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  • Print publication year: 2000
  • Online publication date: June 2012

3 - GILES OF ROME: On the Rule of Princes (selections)



Giles of Rome (Aegidius Romanus, Egidius Colonna) was born in Rome around 1243–47. He joined the Hermits of St. Augustine at the age of fourteen. Sent to Paris in 1260, he completed his liberal arts studies in 1266 and entered the faculty of theology. He was studying there when Thomas Aquinas returned for his second period as regent master (1269–72). As a young theologian, Giles was soon caught up in disputes within the university over the teaching of Aristotle in the Faculty of Arts. In 1277 Stephen Tempier, the bishop of Paris, condemned as erroneous 219 propositions in theology and natural philosophy, fifty-one of which were drawn from Giles's commentary on the Sentences of Peter Lombard. Withdrawing to Bayeux and thence to Italy, Giles nevertheless continued to work on a series of commentaries on Aristotle's philosophical texts. These included the Physics, Metaphysics, De anima, and On Rhetoric. In 1285 Giles was rehabilitated, returning to Paris as the Augustinians' first regent master in theology, and in 1287 his writings were made the official teaching of the Augustinian order. Giles was elected General of the order in 1292 and was made Archbishop of Bourges in 1295. Besides On the Rule of Princes, Giles's other major political work was a sweeping defense of papal plenitude of power, On Ecclesiastical Power (trans. R. W. Dyson, Woodbridge, 1986), which he composed in 1302 for Pope Boniface VIII. Giles died in 1316.

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The Cambridge Translations of Medieval Philosophical Texts
  • Online ISBN: 9780511609183
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