Commentary on Dante’s Monarchia


Here at the outset, I’d like to make a few preliminary notes. First, though this is a commentary on Dante’s Monarchia, it’s not totally necessary to have read the original work beforehand. Indeed, part of my purpose in writing this is to draw attention to the Monarchia and demonstrate that it is still relevant, even if the immediate issues that Dante addresses are now moot points. If you’d like to read the original, you can find a free edition at the Online Library of Liberty. I primarily used the edition published by Cambridge University Press, edited by Prue Shaw, with occasional reference to Catholic University of America Press’s edition, edited by Anthony Cassell.

Also, please be aware that this is a commentary, not a full analysis. Dante is the starting point and primary subject, but I have indulged in some tangential discussions. This also means that arguments will be presented mostly in summary form, and certain things will be taken for granted that would not be in a fuller discussion. In particular, though I try to address as wide an audience as possible, the first principles are largely Christian (and more specifically, Catholic). Those interested in reading fuller versions of the arguments I present should look up the various works and authors I cite throughout.