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The Watershed of Modern PoliticsLaw, Virtue, Kingship, and Consent (1300-1650)$
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Francis Oakley

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780300194432

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: January 2016

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300194432.001.0001

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The Politics of Nostalgia

The Politics of Nostalgia

Empire, Papacy, and Their Twilight Struggle

(p.14) 2. The Politics of Nostalgia
The Watershed of Modern Politics

Francis Oakley

Yale University Press

This chapter critiques the common notion of the papacy’s triumph over an empire, as demonstrated in the story of the emperor Frederick II in the mid-thirteenth century, the subsequent fall of the Hohenstaufen dynasty, and the great imperial interregnum. Such stories may have marked the definitive end to the Western dream of a revived empire with universalist aspirations. In relation to this, the chapter argues that, in light of the previous examination of medieval political thinking, such developments might seem to point to the continuation on into the future of business as usual; however, in retrospect, such developments may have demonstrated a culmination rather than a continuation.

Keywords:   papacy, empire, Frederick II, Hohenstaufen dynasty, medieval political thinking

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