Sovereignty:  The Birth of an Idea, 1198-1296

Through a focused and systematic examination of medieval theologians, philosophers and jurists Andrew Latham explores how ideas about supreme political authority – sovereignty – first emerged during the high medieval period. The author provides a new model for understanding the concept of sovereignty, and traces its roots, not the early modern or late medieval eras as do all other accounts, but to the pivotal twelfth century. He argues that thinkers in this century responded to a series of political and religious crises by developing radically new ideas related to the locus, source, character and object of supreme political authority. The author concludes that, taken together, these ideas constituted an ideal of sovereignty – which he calls “regnal sovereignty” – that, while distinctively medieval, would have been recognizable to thinkers like Bodin who are often, but erroneously, credited with inventing the idea of sovereignty in the early modern era.

This volume is to be published by ARC Humanities Press and is due out mid-2019


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