While the struggle between Boniface VIII and Philip IV of France may have marked the decline of papal temporal power, it did not end the efforts of the popes to restore themselves to their former position in European politics. Despite the fact that such a restoration became increasingly unlikely during the fourteenth century, these efforts were vigorously pursued by the Avignon papacy. At times they were merged with the execution of the historic papal policy of discouraging the creation of any strong power in Italy which might threaten the security of the Papal States. On one of these occasions the papacy again became involved in a long dispute with the Holy Roman Empire. The conflict between Pope John XXII (1316-1334) and Emperor Louis IV (1314-1347) is important if only because of the unusually large body of political literature which it encouraged the champions of both sides to write. The papalists were able to do little more than restate the principles enunciated in Unam sanctam. Their opponents, however, scrapped the theory of the two swords entirely and advocated a relationship between church and stat:e which was based on a different set of fundamental principles. That one of the anti-papal treatises which appeared during this controversy, the Defensor pacis of Marsiglia of Padua (c. 1275- c. 1343), can be regarded as one of the first modern works on political thought is a sign of the ferment of the fourteenth century. [excerpt]
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Bloom, Robert L. et al. "5. Marsiglio and the Defensor pacis. Pt. IV: The Medieval Ferment." Ideas and Institutions of Western Man (Gettysburg College, 1958), 25-36.