Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in History (MA)

Degree Level





Freddy Dominguez

Committee Member

Laurence Hare

Second Committee Member

Joel Gordon


Defensor Pacis, English Reformation, Henry VIII, Marsilius of Padua, Papacy, William Marshall


Marsilius of Padua’s Defensor pacis is widely thought to be one of the most important texts to emerge in late medieval Europe. Initially purposed as a defense of Holy Roman Emperor Ludwig IV’s rights against the claim of the papacy’s claim to possess a ‘plenitude of power’, Defensor pacis is one of the most sophisticated arguments against the centuries of abuse of papal authority. Marsilius, though condemned as a heretic during his lifetime, remains a pivotal figure for medieval and early modern European historians, and is perhaps best remembered by the ways that his ideology influenced subsequent generations of political thinkers. Along that thread, this thesis examines the translation of Defensor pacis into English during the reign of King Henry VIII, just over two centuries after it was originally written in Latin. Through this examination, with the support of secondary literature, I will hope to determine the ways in which Marsilius’ tract was appropriated or changed to reflect the political and religious realities of Reformation England.