I wonder if there were any books written in the Middle Ages that argued the case for a republic versus a monarchy. On the opposite side we can find Dante's De Monarchia (and probably many others) who argued for monarchy.

Marsilius of Padua might be an example of what I am looking for - or might not. After all his work was heavily used in imperialist and royalist ideology, so he must have been a queer sort of republican, if at all. (I haven't yet read his works myself, so I hope I'm not distorting too much). Also, he seems to have been more concerned with the opposition between secular and ecclesiastical power rather than with various forms of secular government.

Let's say for time limits, anything preceding Machiavelli.

  • I don't think that the FAQ allows asking for reference material, but there seems to be a precedent that allows it.
    – Russell
    Commented Dec 10, 2012 at 0:53
  • @Russell: What do you mean by "reference material" in this context? :-# Commented Dec 10, 2012 at 1:01
  • 3
    @Russell - he seems to be asking for primary sources, which is not the same
    – DVK
    Commented Dec 11, 2012 at 7:45
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    In fact, there were republics in the Middle Ages, for example a number of Italian city-states.
    – vsz
    Commented Jan 21, 2013 at 7:20
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    @vzs: Sure, what I'd like to know is whether they were grounded in some kind of political theory, or just practical efforts. Commented Jan 21, 2013 at 9:30

1 Answer 1


Ptolemy da Lucca (c. 1236 – c. 1327), also known as Bartholomew of Lucca, Tolomeo da Lucca, and Tolomeo Fiadoni is considered today an advocate of republicanism, mainly from his contributions to Thomas Aquinas' De Regimine Principum (On the Government of Rulers), which he completed after Auquinas' death (1274).

Ptolemy's main influences were Aristotle's Politics, and, unsurprisingly, the virtues of the Roman Republic.

Further reading:


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