The germ of this dealing with a major causa may be found in the practice of the Arian emperors in the 4th century.
Albertus Magnus argued that the soul is immortal, as ex se ipsa causa, and as independent of the body; Pietro Pomponazzi maintained that the soul's immortality could be neither proved nor disproved by any natural reasons.
The great work that is going on is the simplification of the facts to be explained by grouping them under empirical laws; and the most general statement relating to these that can yet be made is that no single one of these laws has as yet shown signs of taking rank as a vera causa comparable with the Darwinian principle of natural selection.
The dictator appointed to meet the dangers of war, sedition or crime was technically described as " the administrative dictator (rei gerundae causa).
It was not till the 12th century that the mitre came to be regarded as specifically episcopal, and meanwhile the custom had grown up of granting it honoris causa to other dignitaries besides bishops.