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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consolation from those who dispensed the
Church's favours. The Church seized
this opportunity to add to their penances
an oath to refrain from robbery or violence,
and to found brotherhoods of peace,
which soon became armed federations
against all discordant elements, especially
against the enemies of the churches and
monasteries. Such federations were pre-
ceded by priests bearing holy banners
who blessed their enterprises.

After these preparations, it was possible
in 1040 for the clergy in Aquita'ine to
proclaim a general Peace of God (Treuga
Dei ; Treve de Dieu), which was to last
every week from Wednesday evening to
Monday, and in 1041 was extended in
Burgundy to include the season of
Advent and the greater festivals. The
monastery of Cluny and the bishoprics of
Aries and Avignon were the centres of that
beneficent work which protected the poor
and the unfree from destruction, secured
trade and commerce, agriculture and pros-
perity, and saved the French nobility
from degenerating into un-

ofthT" 18 checked brigandage. With the
beginning of the Crusades

Crusades ,, b . fc

the priests assumed control oi

these humanitarian movements. At the
Council of Clermont in November, 1085,
Pope Urban II. proclaimed a general peace
for the purpose of leading a united force
of Christians to battle against the infidels.
At a later date, the Peace of God was
recognised by the canon law, and was
transferred to secular legislation











HTHE first three successors of Hugh
1 Capet, Robert II. (996-1031), Henry I.
(1031-1060), and Philip I. (1060-1108), are
distinguished only for their lack of
importance, while their governments are
marked by no great events. All three
were involved in constant struggles with
the Norman dukes, until these latter
found room in England to develop their
ambitions and their pride. Philip I., who
was distinguished only for his bodily
size, came into conflict with the papacy
through his divorce of his legal wife.

The first king of the house of Capet of
importance in the general history of
the world was Louis VI. (1108-1137) ;
he was a capable ruler and a prudent poli-
tician, guided, moreover, with great skill
by his chancellor, the Abbot Suger of St.
Denis. The policy of Louis was directed
to extending the power of his dynasty as
far as possible at the expense of his
vassals. He availed himself of
_ e their revolts to confiscate as

r re \ v . many as possible of their
g estates. This fate overtook in
particular certain marauding knights on
his own demesnes of the Isle de France,
who had been plundering Church property.
Louis in consequence received the title of
" eldest son of the Church." He came
into close contact with Pope Calixtus II.,
whom he supported against the Emperor
Henry V. and was afterwards immor-
talised in the legendary chronicles of the
clergy as a miracle worker who relieved
sufferers from leprosy, etc., by laying his
hand upon them. Like every other king
who desired to secure his own position
and that of his country, he occasionally
quarrelled with his own clergy and with
those of Rome, but these differences in-
variably ended in reconciliation. In his
dealings with foreign countries 'for
instance, in the quarrels concerning the
succession in Flanders and England,
where two of his vassals were fighting for

the crown he supported the rights and
position of France.

His most important achievement, how-
ever, was his attempt to secure the
succession in Aquitaine, which was prac-
tically independent, by the marriage of
his son Louis VII. with Princess

Eleanor. Such success as this
son attained, when the time


of Louis VII.

came for him to rule, was

due entirely to the teaching of Abbot
Suger. This man, who had been named
by historians the mediaeval Richelieu,
persuaded his master to grant rights and
privileges to the rising towns, raised the
prestige of the royal courts, improved and
reorganised the treasury, and gave an
impulse to art and science.

During the inglorious crusade of Louis
VII. in 1147 his kingdom was torn by
faction, and would have collapsed had
it not been for the energy of Suger ; Louis
also committed the incredible political folly
of divorcing his wife, who was certainly
unfaithful, but none the less a valuable
possession, and driving her with her
property of Aquitaine into the arms of the
heir to the English crown, Henry of Anjou,
in 1152. The future ruler of England
already held the French territories of
Anjou, Touraine, Normandy, and Maine,
and this marriage brought him Guienne,
Poitou, Auvergne, the Limousin, PeYigord,
Angoumois, and Gascony, so that he was in
possession of the whole of Western France.
These lands he held indeed as the nominal
vassal of the king of France, but the
relationship was unmeaning in
. view of his greater power.

