T. F. (Thomas Frederick) Tout.

The empire and the papacy, 918-1273 online

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CHAPTER XI

FREDERICK BARBAROSSA AND ALEXANDER III.
THE RENEWED CONFLICT OF PAPACY AND EMPIRE (i 152-

Election and Policy of Frederick i. Frederick and Adrian IV. Fall of
Arnold of Brescia Frederick's early German Policy The Burgundian
Marriage and the Diet of Besan9on Breach with the Papacy Frederick's
Second Italian Journey Diet of Roncaglia and Destruction of Milan
Alexander in. and the Antipopes The Lombard League Battle of
Legnano Peace of Constance Frederick and Germany Fall of Henry
the Lion Division of the Saxon Duchy Union of Sicily with the
Empire The Lateran Council and the last days of Alexander ill. His
Successors Urban in. and Frederick The Crusade and Death of
Frederick His Personality and Character.

' IT is the cardinal principle of the law of the Roman
Empire,' wrote Otto of Freising, ' that the succession depends
not upon hereditary right, but on the election E i ect ; ono f
of the princes.' According to this precept the Frederick i.,
magnates of Germany met in March 1152 at II5a *
Frankfurt to appoint a successor to Conrad in. Some of the
barons of Italy attended the assembly. ' There were,' wrote
Otto, 'two mighty houses in the Roman Empire, one that
of the Henrys of Weiblingen, the other that of the Welfs of

1 Among the modern authorities for this period may be quoted Prutz's
Kaiser Friedrich /., Reuter's Geschichte Alexanders des Dritten und der
Kirche seiner Zeit, and Picker's Forschungen zur Reichs- und Rechts-
geschichte in Italien. Giesebrecht's great work, unluckily, ends with the
fall of Henry the Lion. Raumer's Geschichte der Hohenslaztfen is quite
antiquated. A full account of Frederick's Italian struggle is to be found in
English in Testa's History of the War of Frederick I. against the Commune!
of Lombardy (1877). Otto of Freising is a first-rate original chronicler.

245



246 European History, 918-1273

Altorf. The one was wont to furnish mighty emperors, the
other puissant dukes. These families, jealous of each other,
had been long accustomed to disturb the tranquillity of the
commonwealth by their feuds, but in the days of Henry v.
Frederick, the duke, representative of the royal stock, had
married the daughter of Henry, Duke of the Bavarians, the
representative of the ducal family. The offspring of this
union was Duke Frederick, and the princes, regarding not
only the energy and valour of the young duke, but consider-
ing that he shared the blood of both houses, and like a
corner-stone could bind the two together, chose him as their
king that thus with God's blessing he might end their ancient
quarrel.'

The new king was well worthy of the general confidence
whicti he inspired. Already thirty years of age, he had
Frederick's abundantly displayed rare gifts both as a states-
policy. man and as a general. He had administered his
duchy of Swabia with energy and success. He had combined
loyalty to his uncle Conrad with friendship for his cousin
Henry the Lion, and his mediation had saved Duke Welf vi.
in the time of his greatest disaster. His exploits on the
Crusade had spread abroad his fame, and the few survivors
who had reached home in safety recognised that they owed
their lives to his courage and policy. He was admired for
his kingly bearing and fair proportions, for the chivalry and
generosity of his character, for his independent attitude towards
the Church, for the subtle policy so rarely combined with the
simple virtues of the hero of romance.

Frederick threw himself, with all the passionate ardour
of his character, into the difficult task of restoring the
waning glories of the Empire. For the thirty-seven years of
life that remained to him, he never faltered in his task. To
him Germany and Italy were but two sections of that Holy
Roman Empire whose /rights and dignities he strove with all
his might to uphold. /'During all his reign,' wrote a chroni-
cler, ' nothing was nearer his heart than re-establishing the



