FROM ST. GREGORY THE GREAT TO BONIFACE VIII. (590-1303)
FEUDAL HIERARCHY--FALSE DECRETALS (847-882)
IT has been observed that the French Kings by their matrimonial disorders gave the Popes an authority in the Gallican Church and realm which might otherwise have been difficult to maintain. With them this was the standing quarrel, as with German princes the investiture and feudalising of clerics. Lothair, who had inherited the middle kingdom of Lorraine from his father and namesake, married Theutberga, daughter of Boso, Duke of Burgundy. But there was an Anne Boleyn, named Waldrada, whom he desired to raise to the throne. Horrible and false accusations were made against Theutberga; she was cleared by the ordeal of boiling water to which her champion submitted. Nevertheless, driven wild by persecution, the unhappy lady acknowledged crimes that she had never fallen into; and in three synods at Aix-la-Chapelle, the cowardly Bishops, including Treves, Cologne, and Metz, annulled the marriage and proclaimed the concubine their lawful Queen.
Hincmar of Rheims, a learned and masterful prelate, was disposed to take advantage of Lothair, whose dominions Charles the Bald coveted, as in the sequel he annexed them. The Archbishop had been watching this bad business. He drew to it the attention of Pope Nicholas, who, in a reply addressed to him, quashed the proceedings at Aix, ratified the marriage with Theutberga, rebuked the King in scathing terms, and deposed Günther of Cologne as well as Theotgand of Treves, the leading sycophants. These Bishops, after corrupting his legate, had been foolhardy enough to appear in Rome before the Pope. They even brought down on him Louis II., whose mixed and lawless soldiery entered the city, scattered a procession of clergy and people, and threatened the Pontiff himself ( 863). Nicholas crossed the Tiber from the Aventine in a boat, and spent two days and nights at St. Peter's shrine. The Emperor fell ill. There was always something fatal in the Roman air to these Northern princes. Terrified and ashamed he made peace by abandoning the two Bishops, who fled home in disgrace, but pretended to excommunicate the Pope, and would not resign. Then Lothair deserted Günther, professed repentance, and would come as a pilgrim ad limina. The Pope scorned his pilgrimage. He ordered him to take back his wife. He sent Arsenius, who had long administered the Roman Chancery--an able but covetous man--to keep the peace between these Carlovingian phantoms, to restore Rothrad, Bishop of Soissons, over the head of Hincmar, who had deprived him, and to see Theutberga crowned. His victory was complete; historians agree that it was well merited.
Not that Lothair yielded once and for all. He could not give up Waldrada. But judgment was awaiting him at Rome when he should finally appear in his pilgrim's garb under Hadrian II. Meanwhile, as the Chronicler says, Nicholas"tamed kings and tyrants, and ruled the world like a sovereign." When he dealt so inexorably with the Archbishops of Treves and Cologne, putting them out of place by his simple decree--not remitting them to the sentence of their brother Bishops--he was acting a part which, even more than his language to the miserable Prince of Lorraine, implied cumenical power from which none were exempt. We have come to the False Decretals.
It is a singular story of fraud and Nemesis. Bishops who had been transformed into Barons, and had themselves divided the Empire at Verdun; who by the Capitularia of Epernay shared the civil jurisdiction equally with Counts; who elected, tried, and deposed Kings; were now arrogating an independence such as the Polish nobility claimed and exercised down to 1772. Charles the Bald was their humble client. Hincmar writes to Louis III., "I and my colleagues with the rest of the faithful have chosen you to govern the kingdom, on condition that you keep the laws." Charles, on the ground that he was anointed by Wenilon, Bishop of Orleans, pleads that to depose him without trial by the Bishops, who are "thrones of the Divinity," would be a sin. Contrast the language of Henry VIII. to Cranmer when giving him leave to proceed in his great matter of the divorce: "Albeit, we being your King and Sovereign, do recognise no superior on earth but only God, and (are) not subject to the laws of any earthly creature." The real King was at Rheims, where Hincmar raised troops against the Normans, and held Parliaments attended by the spiritual and temporal lords. Except where a Bishop controlled the city, little or no order was observed. Even the Abbot, says Chateaubriand, was merely the old Roman patrician, with his vassals, farmers, villas, towns, and territories, and an enormous income. Louis le Débonnaire had raised plebeians to sacred heights, but the affront was bitterly resented; an aristocracy of birth did in fact rule in Church and State.
These overweening prelates, rich and often dissolute, ambitious, hard, quarrelsome, could not brook the judgment of Metropolitans who, no better than they in morals and not more than their equals in blood, were ready to depose their suffragans, to sequestrate properties, to intrude favourites in the episcopal seats. From this peril deliverance must be found, and obviously appeal to a supreme yet distant Court was the way of escape. Rome might curb the Metropolitans; and a strict or almost impossible form of procedure, sanctioned under the Apostolic name, derived from primitive ages, would shield the Bishops when accused by their subjects of rapine or violence. To manipulate ancient writings, to edit history in one's own favour, did not appear criminal if the end in view were otherwise just and good. It is admitted on all hands that the famous Charter of Clovis, renewed by Dagobert, which bestowed on the Church of Rheims possessions in Champagne, Austrasia, Burgundy, Auvergne, Touraine, Poitou, and Marseilles, cannot have been genuine. The larger Donation of Pepin exhibited to Charlemagne by Hadrian I. is open to serious doubts. We might continue the list. Now, at the Synod of Quercy ( 857), a whole volume is suddenly produced which, under the venerated name of Isidore, Canonist and Bishop of Seville, claims a place in the Church's legislation, and while defending the hierarchy against every attack from below, leaves it in the Pope's unquestioned and unlimited jurisdiction.
It is what Milman calls it, "an elaborate and most audacious fraud." Dionysius had collected the Pope's Decretals, which began, as we have seen, with Siricius to the Archbishop of Tarragona ( 385). Sixty new epistles, from Clement to Melchiades, and the Donation of Constantine, now are published as authentic in addition. The old Isidorian collection included the Councils from Silvester onwards; thirty-five false decrees, and the acts of spurious synods, were introduced by the unknown forger. Who was he? Experts and critics are divided on the question.
Not a Roman, certainly. Perhaps we should distinguish a shorter and a longer form of the fiction, which cannot have been devised in a day. The Church of Mayence, Otgar its Archbishop who died in 847, and his Deacon Benedictus Levita, have been singled out as the place, the patron, the instrument by earlier writers; their connection with the imposture seems undeniable. When many of the higher clergy stood between Louis le Débonnaire and his rebel sons, it is thought that Ebbo, the confederate of these, and Otgar, might have invented Decretals which would shield them from the Emperor's vengeance by cutting the ground from under his jurisdiction and that of his Metropolitans. On the other hand, West-Frankish or Neustrian elements are discerned in them; and Hincmar began by accepting the collection as genuine. Spanish it was not, nor Roman, nor yet Italian. And with its manufacture the Popes had nothing whatever to do.
The compiler's aim was, first, to set up an entire spiritual immunity; no secular power should call a Council or condemn a Bishop without the Pope's consent. Lay courts were not to adjudicate upon ecclesiastical causes; nor might laymen appear as accusers or witnesses against the clergy. But from secular tribunals to spiritual there was always the right of appeal. No Bishop was to be tried by the Metropolitan alone. He must be cited before a Provincial Synod, summoned at the instance of the Apostolic See. When thus on trial, the only witnesses allowable against him are his peers, of whom seventy-two are the lowest number whose testimony can be received. From this office the law excludes not only laymen but priests; and the culprit is free to appeal to Rome, enjoying meanwhile, though deprived by conciliar sentence, his property and privileges. Between the Pope as Supreme appellant judge, and the Bishops as his "men" in a strict feudal signification, the ancient rights of synods, Metropolitans, clergy, and laity were, by this reading of Church history, swept into oblivion.
By those who would apologize for Benedict the Levite (if such was the forger's name), it has been pointed out that he did not ascribe to the Holy See rights which were without example. Of the Decretals a considerable number are authentic, though antedated; others embody the contents of lost documents. Julius I. ( 342) had protested against holding Councils where the Pope was not invited; he called it an unheard-of thing. To this Pontiff the greatest of Eastern Saints and Patriarchs, Athanasius, had appealed from local synods. Chrysostom had been protected by Pope Innocent; and at Chalcedon Dioscorus was deposed on the ground that he convoked and held an assembly of Bishops against the Papal ordinance. St. Leo had deprived the Metropolitan of Arles, and rearranged his province. With Milman these apologists might observe that "the new code was enshrined in a framework of deeply religious thought and language"; that "the whole is composed with an air of profound piety and reverence; a specious purity, and occasional beauty, in the moral and religious tone"; and that "there are many axioms of seemingly sincere and vital religion." In this key wrote the pious Möhler, who bids us make allowance for a child-like age, not precise or literal, which did no more than magnify an idea of the Papacy that could still be derived, though these false documents were not extant, from what is legible in Fathers and Councils
But a forgery they were; and Hincmar, who relied upon their authority in his Synod of Rheims, could not demur to it,--though he roundly called it a trap for Bishops,--when Nicholas turned it against him, received the appeal of his suffragan, Rothrad, and restored him as above described. Could, then, the Lateran Chancery bear witness to this grand array of Apostolic letters and legislation? That has never been pretended. The insignificance of the Papal archives we learn beyond dispute from Gregory the Great. What were the sources to which False Isidore betook himself? It is conjectured that the work has been pieced out in mosaic fashion from Rufinus, Cassiodorus, the West Gothic Breviary of Alaric, the Liber Pontificalis, and other materials, wrought up into a definite pattern. Yet Nicholas and those who came after him cited the spurious Decretals no less freely than the genuine. They made their way into the official collections; they became a part of Gratian Decretum, and were embodied in the Canon Law under Gregory IX. At the Renaissance, Nicholas of Cusa suspected them; the centuriators of Magdeburg, De Moulin, and Blondel convicted them of falsehood. They are now universally given up. But with the Donation of Constantine they formed a juridical romance which in the Middle Ages took the place of law and history. Hadrian II., who came after Nicholas ( 867-872), was a man of venerable age, austere morals, and the highest Papal doctrine. Before taking orders, he had been married. His wife was living, probably in a convent; his daughter seemed now, though not in her first youth, a tempting match to the Romans, who were beginning to court the alliance of the Lateran. For there was always a strong Church interest, and these elections betray signs of clanship among the chosen. Arsenius, the greedy legate and Home Secretary, had two sons; one, Anastasius, whom we have known as a defeated candidate for the tiara, and the other Eleutherius, not in holy orders. The lady in question was betrothed to some one else when Eleutherius, in the violent Roman fashion, carried her off with her mother and compelled her to marry him. Hereupon, Arsenius fled with all his treasure to the Emperor Louis. Hadrian demanded back his wife and daughter; Eleutherius murdered them both. He was caught and executed; his rapacious father died suddenly. Anastasius fell under Hadrian's wrath, but perhaps could vindicate his innocence, and died in power.
Soon after these tragedies, Lothair II. came to Rome as a pilgrim. He was ill received. But at length Hadrian consented to his reconciliation, and under the most fearful warnings, administered communion to him and his attendants. They took the pledges required. Within a month the perjured King died at Piacenza of the plague; the others, it is said, did not outlive that year. Charles the Bald seized Lorraine which, by all rights, belonged to the Emperor Louis; and Hadrian, in language as haughty as Nicholas had ever used, maintained the Frankish--Italian claims. He threatened the nobles and bishops of France and Rhineland; nor shrank from holding the sword of interdict (a word hitherto not pronounced on kingdoms) over Charles's head. There was one man who could have secured the triumph of Hadrian and Louis--the Archbishop Hincmar. But Hincmar came boldly forward with a Gallican demand that the Pope should not meddle in State affairs. He refused to leave Charles's Court; nor, he said, should the Franks of Austrasia be slaves, encumbered with an absentee King unable to defend them from the Pagans. Charles and Louis the German shared the spoil of Lorraine between them. Louis the Italian had none of it.
By way of retaliation, the Pope supported against Charles his youngest son Carloman, who had been monk, abbot, highway robber, and in open warfare with him, but who appealed to Rome from his deserved chastisement. The Bishops, in spite of Hadrian, proceeded to degrade him. Hincmar of Laon, whom his uncle at Rheims had advanced, would not sign the document. He, too, was a contumacious cleric. The great man at Rheims had many quarrels with him; so had the King. The climax was reached when young Hincmar, to protect himself, laid under interdict his own diocese. His uncle, the Metropolitan, took off what the Ordinary had laid on; the Ordinary quoted False Isidore; defied Hincmar of Rheims and three provincial Councils; and asserted the immediate unqualified jurisdiction of the Pope. Hadrian summoned him to Rome. But conceive the situation of the other Hincmar. He now fenced with the False Decretals, and argued that the Holy See was used to pass laws only by conciliar authority; that it ought to respect the Canons (as Bossuet spoke long afterwards) and not to rely upon compilations or forgeries. In a vehement letter drawn up by the Primate of Rheims, Charles was made to affirm that the King of France is no vicegerent of Bishops but lord over his own land. He quoted none save the genuine Decretals. Hadrian lost the battle. Carloman was tried, condemned, deprived of eyesight; his accomplice, Hincmar of Laon, suffered the same fate. But the Decretals of Benedict Levita had acquired fresh force. Meanwhile, Rome and Italy were plunging into a mad confusion which would spread its waves over the next two hundred years.
John VIII., a Roman ( 872-882), has been described with some truth as a lofty spirit; but he was born out of due time. The Italian Louis II. died without children ( 875). By right of birth, Louis the German should have succeeded. But neither the Pope nor his subjects desired to see the wild Teutons in Rome. Then and always what they preferred was a French Emperor as the head of Latin civilisation. "France," says Muratori, "has been the refuge of persecuted Popes." The German language, customs, harshness, perhaps honesty, did not win the Southern heart. Now, accordingly, John held out a sign to Charles the Bald, who came in haste, and at Christmas, seventy-five years after Charlemagne, was crowned in St. Peter's. "We have elected and confirmed, with the consent of our brothers the Bishops, the Ministers of the Roman Church, the Senate and People of Rome, King Charles as Emperor of the West,"--such was the Papal intimation, not welcome in France, as substituting an absolute for a limited monarchy; nor to the Bavarian Counts and Bishops, who held that Louis the German could not thus be put on one side. It mattered little. In two years both competitors were gone. Charles the Bald expired in an Alpine village. Carloman of Bavaria marched down into Italy. His ally or lieutenant, Lambert Duke of Spoleto, seized the Leonine City; threw the Pope into prison; and exacted from the Romans an oath to the Teuton. But he could not hold this dangerous Capital, in which every house had become a fortress. When Lambert retreated, John VIII., after paying a round sum to the Hagarenes or Saracens to keep them away from St. Peter's, fled to Genoa, to Arles, and to Troyes.
Every town in Southern Italy at this time was menaced by the infidels, or had entered into alliance with them, except Bari and Tarentum, now held by the Greeks. Naples, under its Duke or Bishop, admitted a Moslem garrison. Gaeta did the same. Marauding bands infested Campania. Pope John, in 874, had fitted out a fleet on the Tiber with Greek sailors; he engaged the Saracens, captured eighteen of their vessels, and released six hundred Christian slaves. He built likewise an enclosure round St. Paul's; obtained some advantages at Amalfi and Salerno; but could not break the alliance between Naples and the pirates of the South.
His flight to Louis the Stammerer did not mend matters. The Church was in dire need of a strong secular arm, but where to find one? Charles the Great was perishing in his imbecile descendants.
Their names, which historians feel bound to recite, had better be forgotten. In 884 the mighty house was represented in France by an infant, Charles the Simple; across the Rhine by Charles the Fat; --these nicknames well denote the contempt into which royalty had fallen. At Ravenna, in 880, the
SANT' APOLLINARE, RAVENNA. ( Exterior.) German was accepted as Emperor by John VIII., and for a short three years seemed master of the Western Empire. Then he was flung aside. The Pope went back to Rome, after launching in his ten years' reign some three hundred letters of anathema, and attempting to depose the sovereign Archbishops of Milan, Ravenna, and Naples. He had acknowledged Photius; confirmed the Council of Constantinople; and driven from the Lateran Formosus, Bishop of Porto, with his adherents. But enemies were never wanting to John VIII. If we may believe the Annals of Fulda, the conspirators belonged to his own household. They endeavoured to poison him; this not succeeding, one of them beat out his brains with a hammer. Many Popes had suffered martyrdom; of John VIII. it is customary to say that he was the first assassinated ( December 15, 882). Unhappily he was not the last. From this hour we shall see the Papacy going down as into the Valley of the Shadow of Death, to ascend by miracle from its deeps, and exercise a yet wider dominion, when the worst had been endured.
THE HOUSE OF THEOPHYLACT (882-964)
UNTIL Otho the Great appeared in Rome ( 961) it is impossible to deal with the Empire as any longer a reality; and the Papal succession bears almost as ghostly an appearance. "Come like shadows, so depart," is the summons at which these spectres, often dabbled in blood, pass over the stage in a lugubrious masque of anarchy. Yet the new world was slowly forming; to the tenth or eleventh century we must ascribe that greatest of all transformations by which the Normans, Danes, Prussians, Hungarians, and Muscovites bowed their necks under the Christian yoke; put from them a Paganism steeped in superstition and cruelty; began their studies in the Gospel, which are not yet ended; and chose Christ instead of Mohammed. This, so far as we can learn, was an apostolate never interrupted, though Popes, Bishops, and Kings fell into the wildest disorders. As a spiritual movement, it seemed to go on of itself, or in the words which we still read on the Arch of Constantine, Instinctu Divinitatis ; Providence was its only guide.
But the Carlovingians had disappeared. In France, Odo, Count of Paris, descended from an obscure family in Anjou, which had been rallying the centre against the Normans, opened a succession of thirtythree Kings, and an era that lasted nine hundred years. Arnulf, the base-born son of Carloman, who actually closed the Carlovingian dynasty, received the Empire in 896, and fled from Italy fifteen days after, never to return. The Popes, such as they were, had now to deal with an Italian power at Spoleto; with another, more distant and less hostile, in Friuli; but above all, with a Roman aristocracy, the most unbridled that even those centuries knew. With Guy of Spoleto master in Milan, the Lombard kingdom had risen to life again. It was a line of Machiavellian princes, leagued by marriage with Tuscany or Beneventum; not shy of the Saracen alliance, much less of the Greek; calmly desecrating the churches in Rome; but affecting, when it suited them, the pious ways of Charlemagne, though prepared to dethrone the Pope as if their meanest vassal. Into such hands did the fall of the Empire commit the venerable Father of the Faithful. Almost every year beheld that ideal defaced and trampled on which, in Titus Andronicus, is so happily bodied forth as the Rome of devout imaginations:--
"Suffer not dishonour to approach The Imperial seat, to virtue consecrate, To justice, continence, and nobility; But let desert in pure election shine, And, Romans, fight for freedom in your choice."
Two score years were taken up with the lamentable tragedy of Formosus, "the Pope Beautiful," who was persecuted living and dead; and with the shameless records of Theodora and Marozia, in whose feminine usurpation of the Holy See Gibbon's fancy detected the origin of Pope Joan. Then comes young Alberic, Senator and perhaps Saint, a lay impropriator of the Papacy, under whose rule the Pontiffs are chaplains, and who might have founded a succession in St. Peter's Chair, could public opinion have looked with favour on a married clergy. But his foolish son, Octavian, who was Prince and Pope at sixteen, outraged every rule of his order, and when he called in the German King Otho, he was preparing his own act of deposition. The lay dynasty yielded, though sure to revolt again, before Northern good sense and simple piety. Such is the ignominious period we have now to sketch as rapidly as possible. Intrigue, unreason, violence, and murder furnish its dominant notes.
Formosus, if we may believe the scanty evidence, was of blameless and even austere character. As Bishop of Porto, his diocese was little more than a name; but he had been consecrated, and Nicholas I. sent him as legate to the Bulgarian King. Boris, or Michael, was a convert to Christianity through his wife and the illustrious missionary Cyril, who evangelised the Slavs. He desired to see his Church independent, with an Archbishop at its head. He asked of the Pope to appoint Formosus, much loved of the Bulgarians. Hadrian II. refused on what seems to us the idle pretext--it proved a spark to set the world in a blaze--that Formosus was a Bishop already and could not be translated. This ancient rule, now set aside, was intended to curb the ambition of prelates, aspiring to rich or metropolitan Sees. Formosus came back, was a candidate in the election of 872, and was regarded by John VIII. with an evil eye. There is no proof that he favoured the German as against the French interest. But he belonged to an opposition which included Gregory the Nomenclator as well as other high persons, who fled from Rome lest a worse thing should happen to them, on the death of Louis II., their protector. John summoned them to no purpose; and all, including the Bishop of Porto, were excommunicated in a synod held at the Pantheon ( 875).
But when Marinus came to the throne in 882, he restored the exiles, and among them Formosus. The latter had sunk into lay communion. He was under an oath to Pope John that he never would reclaim his episcopal dignity. Marinus, however, absolved him from these engagements, as he surely could according to Canon Law. In 891, this much enduring prelate himself became Pope, not without tumult and popular acclamations. His immediate predecessor, Stephen V., had crowned Guy of Spoleto in this very year as Emperor, but under constraint. Formosus, in like extremity, crowned his son Lambert the next year. Meanwhile he implored Arnulf of Bavaria in private letters to come to the deliverance of the Holy See. Arnulf did come in 894; he was also crowned, and set out to besiege Lambert and his mother Agiltrude in their castle above Spoleto. A stroke of paralysis ruined all his plans. He was carried in a litter across the Alps; and Formosus died of grief and vexation in 896.
His death gave rise to the most astonishing disorders. Boniface VI., an excommunicate, and Stephen VI, already Bishop of Anagni, consecrated by Formosus, passed away before the year was out. Stephen, however, in his brief Pontificate, served as the instrument of the Italian faction and of Agiltrude, now in Rome, whose advisers must have been sufficiently at their ease in Canon Law to deduce a warrant from it for the dreadful scene that followed. On Arnulf had been poured by Formosus unctio illa barbarica, which robbed of Empire the Spoletan family. Though dead, he must be made to expiate his crime. A Council was held in St. John Lateran. Stephen VI.--himself a translated Bishop on whom Formosus had laid hands--ascended the judgment seat; and the corpse of the late Pontiff, dragged from its tomb in St. Peter's, was solemnly set up as prisoner at the bar before the assembled Fathers. Charged with violation of the Canons, it made no reply; neither did the deacon, assigned as counsel for the defence, dare to open his lips. Sentence of guilty was pronounced; the Roman ordinations of Formosus were annulled; his body was stripped of its vestments, down to the hair shirt which this austere man wore next to his skin. The corpse, thrust into a nameless tomb, was taken thence by the populace, who sided with their Italian masters against the German Arnulf, and flung into the Tiber. Some fishermen brought it to shore in their net, and after many wanderings it was at length laid to rest in the atrium from which it had been torn.
Within no long time, the Lateran Basilica, polluted by this horrid sacrilege, fell to the ground. Friends or partisans of Formosus, when Agiltrude had gone home, lay in wait for Stephen VI., caught and stripped him of his garments, and strangled him in prison, fifteen years after John VIII. had been murdered. We have no means of tracing in detail the next events. Romanus occupied the throne four months, Theodore twenty days. Then two Popes were elected--Sergius III. and John IX. Young Lambert declared for John; his rival escaped into Tuscany. The succession to the priesthood was in danger if ordinations could be annulled on grounds so precarious; and John held several large synods, attended from every part of Italy, in which Stephen's monstrous acts were done away. It was felt (and no wonder) that some public security should be taken against disorderly elections. Henceforth none were to be valid except in presence of the Imperial legates, as had been ordained by Lothair in 824. Lambert, who would have united the nation, died and left his kingdom at the mercy of Berengar, who in 898 occupied Pavia. Then John IX. quitted the scene. He was followed in four years by three Pontiffs, two of whom, Leo V. and Christopher, were murdered in their prison by the ever-memorable Sergius III. With him enters the house of Theophylact.
Sergius, like Stephen, had received the consecrating oil from the hands of Formosus; at whatever date elected by his faction to the Papacy, he was then Bishop of Cervetri in Etruria; and we run little risk of falsehood in describing him as "malignant, ferocious, and unclean." For seven years he had eaten the bread of exile at the Tuscan Court, where Marquis Adalbert II. the Rich, married to Lothair's illegitimate daughter Bertha, reigned as the ally or the enemy of Louis of Provence. With Tuscan soldiers the self-styled Pontiff returned in 904 to Rome, had his two predecessors murdered, and held out for another seven years. In Liutprand, Bishop of Cremona, he has found an inferior and possibly ill-natured Tacitus. But fragments remain from the lost documents of this dark age, that bear out his allegations touching the vices and servility of Sergius III.
Over the Papal treasury presided a "vestiarius," who in this period was Theophylact, Duke and Master of the Horse, sole Consul and Senator--in modern language, Prime Minister, as well as Commander-inchief. His wife, Theodora, led Roman society, and their two daughters, Marozia and Theodora the younger, seem to have inherited the haughty licentious qualities which are so frequently observable in great Italian houses early and late. Theophylact held a charge over Ravenna, where his imperious wife attached to her party the Archbishop, afterwards John X. Thus it may be said that all the powers of Central Italy were combined, first, against intruders from the North like Berengar of Friuli, and second against that section among the Roman clerics who leaned to a German Emperor.
HOUSE OF THE VESTALS IN THE FORUM ( ROME).
We now perceive what was likely to happen under such a Pontiff as the miscreant Sergius. Theodom ruled supreme. "She won the Roman princedom," says Liutprand between rage and admiration, "and like a man she wore it." Formosus had drawn upon him the wrath of Agiltrude; he did not escape that of Theodora, whose favourite Sergius, if the rule against translations of bishops were enforced, could never have been Pope. How to evade this law was the question. Casuistry of a scandalous sort had been invoked by Stephen VI., and was adopted by Sergius III. If when he consecrated them Formosus were not lawful Pontiff, they had never been true bishops; as unfledged ecclesiastics they might be promoted to the Supreme Chair. This reasoning will give us the measure of their genius and their probity. Again a Council; again degradations, anathemas, re-ordinations, the Hierarchy thrown into confusion, the Apostolic Succession threatened. Naples and Beneventum resisted Auxilius and Eugenius Vulgarius (the latter less constantly) wrote in defence of Formosus. If Canon Law fell into contradiction or absurdity, what would be the fate of those high prelates who governed the West? No more shameful, no more perilous moment had occurred in the Latin Church, where heresies, seldom or never of an abstract kind, concerned themselves at once with action and led straight to secular divisions.
But Sergius held his ground. Rumour declared him the paramour of Marozia, though twice her age, and the father of John, afterwards Pope John XI.--a tale which Muratori challenges but the Papal catalogues accept. On his death in 911, Anastasius III. and Lando pass over the scene. If they belonged to the foreign faction their speedy removal would be explained. It is certain that John X., who came next and lasted fourteen years ( 914-928), endured or welcomed the patronage of this quasi-royal house. A translated Bishop by the grace of Theodora, he would not recognise the Formosan ordinations; the Invectiva in Romam, a manifesto from Naples, treats him as a usurper; but in any case John X. displayed remarkable though not priestly qualities. The Saracens, strong on the Garigliano, had spoiled and occupied the noble Abbey of Farfa in the Sabines. They put a zone of fire and pillage round the Apostles' tomb. Pope John called to his aid Berengar, whom he crowned Emperor in 915, and the Imperial vassals of Tuscany and Spoleto, commanded by Alberic Marquis of Camerino. A league was formed; the Pope marched with his captains, charged at their head (an exploit in which he glories), and himself or his generals beat the infidels at Baccano and Trevi. With certain Apostolic lands he bought off Naples and Gaeta from their unholy alliance. The Greeks joined in; a fleet was contributed from along the coast; battles ensued by sea and land under Theophylact, Alberic, the Lombard princes. In two months the last of the Saracens was killed or taken ( August, 916). And Alberic received the hand of Marozia.
The world was changing again. Berengar had called in the savage Hungarians to help him in his quarrels. He was murdered in 924 at Verona. Landing at Pisa, Hugh, King of Provence, accomplished, dissolute, but full of respect for the clergy, hastened to Pavia, and found the Archbishop of Milan and the Pope himself eager for his advancement to the Imperial throne. The great Vestiarius and his wife lay in their gilded tombs. Marozia had lost her husband; but perhaps the splendid widow, wealthy, popular, energetic, and only thirty-four, was more powerful than in his lifetime. Hadrian's gigantic Mole, a miracle of strength, formerly adorned with marble statues, which the besieged garrison hurled on the head of Vitiges and his soldiers, was now the Castle of St. Angelo and the den or refuge of every Roman tyrant. This enterprising woman seized upon it, and from the Emperor's tomb offered herself with her treasures to Guy, Duke of Tuscany, son to Adalbert the Rich and half-brother to Hugh of Provence. If John X. had been Theodora's cavalier' servente we perceive that a family quarrel was at hand, its prize Italy, the Popedom, the Empire. To such base uses may great things come!
John had a brother named Peter, Count of Orte and his mainstay in the contest, a very unequal one, which he attempted with Marozia. But she, fortissima Tyndaridarum, an unconquered virago, was a match for both of them. Rebellion, at a sign from her, invaded the Lateran; the brothers were seized, Peter slain before the Pope's face, John flung into a dungeon and smothered ( 928). Europe and the Papacy, it may not be unfairly observed, could have
CASTLE AND BRIDGE OF SANT' ANGELO (MOLE OF HADRIAN).
better spared a better man. The chronicler of Soracte writes in his doleful Latin, Subjugalus est Romam potestative in manu feminae. It is ludicrous and horrible, as the times themselves were. Marozia's son was probably thought too young for the tiara. His mother set up Leo VI. that same year, Stephen VII. the next. How did they cease to be Popes? We are not informed. But in March, 931, Guy of Tuscany had disappeared, and the alleged offspring of Marozia and Sergius III. was John XI. Rome acquiesced or was happy in the choice. The lay power now did as seemed good in its eyes with St. Peter's Chair.
Yet at such a moment deliverance came, and from an unlooked-for quarter. Sultan Hugh at Pavia, King of Italy since 926, had wives and concubines; but his last ostensible Queen had just expired, and Marozia dreamed of an Italian, or, with her son to officiate in St. Peter's, an Imperial crown. Her vices knew no shame; Messalina proposed to King Hugh; and though impediments of close affinity forebade the banns, he accepted, invented some disgraceful story to get rid of the relationship, was challenged by Lambert of Tuscany and his champion beaten; but still the Provençal advanced towards Rome and matrimony. His cautious bride shut the city gates. They should be married in Hadrian's tomb--a fit place for such a bridal. With noise and splendour it was celebrated. But the Romans (let it be said once for all) detest strangers who come to lord it over them. A youthful son of the lady served as page in these festivities, Alberic of the house of Camerino; it is probable that he did not love his new step-father, and his awkward ministration called forth a blow from the King. At once the citizens broke out. Alberic rallied them against these Burgundians, of old their bondslaves; St. Angelo was besieged; Hugh of Provence escaped with difficulty; and the young Patrician held his mother, the Pope, and the city captive.
Marozia now vanishes; John XI. died within four years, not by violence; and Alberic was willing to marry the King's daughter, provided Hugh would give up his claim to the Roman princedom, which, after repeated failures, he did in 946, at the instance of St. Odo, Abbot of Cluny. The voluptuous Provençal lost, or surrendered, his Italian domains; he could never grasp the sceptre of Charles the Great. His son Lothair, dying in youth, left a widow Adelaide, heiress to all his rights, whom Berengar of Ivrea seized and imprisoned in a castle on the Lago di Garda. She escaped to Reggio; and Otho, King of Germany, came at her call ( 950, 951).
There is henceforth during twenty-two years a "glorious" or "humble" Prince and Senator of all the Romans. Exarchate, Pentapolis, have fallen away or been absorbed in the Lombard Kingdom. The Saracens have ceased from troubling; but bands of Hungarians infest the desolate Campagna. With Byzantium Alberic is on such friendly terms that he proposes to marry a Greek Princess or offers his sister to a son of the Emperor Lecapenus. The only recorded act of John XI. is to send four bishops, in 933, with powers to dispense and consecrate another son of the Imperial family, Theophylact, who at the age of thirteen was inducted Patriarch of Constantinople. An enormous and shocking derogation from law; but boy-bishops, boy-abbots, and boy-popes, were to be the scandal of more than one century. However, what these interchanges of friendship betoken is that the Consul of Rome had turned from North to East again; he would not suffer himself to be entangled in the affairs of Provençal, Lombard, or Teuton. His design was to set up a royal House on the Palatine, while his son or cousin, the Pope, ordained, preached, and sang his solemn Hours in the Lateran which Sergius III. had built up again.
For his own part Alberic was a just ruler, deeply religious, and guided, as we have seen, by the counsels of an illustrious monk and reformer, Odo of Cluny. If the Popes were his creation, they did not disgrace the Papal Chair. No evil is reported of Leo VII., Stephen IX., Marinus II., or Agapitus II., although we cannot explain by what series of accidents four Pontiffs reigned in twenty years. We read of monasteries built or brought to stricter observance-on the Aventine, in Via Lata, at St. Gregory, St. Paul, St. Laurence, St. Agnes. Farfa became a large establishment; Subiaco was raised from its ruins. The contrast between Alberic's piety and King Hugh's lawless dealing with bishops and bishoprics was striking indeed. Simony and concubinage laid waste the North of Italy. Lambert purchased from Berengar the great See of Milan, which became a centre of relaxation, with its dynasty of married bishops, down to the days of Gregory VII. Manasses, Archbishop of Arles, was a pluralist who bought or appropriated Trent, Verona, Mantua. Hugh's own base-born sons were bestowed at Piacenza, or thrust into the Sacred College. Abbey lands, nay, the abbeys themselves, went to Court favourites. The rank and file of the clergy no longer observed those Canons which forbade them to marry; the prelates were soldiers, sycophants, traitors by turns to Hugh and Berengar, keeping their wives in state, alienating Church property to their children. Actual robbers, as Waldo at Como, held the Sees of Christendom. And Manasses, who had won Trent from King Hugh, opened the passes of the Alps to his enemy, the German Otho.
