in apibus, in quibus et reges esse dicuntur, non quod in eis per rationem sit regimen, sed per instinctum naturae inditum a summo regente, qui est auctor naturae. [94] In things of nature there is both a universal and a particular government. The former is God’s government Whose rule embraces all things and Whose providence governs them all. The latter is found in man and it is much like the divine government. Hence man is called a microcosm. Footnote Indeed there is a similitude between both governments in regard to their form; for just as the universe of corporeal creatures and all spiritual powers come under the divine government, in like manner the members of the human body and all the powers of the soul are governed by reason. Thus, in a proportionate manner, reason is to man what God is to the world. Since, however, man is by nature a social animal living in a multitude, as we have pointed out above,’ the analogy with the divine government is found in him not only in this way that one man governs himself by reason, but also in that the multitude of men is governed by the reason of one man. This is what first of all constitutes the office of a king. True, among certain animals that live socially there is a likeness to the king’s rulership; so we say that there are kings among bees. Yet animals exercise rulership not through reason but through their natural instinct which is implanted in them by the Great Ruler the Author of nature.
Hoc igitur officium rex suscepisse cognoscat, ut sit in regno sicut in corpore anima et sicut Deus in mundo. Quae si diligenter recogitet, ex altero iustitiae in eo zelus accenditur, dum considerat ad hoc se positum ut loco Dei iudicium regno exerceat; ex altero vero mansuetudinis et clementiae lenitatem acquirit, dum reputat singulos, qui suo subsunt regimini, sicut propria membra. [95] Therefore let the king recognize that such is the office which he undertakes, namely, that he is to be in the kingdom what the soul is in the body, and what God is in the world.’ If he reflect seriously upon this, a zeal for justice will be enkindled in him when he contemplates that he has been appointed to this position in place of God, to exercise judgment in his kingdom; further, he will acquire the gentleness of clemency and mildness when he considers as his own members those individuals who are subject to his rule.

Caput 14
Assumit ex hac similitudine modum regiminis, ut sicut Deus unamquamque rem distinguit quodam ordine et propria operatione et loco, ita rex subditos suos in regno; et eodem modo de anima
Oportet igitur considerare quid Deus in mundo faciat: sic enim manifestum erit quid immineat regi faciendum. [96] Let us then examine what God does in the world, for in this way we shall be able to see what it is incumbent upon a king to do.
Sunt autem universaliter consideranda duo opera Dei in mundo. Unum quo mundum instituit, alterum quo mundum institutum gubernat. Haec etiam duo opera anima habet in corpore. Nam primo quidem virtute animae informatur corpus, deinde vero per animam corpus regitur et movetur. [97] Looking at the world as a whole, there are two works of God to be considered: the first is creation; the second, God’s government of the things created. These two works are, in like manner, performed by the soul in the body since, first, by the virtue of the soul the body is formed, and then the latter is governed and moved by the soul.
Horum autem secundum quidem magis proprie pertinet ad regis officium. Unde ad omnes reges pertinet gubernatio, et a gubernationis regimine regis nomen accipitur. Primum autem opus non omnibus regibus convenit. Non enim omnes regnum aut civitatem instituunt, in quo regnant, sed regno ac civitati iam institutis regiminis curam impendunt. Est tamen considerandum quod nisi praecessisset qui institueret civitatem aut regnum, locum non haberet gubernatio regni. Sub regis enim officio comprehenditur etiam institutio civitatis et regni. Nonnulli enim civitates instituerunt, in quibus regnarent, ut Ninus Ninivem, et Romulus Romam. Similiter etiam ad gubernationis officium pertinet ut gubernata conservet, ac eis utatur ad quod sunt constituta. Non igitur gubernationis officium plene cognosci poterit si institutionis ratio ignoretur. [98] Of these works, the second more properly pertains to the office of kingship. Therefore government belongs to all kings (the very name rex is derived from the fact that they direct the government), while the first work does not fall to all kings, for not all kings establish the kingdom or city in which they rule but bestow their regal care upon a kingdom or city already established. We must remember, however, that if there were no one to establish the city or kingdom,’ there would be no question of governing the kingdom. The very notion of kingly office, then, comprises the establishment of a city and kingdom, and some kings have indeed established cities in which to rule; for example, Ninus founded Ninevah, and Romulus, Rome. It pertains also to the governing office to preserve the things governed, and to use them for the purpose for which they were established. If, therefore, one does not know how a kingdom is established, one cannot fully understand the task of its government.
Ratio autem institutionis regni ab exemplo institutionis mundi sumenda est: in quo primo consideratur ipsarum rerum productio, deinde partium mundi ordinata distinctio. Ulterius autem singulis mundi partibus diversae rerum species distributae videntur, ut stellae caelo, volucres aeri, pisces aquae, animalia terrae: deinde singulis ea, quibus indigent, abundanter divinitus provisa videntur. Hanc autem institutionis rationem Moyses subtiliter et diligenter expressit. Primo enim rerum productionem proponit, dicens: in principio creavit Deus caelum et terram; deinde secundum ordinem convenientem omnia divinitus distincta esse denuntiat, videlicet diem a nocte, a superioribus inferiora, mare ab arida. Hinc caelum luminaribus, avibus aerem, mare piscibus, animalibus terram ornatam refert: ultimo assignatum hominibus terrae animaliumque dominium. Usum vero plantarum tam ipsis quam animalibus caeteris ex providentia divina denuntiat. [99] Now, from the example of the creation of the world one may learn how a kingdom is established. In creation we may consider, first, the production of things; secondly, the orderly distinction of the parts of the world. Further, we observe that different species of things are distributed in different parts of the world: stars in the heavens, fowls in the air, fishes in the water, and animals on land. We notice further that, for each species, the things it needs are abundantly provided by the Divine Power. Moses has minutely and carefully set forth this plan of how the world was made. First of all, he sets forth the production of things in these words: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” (Gen 1:1). Next, he declares that all things were distinguished from one another by God according to a suitable order: day from night, higher things from lower, the sea from the dry land. He next relates that the sky was adorned with luminaries, the air with birds, the sea with fishes, the earth with animals; finally, dominion over earth and animals was given to men. He further states that, by Divine Providence, plants were made for the use of men and the other animals.
Institutor autem civitatis et regni de novo producere homines et loca ad inhabitandum et caetera vitae subsidia non potest, sed necesse habet his uti quae in natura praeexistunt: sicut etiam caeterae artes operationis suae materiam a natura accipiunt, ut faber ferrum, aedificator ligna et lapides in artis usum assumunt. Necesse est igitur institutori civitatis et regni primum quidem congruum locum eligere, qui salubritate habitatores conservet, ubertate ad victum sufficiat, amoenitate delectet, munitione ab hostibus tutos reddat. Quod si aliquid de dicta opportunitate deficiat, tanto locus erit convenientior quanto plura vel magis necessaria de praedictis habuerit. Deinde necesse est ut locum electum institutor civitatis aut regni distinguat secundum exigentiam eorum quae perfectio civitatis aut regni requirit. Puta, si regnum instituendum sit, oportet providere quis locus aptus sit urbibus constituendis, quis villis, quis castris, ubi constituenda sint studia litterarum, ubi exercitia militum, ubi negotiatorum conventus, et sic de aliis quae perfectio regni requirit. Si autem institutioni civitatis opera detur, providere oportet quis locus sit sacris, quis iuri reddendo, quis artificibus singulis deputandus. Ulterius autem oportet homines congregare, qui sunt congruis locis secundum sua officia deputandi. Demum vero providendum est ut singulis necessaria suppetant secundum uniuscuiusque constitutionem et statum: aliter enim nequaquam posset regnum vel civitas commanere. [100] Of course the founder of a city and kingdom cannot produce anew men, places in which to dwell, and the other necessities of life. He has to make use of those which already exist in nature, just as the other arts derive the material for their work from nature; as, for example, the smith takes iron, the builder wood and stone, to use in their respective arts. Therefore the founder of a city and kingdom must first choose a suitable place which will preserve the inhabitants by its healthfulness, provide the necessities of life by its fruitfulness, please them with its beauty, and render them safe from their enemies by its natural protection. If any of these advantages be lacking, the place will be more or less convenient in proportion as it offers more or less of the said advantages, or the more essential of them. Next, the founder of a city and kingdom must mark out the chosen place according to the exigencies of things necessary for the perfection of the city and kingdom. For example, when a kingdom is to be founded, he will have to determine which place is suitable for establishing cities, and which is best for villages and hamlets, where to locate the places of learning, the military training camps, the markets—and so on with other things which the perfection of the kingdom requires. And if it is a question of founding a city, he will have to determine what site is to be assigned to the churches, the law courts, and the various trades! Furthermore, he will have to gather together the men, who must be apportioned suitable locations according to their respective occupations. Finally, he must provide for each one what is necessary for his particular condition and state in life; otherwise, the kingdom or city could never endure.
Haec igitur sunt, ut summarie dicatur, quae ad regis officium pertinent in institutione civitatis aut regni, ex similitudine institutionis mundi assumpta. [101] These are, briefly, the duties that pertain to the office of king in founding a city and kingdom, as derived from a comparison with the creation of the world.

