THE CHURCH UNIVERSAL Volume IV
THE CHURCH AND THE EMPIRE
THE CHURCH UNIVERSAL Brief Histories of Her Continuous Life
A series of eight volumes dealing with the history of the Christian Church from the beginning of the present day.
Edited by The Rev. W. H. Hutton, B.D. Fellow and Tutor of S. John's College, Oxford, and Examining Chaplain to the Bishop of Rochester
THE CHURCH OF THE APOSTLES. The Rev. Lonsdale Ragg, M.A., Vicar of the Tickencote, Rutlandshire, and Prebendary of Lincoln Cathedral.
"Mr. Ragg has produced something far better than a mere text-book: the earlier chapters especially are particularly interesting reading. The whole book is well proportioned and scholarly, and gives the reader the benefit of wide reading of the latest authorities. The contrasted growth and fortunes of the Judaic Church of Jerusalem and the Church of the Gentiles are particularly clearly brought out."—Church Times.
"Written in a clear and interesting style, and summaries the early records of the growth of the Christian community during the first century."—Irish Ecclesiastical Gazette.
"A careful piece of work, which may be read with pleasure and profit."—Spectator.
THE CHURCH OF THE FATHERS. The Rev. Leighton Pullan, M.A., Fellow of St. John's College, and Theological Lecturer of St. John's and Oriel Colleges, Oxford.
"If we may forecast the merits of the series by Pullan's volume, we are prepared to give it an unhesitating welcome. We shall be surprised if this book does not supersede of the less interesting Church histories which have served as text-books for several generations of theological students."—Guardian.
"The student of this important period of Church history—the formative period—has here a clear narrative, packed with information drawn from authentic sources and elucidated with the most recent results of investigation. We do not know of any other work on Church history in which so much learned and accurate instruction is condensed into a comparative small space, but at the same time presented in the form of an interesting narrative. Alike the beginner and the advanced student will find Mr. Pullan a useful guide and companion."—Church Times.
THE CHURCH AND THE BARBARIANS. The Editor. 3s. 6d. net.
"In so accomplished hands as Mr. Hutton's the result is an instructive and suggestive survey of the course of the Church's development throughout five hundred years, and almost as many countries and peoples, in Constantinople as well as among the Wends and Prussians, in Central Asia as well as in the Western Isles." Review of Theology and Philosophy.
"The volume will be of great value as giving a bird's-eye view of the fascinating struggle of the Church with heathenism during those spacious centuries."—Church Times.
THE CHURCH AND THE EMPIRE. 1003-1304. By D. J. Medley, M.A., Professor of History in the University of Glasgow. 4s. 6d. net.
THE AGE OF SCHISM. 1304-1503. By Herbert Bruce, M.A., Professor of History in the University College, Cardiff.
"We commend the book as being fair in its judicial criticism, a great point where so thorny a subject as the Great Schism and its issues are discussed. The art of reading the times, whether ancient or modern, has descended from Mr. W. H. Hutton to his pupil." Pall Mall Gazette.
"It is a great period for so small a book, but a master of his subject knows always what to leave out, and this volume covers the period in comfort."—Expository Times.
"Usually such an 'outline' is a bald and bloodless summary, but Mr. Bruce has written a narrative which is both readable and well-informed. We have pleasure in commending his interesting and scholarly work."—Glasgow Herald.
THE REFORMATION. 1503-1648.
By the Rev. J. P. Whitney, B.D., Professor of Ecclesiastical History at King's College, London. 5s. net.
"A book on the Reformation as a whole, not only in England, but in Europe, has long been needed.... This present volume fills, therefore, a real want, for in it the Reformation is treated as a whole.... The value of the book is quite out of proportion to its size, and its importance will be appreciated by all those whose duty or inclination calls to study the Reformation."—Guardian.
"It is certainly a very full and excellent outline. There is scarcely a point in this momentous time in regard to which the student, and, indeed, the ordinary reader, will not find here very considerable help, as well as suggestive hints for further study."—Church Union Gazette.
THE AGE OF REVOLUTION. 1648-1815.
By the Editor. 4s. 6d. net.
"The period is a long one for so small a book, but Mr. Hutton has the gift not of condensing, which is not required, but of selecting the essential events and vividly characterizing them."—Expository Times.
"Mr. Hutton's past studies in Ecclesiastical History are sure to secure him a welcome in this new venture. There is a breadth of treatment, an accurate perspective, and a charitable spirit in all that he writes which make him a worthy associate of Creighton and Stubbs in the great field of history."—Aberdeen Journal.
THE CHURCH OF MODERN DAYS. 1815-1900.
By the Rev. Leighton Pullan, M.A. [In preparation.]
THE CHURCH AND THE EMPIRE
Being an outline of the history of the church from A.D. 1003 to A.D. 1304
D. J. Medley, M.A. Professor of History in the University of Glasgow
While there is a general agreement among the writers as to principles, the greatest freedom as to treatment is allowed to writers in this series. The volumes, for example, are not of the same length. Volume II, which deals with the formative period of the Church, is, not unnaturally, longer in proportion than the others. To Volume VI, which deals with the Reformation, has been allotted a similar extension. The authors, again, use their own discretion in such matters as footnotes and lists of authorities. But the aim of the series, which each writer sets before him, is to tell, clearly and accurately, the story of the Church, as a divine institution with a continuous life.
W. H. Hutton
The late appearance of this volume of the series needs some explanation. Portions of the book have been written at intervals; but it is only the enforced idleness of a long convalescence after illness which has given me the requisite leisure to finish it.
I have tried to avoid overloading my pages with details of political history; but in no period is it so easy to miss the whole lesson of events by an attempt to isolate the special influences which affected the organised society of the Church. The interpretation which I have adopted of the important events at Canossa is not, of course, universally accepted; but the fact that it has seldom found expression in any English work may serve as my excuse.
The Editor of the series, The Rev. W. H. Hutton, has laid me under a deep obligation, first, by his long forbearance, and more lately, by his frequent and careful suggestions over the whole book. It is dangerous for laymen to meddle with questions of technical theology. I trust that, guided by his expert hand, I have not fallen into any recognisable heresy!
Mears Ashby, October, 1910.
CHAPTER I THE BEGINNINGS OF CHURCH REFORM
CHAPTER II GREGORY VII AND LAY INVESTITURE
CHAPTER III THE END OF THE QUARREL
CHAPTER IV THE SECULAR CLERGY
CHAPTER V CANONS AND MONKS
CHAPTER VI ST. BERNARD
CHAPTER VII THE SCHOOLMEN AND THEOLOGY
CHAPTER VIII GUELF AND GHIBELLINE (I)
CHAPTER IX INNOCENT III
CHAPTER X THE PAPAL POWER IN THE CHURCH
CHAPTER XI DOCTRINE AND DISCIPLINE OF THE CHURCH
CHAPTER XII HERESIES
CHAPTER XIII THE MENDICANT ORDERS
CHAPTER XIV THE CHURCH AND THE HEATHEN
CHAPTER XV GUELF AND GHIBELLINE (II)
CHAPTER XVI THE FALL OF THE EMPIRE AND OF THE PAPACY
CHAPTER XVII THE CHURCHES OF THE EAST
The Church and the Empire
[Sidenote: Political thought in Middle Ages.]
The period of three centuries which forms our theme is the central period of the Middle Ages. Its interests are manifold; but they almost all centre round the great struggle between Empire and Papacy, which gives to mediaeval history an unity conspicuously lacking in more modern times. The history of the Church during these three hundred years is more political than at any other period. In order to understand the reason for this it will be well at the outset to sketch in brief outline the political theories propounded in the Middle Ages on the relations of Church and State. So only can we avoid the inevitable confusion of mind which must result from the use of terms familiar in modern life.
[Sidenote: Unity of world.]
Medieval thought, then, drawing its materials from Roman, Germanic and Christian sources, conceived the Universe as Civitas Dei, the State of God, embracing both heaven and earth, with God as at once the source, the guide and the ultimate goal. Now this Universe contains numerous parts, one of which is composed of mankind; and the destiny of mankind is identified with that of Christendom. Hence it follows that mankind may be described as the Commonwealth of the Human Race; and unity under one law and one government is essential to the attainment of the divine purpose.
[Sidenote: Duality of organisation.]
But this very unity of the whole Universe gives a double aspect to the life of mankind, which has to be spent in this world with a view to its continuation in the next. Thus God has appointed two separate Orders, each complete in its own sphere, the one concerned with the arrangement of affairs for this life, the other charged with the preparation of mankind for the life to come.
[Sidenote: Relations of Church and State.]
But this dualism of allegiance was in direct conflict with the idea of unity. The two separate Orders were distinguished as Sacerdotium and Regnum or Imperium; and the need felt by mediaeval thinkers for reconciling these two in the higher unity of the Civitas Dei began speculations on the relation between the ecclesiastical and the secular spheres.
[Sidenote: Theory of Church party.]
