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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the ground that they were
prisoners for examination.
Behind this Inquisitor, who
was an enemy of the Tem-
plars, stood the king ; ap-
parently at his instigation all
the members in France were
imprisoned on October I3th,


* r i* ~. * j " r~" .Li-~"'/- i i-~*"*7" Founded by eight French knights ""!" "j^l-i " *

of solicitude for the Church. at Jerusalem In 1119, the order *3<>7 and their property was
In these proceedings the of Knights Templar by the early confiscated. To rouse public
king was both prosecutor P art of the fourteenth century had opinion on behalf of the pro-
and judge. Naturally the acquired much wealth and power ' cess, Nogaret influenced the
admissions made by deserters from the clergy, the populace, the canons of Notre
order, or the confessions extorted on the Dame, and the masters of the University
rack and afterwards retracted, must of Paris in a series of meetings. On
not be taken as actual truth. Such Nogaret's advice, the king invited the
wild tales as the supposed worship of Estates General to Tours on May 5th,
the idol Baphomet generally supposed 1308. This body then ratified the im-
to be a human head made of precious prisonment of the Templars, and declared
metal, and to govern the material them guilty and worthy of death,
world as the servant of the heavenly Under pressure from Philip, Clement,
God the defilement of the crucifix, on May 29th, undertook to begin the
the immoral kiss of peace, etc., would ecclesiastical examination of the im-
hardly find credence, even if they were prisoned Templars in an assembly at
better attested. It is, however, highly Poitiers composed of ecclesiastical and



secular dignitaries ; apart from the process
against the dead Pope, Philip was able to
put pressure upon Clement by his action
against Bishop Guichard of Troyes, who
was supposed to have killed Philip's wife,
Joanna of Navarre, by witchcraft in 1305.
The prisoners under examination, though
formally in the custody of the Church,
were actually in the hands of Philip,
as also was the administration of their
property. The examinations proceeded in
Poitiers from June 28th to July 2nd, and
in Chinon from August iyth to 20th, before
a commission consisting of three cardinals,
but also in the presence of the two royal

and wholly dependent body of supporters,
and would accentuate his subservience
to the French king. Philip, however,
repeated his menace of attacking the
memory of Boniface ; and on March
i6th, 1310, the Pope actually permitted
the opening of the process against
his predecessor. This led to no result.
Clement naturally strove to avoid any
act of dishonour to the deceased Pope,
while Philip considered the action only as
a means to secure the destruction of the
order of Templars. When this object
was conceded by the Pope in the Bull
" Rex gloriae" of April 27th, 1311, Philip

This was an important fortified church of the Knights Templar, commanding- a wide district of the Pyrenees. It is
here shown in something like its original condition, but it is now greatly reduced in size, though parts of the old
battlements still remain. Luz is no great distance from Lourdes, of modern miracle fame, and is now a popular resort.

abandoned his most unworthy manoeuvre.
On October i6th, 1311, a council was
held at Vienna, which was to settle this
long-standing problem. Philip attempted
to influence the council by summoning
the Estates. As a matter of fact, Clement,
out of solicitude for the welfare of Christ-
endom, dissolved the order by a Bull of
March 22nd, 1312, which was solemnly
announced to the council on April 3rd.
During this announcement Philip sat at his
right hand. On May 2nd the valuable
property of the dissolved order was trans-
ferred to the Hospitallers, though Philip
retained a considerable portion for himself.
In the sequel the Grand Master, James of


counsellors, Nogaret and Plasian. Clement
had been obliged to abandon the right
of inquiry to the Inquisition, which was
under Philip's influence. The admissions
of the Templars are said to have been
very damaging, especially in a hearing at
Chinon, though the Grand Master, James of
Molay, afterwards indignantly repudiated
those ascribed to him.

