I have been using several topoi to investigate the trends from Benedict of Nursia to Marsilius of Padua (vi&., consent, participation, procedure, discernment, whether nature tends to any good, the application of law — i.e., judgment, the purpose of law, natural vs. positive law, and whether the ruler is under any law). By means of these topoi I have come to conclude that, although there are significant connections between Benedictine monasticism and the later forms of papal plenitude of power, my original thesis that extended this thread to Marsilius in fact overextended, and fails.
Two important features of all modern polities are (1) an emphasis on proper procedure and (2) a systematic ensurance of popular consent. Contrary to common expectation, these do not come directly from ancient or Enlightenment conceptions of political life, but first take on their later forms by way of Late Antique and Medieval monastic and ecclesiastical environments.
In this set of posts we shall look at a trajectory from roughly Benedict of Nursia to Marsilius of Padua, looking over our shoulder, later on, at Aristotle and Cicero.