Legislation and Ideology –Pasciuta
By Beatrice Pasciuta | Published on October 25, 2019
From a symbolic and cultural perspective, issuing a new legislation was certainly one of the most significant expressions of the strength of the new political power. The combination of the pacification of the kingdom, achieved by the king right after his coronation and implemented through a military crackdown, with a new production of norms that were intended primarily to maintain a peace conquered by blood, is a topos of the medieval monarchies. Roger promulgater his legislation, the so-called Assisae de Ariano (the conventional date is 1140, but there are doubts). The preface of the work is fundamental for understanding the role of this legislation. It stated that these laws were offered to God in return for having given the kingdom to Roger.
The Norman King declares as its task the enactment of new legislation, which is a function of its power of jurisdiction. The normative order consists of a plurality of sources that Roger formally maintains in force, but that are hierarchically submitted to the royal legislation.
In 1231, Frederick II, who was also the Emperor of the Holy Empire, promulgated his compilation of laws as king of Sicily. The preface directly links the new legislation to cosmogony. In the political experience of the Kingdom of Sicily, new legislation is the manifestation of royal power, but at the same time sets its limits.
The first consequence was the Pope’s strong reaction. Gregory IX excommunicated Frederick II for many reasons, but the main one was his ideology of constitutional power. The Pope — vicar of Christ on the hearth — deeply believed that he was the only one to have the power to make law; as consequence Frederick was a usurper of his jurisdiction. He was the beast of the Apocalypse!
A few years after, in 1234, Gregory IX promulgated his code, the so-called Liber Extra, as an answer to the erethic king-emperor.
This seminar aims at showing how the different kinds of legislation are connected one to one : royal legislation, papal decretals, but also customary law — both local customs and ethnic customs – Arabic, Greek, and Latin, only for quoting the most important.