A special hearing was begun by a new
commission in November, 1309, at Paris,
again in the presence of a royal official.
Clement could not bring himself to decide
upon the abolition of the order, which was
Philip's earnest desire, for the reason that
he would then deprive himself of a powerful


The Fall

Molay, and the provincial head, Guy of
Normandy, were burnt at Paris on March
nth, 1314, after fifty-four members of the
order had suffered a similar death on May
I2th, 1310, because they had recanted the
admissions extorted under torture. At
the time of its prosperity, about 1260, this
great order is said to have numbered some
sixteen to twenty thousand
me mbers ; these were now im-
T i prisoned, or perished in misery,
Templars ^ QQ ^ re f u g e m monasteries, or

joined the Hospitallers. Their stately
palace near Paris, the Temple, in which
they had long been imprisoned, and from
which, 480 years later, a French king was
to make his last earthly progress, re-
mained in the royal possession.

A lifelong friendship bound Clement
the more closely to Philip, until their
almost simultaneous deaths came upon
them in the rniBBBBIBfr
prime of life ; |
Clement died on | iX ftMiito*-.
April 20th, 1314,
and Philip on
November 29th,
at the age of
forty-six. Four-
teen years later
the male line of
the true Capets
was extinct.

The Capets
found the French
state diminished
in extent and far

general disruption of the Italian states
and city republics permitted the exercise
of any general influence. He was able
to interfere to the advantage of France
in the factions of the German Empire.

His monarchy, however, lacked that
fundamental basis of every monarchical
state a standing army. In times of war
he was invariably forced to rely upon
the goodwill of the feudal lords, who had
not yet been definitely crushed. He had
provided for his state a uniform system
of law and of finance ; he had made the
right of coinage a royal monopoly, and
misused it in times of need by debasing the
currency ; he had modelled the Estates
General until they formed a power subor-
dinate to his will. The bureaucracy was
entirely at his disposal, the nobility,
clergy, and citizens offered a ready obedi-
ence, and even the refractory towns of
v%3 Flanders eventu-
^ ally agreed to an
arrangement in
! Philip's favour.
He had crushed
all divergence
from the faith
with merciless
severity, and had
even begun a
I general persecu-
I tion of the Jews
I to replenish his
impo verished
treasury. Yet,
in spite of this


, . The Temple at Paris was one of the finest buildings belonging to , f r

Weaker in power the order. In revolutionary Paris its prison had an evil fame ; and display Of power,

than under the * ne s ** e ^ ** * s commemora t e ^ * * ne present Place du Temple. j^jg \vant of an

Carolingian domination. They began their
work where the ancestors of Charles the
Great had begun, and the objects of
Charles were attained by Philip IV., though
to a more restricted extent and in the face
of a more vigorous opposition. The feudal
nobility had been crushed, and the great
fiefs were either in his immediate possession
or were united to his power and subjected
to his will by marriage connections and
diplomatic arrangements. The Church was
even more subordinate to him than to
Charles the Great, and the spiritual in-
fluence which the Church had been able
to exert, under Charles, upon all political
matters of ecclesiastical importance had
now been overthrown by the clever and
worldly wise jurist. In Italy Philip ruled
by means of the papal party and his
Neapolitan connections, so far as the


army under his own control deprived him
of the strongest guarantee for an absolute
monarchy. This deficiency was the more
dangerous, as the power of England, with
one foot firmly planted in France,
threatened the frontiers of his empire.

At the same time, the means by which
he secured his political ends were not
merely those of force, as in
the case of Charles the Great,
Ph'i IV kut were also immoral and
treacherous. He shrank from
nothing, especially if financial embarrass-
ments were in question. The responsibility
of his crimes most often fell upon his
advisers, though it must not be forgotten
that shortly before his death he pointed to
himself " as the cause of his evil counsel "
(ipsemet causa mali consilii sui). During
his persecution of the Jews he not only



confiscated the possessions of the
imprisoned capitalists, but also forced
their debtors to pay what was owing. His
disgraceful prosecution of the Templar
order was primarily inspired by his pecu-
niary embarrassments. He was continu-
ally attempting surprises and deceptions ;
witness his constant depreciation of the
_.. coinage and consequent repudia-

Philip as a ,. r ,, ^, ,,

Pilate to n state debt, or the

thcVapacy *$****** of the war indemnity
cf Flanders, which- he raised to
the highest possible figure with the help
of his accomplice, Nogaret. Combining
treachery and despotism, though a strict
adherent of the faith of his -age, he had
shown himself not only a second Pilate to
the papacy and the Church, as the Ghibel-
line Dante named him, but also a second
Herod. The papacy never recovered from
the period of its " Babylonish captivity "
until long after its return to
the shores of the Tiber, far
from the kingdom of France.
In consequence, the French
kings and the rights of the
Gallican Church always en-
joyed special consideration,
however strict the authority
at Rome, and the despotism
of Louis XIV. was no less a
burden upon the Church, four
centuries later, than the ab-
solutism of Philip IV.

