FROM ST. GREGORY THE GREAT TO BONIFACE VIII. (590-1303)
ROMAN LAW VERSUS ROMAN PONTIFF (1226-1287)
GIBBON has told us that the Kingdom of France was made by the French Bishops as bees make their honeycomb. Clovis, Charles Martel, Pepin, Charlemagne, were all champions of the Church. And even the "bad seed" of Hugh Capet, the wicked excommunicated Kings, did not shoot up into rebellion against Rome, despite their scandalous living. Rheims and Tours, famous for their shrines, were minor capitals in which the "Abbot of St. Martin's" was always at home. He was brought up in the cloister of Notre Dame or St. Denis; he had Suger for his Prime Minister, St. Bernard at his right hand in council; Pope after Pope took refuge with him from the fury of Roman mobs or German lanzknechts; he was their man, though never a feudatory. His little kingdom, hemmed round about by the wide provinces of insolent Norman England; by industrious, hardfisted Flanders; by Burgundian Dukes and Counts
of Provence; was yet compact, defensible, and in a manner sacred. When the Godfreys of Bouillon rushed off to Crusades, he stayed behind to pick up the inheritances which they left in pledge. Seldom a man of genius, he was singularly debonair, a father to his people, and in their hard fights with iron barons a Patriot King. Until the twelfth century was out he did not count for much in Europe. But John Lackland dropped his French provinces like silver plates from his pocket, and Philip Augustus rounded his dominions with them. Normandy, Picardy, fell to his share. Bouvines set him free from the German Empire. The Albigenses by their Counts of Toulouse, of Foix, of the whole South, were forfeit to Rome. But it was Amaury de Montfort, son of their conqueror, who threw himself into the arms of France. Louis VIII. subdued Nismes, Albi, Carcassonne, but died of this hot campaign, leaving a Spanish wife, Blanche of Castile, to cope with unruly nobles, and a child who became St. Louis ( 1226). The Salic kingdom had, in legal phrase, fallen to the distaff. But Queen Blanche managed the spindle like a sword. We figure this valiant woman as a haughty, severe, not amiable Madame de Maintenon, gifted with more will and resolution; hard upon her gentle son, whom she carried with her as a relique in its shrine when she attacked the feudal chiefs; pure as an angel, but always Spanish--that is to say, looking on her enemies as Moors and her friends as knights bound to follow her in the Holy War. She proved a match for Mauclerc, the bandit Count of Brittany. From Thibaut of Navarre she got by purchase Chartres, Blois, Chateaudun. In 1236 Louis came of age. He reigned until 1270. The Hohenstauffen at this very time were going down to their grave, and with them the Empire. Heresies were rife. It cannot be said that the Popes, though men of consummate ability, gave edification to thoughtful Christians. If St. Francis of Assisi, by his exquisite goodness, lights up the beginning of that troubled thirteenth century, St. Louis sheds lustre on its middle period. We may define him as the Catholic Marcus Aurelius, or as St. Francis on the throne. In every situation he is charming, brave, just, tender, unaffected. Who has yet written of him without a smile and a tear? He is Marcus Aurelius, stoical towards himself, considerate of all the world, but never melancholy as he that on the Pannonian frontier wrote those beautiful, sad pages we know so well. The Middle Ages, it has been too graphically said, came to an end in a Saint-King and an Emperor-Pope.
St. Louis kept no diary of his thoughts; but a precious inheritance from the Middle Ages, more authentic than the Fioretti which describe the Umbrian Saint, and hardly less picturesque, is the Life in Old French by the Sieur de Joinville, candid as a child's story, and as touching. His slight frame, long thin fingers, delicate health give an impression that Louis was not meant for active life. He never showed a general's sagacity, but was simply a knight in armour. Yet he won the battle of Taillebourg in 1242 over Henry III. of England, which utterly smote feudalism; he kept Provence and Languedoc against the younger Raymund of Toulouse, whom, on his submission, he treated kindly; and, in 1235, he took the Cross to drive back that immense Mongol or Kharismian invasion, before which Jerusalem had yielded and all the Western States, Mohammedan equally as Christian, were paralysed. For once, Blanche of Castile dissuaded her son from the heroic course, and for once he would not obey.
From the Danube, as we saw, Frederick's gallant sons had turned back the Tartar myriads; but even the Moslems entreated Louis, as did the unhappy Emperor of Byzantium, to lead his Franks against these wild shepherds. At Citeaux, not without repugnance, he met Pope Innocent IV., who had vainly striven to draw Louis into his quarrels and now did not favour a distant Crusade. Many of the Albigenses, despoiled of their lands by De Montfort, the King took on this sacred expedition. He had it in mind to colonise the coasts of Egypt; there was a great gathering, but eight months' delay at Cyprus, whence he sailed for Alexandria in June, 1249.
But a tempest drove him towards Damietta; he landed, captured the town, and should have marched to Cairo. His soldiers plundered; lagged on the road; fought well; but knew no discipline. Louis, taller than most by a head and shoulders, in his golden helmet, a German sword in his hand, was the picture of a perfect knight. They told him that his brother, Robert of Artois, had been killed. "God be praised for the grace He has given him!" cried Louis, and dashed away the big tears; "I know he is in Paradise." He won the battle of Mansurah; but the sick, the wounded, the plague, Greek fire, and an enemy in pursuit on the Nile, as on its shores, brought the inevitable disaster. The Crusaders were slain in heaps or compelled to deny Christ. Louis was taken with his chief nobles and ten thousand of his men. If he would consent to give up Jerusalem, he might
KING LOUIS IX. (ST. LOUIS) OF FRANCE. be free. He offered Damietta and four hundred thousand bezants of gold. But when the Soldan was for accepting these terms, his Mamelukes murdered him. The story ran that they thought of setting up Louis in his stead. Just as likely is it that they would have murdered the French King too, but for his mild intrepidity and unruffled cheerfulness, which none that saw him could ever resist. On conditions deemed moderate he was held to ransom. He lingered a whole year in Palestine; built again the walls of Acre, Jaffa, and Cæsarea; and returned to Europe in November, 1252, with the glory of a saint and martyr. Queen Blanche was dead; his country cried out for him.
It was the destiny of Louis, in a quaint but apt phrase, to be justice of the peace to all nations. England, which under John had been made the fief, seemed under his vacillating successor to be the farm, of the Papacy. Henry III. squandered and plundered; his Queen's uncle, Boniface of Savoy, little better than a bandit, was thrust into the See of Canterbury. Innocent IV. treated English riches as an inexhaustible mine. He once demanded for his absentee favourites no fewer than three hundred livings; the clergy, as he argued, were his vassals; they must render suit and service, or its equivalent in hard cash, while he carried on his war against Frederick the Antichrist. Langton had all along upheld the Great Charter; Edmund, who succeeded him, a lesser but very winning Thomas à Becket, did what in him lay to reform abuses, and died in exile at Pontigny. The manly Grossetête rose up at Lyons to denounce iniquities that he had fought against at home, and withstood Innocent to his face. The undergraduates at Oxford assailed Otho, the Papal Legate, and drove him out of the city.
To supply Prince Edmund with funds for his mad Sicilian expedition which never came off, Henry pawned the kingdom to the Pope, and asked his barons to redeem the pledge. They answered by the voice of Simon de Montfort, a saint like his father, in the Oxford Parliament ( 1258). Its provisions made the King a lay figure, managed by fifteen nobles. Alexander IV. dispensed him from his oath, which Edward the Prince insisted on keeping. Civil war followed. St. Louis was called in to arbitrate. He annulled the Provisions, gave back the royal power to Henry, but left the English Charters in force ( 1264). A second campaign was the result, ending in the battle and the "Mise" of Lewes. Then came the first real Parliament, and the King's abeyance, which led up to the Fight at Evesham and De Montfort's heroic death ( 1265). His Parliament had been "partisan, revolutionary, transient." Ottobuoni, the Legate, appeared in St. Paul's, did away with Henry's oaths, and declared all that Simon had striven for utterly abolished. It was in vain. Edward I., who is called the "English Justinian," would complete hereafter that which the great Earl of Leicester had begun.