U Louis VI . L reven ed himself for
the cunning with which he had
been overreached by joining the revolted
sons of Henry II. and fostering their
rebellion for twenty years. Victory, how-
ever, eventually remained with his enemy.
The credit of liberating France from its
English fetters belongs to his far more



important son and successor, Philip II.
Augustus, a ruler who combined military
with diplomatic capacity. His main ob-
ject was to increase his financial power
and to secure the unity of the kingdom.
As these objects could not be obtained
by peaceful negotiations, he was obliged to
spend twenty-six of the forty-three years
of his reign in war (1180-1223).
dip the He emancipated himself from

of France the influence of his mother,

Adelaide of Champagne, and of
her brothers, and he speedily put aside
his political adviser, Count Philip of
Flanders. His enemies largely played into
his hands by their dissensions. Like his
father, he allied himself with the sons of
Henry II. of England, and secured the
homage of the second in age, Geoffrey,
Count of Brittany.

The haughty Richard Lionheart also
did homage to him as a vassal before
his accession to the throne, as Philip
Augustus had threatened to wrest from
him his hereditary domains with the
help of the nobility of Poitou. On the
death of Henry II., in 1189, Philip
found Richard a -dangerous adversary by
reason of his adventurous spirit and his
military capacity ; he therefore attempted,
in 1190, after the fall of Jerusalem, to
reduce him to impotence by joining with
him in the Third Crusade ; he went on
this expedition rather to keep an eye upon
his enemy than to support him.

However, after the capture of Acre,
Philip deserted his English ally and re-
appeared in Paris at the etid of December,
1191. Notwithstanding his oath to ab-
stain from hostilities against Richard,
he invaded his French possessions. The
misfortune of his captivity in Germany
prevented Richard from offering resistance.
After his liberation and a further series of
struggles Pope Innocent III. secured a five
years' peace between the two kings on
January I3th, 1199 ; Richard died on April
r 6th. Philip had formerly been in

alliance with Richard's brother

and France T , T , , ,

at Peace a successor > Jhn Lackland,
against the captured king.
John was now, in 1202, summoned by his
feudal lord, Philip, to justify himself
upon a charge of complicity in the murder
of Arthur of Brittany, his nephew post-
humous son of his elder brother Geoffrey.
John declined to recognise this unusual
judicial procedure and did not appear.
He was then declared to have lost his


fief in France, and all the English posses-
sions were reconquered as far as Guienne
(1204-1206). To these extended domains
of the French crown were added, either by
conquest or by inheritance, Vermandois,
Valois, Artois, and the district about
Amiens. Preparations for the incorpora-
tion of Brittany were made and completed
by the end of the fifteenth century
through the marriage of a step-sister of
the murdered Arthur with a cousin of

John was fully occupied between
1208 and 1212 with Pope Innocent III.
and his own refractory vassals, and was
obliged to abandon the last of his French
possessions. When he had been freed from
the Pope's interdict, by accepting England
as a papal fief on May I5th, 1213, he
brought together against Philip a large
confederacy which had been already
formed in 1212 ; it included Otto II. of
Brunswick, who had been sole German
emperor since the death of Philip of
Swabiain 1208, Count Ferrand of Flanders,
and various nobles of North France.
However, on July 2yth, 1214, Philip won
the most brilliant victory of the century
over Otto II. and the Count

Bamea? of Flanders at Bouvines, a vil-
lage between Lille and Tournai,
while his son, Louis VIII., drove
the English ruler and his French allies
out of Poitou and Brittany. Louis even
crossed to England in May, 1216, at the
invitation of the barons who were in
revolt owing to John's repudiation of
Magna Charta, and declined to be intimi-
dated by the papal interdict. King John
died on October igth. Louis then returned
in the following year without securing
any definite success, as he was unable to
keep command of the sea. As in the time of
Charles the Great, the want of an adequate
fleet was severely felt.

Meanwhile a further extension of the
French dynastic power had been planned,
though it already reached from the
mouth of the Loire to the borders of
Flanders. In Southern France a move-
ment had been in progress from about
1173, which threatened to undermine the
foundations of the Catholic Church. A
merchant of Lyons, Pierre de Vaux,
or Petrus Waldus, had founded a sect
the members of which travelled after
the manner of Christ and His apostles,
preaching and living upon the charity
of pious adherents, and proclaiming to

This king of France saw his kingdom torn by faction during the inglorious Crusade in which he engaged in the year
1147, and it was due mainly to the energy and resource of his chancellor, the Abbot Suger, who has been called the
mediaeval Richelieu, that he maintained his position. He had certainly some reason to think well of the Church.