Caput 15
Quis modus gubernandi competat regi, quia secundum modum gubernationis divinae: qui quidem modus gubernandi a gubernatione navis sumpsit initium, ubi et ponitur comparatio sacerdotalis navis sumpsit initium, ubi et ponitur comparatio sacerdotalis dominii et regalis
Sicut autem institutio civitatis aut regni ex forma institutionis mundi convenienter accipitur, sic et gubernationis ratio ex gubernatione sumenda est. [102] Just as the founding of a city or kingdom may suitably be learned from the way in which the world was created, so too the way to govern may be learned from the divine government of the world.
Est tamen praeconsiderandum quod gubernare est, id quod gubernatur, convenienter ad debitum finem perducere. Sic etiam navis gubernari dicitur dum per nautae industriam recto itinere ad portum illaesa perducitur. Si igitur aliquid ad finem extra se ordinetur, ut navis ad portum, ad gubernatoris officium pertinebit non solum ut rem in se conservet illaesam, sed quod ulterius ad finem perducat. Si vero aliquid esset, cuius finis non esset extra ipsum, ad hoc solum intenderet gubernatoris intentio ut rem illam in sua perfectione conservaret illaesam. [103] Before going into that, however, we should consider that to govern is to lead the thing governed in a suitable way towards its proper end. Thus a ship is said to be governed when, through the skill of the pilot, it is brought unharmed and by a direct route to harbour. Consequently, if a thing be directed to an end outside itself (as a ship to the harbour), it is the governor’s duty, not only to preserve the thing unharmed, but further to guide it towards this end. If, on the contrary, there be a thing whose end is not outside itself, then the governor’s endeavours will merely tend to preserve the thing undamaged in its proper perfection.
Et quamvis nihil tale inveniatur in rebus post ipsum Deum, qui est omnibus finis, erga id tamen, quod ad extrinsecum ordinatur, multipliciter cura impeditur a diversis. Nam forte alius erit qui curam gerit ut res in suo esse conservetur; alius autem ut ad altiorem perfectionem perveniat: ut in ipsa navi, unde gubernationis ratio assumitur, manifeste apparet. Faber enim lignarius curam habet restaurandi si quid collapsum fuerit in navi, sed nauta sollicitudinem gerit ut navem perducat ad portum. Sic etiam contingit in homine. Nam medicus curam gerit ut vita hominis conservetur in sanitate; oeconomus, ut suppetant necessaria vitae; doctor autem curam gerit ut veritatem cognoscat; institutor autem morum, ut secundum rationem vivat. [104] Nothing of this kind is to be found in reality, except God Himself, Who is the end of all. However, as concerns the thing which is directed to an end outside itself, care is exercised by different providers in different ways. One might have the task of preserving a thing in its being, another of bringing it to a further perfection. Such is clearly the case in the example of the ship; (the first meaning of the word gubernator [governor] is pilot.) It is the carpenter’s business to repair anything which might be broken, while the pilot bears the responsibility of bringing the ship to port. It is the same with man. The doctor sees to it that a man’s life is preserved; the tradesman supplies the, necessities of life; the teacher takes care that man may learn the truth; and the tutor sees that he lives according to reason.
Quod si homo non ordinaretur ad aliud exterius bonum, sufficerent homini curae praedictae. Sed est quoddam bonum extrinsecum homini quamdiu mortaliter vivit, scilicet ultima beatitudo, quae in fruitione Dei expectatur post mortem. Quia, ut apostolus ait: quamdiu sumus in corpore, peregrinamur a domino. Unde homo Christianus, cui beatitudo illa est per Christi sanguinem acquisita, et qui pro ea assequenda spiritus sancti arrham accepit, indiget alia spirituali cura per quam dirigatur ad portum salutis aeternae; haec autem cura per ministros Ecclesiae Christi fidelibus exhibetur. [105] Now if man were not ordained to another end outside himself, the above-mentioned cares would be sufficient for him. But as long as man’s mortal life endures there is an extrinsic good for him, namely, final beatitude which is looked for after death in the enjoyment of God, for as the Apostle’ says (2 Cor 5:6): “As long as we are in the body we are far from the Lord.” Consequently the Christian man, for whom that beatitude has been purchased by the blood of Christ, and who, in order to attain it, has received the earnest of the Holy Spirit, needs another and spiritual care to direct him to the harbour of eternal salvation, and this care is provided for the faithful by the ministers of the Church of Christ.
Idem autem oportet esse iudicium de fine totius multitudinis, et unius. Si igitur finis hominis esset bonum quodcumque in ipso existens, et regendae multitudinis finis ultimus esset similiter ut tale bonum multitudo acquireret et in eo permaneret; et si quidem talis ultimus sive unius hominis sive multitudinis finis esset corporalis, vita et sanitas corporis, medici esset officium. Si autem ultimus finis esset divitiarum affluentia, oeconomus rex quidam multitudinis esset. Si vero bonum cognoscendae veritatis tale quid esset, ad quod posset multitudo pertingere, rex haberet doctoris officium. Videtur autem finis esse multitudinis congregatae vivere secundum virtutem. Ad hoc enim homines congregantur ut simul bene vivant, quod consequi non posset unusquisque singulariter vivens; bona autem vita est secundum virtutem; virtuosa igitur vita est congregationis humanae finis. Huius autem signum est quod hi soli sunt partes multitudinis congregatae, qui sibi invicem communicant in bene vivendo. Si enim propter solum vivere homines convenirent, animalia et servi essent pars aliqua congregationis civilis. Si vero propter acquirendas divitias, omnes simul negotiantes ad unam civitatem pertinerent, sicut videmus eos solos sub una multitudine computari qui sub eisdem legibus et eodem regimine diriguntur ad bene vivendum. [106] Now the same judgment is to be formed about the end of society as a whole as about the end of one man. If, therefore, the ultimate end of man were some good that existed in himself, then the ultimate end of the multitude to be governed would likewise be for the multitude to acquire such good, and persevere in its possession. If such an ultimate end either of an individual man or a multitude were a corporeal one, namely, life and health of body, to govern would then be a physician’s charge. If that ultimate end were an abundance of wealth, then knowledge of economics would have the last word in the community’s government. If the good of the knowledge of truth were of such a kind that the multitude might attain to it, the king would have to be a teacher. It is, however, clear that the end of a multitude gathered together is to live virtuously. For men form a group for the purpose of living well Footnote together, a thing which the individual man living alone could not attain, and good life is virtuous life. Therefore, virtuous life is the end for which men gather together. The evidence for this lies in the fact that only those who render mutual assistance to one another in living well form a genuine part of an assembled multitude. If men assembled merely to live, then animals and slaves would form a part of the civil community. Or, if men assembled only to accrue wealth, then all those who traded together would belong to one city. Yet we see that only such are regarded as forming one multitude as are directed by the same laws and the same government to live well.