In comparison with such unholy men of God, Alberic was a saint. But he had usurped the Patrimony of the Apostle, and retribution Jay in wait for the crimes which have given his House a dreary fame in Roman annals. His son bore the name, almost the title, of Octavian. Might he one day be Augustus? The had was hardly ten years of age, when Otho, like a sudden re-appearance of Charlemagne, glittered on the Alpine horizon, swooped down to Canossa, where Queen Adelaide was undergoing a siege from Berengar of Ivrea, and set the garrison free. It was a warning of change to all Italy. Alberic had his boy tonsured; the fatal instance of young Theophylact was there to urge him on; gathering the Romans in St. Peter's, he made them swear that, on the death of Agapitus, they would choose Octavian. Perhaps the lay nobles did so willingly; the clerics, held down for fifty years, cannot have ceased to whisper Otho's name. Alberic was in the prime of life, but the Middle Ages were times of scant vitality, when no one except hermits in the wilderness came to three score and ten. At forty the Patrician was dead ( 954); Agapitus followed him in less than a twelvemonth. Octavian, now John XII., at sixteen was Imperator, Consul, Pontifex Maximus. In his scarlet mantle Elagabalus occupied St. Peter's Chair.
A medieval Elagabalus, who donned his armour against the Southern Lombards and was put to flight; who hunted, drank, gambled, and converted the Lateran into a lupanar ; who sold abbeys and bishoprics, ordained lads for money, mutilated prelates, and mingled jests and cruelty with his wanton sacrileges. Several years passed before the monstrous career of an ungovernable youth was interrupted. Italian affairs had thrown up froth and confusion like the sea. Otho ruled in Germany; Berengar of Ivrea and his son Adalbert were detested, but still they could deprive the Archbishop of Milan, and menace Pope John. We do not know the particulars of an obscure transaction; yet who can doubt that sooner or later the German King would have taken on himself to regulate the condition of Rome and Italy? John XII. perhaps forestalled his indignant subjects. He and the deposed Bishops, with many Princes, entreated the royal aid. In 961 Otho received the Iron Crown at Pavia. Next February (962) saw him in St. Peter's; "by his valour," says Otho of Freising, "he had translated the Roman Empire to the Eastern Franks." They were to hold it, under many vicissitudes, for eight hundred and forty-four years, down to 1806. Otho was the first, as he was among the greatest, of German Kaisers.
John XII. anointed him, and the Emperor swore to protect the Roman Church, give back her possessions, and make no change in her government without the Pope's leave. The people and their Pontiff then took the oath of allegiance to him. On the body of St. Peter they swore to abandon all connection with Berengar and his son. When Otho retired, the mad young man entered into immediate correspondence with Adalbert, who fled soon after to the Saracens, and then took refuge in Rome. Otho left the siege of Monte Leone where Berengar was straitly shut up, marched to the city, and was told that Pope and King, despairing of support, had taken to the open country. A Council was at once called. The charges at which we have hinted were brought against the absent Pontiff. Liutprand of Cremona, in the Emperor's name (Otho could not speak Latin) warned the Bishops that clear proofs must be forthcoming. John was summoned, an Imperial safe-conduct offered him. The youth replied in a crude Latin message that provoked shame and laughter when it was read out, "We hear that you mean to elect a new Pope. If you do, in the name of Almighty God I excommunicate you, and forbid you to ordain or say Mass." Instead of coming to the Council, he went out shooting at Tivoli.
What should be done according to the Canons? It was a perplexed situation. But the Emperor's prelates perplexed it more. They, deposed John ( Dec. 4, 963), and elected Leo, who was not in orders, but who held the position of Chief Secretary to the Holy See. Within a month the Romans were up in arms. They fell on Otho's diminished troops, barricaded the bridge of St. Angelo, and had to be put down with immense slaughter by the Germans, now thoroughly exasperated. The Emperor, compelled to resume his blockade of Berengar, marched away to Montefeltro, leaving his Pope behind him. Immediately, there was an insurrection of women, said to be high born, in favour of their Alberic's son and heir. Leo contrived to get off in time; John returned, mutilated the leaders whom he could catch of the Imperial party, and in a Council which was doubtless popular asserted his rights. This took place in February, 964. In May, while pursuing some intrigue, he died suddenly, by the judgment of Heaven or the dagger of an injured husband. His decease cut an entangled knot. The Romans, however, disdaining to wait for Otho, and not recognising Leo VIII., elected a Pope of their own, who was called during the next unhappy days by the ironical designation of Benedict V.
ROMANCE OF THE OTHOS
MEANWHILE, Otho had taken Berengar and Willa, his wife, at Monte Leone--a couple stained with every crime, who had played Macbeth and Lady Macbeth to the Queen-widow Adelaide, by this time married to her German hero, now in consequence Italian King and Emperor. When these miscreants were despatched over the Alps, Otho drove straight at the Romans, struck them helpless, and saw their Benedict V. in his robes crouching on the ground before him,--a spectacle which drew iron tears down that Pluto's cheek. Degraded, exiled to remote Hamburg, the true or false Pope is seen by us no more. Leo VIII. confirmed anew the diploma which, in some uncertain shape, John XII. had granted. This "Privilegium Othonis" compels the Romans to swear that they will never elect a Pope except with the Emperor's consent, and the candidate is himself to take an oath of allegiance. In fact, as Liutprand says, they surrendered their right of election to Otho and his successors. But had they not done as much during the sixty years before? The House of Theophylact was the Great Elector, yet with this difference, that Theodora, Marozia, Alberic were flesh of their flesh, bone of their bone. If they submitted to a stranger they did so unwillingly, and not a moment longer than they could help.
When the Barons, Counts, or whatever they styled themselves,--these brigands of a mixed pedigree now encamped all over Rome,--wanted a pretext to rise, they put forward the banner of the Republic, and S.P.Q.R. became their superb device. Against Otho in person they dared not rebel; when Leo VIII. died in 965--it seemed impossible that any Pope should reign long--they humbly begged a Pontiff from the German soldier. He sent them a kinsman of their late Elagabalus, in the hope to keep them quiet, the Bishop of Narni, John XIII. Yet in three months they blazed up once more, took the miserable puppet, mishandled him, drove him from the city. John collected troops in the Campagna, returned, and was admitted with hymns of rejoicing. The Barons had heard that Otho was approaching for the fourth time to his restless capital. Christmas came ( 966); Pope and Emperor dealt a fearful vengeance on the rebels. Their twelve Tribunes were hanged; their dead Præfectus Urbis was dug out of his grave and dismembered; their living one hanged by, the hair to the equestrian statue of Marcus Aurelius, then set upon an ass, scourged, and cast into prison. Even the Greek Emperor cried out at such enormities. Liutprand answered for Otho that it was the law, Theodosian, Justininian: Jugulavit, suspendit, exilio relegavit ; what else should be done to sacrilegious wretches? John XIII. was now in the saddle again He went with his patron to Ravenna in 967, and got
OTHO I. EMPEROR "THE GREAT," A.D. 973. (From a print in the British Museum.)
from him the lands, cities, and lordships of these Adriatic regions, so long withdrawn from the Holy See. In acknowledgment he crowned Otho II. After seven years Pontificate his place was empty. Otho named Benedict VI. in January, 973, and himself expired in May of the same year.
He is termed the Great; with reason if we take into account his marches, fightings, victories over many combatants, his honours achieved, and extent of sovereignty nominal or effective. Once more there was an Emperor of the West. Hugh Capet, Duke of France, and Lothair its fainéant King, were Otho's nephews on his sisters' side, Hedwiga and Gerberga. His brother, St. Bruno, Archbishop of Cologne, was also Duke of Lorraine and the Low Countries; with him for lieutenant, Otho governed as far west as Brittany. The Saxon House which had risen upon the ruin of the Carlovingians was predominant in the Latin, German, and Gallic territories. Such a reward had fallen in less than sixty years to Henry the Fowler and his lion-hearted offspring. Henry ( 919936), says Carlyle, was "a very high King, an authentically noble human figure, visible still in clear outline in the grey dawn of Modern History. The Father of whatever good has since been in Germany." Twice he beat the Huns, at Sondershausen and Merseburg; twice the Wends; besides these, the Misnians, the Czechs from whom he captured Prague; and the Danes under King Gorm the Hard. He set down the Dukes of Suabia and Bavaria; appointed six Wardens of the Marches; saw that his burghs had walls round them; instituted a town militia; founded Quedlenburg Abbey and many others; and carried St. Michael the Archangel on his standard. "A right gallant King and Fowler," says Carlyle.
Undoubtedly; nor did Otho quite come up to his level. We have seen how fierce and vindictive he could be; yet, as Thietmar affirms, "never since Charlemagne did so mighty a ruler and guardian of his country hold the Imperial seat." For thirty-six years he battled strongly to put down rebellions in Franconia; conspiracies of great Bishops with Lorraine; incursions and alarums of Bohemians, Wends, Danes; and the House of Ivrea, which might have grown into the dynasty of Savoy and Italy. Then his son Ludolph revolted with many prelates; Duke Conrad beckoned to the Magyars; and they fell upon the German lands savagely. Otho had to pacify his people, and to beat the Magyars till they went away for good, leaving him with that Italian coil to disentangle which kept him so many years south of the Alps. He was buried at home in Magdeburg, an Archbishop's seat of his creation. The Emperor did as he pleased with Bishops and their estates; but his policy aimed at making the Church wealthy, as a counterpoise to his revolting Dukes and Margraves. He is well named the tenthcentury Charlemagne ( 936-973).
After his decease the sanguinary Roman records yield "no light but only darkness visible," in the gloom of which we perceive Crescenzio, son of Theodora, and brother of John XIII., rising up to snatch Benedict VI. into St. Angelo and there strangle him. Under such auspices Franco, the Archdeacon, a national or anti-German choice, calls himself Boniface VII., is overturned by the Imperial Resident Sicco, and flies to Constantinople, carrying with him the sacred vessels from St. Peter's. A grandson of Alberic was appointed, surely to content the partisans of that still indomitable race. Benedict VII. lasted nine years. Otho II., a man of war, not always fortunate, refined and somewhat unsteady, had come to Rome in 980. His marriage with a Greek Princess, Theophano, gave him rights over Apulia and the Far South. But in 982, the Saracens, encamped in those parts, defeated him with terrible slaughter, and he escaped them only by flight. His heart, we may suppose, was broken. Four years earlier he had beaten his French cousin Lothair, led sixty thousand Saxons and Flemings to Paris, and chanted Te Deum on the heights of Montmartre. Now he retired to Rome, where a new Pope of his making awaited him--John XIV., late Italian Chancellor and Bishop of Pavia--almost, the Romans would have muttered, a German. He assisted the youthful Emperor to die. Otho was not yet thirty when the atrium of St. Peter's received his worn-out frame. A child of three represented the Saxon Kings. Theophano, his mother, took him to Germany; until he grew up, she would be Emperor. John XIV. must have shivered when he was left alone in his palace.
Crescenzio had kept up a correspondence with the absconding Franco, protected by Court influence at Byzantium; for the Easterns would not give up their claims on Magna Græcia. His return was speedy; his acts according to the usual pattern. He had soon thrust John XIV. into the oubliettes of St. Angelo, where the wretched North Italian perished, it is said, by hunger. Then Crescenzio died, and his epitaph, dated 984, may still be read in Sant' Alessio on the Aventine, where he lies till the judgment Day. Franco followed him next year. But his body was outraged and left naked in front of "Constantine's horse," that is to say, of Marcus Aurelius and his steed, then set up in the Lateran piazza. Young Crescenzio II. stepped forward as Patrician; he did not contest the Imperial authority. There was a Pope John XV.; perhaps also an Antipope; we feel about in the dark of history for persons and events at this time. It would appear that John underwent sufferings which compelled him to retire into Tuscany. It is certain that when Otho had reached his sixteenth year the Pontiff invoked his aid. But in April, 996, this poor shadow slipped away, and the German youth of genius, halting at Ravenna, was called to Rome by Crescenzio, acting as head of the Republic.
No story in the Middle Ages wears upon its brow more beauty and sadness than this royal boy's descent to the South. His pure young enthusiasm, his accomplishments, friendships, misfortunes, and piteous death, fill us with an interest which belongs to lyrical tragedy. One pictures him as Euphorion--half Greek, half German--with his fair features and golden locks, his eyes alternately piercing and dreamy; under that almost feminine tenderness the wild Teutonic rage looks out; he is dowered with the love of love, the scorn of scorn; he is adventurous, detached, a pursuer of fame and learning, always in quest of greatness. We shall not look upon his like again till Frederick II. reminds us, in his perfect moments, of the youth he could never have excelled and would have done well to imitate in that fervent devotion to ideals, which not even the smoke and horror of certain cruel or infatuated deeds have been able to tarnish.
Time it was that an end should come to the Roman anarchy, now more than a hundred years prevailing --a scandal in the eyes of Christians so huge that it has never ceased to loom upon the page of history like a thundercloud. Otho, brought up by an admirable mother, felt as young men do when they set out on their adventures, capable of the noblest things. At Ratisbon he gathered the Bishops round him--among them Gerbert, lately deposed from Rheims. A crowd of high German prelates led him on his way; he confessed and was absolved by St. Romuald, Abbot of Emmeran. The Lombard Princes did homage at Pavia; for who could resist the armed host descending from the Alps? Soon after he learned that John XV. was no more; in accordance with his grandfather's "Privilege," the Emperor must choose the Pope; but a thrill of astonishment passed over Europe when news came that Otho, a lad of sixteen, had named his cousin Bruno, who was but twenty-three, to the Chair of St. Peter. The Romans were ousted; in Church and State a German held the sovereign power.
Bruno, son to the Duke of Carinthia, and Otho's bosom friend, had the intense purity, and not a little of the stern temper, which we remark in young Saints. He took the name of Gregory V. Rome threw wide its gates; the two noble kinsmen were enthroned, one at the Lateran as Pope, the other at St. Peter's as Augustus. Then Otho held a Court before which Crescenzio II. appeared to expiate the misdeeds of his ancestors, the Theophylacts, and his own. He was found guilty; the Pope begged him off, not aware that Italians never forgive. Crescenzio left the dock to spread sedition in the castellated dens where his fellow-nobles lurked. Otho dreamt that his quest had been accomplished; he set out for Germany and war with the Slavonians. But Rome was not reformed in a day.
Three months had scarcely elapsed when the weary old scenes of blood and massacre were enacted again. Crescenzio struck an attitude which some might imagine sincere--freedom, the Republic, and no doubt Junius Brutus, furnished his eloquent themes. That Rome, if the capital of Christendom, owed any duty to the world which acknowledged it, none of the Crescenzi have ever supposed. But mark the first appearance of the Tribune, who was to culminate three hundred and fifty years after in Rienzi. The severe young Saint, Gregory V., had made few friends. He saved his life in the tumult; but when he fled to Pavia he was destitute and almost alone. He could simply excommunicate the Patrician, which he did in February, 997. Crescenzio replied with an Antipope, Philagathus or Lovegood, a Calabrian Greek, just then on his way home from Constantinople. The Empress Theophano had made him Bishop of Piacenza; this was his gratitude. He called himself John XVI.--John had grown to be the rallying-cry of a party which descended from Marozia and her son, and which gloried in its Roman patriotism.
Large schemes, it is said, occupied the wealthy Antipope and his Consul when Otho, having broken the Slavs, turned down to Rome, entered without resistance (the cowardice in battle of these streetrioters is remarkable), and set up Gregory V. again. We would fain blot out the next page in his life. German wrath had now got the upper hand of Christian meekness. Pope Lovegood, seized in the Campagna, was frightfully mutilated, his eyes and his tongue pulled out, as Thietmar declares, by Gregory's own orders. The gentle St. Nilus, Archimandrite of the Greek convent at Grotta Ferrata, interceded for his countryman in vain. Philagathus, a horrible sight, was paraded through the streets of Rome, and then banished to a monastery. Yet he survived until 1013, when he ended his days at Fulda.
St. Angelo was still a refuge for Crescenzio; and, as it seemed impregnable, the story ran that Otho, by a feigned proposal of easy terms, lured the Patrician to his doom. We will hope, as another account tells us, that it was taken by assault. The Republican hero suffered death by decapitation on the battlements; twelve others perished with him; their bodies were hung, head downwards, on gibbets erected above Monte Mario. These are not German customs; but in Italy traitors have been so dealt with, in fact or in effigy. St. Nilus warned Pope and Emperor that their deeds would come in judgment against them. Crescenzio, with his golden halo of martyrdom, had left a son to avenge him. And though the Emperor made Rome his residence, he could not defend his cousin's life in that world of subtlety, treason, and dark dissimulation. Gregory was poisoned, or somehow done to death, on February 18, 999.
Romans would now, they probably thought, behold a Pope of their kith and kin, after an intimation so decisive. The musing Emperor thought otherwise. He could light upon no Cardinal in the Lateran precincts who would do such honour to Rome, the world's golden head, as befitted a new Augustan era; but there was one whom he had in view, a miracle of learning, his virtues unimpeachable, his piety sincere and fervent. After the German Pope, a French philosopher, a man of letters, acquainted with Saracenic universities and European Courts, was to mount the Apostolic throne. Gerbert, a name which reminds us of Æneas Silvius Piccolomini and even of Erasmus, became Pope Silvester II. by an Imperial decree. " Rome," said Otho, "was the world's capital, the Roman Church mother of all Churches; but her Bishops, ignorant and careless, had pulled her down, made her riches over to the basest of mankind, stripped the altars, given up their lawful rights to usurp those of the Empire. Constantine and Charlemagne had been foolishly prodigal in their Donations. A moderate patrimony was now bestowed; a worthy Pope created."
This language, these visions, the youth had learnt from a man whom he was exalting to dangerous eminence. Gerbert started so low down and mounted so high that he was called a necromancer by his contemporaries, accustomed to see Popes and Bishops of noble or kingly pedigree. A poor lad of Auvergne, he was bred up in the Cluniac house at Aurillac Chance made him known to the Count of Barcelona; he travelled into Spain; learned mathematics from
Arab texts or teachers; visited Cordova and saw the Caliph, Hakim II. It was the splendid noon of Moorish erudition, philosophy, poetry, and chivalrous knigthood--a contrast in brilliant colours to the Latin world, which seemed to lie on its death-bed in frenzies of convulsion, weak, moon-struck, imbecile. Gerbert felt the charm; when he went up to his high place the illiterate Westerns asked if he were not a Manichæan, in league with powers of darkness. Count Borel took him to Rome in the last days of John XII.; he was remarked by Otho I., and sent to the Archbishop of Rhems, Adalbero. From the second Otho he received the once edifying but now degenerate Irish-Italian monastery of Bobbio. Its corrupt monks and litigious lay usurpers drove him thence to Rome, where he could get no satisfaction, and to Rheims, where he taught with success during ten years. He wrote the Archbishop's letters, corresponded with Adelaide and Theophano. His patron, Adalbero, dying, left him the See. It was not likely that an obscure student could make good his claim while Arnulf, a side-slip of the fallen French royalty, stood by to be elected. Hugh Capet had seized the crown. Perhaps by way of consciencemoney his vote was given to the Carlovingian, who, as soon as he held Hincmar's crozier, plunged into treason; he was betrayed by another miscreant, Bishop of Laon, to Capet; and was tried in solemn council of prelates and nobles, with a view to his deprival ( July, 991).
Gerbert laid down the law to these by no means reluctant Bishops. They brought Arnulf to a public confession, deposed him, and, lest he should appeal to Rome and John XV., declared by anticipation their attitude towards Popes who were "full of all infamy, void of all knowledge;" in bold words they threatened to break away, as Africa, Asia, Constantitiople, had done. They would not hear of a popular election; and Gerbert, their master or mouthpiece, was chosen by them for Archbishop.
Thus the Manichee, necromancer, half-Moslem, had shown his ambiguous colours, and was a Gallican --nay, should we not call him a Protestant and Reformer, some centuries too soon? The traitor of Laon envied his eloquent friend's good fortune; he persuaded the German Court to back up the Pope, who was nettled and alarmed by such severe denunciations, the more stinging because they could not be refuted. To the French prelates again in meeting came Abbot Leo, as Legate a latere. His first charge was to undo the Synod of Rheims; his second to deprive and interdict Gerbert. Hugh Capet had no desire to provoke the clergy, at home or abroad, by whose connivance and favour the crown passed from Louis le Fainéant to his own almost sacerdotal dynasty. He suffered the great scholar to be put down at Moisson. Gerbert's household forsook their fallen chief, and he set out alone for the Court of Adelaide and young Otho, from which had come his misfortune.
He possessed the art of making friends, and, it would seem, of fascinating even his enemies. At all events he conquered the hero-youth, and filled him with dreams of a miraculous Roman Renaissance so soon as the first Millennium of Christianity should be accomplished. The Auvergnat became Archbishop of Ravenna and Supreme Pontiff. His puopil had built a palace in Rome on the Aventine; there he saw in vision the Fifth Monarchy ruling a peaceful world, Pope and Emperor united as the hope of mankind. Silvester II., who could subdue every one he addressed, did not, however, subdue the Romans. They shared none of his apocalyptic dreams; they abhorred the wise French Pontiff; they conspired against the German Emperor. We may imagine Rome as the hungry, untameable wolf, chained but defiant, whose effigy then, as in our own days, the citizens regarded with a love which was hatred to everything not Roman. In two years they had rid themselves of Gerbert and Otho.
How it was done remains a mystery of iniquity, for we cannot doubt the wickedness, although its agents, like their victims, died and made no sign. Legends were plentiful in so credulous a world. This one which tells how young Otho met his doom has been disputed, yet survives with stories of the House of Atreus and is of a strain as melancholy. When Crescenzio II. was beheaded on the St. Angelo terrace, his beautiful wife, Stephania, it is said, fell into the hands of the wild Germans. She suffered like Lucretia; unlike Lucretia she would not die, but waited with preterhuman endurance till she could get her revenge. In the tale she is always surpassingly fair, a witch in cunning, and able to move with her young son, Crescenzio III., among the Court ladies and gentlemen whom Otho entertained. She is Delilah and catches him in her silken nets, though he is a spirit of fire and purity, pilgrim to shrines far and near, but at last "effeminately vanquished," as greater men had been. At some banquet the woman, true type of Vittoria Accorombona and other Roman "white devils," to speak with our English tragedian, gave her lover a poison which did not kill him instantly, but which acted in slow corroding effects upon a system never too strong. He drank and knew not that death was in his veins.
Thus far the legend, which Milman believed to rest on convincing evidence. What history tells, yet as a confused babble, may agree with it. Tivoli, in the gorge of the Anio above Hadrian's classic villa, was a town belonging to cadets of the Marozian dynasty. It had become a rival to shrunken Rome, and was now in revolt against Otho. He marched, in 1001, with soldiers from the city, to make an end of it, taking with him Pope Silvester, who never would be left alone in his unguarded Lateran. The Tivolese, persuaded by a foreign Pontiff, laid down their arms and accepted the pardon which Otho held out to them. But where were the spoils which the Romans had hoped for at starting? On his return with empty hands, the Emperor, as he sat in his house on the Aventine, saw a furious mob attempting to batter in his doors. He escaped by a postern; carried away the Pope to Ravenna; and never set foot again in Rome. Yet he passed its inexorable gates more than once on his expeditions to Calabria. He had gone on pilgrimage to expiate his former deeds of violence, not only to Monte Cassino, but to far-off Gnesen in the Polish land, where his friend St. Adalbert lay in a celebrated shrine. He did a thing yet more characteristic of the age and himself: he opened the crypt in Aix-la-Chapelle where dead Charlemagne sat in his chair of state, bearing his crown and sceptre; from the dead man's neck he detached a cross of gold and wore it as a relic or Imperial charm. His days, it is said, were now spent in prayer and almsgiving. But nothing could save Otho, and we seem to hear a muffled sob as the chronicler of that unpitying time records how he died at Paterno, in sight of Rome, and was borne back over the Alps, until he came to Charles the Great once more, to be laid at rest by the side of his heroic predecessor. He was only twenty-two.
Gerbert followed him in three months. Poisoned, says the Saxon monk, by Stephania; in any case, struck dumb; broken by his long wanderings; not suffered to reform the Church he had so magnificently exalted in his prophesyings, or to lead the Crusade and recover Jerusalem, over whose captivity his letters seem to weep. Crescenziu III. is Consul; half a century of Tusculan oppression throws Hildebrand's reform into far perspective.
THE GOOD SHEPHERD--EARLY BYZANTINE MOSAIC AT RAVENNA.
XII TUSCULAN SUCCESSION-- PAPACY BOUGHT AND SOLD (1003-1048)
TUSCULUM is a spur of the Alban or Latin Hills, about sixteen miles south-east of Rome. It had still Greek remains scattered in its glades and thickets when Gregory, Captain of the Fleet under Otho III., restored its ancient citadel, ascribed to Telegonus, and made of it a strong castle. He was connected with Tivoli; but now that the Crescentine branch of his ancestors had blossomed, envy, the Italian vice, prompted him to cut it down; he affected a devotion to the Empire; and from his rocky nest we may see the Ghibellines descending over Latium, Tuscany, the whole unhappy land. Crescenzio III., his cousin of the elder stem, lasted only nine years, in which time he had appointed three Popes, John XVII. and XVIII., and Sergius IV., son of a cordwainer. These and the Consul being dead, who should succeed?
There was an Emperor of the Saxon House, a Saint and warrior, Henry II., who had to fight for his Iron Crown with Arduin, Marquis of Ivrea-the Alpine mountaineers wanted no Germans in Lombardy--and he was busy winning the great prelate-princes; he could not previously attend to Roman affairs. Gregory the Tusculan had three sons, Alberic, Romanus, Theophylact; the last a Cardinal. By gold or intrigue he contrived the election of his clerical son, though not without opposition; and, in fact, Benedict VIII., as he was styled, had to take refuge at the Emperor's feet in Germany, nor did he come back until peace was made with Crescenzio IV., the city Prefect, who held St. Angelo for his family. In 1013 Henry defeated Arduin; with his Queen, Cunegunda, he arrived in Rome, where the usual ceremonies of coronation took place. Whether Benedict VIII. lived up to his sacred character we do not know; what we do know is that he cut to pieces a Saracen army which had disembarked at Luni in Maremma, and sent to the Republics of Genoa and Pisa vehement letters, urging a naval Crusade for the recovery of Sardinia, which was accomplished. The Pisans maintained that he had given them the island. No dignity seemed secure unless ratified, even in those degenerate days, by a Papal grant, which carried with it, as Hergenröther observes, not so much dependence on the Holy See as independence of all other lords.
Gerbert had raised Poland to the rank of a kingdom and consecrated the Hungarian crown of St. Stephen. The eleventh century was beginning with a group of Saints on the throne--Otho, repentant and a pilgrim; Robert of France, who lived far more strictly than his own Bishops; this Henry II., a monk in all but name; and the Apostolic Stephen, who converted his Magyars with sword and crucifix. The restoration of monasticism had been undertaken long ago at Cluny. Rome was the dark spot in a brightening sky. Yet of Benedict VIII. we hear no evil, but rather good; and his friendship with Henry, whom he visited in Bamberg, accompanied to Monte Cassino, and joined in an expedition against the Greeks of Capua, must count in his favour. Note that Henry II. made a grant of the city and bishopric of Bamberg to the Holy See; this was afterwards exchanged for Beneventum, a treaty which appeared to invest the Popes with dominion of an Imperial sort over Naples. It was an unlucky transaction, prologue to an Iliad of woes in times not far distant.
Twelve years passed; Benedict and Henry went to their graves in peace; and Romanus the Senator took or bought the vacant Chair. In one day he was Prefect and Pope. The old abuses flourished; John XIX., bred a layman and a Tusculan, was not likely to end them. In 1027 he crowned the Emperor Conrad, in presence of Rudolph, Duke of Burgundy, and the Anglo-Dane, Knut, otherwise well known to English readers. Knut, a pious traveller to St. Peter's shrine, cannot have been edified when a tumult broke out in the very church between Milanese and Ravennates on the question of precedence. That was not the only fighting which disgraced a high festival. "Undisciplined Germans, turbulent Romans," both were to blame, we will say. But the sure thing is that whenever a Teuton came to be crowned, blows and bloodshed drew a crimson arabesque about the glowing page. Always the citizens attacked the soldiers and got beaten for their insolence, this time with great slaughter. Conrad insisted on their leaders appearing before him with naked feet and cords round their necks, which would be remembered, not to his advantage, when he was gone. Neither did he reform the Church in head or members. The clergy in almost every part of Europe were marrying or giving in marriage, against the Canons which Nicholas I. had promulgated, which Silvester II. and Benedict VIII. had tried to enforce. But the evils were felt; they were named; simony and concubinage must be rooted out; if the clergy would not cleanse the holy place, then their rivals and adversaries the monks would do it. A scandal yet more gross than the reign of John XII. precipitated the reformation.
Still the House of Tusculum. John XIX. went to his account in 1032. His brother, Alberic, made one son "Consul Romanorum," another, the last Theophylact, Pope. This was a lad ten or twelve years old, who had the title thrust on him of Benedict IX. An hereditary but irregular succession had thus kept the cross keys for well-nigh a hundred and fifty years in the hands of Theodora's descendants.
At a distance the Papacy was ringed about with a halo in which the individual Pope, good or bad, seemed lost. So rapid a transit of unknown men left the faithful indifferent. Pilgrims, indeed, were plundered; monks groaned in their prayers over the Church's captivity; but official routine never quite ceased; and the average Italian learnt to distinguish between the man whom he despised and the priest who was minister of the Sacraments. When Abbot Leo replied to Gerbert's terrible indictment at Rheims, he admitted all the charges--corruption, venality, uncleanness, bloodshedding--nor was he a miscreant personally; but still he quoted, Tu es Petrus, still he warned his audience against the impiety of cursed Ham. We can hardly suppose that Henry II., had he been living, would have found no flaw in the election as cumenical Pastor and teacher of a child who did not know his catechism. Unhappily, Conrad was engaged in deadly strife with Heribert, the married and magnificent Archbishop of Milan--another real Antipope, forerunner of King-Cardinals and Protestant Hermanns of Cologne. He let the nomination pass, though contrary in letter and spirit to the Canon Law. When Benedict was old enough to travel alone, at seventeen or thereabouts, he joined the Emperor, and on two occasions, at Cremona and Spello, pronounced the ban of the Church against Heribert--not, we may be sure, because he lived as a disorderly Bishop, but to chastise the rebel or the patriot. However, a change was at hand.
For, in Rome itself, Benedict lived up to his predecessor John's example; he was a bandit, not a priest, stained with adulteries, homicides, the vices of his bringing up and his youth, but unopposed while Gregory his brother held the Consulate. A tumult at length, in 1044, which we need not ascribe to religious indignation, drove him from the city and St. Peter's. His Tusculan guards held Trastevere; street-fighting led to no decisive results; but the opposite, which may have been the Crescentine, party met in St. Peter's, assembled in conclave and, not without bribery, elected John of Sabina, who became on these terms Silvester III. Seven weeks of confusion followed, and Silvester was compelled to flee into his native mountains.
Triumphant Benedict was again lord of Rome. But on May Day an event to which no parallel can be found in Christian records, startled the city and the Curia. Benedict had sold the Papacy, for money down, to the wealthy Arch-priest of St. John at the Latin Gate. The document was signed and sealed by which Apostolic succession, keys of St. Peter, and all thereunto belonging, were conveyed to John Gratian, henceforth to be Gregory VI. in virtue of hard cash. Every one writing since on this unspeakable bargain has alluded to Didius Julianus who bought the Roman Empire. Simony had achieved its masterpiece. A Pope selling the Papacy, a Pope buying it, that, as the French say, had yet to be seen. Electors (if in the chaos of law we could tell who were, and who were not, entitled to the office) had taken their bribes many a time, and were to do so again; in such wise that the eminent modern historian Pastor is compelled, with a blush, to remind some critics that, until Julius II. ordained otherwise, simony did not vitiate an election to the supreme seat in Christendom. But could a Pope dispose of it like a worn-out cloak or a pair of old shoes? That was a new point for Canonists. One might parody St. Jerome, Ingemuit totus orbis et se esse simoniacum miratus est : Simon Magus had conquered.
Motives have been guessed at on either side. Benedict, like the Cardinal Cæsar Borgia in days to come, was meditating a splendid marriage, and wanted to be secularised. John Gratian was a simple, pious man, who devoted his riches to buying out a
INSCRIPTION IN SANTA SABINA ON THE AVENTINE. ( Fifth Century.)
scandalous intruder, not otherwise removable; or he intended a larger profit, for it seems certain that the moment he was master he attempted at the sword's point to get possession of estates held by lay usurpers in the Campagna, and undertook the safeguard of pilgrims bringing gifts to St. Peter. Be that as it may, Gregory VI.'s reputation owes no small debt to a monk then residing on the Aventine in Alberic's monastery del Priorato, whose name was Hildebrand, and who became his chaplain and chief counsellor. A second monk, Damiani, wrote to him with un- conscious sarcasm from Fonte Avellana (where Dante would one day brood over his unearthly visions), that now the reign of simony had come to an end. These were his friends; but he was still Didius Julianus.
And now Henry III., another saintly Emperor (one cannot forbear a blessing on these good Teutons) arrived. In 1046, at a numerous Synod in Pavia, his voice was lifted up against the traffic which bought and sold, not only in the Temple, but the Temple itself. Gregory VI. hastened to meet him at Piacenza. Benedict, who seems to have missed his intended bride, lay behind the Cyclopean walls of Tusculum. Silvester had got back St. Peter's. There had been a moment when all three Popes held their court in Rome--at the Vatican, St. Mary Major's, and St. John's. The Emperor advanced to Sutri. Historical parallels have their use. We are reminded here of the Council of Constance, Sigismund the Emperor, and the trio of doubtful Popes in 1415. Was any one of these valid? Henry began by deposing Silvester, who retreated into a monastery. John Gratian acknowledged his "shameful and simoniacal heresy, which was the work of the devil," and decreed his own deposition. Benedict would not come down from his fastness. Yet, as he seemed legitimate, Henry went through a more solemn procedure against him in St. Peter's, and only then appointed his man, Suidger, Bishop of Bamberg, by whom in turn he and the Empress Agnes were crowned. The Romans looked on in sulky silence. They would have preferred even a Tusculan to Clement II. It might have been wiser to maintain Gregory VI., which was no doubt Hildebrand's judgment.