That St. Louis when he annulled the Provisions of Oxford acted according to his lights, no man may doubt. Conscience had already urged him into surrendering large lands in Aquitaine to England which any but he would have held against all comers. Read his spirited words in Joinville. But as the Popes, in these Charters and Parliaments, could see nothing but rebellion demanding unheard of privileges, so Louis felt that the royal authority must be maintained in spite of barons whose fellows in France were men like Thibaut, the Robber-Count of Champagne. Thibaut was a Crusader, therefore inviolable, and under the Pope's emphatic protection; yet Louis had smitten him down. But at Westminster the Commons' House, with its knights of the shire and burgesses from the towns, was destined to the long trials and decisive triumphs which have made it supreme; at Paris the so-called Parliament was to become a lawyers' assembly, the instrument of an absolute monarch whose decrees it gloried in carrying out to the utmost. England never lost its Magna Charta. But of the French legists it is said that the Pandects were their Bible; they would allow no check upon the King; he was their Cæsar, to whom they rendered the things that were God's, as well as his own.
We have watched this movement at its beginning under Frederick Barbarossa; since his day, it had embraced Church and State; the turbulent, half-mad thirteenth century strove yet with all its powers to establish the reign of law. From Innocent III. to St. Thomas Aquinas: from Frederick II. to Philip the Fair and Edward I., it goes on, an immense and partly successful attempt to bring confusion out of chaos, to restore the supremacy of Roman Law in its twofold form, Canon and Civil. But here, almost of necessity, layman and priest came into conflict. When Frederick II. codified the Norman statutes in Sicily, he trenched on immunities which the clergy would not give up. All over Europe the quarrel that in Henry II.'s time raged round the Constitutions of Clarendon was now, or soon would be, the question of
[Photo] Neurdien Frères. ST. LOUIS ADMINISTERS JUSTICE. ( Fresco in the Pantheon, Paris.)
the day. It was at once home and foreign; were clerics prepared to submit their temporal causes to the Common Law? Would the Pope cease to tax them and the Kingdom without regard to the duties, rights, and charges of the Crown? The dispute was concerned with lands and money; it never directly touched doctrine. As the law became centralised, taxation followed it. The Pope, in his quality of Commander of the Faithful, had long raised a revenue from the whole of Christendom. But the Crusades were ending; these subsidies had often been misused and turned aside from their legitimate object, never more so than under Innocent IV. and Clement IV. Kings built up Codes by way of consolidating their jurisdiction. Alfonso the Wise in Spain, Frederick in the Empire, set an example; but it was probably St. Louis to whom Edward I. owed his lawgiving; and beyond peradventure from him the French legislation is derived which set the royal Court of Appeal above all others. In this sense the Pragmatic Sanction, though not his work, may be attributed to his age and advisers, among whom the chief, Pierre de Fontaines, had embodied no little of the Roman Law in his Counsel to a Friend.
When, beneath the oaks of Vincennes, he did justice, "fair and round," as Joinville says; when he declared to Enguerrand de Coucy that he would not admit him to wager of battle lest in such cases the Church and the poor should never find champions against lordly barons; when he took counsel with St. Thomas Aquinas, and yet gave judgment adverse to haughty prelates like the Bishop of Beauvais; in all this he was bringing the idea of law, impartial and without regard for privilege, into a world which confounded right with station and sacrificed modern society to its ancient defenders. "Fair son," he said in his illness at Fontainebleau, to Philip the Hardy, "win the love of your people; for I had rather a Scot came from Scotland and governed them well and loyally, than that you governed them ill in men's sight." Such was a saint's conception of law. But a kingdom could not be ruled by open-air courts in the Forest of Vincennes; from the middle class had begun to spring up an aristocracy of the robe, men who were neither nobles nor clerics, and who discovered in the Crown an authority which they soon learned to manipulate. They were "knights of the law," masters in chicanery, hard as iron; these were the new order that "with texts and quotations" from Old Rome transformed the Middle Age to the despotism of the sixteenth and later centuries.
Old Rome meant the city of the Cæsars. Papal Rome had long been falling into ruin, its ways desolate, a thousand towers looking down on the Seven Hills, inhabited by robber-chiefs who preyed on every sort of pilgrim, cleric or lay, and lifted their banners against the Pope, though enraged when he fled from them. But Paris was the capital of civilisation. Philip Augustus had done great things for it; he may be said to have founded the city that has ever since included the Palace, the People, and the University, as in a ring fence. Thanks to Robert de Curzon in 1215, to Gregory IX. in 1231, the University was self-governing; and with its four nations, its twenty or thirty thousand scholars, offered to later times a picture of that fierce intellectual democracy which has made Athens immortal. Seven Popes, in the thirteenth century, were among its students. Thither came the most brilliant of the Schoolmen, Peter Lombard, who died Bishop of Paris, Alexander Hales, Albert the Great, St. Bonaventure, St. Thomas Aquinas, Duns Scotus,--all Mendicant Friars, devoted to the Papacy, as the lawyers, clergy, and doctors were to the Crown. What did their coming portend?
At first, if we believe the pious Tillemont, they were received with joy. St. Dominic had never forbidden his friars to cultivate learning and take degrees. But St. Francis had other thoughts; he would not have one of his disciples seated in a teacher's chair; they were to be humble saints rather than Canonists or divines. The torrent swept them on; it was a century of ambition to know, to read Aristotle, to lecture on the Sentences of the Lombard. In 1228, when the wild young scholars rebelled and fled from Paris, the Dominicans set up their first chair; in 1244 Innocent IV. commanded that the Begging Friars should be admitted to academic honours. They carried all before them. Genius and success were theirs; opposition broke out; the Dominicans were expelled, reinstated by Innocent, but put under episcopal authority ( 1254). Alexander IV. revoked this unusual clause. Then William de St. Amour attacked the friars in a pamphlet which is the medieval equivalent of Pascal's Provincial Letters. He published his Perils of the
THE GLORY OF OBEDIENCE. ( Fresco by Giotto--Assisi.)
Last Times, an invective in which all alike, Dominicans, Spiritual Franciscans, and Moderates, were denounced as false prophets, believers in the "Eternal Gospel" of Abbot Joachim, Beghards and heretics, shameless in their rapacity, sworn enemies of the clerical order. His book was condemned by a Papal commission. St. Amour appealed. At Anagni, in presence of Alexander IV., the case was debated, Albert the Dominican acting on behalf of the friars. Pope Alexander would not convict St. Amour of heresy; but he censured the writing as a libel, having already deposed John of Parma, the mystic General of the Franciscans. St. Thomas Aquinas, with his prodigious memory, reduced the discussion to order and answered St. Amour. But in popular estimation the University had won. During the latter years of the thirteenth century, trials, dissensions, and discredit clouded over the great hopes which, at its beginning, had dawned on the Mendicants. Their eclipse darkened the Papacy, which could no longer rely upon them in the crisis that was rapidly approaching.