The inheritance of Philip
IV. was subject to the in-

The line of the old Capets came

Of a no leSS malignant to an end with Charles IV., who,
during- his brief reign of six years.

fidelity to Philip. He was hanged as a
sorcerer, since he appealed to the orders
of his former master when called upon to
account for his conduct of office.

A fact of especial importance for the
continuance of the dynasty and the unity of
the constitution was a law passed under
Philip V. (1316-1322), which was published
on January igth, 1317, proclaiming the
incapability of the female line to inherit
the crown ; this was done to exclude the
claims of Jeanne, the daughter of the
prematurely deceased Louis X. Thus
individuals were sacrificed to constitutional
rights in the interests of political unity.
This law, which was confirmed by the
Pope, provided an excuse and an occasion
for the outbreak of the Hundred Years'
War with England ; but in the factions and
succession disputes of the following ages
it remained the one firm point amid the
political confusion. Its natural
consequence was to secure the
reversion of territories to the
state and the ruling family.
Philip V. pursued upon the
whole the domestic policy of
his far-sighted father. Against
the nobility, who were striving
to secure their old position,
he raised the bulwark of a
strong citizen class, of the
parliament, and the legal pro-
fession ; he excluded the
clergy from the highest court
of justice. He also turned
for support to the growing

, . ,, . i t during nis uriei reign 01 six years, ^ t i t 3

fate than the empire of from 1322 tm ms, was involved in class of poor freemen, formed
Charles the Great. His sue- man y difficulties of foreign policy. O f t h OS e who had bought

their freedom from serfdom and slavery.

cessors were weak men who ruled but a
short time, and were incapable of offer-
ing effective opposition to the process
of dissolution. The three sons of Philip
the Fair reigned less than fourteen years
together ; they were all consecrated ' by
one and the same Archbishop of Rheims.
Immediately upon, his father's death '. the
eldest son, Louis X. (1314-1316), was
forced to begin the struggle with the re-
fractory nobles. The federation of nobles
demanded that the encroachments of the
royal jurisdiction should be abolished,
that military service should not be de-
manded for foreign expeditions, and in
general that their old privileges should be
restored. Their chief demand was for the
prosecution of several unpopular coun-
sellors of the late king. Enguerrand de
Marigny in particular paid heavily for his

However, he never attained the un-
limited absolutism of his father. Still less
was this the case with his younger brother
Charles IV., who was constantly involved
in difficulties of foreign policy during a
reign of barely six years (1322-1328). He
interfered in the affairs and factions of
Flanders and England ; in 1314
he even aimed at the crown of
the empire, uniting with the
Hapsburg party against the
Wittelsbach Lewis of Bavaria, and he
secured adherents among the German
electors by bribery.

With Charles, the line of the old Capets
closed. The principle of inheritance by and
through males only transferred the crown
to Philip of Valois, nephew of Philip IV.
and first cousin to the three last kings.

37 8 7

End of
the Capet
















IN France the task of unifying a judicial
* system under secular law was hampered
not only by the special jurisdiction belong-
ing to the feudal lords, but also by the
existence of provincial codes, which were
by no means identical ; of these the codes
of the Isle de France, Beauvais, and Anjou
were published in the time of St. Louis,
or Louis IX., the others not until the
fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. The
task of unification was greatly advanced
by St. Louis (1226-1270). His grand-
father, Philip Augustus (1180-1223), had
already attempted to make the king's
court a kind of tribunal of appeal, and to
throw the jurisdiction of the territorial
lords into a secondary position. His
government, however, was so full of dis-
turbance and internal dissension that he
found it impossible to complete the task
he had begun.