The champions of the former found a reconciliation of the two spheres to consist in the absorption of the secular by the ecclesiastical. The one community into which, by the admission of all, united mankind was gathered, must needs be the Church of God. Of this Christ is the Head. But in order to realise this unity on earth Christ has appointed a representative, the Pope, who is therefore the head of both spheres in this world. But along with this unity it must be allowed that God has sanctioned the separate existence of the secular no less than that of the ecclesiastical dominion. This separation, however, according to the advocates of papal power, did not affect the deposit of authority, but affected merely the manner of its exercise. Spiritual and temporal power in this world alike belonged to the representative of Christ.
[Sidenote: Sinful origin of State.]
But the bolder advocates of ecclesiastical power were ready to explain away the divine sanction of temporal authority. Actually existing states have often originated in violence. Thus the State in its earthly origin may be regarded as the work of human nature as affected by the Fall of Man: like sin itself, it is permitted by God. Consequently it needs the sanction of the Church in order to remove the taint. Hence, at best, the temporal power is subject to the ecclesiastical: it is merely a means for working out the higher purpose entrusted to the Church. Pope Gregory VII goes farther still in depreciation of the temporal power. He declares roundly that it is the work of sin and the devil. "Who does not know," he writes, "that kings and dukes have derived their power from those who, ignoring God, in their blind desire and intolerable presumption have aspired to rule over their equals, that is, men, by pride, plunder, perfidy, murder, in short by every kind of wickedness, at the instigation of the prince of this world, namely, the devil?" But in this he is only re-echoing the teaching of St. Augustine; and he is followed, among other representative writers, by John of Salisbury, the secretary and champion of Thomas Becket, and by Pope Innocent III. To all three there is an instructive contrast between a power divinely conferred and one that has at the best been wrested from God by human importunity.
[Sidenote: Illustration of relations.]
There are two illustrations of the relation between the spiritual and secular powers very common among papal writers. Gregory VII, at the beginning of his reign, compares them to the two eyes in a man's head. But he soon substitutes for this symbol of theoretical equality a comparison to the sun and moon, or to the soul and body, whereby he claims for the spiritual authority, as represented by the soul or the sun, the operative and illuminating power in the world, without and apart from which the temporal authority has no efficacy and scarcely any existence. An illustration equally common, but susceptible of more diverse interpretation, was drawn from the two swords offered to our Lord by His disciples just before the betrayal. It was St. Bernard who, taking up the idea of previous writers that these represented the sword of the flesh and the sword of the spirit respectively, first claimed that they both belonged to the Church, but that, while the latter was wielded immediately by St. Peter's successor, the injunction to the Apostle to put up in its sheath the sword of the flesh which he had drawn in defence of Christ, merely indicated that he was not to handle it himself. Consequently he had entrusted to lay hands this sword which denotes the temporal power. Both swords, however, still belonged to the Pope and typified his universal control. By virtue of his possession of the spiritual sword he can use spiritual means for supervising or correcting all secular acts. But although he should render to Caesar what is Caesar's, yet his material power over the temporal sword also justifies the Pope in intervening in temporal matters when necessity demands. This is the explanation of the much debated Translatio Imperii, the transference of the imperial authority in 800 A.D. from the Greeks to the Franks. It is the Emperor to whom, in the first instance, the Pope has entrusted the secular sword; he is, in feudal phraseology, merely the chief vassal of the Pope. It is the unction and coronation of the Emperor by the Pope which confer the imperial power upon the Emperor Elect. The choice by the German nobles is a papal concession which may be recalled at any time. Hence, if the imperial throne is vacant, if there is a disputed election, or if the reigning Emperor is neglectful of his duties, it is for the Pope to act as guardian or as judge; and, of course, the powers which he can exercise in connection with the Empire he is still more justified in using against any lesser temporal prince.
[Sidenote: Theory of Imperial party.]
To this very thorough presentation of the claims of the ecclesiastical power the partisans of secular authority had only a half-hearted doctrine to oppose. Ever since the days of Pope Gelasius I (492-6), the Church herself had accepted the view of a strict dualism in the organisation of society and, therefore, of the theoretical equality between the ecclesiastical and the secular organs of government. According to this doctrine Sacerdotium and Imperium are independent spheres, each wielding the one of the two swords appropriate to itself, and thus the Emperor no less than the Pope is Vicarius Dei. It is this doctrine behind which the champions of the Empire entrench themselves in their contest with the Papacy. It was asserted by the Emperors themselves, notably by Frederick I and Frederick II, and it has been enshrined in the writings of Dante.
[Sidenote: Its weakness.]
The weak point of this theory was that it was rather a thesis for academic debate than a rallying cry for the field of battle. Popular contests are for victory, not for delimitation of territory. And its weakness was apparent in this, that while the thorough-going partisans of the Church allowed to the Emperor practically no power except such as he obtained by concession of or delegation from the Church, the imperial theory granted to the ecclesiastical representative at least an authority and independence equal to those claimed for itself, and readily admitted that of the two powers the Church could claim the greater respect as being entrusted with the conduct of matters that were of more permanent importance.
Moreover, historical facts contradicted this idea of equality of powers. The Church through her representatives often interfered with decisive effect in the election and the rejection of secular potentates up to the Emperor himself: she claimed that princes were as much subject to her jurisdiction as other laymen, and she did not hesitate to make good that claim even to the excommunication of a refractory ruler and—its corollary—the release of his subjects from their oath of allegiance. Finally, the Church awoke a responsive echo in the hearts of all those liable to oppression or injustice, when she asserted a right of interposing in purely secular matters for the sake of shielding them from wrong; while she met a real need of the age in her exaltation of the papal power as the general referee in all cases of difficult or doubtful jurisdiction.
Thus the claims of each power as against the other were not at all commensurate. For while the imperialists would agree that there was a wide sphere of ecclesiastical rule with which the Emperor had no concern at all, it was held by the papalists that there was nothing done by the Emperor in any capacity which it was not within the competence of the Pope to supervise.
THE BEGINNINGS OF CHURCH REFORM
Previous to the eleventh century there had been quarrels between Emperor and Pope. Occasional Popes, such as Nicholas I (858-67), had asserted high prerogatives for the successor of St. Peter, but we have seen that the Church herself taught the co-ordinate and the mutual dependence of the ecclesiastical and secular powers. It was the circumstances of the tenth century which caused the Church to assume a less complacent attitude and, in her efforts to prevent her absorption by the State, to attempt the reduction of the State to a mere department of the Church.
[Sidenote: Lay investiture of ecclesiastics.]
With the acceptance of Christianity as the official religion of the Empire the organisation of the Church tended to follow the arrangements for purposes of civil government. And when at a later period civil society was gradually organising itself on that hierarchical model which we know as feudalism, the Church, in the persons of its officers, was tending to become not so much the counterpart of the State as an integral part of it. For the clergy, as being the only educated class, were used by the Kings as civil administrators, and on the great officials of the Church were bestowed extensive estates which should make them a counterpoise to the secular nobles. In theory the clergy and people of the diocese still elected their bishop, but in reality he came to be nominated by the King, at whose hands he received investiture of his office by the symbolic gifts of the ring and the pastoral staff, and to whom he did homage for the lands of the see, since by virtue of them he was a baron of the realm. Thus for all practical purposes the great ecclesiastic was a secular noble, a layman. He had often obtained his high ecclesiastical office as a reward for temporal service, and had not infrequently paid a large sum of money as an earnest of loyal conduct and for the privilege of recouping himself tenfold by unscrupulous use of the local patronage which was his.
[Sidenote: Clerical marriage.]
Furthermore, in contravention of the canons of the Church, the secular clergy, whether bishops or priests, were very frequently married. The Church, it is true, did not consecrate these marriages; but, it is said, they were so entirely recognised that the wife of a bishop was called Episcopissa. There was an imminent danger that the ecclesiastical order would shortly lapse into an hereditary social caste, and that the sons of priests inheriting their fathers' benefices would merely become another order of landowners.
[Sidenote: Church reform.]
Thus the two evils of traffic in ecclesiastical offices, shortly stigmatised as simony and concubinage—for the laws of the Church forbade any more decent description of the relationship—threatened to absorb the Church within the State. Professional interests and considerations of morality alike demanded that these evils should be dealt with. Ecclesiastical reformers perceived that the only lasting reformation was one which should proceed from the Church herself. It was among the secular clergy, the parish priests, that these evils were most rife. The monasteries had also gone far away from their original ideals; but the tenth century had witnessed the establishment of a reformed Benedictine rule in the Congregation of Cluny, and, in any case, it was in monastic life alone that the conditions seemed suitable for working out any scheme of spiritual improvement. The Congregation of Cluny was based upon the idea of centralisation; unlike the Abbot of the ordinary Benedictine monastery, who was concerned with the affairs of a single house, the Abbot of Cluny presided over a number of monasteries, each of which was entrusted only to a Prior. Moreover, the Congregation of Cluny was free from the visitation of the local bishops and was immediately under the papal jurisdiction. What more natural than that the monks of Cluny should advocate the application to the Church at large of those principles of organisation which had formed so successful a departure from previous arrangements in the smaller sphere of Cluny? Thus the advocates of Church reform evolved both a negative and a positive policy: the abolition of lay investiture and the utter extirpation of the practice of clerical marriages were to shake the Church free from the numbing control of secular interests, and these were to be accomplished by a centralisation of the ecclesiastical organisation in the hands of the Pope, which would make him more than a match for the greatest secular potentate, the successor of Caesar himself.