Frederick Barbarossa and A lexander III. 247

Empire of Rome on its ancient basis.' To him every right
that had been exercised by Justinian or Constantine, by
Charlemagne or Otto the Great, was literally his right as
the lawful successor of these mighty rulers. He has been,
very truly described as an ' imperialist Hildebrand,' and
Hildebrand himself had not a more lofty consciousness
of his high purpose and divine mission to establish God's
kingdom on earth. But he was no dreamer like Otto, ' the
wonder of the world.' He strove to realise his lofty ideals
with shrewd practical wisdom and businesslike command of
details. The great jurists of Bologna, who constantly stood
round his throne, not only taught him that the Emperor was
lord of the world, and that the will of the prince had the
force of law, but illustrated to the most minute detail the
individual prerogatives of his office. His German subjects
re-echoed these sentiments, and his uncle, Bishop Otto of
Freising, taught that to the Emperor belonged the protection
of the whole world, u When bitter experience showed him that
all his strength and all his faith were of little avail in setting
up again a polity which the age had outlived, he had per-
force to distinguish between his position as German King
and Roman Emperor, and apply one method in breakin&down
the turbulent feudalism of his northern kingdom and another
in checking the growing spirit of municipal independence in
the lands beyond the Alps. In Italy his path seemed strewn
with disasters, and even in Germany he obtained no very
brilliant success. But if he failed, his was one of the most
magnificent failures in history, a failure which did not prevent
him from handing on his power almost unimpaired to his son.
With all his faults, Frederick remains the noblest embodiment
of medieval kingship, the most imposing, the most heroic,
and the most brilliant of the long line of German princes,
who strove to realise the impracticable Jbul glorious political
ideal of the Middle Ages.

Frederick from the first directed his attention to Italy, and in
March 1153 concluded a treaty with the fugitive Eugenius in.



248 European History, 918-1273

at Constance. By this he agreed to make no peace with
Roger of Sicily without the approval of the Curia, and to reduce

the rebellious City to obedience to the Pope, in
ment of return for the promise of the imperial crown and
Germany, papal support against his enemies. /But Frederick

was too wise to hurry across the Alps before he was
assured of the obedience of Germany, where from the moment
of his coronation he went on progress, receiving the homage
of his vassals and seeking to appease ancient feuds. ' The
loyalty of Henry the Lion was rewarded by the formal grant
of the duchy of Bavaria, while Frederick's own duchy of
Swabia was granted to his cousin Frederick of Rothenburg.
Berthold of Zahringen, a possible rival for this position, was
conciliated by his appointment as rector or viceroy in Bur-
gundy. Henry, Archbishop of Mainz, paid the penalty of his
solitary opposition to Frederick's election by his deposition
from his archbishopric on a charge of wasting the lands of his
see. Even beyond the limits of Germany, the Scandinavian and
Slavonic princes were taught that there was again an Emperor,
and the disputed succession to Denmark was settled by
Frederick's mediation, and the king, Svend, who owed his
throne to Frederick's action, submitted to become his feudal
dependant But after two years the outlook in Italy became
so threatening that Frederick was compelled to leave his

German work half undone and hurry across the

Fredericks *

first Italian Alps with a small force hastily collected. Accom-
vi " lt "54-55- panied by Henry the Lion, and the Bavarian
palatine, Otto of Wittelsbach, and only 1800 knights, he
crossed the Brenner in October 1154 and appeared in the
plain of Lombardy. He held his Diet at Roncaglia near
Piacenza, and received the homage of the barons and cities of
Italy. Milan held sullenly aloof, but small as was Frederick's
following, the destruction of Tortona (Easter, 1155), an ally of
Milan, taught the Italians that the Emperor was to be feared.
After receiving the Lombard crown at Pavia, Frederick
marched through Tuscany to Rome. /



Frederick Barbarossa and Alexander III. 249

The condition of the Papacy was still critical, though the
persistence of Eugenius in. had broken the back of the
Roman opposition, and Arnold of Brescia had already begun
to lose influence among the fickle Romans. But Eugenius m.
had died on 8th July 1153, and his successor, the mild
Anastasius iv., dwelt continuously in Rome until his death,
after a reign of less than a year and a half, on 3rd December
1154. The next Pope, Adrian iv., was the only Englishman
who ever occupied the throne of St. Peter. The son of a poor
man, Nicholas Breakspear had adopted the life of a wandering
scholar, and had worked his way up to the head- Adrian iv.,
ship of the house of Canons Regular of St. Rufus, "54-59-
near Valence on the Rhone. His stern rule excited the
hostility of the canons whose complaints to Eugenius in. first
attracted the Pope's notice to him. In 1146 he was made
cardinal-bishop of Albano, and was soon afterwards sent on
an important legation to Scandinavia, in the course of which
he freed the northern churches from their dependency on
Germany, by setting up the new archbishopric of Trondhjem.
Soon after his return he was elected to the Papacy. Adrian iv.
was a man of high character, sound learning, and kindly dis-
position. He fully felt the responsibility of his great office,
declaring that ' the Pope's tiara was splendid because it burnt
like fire.' His pontificate began amidst street-fights in which
a cardinal was slain ; but Adrian took the strong measure of
laying Rome under interdict, and the inconstant citizens,
whose gains were decreased by the refusal of pilgrims to visit
a city under the Pope's ban, made their submission to him
and drove out Arnold of Brescia, who spent the short re-
mainder of his life as a wandering fugitive. But William, the
new King of Sicily, devastated Campania, and threatened
to march on Rome. In his despair, Adrian renewed with
Frederick the Treaty of Constance, and went out to Nepi to
meet him. The good understanding was almost destroyed
when Frederick refused to hold the bridle of the Pope's horse
and assist him to dismount, and the alliance was only renewed



