The political thought and institutions of the Middle Ages are receiving increased attention from modern students. This is as it should be, for certain theories and problems of the Twelfth Century are not without their Twentieth Century parallels. Such a connection between widely separated epochs gives a more concrete meaning to the phrase "the unity of history. Anthropologists investigating the life of primitive peoples throw fresh light on present day behavior.
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Beyond that, and that he applied to himself the cognomen of Parvus, "short", or "small", few details are known regarding his early life. His vivid accounts of teachers and students provide some of the most valuable insights into the early days of the University of Paris. It is conjectured that while there, he was introduced by St. Bernard of Clairvaux to Theobald , whose secretary he became. During this period he went on many missions to the Papal See; it was probably on one of these that he made the acquaintance of Nicholas Breakspear, who in became Pope Adrian IV.
The following year John visited him, remaining at Benevento with him for several months. He was at the court of Rome at least twice afterward. The Policraticus also sheds light on the decadence of the 12th-century court manners and the lax ethics of royalty. The idea of contemporaries standing on the shoulders of giants of Antiquity first appears in written form in the Metalogicon.
After the death of Theobald in , John continued as secretary to his successor, Thomas Becket , and took an active part in the long disputes between that primate and his sovereign, Henry II , who looked upon John as a papal agent.
In , John fell into disfavor with the king for reasons that remain obscure, and withdrew to France. Remigius at Reims. Here he wrote "Historia Pontificalis". In John became treasurer of Exeter cathedral. Bishop of Chartres[ edit ] In he was made bishop of Chartres , where he passed the remainder of his life.
In he took an active part in the Third Council of the Lateran. He died at or near Chartres on October 25, His doctrine is a kind of utilitarianism , with a strong leaning on the speculative side to the modified literary scepticism of Cicero , for whom he had unbounded admiration and on whose style he based his own. His view that the end of education was moral, rather than merely intellectual, became one of the prime educational doctrines of western civilization, but his influence is to be found, not in his immediate contemporaries but in the world-view of Renaissance humanism.
He was one of the best Latinists of his age. The Timaeus of Plato in the Latin version of Chalcidius was known to him as to his contemporaries and predecessors, and probably he had access to translations of the Phaedo and Meno. Of Aristotle he possessed the whole of the Organon in Latin; he is, indeed, the first of the medieval writers of note to whom the whole was known. He first coined the term theatrum mundi , a notion that influences the theater several centuries later.
Hunter in the silent film Becket, based on a play by Alfred Lord Tennyson. Works[ edit ] Latin text Metalogicon, edited by J.
Pepin transl. Millor and H.
John of Salisbury
Related Entries 1. Specific knowledge of his family background and early life is scant; something is known of a brother, Richard, and a half-brother, Robert, both of whom held offices within the English church. John probably received an early education at Salisbury and then at Exeter. In a famous autobiographical passage in the Metalogicon, John narrates his twelve years of education, an important source for understanding French higher instruction in this period. He seems to have tutored students during his later years in Paris.
Jump to navigation Jump to search Policraticus was the first book of political science to be produced during the Middle Ages. Written by John of Salisbury around , it belongs to the genre of advice literature known as " mirrors for princes" , and is addressed to the territorial ruler. Though it takes up a wide variety of ethical questions, it is most famous for attempting to define the responsibilities of kings and their relationship to their subjects. Definitions[ edit ] Policraticus is a pseudo Greco-Roman neologism term, meaning "the statesman.