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James Bryce Bryce.

The book of history. A history of all nations from the earliest times to the present, with over 8,000 illustrations (Volume 9) online

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a position as prince of the em-
Welcome t ,

n . pire in return for a large sum

Death of j j T

^, . paid down. In 1300 he had

Galeazzo , , , TV

extended his power over Pisa
and Sienna, and had become a formidable
opponent of the town of Florence, which
for its part supported the electors in
their action against Wenzel, in order to
shake Galeazzo's position by the fall of his
patron. This plan miscarried ; for Gale-
azzo was too shrewd a diplomatist, and
so his death on September 3rd, 1402, was
all the more welcome to the republic.

The Pope at once entered into relations
with Florence, and began war against the
infant children of the Duke of Milan. He
would, indeed, at this moment have been
glad to see Rupert in Italy even with the
reward of the imperial crown, and there-
fore held out to him. in the event of his
marching immediately to Rome, the pro-
spect of acknowledgment and coronation
as King of Italy by a cardinal at Padua.

In return, of . course, the king was to
promise to take part with Florence in the
struggle against Milan, and to represent
the interests of Rome against Avignon
and France. When Rupert answered in the
spring, 1403, he demanded an immediate
acknowledgment ; the new expedition to
Italy was, he said, impossible for the time
being. Boniface, who now supported
Ladislaus as rival king to Sigismund in
Hungary, became anxious, since just then
Benedict XIII. had again been acknow-
ledged by France as lawful Pope. He was
bound at all hazards to secure Rupert for
his side, and therefore on October ist,
1403, formally proclaimed his approval
of Rupert, together with a
Poverty ratification of We nzel's de-
of the ... T ,

r position. For the coming

Emperor ,. . ,-,

expedition to Rome he granted

the king two tithes of the German Church.
Rupert did indeed seriously meditate the
journey to Italy both in 1404 and again in
March, 1405, but it was not carried out.
His want of money did not allow him to
put such desires into action ; it rather
drove him to oppress his previous sup-
porters, the towns, whose hostility he thus

3633



HISTORY OF THE WORLD



incurred. John of Mainz, who had
formerly supported the king, joined the
ranks of the discontented in the empire.
The result was a confederation for five years
between seventeen Swabian imperial towns,
Baden, Wiirtemberg, and the bishops of
Strassburg and Mainz. A league was
formed at Marbach in 1405, which was
nominally aimed at all who
should injure them in their

th Kin liberties and ri g hts - The P oint
Ing of it was really opposition to
the king, although he was informed of the
proceedings, and asked for his protection.
He himself was clear on the matter, and
wished in consciousness of his innocence to
defend himself against the implied re-
proach in a diet ; but the confederates
did not allow that. The Archbishop of
Cologne, formerly Rupert's friend, was
still desirous of mediating, and at last
gained his object in 1407. The confedera-
tion indeed remained undissolved, but
without any special importance.

The king learned a lesson from what had
happened, and was cautious in the future
not to ask the states for pecuniary sup-
port. Without any assistance, he at last
achieved some small successes. The town
of Rotenburg, which had formed a secret
alliance with Wenzel under its energetic
burgomaster, Heinrich Toppler, was
punished. The Duke of Guelders joined
Rupert, and the town of Aix-la-Chapelle
abandoned its resistance, paid 8,000
florins, and prepared a stately recep-
tion for the king toward the end of
1407. Liibeck also fell to him.

Shortly before this, Brabant had been
lost to the empire. Anton of Burgundy,
second son of Duke Philip, had become heir
after the death of the Duchess Joanna. He
took possession of his country, in spite of
Rupert's protests, and in so doing enjoyed
the favour of Wenzel, who gave him his
niece Elizabeth to wife. Anton thus
acquired the prospect of the hereditary
lands of Luxemburg, and on

of the the death of J bst ' in I 4 11 '

Pa acy at OnCC tO ^ P ossess io n of
Luxemburg. Rupert's struggle
against Wenzel was dormant, and little
attention in the empire was paid to either.
But in the momentous question of the
council, which now excited Christendom,
both once more came into opposition.