Sed quia homo vivendo secundum virtutem ad ulteriorem finem ordinatur, qui consistit in fruitione divina, ut supra iam diximus, oportet eumdem finem esse multitudinis humanae qui est hominis unius. Non est ergo ultimus finis multitudinis congregatae vivere secundum virtutem, sed per virtuosam vitam pervenire ad fruitionem divinam. [107] Yet through virtuous living man is further ordained to a higher end, which consists in the enjoyment of God, as we have said above. Consequently, since society must have the same end as the individual man, it is not the ultimate end of an assembled multitude to live virtuously, but through virtuous living to attain to the possession of God.
Siquidem autem ad hunc finem perveniri posset virtute humanae naturae, necesse esset ut ad officium regis pertineret dirigere homines in hunc finem. Hunc enim dici regem supponimus, cui summa regiminis in rebus humanis committitur. Tanto autem est regimen sublimius quanto ad finem ulteriorem ordinatur. Semper enim invenitur ille, ad quem pertinet ultimus finis, imperare operantibus ea quae ad finem ultimum ordinantur; sicut gubernator, ad quem pertinet navigationem disponere, imperat ei, qui navem constituit, qualem navem navigationi aptam facere debeat; civilis autem qui utitur armis, imperat fabro, qualia arma fabricet. Sed quia finem fruitionis divinae non consequitur homo per virtutem humanam, sed virtute divina, iuxta illud apostoli: gratia Dei, vita aeterna, perducere ad illum finem non humani erit, sed divini regiminis. [108] If this end could be attained by the power of human nature, then the duty of a king would have to include the direction of men to it. We are supposing, of course, that he is called king to whom the supreme power of governing in human affairs is entrusted. Now the higher the end to which a government is ordained, the loftier that government is. Indeed, we always find that the one to whom it pertains to achieve the final end commands those who execute the things that are ordained to that end. For example, the captain, whose business it is to regulate navigation, tells the shipbuilder what kind of ship he must construct to be suitable for navigation; and the ruler of a city, who makes use of arms, tells the blacksmith what kind of arms to make. But because a man does not attain his end, which is the possession of God, by human power but by divine according to the words of the Apostle (Rom 6:23): “By the grace of God life everlasting”—therefore the task of leading him to that last end does not pertain to human but to divine government.
Ad illum igitur regem huiusmodi regimen pertinet, qui non est solum homo sed etiam Deus, scilicet ad dominum nostrum Iesum Christum, qui homines filios Dei faciens in caelestem gloriam introduxit. Hoc igitur est regimen ei traditum quod non corrumpetur, propter quod non solum sacerdos, sed rex in Scripturis sacris nominatur, dicente Ieremia: regnabit rex, et sapiens erit; unde ab eo regale sacerdotium derivatur. Et quod est amplius, omnes Christi fideles, in quantum sunt membra eius, reges et sacerdotes dicuntur. [109] Consequently, government of this kind pertains to that king who is not only a man, but also God, namely, our Lord Jesus Christ, Who by making men sons of God brought them to the glory of Heaven. This then is the government which has been delivered to Him and which “shall not be destroyed” (Dan 7:14), on account of which He is called, in Holy Writ, not Priest only, but King. As Jeremiah says (23:5): “The king shall reign and he shall be wise.” Hence a royal priesthood is derived from Him, and what is more, all those who believe in Christ, in so far as they are His members, are called kings and priests.
Huius ergo regni ministerium, ut a terrenis essent spiritualia distincta, non terrenis regibus sed sacerdotibus est commissum, et praecipue summo sacerdoti, successori Petri, Christi vicario, Romano pontifici, cui omnes reges populi Christiani oportet esse subditos, sicut ipsi domino Iesu Christo. Sic enim ei, ad quem finis ultimi cura pertinet, subdi debent illi, ad quos pertinet cura antecedentium finium, et eius imperio dirigi. [110] Thus, in order that spiritual things might be distinguished from earthly things, the ministry of this kingdom has been entrusted not to earthly kings but to priests, and most of all to the chief priest, the successor of St. Peter, the Vicar of Christ, the Roman Pontiff. To him all the kings of the Christian People Footnote are to be subject as to our Lord Jesus Christ Himself. Footnote For those to whom pertains the care of intermediate ends should be subject to him to whom pertains the care of the ultimate end, and be directed by his rule.
Quia igitur sacerdotium gentilium et totus divinorum cultus erat propter temporalia bona conquirenda, quae omnia ordinantur ad multitudinis bonum commune, cuius regi cura incumbit, convenienter sacerdotes gentilium regibus subdebantur. Sed et quia in veteri lege promittebantur bona terrena non a Daemonibus, sed a Deo vero religioso populo exhibenda, inde et in lege veteri sacerdotes regibus leguntur fuisse subiecti. Sed in nova lege est sacerdotium altius, per quod homines traducuntur ad bona caelestia: unde in lege Christi reges debent sacerdotibus esse subiecti. [111] Because the priesthood of the gentiles and the whole worship of their gods existed merely for the acquisition of temporal goods (which were all ordained to the common good of the multitude, whose care devolved upon the king), the priests of the gentiles were very properly subject to the kings. Similarly, since in the old law earthly goods were promised to the religious people (not indeed by demons but by the true God), the priests of the old law, we read, were also subject to the kings. But in the new law there is a higher priesthood by which men are guided to heavenly goods. Consequently, in the law of Christ, kings must be subject to priests.
Propter quod mirabiliter ex divina providentia factum est ut in Romana urbe, quam Deus praeviderat Christiani populi principalem sedem futuram, hic mos paulatim inolesceret ut civitatum rectores sacerdotibus subiacerent. Sicut enim Valerius maximus refert, omnia post religionem ponenda semper nostra civitas duxit, etiam in quibus summae maiestatis decus conspici voluit. Quapropter non dubitaverunt sacris imperia servire, ita se humanarum rerum habitura regimen existimantia, si divinae potentiae bene atque constanter fuissent famulata. [112] It was therefore also a marvelous disposition of Divine Providence that, in the city of Rome, which God had foreseen would be the principal seat of the Christian priesthood, the custom was gradually established that the rulers of the city should be subject to the priests, for as Valerius Maximus relates [De Bello Gallico VI, 13, 5]: “Our city has always considered that everything should yield precedence to religion, even those things in which it aimed to display the splendour of supreme majesty. We therefore unhesitatingly made the imperial dignity minister to religion, considering that the empire would thus hold control of human affairs if faithfully and constantly it were submissive to the divine power.
Quia vero etiam futurum erat ut in Gallia Christiani sacerdotii plurimum vigeret religio, divinitus est permissum ut etiam apud Gallos gentiles sacerdotes, quos Druidas nominabant, totius Galliae ius definirent, ut refert Iulius Caesar in libro quem de bello Gallico scripsit. [113] And because it was to come to pass that the religion of the Christian priesthood should especially thrive in France, God provided that among the Gauls too their tribal priests, called Druids, should lay down the law of all Gaul, as Julius Caesar relates in the book which he wrote about the Gallic war.