Amid these never-ending disputes between the old order and the new, symptoms at once of death and birth, came the horrid intelligence that the Egyptians were seizing in Palestine whatever had escaped the Mongol ravages. Cæsarea, Jaffa, Antioch had fallen; seventeen thousand Christians were slain, a hundred thousand sold. King Louis resolved on taking the cross; he did his utmost to draw in the neighbouring States; he led with him a great company of barons; but he could not persuade his people. Clement IV., though willing to raise subsidies for the Holy War, neither approved nor encouraged this expedition. It seemed to be a blind man's stroke, aimless, vacant. For twenty days the army was at sea; Charles of Anjou advised his brother to land in Tunis. Eight days after, the plague fell on the defenceless host; the marshals died; the King's youngest son died it was the end. Louis, calm as ever, had himself laid out on ashes; he blessed his followers; and sighing forth his lifelong aspiration, " Jerusalem, all Jerusalem!" passed away ( August, 1270).
The last Crusade! Glance for a moment at Edward of England drawing his sword, in those sacred fields, against the infidel; then look westward again. Never any more will the chivalry of the Franks mount the walls of Zion, to the cry of Dieu le veult. Christians, Saracens, are doomed to flee before an enemy from the salt Asiatic steppes, fiercer than the Arab, impregnable to civilisation; the Turk is coming who will seize Egypt with one hand, Byzantium with the other. He will advance to Belgrade, plunder Otranto, besiege Vienna; he will last on, century after century, till Holy Russia has gained strength to grapple with him. Islam survived the Crusades. By an undreamt-of revolution, the Moslem world, which two hundred years' hard fighting left everywhere except in Spain as it had been, was to be subdued or ringed round about with fire, by England, after it had thrown off its allegiance to Rome, and by the Orientalised Muscovites who revere the Church of Constantinople. What the Crusades did for Europe; how they opened larger horizons, broke feudalism, gave an entrance to Eastern art, philosophy, science, arid superstition; how they first exalted the Pope, and then tempted to the multiplication of Holy Wars which were but civil butcheries, the reader has doubtless been considering, and there is no space to tell. With St. Louis they ended, once for all. The conquests of England or Russia in the East have drawn their motives from commerce, policy, and adventure, but never from religion.
PHILIP THE FAIR AND POPE BONIFACE (1287-1300)
THAT new world, which was so unlike the old, is painted by Michelet in forbidding colours--"attorney, usurer, Gascon, Lombard, Jew"; such are the epithets under which he presents it to modern students for whom the Middle Age possesses a complex charm derived from its poetry, art, romance, knight-errantry, and a religion the most picturesque, naïve, and heroic. Feudalism travestied with purple patches of the grand old Roman Law; Kings, in make and descent barbarian, styling themselves Cæsars; litigious Gauls, professing the eloquence of Cicero, and outdoing in hypocrisy the augurs whose technique they imitated; we cannot admire all this, even if it brought mankind a stage further on its way. The lawyer-King is Philip the Fair, that mere "handsome image," said Bernard de Saisset; and his task may be summed up as the establishment on a free secular basis of the Civil Order. What Frederick II. meant to do, but could not succeed in, Philip the Fair did. In 1287 he ordained that all those who had temporal jurisdiction in France, from Dukes, Counts, and Archbishops down to simple gentlemen, should institute laics for their bailies, provosts, and officers of justice; that they should by no means appoint clerics, who in case of delinquency would have pleaded their "clergy"; and that no Churchman should act as procurator in the royal or baronial courts. At one stroke the Parliament, the tribunals, were taken out of sanctuary. It is the Roman Law come to life again, not in the Pope but in the King.
Let us keep firm hold of this clue; without it we shall never understand why Philip and Boniface quarrelled. But to sketch the ground on which they fought their battle, we must take up the story of the Popes where we left it on the death of Honorius IV. ( April, 1287). The conclave was long and stormy; broken up in the hot months, it lasted till February, 1288, when the Bishop of Palestrina was elected. Nicholas IV. had been General of the Grey Friars; poverty mounted the Papal Chair with him; but his short reign was a chapter of misfortunes. He abrogated to no purpose the treaty of Campo Franco, by which Charles II., the lame King of Naples, gave up Sicily to Arragon. Though raised to the purple by Nicholas, the Orsini Pope, he greatly advanced the Colonnas, by this time more powerful than any other Roman house. In 1291 Acre fell, and no Crusade avenged the shame of Christians. The Powers made war and peace without regard to the Holy See. But Nicholas, like earlier Pontiffs, was said to have died of a broken heart on hearing the disastrous news from Palestine.
Another Conclave, April, 1292; twelve Cardinals debating in Rome till summer chases them away; two rival Senators, with their ruffians set in array and blood flowing,--a year of interregnum. The Electors meet again at Perugia; Charles the Neapolitan comes to overawe them, and is himself overawed by Benedict Gaetani; but no decision follows. Then, with dramatic suddenness--the character of this time--a hermit-saint and visionary is dragged from his cave and acclaimed Pope. Peter Morone had lived the austerest life, hidden in the Apennines above Sulmona, revered by the people and the spiritual Franciscans, in whose eyes he practised the poverty and was absorbed in the contemplation dear to their dead master. It was a scene worthy of the pre-Raphaelite canvas when Cardinals in their purple came, with wild crowds about them, to the barred window of this white-bearded anchorite, bringing him the Papal crown. He looked up from his ecstasy, wept, submitted; he suffered the crimson mantle to be thrown over his sackcloth, and rode on an ass into Aquila where he was hailed with joy by enormous crowds. Then he was taken by King Charles, virtually a prisoner, to Naples.
Extraordinary scenes followed; touching, yet grotesque. Clestine V. could converse with angels; among men he was lost. Like a child he gave whatever they asked to friends at hand; he knew only faces from the Abruzzi; the regular officials, broken in to Canon Law, were aghast, angry, dexterous in undoing what he had done, as the witty Jacobus a Voragine said, "in the fulness of his simplicity." Charles II. compelled or persuaded (it was much the same) this good Pope to create thirteen Cardinals, of whom seven where French. But he longed for his cave in the mountains; and rumour, it is probable, lied when it asserted that Gaetani, who had come to Naples, terrified the hermit with nightly warnings, feigned of Heaven, and brought him to abdicate. "From cowardice he made the grand refusal," sings Dante in undying scorn. He resolved on laying down the tiara. This was without parallel. Could it be lawfully done? Clestine, in a solemn pronouncement, said yes, it could; he would do it; and in his old sackcloth he went back rejoicing to the barred cell. Who should be Pope in his stead?
In that lofty place the Franciscan ideal had shone for a moment, only to be eclipsed. Now the Canon Law, personified in Gaetani, was to have its turn. By what sleight of hand Boniface VIII. outdid his competitors we know not. He was chosen, despite the King, at Naples; or was it after a bargain with the King, as Villani affirms? Chosen, however ( December 23, 1294), he "came in like a fox, ruled like a lion, died like a dog." How much of his legend can we believe? "Of all the Roman Pontiffs," says Milman, " Boniface VIII. has left the darkest name for craft, ambition, even for avarice and cruelty." But names prove nothing. Who are the witnesses against Boniface? Unhappy man, it was his misfortune to find himself at war with all the Catholic Kings; with the Religious Orders, with the Roman nobility, with Florence, and the Italian Democrats. In the popular songs and lampoons of Jacopone da Todi he was held up to satire; his good fame was blasted by sworn accusations in French Parliaments; Philip the Fair would not let him rest in as dishonoured grave, but pursued his memory as if it had been a living thing, to be transfixed with arrows; and, beyond all this, he awakened the sad and terrible spirit of Dante, sublime but pitiless, to hate him with an everlasting hatred, amid the flames of which Boniface looks upon us, in the deep gloom of the Inferno. Most miserable of Popes; not therefore most guilty! His remembrance will never fade; long, long he will be banned, and scarcely at all find apologists, in the debate which his pretensions, even more than his acts, cannot cease to provoke. But in the great arena he fell vanquished--he and his Canon Law; some pity is due to the dying gladiator; some pathos stirs at the passing of a sovereignty which, contested or triumphant, had lasted down from Charlemagne five hundred years.
