There is a return to intense debate over sovereignty. What draws attention to it is the widespread impression of its precarious state of health: the long tradition that made sovereignty the pivot of order seems rapidly being left behind, presenting itself as an era now ended. Whatever the diagnosis and prognosis, it is certain that today the problem of sovereignty returns with fresh urgency, even if the terms used to pose the question do not always appear clear. The present work attempts to reflect on certain aspects of the long period that lies behind us, in the hope that the recognition of more or less remote traditions may indirectly contribute to clarifying (by analogy or contrast) the terms of today's debate. From this standpoint, the work attempts to draw attention to two aspects of 'discourse (medieval and modern) on sovereignty': to two themes (the image of an eminent power and the idea of a unitary order) that repeatedly intertwine therein, and to two modalities that characterise the rhetorical organisation thereof, continually swinging between 'rational' analyses and mythical/metaphorical suggestions.