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ITALY, 1125-1152.



The treaty which was concluded at Worms in 1122 between Pope Calixtus II and the Emperor Henry V marks the close of a great period of history. With that treaty the long contest which took its name from the question of Investitures ended, when its chief interest was becoming exhausted and new times were bringing new tendencies. Neither power could boast a complete victory. The strength of an idea, the unity of Christendom, which animated both Empire and Papacy, formed a bulwark to each institution against every attempt of the other towards full supremacy. Yet, during the strife, the Papacy had vastly improved its political position, more especially in relation to the Empire. Raised to a great moral height by the internal reform which had been effected, chiefly by the impulse given by the genius of Gregory VII, the Papacy had conquered in the world a very different position from that which it had held in the time of the Ottos and the early Henries. The universality of its spiritual jurisdiction was now recognized, and, if causes of new discords could arise with regard to the frontiers between that jurisdiction and other powers, at least the Papacy’s independence of those powers was securely established. On its side, the Empire had contested with energy the papal claims and the tendency of the Church to withdraw itself, even in temporal things, from the dominion of every royal right, and to create almost a State within the State. Owing to this opposition, the Church had been obliged to accept limits and restraints for its aggressive and domineering inclinations. Still, the long resistance of the Papacy, and its preaching of the First Crusade, which it proclaimed to the world while the Empire, its foe, could take no part therein, diminished the ideal conception of the universal power of the Emperor. He was in so far placed in a position of inferiority towards the Pope, who was establishing himself securely as lord of souls and spiritual director of the world.

Meanwhile, in Italy throughout the eleventh century there were developing the hidden seeds of a great transformation. The ancient Latin civilization, torpid for centuries but never dead, was slowly awaking. The new elements in the population, which one after another had penetrated into Italy, had at last completed their laborious fusion with the ancient elements, which, as they absorbed them, joined with them in unfolding the beginning of a new life. In North Italy the distance of the imperial authority had favored the almost unnoted development of another factor in Italian life, the Commune, which speedily grew vigorous, especially in Lombardy, and diminished or annihilated the strength of feudal institutions, and was soon to stand proud and threatening even in face of the Emperor. Intellectual culture, which had never entirely failed among Italian laymen even when it had sunk to its lowest point among the clergy, took on a new development; at the same time as agriculture, manufactures and commerce began to flourish in Lombardy and Central Italy, and, reaching the sea-routes, came to Venice, to Pisa, and to Genoa, whose maritime power spread daily more and more. The exuberant growth, the wealth, the vigor of the communes nourished in them a need of independence, which, on one side, undermined the foundations of the power of the feudal nobility, and, on the other, rendered those sturdy plebeians impatient of the rights and authority which were claimed over them by the Empire. Southern Italy and Sicily contained districts which were prosperous owing to the richness of the soil and the long tradition of maritime commerce; and there the Norman princes were gathering together in one dominion the various elements which co-existed in regions occupied for centuries by rulers so diverse in tendencies of civilization, in religion, and in race. It was a combination not yet close and united, but already strong through the energy, the wealth, and the fine political ability of the Norman dynasty, ever on the watch to draw new advantages from the various relations, sometimes friendly, sometimes hostile, in which it stood with the Empires of East and West, and the near and jealous authority of the Roman pontiffs. The Norman princes aroused both the good wishes and the fears of the Church; the Papacy saw in their growing power the possibility of a support for itself, but still more the development of a neighbor which was too strong and ever determined to use its strength without scruple.

The new period of the relations of Italy and the Papacy with the Empire began soon after the conclusion of the Concordat of Worms, on the death of the Emperor Henry V in 1125 and the extinction of the Franconian house. In Germany there was discord over the election of a new king. At the Diet of Mainz, on 30 August 1125, Lothar of Supplinburg, Duke of Saxony, was elected King of the Romans, but not without opposition. A powerful party favored another candidate, Frederick of Hohenstaufen, Duke of Swabia. He was considered both the natural successor of Henry V to whom he was nearly related, and the heir of the political traditions of the Salian house. The ecclesiastical party in Germany, on the other hand, favored Lothar, and it was possible for Pope Honorius II, in supporting the Saxon, to show clearly all the weight and importance of his aid. Lothar was elected, but Frederick of Swabia did not submit to the election, and civil war burst out in Germany, putting the Crown in a danger which the beginning of an unfortunate war with Bohemia rendered the more serious. In such grave circumstances, Lothar naturally appreciated all the value of the Church’s help, and he found the Pope eager to give it, whether in order to profit thereby in gaining a better position in his relations with the Empire, or because of the fear with which the anti-papal tendencies of the Hohenstaufen inspired him.

In fact, the Pope, on his side, had need of Lothar, and understood all the opportunities offered by an alliance with him. While the principle of papal authority had been so exalted in the face of the royal authority and in the conscience of distant peoples, the Pope did not find close at hand that deference and submission which would allow his activity to develop. In South Italy, the Norman policy upset all the papal schemes and claims. William, Duke of Apulia, died childless at Salerno in 1127, and Roger II, Count of Sicily, who claimed to be his natural heir, hastened to Apulia to take possession of his lands. The Pope, invoking his feudal suzerainty over William’s territories, proceeded to Benevento, and hurled sentence of excommunication against Roger, who, far from being terrified, countered him by laying waste the Beneventan country­side. The Pope stirred up Robert, Prince of Capua, and many barons against his foe, but was soon, against his will, obliged to yield, and in August 1128 had to submit to invest Roger with the duchy of Apulia and Calabria. Thus a strong monarchy was founded, while for the moment there remained no other advantage to the Papacy than a theoretic right of suzerainty over it.

Meanwhile, in Latium the more powerful barons exercised a lordship against which the forces of Honorius were spent in continual war. Rome itself, although always divided by the factions of the more powerful families, seems to have allowed him to enjoy some kind of peace; but it was a truce rather than a peace, as his successors were very soon to learn. The ferment of political life, which was raising up the other Italian communes, was working too in Rome, and rendered the citizens ever more impatient of the pontifical rule, to which they had never felt themselves wholly subject. Never quite autonomous, never quite subjects either of Pope or Emperor, the medieval Romans were for centuries in a truly singular position. At this time events were pending which were to determine Rome’s tendencies towards communal autonomy, and cause the vain dream of lost greatness to hover over the Capitol.

