Gian Giuseppe Filippi

The two Suns

Soleva Roma, che ’l buon mondo feo,
due Soli aver, che l’una e l’altra strada
facean vedere, e del mondo e di Deo.
L’un l’altro ha spento: ed è giunta la spada
Col pasturale, e l’un con l’altro inseme
Per viva forza mal conviene vada.1

The purpose of this brief study is to rectify a “neo-Guelfic” interpretation, emerged barely a century ago, that credits Dante with one of the “Sun and Moon” theories. This interpretation has re-emerged and spread unjustifiably in circles claming to be interested in a genuinely traditional view of the problem2. Obviously, this study is obliged to move within the Christian-medieval doctrine context and its historical application, since neither power are currently alive in the West. However, as it will be appreciated below, Alighieri’s position fully coincides with the living doctrine of the sanātana dharma, still applied in India, despite today’s widespread dreariness, especially regarding the recognised relations between the priestly caste (brahma) and the royal caste (kṣatra).

Dante Alighieri in the Comedy and in the De Monarchia upheld the doctrine of the ‘two Suns’. By this he meant that spiritual authority and temporal power, respectively represented by the Roman Pontiff and the Holy Roman Emperor, were two mutually independent functions, as both came directly from God. With this perfectly traditional stance, he wanted to clarify the relationship between the two powers, in stark contrast to two opposed ‘Sun and Moon’ theories, both of which were conflicting with reason, Christian revelation and the metaphysical and cosmological doctrinal principles from which the diarchy proceeds: knowledge and action. The two philosophical-political theories of ‘Sun and Moon’ corresponded to the two opposing parties of the Guelphs and Ghibellines. According to the Guelph point of view, the Pope was the Sun and the Emperor was the Moon, shining with reflected light. Conversely, the Ghibellines held that the Sun was the Emperor and the Moon was the Pope3.

Undoubtely, the Guelph standpoint was triggered by the behaviour of Pope Gregory IV (795-844), who, despite having sworn allegiance as a subject to the co-emperor Lothair, eventually upheld before the bishops the superiority of the Papal authority over the Imperial one4. Although still uninfluential, the claim to Papal supremacy was taken up by the Cluniac reform and put then into practice for the first time by the nefarious Pope Gregory VII, Hildebrand of Soana (1073-1085)5. The alliance that, since the 10th century, was forged between the Popes and the Dukes of the Bavarian House, named Welfen, later gave rise to the Guelph faction, who supported the hegemony of the Papacy over the Empire. This political position was later theorised by the school of legists at the University of Bologna during the late scholasticism6 and militarily supported, in Dante’s time, by the House of Valois with anti-Imperial purposes.

Opposing the Guelfs (Welfen) was the faction of supporters of the Imperial Staufer, or Hohenstaufen, dynasty, whose main castle was Waiblingen, hence the name Ghibellines. Initially, this trend had no established ideology, merely perpetuating the Byzantine cæsaropapism, the Cæsarean approach of Charlemagne and of the Ottons of Saxony. For the Ghibellines, the Emperor was the Sun that protected and granted the ‘Roman’ authority to the Pope, who was the Moon shining with reflected light. At the end of the 14th century, however, this position became the ideology of a total independency from the Papal hegemonic claims to any temporal power. In this way, Ghibellinism untied itself from any relation to the sacred, becoming a theory of secular governance, in which religion occupied only a sector. Marsilius of Padua7 theorised this secular and bourgeois ideology in his book Defensor pacis, that became the bases for the French Monarchy and, paradoxically, for the imperial idea of the Emperor Ludwig the Bavarian8.

At this point one may ask what Dante’s position was in that historical context. Was he a committed supporter of White Guelphs, as we learn in all study books? From his writings it does not appear so, just as he does not appear to have any interest at all towards the medical and apothecary science and art, to whose guild he was attached. To better understand his personal choices before his exile, it is necessary to be aware of certain events. In 1282, the Guelphs and Ghibellines of Florence agreed on a bourgeois reform of the State9. The Government of the Commune was to be delegated to six Priors elected by the guilds of arts and crafts. Dante, a descendant of the ancient patrician Roman gens of the Elysei10, along with many representatives of the nobility, had to enrol in the guild of physicians and apothecaries in order to not be excluded from the government of public affairs. Both the political parties, the Guelph and the Ghibelline, had, by then assumed the sectarian and detrimental behaviour typical of the small, quarrelsome and corrupt mercantile Republics. The Ghibellines of Florence, especially during the vacancy of the Empire after the downfall of the Hohenstaufen dynasty became supporters of the Ghibelline city of Arezzo. With the Battle of Campaldino (1289) and the defeat of Arezzo, the Ghibellines were expelled from Florence. The two currents of the Guelph party, the Blacks and the Whites, then began to vie for power. The Blacks welcomed and sustained the political interference of the papal emissaries in the Commune, instead the Whites wished a distinct autonomy, albeit under the paternal blessing of the Pontiff. It is therefore entirely evident the motivation that lead the Florentine aristocrats, who were forced to take up a guild by the new constitution imposed by the bourgeoisie (‘fat people’), to join the party of the Whites11. This affluence of knights into the Whites’ party explains the already active participation of Dante, Dino Compagni and others in the battle of Campaldino. In fact, also Dante was elected Prior in the year 1300, but soon after the ruling Podestà12, in a stroke of power by the Blacks, forced him into exile from Florence. The reason for Dante’s condemnation and the confiscation of his property was probably due to his motion to the City Council, in order to restore peace to Florence, to exile both the Donati’s family, leaders of the Blacks, and the Cerchi’s family members, leaders of the Whites. The Blacks, for their part, took their revenge on Alighieri, with the complicit indifference of the Whites. This demonstrates Dante’s detachment from both opposing factions, as well as his clear and impartial condemnation of Guelphs and Ghibellines; in fact, he put these harsh words into the mouth of the Emperor Justinian, whom he took as a model.

