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to lament his obstinacy, his narrowness, his obscurantist
hatred of secular learning. But with all his faults he is a
great and noble figure, and as the supreme representative of
a dying type, his career marks a transition to a newer, brighter
and more progressive world, than the gloomy realm over which
he had reigned so long as unquestioned sovereign. Yet it
shows that the days of brute force were over, when a simple
monk, whose singleness of purpose and zeal for righteousness
were never so much as questioned, could rule with such
astounding power over the minds of men. Even more than
the authority of the great Popes, the power of Bernard supplies

The Twelfth Century Renascence 209

a striking justification of the universal monarchy of the Church
of the twelfth century.

From the religious revival there sprang a revived interest
in literature and speculation. Monastic life was strictly
conservative, and the old doctrine of Gregory The literary
the Great, that secular literature was unworthy andspecuia-
the attention of a good Christian, was the position tive revlval -
of St. Bernard himself. But the monks were at least interested
in theology ; and not even Bernard's influence could prevent
pious souls from seeking in nature and literature the justifica-
tion of the ways of God to man. As the necessary preliminary
of theological study, the 'seven arts' of the old-fashioned
'Trivium' and 'Quadrivium' had again to be cultivated.
Monastic schools once more stimulated the intel-

T-I i Its relation

lectual interest of Europe. Many of the greater to the
houses became centres of education. So far back monastic
as the tenth century monks like St. Bruno of
Cologne and Gerbert of Aurillac had restored the Carolingian
educational discipline, which had fallen into ruin in the dark
days of barbarian invasion and internal anarchy. German
cloisters, like St. Gallen and Reichenau, became famous for
their learning. Cluny forged the theories that Hildebrand
wielded. Lanfranc of Bee made the Norman monastery one
of the great centres of dialectical and theological study in
northern Europe. Side by side with the cloister schools were
the schools of the great cathedrals, such as that of Reims,
where Gerbert taught. In these the teachers were partly
seculars, and there was perhaps more freedom and breadth of
interests than in the purely monastic academies. When the
revival of speculation brought out differences of opinion,
Berengar, the scholasticus of the cathedral school of Tours,
used the weapon of logic to attack the newly formulated
doctrine of transubstantiation. It was Lanfranc, the monk of
Bee, that employed all the resources of his skill to demolish
the arguments of the hardy heretic. But though Berengar
was first condemned by Leo ix. in 1050, it was not until


2 1 o European History, 918-1273

1078 that Gregory vn. practically settled the controversy by
insisting upon his complete retractation. So slow were the
methods against heresy in times when its danger was hardly

In the next generation two distinct tendencies present

themselves. Anselm of Aosta, Lanfranc's successor alike at

Bee and Canterbury, defended the traditional

*pL trsinci

tion to the position of the Church with a wider learning and
scholastic deeper insight than his predecessor. Anselm has
been called both the last of the fathers and the
first of the schoolmen. But while his motive was the same
as that of the later schoolmen, his methods were somewhat
different, and his enduring fame is not for the acuteness of
Anselm and ms dialectic, so much as for his broad insight into
Rosceiin. the deeper problems of philosophy and his antici-
pation of positions that were not fully taken up until the
reign of scholasticism was over. The Realism of which he
was the upholder was part of the earlier tradition of the
ecclesiastical schools. Much more epoch-making, though
not in itself altogether original, was the Nominalism of
Rosceiin, the true parent of scholastic philosophy. While
Anselm only saw in philosophy the way of justifying the
Church's teaching, Roscelin's logical nominalism led him
to deny the possibility of the Trinity in Unity and teach
undisguised Tritheism. But he argued as a logician and not
as a divine, and in 1092 acquiesced in the recantation which
was presented to him by a council at Soissons. From the
controversies of Anselm and Rosceiin all the later intellectual
activity sprang.

