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To Rule Is To Serve. The Political Paradox of the Middle Ages



Original Language: French | 446 pages | March 2012

2 Seas Represents: Danish, Dutch, Finnish, Icelandic, Norwegian and Swedish Rights.


In the thirteenth century, the founders of religious orders – starting with Francis of Assisi – revolutionize “governance.” According to the Gospel, he who holds the power must be at the service of those he governs, and challenged constantly. A very topical message.

“The first shall be the last, the last shall be the first.” The overthrow of authority haunts the spiritual elite of the Church since the appearance of monks in the West. In the thirteenth century, driven by a strong demand for reform, humility and poverty, Francis of Assisi (Franciscans) and Dominic de Guzman (Dominicans) – and others yet to come – invent an “overthrowing” form of government for their monks. The head of a community must be at the service of those he guides and leads. This duty of humility is strictly codified.

Using unpublished sources, Jacques Dalarun vigorously brings the actors of this revolution back to life. He allows the reader to witness striking scenes where “the mighty are abased in order to exalt the humble.” In the wake of Michel Foucault, he sheds light on an anti-establishment and political Judeo-Christian tradition that is different from the Greco-Roman model, and which is still applied in the democracies of the twenty-first century.