When the Emperor is crowned, it is time for him to go. Henry went south, broke the rising power of Salerno, took under his protection Melfi and Aversa, Norman colonies with a great future before them, and returned by the Eastern coast, where Clement expired at Pesaro, October, 1047. Benedict IX., it was whispered, had given him a deadly drink, and the dissolute young man was in Rome again. He had won help from Boniface, Marquis of Tuscany; he meant to be Pope after all. Such an act of rebellion to the Empire, of dishonour to the Church, did that noble Boniface share in, whose grandfather Azzo, Lord of Canossa, sheltered Queen Adelaide, while his father Tedaldo had received large benefices from the Saxon house, including Mantua and Modena. Boniface himself held possession of Tuscany by a like privilege. Hereafter, his only child, the Countess Matilda, would make up for this disloyal dealing, and spend her life in service of the Roman Chair.
John Gratian was in far-off exile with his chaplain, Hildebrand. The last of the Tusculans held his court of misrule nine months; but on hearing that Marquis Boniface would not support him against Henry, he fled and was seen no more. The Bishop of Brixen, who took the name of Damasus II., had been appointed without so much as the form of election, by the Emperor. He came in the midst of German soldiers, and in twenty-three days was dead ( August, 1048). Again the sceptre designated a
Roman Pontiff, cousin to the royal house, of stately bearing, famed for virtues and miracles, who had stooped to the lowly Bishopric of Toul. Bruno called himself Leo IX., and when he set out for Italy Hildebrand went with him. From that moment down to 1085--some thirty-seven years--the monk from Cluny and the Aventine governed the Church.
LOWER than Benedict IX. it was impossible that the Papacy should fall; and higher than Hildebrand in fact, hardly perhaps in idea, it could never soar. Humanity speaking, three different ways of escape from degradation might be imagined for it in the eleventh century. One was that opened by Gerbert, but which death hindered him from advancing upon --the way of an intellectual new-birth, not without Arabian influences, or even Greek and classic revivals, such as, long after, the Renaissance under Nicholas V. was to bring forth. A second was the road of the Emperors, which some would call Ghibelline, Erastian, or merely secular; but Otho III. is the most convincing proof that it need not have fluttered a plume in the crest of religion, while upholding the rights and dignities of a Christian State. The last, which turned out to be the destined course of things, divided itself for nearly two centuries from Gerbert's philosophic ascent; and it came almost immediately into conflict with the Imperial power. It was the way of monastic reform.
Monasticism had separated from the world. If it cherished learning, or did not put science under a ban, yet its own aim was not knowledge, but the perfect life-- summa Quies --as expressed in vows of poverty, purity, obedience. It could not transform society at large into a cloister, but it could and did make a cloister of the Church. It reformed the Papacy by seating in the Chair at Rome a succession of monks. During the best part of a hundred years the Capital of Christendom was Cluny. St. Benedict avenged himself on Benedict IX. by ruling the faithful in his stead.
That is no figure of speech. When Rome, under baleful enchantments, had lost the very shadow of holiness, wisdom, and spiritual greatness; when her fine gold was dim, her sanctuaries held by brigands or adulterers, far away on the banks of Saone and Loire a movement was beginning, to live the life which Christ had lived, in silence, labour, detachment. The Benedictine Rule, made by Witiza of Aniane ( 817), too sharp and vexatious for daily use, had long been forgotten. Monasteries, like bishoprics, fell into the hands of lay lords, their concubines, children, and retainers. Soldiers clank about their courtyards; hunting dogs give tongue in sacred solitudes. Monks and nuns break their vows; infants receive the abbot's crook; lands are alienated, buildings fall to ruin; learning, of course, is neglected. Not universally, for exceptions might be found in the worst of times; but monastic wealth was tempting, and the feudal convert scarcely more than half a Christian. Between him and the Norman pirate how little was there to choose?
At this dark period, in 910, William, Duke of Aquitaine, set Berno to rule over his foundation of Cluny. Now had monastic life its second spring. The gentle and comprehensive method of St. Benedict prevailed once more in a multitude of houses, old and new. Many were derived from the great French centre, others independent. Dunstan, Abbot of Glastonbury--statesman, artist, recluse, reformer of abuses--took his inspiration from it in the Concordia Regularis. Hanno, Archbishop of Cologne, saw it enforced. Würzburg, Einsiedlen, Hirschau--abbeys all over Europe--discovered in the Great Rule a code of civilisation as well as of piety. Three hundred churches, colleges, and monasteries looked to Cluny as their mother-house. Its abbots, in a long line, were men renowned for the austerest virtues. Peter the Venerable is worthy of his name. St. Hugh, the friend and ally who never forsook Gregory VII., built himself a monument in the church at Cluny, which remained the largest and most imposing in Christendom till St. Peter's excelled it. Lands, revenues, privileges of every kind were showered upon the monks, who for a good while used them as they were meant, to the public benefit. But now a contest was breaking out of a kind hitherto scarcely known. The parties in Hildebrand's first period, down to Henry IV.'s manhood, were on one side a corrupt Hierarchy which would not be reformed, and which could rely on its kinsfolk among the nobles and all the clergy tainted with concubinage; and, on the other, Pope, Emperor, and monks, animated by the genius of a single captain. For Hildebrand's "imperial mind," as Newman justly terms it, directed the whole series of campaigns which at last issued in the victory of monasticism.
This remarkable man, the Julius Cæsar of the Papacy, was, like Gerbert, a plebeian; his birthplace is not positively ascertained. His father is said to have been a carpenter of Saona in Tuscany, and that he had German blood in his veins we may well believe, since there were few of his country that had not. His uncle Laurence had become Abbot of Sta. Maria on the Aventine, and called the lad to him. In self-restraint, watching, and study he passed his youth. Some uncertain years he spent at Cluny, under Odilo, the illustrious reformer. He loved solitude, but duty recalled him to Rome before Gregory VI. had purchased the tiara; and if he consented to be this Pope's minister we can only suppose him ignorant of the transaction, or persuaded that a subsequent election had made it good. Historians will always perhaps take different sides when they write of Hildebrand; none would charge him with hypocrisy or time-serving. He followed Gregory across the Alps. When his patron died he went back to Cluny; there Pope Leo IX. found him and carried him to Rome. Henceforth he is Gregory VII. in all but name.
The most Petrine of Popes bore a striking resemblance to St. Paul. His letters, of which we possess nine books, were weighty and powerful, but his bodily presence was weak, his stature small, his delicate frame racked by frequent sickness. In friendship he showed himself passionate and exacting. He needed sympathy, yet exercised imperious control over every one; learning and elegance he disclaimed, and spoke slightingly of his "rustic style"; but who could be more daring or adventure upon a new line of action with more confidence than Gregory VII.? Again, like St. Paul, he brought into the religion which he exalted a revolutionary idea; the Apostle freed it from Judaism, the Pope from Feudalism; in their hands it became something universal, not bounded by race, kingdom, colour, prerogative. What has been called the essential Democracy of monasticism appears in both these master-spirits, to whom rank was an outward show, the powers of the world vain or transitory. But in natures so vehement thought is flame rather than light; nor have they ever ceased to stir up enemies as fierce as their partisans have been devoted.
It was afterwards told that, on meeting Leo IX., Hildebrand counselled him to put off his Papal insignia, enter Rome on foot, and solicit the votes of a genuine election. We cannot be sure; and it signifies little. The new Pontiff had been chosen in Germany. He was a graceful, energetic presence wherever he went--the first of those Apostolic pilgrims who travelled over Europe, holding Councils, correcting abuses, receiving the homage of Kings and crowds, Popes truly cumenical. He restored St. Peter's, visited Monte Cassino, which was then
ST. PAUL'S OUTSIDE ROME, OF WHICH HILDEBRAND WAS ABBOT. ( Fifth Century--restored).
growing to its height, and the picturesque St. Michael's Mount in Calabria, from which those others, French and Cornish, take their name. But his task lay before him. Hildebrand summed it up, "to take their wives from the clergy, their investitures from the laity." A celibate ministration, freedom of election, security of the Church estates, such was the programme. Towards its fulfilment hardly a few in the episcopal ranks would lend a hand; the highest were its resolved opponents. Leo might count on St. Hugh of Cluny, on Hildebrand, on St. Peter Damiani; and popular opinion, which reveres a virtue it cannot equal, took part with the monks against disedifying secular canons, married priests, and high-born tyrannical prelates. In 1048 Leo began his visitation of the churches of Europe. Rome must be reformed from the circumference. It had lost its savour, though Hildebrand has in later times been held up as a Roman. But he never was a cleric, and the school of the Lateran could lay no claim to him.
At Pavia Leo held a Council; he crossed into Germany, met the pious Archbishop Hermann of Cologne and Henry the Emperor; excommunicated, subdued, converted Godfrey of Lorraine, a freebooter who now lost his Dukedom, and, after public scourging, humbly rebuilt with his own hands the Church of Verdun, which he had burnt. So mighty was religion when a Saint wielded its power in the ages of faith! Leo passed on into France. He dedicated Rheims Cathedral, not yet the exquisite and sumptuous Gothic which we know; he gathered the Bishops next morning, and charged them as at the Great Day to confess if they had bought their consecration. Treves, Lyons, Besançon, professed their innocence. Four others allowed themselves guilty. Hugo of Rheims, a notorious simoniac, kept silence. But he could not escape a summons to Rome. The Bishop of Langres, convicted, took flight; others were deposed; absentees, who would not join the Pope in council on French territory, underwent a similar fate. The Papal primacy, endangered by all we have recited, was proved from the Canons. Leo had undone the Gallican measures of Gerbert.
Scenes not less decisive were witnessed in the Council at Mayence; the Metropolitans bowed before the Pope; Sibico of Spires underwent his trial; and Leo, as he returned towards Italy, visited Fulda and confirmed the privileges of many German convents, acting as supreme Lord in spirituals. In five years he crossed the Alps three times. He would not endure that even German Bishops, who now filled North Italian Sees, should lift their heel against the Papacy. Humfred of Ravenna was put down, restored, and died suddenly. By Leo's appearance in the camp at Presburg ( 1051) and his persevering efforts, the Emperor was induced to offer Andrew of Hungary a peace which the latter refused. At Worms, next year, he made an attempt to get back for Rome thirty-one churches and forty-seven monasteries north of the Alps which had been taken away, including Bamberg; and now it was that in exchange for the latter Leo accepted Beneventum, the fatal heritage.
Antipapal enmities, smouldering beneath the ashes of simony, burst into lava-floods, as he seemed to grow more Italian and less German. The troops which had been promised him were denied. Still he marched from Mantua, with Suabian knights and condottieri, a loose array, to combat the Normans under Robert Guiscard. He received Capua, which had thrown off its Prince. He dreamt of conquering Sicily. Peter Damiani raised his voice in loud reprobation of a militant Pontiff; such acts were no better than the Apostle's denial and David's adultery. Judgment soon followed them. June, 1053, saw the Normans victorious at Civitella and Leo in their hands a prisoner. He forgave them, returned to Beneventum where he did penance for his late martial exercises, arrived in Rome, and ordered his open coffin to be set in front of St. Peter's shrine. With deep solemnity, he uttered over it a dying speech, not unlike those words of the Emperor Severus, Omnia fui et nihil expedit. He had been a monk in his cell, a Pope in his palace; all had shrunk to this narrow stone. Then he died in a transport of religious exaltation, April 13, 1054.
Hildebrand, without a moment's delay, hastened from France. Archdeacon of the Roman Church, he had been sent to quell the subtle rationalising heresiarch, Berengar of Tours, who disputed or denied the Catholic view, maintained by Lanfranc, and said to have been imperilled by Scotus Erigena, of the Eucharist. We are not to dwell on this controversy. Enough that Hildebrand, assailing the lion in his den, held a Council at Tours, which he would doubtless
ARCH OF TRAJAN AT BENEVENTUM
have carried to an orthodox conclusion did he not hear or suspect that Leo was dying. From Berengar he took a declaration, ambiguous, seemingly sufficient, which was afterwards made a charge against himself, and broke up the Council. Then he assumed the government of the vacant See. The interim lasted a whole year.
Boniface of Tuscany had been murdered. His large dominions, which embraced so much of Central and Northern Italy, went to his wife, Beatrice, and she chose to marry the brigand-Duke of Lorraine, now under Henry III.'s Imperial ban. His brother Frederick had been made Cardinal by Pope Leo. This combination of rival powers was unendurable to the Germans; and, it would appear, to Hildebrand. He invited, nay compelled, Gebhard, Bishop of Eichstadt, to ascend the Papal Chair; for Gebhard, though hostile to Leo, was a reforming prelate, the Emperor's trusty counsellor, and yet, in the language of later times, a true Guelf The Bishop accepted reluctantly; he became Victor II.; and Henry followed him with a formidable host. The usurping Duke Godfrey fled--but into German quarters where he could stir up rebellion. Beatrice and her daughter Matilda the Emperor kept in his hands. A Council at Florence forbade (how vainly!) the alienation of Church lands to laymen. Victor, just or severe, narrowly escaped poisoning at the altar. In 1056 Henry, worn out by insurrections, expired at Goslar, leaving his son and the Empire to Victor's tutelage.
A strong Pope, by the confession of all, he made peace among the Germans, did not offend Godfrey of Lorraine, and restored the Cardinal Frederick who had been in exile as long as Henry III. lived. He held his court at Ancona, his synod in Florence; he despatched Hildebrand a second time to France that he might depose, reform, reclaim on the lines of Ultramontane policy. His least defensible act, the setting aside of Abbot Peter, and installing Frederick of Lorraine at Monte Cassino, is ascribed by Tosti to the bold Archdeacon. It was hardly done when Victor passed away at Arezzo ( July, 1057). Godfrey and Beatrice ruled as Imperial lieutenants in Italy. The Romans, their master away in France, clamoured for Cardinal Frederick. He yielded, whether from ambition who shall say? No churchman could go beyond Stephen IX. in zeal or austerity. As Legate in Byzantium he had excommunicated the Patriarch Michael and his Eastern colleagues. He now raised Damiani to the purple; proposed immense schemes to Godfrey; took for the Crusade, but sent back again, the treasures of Monte Cassino; and in March, 1058, was dead at Vallombrosa, where St. John Gualbert attended his last moments. Stephen IX. is a strange and splendid apparition, enigmatic to us, but not easily forgotten in the Papal gallery.
They say that he was poisoned. The familiar Roman factions sprang on the stage; Crescenzio, the Tusculans, the Count of Galeria chose Benedict X.; clearly they felt no shame in calling to memory Benedict IX. The Emperor was a child, the Archdeacon still away; and they wanted no reform. Their candidate was a Crescentine, Bishop of Velletri.
He made lavish donations to the people; St. Peter's ornaments were coined into money. Peter Damiani protested; Hildebrand made a league with the Empress; and, in virtue (it must be supposed) of rights granted to Otho, Henry II., and Henry III., persuaded her to name the Archbishop of Florence, a Burgundian, Gerard, who advanced under such support to Rome, and was recognised as Nicholas II. His rival, degraded, taken by Hildebrand--yes, with Norman help--shut up in the convent of St. Agnes, figures yet as Pope in the catalogues. A crisis had arrived. Was not the Roman Archdeacon acting as a Ghibelline? The Chancellor, Guibert, who represented the Empire--could he legitimate this new election? Either Rome must henceforth sink to be, in spirituals as in temporals, a fief, an investiture, on a level with Mayence and Hamburg, or every secular lord, including the Emperor, must withdraw. When he lay dying at Salerno, in 1085, Gregory wrote that his aim had ever been to make the Church, "free, chaste, Catholic." And was this freedom?
In the Lateran, meanwhile, under his guidance, a Council proceeded to draw up rules which, allowing the Emperor some shadowy right of approbation, vested in the seven Cardinal Bishops and their fellowmembers of the Sacred College the real election. At Rome, if circumstances would permit; otherwise, wherever a peaceable choice could be made. The Roman laity, no less than the German Cæsar, thus forfeited powers which, as our history demonstrates, they had seldom exercised with discrimination, never once in view of the Church at large. Seventy Bishops signed.
They also compelled Berengar, who was brought before them, to abjure his doctrine, or, at least, imagined that he had done so, in terms which he afterwards explained away.
Robert Guiscard and his Normans, still excommunicate, had overrun Apulia; the last Greek official had sailed to Byzantium. Robert's policy had never been inflexible--Guiscard means "the Cunning"-and he now sent messengers begging of Nicholas II. to take away the ban. In the synod of Melfi it was done. Nay more, the Pope made Richard Prince of Capua; to Robert he gave Apulia, Calabria, Sicily (when the island could be got from its Moslem invaders), all to be held as fiefs of the Holy See. This bargain ratified, he took a Norman guard with him to Rome. Before long they were treading down the old nobility; they laid waste their lands and subdued their castles as far as Sutri. Nicholas died in 1061. To exclude Hildebrand, the barons named young Henry IV. their Patrician, and were prepared to take a Pope of his choosing. The Archdeacon looked on scornfully. By way of compromise the Cardinals elected an Italian, but a Lombard, Anselm of Lucca, who was known as Alexander II.
We enter now on a period of Antipopes. The secular Roman party, whom their enemies described as Simonians and even worse, persuaded the German Court to fix on Cadalus, Bishop of Parma, who was at once acclaimed by the Lombards of Milan and the neighbouring regions as Honorius II. What had taken place in the ancient city of St. Ambrose to render this feasible, shall be told by and by. In the spring Benzo of Albi, his agent, who likewise represented the Emperor, arrived in Rome, scattered his bribes right and left, drove out Alexander, and warned the Senate that a Pope could not be elected by monks and Normans--in a word, by Hildebrand. Soon after Cadalus, with troops and treasure, came to Sutri; he was at Tusculum, and the Alexandrian forces cowered inside the walls of Rome. Godfrey the Duke appeared as a Deus ex machina, with more soldiers than either party. The candidates must retire and submit their claims to examination. Scarcely had they done so when news was brought of a revolution in German affairs. Hanno of Cologne had dared to kidnap Henry IV. from the Empress Agnes. Godfrey joined him; Damiani left his cloister, appeared at Augsburg, pleaded in his quaint yet passionate way for Alexander, and won the assembly. But still two Popes divided the capital of Christendom; at St. Angelo, the Parmesan with his secular Barons; at St. John Lateran the Bishop of Lucca.
For two years ( 1063-1065) this unseemly spectacle continued. That ill-fated lad, Henry IV., was tossed from one hand to another; the Archbishop of Cologne, whom his monastic friends called a saint, had given way to Adalbert of Bremen; a war of churchmen ensued, with abbeys plundered, monks despoiled--it was the heyday of insolent and greedy feudal Bishops, intent on their own aggrandisement. At length a conspiracy of princes and prelates in the Diet of Tribur flung Adalbert down. Henry must abandon him or yield his sceptre. He attempted flight, could not manage it, and saw the Archbishop fall. That was the signal of Hanno's triumph; with him the monastic party returned to power; Cadalus heard the news in St. Angelo, and paying his gaoler Cenci three hundred pounds of silver, he escaped to the North. At Mantua the Germans recognised Alexander in 1067; Cadalus assailed the city and was driven off by the Tuscan Godfrey, after which he did nothing memorable and died in obscurity. Meanwhile Guibert accepted the wealthy See of Ravenna. In 1073, after a stormy reign of twelve years, Anselm of Lucca died. Hildebrand, who seemed to choose Popes and to bury them, was performing the funeral obsequies in St. John Lateran when the acclamations of the people and Cardinal Hugo's eloquence summoned him to the vacant place. The crimson mantle was thrown about him, the tiara set on his head. He wept, refused, fell ill. But he could not escape the burden; and he announced his election, it is said in words of grave warning, to Henry IV.
HENRY IV. AT CANOSSA (1073-1076)
NEVER did man embark on a voyage so seemingly desperate as that to which Gregory VII. was now committed, body and soul. What did he propose? To reform the Church, cleanse and renew the corrupt Hierarchy, set it free from its bondage to kings and nobles, and in doing so, to abase the Empire, which until of late had been his stay. Such a policy, straight as an arrow to his own apprehension, appeared crooked, subtle, and devilish in the eyes of many, and those not always depraved. Against him stood up, rank after rank, the thousands of clergy who would rather forego their livings than their wives. On the Bishops, gorged with plunder and open lawbreakers, he might count for a determined opposition. Nor did the people, who like himself, were little better than born serfs, rise to that view of Church or Papacy, pure in its angelic brightness, with its gleaming sword unsheathed to smite even royal vice, which, as his letters testify, was habitual with him. "To forsake righteousness," he said, "is to make shipwreck of the soul"; and with Æschylean energy, "All the attempts of mortals are but straw and stubble. against the rights of St. Peter and the power of the Most High."
His Bible he knew by heart. In all his epistles it overflows, as in St. Bernard's sermons and correspondence; it shapes his thought, enforces his argument; no Puritan lived more habitually in the atmosphere of Psalms, Prophets, Old Testament Theocracy. He did not pretend to be a scholar; but the "rustic style" in which he gloried is a tesselation of Scripture phrases; he wrote and spoke as a Prophet to the degenerate House of David. His favourite word -- it was the last he uttered--is "righteousness." But he is often weary of the sun; in writing to his dearest friends, the Countess Beatrice of Tuscany and her daughter Matilda, he lets fall the strong expression, "I was desperately ill, now I am well again, and sorry for it." Elsewhere, he says to Hugh of Cluny, "An immense sadness, sorrow without a break, encompasses me round about. I have lived twenty years in Rome against my will." He calls it, "this Rome, to which the Almighty brought me back in chains"; had Providence laid so heavy a burden on Moses or Peter, they would have died under it; his own days are a living death; he is always fainting and crying, "Lord, take me away from this world; make no long delay!"
Those who would resolve Gregory or men of his temper into ambitious hypocrites, make no allowance for the strength of a reforming passion, kindled in the cloister, fed upon deep and secure beliefs. Hildebrand led a mighty movement which carried him
ST. GRGORY VII., POPE A.D. 1085. ( From an old engraving )
along at the same time. It was not of his creation. When he proposed to abolish lay investiture and clerical marriage, he was summing up an idea which during the last hundred years had been silently gathering force. His raptures, fasts, vigils, scourgings, while they bore witness to the man's sincerity, disclosed an ascetic, unworldly type of the Christian life, in which thousands believed perfection to consist, while none could less resemble the ways of the beneficed priest or his patron and tyrant the military Prince-Bishop. Could celibacy, instead of being the rare exception, become the rule, it would reform the clergy as by a magic stroke. And if laymen, including the Emperor, ceased to traffic in church-livings, the scandal of a luxurious, negligent, feudal Hierarchy would come to an end. That this Reign of the Saints might turn, as in other times, to an allembracing, irresistible despotism--to Florence under Savonarola, to Geneva under Calvin, to Presbyterian Scotland or Puritan New England--Gregory did not imagine. He spoke always of the Church's freedom.
In the first authentic Decretal, Siricius had insisted with the Archbishop of Tarragona, and through him to the Spanish Church, that every bishop, priest, and deacon must be celibate. A Council of Carthage in 397 calls this an Apostolic law; and though Vigilantius protested, Innocent I. ( 417) renewed the enactment; St. Leo extended it ( 440) to sub-deacons; and such has ever been the discipline of the West. If a married man took orders, his wife entered a convent or abode under his roof as a sister. Thus we meet the curious names of presbytera and episcopa in Church history, and we read of priests' or bishops' children. In the East, however, custom, which had always been acquainted with a married clergy, per- mitted matrimony to stand with orders in the lower ranks. It would not suffer it in bishops, who were to be chosen from the monasteries. And in the West it should be observed that orders were not conferred till the age of thirty and upwards; that various Councils appealed to Nicæa on behalf of a milder rule: and that, as the learned Thomassinus expresses himself, the earlier practice had been undecided or fluctuating. Even in the eighth century Paul I. rebuked, and was on the point of deposing, the Archbishop of Ravenna for living publicly with his wife. Nicholas I. renewed the laws of his predecessors, and was charged by Photius with infringing the Nicene Canons on this very account. Children born after their father's ordination were reckoned illegitimate or even slaves; but the repeated injunctions of Popes and Councils prove that the rule of celibacy had fallen into disfavour almost everywhere during the ninth, tenth, and eleventh centuries. When Gregory began his reform, says Montalembert, "the whole clergy, with the exception of the monks, and of certain bishops and priests quoted as marvels, lived in permanent and systematic concubinage."
Such is the witness, such the language, of Peter Damiani, who in this long and sanguinary contest played the part of St. Jerome against Vigilantius, with a strength of resolution, and, it must be added, a coarseness of terms, not to be imagined by those who have never studied his writings. Himself rescued and brought up by a priest's consort, the kindest return he could make, after his monk's profession, was to set the clergy free from these dangerous helpmeets. And with the marriage of ecclesiastics certainly were bound up the sale, the transference, the secularising of benefices. Priests and deacons, said Desiderius, Abbot of Monte Cassino, are not ashamed to marry and leave children as heirs in their wills. What could they bequeath except what they had plundered? "These women," said Atto of Vercelli in 956, "rule the house, and when master is dead, inherit what the priest has left of the Church's goods and the alms given by the faithful." The people sold the election to livings, continues Desiderius, the priests sold the consecration and the gift of the Holy Ghost. It would be easier, exclaimed Damiani, to turn the heart of Judas than to convert a Bishop--heretic and robber as he is--from his poisonous heresy. Bishops, even in Rome, kept their concubines and called them openly their wives. In 1040, says Bonizo, it would have been hard to find in the Eternal City a priest that was neither illiterate, nor simoniacal, nor living in disorder.
Monks had at first been laymen, solitaries or united in a common life, but by rule they were "continent," that is to say, unmarried. Since the resurrection which began about the middle of the ninth century, their great leaders had been ousting the wedded secular canons and enforcing the strict Western discipline, as we may read in the trials and triumphs of Dunstan, the English Abbot. Nevertheless, it is patent from the large area over which opposition sprang up, from Apulia to Ireland, that the clergy in general neither observed the law nor wished it to bind them. Under Leo IX., and in his despite, French bishops were publicly married, prelates of great Sees like Rouen, of smaller ones, like Le Mans and Quimper. In 1059, Damiani reproaches Annibert of Turin for allowing his clergy to take wives. Long before this, St. Boniface had brought a similar charge against the Germans; and Leo VII. wrote to Gerard, Archbishop in Bavaria, "It is deplorable that the priests in your country are openly married and ask to have their sons ordained." St. Adalbert gave up his Bishopric of Prague because he could not endure a clergy which declined to be celibate and a nobility which was polygamous. Evidence to the like effect could be multiplied; but there is no reasonable doubt that clergy and bishops, left to their own devices, would have abrogated the law and converted their benefices into hereditary fiefs, on the pattern set them by their secular neighbours.
Of this movement the centre was Milan, never at rest under the Roman supremacy, as proud of St. Ambrose as though he had been an Apostle. Ruined by Attila, greatly restored under Archbishop Anspert, the city flourished when Pavia decayed, and in 1018 Heribert governed it with a magnificent liberality, a show of learning, and a resolution of character, which made him the foremost prelate in Italy. He crowned Conrad II., and himself joined in the Emperor's Burgundian campaign. But he was something of a tyrant and his people rebelled; Milan underwent a siege at the hands of Conrad. The Archbishop defeated his Emperor; he set up the famous Carroccio; he gave Milan freedom, but made it amenable to his own government. The Milanese, when Heribert died, invoked him as a Saint; yet he had been married to Useria; and on the election of Guido, the longexpected conflict broke out between reformers and Epicureans ( 1057).
These turmoils in the Italian cities of the Middle Age cannot fail to remind us of similar, but hardly more violent, scenes in the small republics of Greece. They did, in fact, spring from causes economic as well as political, and religion was often a mere pretext. Guido's rival, Anselm of Badoagia, could influence the vavasours, or base tenants, the "Minores," as they were termed elsewhere, whose debts burdened them, and who felt keenly the impositions laid on their shoulders by the Archbishop, his nobles, and his ministers. The monks would side with a discontented, suffering multitude. Gregory VII. always speaks as the champion of the down-trodden. And a sincere desire to end abuses may have actuated Landulf, the eloquent, high-born preacher, and Ariald, the man in the marketplace, who were Anselm's lieutenants. The reformers appealed to authority, the relaxed to ancient Canons; and both parties to St. Ambrose. But Ariald drove the married clergy out of church. They were forcibly separated from their partners. Guido, on the other hand, held a Council at Novara, and dared to excommunicate the leaders of reform. He brought down on himself ( 1059) Peter Damiani, now a Cardinal, with Anselm of Lucca, commissioned by Nicholas II. to quell these disorders. Now the people turned again; they would not see their Archbishop humbled in presence of a Legate. But Damiani faced them with supreme daring; he argued for the Roman claims, which they were not prepared to deny; and he compelled Guido as well as his clergy to take a solemn oath against simony and concubinage, which was equivalent in the circumstances to a general confession of guilt.
Nor was that all. In 1059 Nicholas II.--we must bear in mind that Hildebrand was his adviser-renewed the decrees which condemned these evils, and Guido signed them again. But neither he nor any Lombard Bishop ventured on publishing them. Anselm became Pope; the episode of Cadalus followed; Landulf died, and his brother Herlembald stepped into the office of agitator. He was a democrat to whom Alexander II. sent a sacred banner, Hildebrand urging this consecration of the popular cause which implied the triumph of celibacy. Pass a hundred years, and the Lombard League will vindicate his foreboding that the Free Cities would uphold the Church, even unto blood. Herlembald governed Milan; Ariald got the Archbishop deposed; but he was imprudent enough to substitute Roman uses for the Ambrosian, and it cost him his life. Guido had returned. Ariald escaped to Legnano; he was captured by the retainers of Oliva, the Archbishop's niece, taken to an island in the Lago Maggiore, tortured, mutilated, murdered ( 1066). Still Herlembald held the city; he kept Guido in prison, defied the Imperial Court, and was under the protection of Gregory VII. when a new insurrection struck him dead and trampled on his sacred banner.
Ariald and Herlembald were canonised; Milan yielded outwardly to the stringent discipline of reform; but in 1098 its clergy were handing down as of old their benefices to children born in the sanctuary; and Cremona, Piacenza, Pavia, Padua, exhibited the fiercest dissensions between the defenders of licence and the partisans of law.
This one sample may suffice. We need not dwell on the strife at Florence, the virtues of St. John Gualbert, the charges against Bishop Peter, the victorious ordeal of his opponent, Peter Igneus. Everywhere, law and piety, seconded by popular zeal, overcame the opposition of prelates who did not know what principles to rely upon when they ran counter to the ideas of the age. All owned monasticism to be the highest Christian aim; how, then, could bishops or clergy live as though merely ordained laymen? Celibacy was now sure of its triumph, Not so the war against simony, or the attempt to wrest from secular hands privileges and properties, a half or a third of whole kingdoms, which had been time out of mind at their disposal.
Neither of the parties to this quarrel can have dreamt that it would continue through vicissitudes of shame, triumph, and defeat, a long three hundred years, reckoning from Henry IV.'s accession to Charles IV.'s Golden Bull, which at last divided the Empire from the Papacy ( 1056-1356). Still less did they anticipate its consequences to themselves. Both institutions, it must be remarked, stood above or outside the nations of Europe considered in a tribal or territorial sense. If the Papacy controlled a spiritual society, the Empire was often little more than a political fiction. In both the ruling power was influence, not the force of arms, but an acknowledged yet always resisted law, and the personal authority of the ruler. Both again were elective monarchies, liable to revolution at every demise of crown or tiara. They were not only exposed to the intrigues, the corruption, the sordid or ambitious views of possible candidates, but, as we have seen in the French and American systems which resemble them, were almost certain to be wielded by average men chosen to keep out the more daring spirits. By a singular coincidence, indeed, the Empire was now to become a sort of family possession, the Papacy to move on definite lines under its monastic Pontiffs, for a hundred years and more. Nevertheless, no Emperor succeeded in making the crown hereditary until the brunt of this battle was over. And the immediate successors of Gregory VII. inherited his policy rather than his genius.
Gregory felt unbounded confidence in the "Divine Idea" of Church and Hierarchy, of monks' vows and religious profession, which from youth up he had cherished. As legate in France, under Victor II., he confronted the hostile multitude of prelates; wrought upon their conscience by miracle, as William of Malmesbury tells us; and saw forty-five bishops and twenty-seven other dignitaries confess their guilt and lay down the sacred trusts which they had bought. In Damiani's language, he had been "Lord of the Pope"; or as Bishop Benzon, a Simonian, cried aloud, he "kept Pope Nicholas like an ass in a stable," binding the wretched man by oath to do his will--a will, remarks Chavard, of marble and iron, which could not be broken. In all things, says the biographer of St. John Gualbert, he heard and defended the monks. Thus on one side stood the Pope, almost alone in the Hierarchy, relying upon the monastic orders and the popular enthusiasm; on the other, bishops, nobles, courtiers, and married clergy looked to young Henry IV. as their champion. To him in exchange for freedom as against the Hildebrandine laws, they surrendered the Church estates, the right of election to benefices great and small, the immunities of cloister, fief, and Imperial city. In a contest so unequal it did not seem possible that Gregory should will.
Henry IV., as described by historians, was a Teuton, with the large limbs, blue eyes, flaxen hair, and truculent temper of his race; bold, enterprising, and subject to fits of passion ; "a man," says Bonizo, "of deep counsel and remarkable sagacity." His bringing up had not been wise. The Empress Agnes spoilt him. Hanno, if a Saint, frightened and browbeat the lad whom he had kidnapped. Adalbert of Bremen, according to his enemies, suffered Henry to run wild at a critical period among evil companions, who gave to the Court at Goslar a scandalous name. These, however, were the "King's friends," to be rewarded with great bishoprics and the wealthiest abbeys in German lands. When the Saxons revolted they charged upon Henry crimes too enormous for belief; yet he never broke loose from the religious creed of his childhood. Among the strange characteristics of this man we must reckon his moods of repentance, his remorse after violent and outrageous behaviour, his tears and submission to those whom he had been persecuting to the death. He is called passionate, cunning, treacherous; the story will prove either that he was unstable, or that in the conditions of the time no basis of purely secular independence could be discovered, on which to withstand the authority exercised by a Pope in God's name.