Early in the twelfth century there were many schools and
masters scattered through central Europe and particularly in
northern GauL Of one of the least of these schools and
scholars it could be said that 'clerks flocked from divers
Activity of countries to hear him daily; so that if thou
the school*, shouldst walk about the public places of the city
and behold the crowds of disputants, thou wouldst say that the

The Twelfth Century Renascence 211

citizens had left off their other labours and given themselves
to philosophy.' 1 There was no order or method in study.
Any one could teach who had learnt under an accredited
master and had received the Church's licence. The students
followed the masters, and the centres of study fluctuated as
reputations were made and destroyed. But at this period
there were three chief schools in northern France, all closely
connected with the cathedrals of the respective towns. The
teaching of Anselm of Laon (a scholar of St. Anselm) made
that city a great centre of theological lore. The dialectical
renown of William of Champeaux brought crowds of students
to the cathedral schools of Paris. The literary enthusiasm of
the Breton Platonist, Bernard Sylvester, and of his successor,
William of Conches, made the cathedral school of Chartres
' the most abundant spring of letters in Gaul.' 2

Peter Abelard (1079-1142), a Breton from Palais, near
Nantes, was the most striking manifestation of the new spirit.
He was the eldest son of a gentleman of good estate, but he
early renounced his inheritance, and devoted himself with
extraordinary enthusiasm to study. He first learnt dialectic
under Roscelin at Loches, near Tours, and afterwards under
William of Champeaux at Paris. But his sublime self-confi-
dence and acute sceptical intellect speedily brought Abelard and
him into conflict, both with the novel Nominalism his influence,
of Roscelin and with the old-fashioned extreme Realism of
William of Champeaux. He soon despised and strove to
supplant his masters. While William of Champeaux taught
with declining authority at the cathedral school, and after-
wards in the Abbey of St. Victor, his audacious disciple
gathered an opposition band of pupils round him in neigh-
bouring towns, and finally on the hill of Ste. Genevieve, where
he became so famous, that William retired in disgust to his

1 Poole, Illustrations of the History of Mediaeval Thought, p. 106,
quotes the local chronicle's account of the teaching of Odo of Cambrai
at the Abbey of St. Martin's, Tournai.

* See on this subject Clerv&l, Lts ecoles dt Chartres au moyen dge.

2 1 a European History, 918-1273

bishopric of Chalons. Abelard's acuteness, rhetorical skill,
and attractive personality, soon drew to Paris crowds of
students, who gave the city a unique position among the
schools of Europe. The Conceptualism, which he perhaps
learnt from Aristotle, seemed more scientific than Realism, and
less revolutionary than Nominalism. But it is not so much
what he taught, as the spirit in which he taught, that gave
Abelard his position in history. His method was essentially
rationalistic. He based his orthodoxy on its reasonableness.
1 A doctrine is not to be believed,' he is reported to have said,
4 because God has said it, but because we are convinced by-
reason that it is so.' Moved by religious zeal as well as greed
for applause, he went to Laon to study theology under
Anselm, but very soon came to despise his teacher, whom
he denounced as a phrase-monger. ' Anselm kindled a fire,'
he said, ' not to give light but to fill the house with smoke.'
He forsook the pretender's school, and at once proceeded to
prove the audacious thesis that a man could learn theology
without a master. He was soon back at Paris, where his
teaching attracted greater crowds than ever, until the tragic
conclusion of his relations with Heloisa drove him to take
the monastic vows at Saint-Denis. Even in the cloister he
was restless and insubordinate. He published a treatise on
the Trinity, which was denounced by the aged Roscelin as
savouring of Sabellianism, and burnt at a Council at Soissons
in 1 121. He left Saint-Denis after rousing the fury of his
fellow-monks by demonstrating the unhistorical character of
the accredited legend of St. Dionysius the Areopagite, their
imaginary founder. After some years spent in his new
monastery of the Paraclete in Champagne, Abelard sought
absolute retirement as abbot of St. Gildas de Rhuys, in the
Abelard and wildest part of his native Brittany. But he fled at
St. Bernard, last from the savage monks of St. Gildas, and again
appeared as a teacher in Paris. As the incarnation of the
new critical spirit, he had long been obnoxious to the stout
upholders of ecclesiastical tradition like Norbert and Bernard.