The crying distress of Christianity, the
unhappy dispute about the pontificate,
had already had a marked influence on the

3634



politics of Western Europe. But as long
as Rupert wore the German crown with
little honour, the controversies had become
more and more acute. The idea of a
general council, which the University of
Paris even in the lifetime of Clement VII.
had quite timidly ventured to entertain,
now seemed the only practicable solution.
With the overthrow of the German
kingly power, which, illuminated by the
splendour of the Roman imperial crown, had
once represented the central point of civi-
lisation in Western Europe, only in faith and
doctrine was the universal character ot the
Catholic Church now visible. The rulers
of Germany, Italy, England, and Spain
were opposed to each, and the French
Church outstripped all others in import-
ance. W 7 e know how it succeeded in
removing the seat of the papacy from
Rome to Avignon, and what efforts the
French crown made, with the support of
French cardinals, to assert their power
over the head of Christendom after the
return of Urban VI. to Italy. Benedict
XIII. in Avignon, as well as Innocent VII.,
the successor of Boniface IX., who died in
1404, in Rome, were forced to
. p * promise the electing cardinals

Ri ah-ie- t ^ iat under certain circum-
stances they would abdicate in
the cause of unity. But neither acted
according to his promise, although the
healing of the schism was their most
sincere wish. How, indeed, could the one
have yielded without the other ? The
French policy, in fact, which for five
years refused obedience to Benedict,
proved itself quite mistaken, so that
after May, 1403, he had again to be
acknowledged.

The dispute had now lasted twenty
years without any end to it being visible,
and sowed discord in all sections of the
population. As in Mainz, so in many
other bishoprics, a bishop had been
appointed by both sides ; even in the
vicarages the same spectacle was visible.
Each of the two Popes tried to bring over
the adherents of the other party by
gracious concessions of every sort. The
result was a series of disputes in which
punitive measures, bans and interdicts,
alternated in appropriate cases. Germany,
Italy and England as a whole were in
favour of the Roman Pope ; France, Spain
and Scotland of the French Pope. A
college of cardinals supported each of
them. The struggle between the two



THE GERMANIC EMPIRE



representatives of the universal spiritual
power was to a large extent only the result
of the miserable position of the Church in
general. In particular the Curia, since its
migration to Avignon, appeared as an
international financial body for the im-
poverishment of the countries, since the
sale of preferments and the accumulation
of benefices for the profit of the papal
treasury were daily occurrences.

The ordinary revenues of the papacy
were no longer sufficient for the enormous
demands of the Avignon court establish-
ment, to which were added the claims of
the French king. It was necessary to procure
fresh means. In theory, all ecclesiastical
property had for centuries been claimed
as the property of the Pope, who in the
fourteenth century put the theory into
practice, and began to grant all benefices
as coming from him, and naturally ex-
pected some return. At the same time the
doctrine of Indulgences was developed,
and after the end of the fourteenth century
the virtues of these compositions in
discharge of penitence, which became a
never-failing source of profit, were con-
_,. _ tinuously preached. At the

The Opposite* sametime the practice began
Between Pope - , . , , /p

and Church f con f erring several benefices
on one person, so that his
income was greatly increased, while the
parsonages themselves were filled by vicars.
It was the usual rule that canons belonged
to several chapters ; they naturally resided
only at one place, and simply drew the
income from the others, in order, often,
to live on it in a very ostentatious and
even luxurious way.

Just as the electors in the empire still
entertained the idea of setting up the
king in opposition to the empire, so the
more advanced part of the clergy felt
more or less clearly the opposition between
Pope and Church. The former claimed to
represent the Church ; the clergy thought
they ought to contest this claim, for they
knew another real representation of the
Church namely, a general assembly of
the Churches. In this lies the fundamental
significance of the movement, which ends
with the concordat of Vienna in 1448,
that the idea of the Church, as it appears
embodied in the council, was realised by
each individual member of Christianity.
The question throughout was not about
the faith, but about the constitution of
the Church ; not about the refutation of
false doctrines the discussion of the



doctrines of a Wycliffe and a Huss was
only an incident of small importance
but about the moral regeneration of the
clergy. The fifteenth century was not
able to reach this goal. It was only the
mighty shock which the universal Church
experienced in the sixteenth century,
when the discussions of questions of

faith estranged great masses
Rival Popes , ,,
F .. of the nations from its

to*A ree bosom, which led to its moral
revival at Trent. Benedict
XIII., at Avignon, a Spaniard by birth,
was an able and learned man, of strictly
moral life, inflexible in his resolu-
tion, and the keenest champion of the
view that the Church was embodied
in the Pope. At Rome, Innocent VII.
had died in 1406, after only a two years'
pontificate ; and the cardinals chose for
his successor a grey-haired Venetian,
who took the name of Gregory XII.