L’uno al pubblico segno i gigli gialli
oppone, e l’altro appropria quello a parte,
sì ch’è forte a veder chi più si falli.
Faccian li Ghibellin, faccian lor arte
sott’altro segno; ché mal segue quello
sempre chi la giustizia e lui diparte;
e non l’abbatta esto Carlo novello
coi Guelfi suoi, ma tema de li artigli
ch’a più alto leon trasser lo vello.13

Leaving aside historical events, let’s devote ourselves to illustrating the doctrine of the two Suns, as it was conceived by Alighieri,that became the Imperial ideal of his disciples Fedeli d’Amore (Faithfuls of Love) and of the Emperor Henry VII of Luxembourg himself14. The sacredness of Rome is proven by the fact that Christ, the Redeemer, took on a human form while waiting for what St Paul called ‘the fullness of time’ to be established, in order to make amends for the loss of Eden by the first couple. Since the expulsion from the Earthly Paradise, humanity had never enjoyed such a profound peace except under the perfect Monarchy of Cæsar Augustus15: this is the Christian interpretation of the pax augustea, seen as the favourable age for redemption from the original sin. Also Virgil, in his fourth Egloga and from the prespective of the Roman religion, had described the Augustan restoration as the Reign of peace and justice:

… and the majestic roll
Of circling centuries begins anew:
Virgin returns, returns old Saturn’s reign,
With a new breed of men sent down from heaven.
Only do thou, at the boy’s birth in whom
The iron shall cease, the golden race arise,
Befriend him, chaste Lucina; ‘tis thine own
Apollo reigns.16

This Virgilian prophecy on the birth of Jesus was read with veneration throughout the Middle Ages, precisely because it demonstrated the unbroken continuity between the Roman tradition and Christianity, which is our subject matter; so much so that Dante paraphrases it in the Comedy:

… when you said: «The century is renewed;
Justice returns, and first human time,
And a new progeny descends from heaven.17

In his interpretation, with Augustus the universal18 Empire of Rome had been established over the entire known world and this was the visible sign of the ‘fullness of times’ during which the Messiah would descend from heaven to redeem mankind from sin, and to allow it to re-enter the Earthly Paradise.

Similarly, in India, the ‘fullness of time’ of the present human cycle corresponds to the establishment of the Reign of Śrī Rāma, which falls in the second cycle, in the Tretā Yuga, but exactly at the temporal midpoint of the entire caturyuga19. This represents a return, in the course of history, of the blissful conditions of the Kṛta Yuga, the golden age of the Hindūs, although it was already a period of partial decadence20. This is how the ideal Empire, the Rāma Rājya, is described:

Beings which do not claim their descent in Manu’s line, speak again and again like men, under your reugn, o valiant one, having a divine nature! Only more than a month has elapsed since you took the sceptre in your hand, o Rāghava! And mortals have become strangers to disease, death does not overtake even men worn out with age, women undergo no lalour-pains during parturition and human beings are well-built indeed. An abundance of joy has fallen to the lot of every citizen dwelling in the town, o King! Pouring down nectarean water clouds rain at the proper time. Even the very winds which blow here are capasble of giving a delightful touch, and are pleasing and healthful. People living both in the cities and in the country, arriving in the capital, declare: «May such a sovereign be our ruler for long, o King!»21

And, in the Rāmāyaṇa of Tulasī Dāsa one finds:

The land was always spontaneously covered with crops; even though it was Tretā Yuga, the conditions of Kṛta Yuga were reproduced.22

As it can easily be seen, the Augustus Universal Empire recalls, in the Iron Age, what was the Sāmrājya (or Sārvabhauma) of Śrī Rāma as Universal Ruler (Cakravartin) during the second age, the Tretā Yuga23.

But why did the Empire of the Romans have to be universal and Rome caput mundi? Dante explains that the divine election was due to the fact that the Romans were the noblest people among those who aspired to the universal sovereignty24. Nobility consists in the single individual’s virtues perpetuated through the virtuous generations of his ancestors and their wives25. Virtue is such if it is applied towards the common good; the Romans excelled in doing so, for their virtues became the law which they followed with religious fervour and which they spread throughout the world to the peoples assimilated into their Empire26. That assimilation was not meant to be a work of conquest out of a desire for domination: it was a desire to extend the law and peace to the entire terracquean globe.

Therefore, it was not a matter of quarrels between peoples, but of loyal duels27. To confirm the providentiality of the Roman Empire, Dante lists the failed attempts to obtain the universal sovereignty by Ninos, Cyrus, Darius, Alexander and Pyrrhus, and the numerous prodigies and miracles that, on the other hand, punctuate the glorious history of Rome as sign of divine approval.

Finally, Dante appeals to the authority of the Gospel to demonstrate the Divine recognition of the Roman Empire: in the Gospel of St. Luke (II.1), we read:

«There went out a decree from Cæsar Augustus that all the world should be taxed.» From these words we can clearly see that the jurisdiction of the Romans embraced the whole world. It is proved by all these facts that the Romans where victorious among the contestants for the world-Empire; therefore, they were victorious for Divine decree.28

Dante then alludes to the dialogue between Christ and Pilate:

Then Pilate said to him: «You don’t want to talk to me?? Do not you know that I have the power to set you free and the power to crucify you?». Jesus replied to him: «You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above».29

And, based on that Gospel verse, he concludes:

And Tiberius Cæsar, whose vicar was Pilate, would not have possessed jurisdiction over the entire human race had not the Roman Empire existed by Right.30

With evidence drawn from the holy scripture, Dante rails against those Christians who, from earliest times, vituperate the Roman Empire by portraying it as a diabolical Babylon. In stead, they prove that they are still zealots and Iscariots (or sicarians) rebelling against the Empire. They seek a solely earthly kingdom of Judah and, clearly, they are not proselytes of the Kingdom of Heaven preached by the Redeemer. With this invective Dante does not only want to attack the Christian apologists of the early centuries, who showed so much animosity towards the Empire by exaggerating the legend of the persecutions; he is, above all, addressing the Catholic Church of Gregory VII, Innocent III, Clement V, Popes who used every illicit means possible (such as the political use of excommunication) to claim to be the Sun and the Emperor the Moon.

And especially those who call themselves sons of the Church have raged and imagined vain things against the Roman Empire. […] How happy that people would be, and how glorious would be Italy, if he who weakened the Empire had never been born, or had never made that pious decision!31

None of this would have happened if Constantine had never been born or had not had the unfortunate idea of weakening the Empire by giving part of the Roman territory to the Papacy32. St. Peter’s legacy would have not spread like a tumour from Rome, and occupy all of central Italy; the Empire would not have been pushed northwards, becoming less and less Latin. The Roman people would have remained ideally dominant and Italy would have remained a glorious land, as it was anciently:

“You, O Romans, govern the nations with your power: remember this!
These will be your arts: to impose the ways of peace,
To show mercy to the conquered and to subdue the proud

The third book of Monarchy is entirely dedicated to demonstrating that the allegations on the superiority of the Papacy, even those concerning the temporal power are the result of ignorance and bad faith. Their main theory is that the Sun-Moon represents the Pope and the Emperor, because in the Bible it is written that God created the two luminaries, one major and the other minor, so that the first would dominate the day and the other the night. Day and night would therefore be mutually the spiritual and temporal dominion.