Benedict Gaetani was a native and noble of the little mountain-city, Anagni, to which our history alludes so often. An old man now, but vigorous and even violent, he had gone through every stage of Roman training. With Ottobuoni in England he saw, but surely did not see into, the revolution led by Simon de Montfort which, by Charter and Parliament, was to create an English Constitution. He was sent to adjust the quarrel over Provence which divided Charles of Anjou and the Emperor Rudolph, on which occasion he took the Cardinal's hat. He had dealt with the affairs of Portugal. Lately, in Paris were as a youth he studied law, he had gone on a message to Philip the Fair; had offered, in the name of Pope Nicholas, to arbitrate between him and Edward I.; and at Tarascon had determined articles of peace between Naples and Arragon. There is no reason to cast a shadow on his morals, or to charge him with impiety. Such accusations, made afterwards by his deadliest foes, and never proved, were the disgraceful weapons with which Italian factions did not scruple to assail adversaries. Boniface showed neither the meekness of a saint nor the selfcontrol of a statesman on the Papal throne; but that he was a profligate has never been asserted on grounds worthy of consideration.
His vigour was at once apparent. In majestic terms he granted Naples once more to King Charles as vassal of the Holy See. Returning to Rome, he had himself crowned magnificently. He consigned the Abbot of Monte Cassino to a dungeon beneath the waters of Lago di Bolsena. He acted as liege Lord of Hungary on the death of its young prince. By an official declaration he made sure that Clestine's claim should not be revived. That poor solitary, fleeing across the Adriatic, was brought back, lay prostrate before his successor, and was kept in the Castle of Fumone till he died ( May, 1296). That he underwent harsh treatment does not seem likely; the Fraticelli noised abroad his virtues, miracles, and sufferings; but only their efforts could have made him formidable, and Boniface condemned them as heretics, who aimed at suppressing the Papacy itself. Their "reign of the Holy Ghost," foreshadowed in commentaries on the Abbot Joachim, would, it is certain, have been a reign of the Spiritual Friars, the end of Canon Law, the abolition of the clergy. But in these wild schemes Clestine had neither lot nor part; he was a saint of the Eastern type, to be canonised for his simple goodness; none of these Fifth Monarchy visions, we may be sure, ever haunted his lonely cell.
Boniface dreamt his dream, too; and that scarcely a sober one. Europe had need of peace; he would restore the truce of God, outraged by Edward and Philip at war over Guienne; by the Arragonese in Sicily; by Albert of Austria, who would not recognise the penniless Adolphus of Nassau as German Emperor. In Sicily, as we do not require to learn, he failed. Adolphus, the soldier of fortune, having won his crown by large and shameful "capitulations," which surrendered Imperial rights in all quarters, especially on the Rhine, was to be killed not far from Worms by Albert in 1298; so that here, in like manner, Boniface suffered defeat. His argument with Edward I. demands more notice; it led up to the decisive hour when Philip of France, staking his kingdom on the issue, met and overthrew the medieval system, under which no monarch could be absolute, and Rome was the ultimate Court of Appeal between the nations and their rulers.
That Edward I. proved himself ablest of the English Kings is now universally admitted. Religious, brave, hard, resolute, he meant to leave at his death a united Kingdom in these islands; but without war and some chicanery it could not be done. He subdued Wales; what havoc he wrought in Scotland needs no recalling. For his wars he required personal service from the barons, subsidies from the clergy, hateful to both. Edward annulled his people's debts to the Jews and banished them. But still he wanted money. Against the Friars chiefly, as it is said--they had grown exceedingly rich --he passed the celebrated Statute of Mortmain, which was to hinder the absorption of real estate into hands that yielded little to the Crown, and that only as a gift. But he went further still. He asserted the right of taxing the clergy; obtained from Nicholas IV. a tenth of their income ( 1291); and three years afterwards demanded one-half. They attempted to excuse themselves; the Dean of St. Paul's, who was to speak for them, fell dead at the King's feet. It was a principle of Magna Charta that the Crown could not raise taxes without the consent of Parliament; the clergy had, in addition, their own privilege; but they were forced to submit. Soon afterwards, the troubles which had long been threatening in France came to a head; Boniface, without an ally, wedded to his Canon Law, found the two mightiest Kings in Christendom setting at naught clerical immunities, laying what he deemed sacrilegious hands on spiritual rights. It did not occur to him to yield. He fought.
Among the strong sayings of Gregory VII. is this, "Kings and dukes are descended from men who, with pride, robbery, and perfidy, usurped a tyrant's
EDWARD I., KING OF ENGLAND.
power." But the Church had gained her vast dominions by the bequest of her grateful children. On those riches monarchs and nobles had ever looked with a covetous eye. No sooner did a bishopric or an abbey fall vacant than its lands and goods were seized, to be rendered in worse condition when the new appointment was made. Much of the usage known as the "regale" in various European countries resembled the Highland custom of blackmail. In the Middle Ages, that wonderful machine of taxation with which we are familiar did not exist. But dues, charges, impositions grew with the growth of a complex society; and general causes contributed to make the King a universal, but for many years an odious, tax-gatherer. Nobles, clergy, free towns alike resisted the movement. In Papal Bulls, no less than in English Charters, the claim of a monarch to lay on fresh taxes, was condemned under the same anathema which struck at piracy or at those who furnished arms to Saracens. But especially was it a crime to invade the patrimony of the poor, with which Church property was identified. Not that the clergy refused their gifts when the country was in danger, or the Crown in distress. They gave largely; but as a benevolence, as constrained by charity, on the higher ground of freedom not of legal necessity. Above all, they did not wish to be confounded in one assessment with lay folk, and thus abandoned to the mercy of a power which, in pursuing its own designs, would show them scant indulgence. The history of Europe proves that they were not mistaken. Church property has been confiscated, again and again, during the last five hundred years, to secular purposes, and on the plea of State necessity. That it should be surrendered without a protest would be too much to expect from human nature, and among those who have defended it as Divini juris are not the least noble of Christians.
Undoubtedly Boniface had law on his side--law, and custom, and admitted privilege. Philip did not love war; but he had retained Guienne by in attorney's trick; he saw an alliance formed against him by Edward between the Empire, Flanders, Burgundy, and Bretagne; money he must procure, and his ministers were apt in devices. All sprang from the middle class. The brothers Marigny were Normans; Nogaret was of Languedoc, Paterine by descent, ferociously antipapal. Pierre Flotte and Plasian were plebeians; the bankers Francesi had migrated from Florence. These were the men that imagined and collected the "maltôte," the evil excise, with every circumstance of harshness and cruelty, from an afflicted people. They clipped the currency which had been struck from silver-plate seized all over his kingdom by Philip, and deposited "for security" in the Louvre, now little else than a coiner's den. Their bailiffs were in every house, making a spoil of industry. The "maltôte," says Michelet, sucked out the marrow of the nation. But at first it spared the Estates of the Church. In 1296 it struck them in the general assault. Then Boniface VIII. published his defiance to Philip, the Bull " Clericis Laicos," thrice unhappy in name and fortunes.
Imprudent, headlong but in its main contention founded on history, this extraordinary State-paper declared that the laity had always been hostile to the clergy, and were so now as much as ever. But they possessed no jurisdiction over the persons, no claims on the property of the Church, though they, had dared to exact a tenth, nay, even a half, of its income for secular objects, and time-serving prelates had not resisted. Now, on no title whatsoever from henceforth should such taxes be levied without permission of the Holy See. Every layman, though King or Emperor, receiving these moneys, fell by that very act under anathema; every churchman paying them was deposed from his office; Universities, guilty of the like offence, were struck with interdict.