He was a weak man, and in spite of
his declarations to the contrary, did not
seriously trouble himself to settle the
dispute. He showed himself apparently
favourable to an offer of Benedict, that
the two Popes should meet to arrange
the dispute. When the Avignon Pope
really came to Sarona, he raised all kinds
of difficulties. He removed to Lucca at
the beginning of 1408, but by so doing was
not really nearer Benedict. Everyone now
saw that nothing was to be expected
from the two Popes; only a council
could help.

Fortunately, the two colleges of cardi-
nals, who were earnestly striving for
unity, separated from their Popes. Gregory,
in order to be rid of the insistence of his
cardinals, nominated a number of new
ones, * whereupon the old ones broke off
with him and went to Pisa. Not long
afterward a French provincia synod
declared Benedict an obstinate schismatic
and heretic. Thereupon the French
cardinals also went to Pisa. Both colleges
_ . now jointly issued the invita-

,*! ms ~ tions to a general council. It
of the Two

Po es was lm P ortant to win at once

the consent of the temporal
powers. France was inclined to begin,
and England's consent was finally won ;
but the German king, Rupert, who was
invited as defender of the Church, did not
answer, and thus favoured his rival,
Wenzel, who immediately acquiesced in
the welcome notion, and towards the
end of 1408 demanded that his envoys

#35



HISTORY OF THE WORLD



should be regarded as those of the lawful
king. Rupert and his learned councillors
were distinct opponents of the council.
In their eyes Gregory was the legitimate
Pope, and the action of the cardinals
seemed to them rebellion against the
spiritual head ; the archbishops of
Cologne and Mainz thought otherwise.

_ ^ Yet their plan did not suc-
The Ureat ceed Jn the Frankfort diet o f
Council T ,,i i ,1

at Pisa J anuar y> I 49> although the en-
voy of the cardinals was sympa-
thetically greeted, especially in the towns ;
while the plenipotentiary of Gregory, who
also issued invitations to a council, found
full support from Rupert. The king finally
appointed three envoys, who in combina-
tion with Gregory were to raise protests
against all decrees of the council, and
they were thus employed when punctually,
on March 25th, 1409, the council at Pisa
was opened.

The assembly, contrary to all expecta-
tion, was largely attended. More than
200 bishops stood by the side of the
representatives of fully 100 cathedral
chapters, and more than 300 doctors of
theology and of the canon law represented,
together with the deputies of fifteen
universities, the authority of Western
learning. At the head of a small body of
temporal princes from Germany stood
Wenzel, who gave the inconsiderate
promise that he would help the newly-
elected Pope to his rights by force of
arms. The negotiations proceeded quickly.

By the beginning of June, both the Popes,
Gregory and Benedict, were declared
deposed as heretics, and toward the end
of the month a new Pope was chosen in
the person of Alexander V. Neither of the
deposed Popes, it is true, contemplated
any resignation. Three Popes, each with
a considerable following, now reigned
over Christendom. At the beginning
of July, Alexander V. dismissed the
council, and a new one was proposed

Three Popes f f I ^ 12 ' when the su gg ested
ecclesiastical reforms were

to be discussed. In Ger-
many Rupert still supported
Gregory. On the other hand, Wenzel,
most of the princes, and the towns, stood
by Alexander. But in Prague itself there
was a large party under the direction of the
archbishop and the cathedral chapter
opposed to any separation from Gregory,
while within the university the opposite
view was held. A violent dispute broke out

3636



at the
Same Time



between the Bohemian and the three other
nations, who had long had a feud with
eachjother, as only the first, in accordance
with the king's wish for the neutrality of the
university, expressed its views on the ques-
tion before the council, while the Saxon,
Bavarian, and Polish nations wished,
considering the importance of the matter,
to take sides, and support the Pope chosen
by the council. In order to gag the
Germans, Wenzel, by imperial dispensa-
tion, changed the conditions of voting in
the senate of the university so that the
Bohemians should have three votes, and
the combined Germans only one vote.
The majority of the body of German
students, indignant at this insult, left the
town, together with their teachers, and
went to the recently founded university
of Leipsic, which received its charter
from Pope Alexander V.

Open war was now threatening in
the empire on account of the Pope.
The archbishops, John of Mainz and
Frederick of Cologne, united for the
common defence of Alexander's rights,
while Gregory handed over to the king,

as his loyal supporter, the
Death of r , i i i

_ revenues of the dioceses whose

.mperor j^g^^g SU pp O rted Alexander.
Rupert rr, * . \ . , , .,, .

