T. F. (Thomas Frederick) Tout.

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and consequently renounce an inalienable union between
Sicily and the Empire. Frederick now left Sicily, repeated his
submission to Innocent at Rome, and crossed the Alps for
Germany.

Otto had already abandoned Italy to meet the threatened
danger in the north. Misfortunes soon showered thick
upon him. His Hohenstaufen wife, Beatrice, died, and
her loss lessened his hold on southern Germany. When
Frederick appeared, Swabia and Bavaria were already
ready to welcome the heir of the mighty southern line,
and aid him against the audacious Saxon. The spiritual
magnates flocked to the side of the friend and pupil of the
Pope. In December 1212 followed Frederick's formal
election and his coronation at Mainz by the Archbishop
Siegfried. Early in 1213 Henry of Kalden first appeared
at his court. Henceforward the important class of the



33O European History, 918-1273

' ministeriales ' was divided. While some remained true to
Otto, others gradually went back to the personal representa-
tive of Hohenstaufen.

Otto was now thrown back on Saxony and the lower Rhine-
land. He again took up his quarters with the faithful citizens
The papal ^ Cologne, whence he appealed for help to his
and imperial uncle, John of England, still under the papal ban.
league., i M3 . with English help he united the princes of the
Netherlands in a party of opposition to the Pope and the
Hohenstaufen. Frederick answered by a closer and more
effective league with France. Even before his coronation he
had met Louis, the son of Philip Augustus, at Vaucouleurs.
All Europe seemed arming at the bidding of the Pope and
Emperor.

John of England now hastily reconciled himself to
Innocent, at the price of the independence of his kingdom.
He thus became in a better position to aid his excom-
municated nephew, and revenge the loss of Normandy and
Anjou on Philip Augustus. His plan was now a twofold
one. He himself summoned the barons of England to
follow him in an attempt to recover his ancient lands on
the Loire. Meanwhile, Otto and the Netherlandish lords
were encouraged, by substantial English help, to carry out a
combined attack on France from the north. The opposition of
the English barons reduced to comparative insignificance the
expedition to Poitou, but a very considerable army gathered
together under Otto, and took up its position in the
neighbourhood of Tournai. Among the French King's
vassals, Ferrand, Count of Flanders, long hostile to his
overlord Philip, and the Count of Boulogne, fought
strenuously on Otto's side; while, of the imperial vassals,
the Count of Holland and the Duke of Brabant [Lower
Lorraine] were among Otto's most active supporters. A
considerable English contingent came also, headed by
Otto's bastard uncle, William Longsword, Earl of Salisbury.
Philip himself commanded the chivalry of France, leaving his



Europe in the Days of Innocent ITT., 1 198-1216 331

son Louis to fight against John in Poitou. On zyth July
me decisive battle was fought at Bouvines, a few miles south-
west of Tournai. The army of France and the Battle of
Church gained an overwhelming victory over the Bouvines,
league which had incurred the papal ban, and 1214 '
Otto's fortunes were utterly shattered. He soon lost all his
hold over the Rhineland, and was forced to retreat to the
ancient domains of his house in Saxony. His remaining
friends made their peace with Philip and Frederick. The
defection of the Wittelsbachers lost his last hold in the south
of Germany, and the desertion of Valdemar of Denmark
deprived him of a strong friend in the north. John with-
drew from continental politics to be beaten more decisively
by his barons than he had been beaten in Poitou or at
Bouvines. By the summer of 1215, Aachen and Cologne
had opened their gates to Frederick, who repeated his
coronation in the old chapel of Charlemagne. Before Otto's
death in 1218 his power was confined to Brunswick and the
region of the Harz. His brother Henry delivered The fail of
up the imperial insignia to the conqueror, and theGueifs
received a confirmation of his hereditary estates, triumph of
In 1235 the establishment of the Duchy of indent.
Brunswick-Liineburg, in favour of the Guelfic house, secured
for it a permanent position among the territorial powers of
northern Germany. The higher aspirations of the descen-
dants of Henry the Lion perished for ever on the fatal field
of Bouvines.

