Oliver J. (Oliver Joseph) Thatcher.

A short history of mediæval Europe online

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changed his policy toward the Pope, broke his oath, and
demanded Sicily and Tuscany on the ground that they
were parts of the Empire. He was successful in arms in
southern Italy, but before the conquest was completed the
Pope had raised a revolt among the German princes and
Frederick II., put forth Frederick II. as a candidate for the German
1215-50- crown. At the invitation of some of the German nobles,

Frederick, although a boy, went to Germany, made an al-
liance with Philip, king of France, and in three years made
himself undisputed master of Germany.

TJie Papacy and the Empire 165

Innocent III. followed out his policy with great vigor. Policy of inno-
Frederick held Sicily as a hef of the Papacy, In central
Italy Innocent made a league with the cities, drove out the
Emperor's officials, and established his own in their place.
The king of Portugal acknowledged his authority and paid
him tribute ; the king of Aragon became his feudal sub-
ject, and the king of Leon was compelled to yield obedi-
ence to him. In Bulgaria, Hungary, Poland, Servia, and
in Denmark, Norway, and Sweden, Innocent was able to
make good his claims, at least in part. In France Inno-
cent interfered in the family affairs of the king, compel-
ling him to take back his wife, whom he had divorced on
insufficient grounds. In political matters, however, Philip
II. resisted the demands of the Pope with more or less
success. In England Innocent compelled John to accept
Stephen Langton as Archbishop of Canterbury, and then
aided the king in his struggle against the barons.

It seemed for awhile that the Papacy would get posses-
sion of all the Christian east. Innocent III. forbade the The east,
fourth crusade to proceed against Constantinople, but
when the city was taken and the Latin Church established
there he accepted its work. From Constantinople, as a
vantage-ground, he hoped to extend the papal authority
over all the east, but the rapid disintegration of the Latin
Emi)ire was destined to blast his hopes.

During his pontificate many heresies appeared in the
west, the most widely spread of which was that of the Al-
bigenses. Innocent and his successor were responsible for
the crusade which was preached against them, and carried
out by Simon de Montfort. In 1215, at the Lateran Coun- The Latcran
cil, the inquisition was established, and it was declared °""'^' •
that heresy was a crime which should be punished with
death. At the same council the doctrines of transubstan-
tiation and auricular confession were promulgated. The

l66 A Short History of Mcdiceval Europe

twenty-first canon of that council declared that every Chris-
tian must confess his sins to the priest at least once a year,
and might receive the sacrament of the eucharist after do-
ing so. If he did not confess, the church was to be closed
to him, and if he should die, he should not receive Chris-
tian burial. " From that time forth the confessional began
to be considered as the only means of obtaining forgive-
ness for mortal sin, which the priest, as representative of
God, actually granted, and he alone could grant." The
doctrine of transubstantiation, which up to that time had
not been the universal belief of the Church, was adopted,
and it was decreed that no one except a properly ordained
priest could administer the sacrament. Innocent had an-
nounced that the council would deal with two questions, the
recovery of the Holy Land and the reform of the Church.
Many of the canons were really reformatory in their charac-
ter, and the work of the council dealing with all sorts of
questions shows the deep insight and sincerity of Innocent.
A great crusade was announced for the year 12 17, and im-
mense preparations made for it, but Innocent did not live
to see it. He died at Perugia while busily engaged in pre-
paring for the crusade.

On the surface his pontificate seems to have been a suc-

The character cess. He had apparently won a victory in every case over .

changed''''^'^^ the temporal powers. But he had alienated the affections
of the people. The cruelty of the crusade against the Al-
bigenses turned the whole of southern France against him.
His victory over John of England, and the support he gave
him in liis unjust struggle against his people, filled the Eng-
lish with hatred of hiiii. In Germany the same results
were reached. The troubadours charged their songs with
fearful arraignments, and Waltlier von der Vogelweide
lashed the Papacy for its worldliness, its greed of money,
and its ambitions. Innocent gave the fullest expression to