To these diverse circumstances, which caused Honorius to desire the coming of Lothar, there was added another which gave him motive and opportunity to repeat the invitation to hasten to Rome for the imperial crown. In Germany, the party favorable to the house of Swabia not only was still in revolt but in December 1127 at Spires had raised up another king against Lothar in the person of Conrad of Hohenstaufen, brother to Frederick of Swabia, who agreed to the election. Conrad, leaving his brother in Germany to defend his cause in arms, descended into Italy, where Anselm Pusterla, Archbishop of Milan, placed the Iron Crown on his head; and the new king immediately advanced his claims to the inheritance of Countess Matilda. These claims alone, without any other reasons, would have sufficed to make Honorius his enemy; and the Pope did not hesitate to excommunicate him along with the archbishop who had crowned him. In spite of the excommunication, however, Conrad maintained himself in Italy, and found his chief support in the Milanese, who were to be later such bold and tenacious adversaries of his house.


The disputed election of 1130


On 13 February 1130 Honorius II died at Rome, and his death was the beginning of a most dangerous schism in the Church. On the same day Cardinal Gregory, titular of Sant’ Angelo, and Cardinal Peter, titular of St Calixtus, were elected almost at the same moment, and took respectively the names of Innocent II and Anacletus II. Both were members of powerful Roman houses: Innocent belonged to the Papareschi, Anacletus to the Pierleoni. Their elevation threw Rome into discord. Both elections had been hasty, both perhaps hardly canonical; but there were plausible reasons for maintaining the validity of either, and the case was doubtful. Without delay both the claimants vigorously maintained their pretensions before the world, and both turned to Lothar with the object of attracting his support; but Lothar, doubtful and occupied with German affairs, at first avoided declaring for either. It was indubitably most important to obtain the recognition of the Emperor-designate, but other powerful influences affected Christendom and served to decide its future. From the beginning, while Christendom was still uncertain between the two rivals, Innocent appeared more confident in himself and in his right, and this confidence was not without its value. Thanks to the great power of the Pierleoni, who held the upper hand in Rome, Anacletus, master of the Vatican and supported by the greatest Roman nobles, soon forced Innocent to take to flight; he went by sea to Pisa, and thence by way of Genoa betook himself to France. He found his chief stay in St Bernard, who after a brief hesitation espoused his cause. This extraordinary man, whose fascination drew his contemporaries irresistibly whithersoever his inspired zeal called them, soon saw with what troubles a schism at that time would be charged, and threw himself into a combat for the unity of the Church. His influence had the greatest weight. The Kings of France and England decided for Innocent, and one after the other in January 1131 met him with every demonstration of reverence and honor. Their example was soon followed by the King of the Romans. On 22 March 1131, Innocent and Lothar met at Liege, where the Pope held a synod, in which he hurled the anathema against Anacletus and against Conrad and Frederick of Hohenstaufen. A few days later, on 29 March, Innocent repaired to the cathedral with great pomp, while the king acted as his squire and held the bridle of his horse; then the Pope solemnly placed the royal crown on the heads of Lothar and of his wife Richenza. At the meeting at Liege it was settled that Lothar should proceed to Rome to receive the imperial crown, and to recover for Innocent the city from the anti-Pope. Taking the opportunity, Lothar attempted to re-open the question of Investitures, and to recover the advantages which the Empire had lost; but he met with a firm resistance, and St Bernard, along with the German prelates who were in favor of the rights of the Church, supported the Pope. Lothar understood that it would be unwise to insist, and was obliged to yield and abandon the attempt.

The schism could now be considered as overcome in the main; but Anacletus had still sufficient strength to resist the recognized Pope. The cities of north and central Italy, intent on their special interests, had not been much excited over the schism, but sided in general with Innocent, with the exception of Milan, which favored Anacletus more owing to its political opposition to Lothar than for any other reason. Yet Anacletus was master of Rome, and, strongly established there, had turned to the south for aid and become closely allied to Roger of Sicily. The shrewd Norman was not slow to see the profit which he could gain from this alliance. He met Anacletus at Avellino on 27 September 1130, and, in return for an annual tribute in recognition of the papal suzerainty, obtained the title of “King of Sicily and of the Duchies of Apulia and Calabria”. Thus the foundation of a southern monarchy, to which Honorius II had formerly agreed with reluctance, was now consecrated by the concessions of an anti-Pope, which in the sequel were to be confirmed and permanently recognized by the legitimate pontifical authority.

Although the state of the German kingdom was anything but quiet, it was indispensable that Lothar should turn his thoughts to Italy, and, after making his authority prevail there, come back to Germany with the prestige and strength which the imperial crown would gain him. In the summer of 1132 he started; but the harassing circumstances of the time did not allow him to collect a strong army. Accompanied by Queen Richenza, he passed the Alps and descended into Italy. From the first, owing to the scanty forces at his disposal and the hostility of powerful communes like Verona and Milan, he could make little show of authority. He attempted in vain to subdue Crema, and, after having lost a month in the useless siege, had to cross Lombardy warily, avoiding the places which showed themselves hostile and approaching those cities which favored him more by reason of their enmity to Milan than because of their reverence for the Empire. In November, he met Innocent, who had preceded him to Lombardy, and on the plain of Roncaglia held a diet, in which he consulted on the general condition of the Church and the Empire with the Pope and such Lombards as had answered his summons. Together with the Pope he marched from Piacenza towards Rome, slowly journeying amid populations which greeted him with coldness or hostility. His position could have become very dangerous, if Roger II had been in a condition to face him and annihilate his forces at one blow, and so assure Rome to Anacletus and to himself the unquestioned recognition of his kingdom of Sicily. But in the summer of 1132 a revolt of the barons of the Regno, followed by a severe defeat, put Roger's crown in peril; he was obliged to withdraw to Sicily to prepare a reaction, whilst Benevento, rebelling against Anacletus, opened its gates to the legates of Innocent II. Even with this advantage, however, the Pope and Lothar were in the midst of great difficulties, and the advance towards Rome proceeded most slowly. Quitting Lothar, the Pope went to Pisa, where, aided at Genoa by St Bernard, he succeeded with much ado in composing a peace between the Pisans and Genoese, which assured him the assistance of the two rival sea-powers. He joined the king again at Viterbo, and went thence with him to Rome. Some attempts of Anacletus to justify his claim before Lothar gave rise to negotiations which had no success.