Caput 16
Quod sicut ad ultimum finem consequendum requiritur ut rex subditos suos ad vivendum secundum virtutem disponat, ita ad fines medios. Et ponuntur hic quae sunt illa quae ordinant ad bene vivendum et quae impediunt, et quod remedium rex apponere debet circa dicta impedimenta
Sicut autem ad vitam, quam in caelo speramus beatam, ordinatur sicut ad finem vita qua hic homines bene vivunt; ita ad bonum multitudinis ordinantur sicut ad finem quaecumque particularia bona per hominem procurantur, sive divitiae, sive lucra, sive sanitas, sive facundia vel eruditio. Si igitur, ut dictum est, qui de ultimo fine curam habet praeesse debet his qui curam habent de ordinatis ad finem et eos dirigere suo imperio, manifestum ex dictis fit quod rex, sicut dominio et regimini quod administratur per sacerdotis officium subdi debet, ita praeesse debet omnibus humanis officiis et ea imperio sui regiminis ordinare. [114] As the life by which men live well here on earth is ordained, as to its end, to that blessed life which we hope for in heaven, so too whatever particular goods are procured by man’s agency—whether wealth, profits, health, eloquence, or learning—are ordained to the good life of the multitude. If, then, as we have said, the person who is charged with the care of our ultimate end ought to be over those who have charge of things ordained to that end, and to direct them by his rule, it clearly follows that, just as the king ought to be subject to the divine government administered by the office of priesthood, so he ought to preside over all human offices, and regulate them by the rule of his government.
Cuicumque autem incumbit aliquid perficere quod ordinatur in aliud sicut in finem, hoc debet attendere ut suum opus sit congruum fini. Sicut faber sic facit gladium ut pugnae conveniat, et aedificator sic debet domum disponere ut ad habitandum sit apta. Quia igitur vitae, qua in praesenti bene vivimus, finis est beatitudo caelestis, ad regis officium pertinet ea ratione vitam multitudinis bonam procurare secundum quod congruit ad caelestem beatitudinem consequendam, ut scilicet ea praecipiat quae ad caelestem beatitudinem ducunt, et eorum contraria, secundum quod fuerit possibile, interdicat. [115] Now anyone on whom it devolves to do something which is ordained to another thing as to its end is bound to see that his work is suitable to that end; thus, for example, the armourer so fashions the sword that it is suitable for fighting, and the builder should so lay out the house that it is suitable for habitation. Therefore, since the beatitude of heaven is the end of that virtuous life which we live at present, it pertains to the king’s office to promote the good life of the multitude in such a way as to make it suitable for the attainment of heavenly happiness, that is to say, he should command those things which lead to the happiness of Heaven and, as far as possible, forbid the contrary.
Quae autem sit ad veram beatitudinem via, et quae sint impedimenta eius, ex lege divina cognoscitur, cuius doctrina pertinet ad sacerdotum officium, secundum illud Mal.: labia sacerdotis custodient scientiam, et legem requirent de ore eius. Et ideo in Deut. dominus praecipit: postquam sederit rex in solio regni sui, describet sibi Deuteronomium legis huius in volumine, accipiens exempla a sacerdote leviticae tribus, et habebit secum, legetque illud omnibus diebus vitae suae, ut discat timere dominum Deum suum et custodire verba et caeremonias eius, quae in lege praecepta sunt. Per legem igitur divinam edoctus, ad hoc praecipuum studium debet intendere, qualiter multitudo sibi subdita bene vivat: [116] What conduces to true beatitude and what hinders it are learned from the law of God, the teaching of which belongs to the office of the priest, according to the words of Malachi (2:7): “The lips of the priest shall guard knowledge and they shall seek the law from his mouth.” Wherefore the Lord prescribes in the Book of Deuteronomy (17:18-19) that “after he is raised to the throne of his kingdom, the king shall copy out to himself the Deuteronomy of this law, in a volume, taking the copy of the priests of the Levitical tribe, he shall have it with him and shall read it all the days of his life, that he may learn to fear the Lord his God, and keep his words and ceremonies which are commanded in the law.” Thus the king, taught the law of God, should have for his principal concern the means by which the multitude subject to him may live well.
quod quidem studium in tria dividitur, ut primo quidem in subiecta multitudine bonam vitam instituat; secundo, ut institutam conservet; tertio, ut conservatam ad meliora promoveat. [117] This concern is threefold:, first of all, to establish a virtuous life in the multitude subject to him; second, to preserve it once established; and third, having preserved it, to promote its greater perfection.
Ad bonam autem unius hominis vitam duo requiruntur: unum principale, quod est operatio secundum virtutem (virtus enim est qua bene vivitur); aliud vero secundarium et quasi instrumentale, scilicet corporalium bonorum sufficientia, quorum usus est necessarius ad actum virtutis. Ipsa tamen hominis unitas per naturam causatur; multitudinis autem unitas, quae pax dicitur, per regentis industriam est procuranda. Sic igitur ad bonam vitam multitudinis instituendam tria requiruntur. Primo quidem, ut multitudo in unitate pacis constituatur. Secundo, ut multitudo vinculo pacis unita dirigatur ad bene agendum. Sicut enim homo nihil bene agere potest nisi praesupposita suarum partium unitate, ita hominum multitudo pacis unitate carens, dum impugnat se ipsam, impeditur a bene agendo. Tertio vero requiritur ut per regentis industriam necessariorum ad bene vivendum adsit sufficiens copia. [118] For an individual man to lead a good life two things are required. The first and most important is to act in a virtuous manner (for virtue is that by which one lives well); the second, which is secondary and instrumental, is a sufficiency of those bodily goods who se use is necessary for virtuous life. Yet the unity of man is brought about by nature, while the unity of multitude, which we call peace, must be procured through the efforts of the ruler. Therefore, to establish virtuous living in a multitude three things are necessary. First of all, that the multitude be established in the unity of peace. Second, that the multitude thus united in the bond of peace, be directed to acting well. For just as a man can do nothing well unless unity within his members be presupposed, so a multitude of men lacking the unity of peace will be hindered from virtuous action by the fact that it is fighting against itself. In the third place, it is necessary that there be at hand a sufficient supply of the things required for proper living, procured by the ruler’s efforts.
Sic igitur bona vita per regis officium in multitudine constituta, consequens est ut ad eius conservationem intendat. Sunt autem tria, quibus bonum publicum permanere non sinitur, quorum quidem unum est a natura proveniens. Non enim bonum multitudinis ad unum tantum tempus institui debet, sed ut sit quodammodo perpetuum. Homines autem cum sint mortales, in perpetuum durare non possunt. Nec, dum vivunt, semper sunt in eodem vigore, quia multis variationibus humana vita subiicitur, et sic non sunt homines ad eadem officia peragenda aequaliter per totam vitam idonei. Aliud autem impedimentum boni publici conservandi ab interiori proveniens in perversitate voluntatum consistit, dum vel sunt desides ad ea peragenda quae requirit respublica, vel insuper sunt paci multitudinis noxii, dum transgrediendo iustitiam aliorum pacem perturbant. Tertium autem impedimentum reipublicae conservandae ab exteriori causatur, dum per incursum hostium pax dissolvitur et interdum regnum aut civitas funditus dissipatur. [119] When virtuous living is set up in the multitude by the efforts of the king, it then remains for him to look to its conservation. Now there are three things which prevent the permanence of the public good. One of these arises from nature. The good of the multitude should not be established for one time only; it should be in a sense perpetual. Men, on the other hand, cannot abide forever, because they are mortal. Even while they are alive they do not always preserve the same vigour, for the life of man is subject to many changes, and thus a man is not equally suited to the performance of the same duties throughout the whole span of his life. A second impediment to the preservation of the public good, which comes from within, consists in the perversity of the wills of men, inasmuch as they are either too lazy to perform what the commonweal demands, or, still further, they are harmful to the peace of the multitude because, by transgressing justice, they disturb the peace of others. The third hindrance to the preservation of the commonweal comes from without, namely, when peace is destroyed through the attacks of enemies and, as it sometimes happens, the kingdom or city is completely blotted out.
Igitur circa tria praedicta triplex cura imminet regi. Primo quidem de successione hominum et substitutione illorum qui diversis officiis praesunt, ut sicut per divinum regimen in rebus corruptibilibus, quia semper eadem durare non possunt, provisum est ut per generationem alia in locum aliorum succedant, ut vel sic conservetur integritas universi, ita per regis studium conservetur subiectae multitudinis bonum, dum sollicite curat qualiter alii in deficientium locum succedant. Secundo autem ut suis legibus et praeceptis, poenis et praemiis homines sibi subiectos ab iniquitate coerceat et ad opera virtuosa inducat, exemplum a Deo accipiens qui hominibus legem dedit, observantibus quidem mercedem, transgredientibus poenas retribuens. Tertio imminet regi cura ut multitudo sibi subiecta contra hostes tuta reddatur. Nihil enim prodesset interiora vitare pericula, si ab exterioribus defendi non posset. [120] In regard to these three dangers, a triple charge is laid upon the king. First of all, he must take care of the appointment of men to succeed or replace others in charge of the various offices. Just as in regard to corruptible things (which cannot remain the same forever) the government of God made provision that through generation one would take the place of another in order that, in this way, the integrity of the universe might be maintained, so too the good of the multitude subject to the king will be preserved through his care when he sets himself to attend to the appointment of new men to fill the place of those who drop out. In the second place, by his laws and orders, punishments and rewards, he should restrain the men subject to him from wickedness and induce them to virtuous deeds, following the example of God, Who gave His law to man and requites those who observe it with rewards, and those who transgress it with punishments. The king’s third charge is to keep the multitude entrusted to him safe from the enemy, for it would be useless to prevent internal dangers if the multitude could not be defended against external dangers.
Sic igitur bonae multitudinis institutioni tertium restat ad regis officium pertinens, ut sit de promotione sollicitus, quod fit dum in singulis quae praemissa sunt, si quid inordinatum est corrigere, si quid deest supplere, si quid melius fieri potest, studet perficere. Unde et apostolus fideles monet ut semper aemulentur charismata meliora. [121] Finally, for the proper direction of the multitude there remains the third duty of the kingly office, namely, that he be solicitous for its improvement. He performs this duty when, in each of the things we have mentioned, he corrects what is out of order and supplies what is lacking, and if any of them can be done better he tries to do so. This is why the Apostle exhorts the faithful to be “zealous for the better gifts” (1 Cor 12:31).
Haec igitur sunt quae ad regis officium pertinent, de quibus per singula diligentius tractare oportet. [122] These then are the duties of the kingly office, each of which must now be treated in greater detail.

