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Using the French to Translate or Confirm the Latin

There are numerous terms in one language that do not have a direct equivalent in the other. The most notable example of this issue comes in the form of the French term “souverainet√©” and its cognates. At the beginning of I.8 in the Latin version, Bodin defines it as “maiestas” and goes on to use the term “jura maiestatis” to refer to the rights of sovereignty frequently. But because “maiestas” is the “summa in ciues ac subditos, legibusque soluta potestas” according to that definition, he also often uses “summa potestas” (among other terms) to describe in Latin what in the French he had called “souverainet√©.” There are other terms that perform the same function. A more systematic survey and assessment of these needs to take place once a proper edition has been put together.

There are much easier cases, such as the confirmation that “civitates imperiales” means “imperial cities” (“villes imperiales”) rather than “imperial states,” despite the fact that most of the time Bodin uses “civitas” for “estat.”