The Papacy and /he Rin/nrc 1 67

the political claims of the Papacy, and did much to realize
them. Under his guidance some of the most important
doctrines, rites, and practices of the Church were estab-
lished. The formation of the code of canon law, while not
begun by him, was thoroughly in accordance with his
ideas, and it gave a legal form and basis to what he had
claimed. It would not be too much to say that he was the
last great maker of the Papacy. His programme was car-
ried through with the appearance of remarkable success, but
his best weapon, the interdict, was almost worn out by its
too frequent use. The forces were at work which were
soon to undo all that he had done. The Papacy lost in
spiritual power under him because he made politics the
principal matter. Earnest Christian pilgrims and visitors
at Rome were shocked to hear nothing about spiritual mat-
ters, but to find the mouths of all the clergy incessantly
filled with talk about temporal affairs. Innocent III. put
the Church squarely on the road which led to its religious
bankruptcy in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries.

The greatest of the Popes was followed by the greatest of
the Emperors. In 1212 Frederick had set bravely out to
take Germany from Otto IV. He renewed the alliance with
Philip of France, and the German princes of the Rhine
valley received him with fovor. Otto IV. called on his
allies for help. John of England sent an army to the con-
tinent to unite with the count of Flanders, the duke of
Brabant, and other nobles in the north of France against
the French king. The decisive battle was fought near
Bouvines, in July, 12 14, and resulted in the complete vie- Rouvines,
tory of Philip II. Since his allies were thus disposed of,
Otto IV. was compelled to yield to Frederick. He with-
drew to his lands, and died at Harzburg (12 18).

Frederick was crowned at Aachen in 1215, proclaimed a
universal peace in Germany, and took a vow to go on the


1 68 A SJwrt History of Mcdiceval Europe

Frederick II.
and the

Three times

crusade which Innocent III. was planning. His next step
was to secure the imperial crown. But Innocent was afraid
of his growing power, although Frederick had been most
respectful to him in all things. He feared that if Freder-
ick should hold both Germany and Sicily, the two would
be joined together and Frederick would try to control all
Italy. He therefore persuaded Frederick to promise that
as soon as he should receive the imperial crown he would
resign the crown of Sicily to his young son, Henry, who
should hold it as a fief from the Pope. Death prevented
Innocent from crowning Frederick, but Innocent's succes-
sor, Honorius III., performed the act. Frederick, how-
ever, in spite of his promises retained the title of king
of Sicily, a breach of faith Honorius III. paid no attention
to, because he was desirous that the crusade should be
made, and he wished Frederick to join it. Frederick,
however, always found excuses, and put off his departure.
He married lolanthe, the daughter of the king of Jerusalem,
and without any regard for the rights of her father assumed
that title himself. Gregory IX. (1227-41) demanded his
immediate departure for Palestine. Frederick finally sailed
{1227) from Brindisi, but returned three days later, and
excused himself on the ground that he was ill. Gregory
would not listen to the excuse and put him under the ban.
Frederick then made fresh preparations for the crusade, but
the Pope forbade his going until he had obtained the re-
moval of the ban. Frederick, however, sailed again from
Brindisi, June, 1228. He saw that by force it would be
impossible to conquer the east, yet by diplomacy he gained
possession of Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Nazareth, and other j
places for the Christians. He crowned himself in Jerusa-
lem and returned home, having been three times excom-
municated for his disobedience to the Pope.

During his absence the Pope had tried to stir up the Ger-

TJlc Papacy and the Empire


mans against him, and raising an army at his own expense
had attacked his territories in the south, achieving some
success. But when Frederick returned (1229), taken by
surprise, the Pope was unable to continue the war and of-
fered to make peace. The two came together at San Ger-
mano (1230), and by mutual concessions peace was re-

Frederick tlien turned his attention to Sicily. In 1231
he published the famous " constitutions of the kingdom of
Sicily," by which feudalism was destroyed there, and a
real kingship established in its stead. Royal judges and
courts took the place of the barons and their courts ; feudal
dues were replaced by direct taxes, and other changes were
made which resulted in the formation of a really modern
state in all that concerns the machinery of government.