The towns, it is true, still stood

by Rupert, but showed no wish to espouse
the cause of Gregory with him. Rupert
had already allied himself with the lords
of Hesse and Brunswick for war against
John, when death cut his plans short
on May i8th, 1410.

However unimportant and unsuccess-
ful Rupert may have been in his policy, his
death was an important event. The de-
clared enemy of the council, from which
alone, as matters then stood, a solution of
the difficult problems could be expected,
had now disappeared. The last repre-
sentative of the papal-absolutist constitu-
tion of the Church was in the grave. The
regular council could now come into life
as a Church institution, as a representation
of Christendom, supported by the German
sovereign, the born defender of the Church.
In comparison with the councils or synods
of the early Middle Ages, the field of
operations as well as the composition of
the council was enlarged. The world,
therefore, could hopefully look forward
to the intended assembly, which, as the
successor to the Council of Pisa, should
undertake the reform of the Church in
head and members.



WESTERN

EUROPE IN

THE MIDDLE

AGES



THE
DEVELOPMENT

OF THE
NATIONS VI




REIGN OF THE EMPEROR SIGISMUND

THE COUNCILS OF CONSTANCE AND BASLE



AFTER the death of Rupert it was
necessary to elect afresh an emperor
for Germany. Wenzel, it is true, still
claimed to be the lawful sovereign, but he
took no serious steps to secure this position
for himself. The vote of the Bohemian
electorate was for him, Rudolf of Saxony
was his friend, and Jobst of Moravia, as
holder of Brandenburg, stood by him too.
These three, however, agreed only on
the advancement of a Luxemburger. Of
the remaining electors, those of Cologne
and Mainz wished in any case for a sup-
porter of the Pope chosen by the council,
while those of Treves and the Palatinate
would choose only a friend of Gregory's
papacy. Sigismund of Hungary had hither-
to taken very little part in the papal
question. He could be reckoned as much
an adherent of Gregory as of Alexander,
and he was a Luxemburger by descent,
although at present no friend of Wenzel.
His election would help the
cause of all three parties.
Sigismund was still vicar
of the empire and acted in
this capacity. He was desirous that
Wenzel should be crowned emperor, and
did not directly trouble himself to
become kaiser. But he forfeited the
electoral votes of the Palatinate and
Treves by suppporting the successor
of Alexander, John XXIII., the Pope
elected . by the council. However,
he had a claim on the electoral vote of
Brandenburg in place of Jobst, and he
commissioned Frederic VI. of Nuremberg,
the burgrave of the Hohenzollern house, to
vote in his stead.

Though the other electors did not agree
to this, the burgrave was admitted as
representative of Sigismund to the elec-
tion in Frankfort at the beginning of Sep-
tember, after he had induced the electors
of the Palatinate and Treves by his
declarations on the papal question to
favour his principal. The electors of
Cologne and Mainz wished to wait for the



Germany's

New
Emperor



envoys of the three other electors before
the election should be made. But
Frederic, with the electors of the Pala-
tinate and Treves, insisted on the election
and held it in the churchyard of St.
Bartholomew's Church, for the building
itself was closed in conse-
quence of the interdict. The
Refuses a ?, , c . . ,

f, three chose bigismund, and

Crown c . j , r ,

soon afterward left the city.
The electors of Mainz and Cologne, how-
ever, applied to Jobst and offered him the
crown, although he had declined the
invitation to vote on the ground that there
was a sovereign already.

On October ist, the electors of Mainz,
Cologne, and Saxony, in the interior of
St. Bartholomew's, finally chose Jobst as
empeior. But he took no steps at all to
secure the possession of the kingdom, and
died in January, 1411. Sigismund now
proclaimed that he accepted the choice
which had fallen on him in September
and entered into negotiations with Wen-
zel. The latter was conceded the title
of King of the Romans, with the prospect
of the imperial dignity, to which Sigis-
mund was to help him, and Sigismund
was tacitly acknowledged as emperor by
the electors.

This was Sigismund's first appearance
in the 'empire, the conditions of which
had become strange to him, and soon
after his recognition he went back to
Hungary. Before doing so he carried
out another arrangement which, insigni-
ficant as it seemed, became of the greatest
importance fo the history of Germany. In

, return for the support which
Frederic of , j , , r TT

..... . had been given him in Hun-

Nuremburg , ' .

