A clash of cultures: the legal difficulties of Bernat Metge (1396-1398) in a wider social context
Kagay, Donald J. (Albany State University)
Paper given at the International Congress on Medieval Studies (Kalamazoo, Michigan, 2002)
Bad government in all its many forms has held the attention of many philosophical schools through the ages. Disaster, Montesquieu asserted, was the ultimate fate of the monarch “who through bad advice or indolence, ceases to enforce the execution of the law.” For the Renaissance scholar Alberti, the way any authority (whether householder or king) spent his money was the true mark of his fitness to hold power. Thus, “thrift is good and prodigality bad” and any unnecessary expenditure was sheer madness. These maxims, though originating from different epochs, reflect a set of ruling standards which betray a distinct class viewpoint; that is, an aristocratic concern for the protection of the law and a bourgeois demand for the sensible management of money.