Tyranny and Freedom in Early Christian Thought and the Middle Ages

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In the academic year 2021-2022 I have proposed a series of lectures “Tyranny and Democracy”, which focused on how the ancient Greeks understood tyranny and democracy, and how we can bring this understanding into dialogue with the modern political sciences. The series proved very successful and has been of interest to many students, doctoral students, scholars and amateurs from all over the world. All of the lectures and panel discussions are available at the official YouTube channel of the Faculty of Polish and Classical Philology AMU (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCK2xVbYqy9lvUAve2lUywlA).

This, second series seeks to extend our explorations further in time and see how the ancient view of tyranny and democracy was developed further by the Christian authors of Late Antiquity and in the Latin Middle West. In the first series of lectures it became clear that the ancient notion of tyranny was associated with the idea of the enslavement of the whole society to the tyrant and the absence of personal freedom (as argued e.g. by Edward Harris, University of Durham). Democracy was considered to be one of the constitutions, but not the only one, in which citizens could enjoy personal liberty and freedom.

This series begins with the Church Fathers, most notably Augustine of Hippo who exerted incomparable influence on the Latin West in the Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, but also other early Christian authors (Gregory of Nyssa, Gregory the Great). Further, the lectures will cover the high-medieval political philosophy and lead us straight into the fascinating period of the Late Middle Ages, at the dawn of Early Modernity, with its increased interest in republicanism and democracy (Marsilius of Padua, the Italian humanists, Paweł Włodkowic). The lectures will also show how Christian theology and philosophy influenced political ideas and how the concepts of tyranny and freedom were discussed in the Middle Ages with regard to the institutional Church, not only the secular state. The scholars invited are internationally recognized experts in their fields, both senior academics and promising junior researchers who have already established themselves within their field.

Mateusz Stróżyński (Adam Mickiewicz University)

Edmund Stewart (University of Notthingham)

Contact: mateusz.strozynski@amu.edu.pl

Autumn semester

Richard Dougherty (University of Dallas), Augustine on Human Freedom: Politics and Theology in the Roman World, 10 Oct 2022, Monday, 7h00 p.m. (Polish time)

Constantine Bozinis (Aristotle University of Thessaloniki), Dogma and Politics in Gregory of Nyssa. Monarchy, Democracy, Kingship, Tyranny and Anarchy in the Against Eunomius, 14 Nov 2022, Monday, 7h00 p.m. (Polish time)

Andrew Fear (University of Manchester), Gregory, Isidore, and Hamlet's dilemma, 19 Dec 2022, Monday, 7h00 p.m. (Polish time)

Paweł Figurski (Polish Academy of Sciences), Tyranny and Freedom in the Making of Sacramental Rulership from Charlemagne to Gregory VII, 30 Jan 2023, Monday, 7h00 p.m. (Polish time)

Panel discussion I, 20 Feb 2023, Monday, 7h00 p.m. (Polish time)

Spring semester

Sylvain Piron (École des hautes études en sciences sociales, Paris), The Pope as a tyrant? Tyranny and freedom in the conflict between the Spiritual Franciscans and papacy, 6 March 2023, Monday, 7h00 p.m. (Polish time)

Cary J. Nedermann (Texas A&M University), Tyranny and Consent in Marsiglio of Padua’s ‘Defensor Pacis’, 3 Apr 2023, Monday, 7h00 p.m. (Polish time)

Laurent Baggioni (Université Sorbonne Nouvelle – Paris 3), Tyranny and Freedom in Italy in the Late Middle Ages: Ancients and Moderns, 22 May 2023, Monday, 7h00 p.m. (Polish time)

Loïc Chollet (University of Bern), Talking about crusades and political freedom at the Council of Constance: Pawel Wlodkowic in the European context, 5 June 2023, Monday, 7h00 p.m. (Polish time)

Panel discussion II, 19 June 2023, Monday, 7h00 p.m. (Polish time)