Oliver J. (Oliver Joseph) Thatcher.

A short history of mediæval Europe online

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should in the future have the sole right to nominate the
Pope, and their nominee must be accepted and elected by
the clergy of Rome. The people were to have no part in
the election, and the Emi)eror probably had the right to
confirm, but not to reject, the Pope thus elected.

"Cardinal" Avas a title given to the clergy attached to "Cardinal.'
the oldest and most important churches of Rome and its


140 A Short History of Medicsval Europe

vicinity. The churches in Rome itself were all under the
Bishop of Rome, and were ministered to by presbyters and
deacons. There were cardinal presbyters and cardinal
deacons, who were, of course, attached to the principal
churches. There were seven cardinal bishops, who formed
a kind of council to the Bishop of Rome, had charge of
the affairs of the diocese Avhen he was absent from the city,
and assisted him in all great functions, such as the corona-
tion of the Emperor ; and to these seven the sole right of
nominating the Pope Avas now confided. They were the
bishops of Palaestrina, Porto, Ostia, Tusculum, Candida
Silva, Albano, and Sabino. This was the beginning of the
formation of the College of Cardinals. The decree was an
important step in the process of freeing the Papacy from
all temporal control.

In Germany this decree was rejected because it did not
recognize the rights of the Emperor. A council of Ger-
man bishops actually deposed Nicholas, and at his death
elected an anti -Pope. The Empress Agnes became regent,
but her inability to administer the government led to the
kidnapping of the young king and the establishment of the
Archbishop of Cologne as regent ; the government then
assumed a more conciliatory attitude toward the new Pope,
Alexander 11., and eventually recognized him.
Henry IV. In 1065 Henry IV. was declared of age, and took up

the reins of government. He had exceptional talents,
and if he had received better training and possessed suffi-
cient moral earnestness, might have had a far different his-
tory. But he hardly appreciated his position. He had no
thought of a reform, and spent his time in the chase or with
his mistresses, to enrich whom he robbed churches and
sold offices. He was imperious and insolent, and the great
dukes were soon alienated from him. Saxony was deeply
offended by his conduct and ready to revolt. At last, in


The Papacy and the Empire 141

1069, a crisis was reached when he proposed to divorce
his wife. The diet refused to consent to this, and formal
complaints were made against him to iVlexander II. The
Pope excommunicated his council and summoned him to
Rome. The death of the Pope, which occurred shortly
afterward, put an end to the strife for a brief time.

Hildebrand, who during several pontificates had been
the power behind the throne, was now made Pope, it would
seem by a popular demonstration. Apparently the decree
of Nicholas was disregarded in that the Cardinal bishops
did not nominate the candidate. The people demanded
Hildebrand for their Bishop and the clergy of Rome
elected him. He assumed the title of Gregory VII. Hil- Gregory Vil.,
debrand was not personally ambitious ; his conduct as
Pope was determined by his theory of that office. He
was not a theologian ; in defending one of his friends he
almost incurred the charge of heresy. He was a practical
man of affairs, as is indicated by the fact that he was first
a deacon and then an archdeacon. He had served the Cu-
ria principally by looking after its financial interests and
affairs. He was a diplomat and politician, obtaining by
artifice or well-timed concessions what was otherwise un-
attainable. He made use even of heretics, if they could
be of service to him. He could make compromises in
everything except in the question of the supremacy of the

Till this time the Empire had been regarded as the King- Which is the
dom of God on earth, and the Emperor as its head. Gregory Qod, the Em-
declared this to be false. The Empire could not be the 'c'l'^rdi'?^
Kingdom of God because it was based on force, and the
Emperors were often ambitious, tyrannical, and mijust.
On the other hand, the Church is based wn righteousness.
She can do no wrong. Gregory's fundamental position
is, therefore, that the Church is the Kingdom of God, and

142 A SJwrt History of Mcdiceval Europe

Necessity of n
central pow er
in the Church.