[Sidenote: Chances of reform.]
It is true that at the beginning of the eleventh century there seemed little chance of the accomplishment of these reforms. If the great secular potentates were likely to cling to the practice of investiture in order to keep a hold over a body of landowners which, whatever their other obligations, controlled perhaps one-third of the lands in Western Christendom; yet the Kings of the time were not unsympathetic to ecclesiastical reform as interpreted by Cluny. In France both Hugh Capet (987-96) and Robert (996-1031) appealed to the Abbot of Cluny for help in the improvement of their monasteries, and this example was followed by some of their great nobles. In Germany reigned Henry II (1002-24), the last of the Saxon line, who was canonised a century after his death by a Church penetrated by the influences of Cluny. It was the condition of the Papacy which for nearly half a century postponed any attempt at a comprehensive scheme of reform. Twice already in the course of the tenth century had the intervention of the German King, acting as Emperor, rescued the see of Rome from unspeakable degradation. But for nearly 150 years (904-1046), with a few short interludes, the Papacy was the sport of local factions. At the beginning of the eleventh century the leaders of these factions were descended from the two daughters of the notorious Theodora; the Crescentines who were responsible for three Popes between 1004 and 1012, owing their influence to the younger Theodora, while the Counts of Tusculum were the descendants of the first of the four husbands who got such power as they possessed from the infamous Marozia. The first Tusculan Pope, Benedict VIII (1012-24), by simulating an interest in reform, won the support of Henry II of Germany, whom he crowned Emperor; but in 1033 the same faction set up the son of the Count of Tusculum, a child of twelve, as Benedict IX. It suited the Emperor, Conrad II, to use him and therefore to acknowledge him; but twice the scandalised Romans drove out the youthful debauchee and murderer, and on the second occasion they elected another Pope in his place. But the Tusculan influence was not to be gainsaid. Benedict, however, sold the Papacy to John Gratian, who was reputed a man of piety, and whose accession as Gregory VI, even though it was a simoniacal transaction, was welcomed by the party of reform. But Benedict changed his mind and attempted to resume his power. Thus there were three persons in Rome who had been consecrated to the papal office. The Archdeacon of Rome appealed to the Emperor Conrad's successor, Henry III, who caused Pope Gregory to summon a Council to Sutri. Here, or shortly afterwards at Rome, all three Popes were deposed, and although Benedict IX made another attempt on the papal throne, and even as late as 1058 his party set up an anti-pope, the influence of the local factions was superseded by that of a stronger power.
[Sidenote: Imperial influence.]
But the alternative offered by the German Kings was no more favourable in itself to the schemes of the reformers than the purely local influences of the last 150 years. As Otto I in 963, so Henry III in 1046 obtained from the Romans the recognition of his right, as patrician or princeps, to nominate a candidate who should be formally elected as their bishop by the Roman people; and as Otto III in 996, so Henry III now used his office to nominate a succession of men, suitable indeed and distinguished, but of German birth. This was not that freedom of the Church from lay control nor the exaltation of the papal office through which that freedom was to be maintained. Indeed, so long as fear of the Tusculan influence remained, deference to the wishes of the German King, who was also Emperor, was indispensable, and when that King was as powerful as Henry III it was unwise to challenge unnecessarily and directly the exercise of his powers.
[Sidenote: Leo IX (1048-54).]
But Henry, although, like St. Henry at the beginning of the century, he kept a strong hand on his own clergy, was yet thoroughly in sympathy with what may be distinguished as the moral objects of the reformers; and, indeed, the men whom he promoted to the Papacy were drawn from the class of higher ecclesiastics who were touched by the Cluniac spirit. Henry's first two nominees were short-lived. His third choice was his own cousin, Bruno, Bishop of Toul, who accepted with reluctance and only on condition that he should go through the canonical form of election by the clergy and people of Rome. On his way to Rome, which he entered as a pilgrim, he was joined by the late chaplain of Pope Gregory VI, Hildebrand, who had been in retirement at Cluny since his master's death. Not only did the new Pope, Leo IX, take this inflexible advocate of the Church's claims as his chief adviser, but he surrounded himself with reforming ecclesiastics from beyond the Alps. Thus fortified he issued edicts against simoniacal and married clergy; but finding that their literal fulfilment would have emptied all existing offices, he was obliged to tone down his original threats and to allow clergy guilty of simony to atone their fault by an ample penance. But Leo's contribution to the building up of the papal power was his personal appearance, not as a suppliant but as a judge, beyond the Alps. Three times in his six years' rule he passed the confines of Rome and Italy. On the first occasion he even held a Council at Rheims, despite the unfriendly attitude of Henry I of France, whose efforts, moreover, to keep the French bishops from attendance at the Council met with signal failure. Here and elsewhere Pope Leo exercised all kinds of powers, forcing bishops and abbots to clear themselves by oath from charges of simony and other faults, and excommunicating and degrading those who had offended. And while he reduced the hierarchy to recognise the papal authority, he overawed the people by assuming the central part in stately ceremonies such as the consecration of new churches and the exaltation of relics of martyrs. All this was possible because the Emperor Henry III supported him and welcomed him to a Council at Mainz. Nor was it a matter of less importance that these visits taught the people of Western Europe to regard the Papacy as the embodiment of justice and the representative of a higher morality than that maintained by the local Church.
[Sidenote: Effect of Henry III's death.]
Quite unwittingly Henry III's encouragement of Pope Leo's roving propensities began the difficulties for his descendants. It is true he nominated Leo's successor at the request of the clergy and people of Rome; but Henry's death in 1056 left the German throne to a child of six under the regency of a woman and a foreigner who found herself faced by all the hostile forces hitherto kept under by the Emperor's powerful arm. And when Henry's last Pope, Victor II, followed the Emperor to the grave in less than a year, the removal of German influence was complete. The effect was instantaneous. The first Pope elected directly by the Romans was a German indeed by birth, but he was the brother of Duke Godfrey of Lorraine, who, driven from Germany by Henry, had married the widowed Marchioness of Tuscany. and was regarded by a small party as a possible King of Italy and Emperor. Whatever danger there was in the schemes of the Lotharingian brothers was nipped in the bud by the death of Pope Stephen IX seven months after his election. Then it became apparent that the removal of the Emperor's strong hand had freed not only the upholders of ecclesiastical reform but also the old Roman factions. The attempt was easily crushed, but it became clear to the reformers that the papal election must be secured beyond all possibility of outside interference. At Hildebrand's suggestion and with the approval of the German Court, a Burgundian, who was Bishop of Florence, was elected as Nicholas II. The very name was a challenge, for the first Nicholas (858-67) was perhaps the Pope who up to that time had asserted the highest claims for the See of Rome.
[Sidenote: Provision for papal election.]
The short pontificate of the new Nicholas was devoted largely to measures for securing the freedom of papal elections from secular interference. By a decree passed in a numerously attended Council at the Pope's Lateran palace, a College or Corporation was formed of the seven bishops of the sees in the immediate neighbourhood of Rome, together with the priests of the various Roman parish churches and the deacons attendant on them. To the members of this body was now specially arrogated the term Cardinal, a name hitherto applicable to all clergy ordained and appointed to a definite church. To all Roman clergy outside this body and to the people there remained merely the right of assent, and even this was destined to disappear. More important historically was the merely verbal reservation of the imperial right of confirmation, which was further made a matter of individual grant to each Emperor who might seek it from the Pope. In view of the revived influence of the local factions it was also laid down that, although Rome and the Roman clergy had the first claim, yet the election might lawfully take place anywhere and any one otherwise eligible might be chosen; while the Pope so elected might exercise his authority even before he had been enthroned.
[Sidenote: Papacy and Normans.]
