Saturday, June 29, 2013
Dominium mundi is an idea of universal dominion developed in the Middle Ages. Inspired by the memory of the Roman Empire, dominium mundi implied the recognition of one supreme authority, which generated a prolonged political and spiritual struggle between imperial and ecclesiastical power. This struggle can be said to have begun with the Investiture Controversy, and was mainly embodied by the Holy Roman Empire and Catholic Church, who elevated the emperor and Pope, respectively, to the status of supreme ruler. The idea of universal dominion divided Italy into the warring faction of Guelphs and Ghibellines. Guelphs supported the Church, while Ghibellines supported the Empire. After two hundred years of division during the 12th and 13th centuries, neither of the powers had prevailed, due to their mutual dependency and the rise of the powerful and practically independent reigns of Church and the State. The idea of dominium mundi did not reappear in its original form, despite the fact that both universal powers subsisted.