the Pope who is at its head has absokite authority over all
the world. His whole programme may be deduced from this.
But Gregory further declared that the Church must be
reformed in accordance with the Word of God, must be
really the Kingdom of God. His practical genius told
him that the Church must be a compact unit, thoroughly
organized and completely under the control of the Pope.
The unity of the Church could be secured only by con-
centrating all the power in one man. The Church must
obey one will. This would be possible only when one
creed and one liturgy were everywhere accepted, and when
all the clergy were bound directly to the head of the
Church, the Bishop of Rome. He therefore required all
bishops to take an oath of allegiance to him similar to
that which vassals rendered to their lords. He gave all
the clergy the free right of appeal to himself, and en-
couraged them to make use of it. This, of course, dimin-
ished the power of the bishops and raised his own accord-
ingly. He replaced the authority of synods by assuming
the right to decide all questions, either in person or through
Papal legates, his legates. His legates played much the same part in his
government that the missi dominici had under Karl the
Great. They were to oversee for him all the affairs of the
state to which they were sent, control the action of synods,
and bind all the countries to the Pope. They were to be
his hands and eyes. He definitely assumed control over
the Councils by declaring that he could act without the
advice of Councils, and that their acts were invalid until
sanctioned by him. He was supported in this by several
writers on church law, whose controlling principle was the
absolute authority of the Pope, and who, developing church
law in accordance with Gregory's ideas, attributed more
authority to the decrees of the Pope than to the action of

Bishops take
oath of alle-
giance to the


The Papacy and the Empire 143

From the very first Gregory put his theory into practice.
In 1073 he wrote to the Spanish princes that the kingdom Gregory vii.
of Spain had from ancient times been under the jurisdiction porai rulers.'
of St. Peter, and, although it had been occupied by Bar-
barians, it had never ceased to belong to the Bishop of
Rome. In 1074, in a letter to Solomon, king of Hungary,
he claimed that country on the ground that it had been
given and actually transferred to St. Peter by king Stephen.
He made the same claims to Russia and to Provence, to
Bohemia, Sardinia, Corsica, and Saxony. He made the
duke of Dalmatia his subject, and gave him the title of
king. France, he said, owed him a fixed amount of tribute.
He laid claim to Denmark, but its king resisted him suc-
cessfully. He wished William the Conqueror to hold Eng-
land as his fief, and William, though refusing to acknowl-
edge the Pope as his feudal lord, yet consented to make
the payment of the Peter's pence binding on England.

In a council at Rome (1075) Gregory forbade the mar-
riage of the clergy, as well as simony in all its forms. He
threatened to excommunicate all bishops and abbots who
should receive their offices from the hand of any layman,
and every Emperor, king, or temporal ruler, who should
perform the act of investiture. This was a hard blow at
all rulers, but especially at the Emperor, because the Ger- The struggle
man clergy were his principal support and were the holders
of large tracts of land. If the Pope should be successful
in carrying this point, the Empire would be almost de-

The Pope further cited Henry (December, 1075) to ap-
pear at Rome and explain his conduct in keeping at his
court certain men whom Gregory had excommunicated,
and threatened him with the ban if he should refuse to
come. Henry regarded this as a declaration of war, and
answered it with defiance. At the council of Worms

with Germany.

144 ^ Short History of Mediceval E^irope



Henry's allies.

Charges and



(January, 1076) he charged the Pope with having obtained
the papal dignity by improper means, and declared him

The war was begun. Gregory could count on the sup-
port of the Normans in southern Italy, the Pataria in
Lombardy, Matilda, the great countess of Tuscany, and
her allies, the Saxons, the discontented nobles of Germany,
and that rapidly increasing class of people all over the
Empire who were becoming imbued with the ideas of the
Cluniac reform. Henry had for his support a large num-
ber of his faithful subjects who remained uninfluenced by
the action of the Pope, a large part of the clergy who were
patriotic but probably guilty of simony, the imperial party
in Italy, and all those who for any reason were opposed to
the papal control in Italy.

Henry's letter of deposition (January, 1076) to Gregory
was bold and vigorous. He declared that he had endured
the misdeeds of Gregory because he had wished to preserve
the honor of the apostolic throne. This conduct the Pope
had attributed to fear, and had, therefore, dared threaten to
deprive Henry of the royal power, as if this had been re-
ceived from him, and not from God. Henry had received
his office through the Lord Jesus Christ, while Gregory had
obtained the papal power without God's help. The steps
by which he had mounted to the throne were cunning,
bribery, popular favor, and violence. While seated on the
throne of peace he had destroyed peace. He had attacked
the king, God's Anointed, who, by the teaching of all the
holy fathers, could be judged and deposed by God alone.
The Church had never deposed even Julian the Apostate,
preferring to leave him to God's judgment. The true Pope,
Peter, had commanded all to fear God and honor the king,
but Gregory has no fear of God. Let him, therefore, va-
cate the throne of St. Peter and depart. Henry, with his

The Papacy and the Empire 145

bishops, pronounces the anathema upon him. Let another
occupy the papal throne who will not cloak his violence
under the name of religion. Henry, with all his bishops,
orders Gregory to vacate the throne at once.