Liber 2 PART II
Caput 1
Qualiter ad regem pertinet instituere civitates vel castra ad gloriam consequendam, et quod eligere debet ad hoc loca temperata; et postea subiungit quae ex hoc commoda regna consequantur, et quae incommoda de contrario
Primum igitur praecipue oportet exponere regis officium ab institutione civitatis aut regni. Nam, sicut Vegetius dicit, potentissimae nationes et principes nominati nullam maiorem potuerunt gloriam assequi, quam aut fundare novas civitates, aut ab aliis conditas in nomen suum sub quadam amplificatione transferre: quod quidem documentis sacrae Scripturae concordat. Dicit enim sapiens in Eccli., quod aedificatio civitatis confirmabit nomen. Hodie namque nomen Romuli nesciretur, nisi quia condidit Romam. [123] We must begin by explaining the duties of a king with regard to the founding of a city or kingdom. For, as Vegetius [De Re Militari IV, prol.] declares, “the mightiest nations and most commended kings thought it their greatest glory either to found new cities or have their names made part of, and in some way added to, the names of cities already founded by others.” This, indeed, is in accord with Holy Scripture, for the Wise Man says in Sirach (40:19): “The building of a city shall establish a name.” The name of Romulus, for instance, would be unknown today had he not founded the city of Rome.
In institutione autem civitatis aut regni, si copia detur, primo quidem est regio per regem eligenda, quam temperatam esse oportet. Ex regionis enim temperie habitatores multa commoda consequuntur. Primo namque consequuntur homines ex temperie regionis incolumitatem corporis et longitudinem vitae. Cum enim sanitas in quadam temperie humorum consistat, in loco temperato conservabitur sanitas: simile namque suo simili conservatur. Si autem fuerit excessus caloris, vel frigoris, necesse est quod secundum qualitatem aeris corporis qualitas immutetur: unde quadam naturali industria animalia quaedam tempore frigido ad calida loca se transferunt, rursum tempore calido loca frigida repetentes, ut ex contraria dispositione loci temporis temperiem consequantur. [124] Now in founding a city or kingdom, the first step is the choice, if any be given, of its location. A temperate region should be chosen, for the inhabitants derive many advantages from a temperate climate. In the first place, it ensures them health of body and length of life; for, since good health consists in the right temperature of the vital fluids, Footnote it follows that health will be best preserved in a temperate clime, because like is preserved by like. Should, however, heat or cold be excessive, it needs must be that the condition of the body will be affected by the condition of the atmosphere; whence some animals instinctively migrate in cold weather to warmer regions, and in warm weather return to the colder places, in order to obtain, through the contrary dispositions of both locality and weather, the due temperature of their humours.
Rursus: cum animal vivat per calidum et humidum, si fuerit calor intensus, cito naturale humidum exsiccatur et deficit vita; sicut lucerna extinguitur, si humor infusus cito per ignis magnitudinem consumatur. Unde in quibusdam calidissimis Aethiopum regionibus homines ultra tredecim annos non vivere perhibentur. In regionibus vero frigidis in excessu, naturale humidum de facili congelatur et calor naturalis extinguitur. [125] Again, since it is warmth and moisture that preserve animal life, if the heat is intense the natural moisture of the body is dried up and life fails, just as a lantern is extinguished if the liquid poured into it be quickly consumed by too great a flame. Whence it is said that in certain very torrid parts of Ethiopia a man cannot live longer than thirty years. Footnote On the other hand, in extremely cold regions the natural moisture is easily frozen and the natural heat soon lost.
Deinde ad opportunitates bellorum, quibus tuta redditur humana societas, regionis temperies plurimum valet. Nam, sicut Vegetius refert, omnes nationes quae vicinae sunt soli, nimio calore siccatae, amplius quidem sapere sed minus de sanguine habere dicuntur, ac propterea constantiam atque fiduciam de propinquo pugnandi non habent, quia metuunt vulnera qui modicum sanguinem se habere noverunt. E contra Septentrionales populi remoti a solis ardoribus inconsultiores quidem, sed tamen largo sanguine redundantes, sunt ad bella promptissimi. His, qui temperatioribus habitant plagis, et copia sanguinis suppetit ad vulnerum mortisque contemptum, nec prudentia deficit, quae modestiam servet in castris, et non parum prodest uti in dimicatione consiliis. [126] Then, too, a temperate climate is most conducive to fitness for war, by which human society is kept in security. As Vegetius tells us [De Re Militari 1, 2], “all peoples that live near the sun and are dried up by the excessive heat have keener wits but less blood, so that they possess no constancy or self-reliance in hand-to-hand fighting; for, knowing they have but little blood, they have great fear of wounds. On the other hand, Northern tribes, far removed from the burning rays of the sun are more dull-witted indeed, but because they have an ample flow of blood, they are ever ready for war Those who dwell in temperate climes have, on the one hand, an abundance-of blood and thus make light of wounds or death, and, on the other hand, no lack of prudence, which puts a proper restraint on them in camp and is of great advantage in war and peace as well.
Demum temperata regio ad politicam vitam valet. Ut enim Aristoteles dicit in sua politica: quae in frigidis locis habitant gentes, sunt quidem plenae animositate, intellectu autem et arte magis deficientes, propter quod libere perseverant magis. Non vivunt autem politice, et vicinis propter imprudentiam principari non possunt. Quae autem in calidis sunt, intellectivae quidem sunt et artificiosae secundum animam, sine animositate autem, propter quod subiectae quidem sunt, et subiectae perseverant. Quae autem in mediis locis habitant, utroque participant: propter quod et liberi perseverant, et maxime politice vivere possunt, et sciunt aliis principari. Est igitur eligenda regio temperata ad institutionem civitatis vel regni. [127] Finally, a temperate climate is of no little value for political life. As Aristotle says in his Politics [VII, 7: 1327b 23-32]: “Peoples that dwell in cold countries are full of spirit but have little intelligence and little skill. Consequently they maintain their liberty better but have no political life and (through lack of prudence) show no capacity for governing others. Those who live in hot regions are keen-witted and skilful in the things of the mind but possess little spirit, and so are in continuous subjection and servitude. But those who live between these extremes of climate are both spirited and intelligent; hence they are continuously free, their political life is very much developed, and they are capable of ruling others.” Therefore, a temperate region should be chosen for the foundation of a city or a kingdom.

