In 1571, an English jurist named Edmund Plowden, trying to make sense of cases involving the sale and purchase of land owned by various monarchs, argued:
[T]he King has in him two Bodies, viz., a Body natural, and a Body politic. His Body natural (if it be considered in itself) is a Body mortal … But his Body politic is a Body that cannot be seen or handled, consisting of Policy and Government, and constituted for the Direction of the People. . . .