During his long absence from Germany great disorder
had arisen. He had caused his son Henry to be made king
in Aachen (1222), and much power had been granted him.
In 1233 Henry revolted against his father, but was seized
and carried to Italy, where he died asa prisoner (1242). In a
great diet at Mainz (1235) Frederick forbade private war-
fare, proclaimed the peace of the land, and ended all the quar-
rels between him and the Guelf family by making its last
representative a duke and investing him with a large duchy,
created especially for him. He was at the height of his
power at this time. Germany and Sicily were wholly in
his hands, but the cities of T.ombardy were not willing to
give him the obedience he desired. In 1236-37 he car-
ried on war against them and succeeded in reducing the
leader, Milan, after the great battle of Cortenuova (1237).

In 1238 Frederick laid claim to Sardinia as a part of the
Empire. This brought on a struggle between him and the
Pope, because Sardinia had l)een declared to be a fief of the
Church. Frederick i)ersisted in his course, and the Pope,

San Gerniano,

A new

government" in

The struggle
with the

170 A SJiort History of MedicBval Europe

from this time on, was implacable in his hatred toward
Frederick. The final struggle had begun. Gregory IX.
and his successors tried to turn the German princes and
people against him, and freed them from their oath of al-
legiance. The cities of Italy were arrayed against him, and
help was sought from France. At the same time Frederick
was charged with all kinds of heresy. He was reported to
have said that there had been three great impostors who had
deceived the world — Moses, Jesus, and Mohammed ; he had
reviled the clergy and the creed of the Church ; he had
said that nothing is to be believed which is not acceptable
to the reason. Heresy was proved by the fact that he as-
sociated with both Jews and Mohammedans, and allowed
the free exercise of all religions in his kingdom. The Em-
peror defended himself with great vigor. He had recourse
to the Apocalypse of St. John for his figures of speech,
and called the Pope the anti-Christ, the angel that came up
from the bottomless pit, and the rider on the red horse with
power to destroy peace in the world. Gregory called a
council, but Frederick captured the clergy who were on their
way to attend it, and thus prevented its meeting. He over-
ran Italy, and got possession of the territory even to the
gates of Rome. After the death of Gregory IX. the Car-
dinals were unable to elect a Pope, and for nearly two years
the chair of St. Peter was vacant. Frederick tried in
every way to compel them to elect his candidate, but they
resisted him successfully. At last, in 1243, one of Fred-
erick's friends was elected and took the title Innocent IV.
(1243-54). Frederick, however, felt that the war must go
on, because, as he said, no Pope could be a Ghibelline.
Innocent escaped to France and called a council at Lyon,
at which the Emperor was again deposed and put under the
ban. All were forbidden to regard him as their king, or
Emperor, and the princes of Germany were ordered to pro-

The Papacy and the Empire 171

ceed to the election of another king, Innocent saying that
he himself would take care of Sicily. To this Frederick
replied, asserting that he was a good Christian, and that he
had been laboring all his life only to bring the clergy to
live in the proper way and lead an apostolic life in poverty
and humility.

Innocent IV. appealed to France, to the cities of Italy,
and to the Germans, and by the greatest exertions kept the
war going. He turned it into a crusade, and offered to all A Crusade

. .... against the

who would join in it the same indulgences and spiritual re- Emperor.
wards as against the Saracens. In 1246 he succeeded in
having count Henry Raspe of Thuringia elected king in
place of Frederick. Civil war spread all over Germany.
The Begging Friars supported the Pope by stirring up the
people against Frederick, and by collecting large sums of
money from all quarters to be used in carrying on the op-
position. The Pope spent a great deal to persuade the elec-
tors to make William of Holland king, and in 1247 he was
actually elected. Frederick's son, Conrad IV. , who, as king
of the Germans, had charge of affairs in Germany, was un-
able to resist the progress of William, who was crowned at
Aachen in 1248. Misfortunes thickened around the aging
Emperor. Among the courtiers of Frederick a conspiracy
was formed, and an attempt was made to poison him. His
son Enzio was taken prisoner and confined in Bologna.
One by one his friends and supporters fell in battle. He
himself was very ill, but he kept up his courage. His troops
were victorious in Italy, and Rome was about to fall into Death of

, r r 1 • 1 ■ 1 1 1 Frederick II.

his hands. The struggle was far trom being decided when 1250.
the Emperor died (December 13, 1250).

