Traces of the Rule of Law as an Idea and Legal Principle in the Theory of the Ancient and Medieval Period: Some of the Characteristic Theoretical Considerations and their Contribution to the Contemporary Meaning

Zlatan Begić


When talking about the rule of law as a contemporary constitutional and theoretical principle, most of the public usually refers to the period of the emergence of theoretical models that tend to the modern understanding of the organization of the state, legal order, and society, from the period of the Enlightenment to the period of various theoretical concepts of the modern era. However, as it is known in the domain of constitutional theory, ideas concerning the concept and purpose of government, the constitution, laws and legislation, rights and obligations, legality and legitimacy, and all other categories that constitute elements of the principle of the rule of law (as it is understood today) – as a very complex notion, have been the subject of consideration since the earliest times, at the very beginnings of the development of the philosophical-legal thought. The purpose of this paper, by its capacity and scope, is not contained in the elaboration of all theoretical models regarding elements that make the content of the rule of law which appeared during the historical development of human civilization – which would otherwise be an impossible task, but in the elaboration of some characteristic theoretical considerations during ancient and medieval period in which the beginnings of the idea of the rule of law can be found as well as the very beginnings of the development of that idea in contemporary sense.


Rule of Law; Constitution; Acts of Law; State; Authority; Theory

Full Text:



Anglo, Sydney (2005), Machiavelli - the first century: Studies in enthusiasm, hostility, and irrelevance, Oxford University Press, New York

Aristotle (1988), Politika/Politics, Globus – Sveučilišna naklada Liber, Zagreb

Begić, Zlatan (2021), O ustavu, legalitetu i legitimitetu: Osnove teorije legaliteta i legitimiteta, Fakultet za upravu, Sarajevo

Bingham, Tom (2011), The Rule of Law, Penguin Books Limited

Collins, Jeffrey R. (2005), The allegiance of Thomas Hobbes, Oxford University Press, New York

Deanesly, Margaret (2005), History of the medieval church 590-1500, Routledge / Taylor & Francis e-Library, London - New York

Duignan, Brian (2011), The history of philosophy: Modern philosophy from 1500 to the present, Britannica Educational Publishing, New York

Fekete, Balázs (2009), ˝The unknown Montesquieu: An essay on Montesquieu’s intellectual background˝, Iustum Aequum Salutare, 1, 151-159.

Garnsey, Peter (1996), Ideas of slavery from Aristotle to Augustine, Press Syndicate of the University of Cambridge, Cambridge - New York - Melbourne

King, Ross (2007), Machiavelli: Philosopher of power, Harper Collins Publishers Inc. (e-book), New York

Koplston, Frederik (1988), Istorija filozofije, BIGZ, Beograd

Lahtinen, Mikko (2009), Politics and philosophy: Niccolo Machiavelli and Louis Althusser’s aleatory materialism, Brill, Leiden - Boston

Lauc, Zvonimir (2016), ˝Načelo vladavine prava u teoriji i praksi˝, Pravni vjesnik, 3-4, 45-67.

Lloyd, S. A. (2009), Morality in the philosophy of Thomas Hobbes: Cases in the law of nature, Cambridge University Press, New York.

Luscombe, David (1997), A history of western philosophy, Part II: Medieval thought, Oxford University Press, Oxford - New York.

Maurer, Armand (1982), Medieval philosophy – second edition, Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies, Toronto

Møller, Jørgen, Svend-Erik Skaaning (2014), The Rule of Law, Palgrave Macmillan UK

Mueller Dennis C. (1996), Constitutional democracy, Oxford University Press, New York

Platon (2002), Država, BIGZ, Beograd

Posavec, Zvonko (1988), ˝Značenje Aristotelove politike˝, In: Aristotel, Politika, Liber, Zagreb, V-XXX

Rosenfeld, Jessica (2011), Ethics and enjoyment in late medieval poetry, Love after Aristotle, Cambridge University Press, New York

Saunders John J. (2002), A history of medieval Islam, Routledge - Taylor & Francis e-Library, London - New York

Schulze, Hagen (2002), Država i nacija u Evropskoj istoriji, Filip Višnjić, Beograd

Snyder, Claire R. (2004), ˝Machiavelli and the citizenship of civic practices˝, In: Maria J. Falco (ed.), Feminist interpretations of Niccolo Machiavelli, The Pennsylvania State University Press, Pennsylvania, 213-247.

Tamanaha, Z. Brian (2004), On the Rule of Law: History, Politics, Theory, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge

Weinert, Matthew S. (2007), Democratic sovereignty: Authority, legitimacy and state in a globalizing age, UCL Press - Taylor & Francis Group, New York

Wiedemann, Thomas (2005), Greek and Roman slavery, Routledge - Taylor & Francis Group, London - New York.



  • There are currently no refbacks.

ISSN: 2490-3604 (print) ● ISSN: 2490-3647 (online)

Društvene i humanističke studije - DHS is under the Creative Commons licence.