Robert of Winchelsea, Langton's successor as Primate, shared Langton's views. He was at this moment in Rome, and had doubtless urged Boniface to come to the rescue of a frightened downtrodden clergy, whom Edward I. would not other vise regard. In the Parliament at Bury, this very year, the clerics refused to make a grant. Edward sealed up their barns. The Archbishop ordered that in every cathedral the Pope's interdiction should be read. Hereupon the Chief Justice declared the whole clergy outlawed; they might be robbed or murdered without redress. Naturally, not a few gave way; a fifth, and then a fourth, of their revenue was yielded up. But Archbishop Robert, alone, with all the prelates except Lincoln against him, and the Dominicans preaching at Paul's Cross on behalf of the King, stood out, lost his lands, was banished to a country parsonage. War broke out in Flanders. It was the saving of the Archbishop. At Westminster Edward relented and apologized. He confirmed the two great Charters; he did away with illegal judgments that infringed them. Next year the Primate excommunicated those royal officers who had seized goods or persons belonging to the clergy and all who had violated Magna Charta. The Church came out of this conflict exempt, or, more truly, a self-governing Estate of the Realm. It must be considered as having greatly concurred towards the establishment of that fundamental law, invoked long after by the thirteen American Colonies, "No taxation without representation," which is the corner-stone of British freedom.
In France the issue was different. There arose no Robert of Winchelsea to stay the King's proceedings: Magna Charta did not exist. By a double Ordinance Philip forbade his subjects to leave the kingdom or send specie abroad without licence from the Crown, and foreigners to enter or carry on trade. This was equivalent to cutting off appeals, supplies, petitions for graces, to Rome, which in no small measure lived on such benevolences or juridical fees. Boniface could not draw back. His policy, the old Guelf tradition, leaned on France; he would still be looking to Charles of Valois, Philip's brother, inviting him to settle the dissensions of Italy, to carve out for himself a new Eastern Empire. But the Canonist proved not unequal to the occasion. In a second, devout and politic letter addressed to the King, he asserted the Church's freedom, the subjection of all persons under the moral law to his Pontifical judgment; he rebuked the royal Council; he swept away as insane prohibitions which would affect the clergy in their relations with himself; he charged on Philip the war now raging; yet, in fact, he was open to a reconciliation. Philip replied with no less subtlety, with some flashes of sarcasm, a glance towards the Roman Emperors who had granted their privileges to the Roman Bishops, and the strong assertion of his own right to subsidies from the clergy whom he was protecting. At that point the quarrel was interrupted by events nearer home, which cost Boniface a bitter payment in the sequel.
Perhaps he had tricked the Colonna Cardinals into electing him Pope. At any rate, they were Ghibellines, masters of strong castles down in the Campagna, plotters, or like to be such, with the Imperial, Arragonese faction in Sicily. Two brothers were in the Sacred College. It was always possible that they would challenge the validity of an election which had taken place while ail undoubted Pontiff was alive. For these and other reasons now debatable, the rash Pope determined on ending the Colonnas root and branch. It was a desperate move. Pretexts, good or bad, were never yet wanting to Italian diplomacy; and these princes, like their neighbours, played at brigandage, not sparing even Boniface. He asked them to surrender their strongholds. They refused. Thereupon he issued a Bull, depriving the two Cardinals as rebels, and marking their partisans with the brand of heresy and schism. In reply they denied his right to the Papal Chair; accused him of circum- venting his saintly predecessor; and appealed to a General Council.
But they had no forces in Rome at that time. Boniface answered by excommunicating the prelates in unmeasured language, and--a thing unheard of--by confiscating the estates and interdicting the persons of the whole family, sons, brothers, kinsfolk, to the last generation. They were to be delivered up to his vengeance, wherever found; a crusade, yea, in sight of the Lateran, cries Dante, was proclaimed against the late Cardinals. Their fortresses were taken; Palestrina was got by absolute treachery, by "long promises and short performance," as Guy of Monte Feltro counselled. In these events we seem to be flung back from the close of the thirteenth century to the days when Popes and prelates strangled one another. To explain, or even understand, this horrible business would be impossible to us. Whatever the Cardinals had done, their kindred were not wolves or tigers to be exterminated; yet every step which Boniface took proves that he thought them his deadly foes. No wonder that people asked whether he had not coerced Clestine after all?
He demolished Palestrina, and talked of sowing its place with salt. The wretched Cardinals knelt humbly before him at Rieti; they were given some kind of absolution; after which they hid themselves till better times. Their relatives fled. Stephen appeared at the French Court. Sciarra was taken by pirates, ransomed by King Philip, and reserved for a dreadful fame. Others, fleeing to Sicily, strengthened the suspicion against them. This catastrophe it was which had delayed the rupture with France, and now led to the suspension of " Clericis Laicos." Philip had paused in his attack on the clergy. Boniface, "interpreting" his own law, declared that even Church fiefs were bound to suit and service; the King might not exact, but he was free to request benevolences, and if the State were in danger, he might lay equal taxes on all. By way of splendid peace-offering the Pope now canonised St. Louis ( 1297).
Like many impetuous statesmen, Boniface had entered into a quarrel without seeing his way out. Allies he had none. But Philip, or his lieutenant, Charles of Valois, was carrying all before him in Flanders; the wealthy citizens revolted to him from their Count; and Edward I., deserted by his barons, had lost Bruges, nor was in a position to attempt a fresh campaign. Scotland in arms called him to the North. Under these circumstances the two Kings were willing to accept truce and arbitration; but the French lawyers would not allow Boniface as Pope to exercise a sort of masterdom over France, which by and by might be called suzerainty. The peacemaker was to be Gaetani, the man, not the Pontiff An agreement was signed in Rome ( June, 1297) equitable in its provisions, with restitution on both sides. Guienne was to be English; Edward was to marry Philip's sister, and his son Philip's daughter Isabel, the "she-wolf of France," well known to our history. Until all differences were settled, Papal officers would adminster the debated territories. In such terms, and amid his Cardinals at Rome, did Boniface pronounce
POPE BONIFACE VIII. ( A Satirical Portrait from Joachim's "Pope Book." ) the final award. He was acting on the best traditions of the Holy See; but he published the judgment as Pope in the form of a Bull, and thus broke his solemn pledge to arbitrate as a private person. This man never could forget that he had been a lawyer.
With Edward I. his disputes, carried on in the haughtiest language, had been successful, although from Edward's accession the feudal tribute of a thousand marks to Rome was no longer paid. The Scots, in extremity, appealed to him now, maintaining that Scotland was a fief of Rome and therefore could not be subject to the Crown of England--which proves for the last time that the suzerainty of the Pope, a juridical fiction in this case, implied real independence and was far from dishonourable when countries at a distance, like Scotland or Denmark, gloried in it. The Pope accepted their view; laid his imperious commands on Edward to release certain Scottish prelates; denied the feudal claims of England; and summoned the King by his ambassadors to appear in the Curia. Robert of Winchelsea did not deliver this challenging document till some time after it reached him; the great Jubilee came between; and Edward held Scotland in his eagle's claws.
DANTE'S VISION--ANAGNI--END OF THE MIDDLE AGE (1300-1303)
THIS Jubilee, first of its kind, to mark the passing, to welcome the new century, was very splendid, famous, and triumphant, but it need not detain us. Dante saw it, among the thousands of pilgrims who passed to the Apostle's shrine over the bridge of St. Angelo; it is the date which he assigns to his journey through the Kingdoms of the Invisible World; and that perhaps gives its true significance. The great Jubilee was a vision and a farewell. The whole Middle Ages were passing. Princes and poets, friars, canonists, lawyers, the Pope himself, bore witness to a change from sacerdotal to secular supremacy, from the hieratic to the modern or absolute State. One moment suspended, the contest with Philip was speedily resumed, and went on to its fatal issue.