June, 1073, the very day after Gregory had been chosen, saw the Saxon chieftains revolt. Their cry went, "For God's Church, Christian Faith, our own Freedom!" Henry was asked to send away his youthful counsellors, to quit his concubines, to take back the wife whom he had repudiated, to dismantle the forts by which he quelled these princes. Among his friends were the Archbishop of Bremen, Liemar, and the Bishops of Zeitz and Osnaburg. They were driven into exile. Thuringia broke into open war. Henry lost his treasures, fled into hiding; then with the help of his prelates and the Rhine Princes he gained a battle at Hohenburg ( 1075). In adversity, when Gregory admonished him, the Emperor confessed to every charge--incontinence, simony, invasion of Church property; he would repent and amend. Messengers came from Rome demanding the fulfilment of his promise. Let him call a Council, degrade the simoniacal prelates. He consented. There was a frightful tumult at Cologne, perhaps in consequence; Hanno just escaped with his life, the city underwent horrible disorders. Germany was rent into factions At Erfurt where Siegfried of Mayence presided when he displayed the Roman enactments, the clergy, almost all married, rose against him, and threatened the legate in such terms that he fled, escorted by his own troop of soldiers. Hereupon followed a synod at Rome, and the Pope, in one peremptory decree, abolished the whole right of investiture; to grant or to accept it was the sin of idolatry, its punishment was interdict ( February, 1075).
This might be reform; it was certainly revolution. While no one pretended that the sale of livings could be anything but a sin, investiture with ring and staff had been practised by the holiest laymen with the Church's consent or toleration. Gregory abrogated a long-standing usage; he did not substitute any ceremony by which the Civil Power was recognised. Not only the person, but the property, of every cleric thus became exempt from secular burdens. While the Pope could dispose of bishoprics and their wealth, of parishes and their endowments, nay of abbeys and their treasures--as was shown by Stephen IX. in regard to Monte Cassino, by the crusading Pontiffs in regard to all Christendom--it might be asked in what manner King or Emperor could deal with contumacious prelates, or with ecclesiastical bodies which declined to share in the dangers and liabilities of the common government. This question, under various crude or debatable forms, was to give rise to Constitutions of Clarendon, Statutes of Mortmain, Premunire and Provisors, and to precipitate a crisis in the days of Philip the Fair and Boniface VIII., in the course of which the Medieval Papacy, inaugurated by Gregory at this moment, should complete one great cycle of its development and a new era begin. It is not too much to affirm that this double dispute, touching the marriage of the clergy and the immunities of their estate, which Henry IV. took up in defiance of the monk Hildebrand, is the same as that which in 1517 was baptized with the name of the Reformation. At Erfurt a yet unconscious Protestant Germany had risen up against Rome. No sooner had Gregory thrown down the gauntlet in his Lateran Synod, than this entire party went over to the Emperor.
Had Gregory been no more than a politician, he would have devised some way of hindering that alliance. But he was what men of the world call a fanatic, and his Church has declared him to be a Saint. He struck at high and low, prince and prelate, with undaunted resolution. The whole German Church was leagued against him. In December, 1075, Hanno of Cologne vanished from the scene. The Saxon Bishops, his partisans, had been conquered with their brother-nobles. Siegfried of Mayence was a reed shaken by the wind. In his Roman Council Gregory had suspended from office a crowd of bishops, including Liemar of Bremen, and the occupants of Strasburg, Spires, Bamberg, Pavia, Turin, and Lausanne. When Altman of Passau read from the pulpit Gregory's decree against clerical marriage, he was almost torn in pieces by the furious rabble. At Mayence the like tumults were renewed; neither Siegfried nor the Papal Legate could persuade the clergy to obey. The law remained a dead letter.
Except very few--it is the Pope's lament--none of the Bishops exerted themselves to stamp out the evil of simony, or to insist on their priests leading a single life. Henry might assume that in defying the Roman authority he would have the world at his back.
And he was a victor in arms at twenty-three, while the Pope seemed defenceless, worn down with age and trouble. The Normans, for sins of their own, lay under interdict. Nor was Rome itself--the patrician, turbulent Rome, which never loved the clergy--favourable to the monk from the Aventine. Guibert, soon to be Antipope, may have stirred up old feuds, if they did not blaze out unprovoked. What we know is that on Christmas Eve, 1075, in wild weather, as the Pope was celebrating Mass in St. Mary Major's, Cenci, of the House of Tusculum, a pardoned traitor, seized Gregory, wounded him, and thrust him into the tower on the Via Sacra, bleeding and stripped of his sacred vestments. The mingling of sacrilege and murder was then, as long afterwards, peculiarly Italian. When day broke, the people assaulted Cenci's stronghold and rescued Gregory, who forgave this atrocious ruffian in mild terms. Such were the "weapons of lowliness" with which, as he told the Venetians, he meant to conquer.
But to Henry he turned a sharper edge; his words were very swords. Within a few days he issued ( January, 1076) a declaration of the Papal right to judge kings for their offences; he rebuked the royal appointments to Milan and Spoleto; he insisted on the discipline of celibacy, and he cited the Emperor, under threat of excommunication, to appear on February 22nd in Rome before a Church tribunal. Henry dared not risk his crown on the adventure. At once he summoned his Bishops to meet at Worms on the Sunday of Septuagesima. His intention was to depose Gregory before he should himself be deposed. The timorous Siegfried was president;
HENRY IV., EMPEROR A.D. 1076. ( From a print in the British Museum.)
Cardinal Hugo, a sycophant and simoniac, who had been the first to acclaim Hildebrand as Pope, now stepped forward and charged him with crimes of the deepest dye, but offered no evidence. A form of renunciation was drawn up, and every Bishop compelled to sign it. Henry sent the decree to Rome with a letter of studied insult, in which he maintained that the Emperor could be unmade for no crime save apostasy. He did not perceive in his admission that the Pope alone could judge who was, or was not, an apostate. His letter concluded: "I, Henry, by the grace of God King, with all the Bishops of my kingdom, cry to thee, 'Down, down!'"
This message was carried to Gregory sitting among his ministers in the Lateran, by a priest of Parma, Roland. Tumult followed its delivery; but the Pope read it aloud in his self-controlled way, pronounced a skilful defence of his action, and next morning launched the great anathema. In his audience sat the Empress Agnes, Henry's mother. He had already received letters of retractation from many who took part in the Synods of Worms and Piacenza. Now, by the authority of St. Peter, in the name of the Almighty, he proceeded to deprive Henry of the whole government over Germany and Italy. He released all Christians from the oaths they had sworn or might hereafter swear to him, and forbade them to yield him obedience henceforth. He bound the King in spiritual chains that all nations might know and acknowledge Peter to be the rock on which the Church was built by Christ, the Son of the living God.
It was a deed without example, but a masterstroke. Thirty years had passed since Henry's father at Sutri put down three Popes at once from their pride of place. Now the world looked on at a counter-revolution in which the spiritual power did as it chose with the temporal; not only did the law of the Roman Pontiffs obtain wider sway than the law of ancient Emperors--which was Gregory's boast to the King of Denmark--but the successor of Charlemagne must become its humble minister, or his crown was forfeit. Henry heard the sentence and felt dismay. One of his chief advisers, William of Utrecht, perished miserably. Defection had begun among the bishops; Suabia, Bavaria, could not be trusted; some of the Saxon leaders had gained their freedom; at Mayence opposition raised its voice; Udo, Archbishop of Treves, broke away to Gregory; and the King, losing himself in wild enterprises, failed in Saxony and retreated with disgrace to the Rhine. Six months had sufficed to ruin all his devices.
Meanwhile, Gregory exhorted him to repentance, but did not cease to remind the Germans that if he were contumacious, on them lay the burden of choosing an Emperor. At Tribur, near Darmstadt, a Diet, or as we now say, the Reichstag, was held. Three candidates appeared. Henry, with a handful of followers, lingered at Oppenheim across the river. During seven days the Diet took cognisance of his high crimes and misdemeanours, his private vices, his elevation of base-born men to responsible station, his distrust of the nobles, and his assaults upon churches and monasteries--these were counts of an indictment from which we gather that the feudal chiefs, lay or ecclesiastical, would have resisted a Patriot King as fiercely as they did a tyrannical Emperor. And he, quitting the semblance of dignity, flung himself on the ground before them. He offered any terms short of abdication. His offer was rejected. The wretched Siegfried now thought of crossing the Rhine, attack- ing Henry in person, and ending the war at a blow. But the Imperial bands confronted him, and this ignominy was spared the fallen Prince. Hard conditions, such as the Middle Ages had never heard before, were exacted from him. At next Candlemas Gregor), intended to hold his court in Augsburg. Let him decide the whole affair, said these German oligarchs, who played off one authority against another, and were only not fickle because they looked always to their own advantage. Till then let the King disband his troops, send away his excommunicated Privy Council, withdraw to Spires, and live there with no state of royalty. To this extraordinary demand Henry Submitted. Gregory was virtual sovereign of the Holy Roman Empire.
A terrible winter set in; from November to April the Rhine was frozen; his enemies, the Dukes of Bavaria and Carinthia, watched the passes of the Alps lest Henry should steal a march on them and make his own terms with the Pope, who was moving towards Mantua. With his wife and child, attended by one servant, the unhappy young man turned into Burgundy, bought from his kindred of Savoy the passage over Mont Cenis, and through ways cut by hatchets out of the frozen snow, not without accidents, he came down headlong into Lombardy. fie was on the road to Canossa.
Among friends now of the Imperial cause he found himself; a great army sprang up to meet him; the deprived prelates, the married clergy asked, Would he not depose Hildebrand? That undaunted yet wary pilgrim had turned back from Mantua on hearing this news and taken up his quarters in Canossa, twenty miles south-east of Parma, the strong fortress where Adelaide, Queen of Italy, once found shelter. It belonged now to Matilda, the saintly Amazon who ruled over Tuscany and was the devoted friend of the Pope. Thither came a host of penitents, German bishops, German nobles, barefoot, in mourning, to beg absolution. It was given with consummate kindness. Matilda and Hugh of Cluny interceded for the chief criminal. Gregory, referred him to the approaching Diet of Augsburg. They pleaded for a speedier reconciliation. "Then," said the Pontiff, "let him put into my hands his crown and sceptre, and confess himself ail unworthy King." On January 25, 1076, Feast of the Conversion of St. Paul, Henry was admitted within the precincts of the Castle. In deep snow he stood there, the tall, fair German, stripped to his shirt, fasting and barefoot. That day passed, and a second, in this ghostly silence, but Gregory from within gave no sign that he knew of Henry's humiliation. A third ended in like manner. Was it the severity of an Apostle or the arrogance of a tyrant which the Pope displayed? At length, in the chapel of St. Nicholas, Henry fell down at Matilda's feet and implored her intercession. Then Gregory suffered him to draw near. They, met--a strange contrast, youth and age, the Emperor in his single white garment trembling, the Pope with his red mantle about him, slight, small, grey-haired, inflexible as death. The Emperor was conquered.
Terms as stringent as they could be made, with compurgators to show that Henry was not to be trusted; and to crown all, the fearful adjuration which Gregory, put upon him, holding the Host in his right hand, "May God strike me if I am guilty of the crimes alleged against me! Do thou, my son, do as I have done. Avouch thy, innocence on the Lord's body." Conscious of many crimes, he shrank in terror; but the absolution had been given; Henry was Emperor again. His Lombards at the gates heard this announcement with angry contempt; they cried out that his soil should be their King, that Gregory was a son of Belial. When the humbled Teuton quitted Canossa none would greet him or so much as look his way, and he passed on to Reggio in a cloud of grief, disowned by friends, a laughingstock to enemies. Such a day as Canossa the world would never see a second time.
NORMANS, CRUSADES INVESTITURES (1076-1123)
It is the year 1083. From his snow-penance Henry had taken an undying hatred to Hilterbrand. Though absolved, he had not been able to prevent the election of an Anti-emperor, Rudolph of Saubia, whom let not the careless reader confound with Rudolph of Haspburg two centuries later. War was raging, with devastation on a grand scale and bloodshed less than we might imagine, but a horrible mixture of civil and religious broils. Rudolph was nearly finished, and Gregory's new thunderbolts against the Franconian Emperor did not help the Suabian, to whom he perhaps sent a crown fro St. Peter. At Mayence and Brixen the Pope was deposed. Guibert, Italian Chancellor, Archbishop of Ravenna, usurped his place and for a long twenty years fought and wandered as Clemet III. No serious historians believes the calumnies which were spread abroad against Gregory. That he was true Pope every one knew. But in the battle of the Elster, while Henry suffered a reverse at the hands of the Saxons, Rudolph was killed. In the spring of 1081 Henry crossed the Alps, encamped Linder the walls of Rome, and began a siege that lasted amid fevers, alarms, and desultory fighting some three years off and on. Accident at length gave him the Leonine City, but Gregory was secure in St. Angelo. Negotiations led to no result. The Emperor pressed on the siege; at Christmas, thanks to bribery, the Romans opened their gates. Henry held the Lateran as well as St. Peter's. His Antipope was consecrated, himself crowned on Easter Day, 1083, by Clement. Canossa might seem to be revenged.
Now came Desiderius, Abbot of Monte Cassino, like the messenger in a Greek tragedy, to announce that Robert Guiscard was approaching with six thousand knights and thirty thousand foot. Henry could not stay to meet him. Taking hostages and breaking down some of the walls, he fled towards Città Castellana. Three days afterwards, up marched the motley but formidable host, not only Normans but Saracens, all freebooters, on fire with lust of plunder and excitement. They carried the gate of San Lorenzo; they released the Pope and conducted him to the Lateran. But in two days the Roman populace broke upon the barbarians as they were feasting, and attempted a massacre. Into these narrow streets the Normans urged their cavalry; it was a fight from house to house, and the natives were getting the advantage, when Guiscard uttered the ominous word "Fire!" Instantly, from Lateran to Capitol, over the regions which Nero had once seen in conflagration, the flames rose up. Houses of wood; churches and temples of marble, were consumed under a red cloud of night. Inhabited Rome, Palatine, Esquiline, Quirinal took fire, blazed up, and was laid in ashes to an accompaniment of murder, rape, robbery, and all the unspeakable pollutions which heathen Saracen, and scarcely less heathen Norman, now brought on the Capital of the Christian World. From that day the region of Monti--the Hills-has been a desolation. When the people began to build again they moved down into the Field of Mars. Modern Rome dates from Robert Guiscard and Gregory VII. and this great fire.
Thousands of Romans were sold in open market; the city, however, was not safe; and Gregory, brokenhearted, went in company of Robert to Monte Cassino, from which he retired to the stern seaside fortress of Salerno. His last letter to Beatrice and Matilda breathes all unconquered spirit. His last words have a proud yet sincere ring in them: "I have loved justice and hated iniquity, therefore I die in exile." Roman, with a Virgilian pathos, they were answered by one of his Cardinals in it more splendid strain: "In exile, Holy Father, thou canst not die; behold I have given thee the heathen for thine inheritance and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession." Such was medieval Rome, a blending of Imperial haughtiness with the prophetic visions of the Hebrew Testament. Then Hildebrand bowed his head and died. He lies in a seldom-visited shrine, not far from the crypt of the Apostle Matthew, looking over the
TEMPLE OF ANTONINUS AND FAUSTINA IN THE FORUM ( ROME), SHOWING TRACES OF FIRE, A.D. 1083
Blue Tyrrhenian waves. In death as in life we admire his solitary grandeur, his devotion to an ideal which consumed him as it subdued the conscience of his century. But he perished while the battle was raging ( May 25, 1085).
Four men he had pointed out among whom to choose a worthy successor; they were all monks. The Abbot of Monte Cassino, after a year of flight and protest, became Victor III. Robert Guiscard had followed Gregory to the tomb in a few months. Desiderius was the friend of his son, and known already as an adherent of the Norman policy which would keep Emperors at a distance. "No German King," he said, "should institute another Pope." But his reluctance to wear the triple crown was unfeigned. With Jordan's aid Guibert had been chased from St. Peter's, Victor installed; but the monk-Pope returned to Cassino, renewed at Beneventum the interdict on Henry, and died in 1087. After six months another Gregorian candidate, Odo, Bishop of Ostia, was chosen. A Benedictine, noble by birth, French by extraction, once a prisoner in the hands of Henry IV., he announced his election by declaring that he would walk in Gregory's footsteps. He was destined to an everlasting name as Urban II., the Pope who preached and consecrated the First Crusade ( 1088-1099).
The nations were grouping themselves afresh, and large domains were falling to the Roman See. On the day when Gregory died, Alfonso VI. of Castile captured Toledo from the Moors. Urban restored to it the Metropolitan dignity over Spain, which it had long lost. He was likewise called upon to mediate between the heirs of Guiscard as suzerain; to Roger he gave Apulia, to Bohemond Tarentum. A daughter of Robert's was married to Raymond, Count of Barcelona; in 1090 this Prince declared himself and his possessions tributary of St. Peter, which, as the diploma proves, had become a recognised style of independence from secular powers. Tarragona was to be held as its peculiar property by the Apostolic See. Yet, at this very hour, Guibert occupied one half of Rome; and while France acknowledged Urban with joy, the Empire was divided and England hesitating. Urban naturally proposed to imitate the earlier Pontiffs who had found in the Franks allies or champions when the Germanic races pressed upon them. In proclaiming a Crusade he was setting Rome free and holding up Henry with his Antipope to the scorn of those myriads who took the cross.
Before this came to pass fortune had favoured only to abandon Henry. By way of helping the Papal interest, Matilda, now past forty, consented to marry Guelph of Bavaria, who was eighteen and a husband only in name; but this confederacy brought down the Emperor into Tuscan parts. He captured Mantua; he was on the point of exacting an almost dishonourable peace, when defeat and his son Conrad's rebellion drove him home again. Conrad, deeply religious, but a dreamer, believed or imagined things too monstrous for recital which he charged upon his father, and escaping to Matilda's partisans, was crowned King of Italy in Monza and Milan. The Pope, meanwhile, lived as a wanderer on the face of the earth in the Norman dominions. When this intelligence reached him, he came back to Rome and kept Christmas there in 1093. Henry was shattered by his favourite son's defection. Guibert expressed his willingness to abdicate. At Piacenza in 1095 Urban gathered an assembly of thousands, eager to take the Cross; and before them all he gave ear to the frightful accusations which were brought against her husband by the Empress and declared them well-founded. These events broke the Imperial influence in Lombardy; and after some vicissitudes, during which Matilda separated from her foolish husband, a party of Crusaders took Rome on their way to Palestine. In 1097 Guibert was finally dislodged from St. Angelo.
But Urban had entered France in triumph. He acted with all the pomp and authority of a King. Philip I., weak and dissolute, not taking from his predecessors the severe warning administered to them by Nicholas I. and other Popes, had put away his Queen Bertha, and seized Beltrada, wife of the Count of Anjou. This pretended marriage was allowed by the Bishop of Senlis, denounced by Yvo of Chartres, who suffered imprisonment in consequence, and reluctantly condemned by Hugh of Lyons in a Council at Autun, which, however, excommunicated both the King of France and the German Emperor. Urban now arrived at Cluny, where another flugh, forty-six years Abbot, welcomed him as an old disciple. The famous Council at Clermont followed ( 1095), and most remarkable it is that a French Pope should command all Europe to enter on a distant, a hazardous expedition, while his capital was in the hands of an Antipope, the Emperor lay under interdict, and the successor of Hugh Capet was excommunicate. In his own person Urban combined the temporal and spiritual sovereignty of the West; neither did this amazing double character of the Papacy provoke remonstrance on the part of nobles or kings, though it dated no farther back than Gregory VII. Philip apologized, shuffled, was absolved, and after a wretched comedy which lasted fifteen years, died in peace with the Church.
To complete our picture of times so unlike the present, we need only remember how Anselm of Canterbury was entering at the same period on his long quarrel with William Rufus and Henry Beauclerc, which fills a tumultuous chapter in our native history.
But the schismatic, the anti-clerical party as we should now term it, was no match for Saints or Crusaders. When Silvester II. conceived the daring idea of overcoming Islam in the Holy Land--a design taken up by Pope Gregory and carried out by Urban--he cannot have anticipated that the rights and privileges accruing thence to the Roman Church, would make it the mightiest of visible kingdoms, suzerain over Europe, rich with the tribute of clergy, laity, monks, and military orders, of which no account was asked or given. The Crusades dealt to Franconians and Hohenstauffen the deadliest blows, while investing the Papacy with a moral splendour as the defender of Christendom, and awakening the consciousness, never afterwards dormant, that in spite of local or national differences Englishmen, Germans, Spaniards, and Italians were members of one great Confederation.
This movement, so wide and deep, resembled the outburst of new ideas which we call the French Revolution in its immediate effects on lesser quarrels and the internal dissensions of Europe. Where it did not submerge, it tended to absorb them. Even Henry IV. spoke of taking the Cross; if lie drew back it was because lie could not join the orthodox hosts without acknowledging Gregory's Ultramontane successor. Yet the enthusiasm awakened at Clermont gave him four years' peace; and in common with other Princes, he proclaimed the Truce of God. His Antipope Guibert died in 1100. Urban had gone shortly before him; it year later Conrad, the pious rebel, died at Florence. There was a fresh Pope, Paschal II.; a new King of the Romans, or heir-apparent to the Empire, in the person of young Henry, whom his father saw crowned at Aix-laChapelle in 1099. Reconciliation seemed in sight. But the old Emperor would not sue even to a Pontiff so mild and considerate as Paschal, who was forced unwillingly to keep him outside the Church's pale. In 1104 began the last act of all historical drama which had gone on for fifty years. Prince Henry, ambitious, subtle, seductive, quite innocent of a conscience, revolted. With protestations of fervent piety this bold youth took his father captive, imprisoned and deposed him--the Bishops and the army applauding--while filial manifestoes in the harshest language declared the Emperor unworthy to reign, not fit to live. Henry's cup was full; he died an outcast at Liège in 1206; his remains, in a stone sarcophagos, waited many years for the decencies of burial.
And now, says Montalembert, Churchmen were bitterly to atone for having accepted, even against a guilty father, the aid of an unnatural son. Henry V. was acknowledge by Paschal, the monk of Cluny, who had seen three Antipopes raised up and cast down in his presence at Rome. At once he claimed by his ambassadors the privilege conceded to Charlemagne of electing Bishops, and overawed the small number of Papal ecclesiastics in Germany. He strengthened his hands by ail alliance with Maud, Henry Beauclerc's daughter. And the same year, August, 1110, the Emperor-elect, with thirty thousand horse, went down into the plains of Lombardy. As ever, the Italian cities were in deadly feud. Henry smote them into peace by the sack of Novara; received the homage of all, except the great Tuscan Countess, oil the plain of Roncaglia; burnt Arezzo, and came to Sutri. The Roman Empire had suddenly revived in this active, formidable, keenwitted Prince, who was no less skilful in chicane than in war. Like his father he could be violent; but he understood, as Henry IV. never did, how to display his Imperial pretensions on a ground of law and custom.
He now reiterated his demands to Peter Leone, the Hebrew delegate who had been sent to him by Paschal. Investiture of the ring and the staff did not exist in France. Thanks to Anselm of Canterbury, it had just been surrendered by the King of England. But Henry insisted on a practice without which his German sovereignty was a mere name--a practice, he argued, dating from Charles the Great, and approved by sixty-three Popes. Towns, castles, marches, tolls--perhaps two-thirds of Germany--said the Archbishop of Treves before Suger and the Pope at Châlons in 1107, went to swell the regalia which clerics enjoyed, and how, except by investiture, could the King maintain his rights over them? But argument was not the weapon of a lawless age. Paschal had beckoned to the Norman knights of Apulia; they would not stir. His Cardinals and the Romans themseves fell into dire perplexity. Then the Pope made an offer at which Europe stood aghast. Acting as supreme administrator of Church property, Paschal consented to give up the whole of the regalia--we must scan it with the mind's eye: territories, cities, monasteries, innumerable rights and revenues, the gifts of nearly four hundred years--in exchange for freedom of election to spiritual dignities. The Hierarchy was to be disendowed, if Henry would suffer it to be disestablished. On tithes and voluntary subscriptions the clergy should subsist henceforth. By such a measure the Church would pass out of the entire feudal system; prelates would no longer yield military service; the sceptre and the crozier would be sundered; and the Emperor would find himself powerful enough to cope with his mightiest peers, their sovereign not only in title but in fact.
Seven hundred years afterwards this dream of a Pope in extremity was fulfilled by the "mediatising" of all the German ecclesiastical princes, or their absorption into the secular dominions of Prussia, Austria, and Bavaria in 1815. When Paschal and Henry exchanged signatures, neither can have supposed that the compact would stand. Other parties to so momentous a transaction must be consulted. Henry, after hostages given on either side, and his guarantee of the Apostolic Patrimony, including all the South which he did not hold, entered Rome, took the customary oaths, and met Paschal in the portico of St. Peter's. He was declared Emperor; but now, when the terms of this astonishing compromise were read over, the Pope's followers broke out in tumult; the German himself would not ratify what he had signed. For a whole day Paschal sat a prisoner in front of the Apostle's shrine; the population rose, massacred stray Teutons, assailed St. Peter's, and wounded the Emperor. They paid for their temerity by a great slaughter. Yet Henry was compelled to withdraw uncrowned. He took with him Pope and Cardinals; wasted the Campagna for two whole months; and kept Paschal shut up in the fort of Treviso. At length, on the field of Sette Frati, the Pontiff gave in. He yielded up, without equivalent, the right of investiture. Henry was crowned and went back to Germany. The defeated Pope crept into the Lateran, and there hid his shame.
Paschal had sworn never to excommunicate Henry V. Bruno of Segni and the Cardinals argued that such a treaty was null and void; they obliged their spiritual lord to renew the decrees of Gregory and Urban. In March, 1112, the Italian prelates held a Lateran Council, at which the Pope made full and ample amends for his concession to human weakness. He would not molest Henry; the Fathers might do as seemed right in their eyes. Without hesitation they cancelled the odious privilege. At Vienne, Guido, afterwards Calixtus II., cut off Henry from Catholic communion; and though Yvo of Chartres stood up for moderate courses, opinion among Churchmen declared more and more violently against the Emperor. The German bishops, the monks of Hirschau, the people of Mayence with their Archbishop Albert, revolted. Matilda of Tuscany, dying in 1115, bequeathed her immense possessions, though fiefs depending on the Imperial crown, to Paschal and his successors. Again Henry must cross the Alps. In March, 1116, another Lateran Council, another confession from Paschal, "I am dust and ashes. Anathema to the unrighteous decree." His Cardinals treated him still with indignant contempt. The Romans, on their own account, were in rebellion. The Emperor took possession of Matilda's inheritance, and in 1117 he entered the city. Paschal fled south; when Henry retired lie came back, surprised and took the Vatican, but almost immediately after expired in St. Angelo ( 1118).
Straightway the Cardinals elected John of Gaeta, monk from Monte Cassino, friend and minister of Paschal, an erudite but not a strong person. Gelasius II. was hardly chosen when Frangipani
COUNTESS MATILDA IN THE VATICAN BASILICA. (Bernini.)
(a Cencio) invaded the church, seized and struck the Pope, and chained him up like a dog in his citadel below the Palatine. These Tusculans were Imperialist, that is to say, antipapal; and their fierce and brutal violence breaks in even on the rude theatre of the Middle Ages like a thunderclap. Other nobles took sides with the monks; Gelasius found the door open and escaped in a tempest, during which he was borne on the shoulders of Cardinal Hugo to Ardea. Henry lay outside the Leonine walls. While the Pope in Gaeta bestowed on William the Norman Naples and Sicily, the Emperor had Maurice Burdin of Braga made Antipope. Gelasius, after fresh perils in Rome, fled to Pisa, where he consecrated the majestic cathedral, and thence to Marseilles. He made a solemn process through the cities on the Rhone and died at Cluny ( 1119), after a disastrous reign of one year.
Guido of Vienne, Calixtus II., succeeded; and now France, rising slowly to its great medieval honours, held as a rule by the authentic Papacy, while the Germans created or sustained Antipopes in the Emperor's interest. Like Urban II., Calixtus, though inflexible in defence of his order, showed no slight diplomatic skill; his French common sense enabled him to bring this weary business of investitures to a reasonable conclusion. Henry was not unwilling to acknowledge a Pontiff allied with himself as with the reigning houses of Europe, and already owned by his German Bishops. At Rheims ( November, 1119), in one of the most imposing Councils ever held, Calixtus renewed the Truce of God; listened to the Kings of France and England pleading at his tribunal; and after fruitless negotiations, solemnly put to the ban Emperor and simoniacal prelates with Burdin the Antipope, calling himself Gregory VIII. Ile had boldly undertaken to meet Henry; now he went a triumphal progress through Southern France; he entered Italy, received the homage of Milan, was welcomed in Rome itself with transport, and ended his long pilgrimage at Benevento. In 1121 he captured Burdin at Sutri, exposed him to public derision in the streets of the city, and flung him into a forgotten dungeon, where he died.
No German had come to his rescue. Albert of Mayence and the Emperor stood up as to do battle with one another; but the Treaty of Würzburg and the Concordat of Worms proved that an agreement was desired by the whole Empire on terms which might leave the Bishops in possession of their fiefs, provided they were not absolutely independent of the secular over-lord. In 1122 the Bishop of Ostia relieved Henry and his partisans from the censures of the Church; the Lateran Council of 1123, with its six hundred abbots and three hundred Bishops, sealed up what had been accomplished at Worms. Something was yielded oil both sides. The Emperor gave up his episcopal functions of the ring and the staff; he granted free election, and restored his conquests made during the war. And the lope admitted that for the regalia there should be homage made by Bishops and Abbots chosen in the Imperial presence, who were to touch the golden sceptre and discharge all duties incident to their feudal tenures.
It was a fair adjustment of complex interests. Gregory VII. had gained the spiritual freedom for which he strove so manfully, and without which Bishops would have lost their sacred character, degraded into lieutenants of an earthly king. Henry V., though posterity does not admire him, gained the no less important admission that every kind of property carries with it social or political obligations, from which it can never be exempt. The Concordat of Worms respected in clergy and laity rights that are seldom violated without detriment to society as a whole.
SALERNO WHERE GREGORY VII. DIED AND IS ENTOMBED.
XVI ST. BERNARD OVERTHROWS ABELARD AND ARNOLD (1123-1155)
TO the great Burgundian Pope, Calixtus, a Burgundian Saint far more illustrious was destined to succeed, not in the Papal Chair, but in his influence over the hearts and actions of men, now awakening to chivalry, to culture, and to a romantic sense of the beauty and grace which Oriental lands had opened before the vision of Crusaders. It is a stirring, yet not altogether uncouth age, this first half of the twelfth century; and its prophet, its king, is St. Bernard of Clairvaux. He reforms monasticism,' nominates to the Papacy, preaches the Second Crusade, puts down Abelard, is more than a match for Arnold of Brescia. During well-nigh forty years he is the spiritual dictator of the West, and that in a period when men of strong character abounded, and genius was not wanting. The busy picturesque interval between Henry V.'s triumph at Worms and the long troubles of Frederick Barbarossa, seems to be filled with the person, the deeds, the sermons, the miracles of this white-robed monk, whose pale and refined features, consumptive in their fairness, leave the impression of it detached, yet fiery, soul. Far more winning than Gregory VII. he is riot a whit less imperious. In spirit as in name he is the last of the Fathers.
For with Abelard begins the strife of the Schools which led tip to Albert the Great and Thomas Aquinas, and down to Luther and Calvin. With the Republican Arnold, the national, Italian sentiment springs to life which has created modern Italy. With Barbarossa the German Empire emancipates itself from the earlier conception familiar to Charlemagne or Nicholas I., and sets up jurist against canonist, the Civil against the Ecclesiastical Law, Cæsar against the Pope as supreme in the secular sphere, and that by right divine. Henry V. and Calixtus II. for a moment held the balance even; henceforth it swings violently up and down, sometimes in the Pope's favour, sometimes the reverse; but it descends at last laden with the Pandects of lawyers and the sword of Julius. Individual Emperors might suffer defeat; a dynasty like the Hohenstauffen be sacrificed; but the movement which began blindly under Henry IV. never was really, arrested or thrown back until it had bereft the Popes of their feudal overlordship, prepared the way for absolute monarchs, converted the oligarchy of the Barons to a House of Peers, and by an unconscious, yet irresistible, trend of events made Parliamentary institutions possible, and gave the Free Cities a share in government. To these far-off issues all parties contributed in turn. But we may trace their beginnings to the twelfth century.
Not Rome but Paris appears as the world's capital during this time. And Monasticism was entering on its last shining transformation, before it gave place to Francis and Dominic with their mendicant friars. Cluny had seen its best days. After St. Hugh's sixty years of stern Apostolic rule, came Pontius the feeble, came wealth and relaxation. The centralising government which brought dominion made a fresh start in fervour difficult, if not impossible. New forms of the higher life were demanded. Fontevraud had its singular story. Molesme was founded by two penitent brothers; Citeaux, yet more severe, by an Englishman, Stephen Harding, from Dorsetshire. This great man was Abbot when Bernard, the noble Burgundian youth, fled out of the world to Citeaux; and thus the Cistercian Order reached its high fame.
Once more monastic solitudes drew crowds of votaries; Bernard lived a life hard beyond description, but when he preached of its joys men, both single and married, left all things to follow him. This, too, was a form of crusading which attracted thousands. He was sent with a few companions to the Valley of Wormwood in Champagne; he called it Clairvaux, and it ceased to be a wilderness; but the simple fire and strict rule astonished those who came thither from Cluny. Bernard was not learned except in the Scriptures; he preached a figured and passionate mysticism with an eloquence as com- manding as that of his later countryman Bossuet, whose untroubled point of view, averse to subtleties, dogmatic and decided, Bernard might seem to anticipate. William of Champeaux, Bishop of Châalons, gave him it commission to teach; his colonies of white monks spread their Abbot's reputation throughout Europe. A schism at Rome made him the arbiter of the Papacy.