Frederick II. was of the Middle Age, and belonged at
the same time to the Modern Period — a man full of con-
trasts, not to say contradictions. He Avas most modern in
that he was not controlled by religious, but wholly by po-

172 A Short History of Mcdueval Europe

His character, litical, motives. He was not bound by feudal ideas, but act-
ually created an absolute monarchy in Sicily. His king-
dom there is regarded as the first modern state in Europe.
He persecuted heretics in Germany, but was himself very
free in thought, tolerating all religions in his kingdom of
Sicily. He was not a German in character, but exhibited
the fusion of the German, Italian, Greek, and Saracen ele-
ments in southern Italy. He spoke Latin, Italian, French,
German, Greek, and Arabic. He surpassed all the Em-
perors who had preceded him in culture and learning, was
himself a poet, and kept himself surrounded by poets and
scholars. He established the University of Naples (1224).
He had zoological gardens, not for the gratification of his
curiosity alone, but also for scientific purposes. He be-
longed to the class of independent thinkers, of which Abe-
lard was also a member. He preferred to live in Sicily,
because it possessed far more culture than Germany. He
understood the question at issue between himself and the
Pope ; he knew that it was for the right to rule the Empire
independently that he was fighting. In the art of diplo-
macy he was well trained, and by it he won many victories.
He died before the struggle was ended, but he seems to have
felt that it would be decided against him and his family.
His last years were made heavy by many misfortunes, but
he died with unbroken spirit.

With the death of Frederick II. the power of the Hohen-
staufen family was broken, but the fight was not given up.
The Pope caused William of Holland to be elected king.
Conrad IV., son of Frederick II., was unable to maintain
himself in Germany and so withdrew to Sicily, which his
half-brother, Manfred, had succeeded in holding for him.
Conrad IV. offered to make terms with the Pope, but all
his advances were rejected. Innocent IV. was implacable.
He had sworn that the hated race of the Staufen should be

Conrad IV.,
1250-54, and
William of

The Papacy and the Emphe 173

literally destroyed. Conrad and Manfred were, however,
successful in arms, and in spite of all opposition had
got control of southern Italy and Sicily, when Conrad
IV. died suddenly (1254), leaving his little son, whom the
Italians call Conradino, to the care of his faithful Manfred.
After continuing the struggle for four years, Manfred was
compelled to accept the crown himself (1258), but he
stipulated that Conradino should succeed him.

The Pope now turned to France for help. He offered
the crown of Sicily to Charles of Anjou, the brother of Charles of
king Louis IX. This Charles was bold, ambitious, utterly "^°"'
unscrupulous and cruel. In 1263 the kingdom of Sicily
was made over to him, and he began his preparations to
take possession of it. Manfred tried to besiege Rome and
to keep Charles from landing in Italy. He was unsuccess-
ful, however, and Charles entered Rome and was crowned
king, January 6, 1266. About a month later the decisive
battle was fought near Benevento, and when Manfred saw
that he was betrayed by many of his troops, who, no doubt,
had been bribed by the Pope to desert to Charles during

the battle, he rushed into the thick of the fight and was Death of Man-
fred, 1266.

Conradino, who had spent all his life in Germany, was
a genuine Hohenstaufen. Although a mere lad, he gal-
lantly responded to the call of the Ghibellines of Italy,
and with a small army went to meet Charles of Anjou,
After a hard-fought battle, Charles was victorious. Conra-
dino was taken prisoner and beheaded as a rebel in tlie
public square of Naples.

The long battle was over, and the victory was the Pope's. The victory of

the Pope.

Not only was the power of the Hohenstaufen broken, the
family itself had been destroyed. There remained only
one member of it, Enzio, the son of Frederick II., and he
was a prisoner in Bologna, where he died, in 1272. The

174 ^ Short History of Mediceval Europe

The great

ot Germany.

great Staufen family was no more. With it had disap-
peared the Empire of Karl the Great. Not that it was de-
stroyed, but it now underwent a radical change. The
government of the world was no longer the peculiar prerog-
ative of the Emperor, but of the Pope. The Pope had
vindicated his right to the temporal as well as to the spirit-
ual supremacy, and it was now possible for him to declare
with truth that he was both Pope and Emperor.

