ABSTRACT

The monarch was urged to consolidate his royal power and, thanks to his jurists, could find in Roman law the legal justifications to reinforce a supreme position over society as a whole. In 1342, Peter the Ceremonious did not hesitate to proclaim his leading position in Catalonia after God: “sovereign lord after God in Catalonia”. 1 This was an approach that theoretically had no restrictions, as the sovereign defined himself as being above the law, but which he would obey, as he emphasised in 1380, “si et in quantum volumus”. 2 The law, formally, did not restrict the king, as he showed by applying the expression “princeps a legibus solutus”, thus procuring degrees of independence from the existing laws. 3 It was a logical attitude as a “general and supreme prince” 4 who received his power from God and who was really the source of legislation, enjoying independence from the law. 5 This was the same European context that extended the supreme power initially reserved for the emperor 6 to princes and kings, as Pope Clement V recognised, with nuances, in 1313. 7 This idea found support in philosophical and theological arguments based on Aristotelian reasoning that “the regime of one alone” better fitted the ontological order of the universe. 8