Henry V., last Franconian Cæsar, was gone. Lothair the Saxon reigned in his stead. Honorius II., after a contested election, had filled the Apostolic throne six years, and dying in 1130 opened the way to fresh Roman quarrels of the kind we have studied so often. Sixteen Cardinals chose without delay Innocent II. Thirty-two, after a pause, voted for Peter Leone, of Jewish descent, vast wealth, and undoubted popularity. On Peter's side were the Frangipani, Roger the Sicilian Duke, and a majority of the Sacred College. Innocent took flight to Pisa and sought the protection of Louis, the French King, who summoned a Council at Etampes. Many Bishops attended, but the Abbot of Clairvaux was called upon to direct them as another Samuel. He pronounced for the fugitive. Innocent arrived at Cluny, met King Louis at Orleans, and Henry I. of England, whom Bernard had brought over to his side, at Chartres. The Emperor followed suit. Frederick of Hohenstauffen, and Conrad, King of Italy, were included in the anathema hurled against Peter Leone, called Anacletus II.
But when Pope and Emperor met at Liège it was only Bernard's arguments that prevented the old quarrel of investitures from being ripped up again. Innocent passed a night at Clairvaux; it was too austere for his Roman Cardinals. Still the Saint and Prophet addressed vehement letters to Bishops, to Genoa and Milan; he went with the Pope to Italy; with him and Lothair he entered Rome. "The Jewish schismatic," supported by Normans, held St. Angelo, even against the Germans; and Bernard's Pontiff spent four years at Pisa, until Lothair conquered all Italy down to Apulia (which he claimed) and Anacletus died in his castle. Victor II. became the next Antipope. Bernard persuaded him to renounce his pretensions and the family of Peter Leone to cease from troubling. Not even the Roman stubbornness could remain deaf to his persuasive words. He had brought the world round to Innocent II. The Lateran Council of 1139 sat under his inspiration; its decrees witness that Church authority had attained almost all it demanded, but that resistance to dogma as well as to discipline had begun in the cities of Lombardy and the valleys of the Alps.
If we assign the modern movement in politics, philosophy, and letters to the twelfth century, it is to Paris or France that we must look for its origin. France was then a world in itself, with its rhymers in Provence who fixed the measures of song and verse; its ardent, ascetic monks in Burgundy, destined ere a hundred years had passed to lift the Cross in battle against these amorous poets; its thinkers from Brittany, who found a voice in Peter Abelard, the kinsman of Pelagius, the ancestor, not only of
CLOISTER OF ST. JOHN LATERAN, ROME.
Descartes, but of Chateaubriand. France was the brain, the eye, the armed right hand of medieval Europe. Its delicate genius invented the Gothic style, the troubadour minstrelsy, the romance of love and adventure; its clear thought strives in the technique of scholastic forms to arrive at a system which shall leave no question unanswered; its gay spirit, mingling with the Norman strength, the Celtic impetuosity, carried to all the coasts of Asia, to Euphrates and the Nile, a people so enamoured of fighting that to this day in the Moslem countries Frank and European are synonymous. In our time Paris calls itself the City of Light. During the latter twelfth century and all the thirteenth, it was even more the Capital of Intelligence than it is to-day.
From Abelard to St. Thomas Aquinas, the Doctor Angelical, such is the glorious ascent of its University. But it could reckon some earlier names, the promise of all that came afterwards. Charlemagne, no scholar himself, had founded seminaries in every bishop's house, and the Palatine School under his own roof. Thither he summoned Alcuin from Northumbria, whose training takes us back to Bede and Egbert; to the Greek Archbishop of Canterbury Theodore, sent to England by Pope Vitalian; to Bennet Biscop and John, precentor of the Vatican Basilica. It does not appear that Alcuin possessed an original mind; yet his talent for teaching entitles him to the dignity of first Rector over those institutions in Paris which later on developed into a genuine University. Paris, Pavia, Bologna were centres of learning associated henceforth with Charlemagne as their patron or founder. Thus on three distinct lines such culture as survived during the chaos of the tenth century may be traced out; in the Benedectine monasteries, the Bishops' Courts or Seminaries, and the Palatine, that is to say, the royal schools. At Paris, when the University came to riper years, four nations were distinguished, the French, English, Picard, and Norman. At Bologna, Irnerius, the legal adviser of Henry IV., opened his school of Civil Law, which produced effects so momentous and lasting in European politics, towards the close of the eleventh century. And if, at the time we are now considering, Bologna might reckon its ten thousand students, Paris had at least its thirty thousand. The age of Greek speculation, with sophists, heretics, disputes of the market-place, sceptics and orthodox, pamphlets, Inquisitions, executions for condemned opinions, and universal unrest kept in order by the secular arm, was revived in the meadows of St. Germain, and drew to the Latin Quarter students from the four winds.
But the School philosophy did not begin its career on the banks of the Seine. At Bec in Normandy it converted soldier, Herluin, set up his abode under the rule of Benedict. He drew disciples from far and wide, among them Lanfranc, who opened a school of logic, wrote against Berengar, the rationalising Canon of Tours, and died in the See of Canterbury to which he had been called by William the Conqueror. Next came Anselm of Aosta, the Lombard, whose delight in learning and in friendship, whose trials under Rufus and Christian triumph over Beauclerc, adorn as romantic a page of history as the Middle Age could illuminate. Anselm was a logician according to method; but he was likewise a Saint and a contemplative; in him the Benedictine quiet is not yet troubled by doubts or lost in wrangling, although at the Council of Bari he met the Greeks with their own weapons. He asked questions of which the solution was already given him by Revelation. But Roscelin took a farther step. His follower was Abelard; and soon the world went mad over Being and Not-Being and the nature of universal ideas. About the year 1100 William of Champeaux was teaching in the Abbey of St. Victor. He disclosed the method of arguing on both sides in order to discover the truth. Thus he paved the way towards accepting Aristotle as a Christian philosopher. And he was the master of Abelard, an incipient sceptic, a man of letters, yet a foe to classic authority. If to Anselm we leave the honour of starting the orthodox system on its march, to Abelard we cannot but assign the beginnings of that rebellious movement which prompted one after another to fill out of the orthodox ranks, and to assail the Hierarchy that opposed them or the monasteries which they had quitted, with the arms of private judgment.
Peter Abelard ( 1079-1142) was born at Palais, in Brittany, of parents who both afterwards took the monastic vows. At sixteen he left home to study in the most famous schools; at twenty-one he became the disciple of William of Champeaux. But he soon began to vex him with subtle arguments, and he left his master for Melun and Corbeil, where the enterprising youth set up on his own account. By and by, on his return after all illness, he found William had put on the religious habit in St. Victor's, and they were reconciled. But fresh combats ensued; William, if not defeated, fell into discouragement. He took refuge in the See of Châlons; and Abelard, brushing contemptuously aside another old master, Anselm of Laon, seized the vacant chair at Paris, began lecturing with an eloquence and acumen which dazzled the largest audiences, and soon attracted crowds from beyond the Rhine, the Alps, the English Channel.
He made a fortune by his lectures; he was handsome, winning, accomplished in music, an Alcibiades who reasoned like Plato, and a philosopher who was more than half a troubadour. Among those that listened to him were Peter Lombard, John of Salisbury, Arnold of Brescia, lights or guides to the next generation. But his chief scholar was a woman, of extraordinary spirit and equal beauty, Héloïse, niece of Canon Fulbert--the victim, the wife, the widow of unhappy Abelard. Their story cannot be told here. Enough that when the fallen Alcibiades hid his face in the monastery of St. Denis, Héloïse took the veil at Argenteuil. When we read her impassioned letters and his fragment of autobiography, so unlike St. Augustine Confessions in its self-praise and sadness, we seem to have stepped from the twelfth to the eighteenth century, from St. Bernard to Rousseau, from the medieval cloister to a modern French drawing-room.
Hitherto Abelard had been a professor. Now he became a monk, and would have reformed St. Denis. The community thrust him out. He was accused of heresy, and had to burn his book. Then he retired to the Paraclete, a wild solitude in Champagne, and once more scholars flocked round him. But they obeyed no canonical rule; they discussed the mysteries of the Faith freely. St. Norbert, Archbishop of Magdeburg, had reformed the Canons Regular, and founded the widespread Order of Prémontré. lie joined with St. Bernard in denouncing Abelard. Abelard retorted by calling them "the new Apostles." But he could not fence with champions so well furnished. In 1125 he went home to Brittany; Héloïse and her nuns took possession of the Paraclete. There followed an interval of comparative peace. Then, in 1140, when he was sixty years old, Abelard appeared as a suspected heretic before the Council of Sens. St. Bernard had stirred up the French prelates against this unheard-of Gospel, these novel disputations. The modern writings penetrated everywhere; but to overthrow them by syllogism could not be a monk's business; and Bernard accused their authors, while declining to argue in form against them. At the Council mystic and rationalist came face to face. Abelard appealed to Rome. The prelates, in a session which has been grotesquely caricatured, condemned his propositions. In like manner did Pope Innocent II. The philosopher set out oil his journey to the Lateran; he was kindly entertained by Peter the Venerable at Cluny; and he died at Châlons sur Sâone, April 21, 1142. His remains were taken to the Paraclete, where twenty-one years afterwards Héloïse was laid by his side.
THE DUOMO OF PISA, CONSECRATED BY GELASIUS II., A.D. 1118.
Peter Lombard, in his book called the Sentences of the Fathers, may be thought to have improved on the method of Abelard's treatise, Sic et Non--or "Yea and Nay"--which did suggest the recognised form of scholastic teaching. But in Arnold of Brescia he had trained not so much a philosopher as an agitator. This bold man appears to be the democratic soldier of Abelard, not less opposed to the Abbot of Clairvaux, nor in his opposition more fortunate. That his character was without blemish we learn from St. Bernard himself, who allows his captivating eloquence, while regarding him as little better than Antichrist. Brescia had revolted from the Empire; it banished its tyrant-bishop, and under Arnold's direction reduced the clergy to their spiritual functions. Accused of schism at the Lateran Council ( 1139) he fled to Zurich. Five years after, the war of Rome a against Tivoli and the revolt against Innocent II. of his intractable subjects, made Arnold for a brief space dictator on the Capitol. His patron at Zurich had become Clestine II. ( 1143). But in six months Ctestine was gone; and when Lucius II. took his place, the Roman Republic, by the lips of its Patrician Giordano, warned the Pope that he must exercise no temporal rule, but be content with tithes and oblations. Lucius called to the Emperor Conrad; lie armed his nobles, attempted to storm the Capitol, and perished in the assault. Giordano razed to the ground Cardinals' palaces and the forts of many high chieftains. It is clear that the whole movement, as directed by Arnold, was democratic. Friends of the Voluntary System, and all that uphold with Cavour "a free Church in a free State," will recognise in this daring champion a spirit akin to their own. His hand was not dyed in the blood of Lucius; but his doctrine shaped the policy on which Romans were now prepared to act.
In their consternation the Cardinals turned their eyes upon St. Bernard. Would lie accept the triple crown, or at least choose a Pope for them? He waved aside the glittering bait; and they nominated a poor, unlettered brother of his convent at Pisa, Eugenius III., in hopes that the Saint would persuade France or Germany to succour his late subject. Eugenius was crowned at Farfa. Rome saw Arnold with his Swiss mountaineers about him in company of Giordano the Patrician, who proclaimed the Republic, created new noble families and tribunes of the people, fortified St. Peter's, rebuilt the Capitol, and made pilgrims pay at the gates of the city. Bernard in a threatening letter commanded him to desist; in another he called oil the Emperor. Conrad to put down these rebels. Eugenius entered into a league with the neighbouring cities--he understood well the character of medieval Italians--and with the help of Tivoli he compelled Giordano to abdicate. He kept his Christmas in Rome ( 1146). But in March he was fleeing across the Alps to Dijon; for he would not betray Tivoli. The Abbot of Clairvaux governed the Church in his disciple's name. He deposed St. William of York on grounds which could not be sustained; he brought to his knees the Bishop of Poitiers, charged with a subtle heresy; and he roused Europe to the Second Crusade. Edessa had fallen; the Kingdom of Jerusalem was doomed.
Eugenius published his Bull on the model of Urban's, and St. Bernard preached it in all the towns and monasteries, and along the highways of France, Flanders, and Germany ( 1146).
It is not easy to imagine this spiritual dictatorship; how the unarmed recluse gave their uniform to the Knights Templars; drew multitudes to Vézelay, where Louis VII., in spite of his sagacious counsellor, the Abbot Suger, took the Cross; compelled from the pulpit Conrad the Emperor to follow his example; and, more astonishing than all, put an end to the horrible massacre of Jews in the Rhine cities, where Rudolph of Mayence raised the cry against them. In the West, war could no longer be waged for lack of combatants; towns and castles were empty; the chivalry of Europe had gone to die at the fruitless siege of Damascus. Louis and Conrad returned in disgrace; a deep shadow fell on St. Bernard's last years; but when he died in 1153 he was instantly canonised by acclamation.
Eugenius (lied the same year. Twice he came back to Rome; his policy, Christian in its mildness, and successful because he made little or no pretence to temporal dominion, was to win his haughty people by generosity and magnificent display. He sent back the offerings of German archbishops, which was a new thing in Rome, wrote St. Bernard with more than a touch of sarcasm. Arnold was losing ground. In 1154 an Englishman, a priest, and a scholar, was elected, and Nicholas Breakspear became Hadrian IV. He had been brought up at St. Alban's, but was not a monk; he had served as legate in Norway; his experi- ence taught him to strike hard; and he pronounced sentence of exile against the Brescian reformer. Arnold denied his competence; one of the Cardinals was murdered; the sturdy Saxon laid Rome itself under an interdict. This was to quench the very lights at St. Peter's shrine. Towards Easter the clergy, reinforced by their people, insisted on obedience to Hadrian. Arnold had no choice but to disappear; and the broken Senate laid down its arms.
But a fresh danger loomed on the Northern horizon. Frederick of Hohenstauffen had been called to succeed his kinsman in the Empire; he was now coming over the Brenner to Roncaglia with a mighty host. Since Calixtus II. rebellions and disorders had weakened the Papacy; while Henry V.'s judicious exchange of the crozier for the sceptre had united German prelates with German princes in a growing national sentiment. The Roman Law would speedily be pitted against the Roman Pontiff. Frederick felt himself every inch a Cæsar. Valiant, far-looking, ambitious, just in a barbaric and cruel fashion, strong in the conviction of his rights, and sure that he held his crown from God alone, he entered Italy as a victor who came to set the world straight. His prelatevassals carried their standards before him. The Republics of Lombardy licked the dust. Tortona was made an example. From Viterbo Hadrian sent ambassadors to offer him the Imperial crown, and demand that Arnold of Brescia should be given up. Arnold must have seemed a mere rebel in Frederick's eyes; he consented. The democratic leader was carried back to Rome, and delivered into the hands of Peter the Prefect at St. Angelo.
What followed has been variously told. But we may rely upon it that there was no trial of an excommunicated cleric; and all accounts agree that the execution was despatched with haste and secrecy. Was Arnold hanged and burnt like Savonarola, of whom we think as we read his melancholy fate? "The rope strangles him, fire and water carry him away," says the German story-teller--these precautions were taken lest the Romans should worship him as it martyr of their liberties. With his ashes the Republic was swept into the Tiber. Priesthood and Empire took up their never-ending quarrel. Frederick, from this hour, was not to enjoy a moment's peace for one and twenty years. The next century was to ring with the calamities of Hohenstauffen. "Look on my German nobles," cried Frederick to the cowering republicans, who came to meet him at Sutri; "these are my Patricians of Rome; this is the perpetual Senate; and I am your sovereign." By way of proof, when he received the diadem in St. Peter's shortly after, his soldiers massacred above a thousand of the citizens who were complaining that they had been excluded from every part in the election. They now got their share. Barbarossa would not hear of an independent Italy. Neither Hadrian nor his Romans would bend under the German yoke. It was a simple issue, to be decided by the fortune of war.
FREDERICK REDBEARD AND HIS TIME (1155-1177)
GUELFS and Ghibellines--names cast up from the deeps of hell, cried honest Muratori--will now engage our attention during a hundred years of embittered strife. In such a contest religion had no direct interest; the Ghibelline was not a heretic, nor was the Guelf a saint; while, as rewards the papacy, its line of action was determined by the motives which long before had made it the enemy of a Lombard Kingdom at its doors. To escape from Astolf or Desiderius it was that the hopes had called in their Frankish allies, and created the Holy Roman Empire. But now the Empire had grown to be it peril. Frederick the Redbeard, taking homage, not only from the Northern cities, but from Capua, laying claim to distant Apulia, and grasping with a mailed hand the inheritance which Matilda had bequeathed to St. Peter, would do all, and more than all, that Arnold of Brescia had dreamed of doing against the Pope, confounding in one equal servitude Capito and Vatican, Senate and Pontiff. "The imprudence of John XII., when he invited the Germans to Rome," observes an historical writer who was not exactly a Guelf--we mean Voltaire--"was the source of those calamities which weighed upon the city and the Peninsula for hundreds of years." Perhaps it would be fair to remark that Italy in the tenth century had fallen into barbarism, while in the twelfth its commercial Republics were evoking a new and glorious type of civilisation. The Othos had brought with them peace and prosperity; the Hohenstauffen rained from their German clouds an iron hail that laid the land waste. Neither oil medieval nor on modern principles could they benefit a race to which they were inevitably opposed. Absentee lords, who maintained their power by predatory incursions, have been the ruin of Italy; and a Teutonic Hannibal-which is all that Frederick ever wits in his five campaigns--had little right to judge the Pope or the Lombards severely, if they preferred independence to the Imperial chains.
Thus the Guelfs could march under a flag inscribed with religion and freedom, mighty names with which to conjure; but to what standard did the Ghibellines appeal? Otho, the Bisho of Freising, shall teach us. "Then you could behold," he exclaims, describing Frederick's coronation, "our men striking, slaying the Romans with huge strokes, as if they said, 'Take now, Rome, for the gold of Arabia German steel. With such coin Our Prince buys his crown. Thus is the Empire purchased by us Franks.'" The appeal was to the strong hand, to an image of Cæsar fashioned by jurists out of their freshly opened law books, and, as Michelet truly observes, their "science most favourable to despotism."
Could there be a less even match? Yet when Hadrian IV., compelled to be Frederick's ostensible ally, went with him to Tivoli, and the Germans had caught their usual Roman fever, the Pope was looking for help towards Sicily and the Normans. This isle of Paradise became the key to all subsequent adventures in a war which depended as much on chicane as on armed battalions. If the Emperor might rule south and north of Rome at once, how was the Papacy not enclosed in his meshes? Hadrian had excommunicated King William of the Guiscard line. No sooner was Frederick gone, than at Benevento he invested William with Naples and the whole South, acting as suzerain, receiving tribute and fealty from the Norman.
Frederick retorted by prohibiting appeals and pilgrimages to Rome. At Besançon the Emperor was holding a Diet, and annexing Burgundy. The Papal legates, among them Cardinal Roland, afterwards Pope Alexander III., brought letters in which Hadrian echoed the language of Hildebrand, spoke of the Empire as a benefice, and himself as conferring it. Frederick's rage knew no bounds. Count Wittelsbach would have struck Roland dead with his sword. An Imperial manifesto came out, charging the Curia with venality and sacrilege; it was answered with no less warmth; but the Pope softened his Latin "benefice" to "benefit," for Barbarossa was hurling upon Italy a host from all his dominions. The passes were choked. Milan dared to withstand him; Milan was compelled to submit. A kind of Bearsak cruelty was natural in Frederick, and his legislators seemed not less passionate than his warfare. III 1158 the lawyers at Roncaglia recorded as for everlasting remembrance his claims over clergy and laity. He awarded the vast inheritance of Matilda to his uncle, the Bavarian Guelf. Negotiations went oil with Hadrian, but they degenerated into personalities, or assumed that Constantine was lord of Silvester. The undeniable corruption, rapacity, and worldly pomp of Cardinals or Bishops furnished the Emperor with a stinging text. Hadrian threw off his guard; demanded back the Eternal City, the Matildan legacy, and tribute even from Frederick for Ferrata. The reply was, "By God's grace I am Emperor of Rome." Prelates and princes, to say nothing of the Roman Senate, were leagued with this new Charlemagne. Then Hadrian from Anagni prepared to excommunicate and depose him; the Lombard League answered the Imperial. But in 1159 the English Pope had done with fighting. He left it to his successor. Who now would step into the hottest front of this battle, and oppose in Barbarossa "the arts of a statesman, the valour of a soldier, and the cruelty of it tyrant"?
An old situation brings familiar tactics into play. Hadrian had thought of deposing Frederick; Frederick might acknowledge, if he did not create, an Antipope. Fourteen Cardinals chose the Guelf Roland, and invested him with the "mighty mantle," as Dante calls it. Octavian, the Ghibelline, plucked it from his shoulders, was acclaimed by two other Cardinals, and borne in state by a hired soldiery with drawn swords. He called himself Victor IV. The people appeared to welcome him, while Roland, Alexander III., lay in hiding. Both candidates soon left the city and were consecrated each as supreme Pontiff. Frederick summoned them to Pavia; but when Alexander would not come he acknowledged Victor. Excommunications were exchanged; the Emperor was posted up as a schismatic in every town of the Lombard League, now bent on securing its independence. Christendom fell in twain. While the Empire held to Octavian, the Western Kings naturally took their stand against him. Alexander might sing Mass in the Lateran. But precedent must be followed; a Pontiff in distress could find no better refuge that France. He arrived at Courcy on the Loire, was greeted by Louis and our Henry II., and stayed there three years.
Meanwhile, Frederick was once more on Italian soil, and his arms made ail end of Milan ( 1162). "The buildings of that stately capital," says Gibbon, "were razed to the ground; three hundred hostages were sent into Germany; and the inhabitants were dispersed into four villages, under the yoke of the inflexible conqueror." Victor passed away, Guido of Crema clutched his falling mantle at which the Roman boys had mocked. The stars in their courses were now fighting for Alexander. For his Lombard allies were to restore Milan, and Thomas à Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury, was to win by martydom the cause of Church immunities, which seemed to be at its last gasp all over Europe.
Of Saxon England we may affirm that it never had a quarrel with the Holy See, or with its clergy. Kings and queens ruled over monasteries, but as penitents, not by virtue of their sceptre. The Normans, however, a shrewd, litigious, and hardly devout race, were willing enough to draw their swords in defence of the Church, but resolute in keeping it subject to the Crown. Alexander II., no doubt by Hildebrand's advice, had sent William the Conqueror a consecrated banner and given him leave to invade England. But William paid no acknowledgment to Rome, and his intercourse with Gregory VII. was on the loftiest terms. He remodelled the Church; his successors despoiled or corrupted it. St. Anselm fled before the face of Rufus; in dealing with Henry I., he was no less tormented but something more fortunate. Henry II. accepted from lope Hadrian the commission, which reads like a crusading Bull, to reduce Ireland beneath his own sway and that of the Christian religion. But Hadrian must have been aware that Henry, his Queen Eleanor, and his royal house, were tainted with every vice, passion, and crime. Henry's character is by no means doubtful-furious, cunning, unstable, a compound of lust and cruelty, he brought up children in his own image and likeness. His Normans had all the vices of the Greeks except cowardice, all the Teutonic rage without its intemperance. Not inferior to Barbarossa in resources or ability, by far the most powerful King of his time, Henry, like the Emperor, could not but desire to make of the feudal system an absolute monarchy; and where one set up the Roman Law in order to stand above it, the other founded himself on our English Common Law, or the Customs of the Realm. But liberty in any modern sense was unknown to the twelfth century; and this memorable contest had in view the privileges of ail order, the prerogatives of a King. In more specious language Herbert of Bosham contrasts "the peace of our sovereign lord" with the freedom which a clergy, not always decent in behaviour, enjoyed to its own detriment. Acknowledged evils might demand a remedy; but the Plantagenets aimed at despotism.
To the virtues, energy, and accredited miracles of such men as Hildebrand, Damiani, Anselm, Bernard, the Church owed its victories in the century past. These were Saints from their cradle. A converted worldling was to be the instrument of Henry's defeat, He had made his Chancellor an Archbishop, who knows with what sinister design? The Archbishop, on whom Canterbury monks had looked with no favour, suddenly put them to the blush by his austerities, prayers, and almsgiving; he was perfect, according to the pattern of medieval sanctity, in his life and conversation. Yet there had been something to reform. Thomas à Becket was of Norman descent, singularly handsome, accomplished in chivalry and courtesy, brought up in the house of Archbishop Theobald, and thence despatched on errands of study or diplomatic interest to Rome, Bologna, Auxerre. The had gained legatine powers for his patron; he had induced Eugenius III. to reject King Stephen as a usurper. Though in deacon's orders only, he was laden with preferments; as Chancellor his magnificence or prodigality, his pride and eagerness to be admired, are dwelt upon by John of Salisbury as blemishes in a man who still kept his clerical vows. No he resigned the Great Seal. At Tours, in 1163, where Alexander welcomed him with distinction, he concurred in putting down the schism and in assertin the privileges of his order and the sacredness of its possessions. Next year he was excommunicating a royal vassal; he was in conflict with the high line of the De Clares; to feudal encroachments he would oppose the Church's censures; nor was he a whit less haughty, and determined in his new office than he had been in the old. Compromise between two such antagonists as himself and the King might seem impossible. They could but win and lose alternately. Parliament was held at Westminster in October, 1163. Gross abuses were alleged as taking place in the archdeacons' courts, and Henry required that clerics charged with crime should be degraded from their office and given up to the secular arm. The Bishops refused. Would they, at least, observe the Customs of the kingdom? "Saving my order," replied the Archbishop. This amounted to defiance. Parliament was dissolved; severe measures followed. At the Bishops' entreaty Thomas relinquished the obnoxious word. But when, at Clarendon, he saw these Customs written down, he wavered. It was too late. He took the oath and his episcopal brethren did in like manner. Sixteen statutes reduced the clergy under the Common Law ; forbade prelates to quit the realm without leave from the King; carried all disputes touching benefices into his Courts; allowed no excommunication of his officers or tenants
HENRY II., KING OF ENGLAND ( from an engraving in the British Museum.)
in chief till information had been laid before him; and while encouraging appeals from the Archbishop to the Crown, allowed none to Rome without the King's licence. If we compare with these enactments the famous law of Henry VIII., which transferred to him and his successors the supreme government of the. English Church, we shall be startled at the resemblance. Thomas à Becket had surrendered almost as much as Thomas Cranmer surrendered afterwards, when the King became Pope in all his dominions ( 1164-1534).
He had sworn with no mental reservation--equally without reserve he did penance for his oath and sought the Pope's forgiveness. It was granted. Yet Alexander would not offend Henry, and he allowed Roger of York to exercise legatine powers in the province of Canterbury. The Pope, all through, is politic, never on the King's side, but tremulously afraid lest he should make common cause with Barbarossa. The English Bishops took part against their Metropolitan. On that bitter day of Northampton when he redeemed his fault heroically, Becket was forsaken, reviled, condemned for perjury and treason; he sat alone in the open hall, and his Bishops urged him to resign if he would not be deposed. He appealed to Rome; passed through a storm of reproaches; fled over the fens of the east and at length crossed to Flanders. He was received by Louis VII. at Compiègne. His messengers obtained an interview with the Pope at Sens before Henry's were admitted.
Alexander must, in any case, have annulled the Constitutions of Clarendon. He did so in public Consistory. The Archbishop tendered to him his resignation; it was not accepted. Henry banished his dependents and kinsmen; Thomas, in mortified retirement at Pontigny, drew the eyes of Europe on his sufferings. Barbarossa and the Plantagenet agreed at Würzburg ( 1165) to join their forces and set up Paschal III. in Place of Alexander; but the traditional policy of England could not be changed; all this proved to be summer lightning. Becket in the same year cited the King's Ministers into his court, condemned the sixteen statutes, and put their defenders under interdict at Vézelay; his action provoked Henry to madness, and Pontigny could no longer serve as a refuge to the exile. He went to live at Sens. Alexander had now returned to Rome; and John of Oxford with letters from the Bishops, with vast sums for the Guelfs in Italian cities and for the Frangipani in the Forum, persuaded the Pope's advisers to curb this headlong Archbishop. That the Pope himself was bribed has never been asserted. But he suspended the acts of Becket by his direct authority, and appointed two Cardinals to decide the whole matter. Thomas exclaimed, "If this be true, the Pope has strangled the Church." His words, always strong, grew exceedingly bitter.
The issue was determined by great events now happening in Italy. Milan had been restored by the Lombards in 1165. Frederick, in his fatal year, 1167, came on with a powerful army towards Rome. The Romans imprudently chose this moment to attack their neighbours of Tusculum. They were defeated by the Archbishop of Mayence; and Barbarossa took St. Peter's after an obstinate defence. He was crowned by his Antipope in a sanctuary reeking with blood; his troops had cut their way to the very altar, slaying as they went. Alexander escaped in disguise. Yet a fearful vengeance fell upon these sacrilegious invaders; their army began to waste by some mysterious and rapid disease which swept off the martial prelates and their men between morning and evening. Barbarossa retreated; Lombardy in all its towns except Pavia cast away his yoke. He fled over the Alps, and what was left of his army followed him.
It was an awe-striking catastrophe. The angel of the Lord," exclaimed Thomas, "had smitten Sennacherib and all his host." With confidence the Archbishop went forward to meet the Cardinals near Gisors. Never had lie been more contemptuous of the "Customs," more disdainful towards those "slaves in the old comedy," the Bishops of England. Henry, in tears, besought the Legates to rid him of this thorn in his side. And they, bribed or diplomatic, suspended his action till next Martinmas, a legal year ( 11671168). Even the Pope from Benevento approved. Becket wrote to him in terms of extreme violence, sparing neither the Curia nor Alexander himself. The King of France added that such inhibitions were a betrayal of the Church. Still, the Roman policy persuaded to an attempt, fruitless and exasperating, at reconciliation in the meeting of Montmirail. As fortune favoured the Guelfs, whom Henry kept alive with subsides even in Rome, the Pope issued a new legatine commission to Gratian, the stern Decretalist, and Vivian, who was not so tainted with venality as the average official. They discussed whole days with
Henry; concerning whom said Vivian, "Never did I know a man to be such a liar." The Interdict threatened by Becket was telling on English public opinion. In November, 1170, he published it solemnly. The King met this tremendous charge with proclamations of high treason, confiscation, forbidding of appeals outside the kingdom, all to little purpose. And yet Alexander would still absolve the Bishops whom their Metropolitan laid under censure; he did not forbid the coronation of Prince Henry by Roger of York, who thus invaded the rights of the Church of Canterbury. No one acquainted with the facts can maintain that the Roman authorities supported their Archbishop. He was indeed to triumph, but not by interdicts.
After much confused negotiation, it was whispered to the King that Thomas in his See at Canterbury would be less formidable than Thomas an exile scattering censures from abroad. Henry was capable of the utmost duplicity in word and conduct; he made ail ambiguous treaty at Fretteville with his enemy, in which neither pronounced the name of Clarendon. To one pledge of honour the King could not bring himself; he never would give Becket the kiss of peace. On December 1, 1170, six years from his flight, the Archbishop landed at Sandwich. He rode in splendid procession to Canterbury and made a progress to London. The people had been all along ardent in his support. Not so the holders of Church property, whom he was now going to press for restitution; and, while he seemed more of a sovereign in the Kingdom than his master, the excommunicated prelates were at Bayeux, imploring Henry's protection. "While Thomas lives, You will have no peace," said one of them. He broke out into the words of doom, "Who will rid me of this insolent priest?" The four murderers, Fitzurse, Tracy, Moreville, Britto, set out on their never-to-be-forgotten errand, crossed
ARMS OF THE SEE OF CANTERBURY, SHOWING THE PALLIUM.
the Channel, rode to Canterbury, and arrived at the cathedral as Vespers were singing, on December 29, 1170.
The passion of Thomas à Becket, which scattered his brains on the floor of his own Cathedral, is perhaps the most dramatic episode in English history. After seven hundred and thirty years we can see it all with our eyes as it was enacted on that dark winter's evening. This champion of his order and the people, a saint in self-denial, an Athanasius against the world, who had overcome his King by sheer tenacity of principle, and conquered the venality, the waverings, of Cardinals in Rome and Bishops in England; at whose feet the country lay prostrate in a trance of worship and religious dread; shone forth in one moment with a martyr's crown. The vision filled every imagination, the tragedy melted all hearts. Within three days miracles of healing began to be reported from a distance. They multiplied as years went on; the pilgrimage to Canterbury did not yield in renown to Rome or Compostella; and Alexander canonised, not unwillingly, the defender of Church liberties who had poured out on himself rebukes the most scathing nor wholly undeserved. In his death Thomas had subdued friends as well as enemies. But it is only the historian who, looking back, can perceive that the great popular saint and churchman had delayed the Reformation in England by more than three hundred years.
On Henry the recoil was crushing and instantaneous. He fell under the weight of a universal execration; he was Herod or Julian; and Alexander would not suffer his name to be pronounced in his hearing. Interdict on all his dominions was averted only by abject surrender at Avranches of his Customs of Clarendon, and no less abject pretence of grief over Becket's martyrdom. His Queen stirred up revolt; his sons conspired against their father. As early as 1171 the proudest of Plantagenets was writing these words to Rome: "I and my eldest son, King Henry, swear that we will receive and hold the Kingdom of England from our Lord, Pope Alexander, and his Catholic successors." The land was to lie under the obligations of feudal law; would not the Pope, cried this broken despot, come to the defence of England his fief? Yet even that humiliation did not suffice. Henry had recourse to the Saint's intercession; with bare and bleeding feet he
MEETING OF ALEXENDER III. AND ZIANI, DOGE OF VENICE, A.D 1177. ( Bassano.)
crept into Canterbury; his back was scourged by the monks; and St. Thomas appeared by the sudden deliverance which followed, to be his surest friend. Yet the conclusion of his reign was inglorious. Richard drove his father in headlong flight from Le Mans; he sought mercy, and learned that his favourite son John was false like the rest of them. Henry cursed God and died. Doubtless the clergy exulted, "So let all Thine enemies perish, O Lord; but let them that love Thee shine as the sun at his rising!"
Years before this catastrophe, the fierce and terrible Barbarossa had been made to stoop, not in
ALEXANDER III. BESTOWS A SWORD THE DOGE. ( Bassano.)
a dead enemy's presence, but at the knees of the living, the triumphant Alexander. Strong in his alliances with Sicily, Byzantium, and above all with the Lombard cities, now banded from Venice to the Alps and the Apennines in a league of freedom, the Pope saw his rival Antipopes die or sink in disgrace. Though he dared not live in Rome, yet he was hailed as the saviour of Italy; to this day the strong fortress of Alessandria which bears his name is a memorial of the federation between Papal claims and popular franchises. Frederick made overtures of peace; they could not be entertained. Milan rose from its ashes. The Imperial squadrons were defeated at Cassano, repulsed before Ancona. At last, after an attempt upon Alessandria, came the fatal and glorious combat of Legnano in which the Lombards broke his chivalry and Frederick himself disappeared from the field in a cloud of fugitives ( May 29, 1176). He had delivered his hardest blow and was beaten.