Caput 2
Qualiter eligere debent reges et principes regiones ad civitates vel castra instituenda, in quibus aer sit salubris; et in quo talis aer cognoscitur, et quibus signis
Post electionem autem regionis, oportet civitati constituendae idoneum locum eligere, in quo primo videtur aeris salubritas requirenda. [128] After deciding on the locality of the kingdom, the king must select a site suitable for building a city.
Conversationi enim civili praeiacet naturalis vita, quae per salubritatem aeris servatur illaesa. Locus autem saluberrimus erit, ut Vitruvius tradit, excelsus, non nebulosus, non pruinosus, regionesque caeli spectans, neque aestuosus, neque frigidus, demum paludibus non vicinus. Eminentia quidem loci solet ad aeris salubritatem conferre, quia locus eminens ventorum perflationibus patet, quibus redditur aer purus; vapores etiam, qui virtute radii solaris resolvuntur a terra et ab aquis, multiplicantur magis in convallibus et in locis demissis quam in altis. Unde in locis altis aer subtilior invenitur. Huiusmodi autem subtilitas aeris, quae ad liberam et sinceram respirationem plurimum valet, impeditur per nebulas et pruinas, quae solent in locis multum humidis abundare: unde loca huiusmodi inveniuntur salubritati esse contraria. Et quia loca paludosa nimia humiditate abundant, oportet locum construendae urbi electum a paludibus esse remotum. Cum enim aurae matutinae sole oriente ad locum ipsum pervenient, et eis ortae a paludibus nebulae adiungentur, flatus bestiarum palustrium venenatarum cum nebulis mixtos spargent, et locum facient pestilentem. Si tamen moenia constructa fuerint in paludibus, quae fuerint prope mare, spectentque ad Septentrionem, vel circa, haeque paludes excelsiores fuerint quam littus marinum, rationabiliter videbuntur esse constructa. Fossis enim directis exitus aquae patebit ad littus, et mare tempestatibus actum in paludes redundando non permittet animalia palustria nasci. Et si aliqua animalia de superioribus locis venerint, inconsueta salsedine occidentur. [ 129] Now the first requisite would seem to be wholesome air, for civil life presupposes natural life, whose health in turn depends on the wholesomeness of the air. According to Vitruvius [De Architectura I, 4], the most healthful spot is “a high place, troubled neither by mists nor frosts and facing neither the sultry nor the chilly parts of the sky. Also, it should not lie near marsh country.” The altitude of the place contributes to the wholesomeness of the atmosphere because highlands are open to all the breezes which purify the air; besides, the vapours, which the strength of the sun’s rays causes to rise from the earth and waters, are more dense in valleys and in low-lying places than in highlands, whence it is that the air on mountains is rarer. Now this rarified air, which is the best for easy and natural breathing, is vitiated by mists and frosts which are frequent in very damp places; as a consequence, such places are found to be inimical to health. Since marshy districts have an excess of humidity, the place chosen for the building of a city must be far from any marshes. “For when the morning breezes come at sunrise to such a place, and the mists that rise from the swamps join them, they will scatter through the town the breath of the poisonous beasts of the marshes mingled with the mist, and will render the site pestilential.” “Should, however, the walls be built in marshes that lie along the coast and face the north (or thereabouts) and if these marshes be higher than the seashore, they would seem to be quite reasonably built, since, by digging ditches, a way will be opened to drain the water of the marshes into the sea, and when storms swell the sea it will flow back into the marshes and thus prevent the propagation of the animals there. And if any animals come down from higher places, the unwonted saltiness of the water will destroy them.”
Oportet etiam locum urbi destinatum ad calorem et frigus temperate disponi secundum aspectum ad plagas caeli diversas. Si enim moenia maxime prope mare constituta spectabunt ad meridiem, non erunt salubria. Nam huiusmodi loca mane quidem erunt frigida, quia non respiciuntur a sole, meridie vero erunt ferventia propter solis respectum. Quae autem ad occidentem spectant, orto sole tepescunt vel etiam frigent, meridie calent, vespere fervent propter caloris continuitatem et solis aspectum. Si vero ad orientem spectabunt, mane quidem propter solis oppositionem directam temperate calescent; nec multum in meridie calor augebitur, sole non directe spectante ad locum, vespere vero totaliter radiis solis adversis loca frigescent. Eademque, vel similis temperies erit, si ad Aquilonem locus respiciat urbis, e converso est quod de meridiem respiciente est dictum. Experimento autem cognoscere possumus quod in maiorem calorem minus salubriter aliquis transmutatur. Quae enim a frigidis locis corpora traducuntur in calida, non possunt durare, sed dissolvuntur, quia calor sugendo vaporem, naturales virtutes dissolvit; unde etiam in salubribus locis corpora aestate infirma redduntur. [130] Further provision for the proper proportion of heat and cold must be made when laying out the city by having it face the correct part of the sky. “If the walls, particularly of a town built on the coast, face the south, it will not be healthy,” since such a locality will be cold in the morning, for the rays of the sun do not reach it, but at noon will be baked in the full glare of the sun. As to places that face the west, at sunrise they are cool or even cold, at noon quite warm, and in the evening unpleasantly hot, both on account of the long-continued heat and the, exposure to the sun. On the other hand, if it has an eastern exposure, in the morning, with the sun directly opposite, it will be moderately warm, at noon it will not, be much warmer since the sun does not reach it, directly, but in the evening it will be cold as the rays of the sun will be entirely on the other side. And there will be the same or a similar proportion of heat and cold if the town faces the north. By experience we may learn that the change from cold to heat is unhealthy. “Animals which are transferred from cold to warm regions cannot endure but are dissolved,” “since the heat sucks up their moisture and weakens their natural strength;” whence even in salubrious districts “all bodies become weak from the heat.”
Quia vero ad corporum sanitatem convenientium ciborum usus requiritur, in hoc conferre oportet de loci salubritate qui constituendae urbi eligitur, ut ex conditione ciborum discernatur qui nascuntur in terra: quod quidem explorare solebant antiqui ex animalibus ibidem nutritis. Cum enim hominibus aliisque animalibus commune sit uti ad nutrimentum his quae nascuntur in terra, consequens est si occisorum animalium viscera inveniuntur bene valentia, quod homines etiam in loco eodem salubrius possint nutriri. Si vero animalium occisorum appareant morbida membra, rationabilius accipi potest quod nec hominibus illius loci habitatio sit salubris. [131] Again, since suitable food is very helpful for preserving health, we must further judge of the salubrity of a place which has been chosen as a town-site by the condition of the food which grows upon its soil. The ancients were wont to explore this condition by examining the animals raised on the spot. For man, like other animals, finds nourishment in the products of the earth. Hence, if in a given place we kill some animals and find their entrails to be sound, the conclusion will be justified that man also will get good food in the same place. If, however, the members of these animals should be found diseased, we may reasonably infer that that country is no healthy place for men either.
Sicut autem aer temperatus, ita salubris aqua est requirenda. Ex his enim maxime dependet sanitas corporum, quae saepius in usum hominum assumuntur. Et de aere quidem manifestum est quod quotidie ipsum aspirando introrsum attrahimus usque ad ipsa vitalia: unde principaliter eius salubritas ad incolumitatem corporum confert. Item, quia inter ea quae assumuntur per modum nutrimenti, aqua est qua saepissime utimur tam in potibus, quam in cibis, ideo nihil est, praeter aeris puritatem, magis pertinens ad loci sanitatem quam aquarum salubritas. [132] Just as a temperate climate must be sought, so good water must be made the object of investigation. For the body depends for its health on those things which men more frequently put to their use. With regard to the air it is clear that, breathing it continuously, we draw it down into our very vitals; as a result, purity of air is what conduces most to the preservation of men. But of all things put to use as nourishment, water is used most frequently both as drink and food. Nothing therefore, except good air, so much helps to make a district healthy as does pure water.
Est et aliud signum ex quo considerari potest loci salubritas: si videlicet hominum in loco commorantium facies bene coloratae appareant, robusta corpora et bene disposita membra, si pueri multi et vivaces, si senes multi reperiantur ibidem. E converso, si facies hominum deformes appareant, debilia corpora, exinanita membra vel morbida, si pauci et morbidi pueri, et adhuc pauciores senes, dubitari non potest locum esse mortiferum. [133] There is still another means of judging the healthfulness of a place, i.e., by the ruddy complexion of the inhabitants, their sturdy, well-shaped limbs, the presence of many and vivacious children, and of many old people. On the other hand, there can be no doubt about the deadliness of a climate where people are misshapen and weak, their limbs either withering or swollen beyond proportion, where children are few and sickly, and old people rather scarce.