250 European History, 918-1273

by Frederick's submission, which was rendered necessary by

the sullen hostility of the Romans to Frederick and Adrian

alike. On i8th Tune Adrian crowned Frederick

Coronation . zr* 1 - : ~ ., . ~

of Frederick, Emperor in St. Peter s, hastily and almost secretly,
f or f ear o f the Romans, who, on hearing of it,



rushed to arms. Frederick could only hold
his ground by hard fighting, and soon lack of provisions
forced him to flee from Rome, taking the Pope with
him. The fierce heat of the Italian summer had already
decimated Frederick's little army, and he now resolved to re-
cross the Alps, leaving Adrian to his fate. The only act of
Death of power that had followed the reconciliation of Pope
Arnold of and Emperor was the ^cecution^of Arnold of

Brescia, who had been taken prisoner in Tuscany
by the Emperor, and having been handed over to the car-
dinals, was condemned and executed as a heretic. His
dead body was burnt at the stake. ' His ashes,' says Otto
of Freising, 'were thrown into the Tiber, that his relics
might not be worshipped by the obstinate populace.' Arnold's
work, the Roman Commune, lived after him, and Adrian,
after the Emperor's departure, was forced to make terms
with it.

On recrossing the Brenner, Frederick began anew the task
of reconciling Germany, which had been interrupted by his
Troubles Italian journey. Fierce feuds had burst out all over
in Germany. Germany, and in particular the quarrels of Arnold,
the new Archbishop of Mainz, with Hermann, Count Palatine
of the Rhine, had laid waste the Rhineland. The establish-
ment of Henry the Lion as Duke of Bavaria had been bitterly
resented by Frederick's uncle, Henry of Austria, called, from
his favourite oath, 'Henry Jasomirgott,' who still waged
fierce war against his rival for the possession of his former
duchy. But the return of the Emperor was soon marked by
good results, and from the measures taken to appease the
aggrieved feudatories sprang a new departure in the territorial
history of Germany. In September 1156 he ended the



Frederick Barbarossa and Alexander III. 251

rivalry of Henry the Lion and JHenry of Austria by investing
the latter with Austria, erected into a new duchy absolutely
independent of Bavaria, ancf itself indivisible,

- ," , . ;~ , , / T> i i , The Duchy

hereditary in the house of Babenberg even in the O f Austria
female line, and exempt from many of the burdens established,
usually imposed on the great fiefs. In the creation
of the duchy of Austria, Frederick prepared the way for the
more sweeping changes in the same direction which followed
the fall of Henry the Lion in 1180. Leaving the control of
northern and eastern Germany to Albert the Bear and the two
Henrys, Frederick attempted to consolidate his own dynastic
power in the south-west. He punished the disorderly Count
Palatine Hermann for his attacks on Mainz, by depriving him
of his possessions. These he granted to his half-brother
Conrad, his father's son by his second marriage, and already
possessor of the hereditary Salic estates round Worms, the
Palatinate of the Rhine. Conrad united these two districts
to form a new territorial power, that had for its centre the
recently-founded castle and town of Heidelberg, and was the
starting-point of the later Palatinate. In 1156 Frederick
married Beatrice, the heiress of Renaud of Macon, Coimt of
Burgundy. 1 This match immensely strengthened
the_imperial power in that Middle.- Kingdom marriage ani
where it was always weak, and moreover materially Burgundian

' * i~~ i"~ 1-. - policy.

extended the domains of Frederick in that region
where his influence was already strongest. Hisjiirect sway
now stretched from the Swabian uplands across the middle
Rhine to the Vosges, and thence south to the neighbourhood
of Lyons. Such an accession of power necessarily brought
about the end of the nominal Zahringen rectorate, but
Frederick bought off Duke Berthold by lands and privileges
beyond the Jura. It was only by freehTjjacrificing his sovereign
rights that Frederick was able- to- persuade the~~mngnates
of Germany to promise him such adequate support in his