The reply of Gregory (February, 1076) was equally im-
perious and vigorous. He calls on Peter, Paul, and all the
saints to witness that he had unwillingly accepted the papal
office thrust upon him by the Roman Church. This was
sufficient proof that the Christian world had been com-
mitted to him. Relying upon the help of St. Peter and
God, he therefore deposes Henry, because, in his unspeak-
able pride, he has revolted against the Church, and he ab-
solves all his subjects from obedience to him. Because
Henry persists in his claims and disobedience to the Pope,
Gregory excommunicates him. He expects that St. Peter
will make his anathema prevail, in order to make the world
know that he, Peter, is the rock on which the Church is
built, and that the gates of hell cannot prevail against it.
This was, indeed, a new language in the mouth of Gregory.
No Pope had ever made such claims or spoken in such a
tone to the Emperor before. For the first time the claim
is openly made that the Empire is a dependency of the

Encouraged by the action of the Pope, the dissatisfiea
nobles of Germany held a meeting at Tribur (October,
1076), to which they did not admit the king. After some
resistance, Henry was compelled to accept the terms, known
as the Oppenheim agreement, which this meeting dictated
to him. He agreed to remain in Speier and make his
peace with the Pope before the end of February of the fol-
lowing year ; to lay aside all the royal insignia, which was Henry IV.
equivalent to resigning his kingship ; and to present him-
self in February, 1077, in Augsburg and submit to trial be-
fore the council, which was to be presided over by the

146 A SJiort History of Mediceval Europe


Henry outwits

Pope. Nothing could have been more acceptable to Greg-
ory than to come to Germany and preside over a national
council and try the king ; but Henry had no intention of
permitting this to take place. Gregory indeed set out for
Germany, but while waiting for an escort through Lom-
bardy, was alarmed at the news that Henry had escaped
from Speier, had crossed the Alps in the dead of winter
and was already in Lombardy, where he had been received
with every mark of affection by the people. Being in
doubt whether Henry's intentions were hostile or peace-
able, Gregory withdrew to the castle of Canossa to await
developments. Henry soon informed him through friends
that he had come to make peace and to receive absolution.
The Pope refused to receive him and demanded that he re-
turn to Germany and present himself at Augsburg accord-
ing to the agreement which he had made with his barons.
After much beseeching, however, the Pope yielded, ad-
mitted Henry to his presence and removed the ban from

Henry had been deeply humiliated, but he had accom-
plished his purpose ; he had been freed from the ban of
excommunication and had thereby deprived his rebellious
subjects of all show of legality ; and he had robbed Greg-
ory of the best part of his victory by preventing his coming
to Germany to preside over the national assembly. Greg-
ory had, on the other hand, shown his power by keeping an
Emperor standing as a penitent at his door. The Em-
peror never wholly recovered from this humiliation, but
the Pope had in reality overshot the mark. The people
thought him too severe and unforgiving. xAlthough the
world regarded the immediate victory as Gregory's, it was
really Henry's, for from this time on Henry's power in-
creased and Gregory's diminished.

It soon became apparent that Henry had been insincere

The Papacy and the Empire 147

in his confession and promises. He had plotted against
Gregory even on the way to Canossa, and as soon as he
reached Germany he began to plan for his self-defence.
Still, however, his enemies, principally Saxons and Sua-
bians, continued their opposition to him. The war dragged
on for years, during which time the Pope deserted him and
put him under the ban, and two anti-kings were set up
against him. By the greatest good fortune, however,
Henry was eventually victorious in Germany. He then set
up an anti-pope and invaded Italy in order to depose Greg-
ory. After three years of fighting he took Rome, had
himself and his wife crowned, and besieged Gregory in the
Castle San Angelo. Gregory, in the meanwhile, had sum-
moned liis faithful subject, Robert Guiscard, who now ap-
peared with a large force, drove off Henry, and rescued the
Pope. Rome was given over to pillage by his Norman
troops, and the people were so angry at this that Gregory Gregory VII.
did not dare remain in the city longer. He withdrew with Rome. '^""^
his Normans to the south, where he died, in 1085, in Sa- ^'^^' ^°^5-