Caput 3
Qualiter necesse est talem civitatem, construendam a rege, habere copiam rerum victualium, quia sine eis civitas esse perfecta non potest; et distinguit duplicem modum istius copiae, primum tamen magis commendat
Oportet autem ut locus construendae urbi electus non solum talis sit, qui salubritate habitatores conservet, sed ubertate ad victum sufficiat. Non enim est possibile multitudinem hominum habitare ubi victualium non suppetit copia. Unde, ut Vitruvius refert, cum Xenocrates architector peritissimus Alexandro Macedoni demonstraret in quodam monte civitatem egregiae formae construi posse, interrogasse fertur Alexander si essent agri qui civitati possent frumentorum copiam ministrare. Quod cum deficere inveniret, respondit vituperandum esse si quis in tali loco civitatem construeret. Sicut enim natus infans non potest ali sine nutricis lacte nec ad incrementum perduci, sic civitas sine ciborum abundantia frequentiam populi habere non potest. [134] It is not enough, however, that the place chosen for the site of a city be such as to preserve the health of the inhabitants; it must also be sufficiently fertile to provide food. A multitude of men cannot live where there is not a sufficient supply of food. Thus Vitruvius [I, 5] narrates that when Dinocrates, a brilliant architect, was explaining to Alexander of Macedon that a beautifully laid out city could be built upon a certain mountain, Alexander asked whether there were fields that could supply the city with sufficient grain. Finding out that there were not, he said that an architect who would build a city on such a site would be blameworthy. For “just as a newborn infant cannot be fed nor made to grow as it should, except on the nurse’s milk, so a city cannot have a large population without a large supply of foodstuffs.”
Duo tamen sunt modi quibus alicui civitati potest affluentia rerum suppetere. Unus, qui dictus est, propter regionis fertilitatem abunde omnia producentis, quae humanae vitae requirit necessitas. Alius autem per mercationis usum, ex quo ibidem necessaria vitae ex diversis partibus adducantur. [135] Now there are two ways in which an abundance of foodstuffs can be supplied to a city. The first we have already mentioned, where the soil is so fertile that it amply provides for all the necessities of human life. The second is by trade, through which the necessaries of life are brought to the town in sufficient quantity from different places.
Primus autem modus convenientior esse manifeste convincitur. Tanto enim aliquid dignius est, quanto per se sufficientius invenitur: quia quod alio indiget, deficiens esse monstratur. Sufficientiam autem plenius possidet civitas, cui circumiacens regio sufficiens est ad necessaria vitae, quam illa quae indiget ab aliis per mercationem accipere. Dignior enim est civitas si abundantiam rerum habeat ex territorio proprio, quam si per mercatores abundet; [136] It is quite clear that the first means is better. The more dignified a thing is, the more self-sufficient it is, since whatever needs another’s help is by that fact proven to be deficient. Now the city which is supplied by the surrounding country with all its vital needs is more self-sufficient than another which must obtain those supplies by trade. A city therefore which has an abundance of food from its own territory is more dignified than one which is provisioned through trade.
cum hoc etiam videatur esse securius, quia propter bellorum eventus et diversa viarum discrimina, de facili potest impediri victualium deportatio, et sic civitas per defectum victualium opprimetur. [137] It seems that self-sufficiency is also safer, for the import of supplies and the access of merchants can easily be prevented whether owing to wars or to the many hazards of the sea, and thus the city may be overcome through lack of food.
Est etiam hoc utilius ad conversationem civilem. Nam civitas quae ad sui sustentationem mercationum multitudine indiget, necesse est ut continuum extraneorum convictum patiatur. Extraneorum autem conversatio corrumpit plurimum civium mores, secundum Aristotelis doctrinam in sua politica, quia necesse est evenire ut homines extranei aliis legibus et consuetudinibus enutriti, in multis aliter agant quam sint civium mores, et sic, dum cives exemplo ad agenda similia provocantur, civilis conversatio perturbatur. [138] Moreover, this first method of supply is more conducive to the preservation of civic life. A city which must engage in much trade in order to supply its needs also has to put up with the continuous presence of foreigners. But intercourse with foreigners, according to Aristotle’s Politics [V, 3: 1303a 27; VII, 6: 1327a 13-15], is particularly harmful to civic customs. For it is inevitable that strangers, brought up under other laws and customs, will in many cases act as the citizens are not wont to act and thus, since the citizens are drawn by their example to act likewise, their own civic life is upset.
Rursus: si cives ipsi mercationibus fuerint dediti, pandetur pluribus vitiis aditus. Nam cum negotiatorum studium maxime ad lucrum tendat, per negotiationis usum cupiditas in cordibus civium traducitur, ex quo convenit, ut in civitate omnia fiant venalia, et fide subtracta, locus fraudibus aperitur, publicoque bono contempto, proprio commodo quisque deserviet, deficietque virtutis studium, dum honor virtutis praemium omnibus deferetur: unde necesse erit in tali civitate civilem conversationem corrumpi. [139] Again, if the citizens themselves devote their life to matters of trade, the way will be opened to many vices. Since the foremost tendency of tradesmen is to make money, greed is awakened in the hearts of the citizens through the pursuit of trade. The result is that everything in the city will become venal; good faith will be destroyed and the way opened to all kinds of trickery; each one will work only for his own profit, despising the public good; the cultivation of virtue will fail since honour, virtue’s reward, will be bestowed upon the rich. Thus, in such a city, civic life will necessarily be corrupted.
Est autem negotiationis usus contrarius quam plurimum exercitio militari. Negotiatores enim dum umbram colunt, a laboribus vacant, et dum fruuntur deliciis, mollescunt animo, et corpora redduntur debilia et ad labores militares inepta: unde secundum iura civilia negotiatio est militibus interdicta. [140] The pursuit of trade is also very unfavourable to military activity.’ Tradesmen, not being used to the open air and not doing any hard work but enjoying all pleasures, grow soft in spirit and their bodies are weakened and rendered unsuited to military labours. In accordance with this view, Civil Law” forbids soldiers to engage in business.
Denique civitas illa solet esse magis pacifica, cuius populus rarius congregatur, minusque intra urbis moenia residet. Ex frequenti enim hominum concursu datur occasio litibus et seditionibus materia ministratur. Unde secundum Aristotelis doctrinam, utilius est quidem quod populus extra civitates exerceatur, quam quod intra civitatis moenia iugiter commoretur. Si autem civitas sit mercationibus dedita, maxime necesse est ut intra urbem cives resideant ibique mercationes exerceant. Melius igitur est quod civitati victualium copia suppetat ex propriis agris, quam quod civitas sit totaliter negotiationi exposita. [141] Finally, that city enjoys a greater measure of peace whose people are more sparsely assembled together and dwell in smaller proportion within the walls of the town, for when men are crowded together it is an occasion for quarrels and all the elements for seditious plots are provided. Hence, according to Aristotle’s doctrine, Footnote it is more profitable to have the people engaged outside the cities than for them to dwell constantly within the walls. But if a city is dependent on trade, it is of prime importance that the citizens stay within the town and there engage in trade. It is better, therefore, that the supplies of food be furnished to the city from its own fields than that it be wholly dependent on trade.
Nec tamen negotiatores omnino a civitate oportet excludi, quia non de facili potest inveniri locus qui sic omnibus vitae necessariis abundet quod non indigeat aliquibus aliunde allatis; eorumque quae in eodem loco superabundant eodem modo redderetur multis damnosa copia, si per mercatorum officium ad alia loca transferri non possent. Unde oportet quod perfecta civitas moderate mercatoribus utatur. [142] Still, trade must not be entirely kept out of a city, since one cannot easily find any place so overflowing with the necessaries of life as not to need some commodities from other parts. Also, when there is an over-abundance of some commodities in one place, these goods would serve no purpose if they could not be carried elsewhere by professional traders. Consequently, the perfect city will make a moderate use of merchants.