Lothar remained some weeks at Rome, while these negotiations continued; perhaps he and Innocent craftily hoped to gain by them possession of the church of St Peter, and to perform there according to ancient custom the ceremony of coronation. But St Peter’s, like the greater part of the city, remained in the hands of Anacletus and his partisans. On 4 June 1133 Lothar and Richenza assumed the imperial crown in the Lateran, after Lothar had taken the customary oath to the Pope and guaranteed the privileges of the city. The aid given to Innocent in Rome had amounted to very little, and a longer stay in Italy was impossible for Lothar, who was obliged at once to think of his return. Before separating, however, Pope and Emperor confirmed in substance the Concordat of Worms, and came to an agreement over their respective claims to the inheritance of Countess Matilda. The Pope conceded the use of it to Lothar and his son-in-law Henry, Duke of Bavaria, for their lifetime; they were to hold it of the Church, to which it should return at their deaths. Thus Matilda’s lands were held by the Emperor as a fief from the Pope. Morally the Papacy rose ever higher in comparison with the Empire. The coronation and its significance were commemorated in a painting placed in the Lateran, which represented Lothar at the feet of the Pope at the moment of receiving the crown; and beneath it were to be read these two lines, which were later to give rise to bitter complaints, for they contained a bold assertion of the complete supremacy of the Papacy:

Rex stetit ante fores, iurans prius Urbis honores;

Post homo fit Papae, sumit quo dante coronam.


Lothar’s second expedition


The return of Lothar to Germany left Innocent II in an extremely perilous situation in Rome, confined as he was within a small district of the city, and almost besieged by the powerful Anacletus and his more numerous partisans. King Roger, with fresh troops collected in Sicily, had returned, victorious and menacing, to Apulia. Thereon Innocent was forced once more to flee from Rome and take refuge at Pisa. But his situation was far from being desperate. Their jealousy of Roger's sea-power silenced for a moment the rivalry of Genoa and Pisa, and united the two republics in favor of Innocent, who therefore met with an honorable reception at Pisa, and there held a synod. Although an exile from his see, he was now universally recognized as head of Christendom, and the little opposition that was left continually decreased. Even the Milanese yielded to the fiery fascination of St Bernard, who had visited them; they came over to Innocent’s side, and abandoned their Archbishop, Anselm Pusterla. The schism, now confined to Rome and South Italy, could not have long duration.

The auguries were more propitious for Lothar in Germany, and, now that his prestige was increased by the imperial crown, the current of opinion flowed in his favor. Neither Conrad of Hohenstaufen in Italy nor his brother Frederick in Germany had succeeded in gaining the upper hand, in spite of the faction-discords which disturbed Germany and weakened the royal power. An energetic campaign soon compelled Frederick of Swabia, and then Conrad, to submit. The Emperor showed generosity to them. He left them in possession of their lands and honors on condition that they accompanied him in his second descent into Italy; thither the Pope had recalled him, and he himself felt the need of returning in order to establish his authority in Lombardy and to destroy the power of Roger.

With German affairs thus settled, the Emperor, in a diet held at Spires at the beginning of 1136, announced his approaching expedition to Italy, and devoted himself to the preparations. In August he left Germany, and, by the Brenner Pass, descended into the Valley of Trent with a great following of soldiers and barons, chief among them Conrad of Hohenstaufen, who was now high in his favor. Faced by such great forces, the Lombard cities did not offer any noteworthy resistance, and Lothar could traverse Upper Italy, meeting no ill reception, and making the fear of his authority and the advantages of his protection felt both by hostile and friendly districts.

But, far more than Upper Italy, the Emperor, incited by Venice and by the Byzantine Court, which were jealous of Roger's growing power by sea, aimed at the South, where he was ambitious of reviving the power of the Empire after the fashion of Otto the Great and Henry III. Dividing his army into two corps, he entrusted one to his son-in-law Henry, Duke of Bavaria, who with three thousand men-at-arms was to restore throughout Tuscany the imperial authority, and then together with the Pope to pass through the States of the Church. Meanwhile, the Emperor with the main body was to reach Apulia by the eastern route through the March of Ancona, and there to meet the other corps. The two armies both made their strength severely felt on the districts they traversed, wasting them and compelling them to submit. Duke Henry met the Pope and marched with him southwards without touching at Rome, so as not to delay the enterprise against Roger. The Emperor and the Pope in their victorious career joined forces at Bari at the end of May 1137, and the submission of Bari decided that of a great part of Apulia and Calabria. Meanwhile, the ships of Pisa and Amalfi attacked the coastal cities and especially Salerno, but a dispute which arose between the Pisans and the Pope and Emperor prevented the capture of the fortress of Salerno, which remained in the hands of Roger’s garrison. Roger, feeling that he could not repel this impetuous invasion, had retired to Sicily to await events and the opportune moment. The Pope and the Emperor, thus become masters of South Italy, thought of entrusting the duchy of Apulia to Rainulf, Count of Alife, whose strength and fidelity, they were sure, would hold the duchy against Roger. But at the moment of investing him there broke out a grave dissension between Lothar and Innocent, which marked once again how delicate and difficult the relations between Pope and Emperor always were, even when they most sought to act in accord. Each of them claimed the suzerainty over the reconquered lands and the right of investing Rainulf. It was a bitter dispute which lasted almost a month, and was finally removed by a kind of simultaneous double investiture. Pope and Emperor, each holding at the same time the symbolic banner of investiture, gave it together to Rainulf. And this was not the only cause of dissension which arose at this time, when the interests of the moment were able to lull, but not to extinguish, the profound antagonisms which lay hid in the relations between the Empire and the Church.

In September 1187 Innocent and Lothar started on their return. Re-entering Roman territory, they proceeded to the monastery of Farfa in Sabina, and Lothar continued his way to Germany. Like many other imperial expeditions in Italy, that of Lothar did not leave behind it durable results, but it had served to recall to men's minds the authority of the Empire, and had secured to the Pope the means of re-entering Rome and putting an end to the schism. It seemed that Lothar, on his return to Germany, would be able to extend his power and guide with confidence the fortunes of the Empire. But those fortunes were about to be entrusted to other hands. Scarcely had he surmounted the Alps, when the old Emperor died on his march through the Tyrol on 4 December 1137, and the Empire again lacked a ruler. The fear of a fresh civil war, and the suspicions which the power of Lothar’s son-in-law, Henry of Bavaria, aroused, smoothed the way for Conrad of Hohenstaufen, “who was elected King of the Romans on 7 March 1138 and on 13 March was crowned at Aix-la-Chapelle”. With him began that powerful dynasty which was to exercise so unique an influence on the history of Italy.