Early next March, after secret stipulations on both sides, Alexander sailed up the Adriatic in a Sicilian fleet, entered the Lagoon and was received at St. Mark's by Ziani, Doge of Venice. Legends hang about this voyage and the incidents that followed close upon it. In the Ducal Palace we may study the supposed expedition of Ziani to attack the Emperor's fleet at Salboro, the fight and the victory; but of these things no chronicle near the time bears any record. Venice had the honour of ending this twenty years' struggle. Frederick arrived at Chioggia on July 23, 1177; he renounced the schism which he had kept so long alive, and took his absolution from Alexander's three Bishops sent to meet him. The next morning he passed up to St. Mark's where, in the splendid vestibule, Alexander himself sat in state: around him stood the envoys of England, France, Sicily, and the Free Cities, with a crowd of nobles and dignified churchmen. The Emperor drew near, flung aside his cloak, and bent his knee to the porphyry slab which testifies yet to this great act of homage. With tears and the kiss of peace Alexander raised him. The legend puts a muttered phrase on the lips of both. "Not to thee, but to Peter!" said Frederick. And the Pope, "To me as to Peter!" An idle tale, not without significance. Te Deum was chanted; Frederick held the Pope's stirrup; truce, converted six years later to an abiding peace, crowned the meeting. In 1183 at Constance twenty-four Lombard cities had won their freedom.
ENTER INNOCENT III. AND FREDERICK OF SICILY (117-1214)
VICTORIOUS but worn out with exile, battles, and marches, Alexander inscribed the results of his long day in the Third Lateran Council, 1179. Hohenstauffen was down; the Papacy had got back its capital and its Patrimony. But the Guelfs had not annihilated the Ghibellines who swarmed in Italian cities; and fresh denunciations of Cathari, Paterines, usurers; of Christians wicked enough to furnish Saracens with arms; and of proud prelates living in secular pomp, warn us that if Feudalism had lost its purchase on ecclesiastical rights, there was a yet more fearful enemy in front who would not want for auxiliaries. After an interval of barbarism the human mind was stirring once more. And in contras of opposition to Bishops that reigned like princes with hosts of retainers, with hawks and hounds--to say nothing of worse extravagance-simple men, weavers or merchants, began to preach Apostolic poverty, to ask whether a dissolute minister could give true Sacraments, or the Mass of a bad priest should be attended by the Lord's faithful; whether all good men and women were not priests and whether Rome was not the Babylon of Revelations. Tanchelin of Antwerp had been quelled by St. Norbert at Utrecht. Eudes from Bretagne had been cast into prison by Suger, the Abbot-Chancellor of Louis VII. At Vézelay men called Publicans were condemned, and seven of them burnt for denying the Sacraments and the priesthood. Along the Rhone a movement was spreading which combined austerity of life with study of the Bible; its preachers were disciples or forerunners of Peter Waldo, and as the Poor Men of Lyons must not be confounded with the Manichees, or Paulicians, who passed like a cloud of locusts from the mountains of Armenia by the way of Thrace and Bulgaria into Italy, and onwards to Languedoc, which the), had made their Judea.
When Alexander III. ended his course, Europe was trembling under these spiritual convulsions, which could not be quieted until measures of unexampled severity had been taken. Lucius III. repeated the Lateran censures at Verona, but neither Manichees nor Waldensians were daunted. Medieval Protestantism was now born. The Poor Men of Lyons anticipated Wyclif. But for the moment all eyes were turned to Palestine, divided among quarrelsome feudal barons, menaced by the rising power of a Kurdish Knight, Saladin. He, after putting down the Fatimite heretics in Egypt, had slain or captured almost all the Christian peers of the Holy Land with their King at Tiberias and entered Jerusalem ( 1187). The shameful event was ascribed, not without cause, to Henry II. and Louis VII., who had taken the cross but stayed at home to fight their own wretched battles. A fresh Crusade was proclaimed. Richard, the least English of heroes, was Angevin and Gascon. He plundered, sold, and borrowed for this tempting enterprise. He made an effort to get hold of Sicily on the way; he possessed himself of Cyprus; and at Acre he behaved with all the fury of an Orlando and the insolence of a Norman Achilles. His rival and comrade, the mean-spirited Philip Augustus, did nothing and went home again. Hundred of thousands from every European nation flocked to the siege of Acre, which has been well termed the medieval siege of Troy. But not all these hosts with all their cruelty and chivalry could tear Jerusalem from the grasp of Saladin. He saw them quarrel in their tents, die of the plague, or disappear into the West again. This was the last genuine Crusade. It accomplished no part of its design. Frederick Barbarossa, who had set out before these Kings, displayed his ancient courage when he met the Greeks, and still more the Turks, whom he vanquished with Homeric slaughter at Iconium. But in crossing a torrent of Pisidia, the Emperor was drowned; and his people, who could never believe it, translated him in their mythology to the subterranean vaults of Kyfhäuser. There the Redbeard slumbers with his Paladins until the Armageddon battle, which they call the Day of the Birch Tree, shall awaken him and his mail-clad knights, to save the Fatherland.
Frederick had pacified Germany, but not given up his claim to be lord of the Italians. He was on terms of extreme tension with Urban III., a Milanese, who held the Papacy without resigning the See of Milan. But Barbarossa had taken a step which brought in its train a war of seventy years, and entailed ruin upon his house and dynasty. In a sixth expedition over the Alps, he had his son Henry married to Constance, the heiress of the Sicilian throne, whom he tore from a convent and compelled to break her vows. This meant nothing less than to make the Pope his everlasting vassal. Urban protested in vain. He would not crown Henry at Monza; violent disputes were the consequence. Then Pope and Emperor died. Clement III. made a precarious treaty with his always turbulent Romans, and after a couple of years was followed by Clestine III. In the neighbourhood of Rome appeared Henry VI., with Queen Constance and an army. The Pope consented to crown him, on condition, added the Roman populace, that Tusculum should be destroyed and its inhabitants massacred. Henry let them work their will; Tusculum was no more. It is only in such merciless feuds between city and city, nay, between one quarter of a city and another, that the Italian genius of the Middle Age can be adequately studied. The Popes had conceived a certain world-policy on a scale which was becoming ever more magnificent. But the vision of Popular Rome did not reach beyond Tusculum.
All accounts picture Henry VI. as a man of blood and iron. Clement III. had dared to invest the illegitimate Tancred with Queen Constance's do- minions. This Norman chief overran Sicily, invaded Naples, took Constance at Salerno, but when Clestine interceded he sent her with gifts to her husband. The Pope might with as good ground have written to the Emperor on behalf of Richard Cur de Lion whom he held a captive, bought from Leopold of Austria; but he never did so. When Richard was set free, excommunication struck Leopold at length and he did penance; it was the fashion of the time to plunge into deepest guilt with the hope of repenting on the death-bed. Meanwhile, Henry VI. traversed Italy with an invincible host. He passed by Rome, went on to Messina, entered Palermo, and took the homage of young William, whose father, Tancred the Conqueror, was now dead. On some pretext, true or false, Henry began a terrible proscription at Christmas, 1194. The loftiest heads in the Island were struck down. Prelates and nobles were hanged, burnt, mutilated, Queen Sibylla and her daughters were thrown into prison; William underwent dishonours worse than death. It was remarked with shuddering horror that on the day when Henry opened this sanguinary campaign, his Queen gave birth at Jesi to a child, who should be known as Frederick II.
We learn with rejoicing that Pope Coelestine, feeble old man as he felt himself, at once excommunicated the Bearsark Emperor. He did not seem to mind. Moving back through Italy, he gave to one of his ruffians, Markwarld, Ancona and Romagna; on Diephold he bestowed Apulia. He dragged Roger the Norman through the streets of Capua at a horse's tail. To his brother Philip he made a present of Tuscany. He proposed to the German Princess that they should hold their fiefs by hereditary right, and that the Imperial crown should be settled on the House of Hohenstauffen. It was almost agreed upon when he returned to Sicily and set up the siege of Castro Giovanni. There all his plans came to an end. The Emperor went out hunting, caught a fever and expired at Messina September 28, 1197. In January Clestine died, and Innocent III. was elected by a unanimous vote.
It was now the turn of the Papacy. Cardinal Lothair, a Roman with Northern blood in his veins, was thirty-seven when he assumed the tiara. He had studied law in Bologna, theology in Paris; during the reign of Clestine, being put on one side, he had written a book on the Contempt of the World. His morals were beyond suspicion; in character he displayed that strange mingling of severity and sweetness, of resolute determination and humble selfabasement, which we have remarked in Gregory VII. His reign of eighteen years filled Europe with the fame of his deeds, and has been called an autocracy; it was the rule of a strong man, not without blemishes in word and conduct, on which partisans or enemies will pronounce more decidedly than those who look from an historical perspective over the time. When we remember that the thirteenth century, at which we have now arrived, produced in one age and in the same Church Innocent III. and Frederick II., King John of England and St. Francis of Assisi, Simon de Montfort and Stephen Langton, we shall acknowledge that a Pope whose duty it was to steer over these troubled waters might easily turn the helm a few points out of the direct course.
Though sprung of a popular Roman house, the Conti, Innocent was unable to suppress the violence or avert the bloodshed which furnished daily occupation to the Orsini, his enemies from of old, and the Scotti, his mother's kindred. He undertook the reform--always needed--of the spiritual courts, insisting that they should not sell or barter justice. He drew up the Canonical decrees himself. But lie suffered the Romans to humble Viterbo; and after demanding their allegiance was insulted, of Course at the altar, compelled to quit the Lateran and to spend a winter in Anagni. No wonder he fell into a dangerous illness. He came back and a democratic Senate was appointed. In Rome the Pope could but look on while the nobles built or demolished the nine hundred towers from which they made war upon one another. He had no means of keeping the peace except persuasion, or by playing off one set of miscreants against an equally infamous set, their born adversaries. On this sombre background Innocent's qualities as a world-ruler shine out with redoubled splendour.
Some great advantages he possessed. Not even Gregory VII. could enjoy a clearer view of the prerogatives which, as Supreme Judge, he attributed to the Papacy; nor was there any Barbarossa to question them. Constance, in her widow's weeds, had thrown herself and the infant Frederick under his protection, declared Sicily a Papal fief, and accepted a Bull which asserted these claims with the utmost energy. The Queen got back her son and had him crowned in Palermo. But this had not been accomplished until an uprising, almost universal throughout Italy, had overthrown the German tyrants
POPE INNOCENT III., A.D. 1198.
who ravaged land and people. Innocent demanded Romagna from Markwald. The Guelfs everywhere sided with the Pope; and now, at least, their cause, observes a modern writer, was the cause of freedom and humanity. The whole Exarchate was up; Markwald, after wasting it to the gates of Ravenna, had to retreat. Conrad, Duke of Spoleto, submitted, when fighting became impossible, and Innocent received in person the homage of the liberated cities and renewed the alliance with Lombardy. The Tuscan domain he vindicated to the Holy See.
Soon after this happy moment in Italian history, Queen Constance died. Her little son became the Pope's ward; Innocent might almost be termed Regent of the Peninsula. But Markwald, the excommunicate, raised his banner as Seneschal; he was defeated by Papal troops at Monte Cassino, and later on near Palermo. In 1202 he also died; but his confederate Diephold pursued the same policy, in which the Pope was forced to acquiesce. Charges of duplicity were made on all sides; and in such an atmosphere of deceit and intrigue was Frederick II. brought up.
His uncle Philip saw and seized the opportunity. Philip had retired across the Alps, followed by Italian maledictions, leaving Tuscany to be recovered by and by from Innocent, but himself bent on wearing the Iron and Imperial crown He was elected at Mu + ?hlhausen. But could the Pope accept a man who was usurping his nephew's inheritance? Could he look on approvingly while the House of Suabia passed on the Empire from kinsman to kinsman, establishing a prescription which would make it independent of the Church? No question of a spiritual nature was this in the modern sense; but it concerned the Pope's immunity from political thraldom, and Innocent must have been delighted when Adolphus of Cologne raised a party, the object of which was to break the Hohenstauffen. This Archbishop and his fellows set up Otho, son of Henry the Lion, Guelf of the Guelfs, who came forward as a champion in Church defence, with English gold in his purse, the nobles of Flanders at his back, May, 1198. Innocent did not immediately declare his mind. A Legate arrived from Rome, demanding the release of Sibylla, Tancred's widow, and her daughters, but above all, that of the Archbishop of Salerno, imprisoned by Henry VI. The penalty threatened was an Interdict over all Germany. But, besides this, Philip, even now excommunicate, must surrender the lands which belonged to the Holy See. Philip made vague promises, and bribed the Legate, who gave him absolution. He was at once disowned by his indignant master. Nevertheless, the absolution had been pronounced, and the Empire seemed to have chosen Philip.
Both candidates were crowned--by no means an empty ceremony in ages when symbols convey the virtue they express--but Otho appealed to Rome. France and England were taking opposite sides. Still the Pope silence, and war broke out. After a year, when Otho began to lose, Innocent required of the Electors that they should remit the cause to himself. Philip would not formally appeal; yet he sent up a great list of his supporters, including the King of France and a host of prelates. The address which accompanied this manifesto threatened an invasion of Rome. Innocent replied with firmness. Again the war broke out; horrible deeds were done; and in 1200 the famous "Deliberation" was carried to Germany by Pierleon, Bishop of Palestrina, in which, after comparing the merits and claims of Frederick, Philip, and Otho, Innocent declared that the Apostolic See had the right of passing judgement on an election to the Empire. He went on to say that the House of Subia, as far back as Henry V., had ever been guilty of repeated sacrilege; that Philip himself was a persecutor; and that Church, and came of a loyal Catholic stock, wherefore he, and not Philip, should be Emperor.
Otho came before the Papal Legates; made every concession; and was proclaimed by Cardinal Guido. But, in the Diet of Bamberg and elsewhere, almost all the great prelates stood by Philip; and ten years of war ensued which might be fittingly compared for the murders, pillagings, and havoc perpetrated in them, to the Thirty Years' War itself. Whose was the fault? Many, then and since, have laid it to the charge of Innocent, careless what befel the German lands while no strong Emperor menaced him at Rome. Others will not allow that Guelfs and Ghibellines could be subdued into peace by Papal Encyclicals; Otho represented one powerful party, Philip another; they must have fought their battle to the end, though Innocent had taken no side. However, Adolphus of Cologne was paid to desert Otho, whom he had himself proposed; in 1207 Philip and the Pope came to terms; and the Papal Legates kept Christmas Day at Metz with the Hohenstauffen, now absolved again. Ere the July of 1208 had run out,
Philip, the best of his dynasty, was stabbed to death by another Otho, Count of Wittelsbach, and the Guelf became Emperor a second time.
If, as the facts lead us to conclude, Innocent had broken his pledges to Otho IV., he was doomed in a brief space to undergo the severest penance. They met at Viterbo with rejoicings. The Pope crowned his elect son in St. Peter's. And, as always, the Roman crowd fell on a German bishop; the German soldiers fell on the sons of Romulus; horses and men were slaughtered; and Otho drew away from the field of blood--but only to resume the Tuscan cities from Florence to Pisa. He gave away Spoleto; he made Diephold Prince of Salerno; he defied the Pope and his interdict; and then set forth to subdue Naples. There remained no enemy behind him except Innocent, who uttered over the renegade his most solemn censures on Maundy Thursday, 1211. But in an hour the tide of victory turned. Siegfried of Mayence published the excommunication from his cathedral. Innocent, by force of events, had become a Ghibelline. For if Otho should be put down--and his avarice, insolence, falsehood, richly deserved it--who could succeed but young Frederick of Sicily? Here then was to begin a most romantic episode in the life of one whose adventures, like his genius and his character, exhausted the capacities of good and evil.
The King of Sicily was no more than seventeen, but already married to Constance of Arragon, and the father of a son destined to bear the name of Henry VII. In Frederick himself all manner of graces were combined with an intellect which his friends called philosophic, a courage that would shortly be put to the test, a vivacity and versatility which astonish us to so great a distance from his time, and a genius the true epithet for which is "modern," not "medieval." In his exquisite youth, amid the golden groves and the shining seas of Palermo, poetry was the language he took pleasure in; and the quests of a knighthood, not crusading but early Greek or contemporary Provençal, drew him on towards the unknown. Anselm of Justingen and Henry of Niffen were now charged by the Suabians to bring him up from the South. In Rome they had an interview with Pope Innocent; he yielded to the logic of circumstances; and in his Sicilian garden Frederick was offered the crown which Otho had not yet surrendered. He accepted it without hesitation.
But Otho, in November, 1211, rushed from Apulia to Frankfort, summoned a Diet, began to war upon certain of the nobles, and, by way of enticing others, married Beatrice, daughter of the Emperor Philip. In four days she was dead. Her cousin from Sicily had set out in March, 1212, with only a handful of soldiers. He made his entrance into Rome, received the welcome of Pope and Senate, was conveyed by sea to Genoa, and by side marches came to Trent, where a squadron of Guelfs held the pass. Escaping over mountain roads he arrived at Chur, and the great monastery of St. Gall. Otho was advancing to Constance; Fredrick with his few knights and some retainers of the abbey ran swiftly forward, reached Constance three hours before Otho, and persuaded the Bishop to shut his gates. The Empire was taken.
At Basle Bishops and a crowd of noble horsemen saluted Frederick. The Primate Siegfried lent him all his strength; at Frankfort he was named Emperor; and Otho retired into Saxony. There was not much fighting. England and Flanders leagued with the Guelf as in previous campaigns; Philip Augustus with the Ghibelline. A battle of no heroic dimensions, but which marked an epoch, the battle of Bouvines, decided that France should exist henceforth as a great European Power; and that Frederick should win his wild enterprise ( May 27, 1214). Otho went back to his own land; built monasteries; lived three years in retreat and repentance; and died in 1217 forgotten. Frederick at Aixla-Chapelle put on the crown of Charlemagne. One Pope had made him Emperor; that Pope's successors were to spend their lives, treasures, and reputation, in unmaking him.
CRUSADES AGAINST GREEKS AND ALBIGENSES (1201-1233)
BY a singular good or evil fortune, Innocent III., who was to subdue the Western Empire, began his reign by conquering the Eastern in his own despite. Henry VI. may have dreamt of stretching his iron sceptre over Constantinople; but the honour and shame which this new voyage of the Argonauts brought with it were reserved for Venice and the pirates of the Fourth Crusade. Saladin was no more Fulk of Neuilly preached the Cross from Brittany to Flanders, a penitent, saint, and humourist, whom crowds followed and princes obeyed. Immense offerings flowed in, not always expended on the Holy War, though Fulk appears to have dealt honestly with them. Baldwin of Flanders took the Cross; so did a host of nobles, including Simon de Montfort, who had lately made truce with the Saracens in Palestine on behalf of his fellowChristians. And this was to be a great French expedition, of which Villehardouin, Marshal of Champagne, would write the story in his picturesque and soldierly prose.
But the divisions could not march across an Empire now one huge battlefield, nor attempt the land journey to Byzantium. It was resolved to convey them by, sea. And the carrying trade of Europe had long been in the hands of Genoa, Pisa, Venice. To Venice on this errand came Villehardouin. Terms were arranged; the old half-blind Duke Dandolo required eighty-five thousand silver marks as the price of transport; the Republic would furnish fifty galleys in addition, commanded by the Doge, and would be entitled to half the conquests made by its more enthusiastic allies. Boniface of Montferrat, a pious condottiere, was captain-in-chief. The crusaders swarmed to Venice in 1201, but on the eve of departure they could not raise the pile of silver marks to the height stipulated. What was to be done? Dandolo suggested ail equivalent for the thirty thousand marks wanting. Zara, on the Dalmatian coast, had fallen off from Venice and sworn allegiance to Hungary. Let the crusaders take Zara. True, the Hungarian King had himself assumed the sacred emblem, and to make war on him meant excommunication. True, also, that Cardinal Peter forbade the plundering of a Christian city in the Pope's name. Nevertheless, Dandolo led the fleet, a glittering show, across the Adriatic. Zara was taken and spoilt, its wealth divided ( November, 1202). Istria yielded to Venice. And now, says Villehardouin, there came to pass a great wonder, the strangest and most unlookedfor adventure in the world.
Alexius Comnenus had dethroned and blinded his brother, Isaac Angelus, and this man's son, Alexius the Younger, had in vain traversed Italy, beseeching now the Pope and now his own brother-in-law, the Emperor Philip, for assistance to overturn the usurper. His messengers had already appeared in Venice, not without hope; for between the Republic and Byzantium a long-standing quarrel existed on the subject of commerce injured by the Greeks, and moneys due from them. Dandolo had his private grievance; it was in handling these Easterns that his sight had been nearly destroyed. Now in the camp at Zara, fresh proposals were made. The Pope would not hear of such a thing. He interdicted the Crusaders, excommunicated the Venetians; Simon de Montfort went over with his followers to the King of Hungary. All to no purpose. It seems not unlikely that Dandolo from the first intended to revenge himself and the Republic on a State which supported Genoa, while harassing the Venetian Colony at the Golden Horn. And so, while Rome put forth one protest after another, the galleys sailed down to Corfu; they went on to Constantinople. When the towers, walls, and domes of that incomparable city broke on their view, the Crusaders, astonished, felt like men in a dream. On the shores appeared sixty thousand Greeks in arms. But before the charge they vanished. Dandolo, whose friends had concerted with him already, seized twenty-five towers; the banner of St. Mark waved over the city of Constantine. During hundreds of years Venice was to hold the gorgeous East in fee and to share with the Franks in Morea and the Greek Archipelago such dominion as their united arms and wealth could secure.
But the self-styled army of the Lord pillaged, murdered, desecrated, broke the monuments, plucked up the bones of dead Emperors, set Isaac and Alexius on the throne, hurled them down again, offered the crown to Dandolo, carved the city and the Empire into slices, and gave what was left to Baldwin of Flanders. There was a King of Macedonia, the Marquis of Montferrat; a Duke of Nicæa, the Count of Blois. Shakespeare's Duke of Athens dates from this period. Villehardouin was Marshal of Roumania; Guillaume de Champlitte was Prince of Morea, and built his castle, as did Templars and Teutonic Knights their churches, at Andravida in Elis, by which the tourist passes now on his railway journey to Olympia. As late as 1300 French was spoken at Athens, where Otho de la Roche had founded a dynasty, which Walter de Brienne, with the help of Catalonian mercenaries, overthrew.
Innocent, who had done his utmost to prevent a catastrophe which he felt could never bring about the union of the Churches, took some dubious pride in having let down the net. But his indignant language holds up the Crusaders to reprobation as "worse than dogs," stained with lust, avarice, cruelty, steeped in Christian blood. The Venetians appointed their own Patriarch; Innocent unwillingly approved of him. He took the Latin Empire under his especial protection. Yet feuds of the Western type between clergy and nobles, Pope and Patriarch, could not be kept down. The Latin Church at Constantinople added, if addition were possible, to the deadly hatred of the Greeks whose Emperor, Lascaris, had withdrawn into Asia, while their Archbishop, Camaterus, set up his throne at Nicæa. Ancient history repeated itself; the King of Bulgaria took Baldwin captive at Adrianople, though Bulgaria had submitted, both kingdom and Church, to Rome. Yet Baldwin died in the grasp of Johannes, whose submission was little more than a pretence. From 1204 to 1261, the Latin Empire lingered out its agony. Between East and West the greatest and most calamitous of schisms had become irremediable. In taking Constantinople, the Crusaders prepared the way for Mohammed II. and his Turkish hordes; they gave all example which was immediately followed, of beating the Cross into a sword against Christian countries and peoples; they may even be said to have created some of the circumstances which made the Reformation plausible and popular. Such were the results of that marvellous undertaking so vividly described by Villehardouin, alternately cursed and blessed by Innocent III.
After this we hear no more of a universal Crusade. Venice, the gate of the East, poured into Italy treasures of art and learning; decorated St. Mark's with brilliant mosaics in which the whole Bible seems to glow upon its walls and cupolas; and held the golden chain that binds the Renaissance of the thirteenth century to that of the fifteenth. We have left the Dark Ages behind. A revolution was approaching in the West. England, thanks to King John, had lost Normandy. France, under its able, mean, unscrupulous Philip Augustus, had united to
SAN MARCO, VENICE.
the crown those Northern dukedoms, and would, by and by, annex the Southern, wrenched from the trembling hands of Raymund of Provence. In 1212, an innumerable Moorish host was to be cut in pieces at Navas de Tolosa, and Spain would become once for all the Catholic land we know. But in Europe at large a revolt, due to many causes, mingled of most confused ingredients, mystic, dogmatic, economic, had long been preparing. It burst forth while Innocent was receiving ambassadors from Armenia, Bohemia, Iceland, from both Empires, and from all the Kings of the West.
This widespread insurrection has been celebrated in undying literature. It is regarded with sympathy by all such as consider it the first though unsuccessful effort towards a true Reformation. Catholic historians, on the other side, paint it in the darkest colours and hold that it would have brought down in a common ruin Church and State. In the mysterious anarchy which was ever shaking the pillars of the world as with subterranean earthquake, Michelet perceives an influence, Oriental, Jewish, and Arabian, but above all, Manichæan, propagated Westwards from the Crusades themselves. We can follow the movement across Northern Italy and upwards from Southern Spain, until its streams meet in Languedoc, a country which resembled Judea in physical features and of which Toulouse was to be the Mount Zion.
Hebrew scholars taught at Narbonne and Montpellier. Moorish science, philosophy, and even theology, penetrated into the Universities of Christendom by way of the Pyrenees. The exaltation of love and chivalry was a chord never silent in Provençal verse. And a tremendous word had been uttered in secret, yet was repeated by many, "Nothing is true, everything is lawful." Did multitudes believe in the two principles, Ormuzd and Ahriman? How, then, could the standard of morals be saved? Was there a design to level the Hierarchy? But in a crowd of wrangling sectaries what would be the fortune of truth? Toleration as a general axiom would have been scouted and called blasphemy by all the parties concerned in this frightful crisis. Jews, indeed, might be tolerated; but they were aliens, soon to wear the badge of the yellow quoit. Heretics, who wore no badge, who lived everywhere, and might be found in all stations, how were they to be dealt with? These immoral mystics, it was said, deserved to fare worse than Saracens; they must be run upon like mad dogs. If a Crusade were holy which aimed at delivering the Lord's Sepulchre from infidels, was it not as holy when it took up arms in defence of priesthood, Sacraments, the Commandments themselves, and the social order? But in truth no one questioned its lawfulness. To the powers that were in the year 1208 heretics appeared precisely such as anarchists appear to us now--insane revolutionaries that cannot be reasoned with, but must be cut off by the strong arm of the law.
So thought Innocent III., and on this principle he acted. As Captain-General of Christendom, he received from every quarter bulletins which announced that the enemy was growing in force through all the towns of Italy, and even in Rome.
But the centre of the storm was Languedoc, with its Moorish culture and its Asiatic creed.
Toulouse was a republic under Raymund VI., the richest prince in Europe, dissolute but accomplished, the friend of Saracens and patron of heretics, lord of seven wealthy provinces, seemingly a match for the unarmed Pope, who could not reckon on a street in Rome as loyal. But the Pope could summon a Crusade. Not against Raymund, whose orthodoxy, if suspected, had not been disproved; yet against his subjects, should he persist in declining to coerce them. For his indulgence was more perilous than open heresy. If Macaulay is justified--and our documents bear him out-- "the Papacy had lost," in Provence and Languedoc, "all authority with all classes, from the great feudal princes down to the cultivators of the soil." Let this plague spread, as it threatened, from the Rhone to the Meuse and the Rhine, there would come an end of the Catholic Hierarchy, which in those lands governed not only in the holy place, but in the university, the army, the market, and the State at large.
Innocent was not the founder of the Inquisition, any more than St. Dominic, whose name has been associated with a tribunal which did not exist till after his death. But the Bishops' Courts had taken cognisance of heretical pravity from of old--and their jurisdiction received fresh strength under Lucius III., in 1184, when the Paterines were active in demanding a reform of the Church. No sooner had Innocent been elected than he gave most extensive powers to the Cistercian Order, naming as his legates in the
South of France Arnold d'Amouri, the Abbot of Abbots, Raoul, and Pierre de Castelnau. They were to preach repentance, but also to insist on the local authorities putting in force the ban, or outlawry, equivalent to civil death, which Innocent judged to be the portion of apostates. Citeaux, indeed, was rich, corrupt, fallen from its first fervour. The Abbot displayed a magnificence unbecoming his vows, a hardness of heart which he mistook for Gospel charity. On his travels he fell in with the Spanish Bishop of Osma and St. Dominic, returning from Rome. He complained that his preaching bore no fruit. Dominic reminded him that the Lord's disciples were sent to preach barefoot, without scrip, without staff, and set him an example which he unwillingly followed. But still the conferences proved barren, or showed that the Paulician dogmas had admirers, if not adherents, in every town where a public discussion took place. The only means likely to avail with these stiff-necked dissenters were such as Raymund would not employ. After eight years of preaching, Pierre de Castelnau declared a general peace among the feudal chieftains and a campaign against the heretics, under threat of interdict. His strong measures were enforced by the Pope in a vehement letter to the unfortunate or guilty Raymund, charging him with heinous crimes, and concluding with a menace to deprive him of his territory. This was followed up by the proclamation of a Crusade in November, 1207, to be undertaken by the King of France and the Duke of Burgundy. Two months afterwards, Pierre de Castelnau was murdered by one of Raymund's esquires on the banks of the Rhone.
That any prince not out of his mind should have instigated this crime is highly improbable. No fair judge will lay it at Raymund's door. It was, indeed, the prelude to calamities which did not finish with his life, and which proved the ruin of his dynasty. But the Pope assumed, and rumour asserted, his share in the murder. Cowed, as Henry II. had been on the death of Thomas à Becket, like Henry the Count submitted to a public scourging at the martyr's tomb. But his presence, his protestation, was of no avail. The eagles were gathering to their prey. Innocent called on Philip Augustus to be up and doing as a Christian soldier; the two swords were to smite Languedoc; and though Philip would not move, being apprehensive of King John, now allied with the Emperor Otho, thousands were ready and willing to enter on the Promised Land. Citeaux, proud of its warlike Abbot, was the mother-house of the Templars, the Teutonic Knights, the Orders of Calatrava and Avila. With its royal Duke and its white Cistercians all Burgundy seemed on the march; behind came Germans, Lorrainers, the chevaliers of the Rhine. But the most famous leader was Simon de Montfort, in whose story the tragic Muse finds volumes -- Montfort, a saint, a hero, fierce, gentle, fascinating to his enemies, but one whose sword never turned back from blood. Twenty thousand knights, two hundred thousand of the commoner sort, sings the Epic historian, flung themselves on the land of olives, roses, serenades, and love songs. Innocent had precipitated the North on the South. Raymund knew that there was no turning these battalions home without conquest and booty. Captive in their hands he was dragged along to the destruction of his people. The judicial process became a war, at the remembrance of which mankind has shuddered ever since, and apologists themselves have fallen silent.
Led on by, their Abbot of Citeaux, the Crusaders besieged, massacred, and burnt all before them. The sack of Béziers is the St. Bartholomew of the thirteenth century. Not a living soul was left in its ruins. Carcassonne was taken and ravaged. Five hundred castles or towns opened their gates at the tremendous summons of warriors who burnt women and children "with an extreme joy," and whose delight it was to treat these doubtful Christians more vilely than if they had been Turks or Saracens. Raymund, excommunicated--was it a third or a fifth time?--fled after Carcassonne to Rome. He met with Italian courtesy from the Pope and his great prelates; but could not hinder the burning of Minerva and Termes with their garrisons. In the Council of Arles ( February, 1212) fourteen stipulations were submitted to, him by the Legates which amounted to his virtual abdication. He refused and fell back on Toulouse, which became immediately the scene of havoc between himself and its Bishop. Ferocity was not confined to the orthodox; but they gained on him continually; before the year was out he had lost every inch of land except Toulouse and Montauban. The miserable Count now took refuge with his brother-in-law, Pedro of Arragon, who had just won a battle of giants at Navas de Tolosa. Montfort had secured the attainted estates of Béziers; he was becoming lord of Languedoc. Pedro argued that this could no longer be deemed a Crusade but a mere campaign of robbery; yet, though he startled, he could not convince the Pope, who may have felt some remorse, but dared not intervene. The King of Arragon moved forward with a large army. Montfort, with less than fifteen hundred men, encountered him at Muret ( September 13, 1213). Pedro was defeated and slain. Raymund, with his son, took to flight. It seemed that all was over.
But the end was not yet. At Montpellier in 1215, the Legate, by advice and consent of a great meeting, bestowed on Montfort the whole dominions which these two Counts had forfeited. The same year, Innocent in the Lateran Council declared Raymud VI. fallen from every tittle of sovereignty: condemned him to exile, but was willing to leave Provence to his soil under conditions. War was resumed. In 1216 Toulouse underwent a siege that lasted nine months; Simon de Montfort was killed; his son Amaury made over no less than four hundred and thirty, fiefs to the Crown of France. young Raymund, as we might expect, fell under the same suspicions which had ruined his father. Louis VIII. overflowed the land with an army; threw down the walls of Toulouse and Narbonne; but died in Auvergne on his way home to Paris. Three years later, when the infant St. Louis was on the throne, Blanche of Castile gathered in this magnificent spoil, which made the French Monarchy stronger than it had been since Charle- magne. Raymund VII., in 1229, became a vassal instead of a sovereign prince. The sternest Inquisition was established by a Council at Toulouse. If any Manichæans survived, they could be handled without a Crusade. Between the years 1230 and 1233 the Dominican friars superserseded the Bishops' tribunals, and for a while the Albigenses gave no further sign of life.