The Twelfth Century Renascence 213

Bernard now denounced him, and induced the bishops, who
registered his will, to assemble in council at Sens to condemn
his heresies (1141). Despairing of justice from such a body,
Abelard appealed to the Pope. But Innocent u. was as much
under Bernard's influence as the French bishops, and con-
demned him to lifelong confinement in a monastery. Abelard
fell sick at Cluny while on his way to Rome, and obtained
from Peter the Venerable a sympathy and kindness that stood
in strong contrast to Bernard's inveterate hostility. He was
received into the Cluniac fold, and made some sort of recanta-
tion of his heresies. In 1 142 he died at Chalon. The spirit of
his teaching did not die with him. The schools The Schools
of Paris retained the fame with which he had first of Paris -
invested them. While the Regular Canons of St. Victor made
their abbey the home of traditional theology tempered by
mysticism, the secular school of the cathedral retained the
spirit of inquiry and criticism which secured for it a per-
manence of influence that not even the patronage of St.
Bernard could give to the school of St Victor. If the stigma
of heresy was attached to some of Abelard's disciples, others
became lights of orthodoxy without any great departure from
Abelard's doctrines. Arnold of Brescia, denounced by St.
Bernard as the armour-bearer of the Goliath of misbelief his
master, incurred by his rash entrance into politics the fate
of a heretic who was also a rebel [pages 239-243 and 250].
But Peter the Lombard (died 1160), was not only
Abelard's pupil, but a pillar of orthodoxy, bishop
of Paris, and author of that Book of Sentences of Schoiastic-
which was the accredited text-book of all later A^j^cT
scholasticism. Gilbert de la Porree (died 1 154), a
disciple of the humanistic school of Chartres, and bishop of
Poitiers, was denounced by St. Bernard as a heretic. In
1148 Pope Eugenius, a creature of Bernard's, presided at a
council at Reims to deal with Gilbert's errors. But the very
cardinals refused any longer to follow Bernard's leading.
When Gilbert escaped uncondemned, the new theology had

2 1 4 European History, 918-1273

won its way to a recognised position in the Church. With its
wider diffusion, the new learning lost the character of revolt
which in Abelard's time was associated with it. It became
more systematic, more specialised, less original. The dis-
covery of the whole of Aristotle's Organon, in the latter part
of the century, crushed the critical spirit by the weight of
its authority. The conflict of studies drove out the liberal
pursuit of literature in favour of specialised dialectic and
theology, while the majority showed most favour to bread-
winning studies like the canon and civil laws. The dialectic
of Paris prevailed over the humanism of Chartres. But if
some of the first freshness of the new birth was thus lost, the
end of the century saw the scholar class a recognised element
in the European commonwealth. So numerous were the
' masters ' who taught in the Paris schools that they formed
themselves into guilds or corporations, from which the
germ of the University of Paris and of all other transalpine
universities grew.

Monasticism and philosophy combined to strengthen the
Church, but the spirit of revolt that had been conquered in
the schools now took more popular shapes. All through the
eleventh century there were found wandering teachers of
strange doctrines. From the beginning of the twelfth century
Popular definitively heretical sects were crystallising round
heresies, different principles of innovation. For more than
twenty years an unfrocked priest, Peter de Bruys, taught with
Peter de powerful effect in Dauphiny and Provence. He
Bruys. was an enthusiast like the old Montanists, reject-
ing all forms, discipline, and tradition, in favour of the living
spirit, and denouncing the sacerdotal system and many of
the most treasured dogmas of the Church. In 1137 or
1138, Peter was burnt alive at Saint-Gilles by the mob,
whose fury he had excited by making a bonfire of crosses
and pious emblems. But his followers kept together after
his death, under the guidance of Henry, an outcast monk of
Cluny. Peter the Venerable wrote against the Petrobrusians,

The Twelfth Century Renascence 2 1 5

and St. Bernard saw in the popularity of the young sect
the malign influence of the spirit of Abelard. ' The Catholic
faith,' he lamented, ' is discussed in the streets and market-
places. We have fallen upon evil times.' His energy
secured the conversion of many of the Petrobrusians. The
remnant joined themselves to the new sect of the Waldenses
or Vaudois.

