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SIX AGES OF EUROPEAN HISTORY

From A.D. 476 to 1878

IN SIX VOLUMES
General Editor: A. H. JOHNSON, M.A.

FELLOW OF ALL SOULS' COLLEGE, OXFORD



VOLUME III

THE END OF THE MIDDLE AGE
1273-1453



For the Higher Forms of Schools
SIX AGES OF EUROPEAN HISTORY

From A.D. 476 to 1878

IN SIX VOLUMES

Edited by A. H. JOHNSON, M.A.
Fellow of All Souls' College, Oxford

Vol. I. THE DAWN OF MEDIEVAL EUROPE. 475.
918. By the Rev. J. H. B. Masterman, M.A., Professor of
History in the University of Birmingham.

Vol. IL THE CENTRAL PERIOD OF THE MIDDLE
AGE. 918-1273. By Beatrice A. Lees, Resident History
Tutor, Somerville College, Oxford.

Vol. III. THE END OF THE MIDDLE AGE. 1273-1453.
By Eleanor C. Lodge, Vice-Principal and Modern History
Tutor, Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford.

Vol. IV. EUROPE IN RENAISSANCE AND REFOR-
MATION. 1453-1660. By Mary A. Hollings, M.A.,
Dublin, Headmistress of Edgbaston Church of England
College for Girls.

Vol. V. the AGE OF THE ENLIGHTENED DESPOT.
1660-1789. By A. H, Johnson, M.A., Fellow of All Souls'
College, Oxford.

Vol. VI. THE REMAKING OF MODERN EUROPE.
1789-1878. By J. A. R. Marriott, M.A., Lecturer and
Tutor in Modern History and Economics at Worcester
College, Oxford.



THE END OF
THE MIDDLE AGE

1273-1453



BY

ELEANOR C. LODGE

VICE-PRINCIPAL AND MODERN HISTORY TUTOR, LADY MARGARET HALL, OXFORD
WITH AN INTRODUCTION BY

R. LODGE, M.A.

PROFESSOR OF HISTORY IN THE UNIVERSITY OF EDINBURGH



WITH FOURTEEN MAPS



NEW YORK

THE MACMILLAN COMPANY

1910



Hi9TnRyi ''



INTRODUCTION

^T^HE history of Europe from 1273 to 1453 is
of noteworthy interest and importance ;
but it is also so extraordinarily complex that it is
impossible to tell the story in orderly or chrono-
logical sequence. Europe had lost by this time
such unity as was given to it in the earlier Middle
Ages by the prominence of the Papacy and the
Empire ; and it had not yet gained such an
approach to unity as it acquired by the forma-
tion of distinct national states, whose relations
with each other, whether of friendship or of
hostility, render it possible to construct a history
of international wars and diplomacy from the
sixteenth century onwards.

The essential thing to grasp is that the period
was one of transition — a time in which mediseval
characteristics were deca}'ing and modern char-
acteristics were growing up ; but in which the

2G&840



vi THE END OF THE MIDDLE AGE

former had not disappeared and the latter were
not yet strong enough to take their place. Popes
and Emperors still claimed to be the joint heads
of Western Christendom, and sometimes acted as
if their supremacy were still recognised. But
their claims were practically obsolete. Some
Emperors, such as Rudolf I. and Charles IV.,
recognised the change and tried to devise a new
policy to suit the altered times. Others, such as
Henry VII. and Sigismund, talked and acted as
if the old traditions were still unshaken. So,
again, we find a Pope, like Boniface VIII.,
defying national independence in the tones of
an Innocent III. or a Honorius IV. ; whereas a
more prudent pontiff, Martin V., evaded the
control of the Council of Constance by making
separate terms with the various states of Europe,
and devoted himself, not so much to the task of
ruling the Church, as to that of restoring the
temporal power in the papal states.

It is the same with the growth of nations
which ultimately shattered the mediaeval concep-
tion of a united Christendom. England was the
only state which was really organised in the early
part of the period : and even England passed in
the fifteenth century through a prolonged civil
war — the Wars of the Roses — which for a time



I



IiNTKODUUTlUN vii

seemed almost fatal to natiomil unity. France
underwent horrible convulsions during this
period ; but the dawn of better things began
witli the inspiring career of Joan of Arc and
with the administrative reforms of the reign of
Charles VII. Sjmin was still non-existent by
l-too ; but the prolonged war against the Moors
had given to the various kingdoms of the penin-
sula such a community of interests and general
character as facilitated their later union. The
growth of German unity was obstructed by the
endless diversity of its political organisms and by
the fatal union of its crown with the shadowy
dignity of the Roman Empire. But the tendency
of the age towards unity and consolidation is to
be traced, even at this early date, in some of the
separate states of Germany — notably in Bran-
denburg. Italy, the teacher of Europe in art,
in literature and in political philosophy, was the
most hopelessly divided by its geography and by
the strong individuality of many of its component
parts ; and Italy remained a mere geographical
expression until the nineteenth century.