From which they infer that since the Moon, the minor luminary, has no light except insofar as it receives it from the Sun, so the temporal realm has no authority except insofar as receiving it from the spiritual power.34

However, this allegory is a stretch in the reading of the sacred text:

Indeed, those two luminaries were created on the fourth day and man on the sixth, as it is evident from scripture. Moreover, since these two powers straighten man towards certain ends, as we shall illustrate later, if man had remained in the state of innocence as he was created by God, he would not have needed such correction. In fact, those powers serve as a remedy against the infirmity of sin.35

To those who would insist to support the allegory of the Sun and Moon, abusively equated with Pope and Emperor, despite the previous unquestionable refutation, Dante replies as follows:

“Therefore I affirm that, although the Moon receives abundant light from the Sun, it does not follow that the Moon depends on the Sun […] As far as its existence is concerned, it does not depend at all on the Sun. […] By analogy I affirm that the temporal [power] does not receive its existence from the spiritual one […] If the Moon is the temporal power and receives light from the Sun, which is the spiritual one, it receives it appropriately so that it operates all the more virtuously in the light of the grace infused by God in heaven and on earth through the blessing of the Supreme Pontiff.36

To support the thesis of the temporal supremacy of priesthood over sovereignty, some argue that, in the Bible, Levi, from whom the Hebrew priests are descended, was the elder brother of Judah, progenitor of the Kings of Israel:

[Although] the symbol of these two powers, that is, Levi and Judah, both came out of Jacob’s loins […] they maintain that […] Levi was born before Judah, as the Bible says: therefore, the Church is superior in authority to the Empire37.

But this only proves that, although there is a spiritual primacy over the temporal, both powers have been separately generated by God.

Others, again, recall that just as the prophet Samuel deposed King Saul, so the Pontiff would have the power to depose Emperors. But this too is incorrect, because Samuel was sent directly by God to fulfil that specific mission. No one, on the contrary, has invested the Popes with such a permanent power.

Some claim that the Magi offered incense and gold to Christ, thus recognising that he was Lord of both spiritual and temporal matters. The Pope, being the vicar of Christ, would therefore have equal lordship over both realms. But as previously mentioned the Pope is not Christ, but only his vicar. God is like a prince who can delegate his powers to one of his vicars, yet also:

If this is the case, it is clear that no prince can delegate a vicar totally equivalent to himself.38

And, again, the partisans of papal superiority misinterpret what Jesus said to Peter:

«Whatsoever you shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatsoever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven». […] From which they infer that the Pontiff himself has the power to loose and bind the authority and laws of the Empire.39

But, in fact, the sentence of the Gospel quoted was the conclusion of a speech in which Christ, addressing Peter, specified:

«I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven», which means I will make you a porter of the realm of heaven.”40

Dante also here rectifies the meaning of the Gospel passage: Christ’s words were indeed meant to describe the institution of the sacrament of penance, and not to licence the Pope to subvert the imperial order.

Finally, Dante corrects the interpretation of another Gospel passage, after which the Pope’s partisans claimed that both powers were given to him by divine mandate:

They endorse their opinion on the passage of Luke, when Peter said to Christ: «Behold, here we have two swords». And they say that by those two swords are meant the two said dominions. Peter said that he had them there meaning that they were in his power; from which they infer that those two dominions belonged by authority to Peter’s successor.41

But in the Gospel text Jesus intended to warn the apostles to be strong because soon he would be arrested and put to death and they would be persecuted. Peter, who often was not the brightest, mistakenly understood that they would have to resist, so he told his Master that they were prepared and that they were already armed with two swords.

That Peter, as was his custom, spoke superficially is shown by his hasty and thoughtless understanding. It was not only because he was motivated by sincere faith, but also because of his simple-minded and gullible nature.42

These observations give Dante, initiate and master of the Faithfuls of Love, the opportunity to demonstrate how Peter was the most superficial of the apostles, often misinterpreting Christ’s own words: for this very reason he had to become the head of the exterior Church. And in this way, by reserving for Peter and the entire series of his successors, the Popes, the mark of an exclusively exoteric spiritual authority, Dante concludes his examination of the Papacy’s claims based on scriptural sources. At this point he harshly criticises the Emperor Constantine for donating part of the territory and of the Imperial powers to Pope Sylvester, fact that shattered the universality of the Roman Empire. Constantine had received the monarchy of the universal Empire, a power that had been handed down for many centuries. He could have renounced to the throne, but he would never have the power to make Particular what is by its nature Universal. As we know today, the Donation of Constantine was a forgery drafted during the Carolingian era by papal legates. In the historical reality, Constantine did not relinquish any power, retaining for himself also the Roman Pontifical office43 that was inherent in the Imperium44.

The Donation of Constantine was only the latest and most shameless forgery of documents fabricated to support papal claims. As early as the 6th century, with the obscuration of the Western Roman Empire, due to the barbarian invasions the institutions of Western Europe had to be readjusted. The Bishop of Rome profited from the Imperial vacancy.

In this remoulding of European institutions, so necessary to the interests of Christianity and civilization, one of the most eflicient agencies was the collection of canons known as the False Decretals. About this period there began to circulate from hand to hand a collection of Papal Epistles, on which the names of the early Bishops of Home conferred the authority of the primitive and uncorrupted church, in- stinct with pure and undisputed apostolic tradition. The name assumed by the compiler was Isidor Mercator, or Peccator, and as the original copy was said to have been brought from Spain, he was readily confounded with St. Isidor of Seville, the eminent canonist, who, two centuries before, had enjoyed a wide and well-merited reputation for extensive learning and anquestioned orthodoxy.
Denis the Less, who, in the first half of the sixth century, made an anthoritative collection of canons and decretals, commences the latter with Pope Siricius, whose pontificate lasted from 384 to 398; and there are no earlier papal epistles extant in the nature of decretals. When, therefore, the decisions and decrees of more than thirty apostolic fathers, of venerable antiquity, were presented under the sanction of ecclesiastics high in rank and power, and when these decrees were found to suit most admirably the wishes and aspirations of the church, it is no wonder that they were accepted with little scrutiny by those whose cause they served, and who were not accustomed to the niceties of strict archaeological criticism. It could hardly be expected that a prelate of that rude age would analyze the rules presented for his guidance, and eliminate the false, which sewed his interests or his pride, from the true, with which they were skilfully intertwined. Some, more enlightened than the rest, perceiving that, although their own power was enhanced, so it was their bond of sub-jection to the central power, tried to mutter faint and cautious doubts; but the vast majority received the new decretals with unquestioning faith, and though political causes delayed their immediate adoption, yet soon after the middle of the century we find them received with scarcely a dissentient voice.
Riculfus, who occupied the archiepiscopal see of Mainz from 784 to 814, is credited with the paternity of this, the boldest, most stupendous, and most successful forgery that the world has seen.”45

But, what was the reason that lead the Papacy so far as to falsify documents in order to distort the laws represented by Roman law, and thus usurping the temporal power of the Empire? Dante lets Marco Lombardo46 explain this with the following triplet, only apparently obscure:

The laws are there, but no one enforces them:
your shepherd-in-chief may ruminate,
but he does not have the split hoof.47

The laws of Roman Right are there, but no one respects them because they all follow the bad example of the Pope: Pope has the right to ruminate but does not have a split hoof. The last verse of the triplet refers to Leviticus (XI.3-8) which states by law that it is lawful for Jews to eat the meat of ruminants that also have a cloven hoof; that is, cattle, sheep and goats. However, Dante, to these simply dogmatic dietary injunctions48, superimposes a symbolic interpretation. Ruminating, in fact, is the repeated chewing of food to better digest it. It is therefore a metaphore for a repeated reflection on what has been learnt, until complete assimilation, what in Sanskrit is called manana. The Pope, therefore, since he has no split hoof, would have the task of devoting himself to knowledge, and not to action which is exclusive prerogative of the Emperor. Following on St. Thomas, Dante interprets the bifid hoof as the ability to distinguish what is right from what is wrong according to the law; enforcing earthly justice is the main mission of the Sovereign49.