Under Louis IX. a system of constitu-
tional law grew up, patched up from Old
Testament theories ^ and
renc aw reminiscences of the legisla-
Founded on the

Old Testament

tion of Roman Caesars ; this

was enforced in the parlia-
ment of Paris. This supreme court of jus-
tice consisted of fractions of the old Privy
Council (" Grand Conseil ") and of the royal
exchequer ; hence ecclesiastics and secular
nobles were accustomed to sit side by side
with the court officials. They, however,
were ignorant of the law, and had no inclina-
tion to undertake a study absorbing a large
amount of time ; Louis was therefore obliged
to add professional lawyers ("maitres")
to the hereditary members. The duty of
these experts was that of investigation and
report hence they are called " membres
rapporteurs," while the responsibility of
decision remained with the " membres
jugeurs." Thus the question of fact and
responsibility was separated from the legal
process, as it is in modern jury systems.

An appeal could be made to the parlia-
ment from the courts of the feudatories,
the communes, and crown officials ; all



feudal disputes were brought before the
parliament for settlement. These deci-
sions extinguished the custom of trial
by ordeal or by battle, which still sur-
vived in other countries. The procedure
of a sitting was similar to that of the

present day : there was the
How Justice f J j , ,

hearing of evidence, the ad-
ministration of oaths, docu-
mentary evidence, written as
well as oral procedure. Apart from the
precedents which the court itself had
created, the influence of Roman law was
paramount. The written judgment of this
court formed a precedent for future cases
and thus gained the power of law.

At the same time there grew up a legal
class, dependent only on the king the
later " noblesse de robe" which gradually
made its way into the highest offices of
state, and limited the privileges of the
clergy. The ecclesiastical courts were
thereby restricted, as were the feudal
courts, since appeals could be made from
ecclesiastical courts to the parliament, and
in the last resort to the king himself.
Louis presided in person over judicial
hearings, received complaints, and secured
the conscientiousness and incorruptibility
of his judges. Important criminal cases
were reserved for his special decision, as
also were all questions of honour, after
appeal had been made to one of the four
chief justices of the government.

Roman law, which had formed a basis

both for substantive law and for the law

of procedure, was taught in the schools of

Paris; Montpellier, and Orleans. The

, University of Paris received a

constitution of its own, giving

Ex aniton '* C ntro1 Vei " the students and
the craftsmen connected with

the schools; stipends ("bourses") were
given, a fixed curriculum was formed, and a
number of colleges sprang up. The name
" universit^ " did not then imply, as it does
to-day, an educational institution, dis-
tinguished from other schools, but rather



a corporation of students and teachers.

Every school elected its own rectors. In

accordance with the educational and reli-

gious views of the time, philosophy took the

first place among all studies ; it was espe-

cially cultivated in the Sorbonne, founded

by Robert de Sorbon, the chaplain of

Louis IX., and also in the schools of Tou-

louse ; it was also naturally

e l represented in other provincial

e renc uruvers ities, each of these

Universities , -, ,-

having its own organisation,
with no special tie or connection. Next
to the theological faculty came the
faculty of arts, corresponding with the
modern " faculte de lettres "; the legal and
medical faculties rose to independence only
by degrees. Students were organised by
"nations" that is to say, according to
their geographical origin and for the most
part lived in hostels which were under the
jurisdiction of the university.

The discipline of the students, who
were partly of mature years, was very
loose. They changed their schools nearly
as often as their curriculum. The highest
title that the university could confer was
that of doctor ; of less importance were
the degrees of licentiate and master,
the least important of all being that
of bachelor. In schools which were not
of university rank the teaching was
chiefly in the hands of the ecclesiastical
orders ; the Dominicans were distinguished
as theological and philosophical teachers,
while learned Benedictines undertook the
guidance of the younger students. The
education of the lower orders and of woman
was generally neglected, except in so far
as it was undertaken by the regular clergy.
Administration and public order, like
law, justice, and higher education, were
improved by Louis IX., as they had been
by his grandfather. Over the " baillis " and
" senechaux " appointed by Philip II. the
provosts formed the lowest official rank
Louis placed the inspector class of "en-