1 On Frederick's relations to the Middle Kingdom, see Fournier's
Royaume (f Aries tt de Vienne, 1138-1378.



252 European History, 918-1273

projected expedition into Italy as would enable him to cross the
Alps as a conqueror and not as a suppliant. For the moment
his policy seemed extremely successful. Besides conciliating
Germany, he had won back Burgundy. He had conciliated
Duke Vratislav of Bohemia, who had refused him homage,
by allowing him to crown himself king. He had forced King
Boleslav iv. of Poland to recognise his overlordship by a
brilliant invasion that got as far into Poland as Gnesen.
Svend of Denmark was still his obedient vassal. Henry n.
of England wrote acknowledging in general terms the supre-
macy of the Emperor over all his dominions. In his chancellor
Rainald of Dassel, he found a zealous and able chief minister.
'In Germany,' wrote Ragewin, the continuator of Otto of
Freising, ' there was now such an unwonted peace that men
seemed changed, the land a different one, the very heaven had
become milder and softer.' Frederick's early glory culminated
Diet of m tne brilliant Diet at Besan9on, the chief town
Besanjon, of his wife's inheritance, in October 1157, where
'all the earth,' exclaimed Ragewin, 'filled with
admiration for the clemency and justice of the Emperor, and
moved both by love and fear, strove to overwhelm him with
novel praises and new honours.' This Diet witnessed a hot
dispute between Frederick and the Papacyr~~

Ever since Frederick's sudden withdrawal from Rome, his

relations with Adrian iv. had been exceedingly strained. Both

claimed to be lord of the world, and neither could

Alliance of . __ ; TV^ .

Adrian iv. agree as to the respective limits of their power,
and the F or a moment the common fear of the Italian

Normans.

communes and alarm at the revolutionary heresy
of Arnold might unite them in a temporary truce. The
pressing danger once over, they fell back into their natural
relations of watchful hostility. When Frederick withdrew from
Italy, he had neither reduced Rome to the obedience of the
Pope, nor had chastised the forays of the new King William
of Sicily. Adrian soon found that he would have to fight f<
his own hand. He cleverly formed a league with the feudal



Frederick Barbara ssa and Alexander HI, 253

barons of Apulia, who were ripe for revolt against their over-,
powerful sovereign. He negotiated with the Greek Emperor,
Manuel i., who was willing to fight William, if the Pope would
grant him three Neapolitan seaports. Alarmed at such a for-
midable coalition, William became the Pope's vassal, and re-
ceived in return the investiture of Apulia and Sicily. Adrian iv.
thus renewed the policy of Leo ix. and Innocent u., and
now further strengthened himself by an agreement with the
Romans. By accepting the Roman Commune, he was allowed
again to take up his residence in the City. Without the least
help from Frederick, Adrian had turned the chief enemies oi
the Holy See into allies.

Frederick bitterly resented the Pope's alliances with William
and the Romans, which he regarded as breaches of faith.
Adrian feared the increased power of Frederick, Q Uarrel of
and had a more tangible grievance in Frederick's Frederick
imprisonment of the Swedish Archbishop of Lund, and Adrian -
an old friend of Adrian's in the days of his northern mission.
He accordingly sent the most trusted of his advisers, Roland
Bandinelli of Siena, Cardinal and Chancellor of the Roman
Church, to state his grievances to the Emperor at the Diet of
Besangon. Roland's first salutation of the Emperor The Cardinal
was threatening./ ' The Pope,' he said, ' greets you Roland at
as a father and the cardinals greet you as brothers.' an s on -
Frederick was irritated at the new and unheard-of claim of the
cardinals to rank as the equals of Caesar. But he was still
more annoyed at the recitation of a papal letter, which boasted
that the Pope had conferred many benefits on the Emperor. 1
The Latin phrase (conferre benefidd) used by Adrian might
bear the technical sense of granting a feudal benefice from a
lord to a vassal, and Rainald the Chancellor took care to

1 ' Debes erim ante oculos mentis reducere . . . qualiter imperialis
insigne coronae libentissime conferens, benignissimo gremio suo tuae
sublimitatis apicem studuerit confovere . . . sed si majora beneficia de
manu nostra excellentia tua suscepisset . . . non immerito gauderemus. 1
Ragewinus, Gesta Frtdtrici Imperatoris, in Pertz, Serif (ores, xx. 421.