Frederick n. was now undisputed King of the Romans, and
Innocent in. had won another great triumph. By the
Golden Bull of Eger (July 1213) Frederick had already re-
newed the concessions made by Otto to the Church, and
promised obedience to the Holy See. In 1216 he pledged
himself to separate Sicily from the Empire, and establish his
son Henry there as king, under the supremacy of the Church.
But like his other triumphs, Innocent's victory over the
Empire was purchased at no small cost. For the first time,



332 European History, 918-1273

a German national irritation at the aggressions of the Papacy
began to be distinctly felt. It found an adequate expression
in the indignant verses of Walter von der Vogelweide, pro-
testing against the priests who strove to upset the rights of the
laity, and denouncing the greed and pride of the foreigners
who profited by the humiliation of Germany.

Amidst all the distractions of Western politics, Innocent m.
ardently strove to revive the crusading spirit. He never
innocent in. succeeded in raising all Europe, as several of his
and the predecessors had done. But after great efforts,

'"' the eloquent preaching of Fulk of Neuilly stirred
up a fair amount of enthusiasm for the crusading cause, and,
in 1204, a considerable crusading army, mainly French,
mustered at Venice. It was the bitterest disappointment of
Innocent's life that the Fourth Crusade [see chapter xv.]
never reached Palestine, but was diverted to the conquest of
the Greek Empire. Yet the establishment of a Catholic
Latin Empire at Constantinople, at the expense of the Greek
schismatics, was no small triumph. Not disheartened by
his first failure, Innocent still urged upon Europe the
need of the holy war. If no expedition against the Saracens
of Syria marked the result of his efforts, his pontificate
saw the extension of the crusading movement to other
lands. Innocent preached the Crusade against the Moors
of Spain, and rejoiced in the news of the momentous victory
of the Christians at Navas de Tolosa [see chapter xx.].
He saw the beginnings of a fresh Crusade against the
obstinate heathen on the eastern shores of the Baltic. But
Extension of a ^ these Crusades were against pagans and
thecrusad- infidels. Innocent made a much greater new
departure when he proclaimed the first Crusade
directed against a Christian land. The Albigensian Crusade,
which can more profitably be described when we deal with
the development of the French monarchy [see chapter xviL],
succeeded in destroying the most dangerous and widespread
popular heresy that Christianity had witnessed since the fall



Europe in the Days of Innocent ///., 1198-1216 333

of the Roman Empire, and Innocent rejoiced that his times
saw the Church purged of its worst blemish. But in extend-
ing the benefits of a Crusade to Christians fighting against
Christians, he handed on a precedent which was soon fatally
abused by his successors. In crushing out the young
national life of southern France the Papacy again set a
people against itself. The denunciations of the German
Minnesinger were re-echoed in the complaints of the last of
the Troubadours. Rome had ceased to do harm to Turks
and Saracens, but had stirred up Christians to war against
fellow-Christians. God and His Saints abandon the greedy,
the strife-loving, the unjust, worldly Church. The picture is
darkly coloured by a partisan, but in every triumph of
Innocent there lay the shadow of future trouble.

Crusades, even against heretics and infidels, are the work
of earthly force rather than of spiritual influence. It was to
buildup the great outward corporation of the InnocentIII .,
Church that all these labours of Innocent religious
mainly tended. Even his additions to the P sition -
Canon Law, his reforms of ecclesiastical jurisdiction, dealt
with the external rather than the internal life of the Church.
The criticism of James of Vitry, that the Roman Curia was
so busy in secular affairs that it hardly turned a thought
to spiritual things, is clearly applicable to much of Innocent's
activity. But the many-sided Pope did not ignore the
religious wants of the Church. His Crusade against heresy
was no mere war against enemies of the wealth and power of
the Church. The new tendencies that were to transform
the spiritual life of the thirteenth century were not strange
to him. He favoured the early work of Dominic : he had
personal dealings with Francis, and showed his sympathy
with the early work of the poor man of Assisi [see chapter
xviii.]. But it is as the conqueror and organiser rather than
the priest or prophet that Innocent made his mark in the
Church. It is significant that, with all his greatness, he
never attained the honours of sanctity.



334 European History, 918-1273

Towards the end of his life, Innocent held a General
Council in the basilica of St. John Lateran. A vast gather-
ing of bishops, heads of orders, and secular

The rourtn .... . .... .