I happen to be writing this page of history in the garden at Lausanne where Gibbon added the last stroke to his immense and as yet unrivalled panorama of the Roman Empire in decline. Out of those ruins a second empire had grown; and Innocent III., the Catholic Augustus, wielding both swords, temporal no less than spiritual, reigned when the New Rome stood at its highest point above Kings and peoples. Yet as we survey the prospect on which Gibbon's eyes so often rested, other names rise into the memory, as well known and as enduring as the mountain peaks which are reflected in Leman's blue waters--names of men whose heralds or forerunners Innocent opposed even to the death. This quiet garden calls to them, as if in all one spirit lived and wrought. There is Calvin at Geneva; but over against him there stands Voltaire. From the Bohemian Huss, committed to the flames at Constance, Farel and Beza seem to point on' to Zwingli perishing in battle with the Forest Cantons; while they and their disciples forebode the crimson-dyed preacher of Social Democracy, Jean Jacques, Out of whose volcanic heart and moonstruck brain the French Revolution burst. Gibbon himself, the mocking not unkindly sceptic, from this little Paradise saw his own world shattered by the Rights of Man, guillotined by Robespierre, blown to atoms by Dumourier's artillery. To hinder consummations such as these it was that Innocent smote Kingdoms with interdict, hewed down the Albigenses, sent forth Dominic and Francis to announce a Gospel rich in mercy yet terrible in vengeance. He would hear of no liberty, no learning, no sanctity of life or beauty of holiness, which had not been consecrated by his Papal hands. Unconsciously, yet with all his might, he aimed at making the Calvins, Voltaires, Gibbons, and Rousseaus impossible. But they arrived in their hour, and the light of Innocent III was darkened at their coming. Yet, as sitting here we muse upon the whole story, it may occur to us that not Dante alone, the medieval seer, but Shakespeare too, sovereign among mortal minds, and Goethe, one of the wisest, would have preferred Innocent himself to Calvin, St. Bernard of Clairvaux to Jean Jacques, and St. Francis of Assisi to Voltaire.
XX ST. FRANCIS--THE FRIARS--THE LATERAN COUNCIL (1182-1215-1226)
PROVENCE had been tamed in the fire. But Italy was overrun with Waldensian reformers; the Cathari abounded in its cities; and a succession of bloody crusades might have ended in revolt everywhere, when the most wonderful scene of a time rich in contrasts was enacted in Central Italy. There is a white stone village, perched midway on Monte Subasio, called Assisi, which looks towards Spoleto and Perugia over a land of vines and olives. In 1198 Conrad of Suabia held the castle; down below, nobles quarrelled with villeins, as in every medieval township; luxury and leprosy flourished side by side; our vilest modern alleys show nothing equal to the disease, filth, and beggary, which were at home in these fever-dens. The people could not read; seldom heard a preacher; died young. Feudalism plundered them; prelates neglected them; the religious orders behind their high walls no longer, on the whole, fulfilled a civilising mission. Prophets, like Joachim the Cistercian Abbot of Flora ( 1132-1202), announced revolutions which would end the reign of Bishops, and bring in the Kingdom of the Holy Ghost. Others, such as the Humiliati, the Poor Men of Lyons, and their nameless followers, sighed after Gospel simplicity,
but were by design or prejudice confounded with Manichæans and liable to cord and stake. Innocent III. might subdue the Ghibelline chiefs, and among them Conrad of Suabia; but there is no evidence that he meditated ail evangelical crusade among the people. Never had the Church seemed so near destruction as at the moment when Francis, the Poverello of Assisi, came to her succour. It has
ST. FRANCIS WEDS POVERTY. ( Giotto.)
been said of him, with pardonable warmth, that he added a page to the New Testament and put off the Reformation for three centuries. He is the one Saint whom all succeeding generations have canonised. Francis, at first called John, was born in 1182, son of Bernardone the merchant, who changed his name and taught him to speak the charming French language. Slightly educated, gay and impetuous, he was fired with enthusiasm by the wandering minstrels who sang of Charlemagne and the Table Round in their lofty lays. At sixteen he took a lad's part in the uprising against Conrad. He scorned the merchant's trade, fell into dissipation, went out with his townsmen to fight the Perugians, was wounded and taken prisoner; but he fed on his visions of chivalry, and at two and twenty he underwent the great spiritual crisis that we call conversion. Disowned by his father, the young man stripped himself bare in the presence of the Bishop of Assisi, and was wedded to his bride Poverty, in which name he comprehended the utter renunciation of goods, honours, and privileges. It was an inspiring word. He had learned it from the Gospel, and put it to the touch in attending on the lepers out of whose loathly dish he brought himself to eat. Then he went forth preaching peace, the herald of the Great King; and Assisi, Umbria, Italy, were stirred as though never before had Christ been announced to them. Umbria became the Italian Galilee; Francis the beneficent shadow of the Son of Man.
His detachment from the secular greatness of noble and bishop was perfect. But he built no cloister and went straight to the people. His rule, he said, was the life of Christ. Men and women came about him asking for guidance, and this was his one reply. Ordained deacon, he never would become a priest; he remained entirely a stranger to the learning, classic or theological, of his time; with Canon Law he was unacquainted; but his reverence for the clergy, his devotion to the Eucharist, saved him from the perilous conflicts in which Waldo and the Paterines had gone down. With a few companions he drew near Innocent at the Lateran only to be repulsed. His aims were judged by those high rulers of the Church impossible; but to resist the sweetness and joy of which he held the secret was not in men still enthusiastic, violent, and youthful. The new Order, tolerated or approved, made converts, especially among the middle class, or the "Minores," after whose name it was called. It drew to itself votaries whom an austere heretical movement would else have swept away beyond the Catholic pale. Among his friends was the brilliant, passionate, severe Cardinal Ugolino, afterwards Gregory IX., a kinsman of the reigning Pope, attached undoubtedly to Francis, whom he venerated as a Saint but managed as an enthusiast. To bring these lofty ideals within rule and compass Ugolino did not shrink from a policy in which Francis himself had little share, nor could witness its execution without suffering.
This figure that took all hearts was not moulded on lawyers' traditions; we must seek him in the idyls of the Fioretti ; in the legends of his tender dealing with bird and beast; in his Canticle of the Sun ; in his journeyings to convert the Soldan of Cairo; in his fraternity with the poor; and at last in his ecstatic visions on Monte Alvernia which stamped him with the living sign of Christ. He died at fortyfour, amid scenes of touching simplicity; worshipped as already a Saint; but leaving to his disciples the task of reconciling inspirations so unstudied and free with an order of things which they had outgrown. That was the long tragedy of the Franciscan brotherhood. Medieval in its colouring, yet a fresh type of religious development, orthodox and progressive, it accepted from Gregory IX, an interpretation of its idea that to the Fraticelli, or the Spirituals, seemed a betrayal. These mystic disputes, lasting over a hundred years, were marked by revolt on the one hand, by repression on the other,--both accompanied with harshness and even cruelty. We shall hear of them again. But when Brother Elias built the splendid Basilica of Assisi and Gregory IX. canonised Francis, in 1228, the Moderates had overcome. From this time forward, the Papacy could reckon on the Friars; and a new chapter of Catholic achievements was beginning.
No such poetic legend flings its light over the simple but earnest commencements of St. Dominic ( 1170-1221). A grave Spanish hidalgo, a learned Canon of Osma, he was always well seen in Rome. The idea of poverty with him was not original; he took it from St. Francis; and while the Umbrian wanderer would have no stately houses built, and forbade his companions to teach in the Universities or accept graces of any kind soever from the Roman Court, Dominic followed older precedents, encouraged the study of the sciences--kindled thereto by the glories of Moslem Spain--and adapted to his own St. Augustine's Rule. His brethren have been happily termed the Jesuits of the thirteenth century. They were preaching Friars, like their friends or rivals the Franciscans, bringing the Gospel into streets and market-places, not always to the delight of the silent secular clergy or the gentlemanly and often indolent monks. But religion revived; a wave of mystic enthusiasm swept over Europe; and gifts began to pour in which it would have been well for these reformers had they declined. Their palmy days lasted till near the end of the century. Perhaps the chief works they accomplished were to furnish the Holy See with its own spiritual militia; to put down heresy by means of the Inquisition; to create a synthesis of ideas in which Aristotle's philosophy became a prelude to Christian dogma; and to knit up the middle and working classes, over which the Catholic Hierarchy had lost its hold, into a strong confederation of orthodox believers. In this manysided enterprise it is difficult to say which may claim the larger influence, Francis or Dominic. But we cannot imagine the later Middle Age without its friars; the schools of philosophy without St. Thomas Aquinas; or religion itself without the Poor Man of Assisi.
From these heights we come down by a very rapid descent to kings and princes. Philip Augustus of France had married Ingeburga of Denmark with a view to prosecuting over England some shadowy claims derived from the famous Knut. The lady did not please him; on the score of affinity (in the Middle Ages disastrously extended) Philip divorced her, with the assent of the courtly Cardinal of Rheims. Ingeburga made appeal to Pope Clestine III.; but she was shut up in the castle of Beaurepaire and the King married Agnes of Meran. At this point in 1198 Innocent took up the Danish quarrel. He sent Cardinal Peter of Capua to demand that the French should make peace with England, undertake a new crusade, and acknowledge Ingeburga's rights. With his subjects Philip was not popular. He granted a truce; was willing to take the cross; but would never give up Agnes. The usual consequences followed. At Dijon Cardinal Peter suspended religious services all over France; the nation was awed and irritated; Philip's nobles insisted on his submission; and at Soissons in 1201 he consented to admit Ingeburga as his lawful wife. His partner in this great scandal, Agnes, had passed away; but during the troubled years down to 1212 Ingeburga was queen merely in name. Innocent had protected the law of marriage; nor did he deal harshly with the King or even with Agnes of Meran. It was France that suffered, according to the Horatian maxim here and afterwards fulfilled to the letter, Delirant reges; plectuntur Achivi: "Kings play mad tricks, the people pay for them."
But interdict was growing dangerously common. Similar disagreements arose from causes matrimonial south of the Pyrenees. Innocent annulled the marriage between Alfonso of Leon and Berengaria of Castile, as Clestine III. had done before him, and with like penalties in case of disobedience; the ban lasted nearly five years, after which Berengaria retired to a convent. Again, the King of Navarre, having made a treaty with the Moors, was deposed; his realm would have been annexed to Arragon but for a seasonable composition of terms which he made with his rivals. Yet Pedro the Arragonese, eight years before he won the battle of Navas de Tolosa, had entered on a more than doubtful marriage, against which Innocent did not utter one syllable of protest. Neither did lie open his lips when John, King of England, sent away his wife, daughter of the Earl of Gloucester, and took from his own vassal the Count de la Marche Isabella, his betrothed consort. This shameful deed cost England the sovereignty of Maine, Touraine, and Anjou; but the Pope had need of allies against the Emperor Philip, and counting on the dissolute John he let it pass. For the moment John was gained over.
John had lost at Château Gaillard the Continental dominions of his house. He was destined to make up for one crime by committing another and thereby to secure to the English people their chartered rights, coming down from old Teuton customs and precedents. The Pope himself unwittingly and unwillingly led the way. A quarrel, by no means singular, between the monks of Canterbury when the See had fallen vacant threw the choice upon Innocent, who appointed Stephen Langton, Cardinal of San Crisogono ( 1207). Langton was a "scholar of European fame, star of the University of Paris," and in morals unimpeachable. But John, who had named De Grey of Norwich to the Primacy, would not suffer this Roman Englishman to set foot in his kingdom. Once more the tremendous machinery of the interdict was brought into play ( March, 1208). Public festivals, ceremonies, and sacraments were abolished; only baptism of infants and the Eucharist for the dying were permitted; the daily life of the nation came to a standstill, as if plaque and famine ruled in the land. John had his prelates and his ministers who took no heed of interdicts; he could seize the revenues of bishoprics, abbeys, and parishes, and put the clergy outside the law. Himself furious, wanton, disbelieving, but as energetic as ruthless, guilty of enormous and unspeakable sins, he laughed to scorn the spiritual censures of Innocent. Excommunicate, he held out still; but after four years of confusion and misery, in 1212, he was deposed; his crown and kingdom might be seized by any Christian soldier; and Philip Augustus, though not a pattern Christian, flattered himself that he was the mail.
What followed is written in all our historians. The crusade was announced at Soissons in presence of Langton and other Bishops--traitors according to modern law, patriots and good Christians in the opinion of medieval Europe. John gathered sixty thousand men on Barham Down; he put forward, or hinted at, a treaty with the Spanish Mohammedans; yet he negotiated with Innocent in spite of all; and he yielded to the diplomacy, the menaces, and the imposing person of Pandulph, the legate, a man of
JOHN, KING OF ENGLAND. ( From a Print in the British Museum.)
consummate ability, who held a conference with him at Dover. The King gave up everything. On Ascension Eve, 1213, in the Temple Church, he made the great surrender; England and Ireland were to be fiefs of the Holy See, paying annual tribute of a thousand marks; the deed was subscribed by John, his bishops and nobles, and he took the vassal's oath of fealty. There was now no kingdom in the West which, directly or indirectly, did not hold of Innocent III., except France.
Acts of feudal homage were so familiar to the time that John's submission called forth no protest; England was hardly yet a nation. Pandulph now bade Philip Augustus put back his sword into its sheath; but France stood behind the King, eager to attempt a new Norman Conquest of Britain. Yet the league which had threatened Lackland melted away. He himself invaded Poitou; stirred up the Count of Flanders and the Emperor Otho to attack Philip at Bouvines; but, in their persons, was defeated at this small yet epoch-making battle which delivered France for ever from the German yoke. When he returned across the sea, barons and people were confederate against him. Innocent, by his Legate, would have shielded this incomparable tyrant; on the other side rose Stephen Langton who, says a modern writer, "from the moment of his landing in England had assumed the constitutional position of the Primate as champion of the old English customs and law, against the personal despotism of the kings." He had compelled John to swear that he would observe the laws of Edward the Confessor. Now in a meeting of the Barons at St. Paul's he produced Henry I.'s neglected Charter. Bouvines assured the popular triumph. The Legate was recalled; but Innocent menaced with anathema the Barons' alliance; he rebuked the Archbishop, and sent back Pandulph. War broke out. The "Army of God and Holy Church," led by Fitz Walter, consecrated by Langton, though acting as a genuine peace-maker throughout, appeared before Northampton. John lost his tyrant's sway without a battle. At Runnymede, in presence of Pandulph, he signed Magna Charta. It was the birthday of English freedom ( 1215).
How Innocent took these famous proceedings is too well known. An accomplished and imperious statesman, he was no prophet; and with his legal Southern mind he failed to understand the North. John was his man by public acknowledgment; as overlord lie annulled the Great Charter, calling it "vile and base," suspended Langton from his office, and renewed the interdict. The City of London answered boldly that "the ordering of secular matters appertaineth not to the Pope." Simon Langton, brother of the Primate, bade his countrymen disregard these censures. And Louis the Dauphin, setting at naught Innocent's prohibition, landed in Kent, called thither by the people. Langton was in Rome, attending on the Lateran Council, frowned upon by the Pope, and held in a sort of imprisonment. From this confusion two events cleared the air. Innocent died; John within a few months followed him, though not perhaps to the same place. Henry III. was crowned; Prince Louis, after the Fair of Lincoln and some other fighting, retired across the Channel; and William Earl Marshal, in conjunction with the Papal legate, issued Magna Charta once more.
Innocent's last enterprise, and the crowning, in truth, of that immense edifice which he had so largely built up, was the Fourth Council of the Lateran, held in November, 1215. It was attended by 412 bishops, eight hundred abbots and priors, the Masters of the Orders of Chivalry, and a host of secular representatives. "With desire have I desired to eat this Pasch with you," quoted the greatest of medieval Popes, and tears streamed down his cheeks as he welcomed united Christendom in his opening discourse. The three thousand four hundred Briefs which in these seventeen years he had issued were to be wrought by Conciliar decree into a legislation binding from Servia to Iceland, covering the whole of human existence from the cradle to the grave, and upheld by penalties that neither haughtiest monarch nor meanest peasant could escape. But the immediate occasion was to settle the succession of Languedoc, to put down the Cathari, and to enable the Pope, as Captain-General of Christians, to raise men and money, for a fresh Crusade.
This all-embracing Code was no free compact between rulers and subjects; it rested on a Divine Right, and was enforced by rigorous sanctions. It took for granted that all except the Jews, now compelled to put on a yellow badge, who claimed the protection of the laws, must be practising orthodox Christians. They were to confess and receive the Eucharist once a year; to pay tithes and other church dues; and not to touch the freedom of the clergy, who enjoyed large immunities and were an independent, self-taxing corporation, subject in every land to the Pope alone as to their spiritual sovereign. By a species of eminent domain he could appoint to livings, canonries, and bishoprics whenever he so decided; from all the clergy he might exact contributions, as he judged fit, for the general good of the Church; his power of dispensation was limited only by the strict terms of the New Testament; and he owed no account to any earthly tribunal for his actions.
But, on the other hand, rulers were liable, in their quality of baptized Christians, to be admonished, censured, and deposed by the Pope if, in his eyes, they had broken the laws which he enacted. The Lateran Council of 1179 had released from their oath of allegiance all subjects of a prince fallen into heresy, so long as he did not repent. This Council of 1215 directed, says Cardinal Hergenröther, who gives the decree, "that temporal sovereigns if they neglected to cleanse their kingdoms of heresy should be excommunicated by the Metropolitan; in case they made no satisfaction within a year, the Pope was to be informed, in order that he might declare the vassals free from their allegiance, and give over the land to Catholic rulers." To this engagement every man that entered upon office, temporal as well as spiritual, was bound to subscribe by oath. Hence, if he did not fulfil its conditions, the law held that he had forfeited his dignity; and, as in illustration, Raymund of Toulouse had been deprived of his vast dominions and even condemned to exile.
"As a general rule," says Hergenröther once more, "excommunicated persons who were not reconciled within a given time forfeited their civil rights and incurred political proscription." In this Lateran Council, and in 1220 by the laws of Frederick II., it was laid down that such as made no satisfaction within it year should be deemed "infamous," incapable of pleading though liable to action at law, and deprived of dignity and office. The excommunicate were imprisoned, and fined heavily at short intervals; their property was confiscated, and themselves by many Councils were judged, if persistent, as suspect of heresy, which led to examination under torture and the extreme penalty of the law.
What then was heresy? The Canonists, like the Civilians, did not shrink from constructive reasoning which tended to make heresy rather a moral temper than a mental attitude; it was "contempt of the power of the Keys," disloyal neglect of the Church's jurisdiction, and might be inferred from silence, or a secluded way of life, or consorting with others already under the ban. Besides the "greater" excommunication, which struck the guilty, there was the "lesser" inflicted on all who held intercourse with them. Gregory VII. in 1078 had relaxed these terms so far as to permit a man's wife, children, and domestics, not to forsake him--a regulation which Innocent III. acknowledged, while insisting that none, except these few, should eat, drink, or do
TOMB OF ST. DOMINIC--BOLOGNA, A.D. 1221.
business with the excommunicate. It was not forbidden to supply them with the bare necessaries of life. But again the lawyers felt disposed to merge the lesser anathema in the greater, as is shown by the mild protest of the Council of Lyons in 1245, which enacts that canonical warning shall first be given and complicity proved before this be done. On the whole, travellers, pilgrims, merchants, were to refrain like their fellow-citizens from intercourse with these spiritual outlaws; and no obedience of any sort was due to them.
Neither the Bishops nor the Pope undertook to pronounce on purely secular causes; "I judge the sin, not the fief," said Innocent; and in like manner the Holy See did not itself depose Kings or burn heretics. The Canons repeatedly forbade clerics to be partakers in a judgment of blood. Hence we see two Courts, the spiritual, presided over by ecclesiastics, and the lay by secular magistrates, which must combine to make the outlawry effective and to bring persons condemned for heresy or other religious offences to punishment. This is the doctrine of the two swords, always supposed, often expressed, in Canon Law, summed up at length in an aphorism by Boniface VIII. When the Church delivered a culprit to the secular arm, it was the duty of magistrates to inflict the prescribed penalties; but, except by using the spiritual weapons of anathema and interdict, clerics had no means of coercing the lay authorities. Thus Canon Law rested ultimately on public opinion, or religious belief, or inherited custom. While Europe was Catholic as a whole, it prevailed, though with frequent and ever-strengthening protests not only against its abuses, which were often extreme, but against the conception out of which it arose. When the crown overtopped the mitre, that mixed jurisdiction, called spiritual but in fact dealing largely with temporalities and immunities, was annexed by the sovereign. It has now been so strangely transformed that many will suppose it no longer to exist. Yet the last shadow of the deposing power can be traced in the explicit or silent compact, according to which a Catholic King may not occupy the throne of England, nor a Protestant that of Hungary. In either case the sentence would be carried out by a democratic Parliament; but the principle of exclusion founded on religious motives, is the same in both.
And so the dream of Gregory VII. was fulfilled. Innocent III., "a man of commanding genius and extraordinary force of character," as one English historian reckons him; gentle, wise, blameless in private life, according to another; might have said in his Lateran Council, "Here is my throne, bid Kings come bow to it." His aims were lofty, as high indeed as "the eternal principles of justice, righteousness, and humanity"; never personal or self-regarding; in a certain sense, even those who do not bend before the Papal power have admitted that he carried on "the noblest and most religious contest for ascendency over the world of man." That he, unarmed, without a single soldier at his beck or call, should have brought to their knees German Kaisers, and French, English, or Spanish Kings; reigning like some being from a higher realm over their nations, which he smote as with thunderbolts; is a witness to the faith that was yet in them, and to his peremptory greatness. He is calm, majestic, invincible; he rules by edicts and lieutenants from Byzantium to the borders of the West; and he dies at fifty-four, worn out by seventeen years of crowded and incessant undertakings, which all seemed to end in victory.
Yet we pause over the verdict and dare not call him saint. Of this astonishing age the hero is Francis rather than Innocent. The mighty Pontiff strikes with mailed warriors upon heretics, and exterminates without converting the unhappy thousands of Provence. He yields to subtleties and dissimulation; he plays off one Christian ruler against another, and is answerable for wars in Germany, the Netherlands, Italy, England; he cannot keep within bounds the rapacity of his Court; personally just-minded, he lets a system of exactions flourish that was to undermine the Papal grandeur and almost bury the Church in its ruins. Never, perhaps, did any Pope illustrate more decisively the strength and weakness of Canon Law, which appealed to men's fears while taking too little account of their affections. Long spaces of interdict tempted them to view with growing indifference the services of religion, granted or withheld for reasons, too often not so much spiritual as worldly and diplomatic. If Mass and Sacraments could thus be taken away, were not pious minds thrown back upon themselves, and might not the clergy be dispensed with? Neither Innocent nor his advisers could have prevented the outbreak of what was already Protestantism, had the friars been wanting whom Francis called up in their preaching hosts and sent through Christendom. Most opportune was the alliance of Law and Gospel, bearing witness to the amazing genius, as men speak, of that Catholic Church wherein both could flourish side by side, and a period of expansion grow as by magic out of a period of repression hitherto unequalled in Europe.
But Innocent on his judgment-seat is less winning, and to our later age far less comprehensible, than the lowly friar, who improvises popular chants instead of solemn decrees; who begins Italian literature; inspires Giotto and Dante; preaches universal brotherhood; looks beyond the schools to Nature and its everlasting beauty; is tender to all forms of disease; and converts from vice by the simple joy of loving. Sinai with its thunders may be grand; Galilee is sweet. That Innocent, by measures of awful severity, preserved European civilisation has been asserted, and on grounds not easily shaken. Francis did more. His vision of faith and charity; of a Christian life in the world without vows, yet in accordance with the Gospel; pure, compassionate, laborious, cheerful; at peace with God and man; is one that can never grow old. It is higher, by all the grace of the New Testament, than any society which have yet realised; and to say that Innocent III., while allowing it, still deemed it impossible, is to mark the limit beyond which he could not pass.
On July 16, 1216, this tamer of kings died at Perugia. He was succeeded two days after by Honorius III.
EXCOMMUNICATION--WARS--FATE OF FREDERICK II (1216-1250)
EIGHTY-SEVEN years, in round numbers, are left of the story which we have undertaken to tell. From now onward it becomes a drama in four acts, of almost Greek simplicity, though with many a stirring episode, and the background is ever that Sicilian Paradise over which the Popes claimed to be feudal lords. The first act, down to 1250, is filled with the exploits, sufferings, triumphs, and death of Frederick II. It is followed by a sequel lasting till the execution at Naples of young Conradin, heir of the Hohenstauffen, in 1268. Act the third brings on Charles of Anjou and the French domineering in Norman Italy, but suddenly blasted to pieces by the Sicilian Vespers of 1282. The closing, unexpected, but decisive fourth act shows on our stage Philip the Fair at death-grips with Pope Boniface VIII. When Colonna and Nogaret, ministers of the French King's vengeance, seize the Father of Christians in his palace at Anagni, pull him from his throne, and kill him with their shameful handling, the Papal Monarchy is no more. Never again does the Pontifex Maximus bestow crowns, or depose Kings, or exercise to an effective purpose the over-lordship hitherto granted him in Europe, which had made him supreme from Russia to the Western Sea. His spiritual dominion remains; and he will in time be absolute master of Rome and its territories; but with Boniface VIII. comes to an end medieval Christendom.
In this mighty struggle the Holy Roman Empire lost its meaning and melted to a shadow; Pope and Emperor between them ruined the system of which Charlemagne had drawn out the lines and Dante sang the exceeding glory. A new idea, that of independent nations, with no Cæsar above them, was coming to the birth. The great Roman unity--a Theocratic King seated beside a Feudal Pontiff--broke up when the Hohenstauffen defied the Papacy and Clement IV. saw the blood of Frederick's grandson staining the scaffold at Naples. While the combatants imagined that one of them must be victor, both were surprised by the growing power of France; the firm and haughty legislation of Edward I. of England; the end of the Crusades; and the anarchic fourteenth century. The Hohenstauffen sank; the Popes went into a Babylonish captivity at Avignon. Such is the spectacle to which we invite our readers' attention, who will find that these far-off events have had on their own story an influence no less direct than decisive.
It was now a recognised duty of the Pope to proclaim the Crusade, binding it on Kings whether they would or no, and raising contributions all over Christendom to carry it out. Honorius, mild and feeble in health, a contrast to his adamantine predecessor, had stirred up Andrew of Hungary, and seen with joy the capture of Damietta in 1219 from the Egyptians, whose offer to restore Jerusalem was treated with scorn. Christians still dreamt of conquering Islam on Mount Zion; and Frederick II. aspired to lead the armies of the Cross, if he might be Emperor in fact, and his son Henry King of the Romans. His enemy, Otho, was dead in 1218; his counsellor was Hermann of Salza, the Teutonic Master; at Fulda the German Princes gathered joyfully about Frederick; would Honorius yield to him and his the Imperial Crown? There had always been a party in Rome hostile to the Suabians; they charged Frederick himself with designs which he does not seem yet to have entertained; but the Pope would, under no circumstances, grant him the joint investiture of Sicily and the Empire. As Voltaire observes with justice, the Italians did not want a foreigner to lord it over them; the Pope considered that his freedom would be lost if he were shut in by German territories on all sides; but he had consented to certain terms when, at the Diet of Frankfort, young Henry was elected without his leave as Frederick's successor. Still no quarrel broke out. The Hohenstauffen Prince descended upon Italy; he was crowned in St. Peter's; he solemnly took the Cross from Cardinal Ugolino. He swore to set out in August, 1221; and meanwhile surrendered to Honorius the great and constantly disputed inheritance of Matilda. His concessions of Church immunity were so large that we can scarcely believe them sincere. His laws against heretics repeated and enforced the decrees of Lateran. But he had gained the double investiture; he soon showed that rebellious clerics in Apulia would appeal in vain to their surplice and shaven crown; nor did he, though Damietta fell in 1221, press on the expedition to which he had pledged himself. These are the facts; that Frederick apologized for them could never set him free from the first duties of an orthodox King.
After two years spent in Sicilian troubles and delights, a new agreement was made. Frederick, in August, 1227, would sail for Palestine with a thousand cavaliers; he would pledge a hundred thousand ounces of gold as a forfeit if he did not embark; his successors were to be bound like himself, and all under interdict. He wedded Iolanthe, daughter of King John, and immediately took the style of King of Jerusalem. In these actions we perceive a chivalrous, unsteady, medieval Byron, passionate, sensuous, not so much crafty as fired with the spirit of adventure, drawn many ways by the calls of a situation to which no genius was equal. Engelbert of Cologne had been murdered; Italy was in flames; the Emperor struck hard at his rebels like a Ghibelline; an immense Lombard League was forming against him. Honorius began to remonstrate in the language of Innocent, and upheld the Lombards as though they owed no allegiance to the Empire. At this critical moment
ROGER, KING OF SICILY, RECEIVES HIS CROWN FROM CHRIST. ( Mosaic in la Martorana, Palermo.)
he died, leaving the succession to Cardinal Ugolino, henceforth to be known as Gregory IX. ( March, 1227).
Of this extraordinary man the tale is told that he was elected Pope at eighty-six and lived to be a hundred. Handsome, grave, devout, impetuous, learned, and resolute, he had been the attached friend of St. Francis and St. Clare, deep in the counsels of his cousin Innocent III., and on affectionate terms with Frederick. But the old Pontiff deemed his Canon Law, which he was now digesting into the Decretals, to be supreme without appeal or adversary. The youthful Emperor did not take that view. He sat on the throne of Justinian; he was himself the embodiment of Roman Law; he held authority over the world by Right Divine. To the clerics of the Curia he opposed his lawyers; his Pietro della Vigna would be a match for any Cardinal; nor did he hesitate to claim a power at the Capitol to which the Lateran never yet had willingly submitted. He was a strangely mingled character, reminding us of the Moorish Sultans, his contemporaries, rather than of the unpolished Northern chiefs from whom he descended. In outward looks he was Norman, fair, slender, ruddy-haired, with blue eyes, and a winning tongue; but his gift of gay improvisation, his softness of living, his metaphysical talk, his polygamies, and what else may not be named but was currently reported of him, bring before us a light Epicurean, to whom the repressive doctrines of Gregory IX. must have been intolerable. That he believed in no religion at all was the rumour of the day; but, in the contest now approaching, had he been as orthodox as St. Louis, there were elements of dissension which could not be reconciled. Gregory struck the first blow.
The moment he was crowned, his word went out for the Crusade, and he fastened an instant obligation upon the Emperor. He was equally severe with the Lombard cities, delaying to keep their engagement; they must obey Cæsar and despatch their own soldiers to Palestine. From Anagni he addressed a vehement rebuke, which was undoubtedly deserved, to the Court of Palermo, where Jews and Mohammedans held great sway and a heathen licence flourished. Sicily was becoming a second Provence; the Pope may well have dreaded lest Christian faith should hardly survive Christian morals; and he despatched his Friar Gualo to prophesy against the dissolute Prince who had bound on himself the cross of his dying Lord. Frederick began to negotiate with the Sultan of Egypt, Kameel. Yet his preparations for the voyage were extensive; he sailed round to Otranto; met the German expedition of which thousands perished in the amazing Southern heats; himself embarked; but after three days hastily returned to port. Then he broke up the armament, and giving out that he was ill, retired to Pozzuoli (summer 1227).
At Michaelmas the Pope excommunicated this recreant crusader in language at once passionate and scornful. He made out a strong case, if not altogether convincing; twice he repeated the censure, of which its subject seemed to take but little heed; yet Frederick did answer, by appealing to all his fellow-sovereigns against the monstrous regiment of clerics. He made friends in Rome. Gregory during Holy Week had menaced him with deposition; a few days afterwards the Frangipani raised a tumult while the Pontiff was saying Mass and drove him out of the City. He took up his residence on the heights of Perugia. It was soon announced that the pilgrims to the Holy Sepulchre had turned back on hearing of Frederick's defection; but news came that Moeddin of Damascus, who had been a scourge to Christians, was dead, and the Emperor set sail in April, 1228. Gregory had forbidden him to stir till the interdict was raised; he drew into revolt the churches and monasteries of the Sicilian Kingdom by ordering them not to pay their taxes; he called Frederick a pirate and other bad names--all on grounds which, at this distance of time, do not appear to warrant such high-handed proceedings. Attempts at reconciliation came from the Emperor; they were rejected by the Pope.
But Frederick, who now lost his wife Iolanthe, sailed to Cyprus and thence to Acre, with about six hundred knights. Two friars had gone swiftly before him; they warned the clergy, the Templars, the Hospitallers--by no means friendly to his Sicilian laws which put them under civil jurisdiction--that they must not receive the excommunicate. He was opposed on landing; he could gather no sufficient army; and, making terms with the Sultan of Cairo, he entered Jerusalem, March 17, 1228. At once the Archbishop placed the city under a ban, interdicting the Holy Sepulchre itself. These fright- ful dissensions, carried to the utmost pitch in the presence of Islam, strike us with horror. Had Frederick been more of a Christian, he would now have shrunk from any further acts. Yet he proceeded to crown himself in the desecrated Church of the Sepulchre, where Hermann of Salza read his master's defence, which was a loud indictment of Gregory. Idle tales, exaggerated or wholly false, depicted the Emperor as a mere infidel; his presence irritated the Moslems and was a scandal to the orthodox. He wrote in glowing terms to Europe of all he had accomplished; but on the third day he left Jerusalem; and his treaty, denounced by Pope and Patriarch, came to nothing. He must hasten home; John of Brienne was invading Apulia; Albert of Austria had been tempted to throw off his allegiance; while Gregory was proclaiming a crusade, for which he demanded benevolences even in the British Islands (and obtained them) to put down the sacrilegious Emperor. A Crusade against Cæsar! It was the strangest perversion of medieval laws. It shocked Christendom. But the Pontiff did not heed remonstrance. He joined in one sweeping anathema Frederick with all possible heretics; condemned his adherents; and set his subjects free from their oaths.
But the man himself was in Southern Italy once more. He drove back the Papal forces which had poured over into Naples; he relieved Capua; he settled his Saracens at Nocera. With his squadrons bearing the Cross on their armour he met and slew Gregory's retainers, who held aloft St. Peter's Keys.
