Bateman on Nicaea and the Beginnings of State Sovereignty

C.G. Bateman (U. of British Columbia Faculty of Law) has posted Nicaea and Sovereignty: The Introduction of an Idea About the Beginnings of State Sovereignty. The abstract follows.

This research is concerned with the development of international law in so far as it relates to the historical background for the Peace of Westphalia, which itself is understood as a seminal event in the history of the growth of both the theoretical notion of sovereignty and, in its present milieu, as an attribute of states. My suggestion in this research is that the late antiquity transformation of the Christian church from spiritual and cultural governance to temporal imperial sovereignty in Europe suggests a trenchant indication of what Nicaea represented in terms of setting a trajectory for the church’s political sovereignty, a sovereignty which ultimately begun to be wrested back from it at Westphalia. This research suggests that the sovereignty which characterized the Late Antiquity Roman Empire under the Emperor Constantine was bequeathed to the Christian Church at Nicaea by fiat. In other words, this research is suggesting a starting point for the development of European sovereignty at which Europe’s most enduring institution of eighteen-hundred plus years was the main actor: the Roman Catholic Church.

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