Like all periods of transition, the age is one of
numerous and bold experiments. Many of these
experiments were successful, and many failed :
but the historv of the failures is often as im-



viii THE END OF THE MIDDLE AGE

portant and instructive as that of the successes.
The great Slav race, which for generations had
been conquered or driven back eastwards by the
Germans, made a great and for a time successful
effort to recover its independence and extend its
power. We can trace this movement in the
Hussite wars in Bohemia and the union of Pol-
and and Lithuania under the strong house of
Jagello. The Teutonic knights strove to utilise
the last crusading impulse of the Middle Ages to
found a great state on the Baltic. They failed,
because their organisation was ill-suited for civil
government. The age of crusades was over, and
the united Slavs were too powerful. But the
state of Prussia, after all, survived the ruin and
dissolution of its creators. A notable experi-
ment was the attempt of the famous Hanseatic
League to maintain the interests of merchants
and the predominance of German influence in
the Baltic and the North Sea. They also failed
because a federation of towns could not hold its
own Avhen national states were formed, and 1)e-
cause the Baltic lost much of its importance when
trade was diverted to the Atlantic. But their
advancements were great in themselves, and their
bold assertion of the power of merchants marks
a great change from the military and feudal



INTRODUCTION ix

ideals of the INIiddle Ages. Another interesting
exi)eriment, provoked in some measure by the
strength of the Hanse towns, was the attempt to
combine the Scandinavian states by the Union
of Kalmar. These and other efforts of the age
give it the appearance of almost kaleidoscopic
variety, but all have their lesson.

The most striking experiments, however, were
those in art, in literature and in science. The
fifteenth century is pre-eminently the period
which is known as the Renaissance, or the new
birth. One side of this intellectual activity is
the revival of the study of ancient learning — the
hunt for manuscripts, the study of the classical
languages, the exposition of the great writers of
antiquity and the copying of their style. Perhaps
the best representatives of this accumulative
and imitative side of the Renaissance are Pope
Nicolas v., the founder of the Vatican Library,
and zEneas Sylvius Piccolomini, afterwards also
Pope as Pius II.

But the Renaissance was not only imitative : it
was also creative. It emancipated men's minds
from the old restraints imposed upon them. Side
by side with the revival of classical learning went
on the growth of national languages and litera-
tures : of Italian in Dante, Petrarch and Boc-



X THE END OF THE MIDDLE AGE

caccio ; of English in Chaucer and Wyelif ; of
French in a series of writers between Joinrille and
Commines. There was also a marvellous display
of originality, esi^ecially in Italy, in painting and
sculpture. It would take too long to describe
the change in words, and it is far better to see it
for oneself. A visit to the Italian rooms of the
National Gallery and a study of well-selected
phot<^rraphs of Italian pictures will enable any
one to trace the gradual abandonment of the stiff
and lifeless forms of early art, the close study of
and delight in nature, and the exercise of un-
fetiereil imagination which mark the progress of
l^ainting in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries.
Tlie object of this intnxluction is to show that
the i)erioil is well worthy of study. The more it
is followed out. the more fascinating it becomes.
And it must never be forgotten that it is the
l^ieriod which begins the Renaissance and leads
up to the great achievements which follow ;
the Reformation in the Church : the disco verj-
of a new world : the spread of education and
the difiusion of literature ; the general change
throughout Europe from mediaeval to modem life.

R. LODGE



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xii THE END OF THE MIDDLE AGE

CHAPTER IX

PAGK sA

Italy, 1382-1453 181 'x

CHAPTER X
History op France, 1380-1453 . 203 V

CHAPTER XI
The Shores op the Baltic 226

CHAPTER XII
The Spanish Peninsula 240 ^

CHAPTER XIII
The Greek Empire and the Ottoman Turks .... 255 U'