General dignitaries gave brilliancy to the gathering and

Lateran enhanced the glory of the Pontiff. Enthroned

Council, 1315.

over more than four hundred bishops, the Pope
proudly declared the law to the world. ' Two things we have
specially to heart,' wrote Innocent, in summoning the
assembly, ' the deliverance of the Holy Land and the reform
of the Church Universal.' In its vast collection of seventy
canons, the Lateran Council strove hard to carry out the
Pope's programme. It condemned the dying heresies of
the Albigeois and the Cathari, and prescribed the methods
and punishments of the unrepentant heretic. It strove to
rekindle zeal for the Crusade. It drew up a drastic scheme
for reforming the internal life and discipline of the Church.
It strove to elevate the morals and the learning of the
clergy, to check their worldliness and covetousness, and to
restrain them from abusing the authority of the Church
through excess of zeal or more corrupt motives. It invited
bishops to set up free schools to teach poor scholars
grammar and theology. It forbade trial by battle and
trial by ordeal. It subjected the existing monastic orders
to stricter superintendence, and forbade the establishment
of new monastic rules. It forbade superstitious practices
and the worship of spurious or unauthorised relics. The
whole series of canons sought to regulate and ameliorate
the influence of the Church on society. If many of the
abuses aimed at were too deeply rooted to be overthrown
by mere legislation, the attempt speaks well for the character
and intelligence of Pope and Council. All mediaeval law-
making, civil and ecclesiastical alike, was but the promulga-
tion of an ideal, rather than the issuing of precepts meant
to be literally executed. But no more serious attempt at
rooting out inveterate evils was ever made in the Middle
Ages than in this Council



Europe in the Days of Innocent ///., 1 198-1216 335

The formal enunciation of this lofty programme of reform
brought Innocent's pontificate to a glorious end. The Pontiff
devoted what little remained of his life to hurrying on the
preparations for the projected Crusade, which was Deatb of
to set out in 1217. But in the summer of 1216 innocent in.,
Innocent died at Perugia, when only fifty-six years l6th July " l6 -
old. If not the greatest, he was the most powerful of all the
Popes. For nearly twenty years the whole history of Europe
groups itself round his doings.



CHAPTER XV

THE BYZANTINE EMPIRE IN THE TWELFTH CENTURY,

THE FOURTH CRUSADE, AND THE LATIN EMPIRE

IN THE EAST (1095-1261) l

rhe Comnenian dynasty and Alexius I. Decay of the Empire The end of
the Comneni The Angeli The mustering of the Fourth Crusade The
Conquest of Zara The First and Second Captures of Constantinople
The Partition and Organisation of the Latin Empire The Greek Revival
Rivalry of Constantinople and Thessalonica The Latin Emperors
Michael Palaeologus and the Fall of the Latin Empire The Franks in
the Peloponnesus.

THE Comnenian dynasty, finally established by Alexius i.
[see chapter vii.], ruled for more than a century over the
Roman Empire in the East. We have already
Comnenian noticed the most stirring episodes of its external
dynasty. history, in tracing the dealings of the Comnenian
Emperors with the Seljukian Turks, with the passing
Crusaders, with the permanent Latin garrison in Syria, and
with the Norman rulers of Apulia and Sicily, who strove
to make southern Italy the starting-point for a Norman
conquest of the Balkan Peninsula. It remains now to
describe briefly the internal history of the Eastern Empire
during the twelfth century, as a necessary preliminary to the
understanding of the collapse of the Greek power in 1204.

The combination of strength and duplicity, which con-
stituted the practical ability of Alexius Comnenus, had saved
Alexius i., tne Byzantine state from the ruin with which it
1081-1x18. had been threatened. But the rescue of the
Empire had been accomplished at no small cost. The

1 To the authorities mentioned under Chapter vn. may now be added
Pears' Fall of Constantinople, being the Story of the Fourth Crusadt,
836



The Byzantine Empire in the Twelfth Century 337

Crusaders had allowed Alexius to resume possession of a
large share of Asia Minor, but the constant presence of Latins
in the East was a permanent danger to him, both from their
superior military capacity and their fierce Catholicism. The
Eastern Empire sank into the condition of stagnation, which
it was to retain for the rest of its existence. The low cunning
and trickery of Alexius are glorified by his literary daughter
Anna as the highest resources of civilisation when face
to face with the barbarian Franks. Such methods might
save the state, but they could hardly adapt it to meet the
new conditions which Western activity in the East had
brought about.