Edward and his Parliament at Lincoln cast aside the Pope's claim to interfere with Scotland. Charles of Valois, descending upon Italy as an avowed champion of the Holy See, permitted the Neri faction to rage in Florence, made Dante a Ghibelline, and roused the country to strong detestation of himself and the Pontiff who had called him across the Alps. With the Fraticelli Boniface had always been at war. He now, by an inconceivable oversight, took from the Franciscans for his own use fort), thousand ducats which they had left in his hands, thereby alienating his most devoted followers, of whom he would soon be in need as never before. He abandoned the Scots; but he did not secure the assistance of King Edward. In earlier days, if the Pope was at enmity with one sovereign he could rely upon another to take up his quarrel. Not so now; by a succession of arrogant, though not always ill-meant practices, Boniface had lost every friend who might have come beween him and the least scrupulous monarch that ever sat on the throne of France.
We shall never know the whole story; it is obscure and half-drowned tied in picturesque falsehoods, told at the time or invented not long after. During the Jubilee, as rumour went, Boniface appeared on one day in the Papal vestments, on the next in those of the Emperor. Before him were carried two swords and the golden orb; lie called himself successor of Peter and Charlemagne, the universal monarch. Again, he sent into France his Bull of Arbitration, sealed in the Pope's name; Robert of Artois flung it into the fire while Philip looked on. These are incredible fictions. But there were unpleasant facts. Robert, in spite of censures, held half the city of Cambrai against its Archbishop. The King sequestrated Laon, because its Bishop had gone to Rome. He would not give back its full estates to the Church of Rheims. He had opened his palace to the Colonna exiles. On the other hand, at Narbonne, conquered long ago from the Albigenses, Viscount and Archbishop were disputing over the feudal homage. Saisset, Bishop of Pamiers, despatched by the Pope on a mission to King Philip, acquitted himself so insolently that on returning to his diocese he was arrested by the royal order, brought to Senlis and put in custody of his Metropolitan. To imprison a Papal Legate was the height of audacity. If it be true that Peter Flotte, arriving in Rome, defended the step in such language as we find attributed to him, we cannot feel surprise at the Pope's indignation. On one single day he put forth, in rapid succession, letter upon letter, demanding that Saisset should be sent immediately to Rome; enacting again the Bull "Clericis Laicos"; citing Bishops, Archbishops, and the leading French clergy to appear in Curia on next All Saints' Day, then and there "to take counsel touching the excesses, crimes, and acts of violence committed by the King of France and his officers," on the Church of God. These four documents appeared in December, 1301. Never, in any previous controversy, had the like of them been published on French soil. What else could they be aiming at, men argued, than to stir up civil war and depose the King?
But Nogaret, Flotte, and the lawyers, did not wait until Boniface had struck the blow. They scattered far and wide an insolent brief paper in which the Pope was brought in saying to Philip, "We do you to wit that you are subject to us in temporals as in spirituals. Your collations to benefices are null and void. All who disbelieve us are heretics." Philip, in a genuine counterblast, replied immediately "To
PHILIP THE FAIR, KING OF FRANCE.
Boniface, who calls himself Pope, little or no greeting. We do your Fatuity to wit that in temporals we are subject to no man. We will uphold the collations we have made. Those who think otherwise are out of their minds." Such were the amenities which ushered in that authentic and sufficiently dignified letter, the "Ausculta Fili." "Let no one persuade you," said the Pope, "that you are not subject to the chief of the heavenly Hierarchy." What did this mean? Spiritual jurisdiction, acting with spiritual weapons? Or a feudal supremacy, backed up by the arms of this world? There lay the point of antagonism. Boniface went on to tell Philip of his injustice and oppressions, which had lost him the people's love; he repeated, in set terms, that no layman had any power over an ecclesiastic; and he still summoned the French clergy to his presence. Philip's answer was emphatic. On January 26, 1302, he had this solemn document publicly burnt before his eyes, all Paris crowding to see the thing done, and its execution announced by sound of trumpet. In April he called the StatesGeneral, nobles, clergy, burgesses. They met in Notre Dame. The King was appealing from the Pope to the nation.
In a skilful address Peter Flotte charged Boniface with maintaining that the King held France, not from God but from the Holy See. It was a question of feudal sovereignty. So the nobles understood; so the Third Estate, which seems to have cherished antipapal sentiments. The clergy knew better but held their peace. Remonstrances were drawn up in French and Latin, signed, and sent to the Cardinals, to the Pope himself, all on the King's side, though in varying tones. Boniface rebuked the clergy for their cowardice, reviled Peter Flotte and branded his doctrine as Manichæan; for such offences he might depose Philip as if he were a groom--had not his predecessors taken their crowns from three French Kings? The prelates must appear at his bidding or they would be deprived. Thus he spoke in Consistory.
The States-General had met in April, 1302. Almost immediately after, Flanders was up in arms against Philip, the most intolerable of oppressors; and on July 11th a company of "weavers and fullers," as Villani exclaims, beat and scattered the choicest French chivalry at Courtrai. Artois was killed, with Chatillon, Brabant, a crowd of knights whose golden spurs became a spoil. Peter Flotte was left dead on the field. This severe blow compelled Philip to make peace with England; but it (lid not bring him to his knees before the Pope. All Saints' Day arrived. Forty-five French bishops and abbots attended the meeting in Rome. On November 18th, Boniface, who had all along denied the interpretation put on his words by the lawyers, published the Bull "Unam Sanctam," in which he insisted that there were two swords at the Church's disposal; that the clergy wielded the sword of the spirit; but that kings and soldiers must wield the sword of the flesh at their bidding; that the temporal order must be judged by the spiritual; and that every human creature was Subject to the Roman Pontiff. This language was not new; it had been taken from Innocent III. But Philip's counsellors, dominated by Nogaret, and with the Colonnas to urge them on, had resolved on a definite and perhaps irrevocable break with the Papacy.
Both sides prepared for the last struggle. Philip made peace with England; endeavoured to conciliate his own people by concessions and fair speeches; confiscated the goods of those Bishops who had gone to Rome; and drew the nation together in a common bond. The Pope, reluctant but compelled, was making terms with Albert of Austria, whom, in May, 1303, he recognised as German Emperor. He consented to the separation of Sicily from Naples. To Philip himself he sent fourteen articles, fierce and peremptory, by Cardinal Lemoinne, which the King answered, not without evasion. In May he was excommunicated, three months' grace being allowed for submission. Again the States-General were convoked in the Louvre, June 13, 1303, "to take counsel on the crimes and disabilities of Benedict Gaetani, calling himself Pope Boniface VIII." In that assembly, Plasian, the royal Attorney-General, produced his charges; he swore on the Gospels that Gaetani was a heretic, infidel, notorious evil-liver, who had a familiar spirit, and had committed every possible crime. His repeated attacks on the King of France showed an implacable hatred towards their realm and nation. All which could and would be proved by this same William of Plasian at a General Council. Philip assented to the requisitions made; he appealed on his own behalf to a Council and the next lawful Pope. The clergy sat silent. But they were compelled to do more. After the King had signed the document, five Archbishops, twenty-one Bishops, eleven of the greater Abbots, among them Cluny, Prémontré, Citeaux, St. Victor, and the Visitors of the Temple and the Hospital Knights, subscribed to these monstrous fictions, in which it is safe to say that not a man there believed.