2 4 3773


From the painting by Georges Rouget in the Museum of Versailles

the people the downfall of the degenerate
visible Church, and the triumph of the
invisible Church that is, of their own
community. They rejected the sacraments,
with the exception of juvenile confession,
while forgiveness of sins they considered
_. _ . as secured only by the grace
* ^ P *f f God and not by ecclesiastical
NeTsect a b solution - The sect was
distinguished by enthusiasm,
by actual poverty, by popular origin
and intellectual power, and succeeded in
securing a large number of adherents
by preaching, reading of the Scriptures,
devotional exercises and confession, and
even the celebration of the Communion ;
it was soon disseminated throughout
Italy, Spain, and Germany. It based its
teaching upon the New Testament and
upon certain sections from the patristic
writings in a translation composed by
Waldus, the text of which contained
interpolations directed against the Church ;
the Pharisees, for instance, being described
with allusions which could refer only to
the Catholic clergy. As the sect laid
especial claim to priestly powers, the
papacy was deceived by the hope that it
might become an ecclesiastical order of


monks. It was excommunicated in 1184,
and missions were sent out to oppose its
seductive teaching.

The Manichaean sect of the Albigenses,
which about the same time spread over
the whole of Southern France, possessed
a powerful protector in Count Raimond
of Toulouse ; he was a knight fond of
outward show, ruling over fifty towns and
one hundred vassals. Peter of Castelnau,
one of the legates of Innocent III., was
murdered in January, 1208, by a feudal
vassal of the count ; in consequence the
passionate and energetic Pope threatened
Raimond and his territory with an inter-
dict. A crusade was preached against the
Albigenses, in which Count Raimond was
forced to take part to avert the threatened
punishment of the Church. Ambition, greed,
and the hereditary hatred
of the half-Teutonic North

Knights in

League Against
Southern France

Frenchman, which had

never died out, brought to-
gether a large number of knights for the
expedition against the Romance inhabitants
of Southern France, under the banner of
Simon, Count of Montfort, whose family
belonged to Hainault. Philip Augustus
himself, sent troops, but his suspicions of

Rome prevented him from taking any
official part in the war of extermination.
Montfort had more than 50,000 at his
disposal, and the strongholds of the
heretical nobles fell into his hands one after
another. Toulouse itself was threatened
with devastation, as the count hesitated
to surrender the heretics of his capital.

A wave of fierce, determined indig-
nation passed over the Church; Inno-
cent would have been glad to save the
count, but dared not exert his influence
against the resolute Montfort and his
vigorous followers. Raimond lost his
territory in 1213. It was taken over by
Montfort as a papal fief, and the next
Count Raimond was left in possession only
of a narrow stretch of country. After
Montfort's death, in 1218, his son Amaury
resigned his claims to Louis VIII. in 1226, as
he found his position difficult to maintain.
Raimond succeeded in saving only the
_ smaller portion of his father's

e rwn m h er it ance notwithstanding
Territory of , - T,, b

~ his vigorous resistance. The

the Capets . ' ,

county was united with the

French crown in 1271, after the death of
Alphonse of Poitiers, a brother of Louis
IX., who had married Joanna, the daughter
of Raimond. Thus the crown territory of
the Capets extended from the River Seine
to the shores of the Mediterranean Sea.

The careful calculations of Philip
Augustus had proved correct ; in the expec-
tation that this valuable territory must
eventually fall to himself or his dynasty,
he left responsibility for the heretic war
to the Church, and secured the spoils
., . .,. . for himself. The remainder of
s the English possessions in

. .. France except Bordeaux and
English King , , ,

Gascony were conquered by

Louis VIII. (1223-1226). Louis IX., who
was anxious to secure a permanent peace,
and was tired of the hazardous game of war,
gave back the districts of Limoges, Saint -
onge, Agen, and Quercy as fiefs to the
English king, Henry III., though he re-
tained the majority of the former English
possessions, Normandy, Brittany, Anjou,
Poitou, Maine, and Touraine. Eventu-
ally Philip the Fair, in a war with England,
in which he was supported by the Scotch,
recovered almost the whole of the ceded
territory in 1297. A federation of England
with the Flemings and the Empire was
formed by King Edward I. of England, on
the model of the arrangements of 1214
and of the scheme which had been ar-
ranged in 1278 with Rudolf of Hapsburg ;
this, however, collapsed owing to the care-
lessness of the German king, Adolf of
Nassau, in 1297. Philip the Fair, however,
suffered a fearful defeat in his struggle