Gregory had made great claims without being able fully
to realize them. He had made concessions to William the
Conqueror, and to Philip I., of France, who both still pos-
sessed the right of investiture. Henry IV. had, in many
respects, held his own against him. His legates in Spain
were abused, and he himself died in exile. But he had es- The work of
tablished the custom of sending papal legates to all parts of ^^^^^"^
Europe ; he had put his own authority above that of a
Council ; he had destroyed the independence of the bishops
by giving to all the clergy the free right of appeal to the
Pope ; he had made the celibacy of the clergy the rule of
the Church, and he had freed the Papacy from all lay in^
terference, whether imperial or Roman, by establishing the
College of Cardinals. He had formulated the claims of the

148 A Sliort History of Medi(2val Europe

Urban II.

The Concor-
dat of Worms,
1 122.

Papacy to absolute power and marked out its future policy.
There can be no doubt that he had modelled the Papacy
after the ancient Empire. The Pope, according to his ideas,
was to succeed to the place of Augustus Csesar. Even his
times understood this, and poems were addressed to him
as Csesar. He was far more Roman than Christian. His
stoicism was worthy to be placed by the side of that of the
Scipios. His last words, " I have loved justice and hated
iniquity," were the product, not of the Christian, but of
the Roman, spirit.

Urban H. (1087-99) was able to carry the war to a suc-
cessful conclusion. He added Bavaria to his allies, and
persuaded Lombardy to desert Henry. Even Henry's son,
Conrad, was false to his father and joined the papal party,
for his perfidy being made king of Lombardy. In 1094
Urban H. celebrated his victory by making a triumphal
journey through Italy and France. Everywhere he was
received with the greatest honors. At Piacenza he held a
great council, and a little later another at Clermont in
France, where he proclaimed the first crusade.

The last years of Henry IV. were made bitter by the re-
volt of his second son, Henry, who made war on his father
and compelled him to resign. But as soon as he came to
the throne Henry V. (i 106-25) broke with the papal party,
took up his father's counsellors and policy, and renewed the
struggle with the Pope. After several attempts to make an
agreement, the question was temporarily settled by the Con-
cordat of Worms (11 22).

Its terms are as follows : The Emperor concedes to the
Pope the right to invest the clergy with spiritual authority,
which was symbolized by the ring and the staff; bishops
and abbots are to be canonically elected in the presence of
the Emperor or of his representative, but contested elections
shall be decided by the Emperor, who also has the right to

The Papacy and the Empire 149

invest the clergy with their lands and all their civil and
judicial functions. This form of investiture was the same
as tliat of the counts and other laymen. Its symbol was the
sceptre. In Germany the oath of allegiance was to be taken
before investiture; in other lands, within six montlis after
investiture. This was a compromise in which the Pope got
the best of it. The election was the important thing, and
the Emperor lost control of it.

Henry V. renewed the policy of Otto the Great toward
the Barbarians on the eastern frontier by encouraging the
missionary efforts of the Bishop of Bamberg, through whose
zeal the Slavs of Pomerania were converted and German-
ized. The opposition which he met from his nobles led
him to try to win the favor of the cities of the Empire,
which were rapidly growing strong and rich, in order to
set them over against the nobility. He seems to have recog-
nized in a dim way the power and importance of the citizen
class, and to have endeavored to make it his ally. At the
death of Henry V. Lothar, duke of Saxony, was elected to Lotharthe
succeed him. He owed his election to the fact that he made if^lr^^s
favorable terms with the papal party and agreed to act in
accordance with the interests of the Church. He even
wrote to the Pope, asking him to confirm his election. His
election was contested by the Hohenstaufen, but after some
years of civil strife they acknowledged him as king and
made peace with him. He was able to carry on the wise
policy of his predecessor toward the Slavs; he imitated
Henry III. in proclaiming a peace of the land and threat-
ening with punishment all who should break it.