When Conrad IV. left Germany in 1251, William of
Holland remained in full possession. The Pope did all he
could to insure William's recognition throughout Germany,
but for some time in vain. The cities in the Rhine valley
renewed the old league (1254), and within a year there
were more than sixty cities bound together for mutual pro-
tection. Eventually they recognized William, as did nearly
all of northern Germany. But becoming engaged in a quar-
rel with the Friesians, he was killed by some Friesian peas-
ants (January, 1256). Although both Richard of Cornwall
and Alphonso of Castile, were afterward elected king,
neither of them was able to establish himself as master of
the country. Alphonso, indeed, never came to Germany.
Richard visited the country, but never exercised any au-
thority there. The period from 1254 to 1273 is known as
the great interregnum.

During this struggle of the Staufer with the Papacy, two
things are to be noticed : the largely increased number of
principalities and the extension of the frontier on the east.
Through the policy of the Hohenstaufen to dimini.sh the
power of the dukes by breaking their original provinces up
into many smaller political divisions and giving these as
fiefs to others, there had now come to be, instead of the
five great stem-duchies, a large number of duchies, counties,
marches, bishoprics, and other principalities, all striving
for independence. The influence of subinfeudation may

TJlc Papacy and tJic Empire 175

also be seen in this dissolution of the great political cen-

A most important change had taken place in the eastern The eastern
boundary. Slowly the Slavs, Letts, and Magyars, who ™" "^'^'
covered the whole eastern frontier, had been conquered
and were being Christianized and Germanized. The east-
ern boundary had been carried even beyond the Vistula on
the Baltic, and included the valley of the Oder; from there
it extended in an irregular line to the Danube below Vi-
enna. Germany had lost Italy forever, but had indemni-
fied herself in a measure by the conquest and assimilation
of these barbarian lands.

Great progress had been made in Germany in culture
and wealth. Numerous cities were in existence, and they Cities,
were now ready to make use of the freedom afforded them
by the absence of a strong ruler, to establish among them-
selves their powerful independent leagues.

The struggle between Pope and Emperor resulted in the Results of tiie
political dismemberment of both Germany and Italy. ^'™^^ '^'
While the feudal lords of Germany had got power there,
the cities of Italy were growing in independence, and the
French had got a good foothold in the southern part of the
peninsula. The Papacy still held its lands in the central
part, but as a spiritual institution the Papacy had begun to
lose ground. It was losing the religious character it had
had in the days of Gregory the Great, and was now re-
garded more as a great political power. It had placed
temporal power above its religious interests, and therefore
its victory over the Empire was the beginning of its fall.



The phil-
osophic basis
of asceticism.

favorable to
the introduc-
tion of asceti-
cism into the

The philosophic basis of asceticism is the belief that
matter is the seat of evil, and that therefore all contact with
it is contaminating. This conception of evil is neither
Christian nor Jewish, but purely heathen. Jesus used the
good things of this world, teaching that sin is in nothing
that is external to man, and has its seat only in the heart ;
but his ideas were not understood by his followers.

The decay of the Empire, which set in strongly in the
second century, and the violence consequent upon the in-
vasions of the Barbarians, robbed many persons of inter-
est in life. The world seemed to be growing old, and
the end of all things approaching. The best men were
filled with despair, and longed to hide themselves away
from the increasing confusion and desolation.

After about 175 a.d. the Church rapidly grew world-
ly. As Christianity became popular, large numbers en-
tered the Church and became Christian in name ; but at
heart and in life they remained heathen. The bishops
were often proud and haughty and lived in great style.
Those who were really in earnest about their salvation, un-
satisfied with such worldliness, fled from the contamination
in the Church, and went out to live in the desert, and find
the way to God without the aid of the Church and her
means of grace ; these were for the common Christians.
Those who would, could obtain by means of asceticism
and prayer all that others received by means of the Church's


Monasticism 177

sacraments. There were to be two ways of salvation : one, Two ways of
through the Church and her means of grace ; the other,
through asceticism and contemplation.

The beginnings of monasticism are lost in obscurity.
They fall very probably in the third century. The earliest
monks were hermits. They lived alone and found all the Hermits,
shelter they needed in a hut or a cave or in the shadow of
some rock or tree. The movement began in those coun-
tries where the conditions were favorable to such an out-
door life, and spread rapidly throughout the east. In
order to protect themselves against impostors and other
dangers, the hermits began to build their little huts close Semi-social

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