But in the presence of a strong Emperor or an unscrupulous faction even these elaborate provisions Papacy might be useless. The Papacy needed a champion in the flesh, who should have nothing to gain and everything to lose by attempting to become its master. Such a protector was ready to hand in the Normans, who, recently settled in Southern Italy, felt themselves insecure in the title by which they held their possessions. Southern Italy was divided between the three Lombard duchies of Benevento, Capua and Salerno, and the districts of Calabria and Apulia, which acknowledged the Viceroy or Katapan of the Eastern Emperor in his seat at Bari. The Saracens, only recently expelled from the mainland, still held Sicily. Norman pilgrims returning from Palestine became, at the instigation of local factions, Norman adventurers, and their leaders obtaining lands from the local Princes in return for help, sought confirmation of their title from some legitimate authority. The Western Empire had never claimed these lands, but none the less Conrad II and Henry III, in return for the acceptance of their suzerainty, acknowledged the titles which the Norman leaders had already gained from Greek or Lombard. Rome was likely to be their next victim, and Leo IX took the opportunity of a dispute over the city of Benevento to try conclusions with them. A humiliating defeat was followed by a mock submission of the conqueror. The danger was in no sense removed. Pope Stephen's schemes for driving them out of Italy were cut short by his death, and meanwhile the Norman power increased. Thus there could be no question of expulsion, nor could the Papacy risk a repetition of the humiliation of Leo IX. It was Hildebrand who conceived the idea of turning a dangerous neighbour into a friend and protector. A meeting was arranged at Melfi between Pope Nicholas and the Norman princes, and there, while on the one side canons were issued against clerical marriage, which was rife in the south of Italy, on the other side Robert Guiscard, the Norman leader, recognised the Pope as his suzerain, and obtained in return the title of Duke of Apulia and Calabria and of Sicily when he should have conquered it. Pope Leo's agreement, six years before, had been made by a defeated and humiliated ecclesiastic with a band of unscrupulous adventurers. Pope Nicholas was dealing with an actual ruler who merely sought legitimate recognition of his title from any whose hostility would make his hold precarious. Thus resting on the shadowy basis of the donation of Constantine the Pope substituted himself for the Emperor, whether of West or of East, over the whole of Southern Italy. Truly the movement for the emancipation of the Church from the State was already shaping itself into an attempt at the formation of a rival power.
[Sidenote: Alexander II (1061-73) and Milan.]
The value of this new alliance to the Papacy was put to the test almost immediately. On the death of Pope Nicholas (1061) the papal and imperial parties proceeded to measure their strength against each other. The reformers, acting under the leadership of Hildebrand, chose as his successor a noble Milanese, Anselm of Baggio, Bishop of Lucca, who now became Alexander II. He was elected in accordance with the provisions of the recent Lateran decree, and no imperial ratification was asked. On the purely ecclesiastical side this choice was a strong manifesto against clerical marriage. The city of Milan as the capital of the Lombard kingdom of Italy had for many centuries held itself in rivalry with Rome. Moreover, it was the stronghold of an aristocratic and a married clergy, which based its practice on a supposed privilege granted by its Apostle St. Ambrose. But this produced a reforming democracy which, perhaps from the quarter whence it gained its chief support, was contemptuously named by its opponents the Patarins or Rag-pickers. The first leader of this democratic party had been Anselm of Baggio. Nicholas II sent thither the fanatical Peter Damiani as papal legate, and a fierce struggle ended in the abject submission of the Archbishop of Milan, who attended a synod at Rome and promised obedience to the Pope.
[Sidenote: German opposition.]
The weak point in the decree of Nicholas II had been that the German clergy were not represented at the Council which issued it, and it was construed in Germany as a manifest attempt of the reforming party to secure the Papacy for Italy as against the German influence maintained by Henry III. The Roman nobles also had seen in the decree the design of excluding them from any share in the election. It was only by the introduction of Norman troops into Rome that the new Pope could be installed at the Lateran. A few weeks later a synod met at Basle in the presence of the Empress-Regent and the young Henry IV. The latter was invested with the title of Patrician, and the election of Alexander having been pronounced invalid, a new Pope was chosen in the person of another Lombard, Cadalus Bishop of Parma, who had led the opposition to the Patarins in the province of Milan. The Normans were recalled to their dominions, and the imperialist Pope, Honorius II, was installed in Rome. The struggle between the rival Popes lasted for three years (1061-4), and fluctuated with the fluctuations of power at the German court. Here the young King had fallen under the influence of Archbishop Hanno of Koln, who, surrounded by enemies in Germany, hoped to gain a party by the betrayal of imperial interests in the recognition of the decree of Nicholas II and of the claims of Alexander. Again by the help of a Norman force Alexander was installed in Rome, where he remained even when Hanno's influence at the German court gave way to that of Archbishop Adalbert of Bremen. Honorius, however, despite the desertion by the imperialist party, found supporters until his death in 1072, and it was only by the arms of Duke Godfrey of Tuscany acting for the imperialists and those of his own Norman allies that Alexander held Rome until his death.
[Sidenote: Steps towards reformation.]
Meanwhile the ecclesiastical reformation went steadily on under the direction of Hildebrand. The young King Henry endeavoured to free himself from the great German ecclesiastics who held him in thrall, by repudiating the wife whom they had forced upon him. He was checked by the austere and resolute papal legate, Peter Damiani, and was obliged to accept Bertha of Savoy, to whom subsequently he became much attached. Peter Darniani's visit, however, brought him relief in another way, for the legate took back such a report of the prevalence of simony that the archbishops of Mainz and Koln were summoned to Rome, whence they returned so humiliated that their political influence was gone. It is almost equally remarkable that the two English Archbishops also appeared at Rome during this Pontificate, Lanfranc of Canterbury in order that he might obtain the pall without which he could not exercise his functions as Archbishop, and Thomas of York, who referred to the Pope his contention that the primacy of England should alternate between Canterbury and York. In France, too, we are told that the envoys of Alexander interfered in the smallest details of the ecclesiastical administration and punished without mercy all clergy guilty of simony or of matrimony. Almost the last public act of Pope Alexander was to excommunicate five counsellors of the young King of Germany, to whom were attributed responsibility for his acts, and to summon Henry himself to answer charges of simony and other evil deeds.
GREGORY VII AND LAY INVESTITURE
[Sidenote: Gregory VII (1073-85).]
The crowd which attended the funeral of Alexander II acclaimed Hildebrand as his successor. The Cardinals formally ratified the choice of the people and contrary to the wish of the German bishops the young King Henry acquiesced.
[Sidenote: His rise to power.]
The new Pope was born a Tuscan peasant and educated in the monastery of St. Mary's on the Aventine in Rome. His uncle was the Abbot, and the monastery was Roman lodging of the Abbot of Cluny. Hildebrand entered the service of Gregory VI, whom he followed into exile. On his master's death in 1048 Hildebrand retired to Cluny. Hence he was drawn once more back to Rome by Pope Leo IX. From this moment his rise was continuous. Leo made him a Cardinal and gave him the charge of the papal finances. In 1054 he sent him as legate to France in order to deal with the heresy of Berengar of Tours. Hildebrand was no theologian, and he accepted a very vague explanation of Berengar's views upon the disputed question of the change of the elements in the Sacrament. On Leo's death Hildebrand headed the deputation which was sent by the clergy and people of Rome to ask Henry III to nominate his successor; and again, on the death of Victor II, although Hildebrand took no part in the choice of Stephen IX, it was he who went to Germany to obtain a confirmation of the election from the Empress-Regent. On Stephen's death Hildebrand's prompt action obtained the election of Nicholas II. It was probably Hildebrand who worded the decree regulating the mode of papal elections, and whose policy turned the Normans from troublesome neighbours into faithful allies and useful instruments of the papal aims. Nicholas rewarded him with the office of Archdeacon of Rome, which made him the chief administrative officer of the Roman see and, next to the Pope, the most important person in the Western Church. Hildebrand was the chief agent in the election of Alexander II; and the ultimate triumph of Alexander meant the reinstatement of Hildebrand at head-quarters. Thus it had long been a question of how soon the maker of Popes would himself assume the papal title, and this was settled for him by the acclamations of the people. In memory of his old master he took the title of Gregory VII. As yet he was only in deacon's orders. Within a month he was ordained priest; but another month or more elapsed before he was consecrated bishop.
[Sidenote: Opportunity of reform.]
At last the individual who was most identified in men's minds with the forward movement in the Church was the acknowledged head of the ecclesiastical organisation in the West. For more than twenty years he had been at headquarters intimately knowing and ultimately directing the course of policy. It was mainly by his exertions that the Church was now officially committed to the views of the Cluniac reformers. Yet so much opposition had been called forth as to show that the success of the party hitherto had depended merely on the circumstances of the moment. The time seemed to have arrived when matters should be brought to an issue. The continued existence of the Roman factions and the power of Henry III had made compromise necessary, and the general result of the reformers' efforts upon the Church had been inappreciable. But the lapse of time had done at least two things—it had cleared the issue and it had brought the opportunity.
[Sidenote: Direction in which reform should move.]
The Church was so entirely enmeshed in the feudal notions of the age that at first it was not very clear to the reformers where it would be most effective to begin in the process or cutting her free. But by this time it was seen that the real link which bound the Church to the State was the custom by which princes took it on themselves to give to the new bishop, in return for his oath of homage, investiture of his office and lands by the presentation of the ring which symbolically married him to his Church, and of the pastoral staff which committed to him the spiritual oversight of his diocese. Probably there was not a single prince in Western Europe who pretended to confer on the new bishop any of his spiritual powers; but the two spheres of the episcopal work had become inextricably confused, and in the decay of ecclesiastical authority the lay power had treated the chief ecclesiastics as mainly great officers of State and a special class of feudal baron. In the eyes of the reformers the entire dealing of the King with the bishops was an act of usurpation, nay, of sacrilege. Ecclesiastics owed to the sovereign of the country the oath of fealty demanded of all subjects. But for the rest, neither bishop, abbot, nor parish priest could be a feudal vassal. The land which any ecclesiastic held by virtue of his office had been given to the Church; the utmost claim that any layman could make regarding it was to a right or rather duty of protection. If the Church was to be restored to freedom, investiture with ring and staff, and the control of the lands during vacancy of an ecclesiastical office must all be claimed back for the Church herself. The oath of homage would then naturally disappear, and there would no longer be that confusion of spheres which had resulted in the laicisation and the degradation of the Church.
