James M. Blythe
Office: 141 Mitchell
Education: Ph.D., History, Cornell University, 1987, under Brian Tierney
Fields of Interest
Medieval and Renaissance European History, Intellectual History, Medieval Political
Thought, History of Women, Ecclesiastical History, Religious Movements, Millennial
Movements, Global History
Research interests: Most of my research and publications has been in the field of
Medieval Political Thought, particularly the development of ideas of participatory
government. My first book looked at medieval and Renaissance ideas for combining monarchy,
aristocracy, and democracy. My second was a translation of and commentary on a treatise
by the radical political thinker Ptolemy of Lucca, On the Government of Rulers, written around 1300.
I have also published articles about civic humanism, medieval Aristotelianism, medieval
women, and a game a student and I devised for a crusades course. With John La Salle,
I recently published two articles on a previously-unknown manuscript by the great
Renaissance historian Hans Baron.
Most recently I have published a two-volume study of Tolomeo Fiadoni (Ptolemy of Lucca).
This work has proved extremely challenging, since it took me beyond political thought
to medieval historiography and ecclesiology, medieval science, biblical commentary,
medieval women, the politics of Northern Italy, and also involved work in the Luccan
and Florentine archives in order to reconstruct Tolomeo’s life.
Aside from surveys of the medieval and Renaissance periods and graduate seminars covering
the whole medieval period, I have taught courses in Medieval Women, Millennial Movements
from ancient times to the present, the Crusades, Paleography and Medieval Latin, Political
Thought, and the required Ph.D. course in Global History. Currently I have seven Ph.D.
- The Life and Works of Tolomeo Fiadoni (Ptolemy of Lucca) (Brepols, 2009).
- The Worldview and Thought of Tolomeo Fiadoni (Ptolemy of Lucca) (Brepols, 2009).
- Ideal Government and the Mixed Constitution in the Middle Age (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1992).
- Ptolemy of Lucca, On the Government of Rulers (“De Regimine Principum”), with portions attributed to
Thomas Aquinas, trans. James M. Blythe (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1997).
- “Women in the Military: Scholastic Arguments and Medieval Images of Female Warriors,”
History of Political Thought 22 (2001): 242-269. The journal put this article on the Web; you can see it at http://www.imprint.co.uk/blythe/.
- “Aristotle’s Politics and Ptolemy of Lucca,” Vivarium 40 (2002): 103-36
- “’Civic Humanism’ and Medieval Political Thought,” in James Hankins, ed., Renaissance Civic Humanism (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000), 30-74.
- “The Crusades Game,” Medieval and Renaissance Education (1993, with Sarah Pratt).
- “Family, Government, and the Medieval Aristotelians,” History of Political Thought 10 (1989): 1-16.
(A complete list of publications may be found in the curriculum vitae.)