Success of Roger II


The abasement of Roger’s power had so lamed the strength of the Pierleoni that the Frangipani, getting the upper hand once more, could lead back Innocent II and give him again authority in Rome; while the eloquence of St Bernard aided the Pontiff to blot out the last traces of the schism and was detaching from the anti-Pope Anacletus the adherents who were left him. Meantime, scarcely had Lothar gone, before Roger left Sicily and disembarked his forces at Salerno, bent on recovering his lost lands. The new Duke of Apulia attacked and routed him; but Roger did not therefore give up his enterprise. St Bernard, meanwhile, visited him, and sought to induce him to abandon the anti-Pope; and Roger, seeing the profit to be gained, proposed a conference of three cardinals of Innocent and three of Anacletus to discuss the proposals on each side. The conference took place, and St Bernard succeeded in detaching from Anacletus his most authoritative and best reputed partisan, Cardinal Peter Pisano. With this desertion the schism could be said to be at an end; but the crafty Roger did not yet abandon Anacletus, and, when the anti-Pope died (25 January 1138), caused the few remaining schismatic cardinals to elect a new anti-Pope, who took the name of Victor IV; but he held out only a little time, and was soon obliged to renounce his pretensions. Roger continued the contest, though avoiding a pitched battle, and throughout 1138 South Italy was desolated by the war. Next year, fortune became favorable to the King of Sicily. The death of Duke Rainulf removed the most formidable of his competitors, and he could more energetically undertake the recovery of the Regno. Innocent II, after he had held a council (the Second Lateran), in which he annulled all the appointments made by Anacletus and with his own hands stripped the schismatic bishops of the ensigns of their dignity, marched in arms against Roger, who surrounded him, took him prisoner, and, showing him great respect, treated with him for peace. The Pope was compelled to recognize Roger’s royal dignity and to confirm as valid all the concessions he had obtained from Anacletus. Thus ended the war between the Pope and the Norman prince; Innocent, like Leo IX, returned humiliated to Rome; there new mutations awaited him.

That tendency which had already raised to such strength the cities of Lombardy and Central Italy, and had caused municipal life and liberties to grow so exuberantly in them, began to make itself felt in Rome also, although the city was under different conditions, which were not favorable to the development of a potent communal life. Situated in the midst of a region rendered unhealthy by long neglect and not made prosperous by agriculture or trade, torn by the factions of a rude and powerful nobility, in theory the scat of the Empire which still claimed its rights over it, and lastly the seat of the Popes who considered it as their patrimony and subject to their rule, Rome could with difficulty produce a commune which would be capable of rising to the dignity and strength of an independent State. But the spirit which animated other cities had also entered into Rome, and made it feel more vividly the desire of asserting itself, especially when causes of dissension arose between the citizens and the Pope. In the last years of Innocent this spirit of independence flamed out more hotly, and caused the beginning of a new and not inglorious period in the life of the commune.

Little by little, amid the factions which split up the great baronial families, and under the insecure rule of the Popes, there had gradually formed in Rome a kind of lesser nobility, which had similar interests to the people’s, and thereby, in alliance with the people, gathered strength. From it the people acquired a consciousness of itself and of its civil rights. The re-awakening of the ideas of antiquity, which began to spread widely in Italy at this time, could not be without influence in Rome, where the memory of ancient greatness had been a vain but continual regret through the centuries. The union of the people with the growing minor nobility had furthered the organizing of their forces, of which even the Popes had sometimes made use.

The Romans had favored Innocent II’s enterprise against Roger, and when the Pope was compelled to make peace they, in discontent, wished the Pope to tear up the treaty to which he had been forced to subscribe when he was a prisoner at the mercy of his conqueror. Innocent did not agree, and the Romans were irritated; but a graver cause of dissension became manifest soon afterwards in a question which touched them more nearly. Among all the surrounding districts, Rome was especially hostile to Tivoli. In 1141, to subdue this city, the Pope sent the Romans to besiege it; they were driven back and withdrew from the siege, meditating revenge. When they returned to the attack, Tivoli surrendered to the Pope, who concluded peace without consulting Rome, and Rome, aflame with wrath, demanded of the Pope that he should dismantle and completely destroy the rival town. The Pope would not yield, and there followed a revolution which changed the state of the city.

The insurgent Romans, in 1143, proclaimed on the Capitol the constitution of the republic, “renewed” the Senate, excluding therefrom the Prefect, the ancient warden of order, and almost all the greater nobility, although they may have had Jordan Pierleoni, a brother of Anacletus, as their leader. While they declared that they recognized the imperial authority which was far away and not too burdensome, they asserted especially their independence of the Pope, whom they wished to be despoiled of his temporalities, saying that he ought to live on offerings and tithes. In these straits Innocent died (24 September 1143); he was succeeded in the space of a few months first by Celestine II and then by Lucius II, who wrote to King Conrad, stating his grievances against the Romans, and asking for his protection. The Romans meanwhile (1144) raised Jordan Pierleoni to the, perhaps dictatorial, office of Patrician, a reminiscence of the days of the Crescentii. Lucius even attempted to take the Capitol by force and overturn the Senate; but he was repulsed, and one report says that he was wounded with a stone during the attack. Shortly afterwards he died, worn-out and discouraged, on 15 February 1145.

Terrified amid the armed Romans, the cardinals immediately agreed on the election of the Pisan Bernard, Abbot of Sant Anastasio ad Aquas Salvias, a disciple of St Bernard; he was very apprehensive at his election, and to the cardinals who chose him he wrote in wonder and fear lest he should be unequal to the heavy burden in such difficult times. He took the name of Eugenius III, and showed as time went on much greater capacity in the government of the Church than St Bernard had suspected. Hardly was he elected when he was obliged to quit the city, which rioted for the recognition of the Senate and the Republic. He was consecrated in the monastery of Farfa, and then betook himself to Viterbo, while Rome consolidated its new state and rendered for the moment his return impossible.