against the democratic citizens of Bruges
and Ypres in the " battle of Spurs,"
at Courtrai. He owed it rather to his
diplomacy than to his victory of August
i8th, 1304, at Mons-en-Pevele that he
was able to secure the Peace of Athis-sur-
Orget in June, 1305, with Count Robert
of Bethune, the successor of Guy of Dam-

pierre ; under this arrangement
How the j T -11 -r

he retained Lille. Douai, and

Capets were ,-, ,, , ' ,~,

w . . Bethune as guarantees. The
Weakened , ; . _

royal demesnes in France proper

had previously been extended, during
the reign of Philip III., by the addition
of the counties of Valois and Auvergne, in
return for which the Venaissin was ceded
to the papacy in 1271. The attempt
of this warlike ruler to recover Sicily for
his family by a war with Aragon in 1285
remained fruitless ; his uncle, Charles
of Anjou, had been expelled from the
island by the " Sicilian Vespers " in 1282.

Unfortunately, the Capets weakened their
great and consolidated crown demesnes
by cutting off appanages for the younger
princes, of whom there were eight during
the second half of the thirteenth century.
They allowed the occupants of these
appanages to carry on an independent
foreign policy, and consequently to in-
volve the crown in wars with other states.

The Capets avoided the mistake which
the last Carolingians had made in con-
tinually seeking quarrels to their own
disadvantage with the more powerful Ger-
man Empire ; they were indeed sufficiently
occupied at home with refractory vassals
and other neighbouring powers, and aimed
father at alliance than at hostility with
the wearers of the imperial crown. In
diplomatic relations we find the French
kings figuring as the subordinate or
secondary party until the downfall of
the imperial power, after the time of
the Hohenstauffen, provided them with
an opportunity for wresting fragments
from the neighbouring empire. Robert I.
p and Henry I., the two im-

Proposal, that medi f 6 SUCC f sor ;> of Hugh
Failed Capet, maintained friendly

relations with Germany.
Robert, in conjunction with the Emperor
Henry II. and Pope Benedict VIII., pro-
posed a union for universal peace, the
prototype of the modern Triple Alliance.
The two secular rulers met at Ivois on the
Chiers, in August, 1023. The German
supremacy over Lorraine was recognised
afresh on the side of the French, but the


peace proposals came to nothing, as the
Emperor and the Pope died inthe following
year. The acquisition of Burgundy, after
the death of the childless King Rudolf III.,
in 1032, was facilitated for the German
Emperor Conrad II. (1033-1034) by the
French Henry I. ; both rulers had a
common enemy in Odo of Champagne,
who attempted to extort from Henry
the recognition of his own hereditary right,
and to secure his claims upon Burgundy
against Conrad by force of arms. These
good relations remained unimpaired even
with the emperor Henry III., whose con-
sort, Agnes, belonged to the house of
Aquitaine ; for the Duke of Aquitaine,
William, was also one of Odo's enemies.
Dissension threatened to break out when
Godfrey II., or the Bearded, sought the
protection of the French king after his
rights in Lower Lorraine had been infringed
by Henry III. ; but the difficulty was
averted by the imprisonment of the
Lorraine claimant in the Giebichenstein
at Halle, on the Saale, in 1045.

The French kings were clever enough
to avoid interference in the long quarrel
of Henry IV. with the Popes. On the other

Tt. n . hand, the support given by
The^ Pohhcal LQ ^ y j iQ p^ e C J ixtus H .