The one extinguished the other,
and has the sword grafted on the crozier
that so forcibly conjoined, must degenerate.50

The Pontiff has weakened the other, the Emperor. He merged the pastoral staff and the sword, and these two powers, forcibly unified in his person, are badly matched and mutually hindered. St Peter’s simplicity was overlaid with the Popes’ greed for earthly power, and this has resulted in the progressive loss of knowledge51. Or, conversely, the Popes’ greed for earthly power had increased, in order to compensate for their progressive loss of knowledge.

Dante concludes the Monarchia by confirming as a rule the clear distinction of jurisdiction between the two Suns, regardless of the situation of imperial debilitation and the serious spiritual degeneration of the Papacy of his time:

Ineffable Provvidence has thus designed two ends to be contemplated by man: first the happiness of this life, which consists in the activity of his natural powers, and is prefigurated by the terrestrial Paradise. And then the blessedness of life everlasting, which consists in enjoyment opf the countenance of God, to which man’s natural powers may not attains unless aided by the Divine light, and which may be symbolized by the celestial Paradise. To these states of blessedness, just as to diverse conclusions, man must come by diverse ways.52

Methinks I have now approached close enough the goal I have set myself, for I have take the kernels of truth from the husks of falsehood, in that bquestion which asked whether the office of Monarchy was essencial to the welfare of the world, and in the next which made enquiry whether the Roman people rightfully appropriated the Empire, and in the last which sought whether the authority of the Monarch derives from God directly, or from some other. But the truth of this final question must not be restricted to mean that the Roman Prince shall not be subject in some degree fron the Roman Pontiff, for mortal felicity is ordered in a measure after immortal felicity. Therefore, let Cæsar honor Peter as as a first-born son should honor his father, so that, refulgent of light of paternal light, may spread his own light over the entire world over which he has been set by Him who alone is Ruler of all things spiritual and temporal.53

To Dante’s evidences on the mutual independence of the source of the two powers, we can add that the medieval empire drew transmission directly from the pre-Christian Roman Empire54 and, in turn, for the Papacy the institution of priesthood represented the transmission of Christ’s vicars55. This historicist argument, however, has the defect of not proving the direct origin of each authority from God.

The last sentences used by the Divine Poet to conclude De Monarchia are of fundamental importance to fully understand his thought. He succeeds in transcending the historical contingencies, that he was even personally affected by, to draw up a doctrine on the two powers that covers a truly universal perspective. After having clarified beyond any doubt all the reasons demonstrating the total autonomy and independence of the two Suns, whose authority derive directly from God without intermediation, Dante recognises the Papal primacy. In fact, the Imperial power wields authority on earthly life, limited, therefore, to the field of action after the birth in a gross body. Health, wealth, worldly success for the single individual and his family, peace, harmony, happiness: these are the ends that the Roman Empire aims to guarantee to all mankind. Happiness, therefore, is also enjoyed by peoples living outside the borders garrisoned by the Empire’s milites, whose pax romana reverberated its civilisation and order to the furthest corners of the universe. The universal charisma of the Roman Empire is the result of righteous and virtuous actions aimed at achieving the Garden of Eden on earth. The assonance with the concept of universal sovereignty of the Sanātana Dharma is truly astounding. The sovereignty over the entire universe (sarva-bhūmi) of peace and justice (śānta sudharma) is the product of righteous actions (dharmya karma) performed by following the universal laws that God created together with the world to maintain its order56. The actions produce visible results (dṛṣṭa phala) propitiated by the virtues of the Emperor (Samrāt).

On the other hand, the vicars’ Christ wields authority on a domain of different nature:

My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews. Terefore, my kingdom is not from here.57

Here, too, there is a similarity with the function of the priesthood (brāhma) of the Sanātana Dharma. The Church of Rome should grant access to the Salvation in the heavens (paraloka sthāna) after leaving the body (dehānta) and especially, in the highest heaven (Satyaloka or Brahmaloka) which Jesus calls the ‘kingdom of heaven’ and Dante ‘heavenly Paradise’. In order to attain the highest heaven, the individual must perform righteous deeds (dharmya karma) that produce invisible results (adṛṣṭa phala) propitiated by the Pope’s ritual power to bind and unbind as earlier mentioned. However, since those results leading to the worlds of the Afterlife are invisible (i.e., they cannot be experienced in life), faith (viśvāsa) and hope (āśā) must be added to the virtues required to perform the rites.

Having created the world and seeking to ensure its existence, Bhagavān (the Lord) brought forth in the beginning the Prajāpatis, as Marīci and others58. Then he imparted them the Vedic active life’s low (pravṛtti dharma). Later, bringing forth others like Sanaka and Sanandana59, he imparted to them the law of renonce (nivṛtti dharma), marked by knowledge and detachment. Indeed, the Vedic Dharma making for the world’s stability is two-fold: action and renounce. The law of Dharma is what directly promotes the prosperity and the Liberation of living beings. It is cultivated in the pursuit of progress by castes of men, set in different stations of life (āśrama). […] The Vedic dharma of works, promoting prosperity in the world, and enjoined on the castes and life-stations, promotes the purification of the mind when it is observed with a sense of devotion to Īśvara and without expectation of results; though normally i.e., when done with desire for fruits, it leads its sādhakas to the higher stations of heavenly beings and so forth. It also, indirectly, subserves the attainment of Liberation, since such work purifies the mind and the purified mind becomes fit for practising the way of knowledge which, in due course, leads to the liberating knowledge itself. Keeping this idea in mind, the Lord declares in BhG (V.10-11): «The yogin act without attachment for purifying the mind». The science of the Gītā, thus elucidating especially the two-fold Dharma of the Vedas, is aimed at Liberation..60