Peter Valdez, a rich merchant of Lyons, gave up all his
property, and began about 1177 to wander about the country
preaching repentance and the imitation of the peterValdez
Apostles. He procured the translation of the Bible and the
into the vulgar tongue, and soon began to gather |,
followers. After a few years of toleration he
was excommunicated in 1184 by Pope Lucius in. Thus
cut off from the orthodox, Peter joined the Petrobrusians and
became more frankly heretical. Before his death in 1197,
his followers were to be found in Bohemia, in Lorraine, in
southern France, in Aragon, and in northern Italy. These
'Poor Men of Lyons,' as they were called, rejected all priestly
ministration, and included in one sweeping denunciation prayer
for the dead, six of the seven sacraments, military service,
and property. But grave differences soon broke them up
into hostile sects. The Lombards sought to organise them-
selves separately from the Church, while the French were
content to remain a school within the Church. The wise
policy of later Popes allowed the more moderate to combine
their own way of thinking with acceptance of the Church's
authority, and they remained for the most part humble-
minded quietists, whose highest aspiration was to live in

Other sects assumed a more dangerous complexion than the
Poor Men of Lyons. From the eleventh century onwards,
obscure bodies of heretics appear under the names of
Manicheans, Paulicians, Cathari, Bulgarians, Patarini, and
Publicani. Their strength was at first in the Rhineland,
whence they infected the north of France. Finally they

2 1 6 European History, 918-1273

found a more sympathetic field in southern France, where
heresy had long flourished in various forms. The origin
The Mani- of these sects is obscure. The ancient opinion
cheansect. tnat tne y were di rec t descendants of the

ancient Gnostics and Manichees cannot be upheld, and it is
difficult even to prove their affiliation with the Paulicians and
Bogomili of the Balkan peninsula, whose heresy had troubled
the Eastern Empire in the days of the Macedonian and
Comnenian dynasties. Their doctrines are as hard to define
as their origin, and we have for the most part to rely upon
the statements of their enemies. But it is clear that they
represent neither a definite sect nor an organised body of
heretical doctrine. Like the early Gnostics, they indicate a
vague general tendency rather than any precise teaching, and
differed widely among each other. The more thorough-
going of them were dualists like the Manichees, believing that
there existed two equal and co-eternal deities, the one evil
and the other good. The rest seem to have held the modified
dualism of the Bogomili, admitting the good principle to be
the only God, and the author of the New Testament, and
regarding the evil principle as a fallen spirit, the creator of the
world, the source of the Old Testament revelation, essentially
the Demiurgus of the Gnostics. The practical teaching of
these heretics was as various as their doctrine. They utterly
despised all things of the flesh, and from this contempt
flowed moral doctrines both ascetic and antinomian. They
distinguished sharply between the elect and the reprobate.
They rejected the authority both of the Church and of the
State. Instead of the ordinary offices of the Church, they had
a sort of spiritual baptism called Consolamentum, which was
reserved to the perfect believers. Apart from their religious
heresies, they were frankly hostile to the whole order of society.
The south of France soon swarmed with these innovators,
The who took the name of Albigenses, Albigeois, from

Aibigense*. one Q f th e j r strongholds, the town of Albi on the
Tarn. Besides the avowed heresies, a general spirit of revolt

The Twelfth Century Renascence 217

against the Church seized alike upon lords and people. Before
the end of the century, the Albigenses had obtained a firm hold
over the county of Toulouse and its dependencies, and defied
the efforts of the Church to root them out. Elsewhere the
speculations of the twelfth century had no very prolonged
vitality. A few burnings of leaders, a crusade of energetic
preaching, and a dexterous effort to turn the undisciplined zeal
of the heretic into more orthodox channels, were generally
enough to prevent their further progress. The offspring of
vague discontent, twelfth century heresy took as a rule such
vague and fantastic shapes that it almost condemned itself.
After all, the spirit of Henry of Cluny or Peter Valdez was
not very different from that of Norbert or Robert of Arbrissel.
But however ill-regulated, it was another sign that the human
mind had awakened from the sleep of the Dark Ages. If
the popular heretics could not reason, they could at least

We have still to deal with one of the great intellectual
forces of the twelfth century. The revival of the scientific
study of law, which grew up alongside the new The rev ; va i
birth of dialectic and philosophy, had almost as of the study
powerful an influence as these studies in stimu-
lating intellectual interests, and had practical results of an even
more direct and palpable kind. The study of Roman Law had
never been quite forgotten, especially in Italy. The revival
of the Roman Empire by the Ottos, the development of the
power of the secular state all over Europe, the growth of
ordered municipal government in southern Europe, and
particularly in Italy, all contributed to make this study more
popular, more necessary, and more universal. But side by
side with the development of the civil power the even greater
growth of the ecclesiastical authority set up a law of the
Church in rivalry with the law of the State. The legal revival
was thus two-sided. There was a fresh interest in both the
Civil Law, which Rome had handed down, and in the Canon
Law, which had slowly grown up in the ecclesiastical courts,

218 European History, 918-1273

The same age that witnessed the work of Irnerius saw the
publication of the Decretum of Gratian.