The constitution of the republic did not, however, imply in the mind of the Romans the cessation of the idea of an imperial and papal Rome, which to the thought of medieval Christendom was, so to say, the pivot of the social unity of mankind. In fact, the Romans desired to shake off the yoke of the Pope’s temporal sovereignty, and to live as a free commune; they associated with the idea of independence the vast and confused memories of the greatness of the Empire in which they placed their pride, without being aware that the Empire was now German, and that the glorious name of Rome served to cover the German pretensions to rule in Italy. These feelings of the Romans found characteristic expression in a letter which they addressed later to King Conrad, inviting him to come to Rome to receive the imperial crown, and there to take up his residence.

“All that we do”, they wrote, “we do for your honor and in fealty to you”. And they assured him that they had restored the Senate in order to exalt the Empire to the rank it held in the times of Constantine and Justinian, and that they had destroyed the houses and towers of the barons of the city who were preparing to resist the Empire in alliance with the Pope and the King of Sicily. None the less the Romans soon began to experience the difficulty of realizing their intentions. The Pope found aid in the jealous distrust inspired by the new-born republic, which desired to extend its supremacy outside Rome and to dominate its neighbors. The imperilled cities round, and the high Roman nobility threatened in its possessions in the Campagna, whence it drew its strength, all joined the papal side. The city was obliged to yield to their united forces, receive the Pope anew within its walls, restore the authority of the Prefect, and recognize the sovereignty of the Church. Thus at the close of 1145 the Pope could re-enter Rome and there celebrate Christmas with solemn pomp; yet he, too, had not the strength to maintain himself. In spite of the concessions it had made, the new republic remained firmly seated on the Capitol, and the authority of the Senate continued to hold its own in face of the Pope. New dis­sensions soon broke out, and Eugenius, unable to make his will prevail, was constrained after a few months to abandon the city a second time, and repair again to Viterbo, whence he betook himself to Pisa.

This second exile showed clearly that Eugenius could not hope that his throne in Rome would be stable without Conrad's help; and so he would have wished the king to hasten to Italy for the imperial coronation. But the king was preoccupied with German affairs, and, without refusing point-blank, avoided giving a definite reply; he continued to defer it, unmoved even by the fiery appeal of St Bernard, who exhorted him to go to defend the Church against the Roman people, a people accursed and riotous, incapable of rightly measuring their own strength, who in their folly and rage had attempted a great sacrilege. In spite of the exhortations of Bernard, who warned him not to listen to opposite counsels, Conrad, who had his own plans with regard to Italian affairs, continued to temporize. He aimed at linking his expedition to Italy with an entente with Constantinople, and perhaps too he was not wholly grieved at seeing the Pope entangled in difficulties, and reduced to such conditions as rendered the royal position towards him now far more favorable than had been that of Lothar towards Honorius and Innocent.


Arnold of Brescia


Meanwhile, the breach between the Romans and the Pope became ever wider and deeper. A remarkable man had appeared among them to fire them with his own passionate ardor for citizen liberty and the reform of the Church. This was Arnold of Brescia, who for some time both in Italy and beyond the Alps had in perfervid discourses championed new ideas, full of peril according to many, on the state of the Church and its reform. The renascence of philosophical ideas and of classical culture, which developed so swiftly and widely in Europe at the dawn of the twelfth century, stirred in men's minds, and incited them to debate problems and intellectual novelties which disquieted them and alarmed the guardians of the recognized religious and social doctrines. After early studies in Italy Arnold had gone to Paris and become a disciple of Abelard; he had been his devoted follower, and had shared his disasters with a tenacious faith and a firmness of character greater than his master's. But an apostolic fervor which summoned him to action was stronger in him than Abelard's spirit of subtle enquiry. Perhaps, living among the people as he did, he loved and welcomed their favor; but he felt to the core a holy zeal for liberty and the purification of the Church, and persecutions and obstacles only inflamed it the more. Pious, pure, and austere, his greatest adversaries bore unanimous witness to the sanctity of his life, while they combated his doctrines and his actions. “Would that he were of sound doctrine”, exclaimed St Bernard, “as he is austere in life! A man who neither eats nor drinks, he only, like the Devil, hungers and thirsts for the blood of souls”. It does not appear that his eloquence was turned against dogmas. Only one contemporary, Otto of Freising, relates an uncertain rumor, that he did not think rightly concerning the sacrament of the altar and infant baptism; and the story of his last hours could perhaps raise a doubt on his doctrine with regard to confession. Rather than at doctrine he aimed at discipline. He vehemently attacked the clergy, denied to clerics and monks the right to possess property, and to bishops the right to the regalia; he bitterly denounced the way of life of the ecclesiastics. In the Lateran Council of 1139 Innocent II had blamed him, and condemned him to silence. Forced to leave Brescia, he had returned to France, and had been an unshakeable defender of his master Abelard in opposition to St Bernard, who became his enemy.

When Abelard yielded before his mighty adversary, Arnold continued the struggle at Sainte-Genevieve among poor students, and probably mingled with his teaching violent invectives against the corruption of the clergy. He could not resist for long in France, but betook himself to Zurich, where he found new followers and new persecutions, and thence joined the train of Cardinal Guido, legate in Germany, who protected him. He returned with the cardinal to Italy, and at Viterbo saw Eugenius III, who absolved him and prescribed as his penance a pilgrimage to the graves of the Apostles and to the churches of Rome.

The place was not adapted for the hoped-for repentance of Arnold; the Pope had sent fire to a volcano. At that time Rome was both the most fertile soil in which he could sow the seed of his doctrines, and itself a stimulus and inspiration for the thoughts which dominated his life. The heights of the Capitoline hill, sacred to history, and the ruins of the Forum, the ancient churches and the graves of the martyrs in the catacombs, must have spoken a mysterious language to the soul of Arnold of Brescia, and have called him to his mission with energy renewed. The republican movement and the Patarine traditions diffused among the people in Lombardy found their consecration in Rome from the history told by her ruins, and from the churches and sacred memories of Rome the spirit and the humility of primitive Christianity seemed to ask of God a reform to free the Papacy from worldly interests and mundane pomp. The fervid, vehement words of the Brescian apostle fascinated the Romans, ever ready listeners to eloquence which evoked the memories of their past greatness. The republic was strengthened by him, and he had a large share in the counsels and regulation of the city. To the Senate already constituted there was added, in name at least, an equestrian order, probably composed of the lesser nobility and richer citizens; and thus there was created at Rome, in imitation of the Lombard republics, a nucleus of picked militia; the Capitol was fortified; and the constitution of Rome became in substance similar to that of the other Italian communes.