From the quoted passage of Śaṃkara above, it is clear that Dante’s doctrine of the two Suns corresponds to the doctrine of the two Dharmapravṛtti and nivṛtti of the eternal tradition, and this also ultimatly disavows the Sun-Moon theory61. Having demonstrated the correctness of Dante’s doctrine, it is necessary, at this point, to emphasise the differences. In fact, the two Dharma of Hinduism correspond exactly to the path of action (karma mārga) and the path of knowledge (jñāna mārga). The former leads all to earthly happiness and, in the afterlife, to avoid hell (nāraka)and attain the heavens and good rebirths; or also it enables initiates (dīkṣita) to take the pitṛyāṇa or devayāna. On the contrary, knowledge, and knowledge only (Brahma Vidyā), leads to Liberation (mokṣa). In the case of the Christian-Medieval tradition, however, the externalisation of the Latin Church and the loss of monastic initiation changed the situation considerably: Papacy was left with the power to bind and unbind in order to obtain the posthumous salvation and avoid damnation. We would like to lastly mention that the knowledge that initiation preserved in monasteries in the early Middle Ages did not correspond to the knowledge of the Supreme Ātman at all, but only to aparavidyā62. The disappearance of knowledge in the religious sphere and the Popes’increasing greed for power were viewed with great concern by Dante and the Faithful of Love. The Empire and the chivalric initiation, that somehow had survived, started to be persecuted by the outer religion. In fact, Alighieri himself witnessed the outarageous suppression of the Order of the Temple. The failing of the Empire was caused by its traditional conduct towards the Papacy, even during their harshest diatribest. The Emperor had always behaved with the utmost respect towards the Pontiff, recognising that the latter’s authority extended to heaven. There was, therefore, full awareness that the very continuation of chivalric initiation was facing extinction, as, in fact, happened shortly afterwards. What Henry VII and Dante tried to do was defenitly the last attempt to save the Western Tradition.