No sadder moment is on record through all the sanguinary and confused chronicle of that century. The friars stood by the Pope; but clergy and laity, were in high dudgeon with him; on neither side of the Alps could insurrection be stirred up; and when the Romans, terrified by a fearful rising of the Tiber, had called back their Pontiff to the Lateran, he made peace at San Germano ( June, 1230) with this infidel whom he had lately drawn in the blackest colours. Frederick forgave all his rebels and restored clerical immunities to the full. He gave up confiscated estates; in general terms he submitted; but regarding the Crusade or the Holy Land not a word was uttered on either side. The enemies met at Anagni, embraced, and, as Frederick tells us, were charmed with one another. It is difficult to understand these sudden, dramatic changes which are so frequent in medieval history. Acts and speech were equally violent; enthusiasm, liable to such hot fits of love and hate, takes on the air of deep dissimulation; yet we must suppose it genuine. The nine years' peace which followed seems to confirm our better thoughts of men who to rare qualities added passions not less beyond the common. Frederick went on to complete his Code of Laws; Gregory, aided by Raymund of Pennafort, the Dominican, gathered up into his Decretals whatever was extant, or gave itself out as such, of his predecessors' enactments from the first ages. Yet legislation, however sound, which did not seek approval of the Holy See, was looked upon with distrust. This new and growing conception of a purely secular Code pointed back to heathen, not Christian Rome, and forward to a condition of things when the Pope would be no more the supreme lawgiver. A fresh struggle on this larger battlefield was at hand.
Like Solomon or Mohammed, the Sicilian had many wives and concubines. We must distinguish
CLOISTERS OF THE CHURCH OF MONREALE.
four sons of his,-- Henry the eldest, now ruling Germany; Enzio, the golden-haired offspring of Bianca Lancia, and his brother Manfred, who displayed all the genius of the Hohenstauffen; lastly, Conrad, son of Iolanthe and heir to Jerusalem. Of these Henry, now grown up to manhood, was fractious and feeble; his Teutonic counsellors tempted him into rebellion against a distant power; and in May, 1235, Frederick, as in olden days, crossed the Alps to save the Empire. It is certain that Gregory did not encourage the foolish youth. Henry was soon made to submit; he was banished to Naples and died a prisoner.
But these troubles had involved the Lombard League; moreover, the popular part in Rome, never quite extinguished, was secretly Imperial; in 1234 Savelli the Senator had pulled down some of the Lateran, defied Cardinal Ranieri, taken tribute and allegiance from Tuscan towns. The everlasting quarrel between camp and sacristy was on foot again. Frederick, called in to mediate, restored peace. He was now getting ready to break the Lombards on the singular plea, which Gregory himself had put forward, that they dealt too easily with heretics, compounding for their offences and giving back their fines. Heretics, in these Northern parts, were not only weavers or small tradesmen but well-to-do merchants; the middle class, when not under guidance of Franciscan Saints, often fell away from Church and clergy. Thus the Pope found his chief allies discredited, himself in danger. He proposed arbitration. Before it could be done, Frederick had taken Verona, stormed Vicenza, beaten the Duke of Austria to his knees. On November 27, 1237, he won the fight of Corte Nuova, in which the Lombard legions were ruthlessly slaughtered; the Caroccio of Milan fell into his hands; young Tiepolo, the Podestà, son of the Venetian Doge, was bound a prisoner to its chariot wheels. From Cremona he published an Imperial Encyclical, vying in strength of language and pride of power with those of the Roman Chancery. The Caroccio he sent to the Capitol; Tiepolo was put to death at Naples. Who could withstand Frederick now? Surely, this world was made for Cæsar.
Gregory rose to the occasion, not as Pope--for how did Frederick impeach his spiritual prerogatives?-but as an Italian patriot. He leagued together Venice, Lombardy, Romagna, Genoa; bound in one all the charges to which forty years' perplexed litigation had made the Emperor amenable; and especially urged that he had fomented rebellion in Rome; had usurped Sardinia, which was an estate of the Holy See; had cherished Saracens; had hindered the recovery of Palestine; and had oppressed the clergy. On these grounds Pope Gregory, in the Palm Sunday Mass of 1239, excommunicated, interdicted, and deposed Frederick II., and delivered him bodily over to Satan for the saving of his soul.
Pietro della Vigna harangued against the sentence at Padua; his master condescended to justify himself in an assembly of Bishops; again he appealed to his fellow princes; and he called on the Romans to avenge his insulted honour. "Fierce, indecent invectives," as Matthew Paris terms the Pope's rejoinders, were bandied to and fro. The Barons of England refused every contribution towards this fresh Crusade; the clergy did in like manner. Then Gregory took a fatal step. He offered the Empire, now considered vacant, to Robert of Artois. France was to take the place of apostate Germany. But on the French throne sat Louis IX., whom all Christians looked upon as an angel of God; and he not only forbade Robert to seize the tempting bauble, but addressed a severe remonstrance to the Pope, while his nobles sent Frederick an embassy which touched him even to tears. Among Germans the cry went that if Gregory had not helped Milanese rebels, peace would never have been broken. It seemed as if the only sure partisans of the Pope were Lombards in Italy and the friars everywhere. He had canonised St. Francis and St. Dominic--to whom indeed St. Louis cherished an equal devotion. But even the friars were rent by faction's--Moderates for the Holy See, Spirituals for the Eternal Gospel. Elias, their crafty, versatile General, joined the Emperor and fell under the same excommunication. We have come to the middle years of that thirteenth century in which Catholicism brought forth its most mystic saints, built its unrivalled sanctuaries, squared the stones of its Canon Law, soared into Heaven on the wings of its transcendent philosophy, --yet heretics are in every land, dissensions rife between universities and religious Orders, the friars themselves persecuting and persecuted; the Emperor is an outlaw, the Pope menaced in his own house; the clergy burdened, the nations restless; and from the Far East is heard the tramp of innumerable barbarians, for in 1241 the Mongols pour down on Europe, advancing to the Danube and the Alps. We can neither conceive nor imagine such a time; therefore we shall do well to refrain from judging it. But surely Pope and Emperor must have been alike unhappy.
Milan burnt her heretics; Enzio, the beautiful youth, began to conquer his father's enemies; Frederick swept towards Rome. He showed no mercy to the so-called crusaders; but it was a confused indecisive war; Enzio, at Meloria, broke the Genoese fleet and took many Bishops, with all the treasure which Cardinal Otho was bringing from England. The hordes of Genghis Khan moved forward. The Pope was in Sant' Angelo, undaunted but nearly alone. He meant to call a General Council; Frederick and St. Louis would have welcomed it. Under this awful cloud, charged with red lightning, Gregory died ( August 21, 1241). All his efforts had come to an untimely end but his courage was never less than his convictions; and he stands forth, a commanding figure, in the Papal dynasty.
It is to the everlasting honour of Frederick that, while chaos ruled, his sons, Enzio and Conrad, reinforced from Italy, drove back the Mongol hordes on the Delphos and saved Europe. Acting almost as Regent of the Church, he suspended his armaments, allowed the Conclave to meet, and would have made peace with Clestine IV., had not the newly-elected passed away immediately. For two years the small body of Cardinals wrangled over a successor. St. Louis threatened to appoint one; Frederick insisted; they chose Sinibaldo Fieschi, a Genoese, and the policy of Gregory IX. was resumed. To speak of Innocent IV. with respect for his person would be in defiance of the multiplied proofs which exhibit him as grasping, cold-hearted, insincere, and a nepotist. He has been held up, not for reverence, to posterity in the terrible but unquestioned indict- ment which Robert Grossetête, Bishop of Lincoln, delivered to his Court and Cardinals. But where the headlong Gregory failed, Innocent succeeded. Hitherto, he had affected kindness towards the Emperor; but, as Frederick observed, "No Pope can be a Ghibelline," and so the event proved. Innocent, however, began by proposing terms. A treaty, thanks to Adelaise of Sardinia, was drawn in 1244, but never executed. Next year the Pontiff escaped by sea to Genoa where he was welcomed "with loud applause and aves vehement"; he took up his quarters in the Imperial free city of Lyons; and called a General Council in 1245.
St. Louis, throughout, was calm and neutral; Arragon was hostile; the English people murmured against Martin the collector and all collectors; barons, bishops, middle class felt no tenderness for the Pope; but though historians like Matthew Paris are themselves evidence of widespread discontent, the great system stood foursquare against revolution, stained as it was with age-long scandals. At Lyons the 140 Bishops and numerous abbots were protected by a vile freebooter, Philip of Savoy, who was named Archbishop of that See but never took orders, and who died a Duke and a married mail, ancestor of the present King of Italy. Thaddeus of Suessa, that politic civilian, appeared on Frederick's behalf; he charged Innocent with double-dealing and appealed to a future Council. But the prelates sided with the Pope. Innocent, by the power of the Keys, deposed the Emperor in a vehement speech; reserved Naples to himself; declared the Empire a feud; and by and by gave it to Henry Raspe, "the priests' king."
PALERMO CATHEDRAL IN WHICH IS THE TOMB OF FREDERICK II
There was civil war in Germany. St. Louis tried in vain to soften Innocent. Plots and counterplots; frightful cruelties, of which Frederick can never be absolved; Henry Raspe's defeat at Ulm, death at the Wartburg; triumph of the Guelfs at Parma; and Thaddeus of Suessa captured and hacked in pieces, --such are the gloomy incidents of those miserable days, down to 1249. The Empire was collapsing to anarchy. Frederick, not old but worn and savage, felt the blows of outrageous fortune and struck fiercely again. His beloved Enzio was taken at Bologna, spending in captivity the twenty-three years that remained of a tragic story. His bosom friend, Pietro della Vigna, turned traitor--why or under what provocation has never been known; he "held the keys of Frederick's heart," said Dante, and now he became false and being taken in the manner dashed out his brains against his prison walls. Guelfs, Ghibellines, Free Companies, laid Italy waste. It was time the Alcibiades of the century left it to work out its own confusions. In 1250, at Ferentino, not far from Lucera, the Emperor breathed his last in Manfred's arms. He sleeps with his royal robes about him, in the Cathedral at Palermo. But we cannot look upon the great porphyry urn, which holds all that is left of Frederick II., without feeling that he was truly a spirit misunderstood, never wisely handled, full of mysterious charm and powers wasted, the most captivating, enigmatic, and unhappy of Christian Emperors.
CONRADIN DIES--THE SICILIAN VESPERS (1250-1299)
WITH Frederick expired the Holy Roman Empire. William of Holland, the anti-Emperor raised up by Innocent, a lad of twenty, held on till 1256, then perished fighting with the Frisians. An interregnum of seventeen years followed; but, if we look at realities and pierce through the forms of things, the new dynasty inaugurated by Rudolph of Hapsburg, poor, proud, and pious, in 1273, took over little but an empty name and was merely German, never Roman. There will be in time a crimson-clad Sigismund at Constance; a lord of many lands, Charles V.; but even these do not fulfil the idea which was dreamt of by, C harlemagne or Frederick; and the rest are shadows.
Innocent IV. had yet to deal with the remnant of Hohenstauffen. He excommunicated the able though somewhat stern Conrad, who should have succeeded his father, but was now charged with heresy, and made the object of a crusade. From Lyons the Pope went down to Italy in triumph, everywhere rooting out Ghibellines and Nonconformists; at Perugia he stayed a year and a half. Manfred, who kept a grip on the South, found rebellion springing up at the Pope's instigation, and it is curious to note the Count of Aquino, brother of the great St. Thomas, among its leaders. Capua, Naples, fell away from the Imperial party, when Conrad, crossing the Alps and sailing from Venice, arrived at Siponto, chastised the revolting cities with storm and slaughter, and restored the balance. Factions broke out among the Pope's own partisans. He turned to the feeble though exquisite Henry III. of England, made his second son, Edmund, King of Sicily, and swept into his coffers an infinite tribute. This became the cause of civil war between Henry and his people, out of which rose Simon de Montfort, who laid the foundations of a free English Parliament. So wide-reaching were the effects of that quarrel between Papacy and Empire! But Edmund did not get his Kingdom of Sicily; as we shall see, it was the golden hook wherewith to catch princes; for Innocent never scrupled at breaking his pledge. He sold bishoprics as he trafficked in crowns, always to fill his own purse or to dower his kinsfolk, for he practised nepotism on a lordly scale. As Pope he had built, in the energetic words of Robert Grossetête, for hell-fire; as a ruler of this world he showed himself crafty and invincible. He foreshadows at once Innocent VIII. and Julius II., neither of whom do we reckon in the list of edifying Pontiffs.
Rome, the city, has fallen into the background during these tempests of "blood and flame, rage and despair." It now possessed a Senator, Brancaleone, called in from Bologna to appease its everlasting tumults. He hanged culprits, established quiet for a while, and sent the Pope a peremptory message to return to his long-abandoned See. Innocent appeared, withdrew, was compelled a second time to come back. We may conjecture that his pleasant hours in the free city of Lyons had given him a foretaste of Avignon; but with his antique Senator and a murmuring people he did not dare to trifle. From the Lateran he continued to make war upon the children of Frederick. Conrad was too strong for him; accused, as we said, of heretical sentiments--an unlikely charge--he defended himself in the Papal Court. His juvenile brother Henry died on a visit to him at Naples: Innocent gave out that the lad was poisoned. In 1254 Conrad, by some mysterious stroke, lay on his death-bed; rumour babbled of the wise Manfred's guilt, but he would not even accept the Regency.
One legitimate descendant of Frederick II. was left, Conradin, a boy of three years, on whose behalf Berthold of Homburg wrote in suppliant terms to Pope Innocent. The answer was that Conradin should be King of Jerusalem--a kingdom in the air--but by no means of Naples. William, Cardinal of Sant' Eustachio, Innocent's nephew, was to be Regent, to seize, confiscate, interdict, levy taxes, and govern the South as a Roman province. To this Manfred's reply was the assumption of sovereign power in the name of Conradin. But, in the midst of treachery on all sides, he submitted ostensibly to the Pope and invited him to enter the kingdom. Innocent came to Ceperano with a splendid retinue; Manfred fell at his feet, was raised tip and appointed Papal Vicar. Still more gloriously did the Pontiff triumph in the city of Naples; his nephew tool the homages absolutely in his name. Then Manfred escaped to Lucera; beat the recreant Marquis of Homburg and the Pope's squadrons at Foggia; and swore to maintain the rights of King Conradin. The game was now to be simplified; its last pieces were on the board. Innocent, from his palace at Naples, utterly disregarding English Edmund, offered Sicily to Charles of Anjou. We may remember that Gregory IX. had set the example of tempting on this expedition the younger Princes of France. Not many days after, in December, 1254, "he that sold the Church was dead," writes Matthew Paris of the Pope. Almost his last act had been to pave the way for the Sicilian Vespers.
Alexander IV., of the house of Segni, who succeeded without an interval, was a good Pope, embarrassed by the rapacious Curia which Innocent had bequeathed to him, and still more by the damnosa hæreditas of a suzerainty over Naples. He could not put down Manfred, in possession of the whole kingdom; he stumbled between Charles of Anjou and Edmund of England; his dealings with Boniface, the Savoyard Archbishop of Canterbury, a worldling and a reprobate, as with Sewal, Archbishop of York, threw a lurid gleam on the least defensible of Curial practices -- the intrusion of foreigners into Sees which they administered like proconsuls, and the exaction of subsidies in aid of wars which had become purely secular, though disguised under the title of crusades. In Rome, Brancaleone was acting as temporal sovereign.
POPE INNOCENT IV., A.D. 1254.
Flung into prison but delivered thence, he broke the proudest nobles; pulled down their robber-dens to the number of a hundred and forty; stood out against the Pope himself, who had taken part with the Patricians; made alliance with Manfred; and was Senator till his death.
The year 1258 saw this highly-gifted son of Frederick, hitherto Regent, crowned King at the request of the Sicilian Estates which he alone could protect. He had no lawful sons; and he promised that Conradin, now Duke of Suabia, should succeed him. The interminable war of Guelfs and Ghibellines went on. Florence had banished its "white" or Imperial citizens; they united with Pisa and Siena, overthrew the Guelfs at Monte Aperto, and would have razed their native city to the ground, had not Farinata persuaded them to spare it. Michelet, the French historian, considers that the Guelfs were, on principle, democratic and revolutionary; they drove out their feudal masters; levelled the ranks of their fellow townsmen to one class which we should now call industrial or artisan; were loyal to the Church as long as the Church was loyal to them; and, like other Jacobins, while jealous of superior men, fell under military sway, the victims of hired cut-throats. But they never ceased to be genuine Italian patriots; thus we comprehend why they looked on the Pope as their anointed chief.
Of the Ghibellines it may be said that in origin they were feudal lords who would not relinquish the fierce rights they had so long enjoyed. They fell back, when assailed, on the Emperor; but they relished his impartial centralising law as little as they welcomed the people's uprising. The old Greek tyrant in a small city like Corinth or Athens, on his guard night and day against assassination, might seem to live once more in the portentous Ezzelino or the subtle Visconti. Every vice, every horror, that
ESPOUSALS OF THE VIRGIN. ( Fresco at Viterbo.)
legend ascribes to the Greek was renewed in the Italian despots. But the age did not condemn their crimes so loudly as it admired their good fortune. True, they often came to a bad end. Ezzelino himself, whose father had been a monstrous compound of sins and superstitions, ruled Padua with a rod of iron; yet was he regretted when his Ghibelline confederates, finding he meant to betray them, turned round, wounded and imprisoned him. The half-crazy tyrant tore away his bandages and died blaspheming. Such were the miscreants with whom Manfred, gay, subtle, courageous, but certainly not much of a Christian, had to make alliance. He won over Venice and Genoa; when Alexander IV. died at Viterbo in 1261 the Papacy had no friend except St. Louis; and its always precarious dominion over Rome was hardly even a name. Eight Cardinals were left of the Sacred College. They chose a Frenchman, born at Troyes, son of a shoemaker, and raised by his own merits to be Patriarch of Jerusalem. It was a hundred and forty years since the last French Pope, Calixtus II., had mounted St. Peter's Chair. Pantaleon called himself Urban IV. He proceeded at once to name fourteen Cardinals, of whom seven were French. And he offered the crown of Naples to St. Louis.
Certainly the spectacle is an imposing one; this cobbler's son, meanest of his subjects by birth, makes a present to the Most Christian King of Southern Italy; he holds the balance between Richard of Cornwall and Alfonso of Castile, candidates for the Empire; and he successfully withstands the Ghibel- lines at large, who were pressing Conradin's claims. But he could not cope with Manfred. The Italian cities had lost or overturned their Guelf administration. St. Louis argued that if Conradin were not heir of Sicily, Edmund was; and the King of Arragon took a decisive step, hotly condemned from Rome, when he allowed his son to marry the daughter of Manfred. This alliance was fated, in the end, to bring with it the Sicilian dowry; for the moment it exasperated Urban, who procured Edmund's renunciation and bestowed the title, with all it implied, on Charles of Anjou. The Romans made him their Senator; and the last, bloodiest, and most hateful chapter in this deplorable conflict began.
Personally, the combatants were not ill-matched. Manfred, whom his rival termed the "Sultan of Nocera," had inherited his mother's fair face, his father's versatile and dangerous charm; adored, detested, a knight-errant with his Saracen Mamelukes about him, no friend to priests, he calls up an image of Napoleon by this mixture of logic, violence, and adventurous fancy which, for a time, no power could resist. Charles of Anjou, Count of Provence, in his wife's name, had nothing of the gay troubadour; this tall, thin man, with the olive complexion and eagle countenance, never laughed, spoke little, hardly slept. Regular as a monk, says Villani, who gives us his picture, Charles professed to be a zealous Catholic; he took no pleasure in mimes or courtly feastings; he was prodigal of arms to his followers; but was himself greedy after lands, lordships, and money. His high, severe thoughts made him, as years went on, dreadfully cruel. But where, except in the heart of St. Louis, shall we look for mercy during that wild age? Manfred was cruel too; yet history, when it speaks of Charles, never has a kind word for him, and on the tomb of the Sicilian hero the tears of generations have fallen. Friendship was the jewel of these Hohenstauffen Kings.
We pass over the troubles of England in which Urban played no successful part. Scarcely had he called to the Angevin when he died on the way to Orvieto ( 1265), and an anxious interregnum of five months ensued. Hugo Falcodi was Legate at Boulogne--for he dared not cross the Channel to daunt with anathemas the English barons. A Southern Frank, from the Rhone, Archdeacon of Narbonne, Cardinal of Santa Sabina, in early days wedded, he was that formidable character, a Churchman who is likewise a man of the world. His French colleagues elected him. Clement IV. at once made his way over the Alps to Perugia; he proclaimed a Crusade, pledged the Roman basilicas, excepting St. Peter's and the Lateran, and to raise supplies, sent out his begging Friars with ample authority, who stirred revolt on the borders of Naples.
Meanwhile, Charles of Anjou, having gained his terms, embarked at Marseilles with a few galleys, reached the Tiber, was in Rome at Whitsuntide, 1265, and--evil omen!--took up his quarters in the Lateran. He meant, Pope or no Pope, to be master. As summer ended, the French army passed Mont Cenis; most of the great families sent sons or repre- sentatives; the Crusade was fed with French money; and these thirty thousand invaders joined Charles under the crumbling walls of Rome. The Pope saw them go by; he did not join them. At once Anjou drove forward to Ceperano. Manfred drew out his motley forces in front of Benevento ( February 6, 1206). The shock was fierce; French, Germans,
RUINS OF THE ARCHBISHOP'S PALACE, VITERBO.
Saracens, Guelfs of Florence, fought with desperate rage. But never have Italians resisted the Gallic outset victoriously. Manfred lost the battle. He fell by an unknown hand. His body was recognized, set on an ass, and brought to Charles. It was buried under a great cairn, for in holy ground it must not lie; then torn up again, and cast out of the Kingdom, as Dante sings with severe pathos, to repose by the stream called Verde. The French sacked Benevento. Apulia, Calabria, and even Sicily submitted. Clement invested Charles with the conquered South. Florence took back her Guelfs; Pisa was humbled; Milan was treated despitefully. From that day to this Italians have feared and hated the French dominion. Clement might tax distant nations, excommunicate Simon de Montfort, and set his Legate above the King of England; at home he was the humble servant of Charles, who held all Italy in his grasp and "made horrible exactions tinder the Royal Seal," as the Pope, not without indignation, writes to him.
Two years were enough to provoke the counterrevolution. Frederick Lancia made his way to Germany and persuaded Conradin, the boy not yet sixteen, to assert his rights, cross the Alps, and march oil Rome. With four thousand troops and his inseparable friend, young Frederick of Austria, the last Hohenstauffen came to Verona. Clement at Viterbo launched his thunder at this serpent sprung from a poisonous brood. He appointed Charles, "peacemaker" in Tuscany and throughout the Empire. But Sicily was in revolt. Another Lancia had seized the Lateran; his ally, Henry of Castile, occupied St. Peter's. Down rushed Conradin, while Charles lingered about Florence; when he went to besiege Lucera the bold lad and young Frederick rode in sight of Clement, under the Viterbo battlements; "victims to the slaughter," said he, looking down on them with a kind of melancholy, which did not hinder his subsequent acts. Rome opened its crates with joy to the Suabian, whom it soon expected to crown Emperor. Some churches were plundered. The small army marched on behind Sabine peaks to fatal Tagliacozzo. There, a first success ended in utter ruin, August 26, 1268. Conradin and Frederick were taken, sold by the Frangipani to the Angevin; their followers dispersed. Charles had now his desire; the two Lancias were caught--all the hopes of Hohenstauffen might be struck dead at a blow. But even he could not murder his prisoners. By an extraordinary device, to be long argued over, execrated, wondered at, he brought them to a mock trial in Naples. They were condemned as rebels to their liege lord. Germany has never forgotten, pity will always tell with shuddering, how Conradin knelt on the scaffold in presence of a numberless throng, cast his glove among them defiantly, cried, "O my mother, what news will they bring thee this day!" and on that word was smitten by the headsman. His comrade, Frederick, died in like manner; then the Lancias; then two Pisan nobles who had cleaved to his cause. "Life of Conradin, death of Charles," the Pope was fabled to have written; all we know is that he did not stay the fall of the axe. We think with gladness that Anjou was never to hold Sicily fast; that if the Hohenstauffen were gone, the seed of Manfred should yet enjoy his kingdom. There is a logic in events which the wise call Providence; it cannot be mistaken even in so dark a tragedy.
Young Conradin was beheaded on October 29, 1268. Within a month, on November 29, Clement IV. died. Charles of Anjou, irresistible, kept--or permitted his French Cardinals to keep--the Holy See vacant for two years. At length, on March 22, 1272, a Visconti, Archdeacon of Liège, then away in the Holy Land, was chosen. He is known as Gregory X.
This admirable mail united the simplicity of a saint with the wisdom of a lawgiver. His journey from Brindisi to Rome was a peaceful triumph. He made a treaty between Venice and Genoa, hoping they might combine in a naval expedition to the East. At Florence he attempted the impossible, to persuade the Guelfs and Ghibellines that they should dwell together in unity. He ordered a new election to the Empire, which would henceforth be Teutonic, for all its short or sudden irruptions into Italy; he confirmed Rudolph of Hapsburg when chosen. He had seen the Latin usurpation at Constantinople end in 1261; nay, though he knew it not, he had taken part in the last of the Crusades. Instinct and policy bade him recognise Michael Paleologus, whose name and succession were to continue until Mohammed II. should desecrate Sancta Sophia into a mosque. Gregory, advancing north as he fulfilled these deeds of reconciliation, opened the great Council of Lyons in 1274.
Round about him sat five hundred Bishops, seventy Abbots, a thousand of the clergy. The King of Arragon was there; all the West had sent representatives; in June the Greek ambassadors came. No anathema was pronounced; the Churches of East and West uttered a common creed, acknowledged one Pope, and bowed to the orthodox Emperors, Rudolph and Michael. Gregory issued stern regulations which might hinder Conclaves in the future from paltering with their duty. On his way home, when the Council was happily concluded, he met the Hapsburg Emperor at Lausanne and dedicated that august and now desolate cathedral. But he never reached the Eternal City. At Arezzo, January 1276, he expired. The ancient strife began again, though under circumstances which were substituting French for German actors, and reversing the part of the King and the Pontiff.
In three years three Popes; Innocent V. lasted till June, 1276; Hadrian V., a Genoese, not ordained, suspended the imperative rules made by Gregory for election to St. Peter's Chair, and died in August; John XXI., chosen amid tumults, was killed in May, 1277, by the falling in of his palace-roof. Nicholas III., an Orsini, followed. He built the Vatican; got from Rudolph the magnificent, empty cession, not only of all the Papal States, but of the Italian Islands; showed little friendship to Charles of Anjou; enriched his own nephews; gave one the Castle of St. Angelo, made another his Vice-Senator in Rome; filled the Sacred College with his kinsfolk; died at Soriano, which he had confiscated; and for his avarice, nepotism, and Guelfic pretensions was seen by Dante burning in hell. Yet he is described as no less irreproachable in character than aspiring and energetic. Charles of Anjou would not endure a second like him. By sheer compulsion he forced on the Conclave, after six months' stubborn fight, his nominee, the Cardinal of Santa Cecilia, formerly Canon of Tours, a born Frenchman ( 1281). Martin IV. kept his court in Orvieto. He had but one principle of conduct, to register the decrees which his creator Charles might dictate.
When this sour, truculent conqueror had seized Naples, where he exercised a grinding tyranny, the Greek possessions of Manfred also fell to him. Sicily, once the lady of kingdoms, he trampled upon like a slave; his lieutenants at Palermo kept a list of marriageable heiresses, whom he bestowed on his Provençal adventurers, and, though himself decorous, he let this unbridled soldiery insult the honour of a people as jealous and reserved as the Mohammedans, whose blood they often shared. We must fancy these things and worse going on year after year, while Pedro the Arragonese watched his opportunity to strike, in his wife Constanza's name, for the Sicilian crown and freedom. Charles was effectively chief of the House of France. St. Louis had perished in Africa on the foolish noble quest into which he was betrayed by this designing brother. Philip the Hardy did not deserve his bold addition. But Anjou looked to be lord of Italy despite the Hapsburg, who, indeed, was never able to hinder these distant thunderclaps. More, he dreamt of an Empire on the Ægean, of Byzantium and the Golden Horn. Paleologus could neither subdue his own clergy nor fulfil the promises made to Gregory X. at Lyons. He was excommunicated and would have been left to the tender mercies of Charles by Martin IV., but his own subjects made an end of him and renounced the Papacy.
Looking thus East and West the Angevin was caught between two fires. Arragon joined hands with the Greeks; it is even possible that Nicholas III. was no stranger to plots or combinations which might reduce ail enemy who had come as the Church's deliverer and now held so much more than had been granted him. This was ever the risk of appealing to the secular arm. Romance, taking tip its parable, here weaves in the travels, disguises, hair-breadth escapes of the physician, perhaps alchemist, John of Procida, who arranges everything beforehand like a stage conspirator. The story will always be told with a sigh or a smile that it should be too strange to be true. We will grant Procida's negotiations; it is known that Martin IV. did his utmost to bring the Ghibellines under, and he must have felt the storm advancing from Arragon. But the real stage villain was Charles, whose soldiers exasperated to madness a proud and sullen people. "Hate and wait," says the Corsican proverb; the Sicilians never ceased to hate, but during fourteen years they waited.
On Easter Tuesday, 1282, as the crowds were pouring out of church after Vespers, a French soldier named Drouet insulted the daughter of Roger Mastrangelo. The assailant was instantly stabbed with his own sword, snatched (as legend says) by the girl's bridegroom. "Death to the French!" resounded on all sides; the bells of San Giovanni degli Eremiti rang out the tocsin, and two thousand strangers were massacred on the spot. Into a common pit their carcases were flung. Then King Roger's palace was invaded; the Justiciar fled; foreign priests, monks, residents--every one that could not frame his mouth to pronounce the shibboleth "Ciceri," says
SAN GIOVANNI DEGLI EREMITI, PALERMO--("SICILLIAN VESPERS," A.D. 1282).
the legend--fell under an indiscriminate vengeance. It was a day of rebuke and blasphemy, when churches and convents were themselves polluted with slaughter, as in frantic revolutions before and since. Mastrangelo, with his friends, improvised a Government; thirty miles off the Justiciar was caught and killed. The Island rose in fury; from Corleone to Messina was nothing but murder, insurrection, a medieval Feast of Pikes. Heribert the Viceroy, pledged to return to Provence, escaped into Calabria. Whatever French he left behind were done to death; and by the end of April Sicily was free. But everywhere the Church's banner, the cross-keys, floated on the wind. With Rome the liberated cities sought no quarrel. Charles's prayer, when this Job's news was brought him, is on record: "O God, if I must fall, be it by slow degrees." He sat gnawing his sceptre, by turns raging and silent. His French Pope, Martin, laid Palermo under an interdict which these sanguinary Vespers had well deserved; he confiscated the property of rebels, from the Archbishop to the meanest layman, and he uttered once more the detestable word Crusade. To him the Sicilians gave reply by calling in Pedro of Arragon, who was making war on Tunis. He came to Trapani, not far from ancient Eryx, with Roger Loria, his great admiral, most adventurous of medieval sailors; with Conrad Lancia and other exiles. He was at once hailed King of Sicily. Meanwhile, Anjou with Cardinal Gerard was thundering at Messina, vomiting destruction like Ætna upon the stubborn town. His assault was beaten back. Roger Loria came sailing into the Straits; compelled him to desert his tents; took fortyfive galleys and six thousand prisoners; the Catalan King and army triumphed. Charles, a little out of his mind, challenged Pedro to single combat; the absurd proposal was eluded. Again Roger Loria drew out his fleet in array before Naples. The Angevin was on the march, but his son, Charles the Lame, went forth to battle, was defeated and taken. "Would to God he were dead!" exclaimed the angry father. Had his enemies retaliated oil the crippled young man that which Conradin had suffered, who would have called it unjust? They spared him, and he lived to be King of Naples.
But the melancholy Charles sank under his misfortunes; he died at Foggia, January 7, 1285. It was a year of illustrious deaths. Pope Martin, in 1283, had deposed Don Pedro of Arragon; the Kingdom he presented to Charles of Valois (yet another Charles!), second son of France. A Crusade once more; this time led by Philip the Hardy, with a light-minded, numerous host. Italian fleets ravaged the shores of Catalonia; Don Pedro lost all but a few strong places. Then the tide turned. Roger Loria, pirate or freebooter at sea, broke the French ships, tortured the French captives; Philip had to raise the siege of Gerona, to leave his dying soldiers in the passes of the Pyrenees, himself to die at Perpignan this same year, October, 1285. One month later Don Pedro joined him in the shades. Martin was gone already in March. Some handfuls of white dust were left of them all--Kings, warriors, Churchmen. As for Sicily, never more did it obey its Papal overlord. The war of twenty-one years, which we need not follow through its twists and turnings, issued in a compromise ( 1299). Frederick, brother of Don Pedro, was to keep the Island for life; he bequeathed it to his descendants and founded a dynasty. Charles the Lame succeeded to the other Sicily, which Italians call "Il Regno," on the mainland. Over Conradin and his slaughtered friends this Charles built, in the busiest part of Naples, the Church of Mount Carmel, even yet a place of pilgrimage to the hurrying traveller.
Honorius IV., who passed across the stage one moment on Martin's death, annulled the compact which divided the two Sicilies. But he could not hinder that division. From the investiture of the Normans by Nicholas II. in 1059 with the splendid South two hundred and forty years may be reckoned (to 1299) during which the Holy See exercised or insisted on those feudal rights which were judged necessary at Rome to its independence. They were now brought down to parchment decrees and ceremonial services. Even the strange, and in modern eyes unjust, absolution from sealed engagements which Nicholas IV. in 1289 gave to Charles the Lame, thereby hoping to keep a hand upon Sicily, availed not for one instant to delay the inevitable. Feudalism had done its work, it was going the way of men's devices; the lope, conservative by nature, tenacious of what had once been his on whatever conditions, felt the approaching change; not he alone, but all feudal sovereigns must suffer or be transformed.
The absolute monarch was to absorb in himself powers of the clergy, powers of the nobles; to be protector of the free cities and the whole nation, a Cæsar who would take no orders from Pope or Parliament. In this long-threatened revolution France led the way. France, at the end of the thirteenth century, broke up the system of Europe, as she did on a larger scale at the end of the eighteenth. We are now to trace the steps of this most memorable transaction.
[ Continue to Ch.XXIII ]