Rome’s example was followed in the surrounding territory: other communes began to be organized in the Patrimony of the Church, and rendered the position of the Pope with regard to Rome ever more difficult. But for the moment the Papacy was obliged to direct its solicitude elsewhere. The Muslim power, which had been checked in its career by the First Crusade, again appeared threatening and awoke anxiety in Europe, and with the anxiety almost a fever of desire for a new crusade. The discords between the Christian rulers in the East, the close neighbors of the Musulmans, had borne their natural fruit, and opened to the Saracens the way to the reconquest of the lands torn from them by the First Crusade. Zangi, a resolute and bold Muslim warrior, led the attack, to which the Christians could not oppose an efficacious barrier. “When Edessa fell into Zangi’s hands at the end of 1144, a bulwark was lost without which all the Christian Levant was placed in grave peril”. It seemed evident that, if Antioch, too, was taken, Jerusalem itself would not be safe, and perhaps all the work of the First Crusade would totter and crumble to nothing. The weak and discordant Christian princes turned anxiously to the West for aid; they sounded the alarm and called Europe to the defense of Christendom. France more especially felt the force of this appeal, and showed herself inclined to respond to it with the same élan as to that for the First Crusade. Eugenius received at Viterbo messages from the Levant, and understood that now was the moment for him to imitate Urban II’s example, and summon Christendom to the counter-attack. He was the more willing to do so because he hoped that the movement he was about to initiate might serve also to bring the Eastern Churches closer to Rome. He turned first to France, where the king, Louis VII, and his people were easily gained over, although his chief and wisest minister, Abbot Suger, was against the enterprise. The Crusade was decided on, and the king took the Cross. The Pope, involved in his struggle with the Romans, could not go at once to France, and entrusted to St Bernard the preaching of the Crusade. Convinced that he spoke by divine inspiration, the Saint infused in others his own conviction, and the enthusiasm he evoked sur­passed all expectation; it seemed a miracle. “Cities and castles are emptied”, he wrote to Eugenius III, “and there is not left one man to seven women, and everywhere there are widows of still living husbands”.

It was needful that the ardor of Germany should correspond to that of France, and Bernard hoped to revive it by his eloquence and to induce King Conrad to take the Cross and join with the King of France in the great enterprise. In a first interview at Frankfort at the end of November 1146, he was unable, although honored on all hands, to win Conrad to take the crusading vow. At the close of December he met the king again at Spires and returned to the charge. At first Conrad resisted: the internal troubles of Germany, his delicate relations with Constantinople and Roger of Sicily, made him hesitate to embark on an adventure so far from his realm. But he was carried away by the general excitement; and at a solemn service in the cathedral, in answer to an unpremeditated exhortation of St Bernard, he took the Cross. The German nobles vied with one another in following their sovereign’s example, among them his nephew, the young Frederick of Swabia, who thus took the first step in a career destined to enroll his name amid the greatest and most glorious of Germany.

Although Eugenius was himself on the point of crossing the Alps to increase the impetus of the Crusade and watch over the great expedition, he did not share the joy of St Bernard when he knew that Conrad had yielded to the Saint’s inspiration and was preparing to leave Europe. Although the peril of the Holy Places moved the Pontiff, not even that made him forget the circumstances of the Papacy in Rome and Italy, and the necessity of the speedy and sure help which at that moment he hoped for from Germany. Conrad’s absence could not be short, and the needs of the Pope were pressing. Further, Eugenius could easily foresee that this absence would weaken still more the imperial authority in North and Central Italy. Here the cities continued in perpetual war with one another; but they did not seem to be enfeebled thereby, and the spirit of civil liberties did not only nourish in them the sentiment of independence towards the imperial claims. Among the people and the lower clergy there were growing sentiments of independence towards ecclesiastical authority, which disturbed the Pope and had caused him several times to call the attention of the bishops, especially in Lombardy, to these, and to exhort them to deal sternly with the dangerous novelties which crept into their dioceses: And from the Crusade there might arise between the crusading monarchs, the Eastern Emperor, and Roger of Sicily relations not devoid of disquiet to the Pope. King Roger, most sagacious, ambitious, and ready to snatch every opportunity to assure and enlarge his power, sought to draw profit from the Crusade. To the request of the King of France he replied with large proffers of ships and victuals, offering to join the Crusade in person or to send one of his sons; but like proffers were also made by the Emperor Manuel Comnenus, and were accepted, much to Roger’s annoyance, who desired to draw the King of France to himself and separate him from Conrad in the Eastern enterprise. He knew that Conrad was in secret treaty with the Emperor Manuel for an alliance against himself, and he wished to isolate him. His envoys left France predicting the harm that the fraud of the Greeks would occasion to the crusaders, and they were not false prophets.


Reaction of the Crusade on Italy 


Eugenius III, who had set out for France, sent messengers to Conrad with letters in which he could not refrain from complaining that the king had decided to take the Cross without consulting him. Conrad justified himself by alleging the irresistible impulse to which he had suddenly yielded. “The Holy Ghost”, he wrote to the Pope, “Who breatheth where He listeth, Who cometh on a sudden, did not allow me to delay that I might take your counsel or that of any other, but in a moment touched my heart to follow Him”. Understanding that the Pope needed reassuring, he announced to him that he had made arrangements for the time of his absence, and had had his son Henry crowned king, who would govern in his stead; he invited the Pope to proceed to Germany from France for an interview with him, and to treat personally of the affairs of the realm and the Crusade.

Eugenius did not accept the invitation, but he could not undo what had been done, and it only remained for him to push on events in the best manner possible. He met Louis VII in France, and had leisure to confer with him before he started for the expedition, on which Conrad III had already preceded him. But the history of this disastrous Crusade does not belong to this chapter; and we must confine ourselves to recording the consequences it had for Italy and the relations of the Empire and the Papacy.