Fre C ach Itfngs *&**& Henry V. nearly led to
a rupture between the two
kingdoms. However, the fidelity to their
king of the French vassals, especially of
Thibaut of Blois, the growing strength of
nationality, and the increasing opposition
to Germany, so intimidated the despotic
emperor that he refrained from hostilities
in 1124. In general the efforts of the
French kings to avoid interference in } .the
continual struggles for supremacy between
the emperors and the Popes show great
political tact, as they thus avoided
strengthening either one or the other power.
Such was the policy followed by Philip
Augustus when excommunicated by Pope
Innocent III. in January, 1200, for
the reason that he declined to sacrifice
his mistress, Agnes of Meran, to his
second wife, Ingeborg of Denmark, who
had been legally divorced ; he refrained
from interference, though this ambitious
Pope was then at war first with Philip of
Swabia and then with Otto IV. The war
was brought about solely by the family
relationship of the Guelf Otto with the
royal house of England ; it ended with
the victory of the French at Bouvines.
St. Louis also supported the passionate


Leading a great army to the Holy Land, Louis IX. fought valiantly against the infidels, but the Crusaders were over-
' e enemy, and the French king fell into the hands of the Saracens, who obtained a large sum for his ransom.

whelmed by the enemy,

From the painting by Cabanel in the PaiitWon



opposition of Pope Innocent IV. to the
Hohenstauffen Frederic II. only so far as
to offer his mediation, and to secure some
assistance for his policy from the Council
of Lyons, which excommunicated Frederic
in 1245.

Philip the Fair was the first ruler who
attempted to secure the advantage of
_ France at the expense of the

. Germans. Like King Albert L,
Matrimonial , r j ,.

who then refused recognition
Schemes ,,

to Rome, Philip was an

opponent of Pope Boniface VIII. ; and
though during the lifetime of Adolf of
Nassau he had joined the Hapsburg side,
he met the German king in December,
1299, in the Val de 1'One, hear Toul, to
conclude a marriage between his sister
Blanche and Albert's son Rudolf, who was
to inherit Austria. The German king was
anxious to secure the imperial succession to
his firstborn son, and Philip the Fair was
therefore brought into close and profitable
relations with Germany.

Philip also maintained a show of good
relations with the successor of Albert,
Henry VII., after the hopes of his brother
Charles of Valois had come to nothing.
The Luxembourg ruler, who was half a
Frenchman, was anxious to find some sup-
port against the Hapsburgs, that he might
accomplish his coronation journey to Rome
undisturbed ; he therefore offered, in 1310,
to receive from Prince Philip V. homage
for the palatine county of Burgundy,
which had been already taken by France,
though he did not renounce his claim to
the town of Lyons, which belonged equally
to the empire and had been occupied
by French troops. None the less Philip
secretly attempted to disturb Henry's
plans in Italy through his relation Robert
of Naples and the Guelf adherents of Pope
Clement V., who was entirely dependent
upon him, and practically a prisoner in
Avignon. In the case of the Crusades the
Capets adopted a waiting attitude, as
Le ders ^Y na d done in their relations
in'the'lFirst w ^ ^ e German Empire,
Crusade although three French rulers
participated in these world-
stirring events. The Crusades were
instigated primarily by French or semi-
French chivalry, but certainly not by
French kings. Such names as Godfrey
of Bouillon and his brother Baldwin,
the Norman Boemund II. of Tarentum,
Hugo of Vermandois, Stephen of Blois
the elder, Robert of Normandy, are


conspicuous among the leaders of the
First Crusade. King Philip I. at that
time refrained from participation (1094-
1096), as his unlawful marriage of 1092
had brought him a new sentence of
excommunication. The credit of the
enthusiasm which inspired this and the
two following Crusades belongs to the
papacy. It was by the personal inter-
vention oftPope Urban II., at the Council
of Claremont in the late autumn of 1095,
that the <3nisade was organised.

The s French monarchy took but a
secondary part in the Second Crusade, of
1147, as: in the first. Eugenius III.,
through- the mouth of the ecclesiastic
Bernard 1 of Clairvaux, induced two of
the most powerful princes of Europe,
the Emperor Conrad III. and King
Louis VII., to undertake a joint expedi-
tion to ' the Holy Land. Conrad was
reluctant and hesitated ; but Louis was
anxious to relieve his burdened conscience.
In a quarrel with one of his bishops,
imposed upon him by the Pope and
his protector Thibaut of Champagne, Louis
had burned 1,000 men in the church
at Vitry, that is to say, in sanctuary.
c . Affairs in the Holy Land were
highly critical. Edessa had

Without r ?, J

., .. . fallen in 1144, and Jerusalem
Enthusiasm ,, ,, J ,,

was threatened. Moreover, the

enthusiasm for this high cause was be-v
ginning to fade. The descriptions given
by returning Crusaders of their dangers
and privations could not but discourage
others and shatter their dreams of the

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 38 of 55)