Still the lawyers were not satisfied. King, nobles, clergy, had all agreed not only to promote the holding of a Council, but to suffer no interdict within the bounds of France, but to disregard every mandate from Rome. The appeal was sent out to every chapter, convent, and religious house, to be signed by clerics and friars. Seven hundred acts of adhesion were thus obtained. Franciscans, Dominicans, military Orders,--including one of the doomed Templars,--all said ay at the King's behest. The University of Paris did not hold out; it was earnest and loud in the same cause. "The unanimous voice of the national conscience," says a German historian, had "grown strong against Papal arrogance." But it is not easy to believe that the clergy, taxed and galled by their opponents, Nogaret, Plasian, and the other lawyers, signed at the bidding of conscience. They may not have loved Boniface; they had every reason to fear King Philip. Their unbroken silence in the States-General is the best explanation of what they felt but dared not say. In a like dilemma the Convocation of Canterbury, challenged by Henry VIII., took refuge in the same silence and allowed the title of Supreme Head of the Church to pass. We cannot describe such cowardly surrenders as acts of the national conscience. Boniface had gone out to Anagni. It was told him what had been done at the Louvre. He called his Cardinals about him; brushed aside with infinite scorn the accusation of heresy,--"We were sound Catholics as long as we favoured King Philip," he said with a grim smile--and fixed on Stephen Colonna as the man who had raised this tempest. He suspended throughout France the right of election to benefices; he deprived the Universities of their teaching privileges. Then, from the exalted throne of St. Peter, he struck Philip with his two-edged sword. He was excommunicate; his people were forbidden to obey him; the clergy must take no preferment from his hand; all oaths sworn to him were abrogated, and leagues in which he had a share were dissolved. On September 8th next ensuing, he would cease to be King of France.
In this lightning-like manner did the spiritual sword glance and gleam round Philip's head. But where was the sword of flesh? Boniface, without even a household guard, was weak and defenceless. He might have been aware that Philip's messengers, citing him to the General Council, were on the way to Anagni. We cannot tell. All we know is that the Paterine, Nogaret, with Sciarra Colonna and one of the Francesi bankers, had arrived near Siena; that they were buying up cut-throat barons in Romagna; and that much intrigue was rife, close to the Pope's person. The French envoys bought their cut-throats and came on. Nogaret had received from Philip a sign-manual which gave him unlimited powers. What to do? Evidently to prevent the execution of a Bull which would leave Philip at the mercy of his enemies. September 7th had arrived; not a moment was to be lost.
On that black and memorable day, Boniface was seated with his Cardinals, feeling how near the crisis had drawn, when they heard the narrow streets of Anagni resounding with shouts, hoofs clattering, and three hundred horse rushing on as to an assault. "Death to the Pope! life to the King!" That was the battle cry, which told them what had happened. Sciarra was there, the banner of the fleur de lys over him; and in his train the kinsfolk of men whom Boniface had banished or cast into prison. The city bell rang; the people assembled; they found themselves under command of Arnulf, a Ghibelline, and were led against the Pope. His palace was assaulted; likewise that of his nephew and the Cardinals loyal to him. But all the Cardinals fled through subterranean passages, and only Boniface held out. He demanded a truce. Eight hours were given. On what terms must he surrender? "Restore the Colonnas to their rank and possessions; abdicate; and yield yourself to Sciarra." He refused with sobs. The assault began once more; Scarra set the neighbouring Church gates on fire; the Pope's nephew surrendered, making terms for himself and his family, and left Boniface to make his own.
In this hour the sense of his sacred office did not desert him. Arraying himself in stole and crown, bearing the cross keys, he sat in the Papal Chair to await these French ambassadors. They approached and did no homage. With insult they told him he must abdicate. "Here is my neck," said the dauntless old mail. Nogaret threatened him with the Council; Boniface cast in his teeth the name of Paterine. But Sciarra, like the ruffian he was, would have killed the Pope with his own hands, had not the less brutal Frenchman interposed. It is said that he struck Boniface on the cheek with his iron gauntlet. Then they set him on a restive horse, paraded him about the streets, and plundered his treasures. At length, after a passion which lasted three days, the people of Anagni came to his relief, when the soldiers were gone. "Good people," he said, "give me a morsel of bread and a cup of wine; I am dying of hunger." He had yielded nothing; but in his desolate palace, which was stripped bare of all it contained--infinite riches, as the tale went--he found no one except the crowd of peasants on whom to bestow absolution.
He was now taken by the Orsini with a mounted squadron back to Rome. But he remained a prisoner. The Colonnas he would not restore to the Sacred College. His spirit was yet, perhaps, unbroken. Calumny has pursued him to the end, telling how he died of rage or poison, or beat out his brains against the wall. His last day in this world was October 11, 1303. When his body was exhumed at the beginning of the seventeenth century, in 1605, it was still entire, and no marks of violence could be seen upon it. We may conclude that his death was more tranquil than his life, and that his breath failed before his reason. Nor can we trust the furious invectives of Dante, who calls this unwise, but energetic and apparently sincere spirit, "the prince of the new Pharisees," and makes St. Peter himself pronounce his doom in heaven.
But this was true, which the poet sings in tones of pity and horror, that Philip, King of France, had inflicted a second time the Passion of Christ on His Vicar. France, which once gave its Charlemagne as a guardian to the Apostolic See, and took the Imperial Roman crown for its reward, was now transformed to a secular power, which in the Papacy beheld no more the Father and Judge of Christendom. Europe cried out at the sacrilege--the crucifixion between two thieves--the second Pilate. But one era had closed; another was opening. With Philip of France the layman began to rule over the clergy; Roman Law had conquered in temporals the Roman Pontiff; our eyes are henceforth set towards the Renaissance, though it tarries in its coming; we have bidden farewell to the Middle Age.
FOR that shameful outrage at Anagni, as the sequel informs us, no one was ever brought to account. Philip, who had pulled down the living Boniface from his seat, pursued him though dead with redoubled animosity. Still he would insist that a General Council should try, convict, and degrade the new Formosus. He was master now. Benedict XI., a mild Dominican, who had been consenting neither to the violence of the Pope nor to the treachery of his enemies, did indeed release from censure the King as well as the French people. He explained away the infelicitous words of " Clericis Laicos " from which all subsequent troubles might seem to have arisen. But he would assemble no Council to try a dead Pope. In self-defence he excommunicated Nogaret and some chief culprits along with him. Yet he restored the Colonna Cardinals to their rank as before. All would not suffice. Within the year he was himself a corpse, poisoned, said the common talk, by Philip, the Ghibellines, or Napoleon Orsini.
An interregnum of nine months followed. It came to an end after Philip, in the Forest of St. Jean d'Angely, had entered into a secret compact with Bertrand de Goth, Archbishop of Bordeaux. The terms were known afterwards, all but one, which is conjectured to have been the destruction of the Templars. If he were chosen as Pope, the Gascon Archbishop undertook to reconcile the King and his partisans with the Church in the fullest manner; to condemn Boniface; to give the Colonnas their castles and lands again. One farther condition, not exacted but fulfilled, of more consequence than all the rest, was that Clement V. should never set foot in Rome. He was elected; crowned at Lyons; and surrounded himself with a Court of French Cardinals. In 1306 he abrogated the Bull " Clericis Laicos " altogether. He interpreted the Bull, " Unam Sanctam," in a spiritual and non-feudal sense. He released Edward I. from his oaths to keep the Charters. He excommunicated Robert Bruce. He consented to hold a Council at Vienne, where he would take all the charges made by Nogaret against his deceased predecessor. He saw the Templars perish. This was the Pope who in 1309 took tip his abode at Avignon, on the left bank of the Rhone, and began the seventy years of Babylonish captivity. With his accession the Papacy had fallen a prisoner into the hands of France.