The chief reaction on Italy from the Crusade was felt in its relations with the Byzantine Empire and with the African coasts of the Mediterranean. King Roger of Sicily did not fail to seize the occasion of drawing advantage from a movement which was bound to occupy the forces and the solicitude of the Emperor Manuel Comnenus. The continuous increase of Roger’s power had been from its commencement a cause of suspicion and disquietude to the Byzantine monarchs, who saw in it a menace to their possessions and influence in the Adriatic, and also looked on the steady expansion of the Sicilian domination on the African coasts and Roger's pretensions to the principality of Antioch as perilous to themselves. The policy of the Comneni necessarily tended to oppose the ambitions of the Norman prince, and to try if it were possible to wreck them and substitute for his realm a restored Byzantine dominion, or at least a marked influence, in South Italy. Roger, aware of this policy, and of the negotiations for an alliance against him which had several times taken place between Manuel and Conrad III, thought that it was time to act. Preparing a powerful fleet, he undertook an energetic expedition by sea, seized on and fortified Corfu, and placed there a Norman garrison to secure its permanent possession. Setting sail again, he became master of Cape Malea and the island of Cerigo, both of which he also fortified; then, penetrating the Gulf of Corinth, his troops sacked Corinth, and marching by land reached Thebes, which underwent the same fate. From Thebes, which then was flourishing through the silk manufacture, he took not only plunder but some artificers, who were brought to Sicily and afterwards aided there in the development of the silk industry. Having thus displayed its standards in the Grecian seas, Roger’s fleet, loaded with booty, returned to Sicily about the beginning of 1148.


Manuel I


The Emperor Manuel Comnenus was grievously and profoundly moved by these events, and he actively bestirred himself in devising a remedy. After his overtures for an alliance with Louis VII, who was still in Asia, had failed, he turned with better results to the Venetians, who also took umbrage at the growing extension of the Norman power in the Adriatic and willingly became his allies. The result of this alliance was a long and chequered sea-campaign, in which Manuel succeeded in recovering Corfu (summer of 1149). Encouraged by this success. Manuel thought of closing on Roger and realizing his plans in South Italy. After the disastrous ending of the Crusade, the Byzantine Emperor turned with many blandishments to Conrad III, whose presence in the East no longer inspired him with any fear, and renewed and completed the negotiations for an alliance which had been often begun and interrupted. It was a formidable league, and Roger, who saw the danger, employed all his sagacity to hinder its effects and to turn it from himself. Profiting by the inner dissensions of Germany, he attempted, even by giving subsidies, to raise against Conrad a league of German barons, which should force the King of the Romans, immediately on his return to Europe, to hasten to Germany and turn away from any enterprise against Sicily. At the same time Roger sought a rapprochement with the papal party at Rome by means of its chief, the powerful baron Cencio Frangipane. Thus he might separate from Conrad the Pope, who was displeased with the Byzantine alliance, and induce him to favor the German barons, who were opposed to their sovereign.

The history of the relations of the Popes with their Norman neighbors consists of an alternation of hostility and rapprochements occasioned by the perpetual alternation of the mutual distrust and political necessities of the two parties. Eugenius III, after the departure of the crusaders for the Holy Land, had sojourned in France and Germany, occupied with the ecclesiastical affairs of the two countries, and awaiting the opportune moment for re-entering Italy. He held several councils, and in them, especially at Rheims where the opinions of Bishop Gilbert de la Porrée were laboriously discussed, there was manifested all the anxiety of the Church to secure the orthodoxy of theological doctrines from the subtle perils which were created by the extension of philosophic thought, by a pronounced tendency towards investigation, and by a bold and restless desire for speculation. Meanwhile, there arrived gloomy news from the East. The disastrous result of the Crusade, proclaimed with such assurance of victory, as if God Himself had directly inspired its initiation, turned against Eugenius and St Bernard the minds of the peoples who most felt the weight of the calamity. Eugenius saw that a sojourn in France and Germany, both embittered by their disillusion, was no longer suitable for him, and took the road for return. In July 1148 he held a council at Cremona, in which he confirmed the decrees of the Council of Rheims. It is probable that in it he also treated of the conditions of the Church of Rome, where Arnold of Brescia was exercising his influence. Certain it is that a few days later at Brescia the Pope, in a warning addressed to the Roman clergy, complained that some Roman ecclesiastics, following the errors of the schismatic Arnold, were refusing obedience to the cardinals and their other superiors; and he ordered that all contact with Arnold should be avoided. Thus from the moment he put foot again in Italy, Eugenius aimed at Rome, and frankly renewed the struggle.


The Pope and Roger II 


Quitting Lombardy in October 1148, the Pope halted some time at his native city of Pisa, which he drew to his support for his imminent action against Rome, and then went to resume his residence at Viterbo. The league concluded between Manuel Comnenus and Conrad troubled him, and, on the other hand, he was oppressed by the necessity of prompt aid to return to his see. Roger of Sicily, wholly intent on his secret manoeuvres against Conrad, found at this moment a readier hearing from the Pope. Eugenius, supported by the Frangipani and the other Roman barons, who were impatient of the rule of the democracy in the Capitol, had at great expense collected troops to attempt the reconquest of Rome. To gain the Pope for his schemes, Roger offered him a contingent in aid; but in spite of this rapprochement, it is not easy to say how far the Pope showed himself disposed to support the King of Sicily and the German barons who were conspiring against Conrad. Undoubtedly Eugenius, while outwardly reconciled to his powerful neighbor, was obliged to be reserved and wary. Nor did he abandon his reserve when the King of France, on his return by way of Roger's dominions from the Crusade, met him at Tusculum, and disclosed to him the project of a new crusade, including the formation of a league destined to strike at the heart of the Byzantine Empire, which Louis VII held to be the principal cause of his own disasters. The diplomacy of the Roman Curia saw at once that such a league would increase Roger’s power too much, and let the proposal drop. Nevertheless, ever intent on regaining full possession of Rome, Eugenius with the help of the soldiers of the Sicilian king succeeded in seating himself by force in the Lateran; but the Roman Senate did not therefore submit, and maintained its power in the face of the Pope: it upheld the rights it had acquired and its protection of Arnold of Brescia, who remained in the city.

Meanwhile, scarcely had Conrad III left the East, when he moved with the greatest speed towards Germany with a view to restoring order to the realm, vexed by dissensions and revolt. Shortly after his arrival he was attacked by an illness which lasted six months; but his presence induced an improvement, and a defeat which his son, the young King Henry, inflicted on the rebel barons (1 February 1150) secured the fortunes of the kingship and raised its diminished prestige. There then began a very active interchange of diplomatic moves, which tended both to form and to break up alliances, to insinuate and to dissipate distrust and suspicion. Conrad, fixed in the idea of destroying Roger’s power, endeavored to confirm the agreement made with Manuel Comnenus for common action in South Italy, and asked at Constantinople for the hand of a Greek princess for his son King Henry. The Pope, while attempting to erase the unfavorable impression occasioned by his momentary rapprochement with Roger, sought for means to estrange Conrad from the Byzantines; but on this point the king gave vague and evasive replies. The Romans, by repeated letters and embassies to Conrad, strove to emphasize the Pope's relations with the King of Sicily and the German rebels, and to increase to their own profit his distrust of the Roman Curia. Meanwhile, Roger, supported by Louis VII, who thought of retrieving his defeats in Asia, importuned Conrad to induce him to change his policy and turn against Constantinople.