The military danger of the Prankish powers was not the
worst result of the Crusades on the Byzantine Empire.
Even more important was the sapping of its
sources of wealth and the decay of its commercial decay of the
prosperity, as the consequence of the development Eastern
of the trade of the Italian republics, like Pisa,
Genoa, and Venice, who really reaped nearly the whole
material advantages of the Crusades. Acre and other
Syrian ports began to supersede Constantinople as the
great meeting-places of Eastern and Western trade. The
skill and energy of the Italian merchants transferred the
commerce of the Levant from Greek to Western hands.
Since the loss of the rich agricultural districts of Asia Minor,
the commerce of Constantinople was the one really solid
source of Byzantine prosperity. The revenue of the imperial
exchequer now began to fall off, and the disastrous expedients
of Alexius to restore it made permanent ruin more certain.
In the hope of making the Bosporus and Golden Horn as
attractive to the Italian traders as the waters of the Levant,
Alexius sought to entice the Venetians back to his ports by
giving them exemption from customs dues (1082). The
Venetians were established in a special quarter of Constanti-
nople, exempt from the jurisdiction of the Greek authorities,
with its Catholic church, its walls, and its magistrates. The

PERIOD II. Y



338 European History, 918-1273

Pisans had privileges less extensive but still considerable.
Such concessions made the Italians easily able to undersell
the native merchants and to establish their factories on an
almost independent basis. But it was unlikely that the
shrewd Venetians would be content with what they had got.
Their settlement within the Empire as traders only paved
the way to the time when they aspired to establish themselves
as rulers. It was a strange turn to make arbiters of the
destiny of the Empire those Venetians who had in former
times protected themselves from Western Caesars by parading
their dependence on the Emperor at Constantinople, and
\\ hose city bears to this day the abiding impress of Byzantine
art. The strong Comnenian Emperors postponed the danger
for a time, but when the Empire was again divided between
rival claimants, it was as natural to the Venetians as it was to
the English and French in India to take advantage of the
decay of an ancient but stagnant civilisation to turn from
their factories and counting-houses to play the part of con-
querors and rulers.

It is one of the innumerable proofs of the vitality of the
East-Roman system that this result came so slowly and suc-
ceeded so imperfectly. The latter part of the reign of Alexius
seemed to revive the former glories of the Eastern Empire.
The dynasty was firmly settled on the throne; the foreign
enemies driven away or reduced to insignificance ; the internal
decay was too gradual to be readily perceived. On his death
John ii., i n in8 Alexius handed on to his son an empire
1118-1143. enlarged and peaceful. John n. Comnenus (1118-
1143), called John the Good, was one of the best of Byzantine
rulers. As vigorous a ruler and a better soldier than his
father, his private character, stainless in its morals, was marked
by qualities, such as frankness, generosity, and mercy, which
rarely adorned the throne of the Eastern Caesars. He reigned
undisturbed by revolts or conspiracies, save those of his sister
Anna, the historian, and his brother Isaac, and these foes
within his household received from him a generous forgiveness



Tlu Byzantine Empire in the Twelfth Century 339

that they did nothing to deserve. John was mostly occupied
in his constant campaigns on the frontiers, fighting the Patzi-
naks of the lower Danube, the Hungarians and the Servians
in Europe, and the Seljukian Turks and the Armenians in
Asia. Master of Cilicia, he forced Raymond of Antioch
to acknowledge his supremacy. Only his death in Cilicia,
due to an accident in the hunting field, prevented his in-
vasion of the Latin kingdom of Syria. Had he seriously
grappled with the reform of administration and the finances,
he might have inaugurated a new period of prosperity. But
his effort to shake off the commercial supremacy of Venice
involved him in a long and unsuccessful war with the rulers of
the sea, which he was glad to end by restoring the Venetians
to their former privileges, and by recognising them as lords of
some of the Greek islands. Even as it was, John the Good
did much to arrest decay.

Manuel i. Comnenus (1143-1180), John's son and suc-
cessor, was a worthy heir to the military talents of his father.
But his violent passions sullied his private life, Manuel i.,
and his extravagance, ostentation, and vanity took 43-8o.
away from the lustre of his domestic administration. He was
one of the most Western in temperament of all the Greek
sovereigns. He was proud of his prodigious personal strength,
of his handsome person, and of his skill in all chivalrous exer-
cises. He was the only Greek Emperor who could surpass
the most famous knights of the West in the mimic war of
the tournament. He had the spirit of a knight-errant,
suggesting Richard Cceur de Lion rather than the sly and
demure Oriental. When he had safely extricated himself
from the perils of the Second Crusade [see page 192], he
plunged into a series of wars in which he sought personal
glory rather than the welfare of his Empire. There were
strange tales of his wonderful personal adventures and hair-
breadth escapes from Patzinaks and Turks. He introduced
Western tournaments into Constantinople, had a truly Prankish
ardour for crusading, re-armed his troops after the Western