Genealogies 273

Index 279



LIST OF MAPS



PAGE

The Empire in 1273 8

The Empire in 137G 25

Italy in 1273 29

France in the Thirteenth Centdry 51

The Swiss Confederation Ill

France after the Peace of Bretigni, 1360 .... 148

North Italy in the Fourteenth Centurv .... 187

Venice in the Fifteenth Century 195

Italy after the Peace of Lodi, 1454 197

France in 1429 217

The Baltic and North Sea in the Fourteenth Century . 227

Spain and Portugal in the Fourteenth Century . . . 241

Advance op the Ottoman Turks 256

Siege op Constantinople, 1453 265



THE END OF THE MIDDLE AGE

1273-1453
CHAPTEE I

GERMANY AND THE EMPIRE, 1273-1378

BEFOEE 1273 the decline of Imperial supremacy The Em-
had already begun. The great Emperors of the 1273 °°
Hohenstaufen family, Frederick Barbarossa, Henry VI.
and Frederick II. had done something in the past to re-
vive the already weakening power of the Empire and to
maintain the theory of universal rule ; but the fall of their
dynasty was followed by disastrous disputes between
rival Emperors, an epoch known as the "Great Inter;;.^,^ - -
regnum," which did much to destroy the authority of
the monarch both in Germany and in Europe ; and the
period now opening was marked by still further decline
in the ideal of Imperial supremacy, and in domestic '
power.

In theory the Empire was still the Eoman Empire ; Theory of
the Emperor was direct successor of the Caesars, " sem- ^^^j^nlilif^
per Augustus," with temporal rule over the whole world. Empire
From the days of Frederick Barbarossa the title " Holy "
had added a character of sanctity to the institution, had
upheld the claim of the Emperor to divine right to rule
over Christian society, and had placed the " Holy Eoman
Empire " side by side with the " Holy Catholic Church ".
1



2'''- '*•*'.-' THE ENI> OF THE MIDDLE AGE

Pope and Emperor together were to exercise spiritual
and temporal rule over the world, and to form the one
bond of unity in a Europe composed of masses of feudal
States.

This mediaeval ideal of universal authority had always
been shadowy and unreal, but not without effect. Al-
though England, France and Spain, the most indepen-
dent countries of Europe, had never really acknowledged
the territorial supremacy of the Emperor, and their
kings had refused to do homage for their lands, they
had never failed to recognise Imperial precedence ; and
even in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, despite
the discredit caused by the Great Interregnum, the
Emperor was still looked up to as an international
power, and Imperialist doctrines were still held by
writers and students of the science of government.
Thus in theory the Emperor claimed the right to be
recognised as the superior of all European kings and
rulers, but in reality, though his opinion might have had
weight in the case of any question of international
interest, only certain small States admitted his authority
within their own borders, and the term Empire came to
have a definite territorial significance. At the close of
the thirteenth century, France lay outside the Imperial
limits on the West, although her boundaries were more
restricted than in modern days, and Provence, Burgundy
and Lorraine were all strictly parts of the Empire ; on
the East, Poland and Hungary were still independent,
and on the South part only of Italy was considered
as actually Imperial land. Outside these boundaries,
the Emperor might perhaps command respect for his
dignity, but could certainly not enforce obedience to his
authority.



GERIMANY AND THE EMTIRE, 1273-1378 3

There was also another aspect of the Imperial posi- Connection

-n • .1 ■ ,1 , ,1 y-i between

tion. Ever since the tenth century the German the Empire
Monarchy had been attached to the Komaii Empire; orGernian
in other words the same man had always held the two ^^'"e'^iiip
dignities of German King and Eoman Emperor; and
this with disastrous results. The interests of the Em-
pire and of the Kingdom of Germany were hardly ever
the same, and yet each was certain to suffer from any-
thing which hurt the other. For example, when the
Emperor fought expensive wars in Italy they in no way
benefited the German Kingdom, but Germany suffered
very much from Imperial quarrels with the Papacy,
which brought her also into discord with Eome. Again
the fact that the German nobles were Imperial vassals.
Princes, that is, who held their estates straight from the
Emperor, gave them an exalted sense of their own
dignity and made them less ready to submit to the rules
which he laid down in his character of King. Above
all, because the Empire was elective the German Mon-
archy became elective also, and this system of choosing
the ruler weakened the power of the Crown so much
that it was almost destroyed.