  1. Rome, that once spread righteonsness thronghont the world, used to have two Suns which pointed out both roads, the world’s and God’s. The one has weakened the other, and has joined the sword to the crozier; and the union of the two must of necessity produce evil”. Purgatory, XVI.106-111.
  2. There is even who wrote a book on Dante dealing precisely with this subject, without having evidently read anything directly by the divine poet. Instead of boasting that he had never set foot into any Public Library, would have done better to consult there the Dante’s texts.
  3. This theory actually was based on a law enacted by Justinian and put into practice since the election of Pope Agapitus I in 535 that made mandatory the imperial approval. (Henry C. Lea, Studies in Church History. The Rise of Temporal Power. Benefit of Clergy. Excommunication, London, Sampson Low, Son & Marston, 1869, p. 21). This privilege was transmitted for the full duration of the Holy Roman Empire (800-1806) and was also exercised by its continuator, the Austrian Empire, until 1904. In that year, Pius X claimed to abolish that law: however, no one can abolish a law one is subject to.
  4. Lothair, for his part, had the gullibility to support the claims of Gregory, whom he considered a powerful ally in his diatribe against his father, the Emperor Louis the Pious, and against his brothers Pippin and Ludwig the Germanic, regarding the Imperial succession. It is no coincidence, then, that the shameless forgery of the Donation of Constantine, on which the Popes’ claim to temporal power, still claimed by the State of Vatican City, was drawn up precisely under Gregory IV. To be noter how in the Western world historical events, either true or false, determine thought and attitude, far more than any sacred scriptural principle or natural evidence.
  5. AAVV, From Cosmos to Chaos, n° 38, “Deleterious results of the Church’s secularisation”, II vol., Milan, Ekatos, 2020. The Countess of Tuscany, Matilda, who was an accomplice of Pope Gregory VII and the protagonist of the humiliation of Emperor Henry IV at Canossa, was the wife of Guelph V (Welf V), Duke of Bavaria.
  6. Othmar Hagenneder, Il sole e la luna. Papato, impero e regni nella teoria e nella prassi dei secoli XII e XIII, Milano, Vita e Pensiero ed., 2000.
  7. Again, the secular turn of Ghibellinism came about due to the influence of the late scholasticism and Averroism prevailing at the University of Padua; this degeneration eventually turned against the Imperial ideal as well.
  8. From the mid-14th century, several national Monarchies and sovereign Principalities adopted this political theory, which, of course, can no longer be considered properly Ghibelline, as it was now completely estranged from the struggle between the two universal powers, the Papacy and the Empire. An exception was the Holy Empire, which, once freed from the imperial Bavarian pretensions upon the death of Robert of Wittelsbach (1410), continued to maintain, at least formally, a sacramental and apostolic constitution. On the contrary, the centrality of the secular state with respect to religion, which had become an episodic and private phenomenon, would later reshape into the profane ideology supporting a clear separation of Church and State, typical of constitutional Monarchies and masonic Republics. Actually the 19th century remenants of clerical power defined, albeit abusively, the regimes that followed the French Revolution, as ‘Ghibellines’.
  9. This shows how far the Ghibelline party was from the ‘traditional’ idealisation fantasised by Julius Evola in his Il Mistero del Graal.
  10. In some school textbooks of the Italian democratic Republic ‘founded on labour’, one can read the false information that Dante was born to a bourgeois family; this is intended to erase any sign of an aristocratic past from the historical memory of the young victims of compulsory education.
  11. The Ghibelines who did not flee the city recycled themselves as Guelphs. Among them there was the aristocratic Giano della Bella who in 1293 took revenge on the ‘fat people’ by passing the demagogic Ordinamenti di Giustizia (Justice Regulations) in favour of the populace or ‘slim people’ (Paradise, XVI.127.132). As can be seen, the immoral and unscrupulous conduct of late mediaeval parties and politicians is not very different from that of today’s popular or democratic governments.
  12. The Podestà was the controller of the Priors management. By statute, he was not to be a Florentine: in fact, the Podestà Cante de’ Gabrielli from Gubbio was of the Black faction and a faithful of Pope Boniface VIII.
  13. The one to the public ensign opposes the yellow lilies, and the other appropriates it to a party, so that it is hard to see which errs the most. Let the Ghibelines work, let them work their arts under another ensign, for he ever follows that amiss, who separates justice and it. Nor let this new Charles beat it down with his Guelfs, but let him have a fear of the talons that have dragged the hide from a more exalted lion”. Paradise, VI.100-108. The mentioned Charles is Charles II of Anjou, cousin of Philip the Fair and the other Valois.
  14. As is evident, Dante’s doctrine of the Two Suns drew on the ideal of the Roman Empire, whose glory continued to shine in Byzantium with Justinian and in Rome with Charlemagne and the Ottons of Saxony. He recognised, however, the corruption of the Papacy and the obscuration of the Empire of his time, caused by the greed for temporal power of the Popes who, in addition to the pastoral staff, also wished to wield the sword, weakening the imperial function (cit. Purgatory, XVCI.109-110). This gave rise to the great hope of restauratio Imperii by the Imperator Henry VII, who was also initiated into the Holy Faith.
  15. A memorable event confirms all the reasons given above; that was the situation of mortals that the Son of God waited for to assume human form for the salvation of mankind: or, rather, he chose when he himself willed it. For if we reflect upon the condition of mankind, and from the times since the guilt of the progenitors which gave rise to all our deviations, we never find that the world was so much at peace as under Caesar Augustus, who was monarch of the perfect Monarchy. That mankind was then happy in the tranquillity of universal peace is testified to by all historians and illustrious poets. This was also testified to by he who wrote of the meekness of Christ; moreover, Paul called that very happy situation the «fullness of time».”; “Rationibus omnibus supra positis experientia memorabilis attestatur, status videlicet illius mortalium quem Dei Filius, in salutem hominis hominem assumpturus, vel expectavit vel cum voluit ipse disposuit. Nam si a lapsu primorum parentum, qui diverticulum fuit totius nostræ deviationis, dispositiones hominum et tempora recolamus, non inveniemus nisi sub divo Augusto monarcha, existente Monarchia perfecta, mundum undique fuisse quietum. Et quod tunc humanum genus fuerit felix in pacis universalis tranquillitate, hoc ystoriographi omnes, hoc poetæ illustres, hoc etiam scriba mansuetudinis Christi testari dignatus est; et denique Paulus «plenitudinem temporis» statum illum felicissimum appellavit” (Monarchia, I.16.1-2).
  16. “Magnus ab integro sæculorum nascitur ordo. Iam redit et Virgo, redeunt Saturnia regna, Iam nova progenies cœlo demittitur alto. Tu modo nascenti puero, quo ferrea primum desinet, ac toto surget gens aurea mundo” (Eclogues, IV.5-10).
  17. … quando dicesti: «Secol si rinova; torna giustizia e primo tempo umano, e progenie scende dal ciel nova.»” (Purgatory, XXII.70-72). Virgil’s verses are also recalled in the Epistles: VII.6 and XI.15.
  18. Universal literally means ‘of the entire universe’. Thus, in Dante’s conception, the Universal Ruler, being the possessor of the whole universe, could have no desires or ambitions, as everything already belonged to him by divine right. The sacredness of his function was therefore guaranteed by him transcending all selfish drives. Similarly, the Pontiff was universal as far as the religious domain was concerned: for this reason, the two Suns were universal in their respective domains. The inadequacy of the Popes, often of plebeian birth, pushed them, out of envy, to the desire of usurping also temporal power. In doing so, they proved themselves unworthy of universality, and at the same time they undermined the concept of Imperial universality. We draw the reader’s attention to the fact that ‘universal’ is by no means synonymous with ‘absolute’, an error that is widespread in circles that define themselves ‘traditional’.
  19. It is interesting to note that Dante places the middle of the Christian cycle in the year 1300. He thereby made the fullness of time coincide with his and Henry VII’s mission to restore the Holy Empire.