"/
^-A> - ^ - ^ - >^oo

254 European History, 918-1273

.translate it in that sense to the illiterate magnates. The
fiercest indignation burst out, which rose to fever heat when
Cardinal Roland answered the objectors by inquiring, 'JFrom
whom then does the Emperor hold the Empire if not from
the Pope?' In answer to the PopeVimplTeoT claim of feudal
supremacy, the Emperor circulated a declaration of his rights
throughout the Empire. 'The Empire is held by us,' he
declared, 'through the election of the princes from God
alone, who gave the world to be ruled by the two necessary
swords, and taught through St. Peter that men should fear
God and honour the king. Whosoever says that we received
the imperial crown from the lord Pope as a benefice goes
against the Divine command and the teaching of Peter, and
is guilty of falsehood.' Early next year Adrian was forced
to explain that he had used ' beneficium ' in its general sense
of 'benefit' and not in its feudal sense of 'fief.' A com-
plete breach was thus prevented, but the ill-will still smoul-
dered on and soon found a chance of T)ursting~ouT~ again
into flame.

In July 1 158 Frederick, at the head of a great army, crossed
the Alps for the second time. ' The arrogance of the Milanese,'
Frederick's ne declared, ' has long caused them to raise their
Second heads against the Roman Empire, and is now

journey, disturbing all Italy. We have therefore resolved
1158-1162. to turn against them all the forces of the Empire.'
Lombardy was divided into two rival leagues, which bitterly
hated each other. While Brescia, Crema, Parma, Piacenza,
and Modena followed the league of Milan, Pavia headed a
second confederacy, which included Lodi, Como,
' 55 an( ^ Cremona, which fearing the power of Milan,



Lombard gave its support to the Emperor. After a fierce
resistance Milan also made its submission, and
promised to submit "tcfthe Emperor the ratification of the
appointment of their consuls.

Flushed with his easy triumph, Frederick held in November
a second Diet at Roncaglia. The most famous civilians of



Frederick Barbarossa and Alexander HI. 255

Bologna attended and declared the imperial rights so vigorously
that Frederick took their order under his special protection,
and gave doctors of laws the privileges of knights. Diet at
It was announced that the Emperor had resolved Ronca e ha -
to take all his royal rights back into his own hands. The
pleasure of the prince had the force of law, and no length of
prescription could justify usurpation. But the Emperor was
willing to reinvest both the lay and ecclesiastical lords and
the towns with rights to which they had a lawful title. Never-
theless, the supreme magistrates of the towns were to be in all
cases appointed by the king with the assent of the citizens.
Instead of the aristocratic consulate, it was henceforth a main
object of Frederick's policy to establish a podestb as the
supreme governor of each town. This representative of the
imperial power was generally a stranger, with no interest or
sympathy in the town that he ruled, and universally detested
as an intruder and a despot. Immediately after the dissolution
of the Diet, Rainald of Dassel and Otto of Wittelsbach went
round to the various Lombard cities to set ^ podestas. Milan,
disgusted at the Emperor's ignoring the terms of their former
capitulation, refused to receive its podesta, and broke into
revolt. Other cities followed its example one of which,
Crema, was carried by assault by Frederick after a terrible
siege. Milan held out for three years, and had to face the
whole of Frederick's power, until at last famine forced it to
open its gates. Frederick hardened his heart to the prayers
of the Milanese, and made a great favour of allow- T

7 Revolt and

ing them their lives. The chief men of the city destruction
were kept as hostages ; the walls and defences of Mllan -
were destroyed; and the ancient inhabitants were forbidden to
dwell in the open village that now represented the city of St.
Ambrose, where a few ancient churches, conspicuous among
which was the Basilica of the patron saint, alone arose amidst
the ruins. The relics of the three Magi of the East were
secured by Rainald of Dassel for his own church at Cologne,
of which they have ever since remained the chief glory. The



\ 0-v-. 'I \J X

256 European History, 918-1273

municipal independence of Italy seemed extinct The Emperor
was king as well as overlord.

The Church witnessed with extreme alarm the growing for-
tunes of the Emperor. Adrian iv. showed his ill-will by putting
obstacles in the way of the appointment of imperial nominees
to vacant bishoprics, and Frederick retaliated by reverting in
his correspondence with the Pope to a more ancient but less
respectful form of address. In great disgust Adrian encouraged
Milan to resist, and got ready for an open breach. He hoped
to form an Italian league against the Emperor, and did not
scruple to invoke the aid of the schismatic Manuel against the
orthodox Frederick. But, on ist September 1159, he was cut
off by a sudden illness in the midst of his preparations. The
next Pope was that Cardinal Roland whose zeal at Besanson
had even outrun the zeal of Adrian himself. Roland assumed
Alexander 1 1 1. the significant name of Alexander in. ; and during
1159-1181. his unusually long pontificate of nearly twenty-two
years, he continued his predecessor's policy with such energy
that the strife of Pope and Emperor was soon renewed with all



Online LibraryT. F. (Thomas Frederick) ToutThe empire and the papacy, 918-1273 → online text (page 21 of 45)