[Sidenote: Henry IV and the German clergy.]
Moreover, the moment was propitious for asserting these views to the fullest extent. The chief represenative of lay authority was no longer a powerful Emperor nor even a minor in the tutelage of others. He was a King of full age whose wayward, not to say vicious, courses had alienated large numbers of his people. It is true that Henry IV never had much chance of becoming a successful ruler. Taken from his mother at the age of twelve, for the next ten years (1062-72) he had been controlled alternately by two guardians, of whom one, Adalbert, Archbishop of Bremen, allowed him every indulgence, while the other, Hanno, Archbishop of Koln, hardly suffered him to have a mind of his own. Since he had become his own master he had plunged into war with his Saxon subjects. Henry, entangled in this war, answered Gregory's first admonitions in a conciliatory tone; but in 1075 he decisively defeated the Saxons and was in no mood to listen to a suggestion for the diminution of the authority of the German King in his own land, which he had just so triumphantly vindicated. For Henry imitated his predecessors in practising investiture of bishops both in Germany and in Italy; and he realised that the summons of the Pope to the temporal princes that they should give up such investiture would mean the transference to the Papacy of the disposal of the temporal fiefs. This would involve the loss at one blow of half the dominions of the German King. Moreover, he was encouraged in an attitude of resistance by the feeling of the German Church. At the first Lenten Synod held in the Lateran palace after Gregory's accession canons were issued forbidding all married or simoniacal ecclesiastics to perform ministerial functions and all laity to attend their ministrations. Immediate opposition was raised; the German clergy were especially violent: they declared that this prohibition of marriage was contrary to the teaching of Christ and St. Paul, that it attempted to make men live like angels but would only encourage licence, and that, if it were necessary to choose, they would abandon the priesthood rather than their wives. Gregory, however, sent legates into various districts armed with full powers, and succeeded in rousing the populace against the married clergy.
[Sidenote: Gregory's decree against investiture.]
It was under these circumstances that Gregory determined to bring to an issue the chief question in dispute between Church and State. Hitherto he had said nothing against the practice of lay investiture. Now, however, at the Lenten Synod in 1075, a decree was issued which condemned both the ecclesiastic, high or low, who should take investiture from a layman, and also the layman, however exalted in rank, who should dare to give investiture. The decree had no immediate effect, and at the end of the year Gregory followed it up with a letter to the King, in which he threatened excommunication if before the meeting of the next usual Lenten Synod Henry had not amended his life and got rid of his councillors, who had never freed themselves from the papal ban.
[Sidenote: Henry's Answer.]
Henry's answer was given at a Synod of German ecclesiastics at Worms. Cardinal Hugh the White, who for personal reasons had turned against Gregory, accused him of the most incredible crimes, and a letter was despatched in which the bishops renounced their obedience. Henry also addressed a letter to the Pope, which quite surpassed that of the bishops in violence of expression. "Henry, King not by usurpation but by the holy ordination of God, to Hildebrand now no apostolic ruler but a false monk." It accused him of daring to threaten to take away the royal power, as if Henry owed it to the Pontiff and not to God: and it concluded by a summons to him to descend from his position in favour of some one "who shall not cloak his violence with religion, but shall teach the sound doctrine of St. Peter." It was nothing new for a Pope to be deposed by a Council presided over by the Emperor. And it is true that the same resolution, transmitted by delegates from Worms, was adopted at Piacenza by a Synod of Italian bishops. But on this occasion the sentence was uttered by an assembly of exclusively German bishops, presided over by a King who was not yet crowned Emperor. If such a sentence was to be effective, Henry should have followed it up by a march to Rome with an adequate army. He merely courted defeat when he gave the Pope the opportunity for a retort in kind. Anathema was the papal weapon, and while the King's declaration might even be resented by other rulers as an attempt to dictate to them in a matter of common concern to all, the papal sentence on the King was regarded by all as influencing the fate, not of the King only, but of all who remained in communication with him, if not in this world, at any rate in the world to come. Moreover, in this particular case, while no one believed the monstrous charges against Gregory, there was sufficient in Henry's past conduct to give credibility to anything that might be urged against him.
[Sidenote: Gregory deposes Henry.]
Gregory's rejoinder was delivered at the Lenten Synod of 1076. As against the twenty-six German bishops assembled at Worms, this Council contained over a hundred bishops drawn from all parts of Christendom, while among the laity present was Henry's own mother, the Empress Agnes. Gregory used his opportunity to the full. In the most solemn strain he appealed to St. Peter, to the Virgin Mary, to St. Paul and all the saints, to bear witness that he himself had unwillingly taken the Papacy. To him, as representative of the Apostle, God had entrusted the Christian people, and in reliance on this he now withdrew from Henry, as a rebel against the Church, the rule over the kingdoms of the Teutons and of Italy, and released all Christians from any present or future oath made to him. Finally, for his omissions and commissions alike, Henry is bound in the bonds of anathema "in order that people may know and acknowledge that thou art Peter, and upon thy rock the Son of the living God has built His Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it."
The rhetorical flourish of the King's pronouncement against the Pope withers before the tremendous appeal of the Pope to his divinely delegated power to judge the King. Gregory's procedure was little less revolutionary than that of the King, but the claim to depose might appear as only a concomitant to the power already wielded by Popes in bestowing crowns, while for Gregory it had by this time become the copingstone in the fabric of those relations between Church and State which he and his party were building up.
[Sidenote: Gregory's allies: Countess Matilda.]
Gregory's position was not devoid of difficulties. Numerous protests were raised against this assertion of papal power. But events concurred to justify Gregory's bold action. At the beginning of his pontificate the Normans were quarrelling among themselves; but in Tuscany the Countess Matilda had just become complete mistress of the great inheritance which included a large part of Central Italy. She was an enthusiastic supporter of the Papacy, and secured North Italy by a revival of the Patarine party against the Italian bishops who had repudiated Gregory at Piacenza.
[Sidenote: Rebellious German Nobles.]
But Gregory's most effective allies were Henry's rebellious subjects. The Saxons broke out again into rebellion in the north, while the nobles of Southern Germany with the concurrence of the Pope met at Tribur, near Mainz, in October, 1076. Henry was forced to accept the most abject terms. He was to submit to the Pope, and the nobles further agreed among themselves that the Pope should be invited to pronounce the decisive judgment at a diet to be held at Augsburg a year later. If by that time Henry had not obtained the papal absolution, the kingdom would be considered forfeit, and they would proceed to the election of a new King without waiting for permission of the Pope. The nobles were hampered by the rivalry of those who hoped each to be Henry's successor, and they did not wish to found the election of the new King on the acknowledgment of the papal power of deposition. They acted, therefore, as if so far, apart from the excommunication, the papal sentence of deposition had been only provisional.
[Sidenote: Henry's Action.]
Henry saw that to be reinstated by the Pope in an assembly of his rebellious subjects would be even more damaging for his prestige than the original deposition, and, knowing nothing of the agreement of the nobles for a new election, he determined to go and get his absolution from the Pope at Rome. He treated the points in dispute between himself and his opponents as practically settled by his promise of submission, whereas the Pope desired to pose as arbiter between the contending parties in Germany; while the nobles aimed at electing a new King. Quite unconsciously Henry was forcing the hands of both parties of his opponents, whose obvious interests were in favour of delay. It was necessary that he should drink the cup of humiliation to the dregs; but the astute King preferred that it should be at his own time and place—at once and in Italy, instead of a year hence in Germany.
Henry carried out his design, even though it was in the middle of winter; and neglecting the welcome of the imperialists of North Italy, he ultimately tracked the Pope to the Countess Matilda's fortress of Canossa, in the Apennines, above Modena. But Gregory would listen to no mediation, and demanded absolute submission to his judgment. So Henry again took the method of procedure into his own hands and appeared at intervals during three successive days before the castle in the garb of a penitent, barefooted and clad in a coarse woollen shirt. The picturesque account of this world-famous scene, which we owe to Lambert of Hersfeld, must be regarded as the monastic version current among the papal partisans. Gregory himself, who was scarcely likely to minimise his own triumph, in his letter to the German nobles says nothing of these details. He only relates that even his own followers exclaimed that "tyrannical ferocity" rather than "apostolic severity" was the characteristic of his act.
[Sidenote: Result Of Canossa.]