Thus Conrad became still more an uncertain element in the various currents of European politics; and amid such alternation of contrary proposals he did not let himself be moved. The ardor that was manifested in France for a new crusade left him cold. The exhortations sent him by some eminent French ecclesiastics, such as St Bernard and Peter of Cluny, only aroused his suspicions of Rome, so that the Pope had to hasten to declare that those personages had acted of their own motion, and that he was quite a stranger to their overtures. Conrad and his counselors saw clearly that the King of France was a tool of Roger for thwarting his plans in Italy and for making war on Constantinople; and the Pope himself, although he could not oppose it openly, had no faith in the possibility of a fresh expedition to the East

Constrained after a few month’s residence to quit Rome anew and retire near to Roger’s borders, the Pope met the Sicilian king at Ceprano, and there they discussed many ecclesiastical questions in regard to the Regno, which were in great part adjusted. But on an essential point, the full recognition of Roger’s sovereignty, they did not reach an understanding; and they parted with outward friendship but now definitely alienated from one another. The Pope could only turn, without further vacillation, to a complete understanding with Conrad, who also recognized the importance of such an accord for the preparation of his expedition to Italy, and for the securing of results from it. The king sent the Pope an embassy, which was to settle the basis of the agreement. Doubtless it was then determined that the king should receive the imperial crown at Rome, and, in return, force the Romans into subjection to the Pope. It was bound to be more difficult to arrive at an understanding concerning Conrad’s alliance with Manuel Comnenus, which had been the principal reason that the Pope had leant towards the King of Sicily; but the dispatch of the Cardinals Jordan of Santa Susanna and Octavian of Santa Cecilia as legates to Germany showed that the Pope was resolved to smooth over every difficulty in order to bring the matter to a satisfactory conclusion. Both these cardinals were notable personages of the Curia, and one of them, Octavian, was later destined, as the anti-Pope Victor IV, to play an important part in the relations of Papacy and Empire. Nobly born, fond of pomp and show, free with his money and liberal in granting favors, he aimed perhaps already at the Papacy, and sought to win the good-will of the Germans, just as he had sought, though without much success, to win that of Rome. On this occasion he became acquainted with Frederick, the young Duke of Swabia, and thus established relations with the future Emperor who was to become his mainstay. The two legates stayed long in Germany, arranging many pending ecclesiastical questions, and treating with Conrad concerning his Italian expedition. This was solemnly announced at the diet of Wurzburg in September 1151; but time was necessary if it was to be undertaken energetically and with durable results. On the one hand, a large force was needful to control the autonomous tendencies of the free communes and to destroy Roger’s power; and on the other, it was necessary to be sure that Germany was in such order as to permit a long absence of the king and his most powerful adherents without harm. A year was allotted for the preparations, and it was decided that Conrad with his army should start on 11 September 1152 to cross the Alps. There was still a serious task for the king to perform in Germany before his departure, for Henry the Lion, Duke of Saxony, was in full revolt, and it was necessary to subdue him and leave him incapable of doing harm. While attending to this, Conrad yet took the utmost pains to prepare for his descent into Italy, which now occupied the chief place in his thoughts. A little previously he had suffered a grievous blow in the death of his son, the youthful King Henry; for him he had been negotiating that marriage with a Byzantine princess which was to draw tighter still the bonds of the alliance with the Eastern Court. Since the son who was left him was a mere child, Conrad, although he was getting into years, thought of resuming the negotiations on his own behalf, and for that end sent an embassy to Constantinople.

At the same time he sent ambassadors into Italy, his chancellor Arnold, Archbishop-elect of Cologne, Wibald, Abbot of Stablo, and the notary Henry, all three trusty counselors experienced in State affairs. They were sent to the Pope, but were commissioned to conduct negotiations on their road which would assure the unhampered progress of the expedition. They bore a royal letter to Pisa, with which they were especially to negotiate for the preparation of a fleet to be employed against the King of Sicily. Taking the opportunity of this embassy, Conrad at last accorded a reply to the letters which the Romans had repeatedly addressed to him. It was a reply of mingled condescension and arrogance, in which he skillfully announced his speedy arrival with large forces in Italy, and recommended to them his ambassadors, from whom the Romans would learn with certainty his will and intentions. In reality, his envoys, and especially Wibald, were charged to mediate concerning conditions of peace between the Pope and the Romans. In the very valuable collection of Wibald’s letters is found a kind of draft of these conditions, from which we can infer the existence of the negotiations which must have taken place under the circumstances. But the Pope, relying on the hope of Conrad's coming, did not profit by Wibald’s intervention, and did not follow his counsels of moderation, missing thereby the opportunity of reconciling himself with the Romans. Perhaps he was convinced that a peaceful solution of the controversy would not be lasting, and trusted only to the argument of victorious force. Now that he was entirely alienated from the King of Sicily, he was determined to smooth Conrad's road and thus facilitate in every way his early arrival in Rome; the ambassadors took their leave elated with concessions and promises.

But they were not to bring back to their master the messages of the Pope. While still on their journey, they received the news that Conrad had died on 15 February 1152 at Bamberg, whither he had gone to hold a diet. All the preparations for the Italian expedition were thus unexpectedly interrupted. The relations between Germany and Italy, the condition of Germany itself, not yet issued from a long period of confusion and discord, and the consolidation of the Empire, might relapse into a state of danger and incertitude if a firm and vigorous hand did not succeed in taking the reins and steadfastly guiding the realm. Conrad III on his death-bed understood the needs of the moment, and indicated as his successor his nephew Frederick of Swabia, to whom he entrusted the royal insignia and the wardship of his child son. The magnates of the realm followed Conrad’s counsel, and on 4 March 1152 Frederick of Hohenstaufen was elected at Frankfort. With him the star of the Empire was to shine with renewed lustre.