The nature of the Empire was the object of constant discussion on the part of the jurists. In the 15th century, the Italian intellectuals paid more particular attention to the nationality of the Emperor and confirmed its inevitable non-Romanization and its subsequent Germanization. The present paper examines the sources, both legal and humanistic, of this important debate. One of the turning points in the discussion was the creation of the duchy of Milan in 1395. Baldo degli Ubaldi was one of the legal experts to make his contribution, explaining that the creation of duchy was like a revival of the Empire in Lombardy. At the end of the century, the discussion between Italians and Germans became more virulent. At stake was the legitimate nationality of the emperor. The question is not neutral because it reveals the capacity of the intellectuals to use the most diversified sources to answer the fundamental question of the legitimacy of states, in particular Italian territorial states. It is moreover striking that humanists and Italian jurists, so often in opposition between themselves, have had convergent points of view on this issue, even when the theoretical base of their reflection was not the same. The Empire had stopped being Roman and had been reduced to its Germanic dimension. The German intellectuals naturally tried to benefit from it
To submit an update or takedown request for this paper, please submit an Update/Correction/Removal Request.