Thus Henry forced the hand of the Pope, who as a priest could not refuse his absolution to one who showed himself ready to submit to the severest possible penance for his sins. The only course open to Gregory was to accept the situation on which he had lost the hold, and to try to get some political concessions in the negotiations which must follow. The terms did not differ much from those arranged at Tribur: Henry should accept the decision of the diet of the German nobles, presided over by the Pope, as to his continued right to the crown, while if the judgment was favourable, he should implicitly obey the Pope for the future in all that concerned the Church. But, on the other hand, the papal excommunication and absolute sentence of deposition were removed, and the whole excuse for continued rebellion was thus withdrawn from his German opponents. Henry had undoubtedly been humiliated and had acknowledged the papal arbitration in Germany: but modern feelings probably exaggerate the humiliation of the penitential system, and Henry had at least divided his enemies. The Pope had undertaken to see fair play between Henry and his German subjects: the German nobles had based their action on Henry's past conduct, for which he had now done penance. Henry had obtained an acknowledgment from the Pope that his right to the kingship was at any rate an open question.
[Sidenote: Election of an anti-king.]
The German nobles had been betrayed by the Pope, but they could not afford to quarrel with him. They had been outwitted by Henry, and against him they proceeded as having violated the Agreement of Tribur. A Diet met at Forchheim, in Franconia, in March, 1077. It was chiefly composed of lay nobles, but papal legates were present, whom Gregory instructed to work for a postponement until he himself could come. But the nobles were determined, and Henry's brother-in-law, Duke Rudolf of Suabia, was chosen King. Gregory, however, did not intend to have his hand forced again, and for three years (1077-80) he refused to acknowledge Rudolf and tried to pose as arbiter between him and Henry. Five times Rudolf's supporters wrote remonstrating indignantly against this neutrality. Gregory excused himself on the ground that his legates had been deceived and had acted under compulsion in acquiescing in the action of the diet at Forchheim. He had good reasons for his delay. He was determined to secure recognition of the right which he claimed for the Papacy as the real determining force in the dispute, an act which the nobles had deliberately prevented. Moreover, he was a little afraid of a trial of strength with Henry at the moment. For while Henry's promptness had caused the Pope to break faith with his allies, Gregory's severity had gathered round Henry a party which made the King more powerful than he yet had been. Thus in Lombardy the Countess Matilda was faced by a revived imperialist party which seriously threatened her dominions, while in Germany the clergy, the lesser nobles and the cities rallied round the King.
[Sidenote: Gregory accepts him.]
So long, then, as the contest seemed doubtful Gregory withheld his decision. At length, in 1080, when, despite two victories, Rudolf was gaining no advantage, Gregory felt that further delay might make Henry too strong to be affected by the papal judgment. Accordingly, at the usual Lenten Synod he renewed the excommunication and deposition of Henry, recognised Rudolf as King of Germany, and even prophesied for the excommunicated monarch a speedy death. One papal partisan afterwards explained this as referring to Henry's spiritual death! Gregory is further said to have sent a crown to Rudolf, bearing the legend "Petra dedit Petro, Petrus diadema Rudolpho," but the story is doubtful. The answer of Henry's party was given in successive synods of German or Italian bishops, who declared Gregory deposed, and elected as his substitute Henry's Chancellor, Guibert, Archbishop of Ravenna, who took the title of Clement III.
[Sidenote: Death of anti-King.]
Gregory's decisive move was a failure. There were now two Kings and two Popes, and all hope of a peaceful settlement was gone. None of the nations of Europe responded to Gregory's appeal. Robert Guiscard, the Norman leader, was busy with his designs on the Eastern Empire. Gregory's only chance was a victory in Germany and the fulfilment of his rash prophecy. In October, 1080, Henry was defeated in the heart of Saxony on the Elster, but it was Gregory's accepted King, Rudolf, who was killed. One chronicler reports Rudolf as acknowledging in his dying moments the iniquity of his conduct. Saxony remained in revolt; but until a new King could be agreed upon Henry was practically safe and could turn to deal with the situation in Italy. There could be no thought of peace. Gregory's supporters were upheld by the enthusiasm of fanaticism, while by acts and words he had driven his enemies to exasperation, and what had begun as a war of principles had now sunk to a personal struggle between Henry and Hildebrand.
[Sidenote: Death of Gregory.]
The renewal of the sentence against Henry had caused a reaction in his favour in Northern Italy. Soon after the episode of Canossa, the Countess Matilda, having no heir, had bequeathed her entire possessions to the Roman see and become a papal vassal for the term of her own life. But most of the Tuscan cities declared for Henry and thus entirely neutralised her power. Robert Guiscard was not to be tempted back from his projects against the Eastern Empire, even if it be true that Gregory offered him the Empire of the West. Thus Henry entered Italy unhindered early in 1081, and even the news that his opponents had found a successor to Rudolf in the person of Herman of Luxemburg did not stop his march. The siege of Rome lasted for nearly three years (1081-4), but ultimately he obtained possession of all the city except the castle of St. Angelo. Henry's Pope, Clement III, was consecrated, and on Easter Day Henry, together with his wife, at length obtained the imperial crown. But meanwhile he had made a fatal move. The Eastern Emperor Alexius persuaded him to make mischief in Apulia. Henry fell into the trap. Robert Guiscard rushed back to defend his own territories, and now determined to carry out his obligations as a papal vassal. Henry was taken unawares and had to retire before the Normans, who forced their way into Rome and cruelly sacked and burnt it. Gregory was rescued, but life for him in Rome was no longer possible. The Romans had betrayed him to Henry, and now his allies had destroyed the city. He retired with the Normans to Salerno, where, a year later, he died (May, 1085), bitterly attributing his failure to his love of righteousness and hatred of iniquity.
[Sidenote: His reasons for his failure.]
But we cannot ratify Gregory's own judgment on the reasons for his failure. Rather the blame is to be laid upon his lack of statesmanship. His egotism and his fanaticism worked together to make him believe that the supremacy of the spiritual power which he aimed at might be attained by very secular devices. In action he showed himself a pure opportunist, approving at one time what he condemned at another. And yet he had so little of an eye for the line which separates the practicable from the ideal that at Canossa he humiliated Henry beyond all hope of reconciliation, and he died in exile because he would not listen to any compromise which might be an acknowledgment that he had exaggerated his own claims. Thus, despite the undoubted purity of his life and the ultimate loftiness of his ideals, he is to be regarded rather as a man of immense force of character than as a great ecclesiastical statesman, rather as the stirrer-up of divine discontent than as a creative mind which gives a new turn to the desires and impulses of the human race.
[Sidenote: His activity in Europe.]
All this is borne out by his dealings outside Germany and Italy. He conducted a very extensive correspondence with princes as well as ecclesiastics all over Europe. Indeed this, as much as the despatch of legates and the annual attendance of bishops at the Lenten Synod, was one of the means by which the Papacy strove to make itself the central power of Christendom. These letters deal with all kinds of subjects and bear ample witness to his personal piety and high moral aims. But alongside of these come arrogant assertions of papal authority. He claims as fiefs of St. Peter on various grounds Hungary, Spain, Denmark, Corsica, Sardinia; he gives the title of King to the Duke of Dalmatia; he even offers to princes who belong to the Eastern Church a better title to their possessions as held from St. Peter.
[Sidenote: His policy in France.]
Gregory's great contest with the Empire has been described without interruption, as if it were the only struggle of his time, instead of being merely the most important episode in a very busy life. And if we ask in conclusion why it was fought out in the imperial dominions rather than elsewhere, the answer will be instructive of his character and methods of action. At the beginning of his pontificate his harshest phrases were directed against Philip I of France, who added to the crimes of lay investiture and shameless simony a scandalous personal immorality. Ultimately Gregory threatened him with excommunication and deposition. But he never passed beyond threats. The reason is to be found in the fact that Gregory was soon in pursuit of larger game. The French King only shared with his great nobles the investiture of the bishops in the kingdom. Moreover, the French bishops were not as a body great secular potentates like the German bishops. The opposition to reform in France was passive, not active. Crown, nobles, and Church stood together in opposition: there was no papal party. Not enough was to be gained by a victory, and there was great chance of a defeat. The result was that Philip continued his simoniacal transactions and never entirely gave up investiture, while Gregory allowed himself to be satisfied with occasional promises of better things. His dealings with the French bishops are equally inconclusive. For six years (1076-82) two of the papal legates divided France between them, practically superseded the local ecclesiastical jurisdiction, and acted with the utmost severity against all, ecclesiastics or laymen, who practised the methods now under condemnation. Great opposition was aroused and the legates went in peril of their lives. They were only carrying out strenuously the principles laid down under Gregory's guidance in many acts of synods and inculcated by Gregory in numberless private letters. And yet Gregory is found frequently undoing their acts, restoring bishops whom they have deposed, accepting excuses or explanations which cannot possibly have deceived him.
[Sidenote: In England.]