queteurs"; and he issued the
" '* stron g est regulations to pre-

vent misuse of official power

in the Ordonnance of 1254. As
the position of the royal officials had been
thus raised, the smaller nobility aspired to
that profession. In consequence, the
lower stages of the feudal system were
subjected to a disintegrating influence,
which was increased by the prohibition, or
by the limitation when prohibition was
impossible, of the private feuds, duels,



and tournaments which were a vital point
of the system. A feud could not be
brought to the arbitrament of the sword
before forty days from its announcement
in order that the threatened person might
have time to appeal to the king's court.
Louis IX. thus actually effected those aims
which the clergy had proposed in their
" truce of God."

Owing to the undeveloped economic
condition of the country, the royal income
consisted chiefly of the produce of crown
properties, which were administered by
officials styled the " bouteiller " and the
" chambellan." The first direct tax, apart
from the "taille" and the capitation or
poll-tax on the non-free, was proposed by
Philip II. upon those who declined to take
part in the Crusade of 1189. This tax
amounted to 10 per cent, of each man's
income or personal property, and was
payable every year ; as the Crusade was
directed against the Sultan Saladin, the tax
gained the name of "dime saladine," or
Saladin tithe. Apart from this exception,
the taxes of that age were chiefly indirect
and payable in kind ; it was not until the

time of Philip the Fair that
An Era

, _. . a tax was imposed upon crown
of Civic

Prosperity P^' * P f ^l '

and then 2 per cent. As

the king's needs increased, the system
of direct taxation became extended, and,
with the growth of commercialism, pay-
ment in kind was naturally replaced by a
payment in money.

As constitutionalism overpowered its
most dangerous opponent, feudalism, so
the prosperity of the towns inevitably
increased and civic life developed. Of
the French towns of the Middle Ages
only a few can be connected with the one
hundred and twelve civitates of Roman
Gaul. Most of these latter had not sur-
vived the confusion of the barbarian
migrations, but had been deserted or had
dwindled away till they became mere
"castra," fortified camps, of which the
Romans had a great number in Gaul, as
in all other provinces. It was only in the
south that the Roman town system con-
tinued. Upon the remnants of the
civitates, which were under the rule of the
bishop, " villae," or townships, were often
grafted, especially in the agricultural north
of Gaul. The origin of the new towns
is a matter of conjecture and cannot be
determined with certainty. Their centre
in every case was the castle of the feudaj


lord, or the seat of an abbot, round which
gathered the settlements of the freemen,
which were then enclosed with a wall.
The Latin names for these new towns
vary in the documents, in which they are
mentioned as " burgus," or fortified town ;
" oppidum," a smaller town ; " castellum,"
or " municipium," a community. Smaller
groups of houses were known as " villae "
or " vici," villages.

The development of a town life such
as had existed under the Roman Empire
was greatly retarded by the agricultural
economy which predominated throughout
the Prankish age. The inhabitants of

were close to the dwelling-houses ; they
were, in short, insanitary villages.

Sanitation was then practically an un-
known science. There was no inspection of
public health, and the simplest precautions
to prevent uncleanliness, plague, and
other public disasters, were non-existent.
Houses and dwellings shrank from the
outer world, as though afraid of light and
air, while the little diamond windows
of the rooms in front and behind admitted
only the pestilential air of the narrow
streets. The rooms in the middle of the
houses, which served among other pur-
poses as bed-rooms, were entirely dark,


the towns were forced to confine their
energies to agriculture, cattle-breeding,
or handicrafts ; of trade and industry,
or communication with the outer world,
there was little or none. It was at most
the market towns which became centres
of intercourse with the outer world, and
it was these in general which gave the
first impulse to the foundation of town
communities. Towns were narrow, with
unpaved and badly lighted streets, and
gloomy gabled houses, often entirely dark ;
with no open square except the market
place, with no gardens, promenades, or
pleasure grounds ; the gates were closed
at nightfall, and the stables and barns

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 40 of 55)