340 European History, 918-1273

fashion with ponderous shields and heavy lances, and eagerly
sought to connect himself by marriage with the great royal
houses of the West. His first wife Bertha called Irene to
satisfy Greek susceptibilities was a sister-in-law of the Emperor
Conrad in., and his second wife was a princess of Antioch.
His daughter married in succession the brother of the King
of Hungary and the son of the Marquis of Montferrat His
son, Alexius, was wedded to the daughter of Louis vn. of
France. His influence extended over all the Danubian states
as far as the German frontier. His wars, if not always politic,
were often successful. He defeated the strenuous attempts
of King Roger of Sicily and his son William the Bad [see
page 236] to invade his Empire. He waged a long and
not inglorious war with Venice, and even when unable to
destroy her privileges did something to counterbalance them
by calling in rival Italian traders, such as the Genoese. When
beaten by the Seljuks, he was able to negotiate an honour-
able peace. But his wastefulness brought the financial dis-
orders to a crisis, and his utter neglect of routine threw the
obsolete administrative system into confusion. Yet with all
his faults he was a brilliant personality, and with his death the
good fortune of the Comnenian dynasty came to an end.

Alexius n. (1180-1183), the son of Manuel, was a boy twelve
years old, and his mother, Mary of Antioch, strove to carry on
Alexius ii., * ne government in his name. Her incapacity gave
1180-1183. an opening for intrigues of the members of the
royal house, and, two years later, Andronicus Comnenus, cousin
of Manuel, displaced the Empress and became the guardian
r of Alexius with the title of Caesar. As soon as he

Usurpation of

Andronicus, was secure of power, Andronicus murdered his
1183-1185. ward, married his widow, Agnes of France, and
made himself sole Basileus. Andronicus was a strong and
brave soldier, but overweeningly ambitious, wantonly cruel,
and already infamous by a long career of brutality and treachery.
His success in gaining power was greater than his success in
retaining it. Rebellions broke out in the provinces. Cyprus



The Byzantine Empire in the Twelfth Century 341

shook itself free from his rule under the local Emperor Isaac
Comnenus, who finally succumbed to Richard of England
[see page 301]. Even the reign of terror which marked his
rule did not check the plots of the angry nobles. The
Normans again invaded Macedonia, and captured Thessa-
lonica. So hateful did Andronicus become that a very small
incident sufficed to bring his power to an end. During his
absence from Constantinople, one of his ministers ordered
the arrest of an incapable and cowardly noble named Isaac
Angelus. Driven to despair at the prospect of the torments
meted out for Andronicus' victims, Isaac plucked up courage
to resist, and took refuge in St. Sophia's. The mob of Constan-
tinople arose in revolt, declaring that it would have ' no more
old men or men with forked beards as Emperors.' End O f t he
Andronicus hurried back, but all classes deserted Comneni.
him. He was tortured to death by the mob, and Isaac
Angelus was declared his successor. With him the glorious
house of Comnenus ingloriously expired (1185).

The reign of Isaac Angelus ushered in a worse period of
degradation. Even the brutality of Andronicus had been
in some measure redeemed by its strength, but i saa cii.,
under his weak and contemptible successor the "85-1195-
Empire suffered from the worst results of incompetence. The
Emperor lavished his revenues in building churches and
palaces, in collecting relics and sacred icons, in ministering to
the luxury and vanity of a crowd of parasites and dependants.
He put the administrative offices up for sale, and allowed
their purchasers to recoup themselves by oppressing the pro-
vincials. His ten years' rule was full of military disasters.
The imposition of a new tax was followed by the revolt of
the Bulgarians, who had lived as peaceful subjects of the
Empire since their conquest, two hundred years previously,
by Basil u. [see pages 163-165]. In a short time the whole of
Bulgaria had shaken off the yoke of Constantinople, and the
mercenary arms of Conrad of Montferrat. The efforts of
Isaac, who took the field in person against the rebels, were



342 European History, 918-1273

powerless to win back a warlike and united people. The
loss of Bulgaria was not the only humiliation of Isaac's reign.
We have already seen how the Third Crusade dealt roughly
with his power, how Frederick Barbarossa, provoked by his
treachery, forced him to make an abject submission, and how
Richard of England permanently turned Cyprus into a feudal



Online LibraryT. F. (Thomas Frederick) ToutThe empire and the papacy, 918-1273 → online text (page 28 of 45)