His policy towards England affords another instructive contrast. Both in Normandy and in England William the Conqueror practised investiture of his bishops and abbots and held his ecclesiastics in an iron grip. He refused the papal demand for homage for his English kingdom and he would allow no papal interference with his clergy without the King's permission. Archbishop Lanfranc also only consented to accept the decree against married clergy with a serious limitation—while married canons were to dismiss their wives at once, parish priests already married were not interfered with; but marriage was forbidden to clergy in the future, and bishops were warned not to ordain married men. But William's expedition to England had been undertaken with the approval of Hildebrand, he did not practise simony, and he acknowledged the principle of a celibate clergy, while he promised the payment of the tribute of Peter's Pence from England. Moreover, William was not a man to be trifled with: he was a valuable friend and would certainly be a dangerous enemy. Consequently no question of the lawfulness of investiture was mooted during his lifetime. Gregory contented himself with threats against Lanfranc. But the English Archbishop owed a grudge to Gregory, who had treated with a culpable indulgence the great heresiarch Berengar after Lanfranc had vanquished him and convicted him of heresy; and Lanfranc knew that under William's sheltering favour he was safe from the papal ban.
Thus, while in France Gregory would have to face an united people, in England he shrank before the personality of the King. In Germany, on the other hand, he found a blameworthy King and a discontented people. All the elements were present for the successful interference of an external power. Moreover, the peculiar relations in which this external power—the Papacy—stood towards the German King, the prospective Emperor, gave every excuse, if any were needed, for such interference. Finally and most especially, since these imperial prospects made the German King the first among the monarchs of Western Europe, a victory over him would carry a prestige which lesser potentates would be bound to acknowledge.
THE END OF THE QUARREL
[Sidenote: A momentary peace.]
It remained to be seen whether Gregory's failure implied Henry's success. The Emperor returned to Germany, where a strong desire for peace had grown up and was taking practical shape. In some dioceses the Truce of God was proclaimed, which, under heavy ecclesiastical penalties, forbade hostilities during certain days of the week and certain seasons of the year. Henry took up this idea, which as yet was too partial to be effective, and in 1085, in a Synod at Mainz under his presidency, it was proclaimed for the whole kingdom. The unfortunate anti-King Herman found himself deserted, and died, a fugitive, in 1088. Henry's moderation concluded what the desire for peace had begun, and even Saxony seemed to be reconciled to his rule.
[Sidenote: Urban II (1088-99).]
But his triumph was short-lived. Between him and any lasting peace stood the anti-Pope Clement III; for all who had received consecration at Clement's hands were bound at all hazards to maintain the lawfulness of his election. Moreover, Clement's opponent now was a man to be reckoned with. The first choice of the Gregorian party, Desiderius, Abbot of Monte Cassino, could not be consecrated for a year after his election, and four months later he was dead (September, 1087). The partisans of Clement were too strong in Rome, and the next election was carried out with total disregard of the decree of Nicholas II. It took place at Terracina in March, 1088, and was made by a large number of clergy in addition to the Cardinals. The choice fell upon Otto, Bishop of Ostia, a Frenchman of noble family and a monk of Cluny; but it was some years before Urban II could regard Rome as his headquarters.
[Sidenote: His policy against Henry.]
In some ways Urban was more uncompromising than his master Gregory. He upheld the papal legates in their strict treatment of the French bishops; he actually launched against Philip I of France the excommunication which Gregory had only threatened; to the prohibition of lay investiture he added an explicit command that bishops and clergy should not do homage to any layman. But while he showed himself thus in thorough sympathy with his predecessor, in his power of dealing with circumstances he proved himself by far the superior. A succession of clever if thoroughly unscrupulous measures restored the fortunes of the papal party. Henry had succeeded for the moment in dividing and isolating his enemies. Urban set himself to unite the chief opponents of Henry on both sides of the Alps. He planned a marriage between the middle-aged widow, the Countess Matilda of Tuscany, and the eighteen-year-old son of Welf, Duke of Bavaria (1089). Matilda was ready to sacrifice herself for the good of the cause. The Welfs, ignorant of Matilda's gift of her lands to the Papacy, eagerly accepted the bait; but soon discovering that they were being used as tools, they ceased to give any help, and in fact became reconciled to the Emperor. But meanwhile the Pope had discovered other more deadly weapons with which to wound the Emperor. The deaths of the anti-Kings had left the papal party without a leader in Germany. Events had shown the firm hold of the hereditary claim and the Salian House upon a large portion of the Empire. The only acceptable leader would be a member of Henry's own house. Henry's actions played into their hands. His eldest son, Conrad, had been crowned at Aachen in 1087 and sent into Italy to act as his father's representative. He is described as a young man of studious and dreamy character, unpractical and easily influenced. In 1087 Henry lost his faithful wife Bertha, and a year later he married a Russian Princess, Praxedis, who was the widow of the Count of the Northern March. The marriage was unhappy; each accused the other of misconduct; and Henry, suspecting the relations of Conrad with his stepmother, put them both in prison. Perhaps Conrad had already been worked upon by the papal party. He escaped, took refuge with the Countess Matilda, and was crowned King of Italy (1093). But he was only the tool of others. Far more immediately dangerous was the escape of Praxedis (1094), who laid before the Pope the foulest charges against Henry. To her lasting shame the Countess Matilda was the chief agent in these family revolts. The effect on Henry's position in Italy was disastrous. Pope Urban finally recovered Rome, and Conrad, having won the cities of Lombardy, took an oath of fealty to the Papacy in return for a promise of the Empire.
[Sidenote: Beginning of the Crusades.]
And just as if the success of these diabolical schemes was not a sufficient triumph, fortune at this moment gave the Pope a chance of superseding the Emperor in the eyes of all Europe, by inaugurating a great popular movement of which under different circumstances the Emperor would have been the natural leader. In 1085 the Eastern Emperor Alexius had appealed to Henry against the Normans, but now Henry was a negligible quantity—excommunicated, crowned Emperor by an anti-pope, not likely to undertake a distant expedition. In 1095, therefore, when Alexius needed aid against the Seljuk Turks, it was to the Pope that he sent his envoys, who appeared at the Synod of Piacenza. Those late converts to Mohammedanism had established their kingdom of Roum over the greater part of Asia Minor with its capital at the venerable city of Nicaa, and had captured Jerusalem, which thus passed out of the hands of the tolerant Caliphs of Cairo into those of the most fanatical section of Mohammedans. Pilgrims returning from Jerusalem spread through Europe tales of the harsh treatment to which they were subjected. Then in 1087 a new tribe of Saracens, the Almoravides, crossed from Africa to Spain and inflicted a severe defeat upon a Christian army. It seemed almost as if a combined movement of the Mohammedan world had begun for the final extinction of Christendom. If Gregory had been free he would have wished to promote the reunion of the Churches by sending help to the Eastern Empire; so that it was no novel idea that was suggested to the assembled magnates at Piacenza. Urban II no doubt saw the opportunity offered for asserting the leadership of the western world. Alexius' envoys were heard with sympathy; but Urban felt the need of appeal to a larger public, and summoned a great Council to Clermont-Ferrand in Auvergne, where he would be among his own countrymen. Here in November, 1095, he delivered before a vast concourse of persons assembled in the open air an impassioned appeal on behalf of the suffering Christians of the east. The result answered his utmost expectation, and the cry of the assembled multitude, "God wills it," was the ratification of the papal leadership. All methods were taken to stir the feelings of the west. The vast ecclesiastical organisation was used in order to transmit invitations to possible crusaders; the penitential system of the Church was brought to bear on those already conscious of a sinful life; popular preachers, such as Peter the Hermit, were employed to rouse the interest of the masses; the Pope himself spent the succeeding months in a tour through Southern France; and arrangements were made for the start of the first expedition from the Italian ports at the end of the summer of 1096, under the leadership of a legate appointed by the Pope.
[Sidenote: The first Crusade.]
It is not possible here to follow the fortunes of the Crusaders. Several unauthorised expeditions, which bore witness to the popular enthusiasm, made their way through Southern Germany; but the disorderly crowds which composed them perished either at the hands of the inhabitants of the Eastern Empire, whom they treated as schismatics, or among the Turks in Asia Minor. The real expedition passed partly by land, partly by sea from the Italian ports to Constantinople, whence the Crusaders set out across Asia Minor. Nicaa was taken in June, 1097; the Sultan of Roum was overthrown in battle at Dorylaum in July; Antioch detained the Crusaders from October, 1097, to June, 1098; and it was only in July, 1099, that after a siege of forty days Jerusalem was captured from the Saracens of Egypt, who had recently recovered it from the Turks.
[Sidenote: Its effect on the quarrel.]