Caput 4
Quod regio quam rex eligit ad civitates et castra instituenda debet habere amoenitates, in quibus cives sunt arcendi ut moderate eis utantur, quia saepius sunt causa dissolutionis, unde regnum dissipatur
Est etiam constituendis urbibus eligendus locus qui amoenitate habitatores delectet. Non enim facile deseritur locus amoenus, nec de facili ad locum illum confluit habitantium multitudo cui deest amoenitas, eo quod absque amoenitate vita hominis diu durare non possit. Ad hanc autem amoenitatem pertinet quod sit locus camporum planitie distentus, arborum ferax, montium propinquitate conspicuus, nemoribus gratus et aquis irriguus. [143] A further requisite when choosing a site for the founding of a city is this, that it must charm the inhabitants by its beauty. A spot where life is pleasant will not easily be abandoned nor will men commonly be ready to flock to unpleasant places, since the life of man cannot endure without enjoyment. It belongs to the beauty of a place that it have a broad expanse of meadows, an abundant forest growth, mountains to be seen close at hand, pleasant groves and a copiousness of water.
Verum quia nimia amoenitas superflue ad delicias homines allicit, quod civitati plurimum nocet, ideo oportet ea moderate uti. Primo namque homines vacantes deliciis, sensu hebetantur. Immergit enim earum suavitas sensibus animam, ita quod in rebus delectantibus liberum iudicium habere non possunt. Unde secundum Aristotelis sententiam, prudentia iudicis per delectationem corrumpitur. [144] However, if a country is too beautiful, it will draw men to indulge in pleasures,’ and this is most harmful to a city. In the first place, when men give themselves up to pleasure their senses are dulled, since this sweetness immerses the soul in the senses so that man cannot pass free judgment on the things which cause delight. Whence, according to Aristotle’s sentence [Eth. Nic. VI, 5: 1140b 11-21], the judgment of prudence is corrupted by pleasure.
Deinde delectationes superfluae ab honestate virtutis deficere faciunt. Nihil enim magis perducit ad immoderatum augmentum, per quod medium virtutis corrumpitur, quam delectatio: tum quia natura delectationis est avida, et sic modica delectatione sumpta praecipitatur in turpium delectationum illecebras, sicut ligna sicca ex modico igne accenduntur; tum etiam quia delectatio appetitum non satiat, sed gustata sitim sui magis inducit; unde ad virtutis officium pertinet, ut homines a delectationibus superfluis abstineant. Sic enim superfluitate vitata facilius ad medium virtutis pervenietur. [145] Again, indulgence in superfluous pleasure leads from the path of virtue, for nothing conduces more easily to immoderate increase which upsets the mean of virtue, than pleasure. Pleasure is, by its very nature, greedy, and thus on a slight occasion one is precipitated into the seductions of shameful pleasures just as a little spark is sufficient to kindle dry wood; moreover, indulgence does not satisfy the appetite for the first sip only makes the thirst all the keener. Consequently, it is part of virtue’s task to lead men to refrain from pleasures. By thus avoiding any excess, the mean of virtue will be more easily attained.
Consequenter etiam deliciis superflue dediti mollescunt animo, et ad ardua quaeque attentanda nec non ad tolerandos labores et pericula abhorrenda pusillanimes fiunt, unde et ad bellicum usum deliciae plurimum nocent, quia, ut Vegetius dicit in libro de re militari: minus timet mortem, qui minus deliciarum se novit habuisse in vita. [146] Also, they who give themselves up to pleasures grow soft in spirit and become weak-minded when it is a question of tackling some difficult enterprise, enduring toll, and facing dangers. Whence, too, indulgence in pleasures is detrimental to warfare, as Vegetius puts it in his On the Art of Knighthood (De re militari I, 3) “He fears death less who knows that he has had little pleasure in life.”
Demum deliciis resoluti plerumque pigrescunt, et intermissis necessariis studiis et negotiis debitis, solis deliciis adhibent curam, in quas quae prius ab aliis fuerant congregata profusi dispergunt: unde ad paupertatem deducti, dum consuetis deliciis carere non possunt, se furtis et rapinis exponunt ut habeant unde possint suas voluptates explere. [147] Finally, men who have become dissolute through pleasures usually grow lazy and, neglecting necessary matters and all the pursuits that duty lays upon them, devote themselves wholly to the quest of pleasure, on which they squander all that others had so carefully amassed. Thus, reduced to poverty and yet unable to deprive themselves of their wonted pleasures, they do not shrink from stealing and robbing in order to have the wherewithal to indulge their craving for pleasure.
Est igitur nocivum civitati, vel ex loci dispositione, vel ex quibuscumque aliis rebus, deliciis superfluis abundare. Opportunum est igitur in conversatione humana modicum delectationis quasi pro condimento habere, ut animi hominum recreentur. [148] It is therefore harmful to a city to superabound in delightful things, whether it be on account of its situation or from whatever other cause. However, in human intercourse it is best to have a moderate share of pleasure as a spice of life, so to speak, wherein man’s mind may find some recreation.


1. Contra Impugnantes Dei Cultum et Religionem, Part 2, Ch. 4, ad 1.

2. In Libros Ethicorum Aristotelis Expositio, Lib. I, lect. 1, #4.

3. In Libros Ethicorum Aristotelis Expositio, Lib. VIII, lect. 10

4. In Libros Politicorum Aristotelis Expositio, Lib. III, lect. 5-6.

5. In Libros Politicorum Aristotelis Expositio, Lib. I, lect. 1.

5. Scriptum Super Libros Sententiarum II, dist. 44, q. II, a. 2.

6. Scriptum, Super Libros Sententiarum II, dist. 44, Expositio textus.

7. Contra Gentiles IV, 76.