Rewarded &"? and a j the first election,
he conferred on the burgrave,
Frederic of Nuremberg, as representative
of the sovereign, the disordered march of
Brandenburg, where a wide field was
open to him for uninterrupted activity.
His heirs were destined to remain in pos-
session of this lordship, and the empire

3637



HISTORY OF THE WORLD



could buy it back only at a high price.
In the year 1417 th? Hohenzollern was
f&mally invested at Constance with the
march and th- electoral vote thereto ap-
pertaining. Brandenburg now had a
family dynasty, and from that time the
empire was no
longer disturbed
by the disputes
about that coun-
try which had
lasted almost a
century.

Alexander, the
Pope elected at
the Council of
Pisa, died before
he could enter
Rome. His suc-
cessor, John
XXI 1 1., had been
legate of Bologna,
and was a man of
small intellectual
capabilities, but
a shrewd poli-
tician. His first
object was to
fight King Ladis-
laus of Naples,
who continued to
support Gregory
XII. But the
campaign against
him was at-
tended with little
success, for Rome
and the states of
the Church fell
into the hands
of the Neapoli-
tans. Sigismund
took advantage
of the Pope's
plight at a time
when prudent
and quiet con-
duct would have
won for him the
gratitude of the
whole Christian




world. At the
end of October
he announced to
the world that



THE EMPEROR SIGISMUND

Sigismund, king- of Hungary, was elected Holy Roman Emperor in
1410, and was the author and protector of the Council of Constance,
called together for the purpose of ending the Hussite and other schisms.



of summons in December, was asked to
appear, and so was Gregory, and Spain,
like France, even if unwillingly, had to obey
the summons of the German sovereign.

Sigismund was all this time in Italy, and
was engaged in a war with Milan, which he
wished to recover
for the empire ;
but before the
opening of the
council he had to
receive the Ger-
man crown at
Aix-la-Chapelle,
and therefore
marched in the
spring of 1414 to
Germany. After
the death of
Frederic of
Cologne a dispute
arose about the
succession to the
archbishopric
between Dietrich
of Mors and Wil-
liam of Berg.

Sigismund fa-
voured Dietrich
and allowed him-
self to be crowned
by him at Aix-la-
Chapelle. Pope
John also fa-
voured him. But
an episcopal dis-
pute threatened,
since William's
succession was
ratified by Gre-
gory XII. This
added another
complication.

Pope John en-
tered Constance
about the end of
October, 1414 ;
Sigismund ap-
peared at Christ-
mas. An im-
mense crowd was
now collected in
the city on the
lake of Con-



the council planned at
Pisa was to meet on November ist, 1414,
at Constance, a place which lay beyond
the jurisdiction of one of the three Popes.
John, who on his part also issued a Bull

3638



stance. In addition to the high spiritual
dignitaries and doctors of theology
there appeared princes and knights,
jugglers and loose women. The laity, who
found amusement and profit there, far



THE REIGN OF THE EMPEROR SIGISMUND



outnumbered the body of real members of
the council. Sigismund was everywhere
regarded as the chief personage. He
honestly exerted himself to perform his
duties, and, above all, to restore the unity
of the Church ; and he had already come
to an understanding with England and
France that John must surrender his
papacy. The numerous Italians would have
easily been able to turn the scale. But
the system of voting by nations, which
was then usual, prevented this. The
German nation and the newly recognised
English nation acted together ; by them
stood the French, Italian, and Spanish




THE REWARD OF FREDERIC OF NUREMBERG
As a reward for the services which Frederic of Nuremberg: had been able to
render to Sigismund in Hungary, the emperor conferred on him the march of
Brandenburg ; and, insignificant as this arrangement might seem, it became of the
greatest importance in the history of Germany. Frederic's heirs remained in
possession of their lordship, and the empire could buy it back only at a high price.

nations, each with one vote only. John
could not fail to see that he had no sup-
port in the assembly. To secure unity,
the two other Popes must be won, and
negotiation would have implied the ad-
mission that he was not the only lawful
Pope. He promised on March ist, 1415,
to resign his office, but recalled his declara-
tion, and with the help of Frederic of
Austria secretly escaped from Constance.

Gregory XIII. voluntarily abdicated,
John was pronounced by the council to be
deposed, and only Benedict XIII. was now
kit. The departure of John had the



immediate consequence that the assembly
in a resolution of immense importance,



Online LibraryJames Bryce BryceThe book of history. A history of all nations from the earliest times to the present, with over 8,000 illustrations (Volume 9) → online text (page 19 of 55)