English Civilians and the Concept of Absolute Power
Table of contents
English Civilians and the Concept of Absolute Power
Publication type
The article deals with the concepts of absolute power developed by the English civil lawyers in the late Tudor and early Stuart epoch. «Absolutist» ideas of English civilians until recently have been a historiographical cliché to be revised. The article analyses the concepts of absolute power in the legacy of two eminent civilians — Thomas Smith and Alberico Gentili. For them, absolute power primarily is a jurisdictional term and has patriarchal, patrimonial and feudal character. According to Gentili and Smith, «absolute» depicts a final jurisdictional position that has no further appeal. For Gentili, absolute monarch is above the law because he has final appellate instance for all administrative and legal institutions in his country, both lay and spiritual.
civil lawyers, Alberico Gentili, Thomas Smith, absolute power, absolutism, Early Modern England
Publication date
Number of characters
Number of purchasers
Readers community rating
0.0 (0 votes)
Cite Download pdf 100 RUB / 1.0 SU

To download PDF you should sign in

Full text is available to subscribers only
Subscribe right now
Only article
100 RUB / 1.0 SU
Whole issue
1000 RUB / 10.0 SU
All issues for 2016
2500 RUB / 50.0 SU


Additional sources and materials

  1. Alberici Gentilis Regales Disputationes tres. Hanoviae: apud Guililmum Antonium, 1605.
  2. Alberico Gentili. The wars of the Romans. A Critical Edition and Translation of De Armis Romanis // ed. by B. Kingsbury and B. Straumann. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011.
  3. Coquillette D. Legal Ideology and Incorporation I: The English Civilian Writers, 1523—1607 // Boston University Law Review. N 61. 1981. P. 1—89.
  4. Pennington K. The prince and the Law, 1200—1600. Sovereignty and Law in Western Legal Tradition. Berkley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1993.
  5. Sir Thomas Smith. De Republica Anglorum. A Discourse on the Commonwealth of England / ed. by L. Aston with a preface by F. W. Maitland. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1906.
  6. Stein P. Sir Thomas Smith: Renaissance civilian // Stein P. The Character and Influence of the Roman Civil Law: Historical essays. London: Hambledon Press, 1988. P. 186—196.
  7. Straumann B. The Corpus juris as a Source of Law in Gentili’s Thought // The Roman Foundation of the Law of nations. Alberico Gentili and the Justice of Empire // ed. by B. Kingsbury and B. Straumann. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010. 382 p. P. 101—126.
  8. The Reception of Bodin // ed. By Howell A. Lloyd. Leiden: Brill, 2013.
  9. Tierney B. Religion, law and the Growth of Constitutional thought, 1150—1650. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1982.
  10. Wiffels A. From Perugia to Oxford: Past and Present of Political Paradigms // Alberico Gentili, la tradizione giuridica perugiana e la fondazione del diritto internazionale // ed. by F. Treggiani. Perugia: Universita degli Studi de Perugia, 2010. P. 59—78.