But whatever may have been Urban's success in his own land of France and elsewhere, in Germany, at any rate, his efforts to turn the current against the Emperor had entirely failed. Of German lands Lorraine alone sent warriors to the First Crusade. The movement did not penetrate to the east of the Rhine, and the number of Germans who helped to swell the multitude of crusaders who marched through Southern Germany was inappreciable. At the same time the settlement of the questions at issue between Papacy and Empire were indefinitely postponed; for it would have been treason to the crusading cause to press the papal claims against Henry at this moment. It was Henry's turn to experience some good fortune. The proclamation of the Truce of God under his auspices, the manifest interest of the German ecclesiastics, and his own policy of favouring the rising cities combined to strengthen his position. Thus in 1098 he was able to obtain from the German nobles the deposition of his rebellious son Conrad and the election of his younger son Henry as King, who was made to promise that during his father's lifetime he would not act politically against him. Then in 1099 Pope Urban died, and was followed in 1100 by the anti-Pope Clement III, and in 1101 by Conrad. All the personal causes of disunion were being removed. Moreover, the success of the crusading policy made it impossible that Henry or Germany should stand apart from it altogether. Although Jerusalem was the capital of a Christian kingdom and other principalities centred round Tripoli, Antioch, and the more distant Edessa, powerful Mohammedan Princes lay close beside them at Damascus, Aleppo, and Mossul, as well as to the south in Egypt. There was need of constant reinforcement, for the fighting was continual. Under these inducements Germany began to contribute crusaders to the cause. Duke Welf of Bavaria led an army eastwards in 1101. In 1103 Henry's efforts in favour of peace culminated in the proclamation at the Diet of Mainz of the first imperial land peace sworn between King and nobles, which bound the parties to it for four years to maintain the peace towards all communities in the land. This was intended as a preliminary to Henry's participation in an expedition to the east.
[Sidenote: Death of Henry IV.]
But this was the very last thing desired by Henry's enemies, and there began a most unscrupulous attack which ended only with his death. Pope Urban's successor, Pascal II, strengthened by the death of the anti-Pope Clement and the failure of his party to maintain a successor, renewed the excommunication against Henry, and did everything deliberately to stir up strife in Germany. The nobles were angry at the cessation of private war and at the favour shown by Henry to the towns. But again they lacked a leader, and with diabolical craft the papal party worked upon the young King Henry by threatening to set up against him an anti-King who should rob him of the eventual succession. The result was that the young King broke his solemn promise, set up the standard of revolt, and was joined by nobles, ecclesiastical as well as lay, and by the restless Saxon rebels. By a trick he got his father into his power and forced him formally to abdicate, while he himself was crowned King by the papal legate. But the Emperor escaped, and with marvellous energy gathered adherents; but a renewal of the struggle was staved off by his own death after a few days' illness on August 6th, 1106.
[Sidenote: His justification.]
Henry never shook himself free from the difficulties of his own early misdeeds; but the rights upon which he took his stand were those exercised by his predecessors. The uncompromising attitude of his opponents and their humiliation of him made it a life-long struggle between them. Henry was no saint; but his opponents' tactics were indefensible. Under less adverse circumstances he might have proved a successful ruler. But he was the victim of a party which deliberately subordinated means to ends in pursuit of an ideal which Henry could scarcely be expected to understand or appreciate.
[Sidenote: Henry V.]
The papal party in its malice had overreached itself in selecting Henry V as its champion. True, he had destroyed the most stubborn enemy of the Papacy; but his own interests caused him to adopt his father's policy. His one object was to recover the prestige which the German King had lost in the struggles of the last twenty years. He was undisputed King in Germany; he showed an unscrupulous and overbearing demeanour which aroused opposition on all sides. He was not likely to be content with less power than his father had demanded over the German clergy, and at the first vacancies he invested the new bishops.
[Sidenote: Growth of a party of compromise on investiture.]
Henry's bold action was not altogether without reason. For some years there had been growing up within the ranks of the advocates of reform a moderate party which, while opposed to simony and clerical marriage, saw in the continued and close union of Church and State an indispensable guarantee of social order. They aimed therefore at conserving the rights of the Crown no less than at recovering those of the Church. This party is found especially among the French clergy. One of its chief spokesmen, the Canonist Ivo, Bishop of Chartres, who had suffered much for his enthusiasm for reform, insists in his correspondence even with the Pope himself, that the prohibition passed upon lay investiture is not among the class of matters which have been settled by a law for ever binding, but among those which have been enjoined or forbidden, as the case might be, for the honour or profit of the Church, and he appropriately bids the papal legate beware lest the Roman clergy should incur the charge of taking tithe of mint and rue while they omit the weightier precepts of the law. Moreover, both he and his friend Hugh of Fleury, in a treatise dealing with the "Royal Power and Priestly Office," maintain that the King has the power, "by the instigation of the Holy Spirit," of nominating bishops, or at least of granting permission for their election; and that, while the royal investiture, however made by word or act, pretends to bestow no spiritual authority, but merely estates or other results of royal munificence, it is for the archbishop to commit to a newly elected prelate the cure of souls.
[Sidenote: Settlement in England.]
This distinction, repugnant as it was to the extremists, soon found practical application. Lanfranc's successor in the See of Canterbury, Anselm, was, like his predecessor, an Italian, transferred from Normandy to England. He had to contend with the typical King of an unrestrained feudalism in the person of William II. A succession of quarrels ended in Anselm's retirement to Italy. Recalled by Henry I, he took back with him the maxims of the reformers about investiture, and refused to do the required homage to the new King. Henry was not an unreasonable man, and he sent Anselm to bring about some arrangement with the Pope. However, it was not until a rupture was imminent that Pope Pascal was persuaded to acquiesce in an agreement on the lines advocated by Ivo of Chartres and his party. By this Concordat (1107) Henry I agreed to give up his claim to invest with the ring and staff, while Archbishop Anselm allowed that the elected bishop might do homage for his lands to the King.
[Sidenote: Pascal II (1099-1118).]
At present neither side in the Empire was sufficiently honest in its intentions to be willing to accept so reasonable a settlement. But the fact that the Pope had felt himself obliged to allow it in one case sensibly weakened his position and correspondingly strengthened that of the German King. It was typical of Pascal's position in general. Though strongly Gregorian in principle, he was neither clever nor courageous, and was inclined to take up a position which he could not maintain. Intent on renewing the prohibition of lay investiture and afraid of Henry, Pascal determined to support himself upon France. Here, at any rate, Philip I had gradually dropped the practice of investiture of bishops. The papal censures of his scandalous private conduct uttered by Gregory and Urban had had no effect. Pascal accepted professions of amendment and acts of humiliation, and ceased to trouble himself further about Philip's private affairs. A Council of French bishops was held at Troyes (1107), where the decrees against lay investiture were renewed. The one gleam of hope for the future appeared in Pascal's deliberate abstention from any pronouncement against the King in person. Henry, occupied on the eastern border, could not pay his first visit to Italy until the beginning of 1111, and it was not without significance that on the eve of setting out he betrothed himself to the daughter of Henry I of England. He was more fortunate than his father had been in the moment of his visit. The Lombard cities quarrelling among themselves were quickly forced to submission; the Countess Matilda, grown old and tired of strife, sent her envoys to do homage for the imperial fiefs; the Normans had just lost their Duke. Pope Pascal, finding himself isolated, did not dare to meet by a simple negative Henry's demand for the right of investiture as well as for his coronation as Emperor.
[Sidenote: His proposal.]
By way of escaping from his difficulty he sent to the King an astonishing proposal. The King was to renounce the right of investiture and all interference in the elections, in return for which the prelates should give up all imperial lands and rights with which they were endowed, retaining merely the right to tithes, offerings, and private gifts: the papal rights over the Patrimony of St. Peter and the Norman lands were specially excepted. It has been pointed out that this was the policy which Count Cavour made famous as "a free Church in a free State." It seems almost impossible that Pascal should have thought that the German bishops would accept this solution: he may have hoped that they could be coerced into it. But in contracting himself out of the obligations to be imposed on all other ecclesiastical dignitaries, he practically renounced any claim to set the policy of the Church. Henry may have aimed at digging an impassable ditch between the Pope and the German bishops. It was an impossible agreement; for neither bishops nor lay nobles would wish to see so large an addition to the King's resources, while Henry himself could not afford to surrender the right of investiture, since it would stultify his claim to a voice in the election of the Pope.
[Sidenote: Henry's success.]
The publication of the agreement at Rome caused great tumults, Henry contriving that all the odium should fall upon the Pope. Then, since Pascal could not fulfil the part of the agreement which he had made on behalf of the Church, Henry forced him, the successor of Gregory, to acquiesce in the exercise by the German King of the right of investiture with ring and staff. Henry was crowned Emperor, though with very maimed ceremonial, and returned in triumph to Germany.
[Sidenote: Pascal's withdrawal.]
But his triumph was short, for he was immediately threatened with danger from two quarters. On the one side the leaders of the Ultramontane party were naturally most wrathful at this betrayal of their cause, and Pascal, threatened with deposition, placed himself in their hands. At the Lenten Synod of 1112 he confirmed all the decrees of his predecessor against lay investiture, thus annulling his own agreement with Henry. But he avoided issuing any sentence of excommunication against Henry in person. His own legates, however, had no such scruples, and in France Cardinal Conon took advantage of the strong feeling among the clergy to launch excommunications against the Emperor in several ecclesiastical Councils during 1114 and 1115. Guido, Archbishop of Vienne, presiding over a Council of Henry's own subjects at Vienne in 1112, had already condemned their sovereign and forced Pascal to acquiesce in the resolution.