Each Emperor was supposed to go through four The four
coronations. This, as a matter of fact, he rarely did,
but the "three most important crowns were generally as-
sumed. The German crown of Aachen (Aix-la-Chapelle)
only conferred strictly speaking the title of King of the
Komans, the preHminary step for every Emperor. The
crown of Burgundy was of slight account and during
our period Charles IV. was the only Emperor who went
to Aries to obtain it. The third crown of Italy or
Lombardy was received at Milan or Monza, and, chief
of all, the real Imperial crown itself could only be con-



4 THE EJND OF THE MIDDLE AGE

ferred at Kome and was held to bring with it that right
of universal rule so splendid in theory, so feeble, as we
have seen, in practice. Quite strictly the Emperor elect
was only King of the Eomans until this important
ceremony had been completed, but he could exercise full
powers from the time of his coronation at Aachen, and
it has generally been found convenient to give him his
full title from the first.
lie Great With the death of the last representative of the great
iim7i254- f 3-mily of Hohenstaufen, which for more than a century
^'^■^ had occupied the Imperial throne, there was great hesi-

tation on the part of the Electors to fill up the vacant
office. The right of choice had now become practically
centred in the hands of seven great Princes ; the Arch-
bishops of Mayence (Mainz), Treves (Trier) and Co-
logne (Koln), to represent the German Church, and four
lay Electors. These latter ought to have represented
the four great nations of which Germany was composed,
Franks, Swabians, Saxons and Bavarians ; but the
Duchies of Franconia and Swabia no longer existed,
and the right was exercised by the Count Palatine of
the Rhine and the Margrave of Brandenburg in com-
pany with the Dukes of Saxony and Bavaria. In 1256
the votes of this " Electoral College" had been divided
between Richard of Cornwall, brother of Henry III. of
England, and Alfonso the Wise of Castile. The former
was crowned at Aachen and paid an occasional visit to
Germany, but never really took up his office ; the
Castilian King did no more than issue an occasional
proclamation. The result was, that with no restraining
hand to check their encroachments and private feuds,
the nobles became more unmanageable than ever, and
feudalism ran rampant.



GERMANY AND THE EMPIRE, 1273-U78

When Kicharcl of Cornwall died in 1'27'2, the country
was in such a state of anarchy and turmoil that all
parties felt the need of a real ruler ; and Pope Gregory^
X., who was anxious above all things to raise a new
Crusade, for which a German monarch would be the
best leader, refused to recognise the claims of the un-
energetic Alfonso, and urged a fresh election. There-
fore, in 1273, the question of a new Emperor and a new
King of Germany was seriously considered, and the
choice of the Electors fell on Kudolf, Count of Habs-
burg, a Prince who they hoped was neither strong
enough nor rich enough to rouse much fear or jealousy
by his elevation.

The new Emperor was a man of considerable force f2"734292
and independence, or, as Carlyle puts it : " Justness of
insight, toughness of character and general strength of
bridle-hand". Kudolf was not one of the chief Princes
of Germany, but an important Count nevertheless, and
from his Hawk's Castle in Switzerland (Habichtsburg
or Habsburg) had spread his power widely throughout
the old Duchy of Swabia. In person he was far above
the average height, thin and upright, with small hands
and feet, and a face whose eagle eye and hooked nose
betokened strength and energy, while his thin deter-
mined lips were also capable of showing a keen sense of
humour. Moderate in meat and drink and zealous in
warhke \ enterprises, he was the darling of his soldiers
and commanded general respect and admiration. His
piety is shown by the story of how he lent his horse to
a poor Priest who was carrying the Host to a sick man
and was afraid to cross a rapid torrent, and then refused
to take back an animal which had carried so sacred a
burden. Something of his promptness and resource is



6 THE END OF THE MIDDLE AGE

seen in the account of his coronation at Aachen. AVhen
the new sovereign was prepared to receive the homage
of his princely vassals, there was no sceptre forth-
coming, and without it he could not bestow the fiefs :
delay might have been dangerous, for the nobles were
none too friendly ; but Rudolf averted any postpone-
ment of the ceremony by seizing the Crucifix from the
altar, and declaring that the sacred sign of salvation for
the world could well be his sceptre.

It was over a very complicated dominion that Eudolf
was called to rule. Germany was split up amongst
many great Princes both spiritual and temporal. Arch-
bishops, Bishops and Abbots held what were called
Sceptre-fiefs, since they were granted to them originally
by presentation of a sceptre. Lay lords, such as Dukes,
Margraves, Palgraves and Graves had banner-fiefs. All
claimed to have no superior but the Emperor ; all as-
serted the right to exercise practically independent power
in their own estates, to judge their own causes, levy their
own taxes, and make their own wars as they wished.
The breaking up of the old Duchies of Franconia and
Swabia had largely increased the number of tenants-in-
chief, landowners that is, holding straight from the
Emperor himself ; and quite insignificant nobles, small
towns and even villages often claimed the head of the
Empire as their immediate overlord. This multiplica-
tion of estates was aided by the very usual practice of
dividing the property of a dead man amongst all his
sons, instead of giving the whole to the eldest.