The early Middle Ages had an almost superstitious reverence
for the written law of Rome. Its decisions were still looked
imenus and u P on as eternal and universally binding, even when
the revival of practically it had been superseded by a mass of
civil Law. fluctuating feudal custom. In Italy the elemen-
tary texts of the Roman Law had always been studied, and
its principles always upheld in the courts. The eleventh
century battle of Papacy and Empire became before long
a conflict of political principles and theories. Both sides
sought weapons in the legal treasures of ancient Rome.
Accordingly the eleventh century saw flourishing schools of
law at Pavia, at Ravenna, and perhaps at Rome. Early in
the twelfth century the fame of Irnerius led to the establish-
ment of a still greater school of law at Bologna, already
the seat of flourishing schools of dialectic and literature, and
where the teaching of law had already been begun by Pepo.
Irnerius was a jurist in the service of the Countess Matilda,
who, at her request, lectured on the laws of Justinian, and
particularly the Pandects, at Bologna. The fact that he was
afterwards in the service of Henry v. shows that both the
papal and imperial powers agreed in welcoming his work.
But with the appearance of Irnerius upholding the election of
a schismatic Pope in 1118, the new school of Civil Lawyers
became frankly imperialist, looking upon the law as
furnishing an armoury of texts, from which the divine rights
and universal claims of the Roman Emperor could be
deduced, though also treating it as an intellectual discipline,
and almost as a literary exercise. Wealth, honour, and
political importance were showered on men, who possessed
at once the key to theoretical knowledge and to success in
practical life. Even earlier than at Paris, the law schools
of Bologna became organised and permanent Before the
end of the century, the crowds of mature foreign students
who flocked to hear the famous successors of Irnerius had

The Twelfth Century Renascence 219

set up the student-university of Bologna, whose establishment
is as much of an epoch in the history of European thought
as that of the university of masters at Paris.

The Church had long had its own courts and its own
law ; but the victory of the Hildebrandine system gave a new
importance to the Courts Christian and to the The'Decre-
Canon Law which they upheld. It was the aim tum ' of

of the Church reformers to draw a hard and fast r * n d

line between Church and State, and to bind of Canon
together the scattered and often antagonistic
corporations, out of which the Church was constituted,
into a single self-governing, self-sufficing, independent body,
of which the Pope was the absolute monarch. All through
the eleventh century efforts were made by leading ecclesi-
astical lawyers to do for the law of the Church what was
already being done for the law of the State. Italy witnessed
most of these attempts, but the canonists of Germany and
Gaul were not behindhand, and the most famous of the early
compilations, which appeared in 1115, was the work of a north-
French churchman, Ivo, Bishop of Chartres, a pupil of Lanfranc
of Bee. But these preliminary efforts were superseded by
the Decretum, or more accurately the Concordantia discordan-
tium Canonum, of Gratian, which probably appeared in 1142.
Gratian was a monk of the new order of Camaldoli, living in a
convent at Bologna. The book which he published was a
text-book, the effort of a private student, with no other
authority than what it could command from its own merits.
But its merits were such that it swept all its predecessors
out of the field, and soon won something of the authority
that belonged to a definite codification of previous ecclesi-
astical jurisprudence. It appeared at the right place and
at the right moment. From that time onwards the study
of Canon Law stood side by side with that of the Civil Law
at Bologna, and the town of Irnerius and Gratian became
the intellectual centre of the great controversies of Church and
State, which then distracted Europe. Before long the Canon

22O European History, 918-1273

Law became as elaborate and comprehensive a system as that
Civil Law, which it copied, developed and sometimes reacted
against. The canonists became a band of specialists, separated
from the civilians on the one hand and the theologians on the
other. Just as the practical advantages of the study of Civil
Law called away the votaries of the unprofitable secular study
of literature, so did the practical uses of Canon Law divert
active and ambitious churchmen from the academic study

Online LibraryT. F. (Thomas Frederick) ToutThe empire and the papacy, 918-1273 → online text (page 18 of 45)