Above, in the third chapter of this treatise, a promise was made to discourse of the supremacy of the Imperial Authority and of the Philosophic Authority. And since the Imperial Authority has been discussed, my digression must now proceed further in order to consider that of the Philosopher, according to the promise made.
And here we must first see what is the meaning of this word; since here there is a greater necessity to understand it than there was above in the argument on the Imperial Authority, which, on account of its Majesty, does not seem to be doubted. It is then to be known that Authority is no other than the act of the Author.
This word, that is to say, Auctore, without this third letter, c, can be derived from two roots. One is from a verb, whose use in grammar is much abandoned, which signifies to bind or to tie words together, that is, A U I E O; and whoso looks well at it in its first vowel or syllable will clearly perceive that it demonstrates it itself, for it is constituted solely of a tie of words, that is, of five vowels alone, which are the soul and bond of every word, and composed of them in a twisted way, to figure the image of a ligature; for beginning with the A, then it twists round into the U, and comes straight through the I into the E, then it revolves and turns round into the O: so that truly this figure represents A, E, I, O, U, which is the figure or form of a tie; and how much Autore (Author) derives its origin from this word, one learns from the poets alone, who have bound their words together with the art of harmony; but on this signification we do not at present dwell. The other root from which the word “Autore” (Author) is derived, as Uguccione testifies in the beginning of his Derivations, is a Greek word, “Autentim,” which in Latin means “worthy of faith and obedience.” And thus “Autore” (Author), derived from this, is taken for any person worthy to be believed and obeyed; and thence comes this word, of which one treats at the present moment, that is to say, Authority. Wherefore one can see that Authority is equivalent to an act worthy of faith and obedience.