Certain famihes were particularly important at this
time. The Ascanian family ruled in the Mark of Bran-
denburg and inTIie Du^hy of Saxony. The House of
Wittelsbach was also split into two branches ; the elder



GERMANY AND THE EMPIRE, 1273-1378 7

possessed Upper Bavaria and the Palatinate ; the
younger ruled in Lower Bavaria. The Welfs held the
Duchy of Brunswick ; the Wettins, later possessors of
Saxony, were now the lords of Meissen and Thuringia.
Besides the Hahsburgs themselves, there were two other
families which were to become very prominent later :
the House of Luxemburg in the territory of the same
name, and the Hohenzollerns, the head of which —
Frederick Burggrave of i^uremberg, was a cousin of
Eudolf, and had been largely influential in securing his
election.

The three Archbishops with electoral jpowers were Spiritual

*— — — — — ^ Priuccs

the most important spiritual Princes, though there were
many others, for most great Churchmen were territorial
lords. By far the most powerful and dangerous tem-
poral ruler of the time was Ottokar of Bohemia, who inottokarof
addition to this Slav Kingdom, had Taken advantage a Slav
of the Interregnum to lay hands on Austria, Styria, ,^"^^^1^'*^
Carinthia and Carniola, which gave him a very firm foot- Germany
hold in South-East Germany.

Besides Princes and Bishops, the Imperial Cities were imperial
now rising to importance. Some of the larger towns of
Germany, those of the South which had prospered be-
cause of their proximity to the great trade routes ; and
those of the North which carried on commerical enter-
prises by means of the Baltic and the North Sea, were
independent of all but the Emperor, were recognised as
estates of the realm capable of representation in the
Imperial Diet, and were called Imperial Cities. These
Diets were in theory feudal Councils of the whole Empire
summoned from all parts of the realm for common busi-
ness and composed of all the great Princes and represen-
tatives of the Imperial towns; but they met at present



THE END OF THE MIDDLE AGE



very irregularly, and had little control over the different
States, amongst which they w^ere intended to bring some
sort of unity.



THE EMPIRE in 1273




Habsburg Lands EH Possessions of King Ottokar ^

ludoif's Rudolf showed his practical wisdom and clear sight-

'olicy ednessHby realising that it was impossible to maintain

the old ambitions of the Hohenstaufen, that he would



GERMANY AND TTTR EMPIRE, 127n-ir,7K 9

only waste his strength in vain endeavour sliould he
strive to regain their Itahan possessions, and that his true
pohcy was to strengthen his position in Germany, to •
reduce the excessive power of his Imperial vassals, and
to build up a strong territorial position for his own family.
To effect this it was necessary to win allies, to secure
the friendship of the Pope, to crushjaut rivals to his
power. That he intended to emphasise the national
character of his policy is shown by his persistent use
of German in State documents and in the prosecution of
business. AVhen a messenger from the King of Bohemia
began to explain his embassy in Latin, he was interrupted
by the Emperor with the words: "Lord Bishop, when
you have only concern with Priests use your Latin, but
amongst us speak German". Eudolfs first act was to Marriage
gain friends by the marriages of his numerous family. ',
On the day of his coronation one daughter was wedded to
Lewis of the Palatinate and another to Albert of Saxony. •
Next he turned his attention to the Pope. Kudolf
never went to Eome to receive the Imperial crown, but
he had a magnificent meeting with Gregory X. at Meeting
Lausanne, where he formally confirmed cessions of Italian Gregory x.
territory already made to the Pope, gave up any claims ^^j^jj^"'
to the Angevin Kingdom of Naples and Sicily, and together ♦^^t- i27r)
with many of his Barons took the Cross, in token that
he would, on the first opportunity, fulfil the Pope's most
fervent wish, by undertaking a Crusade to the Holy
Land. The old policy of the Hohenstaufen was finally
abandoned, when the Habsburg Monarch made a treaty
of friendship with Charles of Anjou, their bitterest enemy,
and promised to marry his daughter dementia to
Charles' grandson. Italian schemes certainly never
tempted the prudent Emperor ; " Italy is like the lion's



10 THE END OF THE MIDDLE AGE

cave," he was wont to say, " one sees traces of the steps
of those who go thither, but never of those who return."
Relations After theso measures Eudolf was ready to turn his


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