  20. According to the Latin tradition, in the past Italy had already been the scene of a temporary restoration of the Golden Age during the present Iron Era, when Saturn, King of the Primeval Times, was exiled by his son Jupiter and took refuge here. “Salve magna parens frugum, saturnia tellus, magna virum”, this is how Virgil sang of Italy: “Hail land of Saturn, great begetter of fruits and heroes.” (Georgics, II.173). In that case, it was not a universal and lasting restoration, but a local and transitory one, due to the presence of that God in Latium. A similar conception is still very much alive today in India, where it is said that in certain hidden Himalayan valleys and inextricable jungles, the blissful conditions of the first age are still perpetuated. Similarly, it is said that one who attends the satsaṅga, the assemby of the jñānis, is projected into the Kṛta Yuga.
  21. Śrīmad Valmīki Rāmāyaṇa, VII.41.18-21.
  22. Tulasī Dāsa, Rāmacatitamānasa, VII. 203.3.
  23. G.G. Filippi, “Cakravartin: mythic and historical symbols”, Annali di Ca’ Foscari, XXX, 3 (SO 22), Venezia, 1991, pp. 125-136.
  24. Dico igitur ad questionem quod Romanus populus de jure, non usurpando, Monarchæ officium, quod Imperium dicitur, sibi super mortales adscivit. Quod quidem primo sic probatur: nobilissimo populo convenit omnibus aliis preferri; Romanus populus fuit nobilissimus: ergo convenit ei aliis preferri.” (II.3.1-2). “I say with regard to this question, that the Roman people by Right and not by usurpation took itself over all mortals the office of Monarchy, which men call the Empire. This may first be proved thus: it was meet that the noblest people should have precedence over all others: the Roman people was the noblest; therefore it was meet that it sould have precedence over all others”.
  25. Assumpta ratione probatur: nam, cum honor sit premium virtutis et omnis prelatio sit honor, omnis prelatio virtutis est premium. Sed constat quod merito virtutis nobilitantur homines, virtutis videlicet propriæ vel maiorum.” (II.3.3). “The major premise is demonstrable, for, since the honour is the reward of virtue. It is agreed that men are ennobled as virutes of their own or their ancestors make them worthy.”; “Qui quidem invictissimus atque piissimus pater [Æneas] quantæ nobilitatis vir fuerit, non solum sua considerata virtute sed progenitorum suorum atque uxorum, quorum utrorumque nobilitas hereditario iure in ipsum confluxit, explicare nequirem.” (II.3.7) “So great was the nobleness of this man [Æneas], our ancestor more invincible and most pious, nobleness not only of his own most considerable virtue, but that of his progenitors and consorts, which was transferred to him, by hereditary right, that I cannot unfold in detail, «I can but trace the main outlines of truth»”.
  26. Quod autem Romanus populus bonum prefatum intenderit subiciendo sibi orbem terrarum, gesta sua declarant, in quibus, omni cupiditate submota que rei publicæ semper adversa est, et universali pace cum libertate dilecta, populus ille sanctus, pius et gloriosus propria commoda neglexisse videtur, ut publica pro salute humani generis procuraret. Unda recte illud scriptum est: «Romanum imperium de Fonte nascitur pietatis»” (II.5.5). “That in subduing the world the Roman people had in view the aforesaid common good, their deeds declare. We behold them as a nation holy, pious and full of glory, putting aside all avarice, which is ever adverse to the general welfare, cherishing universal peace and liberty, and disgregating private profit to guard the public weal of humanity. Right was it written, then, that: «The Roman Empires takes its rise in the fountain of pity» [“salva me, fons pietatis”, quotation from the Dies Iræ of Tommaso da Celano]”.
  27. Hoc autem fit cum delibero adsensu partium, non odio, non amore, sed solo zelo iustitiæ, per virium tam animi quam corporis mutuam collisionem divinum iudicium postulatur: quam quidem collisionem, quia primitus unius ad unum fuit ipsa inventa, duellum appellamus.” (M II.9.2). “This end is accomplished when, with the free consent of the participants not in love nor in hatred, but in zeal of justicethe judjment of God is sought through a mutual trial of strength we call the duel.”; “Iam satis manifestum est quod per duellum acquiritur de jure acquiri”; (II.9.12). “By this time is demonstrate clearly enough that whatever is acquired by duel is acquired in Right and Justice”; “Sed Romanus populus per duellum requisivit Imperium.” (II.10.1); “And the Roman people conquered the Empire by duel”.
  28. «Exivit edictum a Cæsare Augusto, ut describeretur universus orbis» (S. Luca, II.1-2); in quibus verbis universalem mundi jurisdictionem tunc Romanorum fuisse aperte intelligere possumus. Ex quibus omnibus manifestum est quod Romanus populus cunctis athletizantibus pro imperio mundi prevaluit: ergo de divino judicio prevaluit et per consequens de divino judicio obtinuit.” (M II.8.14-15).
  29. Dixit ergo ei Pilatus: «Mihi non loqueris nescis quia potestatem habeo crucifigere te et potestatem habeo dimittere te?» Respondit Jesus: «Non haberes potestatem adversum me ullam nisi tibi esset datum de super».” (St. John, XIX. 10-11).
  30. Et supra totum humanum genus Tiberius Cæsar, cuius vicarius erat Pilatus, jurisditionem non habuisset, nisi Romanum Imperium de jure fuisset.” (II.XIII.5).
  31. Desinant igitur Imperium exprobare Romanum qui se filios Ecclesiæ fingunt […] O felicem populum, o Ausoniam te gloriosam, si vel numquam infirmator ille mperii tui natus fuisset, vel numquam sua pia intentio ipsum fefellisset!” (II.13.7-8).
  32. Dante affirms this because at his time it was not known that the Donation of Constantine was a forgery. However, since at the time it was considered truthful, the Guelphs saw it also as proof of the temporal supremacy of the Church state over the Empire. This Papal “right”, based on a lie, was used over the centuries to deny the universality of the Empire and to downgrade it as one of the many States of western Christendom; a bad example that was immediately imitated by Kings and Princes of national States. Indeed, the philological demonstration of the falsity of the Donation by the humanist Lorenzo Valla was not an occasion for the recognition of the sacred and universal prerogatives of the Empire, but backfired as a secular criticism against the Church itself.
  33. Tu regere imperio populos, Romane, memento: hae tibi erunt artes, pacisque imponere morem, Parcere subiectis et debellare superbos.” Virgil, Æneid, VI.853.
  34. Deinde arguunt quod, quemadmodum luna, quæ est luminare minus, non habet lucem nisi prout recipit a sole, sic nec regimen temporale auctoritatem habet nisi prout recipit a spirituali regimine.” (III.4.3).
  35. Nan illa duo luminaria producta sunt die quarto et homo die sexto, ut patet in littera. Preterea, cum ista regimina sint hominum directiva in quosdam fines, ut infra patebit, si homo stetisset in statu innocentiæ in quo a Deo factus est, talibus directivis non indiguisset: sunt ergo huiusmodi regimina rewmedia contra infirmitatem peccati.” (III.4.13-14).
  36. Dico ergo quod licet luna non habeat lucem abubdanter, nisi ut a sole recipit, non propter hoc sequitur quod ipsa luna sit a sole […] Quantum est ad esse, nullo modo luna dependet a sole […] Sic ergo dico quod regnum temporale non recipit esse a spirituali […] sed bene ab eo recipit ut virtuosius operetur per lucem gratiæ, quam in cœlo Deus et in terra benedictio summi Pontificis infundit illi.” (III.4.17-20).
  37. “… quod de femore Jacobi fluxit figura horum duorum regimium, quia Levis et Judas […] sic arguunt ex hiis […] Levis precessit Judam in nativitate, ut patet in littera; ergo Ecclesia precedit Imperium in auctoritate […].” (III.V.1).
  38. Quod si ita est, manifestum est quod nullus princeps potest sibi substituere vicarium in omnibus equivalentem.” (III.7.8).
  39. Et quodcunque ligaveris super terram, erit ligatum et in cœlis. Et quodcunque solveris super terram, eroit solutum et in cœlis. (S. Matteo, XVI.19; XVIII.18; S. Giovanni, XX.23). […] Unde inferunt autorictatem et decreta Imperii solvere et ligare ipsum [Ponteficem] posse.” (III.8.1; III.8.3).
  40. «Tibi dabo claves regni cœlorum» (S. Matteo, XVI.19; XVIII.18; S. Giovanni, XX.23), hoc est faciam te hostiarium regni cœlorum.” (III.8.9). The Gospel passage recalls the Old Testament episode of the curse of Sebna, the unworthy porter of the House of David, and his replacement by a more faithful servant (Isaiah, XXII.15-25). In exegesis, the unworthy porter corresponds to the Jewish priesthood being replaced by the Christian priesthood. The House of David here stands for the Realm of Heaven; however, the Ghibellines interpreted it as the allegory of the Imperial court, thus reversing to their advantage the interpretation of the Sun-Moon, King David-doorkeeper, Emperor-Pope diarchy.