In 1 130 a double papal election took place, which threat-
ened to disrupt the Papacy. One of those elected, Inno-
cent 11. (1130-43), went to France, Avherehe won the sup-
port of Bernhard of Clairvaux, then the most influential
man in Europe. Through the influence of Bernhard, In-


1 5o A Short History of Mediaval Europe

Lothar and
Innocent II.

Conrad III.

Frederick I.

nocent obtained the favor of the kings of both France and
Germany, Lothar, of Germany, even going to Italy, and
by arms estabhshing Innocent in Rome. As a reward, In-
nocent crowned him Emperor and invested him with Tus-
cany. By accepting this fief, Lothar became the Pope's
feudal subject. The Pope evidently wished to make his
victory over the Emperor seem as great as possible, and,
taking advantage of Lothar' s yielding disposition, caused a
picture to be painted representing the Emperor kneeling at
his feet, and receiving the imperial crown at his hands. It
was intended that this picture should express the idea that
the Emperor was receiving the imperial crown as a fief from
the Pope.

Roger II. of Sicily had sold his services to the anti-pope,
Anaclete II., on condition that he be made king. After
Innocent had made himself master of Rome, Roger con-
tinued his opposition, and Innocent called on Lothar to re-
duce him. Lothar's campaign ended disastrously, how-
ever, and the Pope was compelled to make peace with
Roger and confirm his title of king. At the death of Lothar
Conrad of Hohenstaufen was elected in a very irregular way
as his successor (1138-52). He was, however, utterly un-
able to rule the country. Although the disorder in the
kingdom was growing, Conrad permitted himself to be per-
suaded to go on a crusade. During his absence from the
country, violence, private war, and political disintegration
increased. He returned in 1149, and added to the chaos
of the period by beginning a war with his most powerful
vassal, Henry the Lion, duke of Saxony. His reign ended
in disaster.

Frederick I., known as Barbarossa, was then elected king
(1152-90). Since he was descended from both the rival
houses, Guelf and Ghil)elline, it was hoped that he would
put an end to the enmity and struggle between them. It

TJic Papacy and the Empire 151

was not the fault of Frederick that he did not. He sought | '
to concihate his opponents in every way. He restored
Bavaria to Henry the Lion, favored him in other ways, and
really left him no grounds for dissatisfaction except that he
was not king. Frederick may be said to have had two poli- His two
cies, one as king of Germany and the other as Emperor of P" '^'^^'
the world. He tried to make Germany a state by unifying
the government, and repressing all violence and oppression.
As Emperor, his one ideal was to restore the ancient Roman
Empire. The great Roman Emperors were his models.
In the eleventh century there had begun a revival in the
study of Roman law, and Frederick at once pressed it into
his service. He surrounded himself with men who were
versed in the Codex of Justinian, and from these he re-
ceived the imperial ideas which he tried to realize in his
Empire. These lawyers were impressed with the spirit of
absolutism in the Roman laws, and chose such maxims to
lay before Frederick as would increase his feeling of sov-
ereignty. They told him that the will of the prince was
law, and that the Emperor was absolute sovereign of the
world. The absolutism of Frederick was not the outcome
of a lust for personal power, but the logical product of his_
conception of his office.

In 1 1 54 Frederick crossed the Alps into Lombardy, and
pitched his camp on the famous Roncaglian plain. A diet
was announced, and the cities of Lombardy ordered to send
their consuls to meet him. Most of the cities did so, but
Milan and some of her allies refused to obey. There was
a struggle going on between the smaller cities and Milan,
who had been behaving very tyrannically. Pavia appealed
to Frederick against Milan and Tortona ; and when Tor-
toha disregarded his commands, he besieged and destroyed
it. Milan was not at this time liumblcd, since Frederick's
attention was called to Rome.


152 A Short History of Medimval Europe

The people of Rome had not forgotten that their city
had once been the mistress of the world. They were rest-
less under all control, whether imperial or papal. They
longed for the ancient power and independence of the city,
and had dreams of restoring her to her former proud posi-
tion. This was the cause of their frequent opposition to
the Popes. The papal supremacy was incompatible with
their political ideas and aspirations. In 1143 the com-
mon people and the inferior nobility revolted, drove out
the Pope, and restored what was considered the ancient
Arnold of government of the city. Two years later Arnold of Bres-

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