At Vienne, nevertheless, Philip was, so to speak, nonsuited; Boniface escaped condemnation. Within the term of a natural life, the house of Capet had lost its male heirs, struck by some mysterious disaster. The long war of a hundred years between France and England broke out. And a schism, which lasted down to the Council of Constance in 1415, set up French against Italian Popes, scandalised all Christians, led to Wycliffite heresies, to Lollard risings, to the deposition of three reigning Pontiffs. From Avignon to Constance, from Constance to Basle, from Basle to Luther at the Diet of Worms, we trace an ever-widening path, at the end of which appears the Reformation.
It is wonderful how many large movements and long-standing institutions came to an end in the second half of the thirteenth century. With Frederick II., as we have seen, the Holy Roman Empire ceased to be either Holy or Roman; it was henceforth a name attached to some German Prince, bold and edifying like Rudolph of Hapsburg, degraded and despised like Louis of Bavaria. Rome itself becomes a blank in the world's history--except during Rienzi's brief masquerade--for a hundred and twenty years. With Conradin on the scaffold at Naples the Pope's deposing power may be said to have expired. Never again did the Holy See, in effect, transfer crowns or take them away, though until the seventeenth century forms implying this supreme act of jurisdiction lingered in the Roman Courts, or were gravely set down by canonists and theologians. The enthusiasm, purity, and charm which had shed their lustre on St. Francis, faded or were transmuted into less delightful visions long before the century closed. His brethren, as the Cluniacs, Cistercians, Templars, and many more, gave point to the terrible saying of Lord Falkland, "Religion brought forth riches, and the daughter slew the mother." Those among them who conquered this temptation went often to the other extreme; they became wild mystics with the Fraticelli, schismatics with Michael da Cesena, and by a singular course of events, Erastian or Cæsarean with their English philosopher, William of Occam.
And the Crusades were done; Palestine was abandoned to the Turks, while Spain was wrested from the Moors. Other signs of an approaching consummation of all things might be observed. The Schoolmen drew out a perfect theory of medieval life, thought, government. The architects enshrined it in cathedrals erected and adorned by the people. Dante immortalised it in his superhuman Epic, or Pilgrim's Progress from this world to the world to come. This was the swan song of that astonishing age, without example before or since, when the priesthood ruled over Europe with crozier and sceptre, sword and pen, with Bible, Canon Law, and prophetic oracles, sanctioned by penalties from which neither individual nor nation could escape. It was beyond question a Theocracy. The Pontifex Maximus, King of Kings and Lord of Lords, judged all men and was judged of none.
His temporal power, in this magnificent application of the word, has passed away. But not until it had fulfilled the task allotted to it. The Barbarians, free men but destitute of culture, had been brought under the creative influence of a humane religion; they had been taught the elements of Greek and Latin civilisation; and equality before the law, which was a principle at once Christian and Roman, had begun to be established as the foundation of modern liberty. To the monks who made the wilderness blossom like the rose, had succeeded industrial and republican cities-the League of Lombardy, the Hansa towns, Venice, Florence, Amalfi, Genoa, Bruges, Ghent, Antwerp, London. All over Europe learning was held in honour; the Universities were centres of intellectual freedom. Slaves had become serfs; serfs had been largely emancipated. War itself put on the graces of chivalry. There was a Christendom, the ideals at least of which were peace, brotherhood, holiness. From Councils provincial or cumenical emerged a sense of the nation's unity, and in due time a Law of Nations. Every church gave shelter to innocence, if sometimes also to guilt. Hospitals, almshouses, cloisters opened their gates to the sick, the aged, the outcast. Talent, without regard to birth, might aspire, and not seldom attain, to the highest seats in a spiritual order which held the temporal in check and thus made for independence. Looked at from above, the Church was a Theocracy; seen from below, it was a Democracy. While it leaned on the people, its triumph was assured; when it submitted to the feudal system, it courted disaster. Then the royal authority took away its rod of dominion; the King became Pope; the Pontifex Maximus retired into the holy place before him.
Crimes, abuses, usurpations, scandals, and a secret change about religion in the thoughts of men, will account for this latter-day revolution. But it is difficult to imagine bow Europe could have survived from the Fall of the Empire to modern times, had
THE PAPAL PALACE AND BROKEN BRIDGE OF AVIGNON. ( From an old Steel Plate after T. Ailom.
there been no central, supreme, and acknowledged power like the Papacy, guardian at once of faith, learning, law, civilisation. That it always rose to the height of that great enterprise will not be maintained by the historian; but its benefits outnumbered by far its abuses; and the glory is not dim which hangs round its memory, when we call to mind that it consecrated the beginnings of a peaceful, Christian Europe, and watched beside the springs of art, science, industry, order, and freedom. These are its claims to our admiration and our gratitude. Rome is the meeting-place of all history; the Papal succession, oldest and newest in Europe, filling the space from Cæsar and Constantine to this democratic world of the twentieth century, binds all ages into one and looks out towards a distant future in many Continents. Its chronicle has been a tragedy and a romance; or, as the millions of its faithful believe, a prophecy and a fulfilment. In whatever light we regard it, one stage is marked, and a turning-point fixed, when we stand on the broken bridge of Avignon to contemplate that vast Palace of the Popes, now converted into French barracks, which was for well-nigh seventy years their gilded prison.
LIST OF THE ROMAN PONTIFFS.
(As in the Registers of the Roman Church.)
ST. PETER, PRINCE OF THE APOSTLES, 41-65-67.
Abelard, 247, 254 -256
Adalbert of Bremen, 204
Adalbert of Ivrea, 160, 161
Adalbert, St., 178, 212
Adelchis, 91, 98
Adelaide, Queen of Italy, 157, 163
Afiarta Paul, 86, 87, 90
Agatho, Pope, 66
Agiltrude, 148, 149
Alberic of Camerino, 153
Alberic, Senator, 156 -160
Albert of Austria, 397
Albigenses, 302 -309
Alcuin, 112, 252
Alexander II., Pope, 203, 205, 268
Alexander III., 266, 270, 272, 275, 277 -282
Alexander IV., 354, 358
Alexius Comnenus, 298
Alfonso, King of Castile, 358, 384
Ambrose, St., of Milan, 31, 213
Anacletus (Anti-pope), 249
Anastasius, 122, 138
Anselm of Badoagia, 213
Anselm, St., of Canterbury, 235, 253
Ariald, 213 -215
Arichis, 97, 98
Arnold of Brescia, 258, 259, 261, 262
Arnulf of Bavaria, 147
Arnulf of Metz, 70
Astolph, King of Lombards, 6, 79, 80, 81 -3
Athanasius, St., 29, 33, 59
Attila, 38, 43
Augustine, St., 3, 31
Augustus, 2, 13
Aurelius, Marcus, 22, 377
Bardas, Cæesar, 124 -126
Basil, St., 59
Basil, Emperor, 127
Becket, Thomas, St., 269 -277
Benedict of Aniane, 115
Benedict Levita, 134
Benedict III., Pope, 122
Benedict V., 162, 163
Benedict VI., 165, 167
Benedict VII., 167
Benedict VIII., 181
Benedict IX., 183 -188
Benedict XI., 422
Benedict, St., 58, 59, 62, 192
Bernard, King of Italy, 115, 116
Bernard, St., 246, 248 -250, 256 260
Berengar of Friuli, 149
Berengar of Ivrea, 157, 163
Berengar of Tours, 198, 203
Blanche of Castile, 376
Boniface of Montferrat, 297
Boniface VI., Pope, 148
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