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[106] was so practical and positive, and his pride in the Romans so intense,1 that he sometimes seems to regard their mission as the higher of the two. Without peace, which only good government could give, mankind could not arrive at the highest virtue, whether of the active or contemplative life. ‘And since what is true of the part is true of the whole, and it happens in the particular man that by sitting quietly he is perfected in prudence and wisdom, it is clear that the human race in the quiet or tranquillity of peace is most freely and easily disposed for its proper work which is almost divine, as it is written, “Thou hast made him a little lower than the angels.” 2 Whence it is manifest that universal peace is the best of those things which are ordained for our beatitude. Hence it is that not riches, not pleasures, not honors, not length of life, not health, not strength, not comeliness, was sung to the shepherds from on high, but peace.’3 It was Dante's experience of the confusion of Italy, where

One doth gnaw the other
Of those whom one wall and one fosse shut in,

Purgatorio, VI. 83, 84.

that suggested the thought of a universal umpire, for that, after all, was to be the chief function of his Emperor. He was too wise to insist on a uniformity of political institutions a priori,4 for he seems to have

1 Dante seems to imply (though his name be German) that he was of Roman descent. He makes the original inhabitants of Florence (Inferno, XV. 77, 78) of Roman seed; and Cacciaguida, when asked by him about his ancestry, makes no more definite answer than that their dwelling was in the most ancient part of the city. (Paradiso, XVI. 40.)

2 Man was created, according to Dante (Convito, Tr. II. c. 6), to supply the place of the fallen angels, and is in a sense superior to the angels, inasmuch as he has reason, which they do not need.

3 De Monarchia, Lib. I. § 5.

4 De Monarchia, Lib. I. § 16.

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