  41. Accipiunt etiam illud Lucœ, quod Petrus dicit Christo cum ait «ecce duo gladii hic». (S. Luca, XXII.35). Et dicunt quod per illos duos gladios duo predicta regimina intelliguntur, quæ quidem Petrus dixit esse ibi ubi erat, hoc est apud se: unde arguunt illa duo regimina secundum autoritatem apud successorem Petri consistere.” (III.9.1).
  42. Et quod Petrus de more ad superficiem loqueretur, probat eius festina et impremeditata presumptio, ad quam non solum fidei sinceritatis impellebat, sed, ut credo, puritas et simplicitas naturalis.” (M III.9.9).
  43. It was Emperor Gratian who refused the title of Pontifex Maximus in 375. This title was immediately usurped by Pope St. Damasus, without any regular transmission from the imperial side. Damasus, whom the Church calls a ‘saint’, was a power-hungry individual, capable of unleashing any violence to assert his authority when challenged by bishops and their Churches (AAVV, Ab Ordine Chaos, vol. I, Milano, Ekatos, 2019, pp. 303-304). The title belonging de jure to the Bishop of Rome, therefore, is that of pater patrum, “Pa-pa”, i.e., Pope.
  44. The ruler, in pre-Christian Rome, also bore the ancient title of Rex Sacrorum, thus properly representing temporal power. As Pontifex Maximus he performed priestly functions, and as Imperator he exercised the initiatic magisterium of warriors. The three titles of Imperial Rome were replaced in the Christian Middle Ages by the triple crown of King of Germany, King of Italy and Emperor. Here too, the title of Imperator (in latin) had an initiatic significance. In several cases, the person of the Imperator did not coincide with the role of the Holy Roman Emperor, in fact the magisterial function was recognised to the worthiest and doctrinally most learned knight (AAVV, Ab Ordine Chaos, cit., vol. II, p. 144 n.192; pp. 184-185). Certainly, as attested by Alighieri, Henry VII of Luxembourg was Emperor and Imperator at the same time. The title of Imperator was transmitted in a secretive way among the knightly initiatic organisations throughout the Middle Ages until their demise (AAVV, Ab Ordine Chaos, cit., vol. I, p. 337). The title of Imperator was then exhumed and usurped by pseudo-esoteric and occultist circles since the Renaissance up to our own time. (AAVV, Ab Ordine Chaos, cit., vol. III, p. 153 n. 202; p. 336 n.442).
  45. H.C. Lea, Studies in Church History,cit., pp. 42-43.
  46. He was a knight from Treviso who frequented the pro-imperial Courts of Treviso, Verona and Pisa, known for his wisdom, courage and dignity in facing his destitute state in exile, as he also appears in the Novellino, in Boccaccio and in Villani. He was probably a Faithful of Love, a disciple of master Guido Guinizzelli from Bologna. Certainly, the hypothesis, supported by some, that he was a Cathar, must be discarded, precisely because of the favourable portrayal Dante made of him, as if he had been his alter ego. The triplet precedes the verses placed as exergue at the beginning of this article.
  47. Purgatory, XVI.97-99.
  48. Such restrictive behavioural injunctions, devoid of any explanation, are demanded of believers by the One God of the Semitic Religions in order to test their obedience. In no text, in fact, any reason is given to why it is permissible to eat cow meat and not pork; it is an expedient to compel adherence to religious law by faith and not by reason. In fact, the contemporary believers in those religions are inclined to accept the scientific and secular justification that it is just a ‘hygienic’ prescription.
  49. Diligite justitiam qui judicatis terram”, “pursue justice o ye who judge the earth” (Paradise, XVIII.91-93): Dante reads in Jupiter’s heaven this inscription formed by the souls of the righteous princes of the past.
  50. Purgatory, XVI.109-111.
  51. The deleterious secularisation of Latin monasticism, following the Cluniac reform, weakened the transmission of knowledge and interrupted the corresponding initiation of the Church of Rome. St. Bernard was the Church Father who racknowledge this extinction and tried to save what was left of the knightly initiatic tradition (AAVV, Ab Ordine Chaos, cit., vol. II, pp. 59-79). A few isolated personalities, born with exeptionall intellectual qualifications, such as the Vittorini, Albertus Magnus and Meister Eckhart, failed to restore and continue the tradition of knowledge. Let it be clear, however, that this Initiatic tradition, although with an extremely elevated apophatic connotation, was still only what in Sanskrit is called Aparabrahma vidyā.
  52. Duos igitur fines Providentia illa inenarrabilis homini proposuit intendendos: beatitudinem scilicet huius vitæ, quæ in operatione propriæ virtutis consistit et per terrestrem paradisum figuratur; et beatitudine, vitæ eternæ, que consistit in fruitione divini aspectus ad quam propria virtus ascendere non potest, nisi lumine divino adiuta, quæ per paradisum cœlestem intelligi datur. Ad has quidem beatitudines, velut ad diversas conclusiones, per diversa media venire oportet.” (III.16.7-8).
  53. Enucleata namque veritas est quæstionis illius qua quærebatur utrum ad bene esse mundi necessarium esset Monarchæ officium, ac illius qua quærebatur an Romanus populus de jure Imperium sibi adsciverit, nec non illius ultime qua querebatur an Monarchæ auctoritas a Deo vel ab alio dependeret inmediate. Quæ quidem veritas ultime questionis non sic stricte recipienda est, ut Romanus Princeps in aliquo Romano Pontifici non subjaceat, cum mortalis ista felicitas quodam modo ad immortalem felicitatem ordinetur. Illa igitur reverentia Cæsar utatur ad Petrum qua primogenitus filius debet uti ad patrem: ut luce paternæ gratiæ illustratus virtuosius sua luce orbem terræ irradiet, cui ab Illo solo prefectus est, qui est omnium spiritualium et temporalium Gubernator” (III.16.16-18).
  54. Odoacer, after deposing Flavius Romulus Augustus (461-512?), handed over the Imperial insignia (diadem, sceptre, toga with golden laticlavium, sword and purple paludamentum) to Zeno, Emperor of the Easter Empire. With the Aachen Agreement of 812, the Emperor of Bysantium recognised Charlemagne as Imperator Augustus. The insignia therefore returned to the West and it is probable that the octagonal Byzantine-style crown preserved at Vienna Hofburg is the last reamening of it. (Aurelio Bernardi, “La fine dell’impero d’occidente. AAVV, La Storia, vol. IV, Dall’impero romano a Carlo Magno, Aurelio Bernardi (a cura di), Torino, UTET, 2004).
  55. The Christian priesthood was esteblished ‘according to the order of Melchizedek’. In this way the priesthood ‘according to the order of Aaron’ of the Judaic religion was abrogated (St Paul, Hebrews, VII.1-3; VII.11); it is symptomatic that shortly afterwards, with the dispersion of the Jews from the Holy Land, the Judaic priesthood effectively disappeared.
  56. Roman Law was the result of setting into legislation the universal rules of nature and this made the Roman tradition entirely akin to the Sanātana Dharma. Imperial universalism, therefore, did not depended at all on a particular revelation adapted to an era, a geographical area and a people characterised by an exclusive mentality.
  57. Regnum meum non est de mundo hoc; si ex hoc mundo esset regnum meum, ministri mei decertarent, ut non traderer Judaeis; nunc autem meum regnum non est hinc.” (St. John, XVIII.36).
  58. Besides Marīci, the Viṣṇu Purāṇa (VII.1) mentions eight other Prajāpati: Bhṛgu, Pulastya, Pulaha, Kratu, Aṅgiras, Dakṣa, Atri e Vasiṣṭha.
  59. In Bhāgavata Purāṇa (VII) there are four: Sanaka, Sanandana, Sanātana, Sanatkumāra. They are called Kumāra or Sanakādi. Both Kumāra and Prajāpati were created by the mind of Brahmā and that is why they are all mentioned as Mānasaputra or Mānoja. The Kumāras were created first. When Brahmā asked them to beget sons to ensure the continuation of the world, they refused because they were born under the vow of renunciate celibacy (vairāgya or saṃnyāsa). Therefore, Brahmā had to create from the mind the Prajāpati. Interestingly, this latter Sanskrit term means ‘Lord of the subjects’. The characteristics of the Pope’s ecclesiastical celibacy and the Emperor’s universal sovereignty are also echoed in these details.
  60. Bhagavad Gītā Śaṃkara Bhāṣya, Upodghāta.
  61. The separate origin of the two powers as described by Śaṃkara refutes also who have attempted to argue that even in India temporal power derives by proxy from the brāhmaṇa’s caste.
  62. The knowledge related to the apophatic theology of monotheisms, although of high level, is simply comparable to the aliṅga upāsanā of Hinduism’s karma kāṇḍa.