Page:English Historical Review Volume 37.djvu/509

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1922 501 Marsiglio of Padua PART I. LIFE MARSIGLIO of Padua is well known for his authorship of the Defensor Pads, a treatise in some ways unique among the literary achievements of the middle ages : but his vigorous condemnation by successive popes, in itself a testimony to the importance of his work, has gone far to shroud the details of his life in obscurity. In contemporary records we meet with the excuses of chroniclers for mentioning, and of friends for protecting, a heretic so repugnant to the church of Rome. Nor have the difficulties been lessened by Marsiglio, for he spent his youth in Italy, his manhood in France, and his old age in Germany, and added to his wanderings a remarkable variety of occupation. Yet it will tend to the better appreciation of his ideas if we examine his experiences, and remember the fact that he had an opportunity, rare among philosophers, to test his theories in the world of politics. Thus of his life it may be said, that though the full story may never be discovered, the interesting facts that remain, fragmentary and debatable as they are, make it worth while to attempt in part its reconstruction. The problem of where and when Marsiglio was born, and to what family he belonged, can be solved to a large extent by a comparison of early documents. The year 1278 1 seems the most likely date of his birth : that Padua was his native city has never been doubted. A tablet 2 was long afterwards placed to his memory in the church of St. Leonard on the south wall opposite the public road, mentioning his authorship, his share in the expedition to Rome in 1327, and his influence on German 1 The year 1270 given by Eiezler, Die literariscJien Widersacher der Pdpste, p. 30, is too early, for it makes him forty-one in 1311, when he was described by Mussato as a iuvenis. The date 1290, given by Huraut, Etude, p. 11, and making Marsiglio 22 in 1312, when he was rector of the university of Paris, is shown to be too late by the Bull of 1266 quoted in Du Boulay, Hist. Univ. Paris, iii. 575, where it states that the rector must have been a master of arts for about six years. Though the standing of the rectorship was not fixed till the middle of the fourteenth century, the two statutes of 12 March 1313 (Denifle, Chartularium, ii. 158) indicate that Marsiglio was the rector of the whole university, that he assembled the four faculties, and that he proposed the statutes. The probability is that Marsiglio was between thirty and forty when he was rector. 2 Cavaccia, Aula Zabarella, p. 153.