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Article

El rey vs. el tirano: el buen y mal gobernante en el pensamiento jurídico-político de la Edad Media

This article is about the conception of the tyranny in the European Political Thought of the Middle Ages. The author begins with the traditional distinction between a good and a bad governor.  Within this dichotomy, the king is a good and fair ruler, whose thoughts are about a commonweal and a public good; in turn, the tyrant is a governor whose thoughts and acts are towards his personal good and interests. But - the author stresses this point - this conception in effect appeared late enough, at 12th or 13th cent.

The author analyses this fact, stressing that within the European Political thought of the Middle Ages it seems possible to define two principal modes of speaking on the Political: the theological and the juridical one. In turn, within the theological mode, we find two main branches, which are the political Augustinism and the political Thomism. The first one is a direct successor of the Roman Republican tradition developed by Cicero and, later, by the Roman jurists. Within this tradition, the main hero of the political theory is a people, which is considered as an autonomous subject, able to legislate and to define his proper public good. The other, Thomistic paradigm, interprets a people as a multitude united by a common area, laws and mode of life, a pure object of the political action, exercised by kings and other rulers. The author stresses, including on the ground of the Siete Partidas, that the real theory of the tyranny is possible only within the frames of the Thomistic paradigm.