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volume V













CHAPTER XI. ITALY, 1125—1152
















The century and a half, roughly from 1050 to 1200, with which this volume is concerned, follows on a period when the disorganisation and anarchy of the ninth century had barely been made good. Order had been to some extent restored; the desire for order and for peace was at any rate widespread. The opportunity for fruitful development, both in the sphere of ecclesiastical and of secular government, and also in those pursuits which especially needed peace for their prosecution, such as culture and commerce, had now arrived. We have to deal, then, with a period, on the one hand, of new movements and new ideas—the appearance of new monastic orders, a renaissance of thought and learning, the rise of towns and the expansion of commerce; on the other, of consolidation and centralisation—the organisation of the monarchical government of the Church, the development of monarchical institutions in the various countries of Europe, and, to give direction and solidity to the whole, the revived study of Civil and Canon Law. Finally, and most novel of all, we see Europe at once divided by the great conflict of Empire and Papacy and united by the Crusades in the holy war against the infidel. The former as well as the latter implies a conception of the unity of Western Christendom, a unity which found expression in the universal Church. For the Church alone was universal, European, international; and, as its institutions begin to take more definite form, the more deeply is this character impressed upon them.

The volume opens with a chapter on the Reform of the Church, which was not merely a prelude to, but also a principal cause of, the striking events that followed; for in the pursuit of the work of reform the Papacy both developed its own organisation and was brought into conflict with the secular power. In the first half of the eleventh century, it had been entirely dominated by the secular interests of the local nobles. It had been rescued by the Emperor Henry III, and Pope Leo IX had immediately taken his natural place as leader of the reform movement. When he undertook personally, in France, Germany, and Italy, the promulgation and enforcement of the principles of reform, he made the universality of papal power a reality; the bishops might mutter, but the people adored. The Papacy was content to take a subordinate place while Henry III was alive; Henry IV's minority worked a complete change. The first great step was the Papal Election Decree of Nicholas II, and, though the attempt of the Roman nobles to recover their influence was perhaps the immediate cause, the Papacy took the opportunity to shake off imperial control as well. An opening for interference still remained in the case of a disputed election, as was clearly shown in the contest of Innocent II and Anastasius II, and especially in that of Alexander III and Victor IV. This gap was closed by the Third Lateran Council in 1179, which decreed that whoever obtained the votes of two-thirds of the cardinals should be declared Pope.

The Papal Election Decree had a further result. By giving to the cardinals the decision at an election, and reducing other interests to a merely nominal right of assent, it raised the College of Cardinals to a position of the highest importance. There were normally at this time 7 (later 6) cardinal-bishops, 28 cardinal-priests, and 18 cardinal-deacons, and, unless they were employed on papal business, their functions were confined to Rome. Leo IX had surrounded himself with cardinals who were reformers like himself; they composed the chief element in the Pope's Council, or, as it came to be called, the Curia. But he could not find them in Rome, and had to recruit them from the chief reforming centres, especially north of the Alps. As they were, and continued to be, drawn from different countries, so in them was displayed the international character of the Roman Church; and from their number, in almost every case, was the Pope elected. A further development, came when Alexander III instituted the practice of including bishops from different parts of Europe among the cardinals; for the regular duties and residence of such cardinals were no longer in Rome itself.

The freedom of episcopal elections in general was in the forefront of the reform programme. The papal policy was to restore canonical election “by clergy and people,” a vague phrase which received its definition at Rome in the Election Decree. During the twelfth century a similar definition was arrived at for other sees. The cathedral chapter, helped by its corporate unity, and specially by the fact that it constituted the permanent portion of the bishop’s concilium  and that its consent was necessary in any disposition of the property of the see, established itself as the electoral body. To the clergy of the diocese and the lay vassals of the see was left, as at Rome, only the right of assent and acclamation. The chapter thus became the local counterpart of the College of Cardinals. The Papacy was principally concerned with the freedom of elections, and did not yet claim the right of appointment for itself, except in cases of dispute. The Third Lateran Council, which gave the decision at a papal election to a majority vote, expressly decreed that elsewhere the old rule of the “maior et senior pars” was to hold good; for, with the exception of Rome, there was a higher authority which could decide in cases of dispute.

Leo IX had initiated the campaign of reform at Councils in France and Germany. The Councils over which the Popes presided passed decrees which were to be universally binding. Usually they were held in Rome, and regularly in Lent by Gregory VII. In them, besides the Curia, any leading ecclesiastic who happened to be at the papal court, whether on a visit or in obedience to a personal summons, took part, just as the nobles did in a king’s Council. A further development occurred in the twelfth century. Hitherto all the Councils recognised by the Western Church as Ecumenical had taken place in the East. The schism of 1054 had cut off the Greek Church from communion with Rome, and in the twelfth century three Councils were held, each of them at Rome in the Lateran basilica, which, owing to the importance of their business and the general rather than particular summonses which were issued, were included later among the Ecumenical Councils. The First Lateran Council in 1123 ratified the Concordat of Worms, the Second in 1139 solemnised the end of a schism, and the Third in 1179 the end of another and a greater one.

The next step was the local enforcement of the papal decrees. The Church had its local officials—archbishops, bishops etc.—and they were expected both to promulgate the decrees at local synods and to enforce their execution. It soon became clear that the bishops regarded themselves as anything but the docile officials of the central government, and the Papacy had to establish its authority and to work out a coordinated system of government by which its policy could be carried into effect. First of all, for the Pope could no longer do everything in person like Leo IX, legates were sent to act in his name, travelling about, like the Carolingian missi, with overriding authority, to investigate the local churches and put into force the papal decrees. The appointment of legates o for this general work tends more and more to take a permanent form, and soon the post of permanent legate—a position of high honour and at the same time of personal responsibility to the Pope—becomes the prerogative of the leading ecclesiastics in each country. But the Pope still continued to send legates from Rome, both as ambassadors to temporal sovereigns and as functionaries with special commissions; these legates a latere as direct papal agents again had overriding powers. It was not sufficient, however, for the Pope to control the local officials through his representatives. He insisted on their personal contact with himself. Visits ad limina were first of all encouraged and then directly ordered, and archbishops were expected to receive the pallium from the Pope in person.

It is impossible to say how far at any time this development of papal authority was deliberate, and how far it arose out of the practical exigencies of the moment. It became conscious at any rate with Gregory VII, though even with him the moving cause at first was to enforce the principles of reform. Opposition, whether from the local officials or from the lay power, led to a definition of the bases on which this authority rested and the sphere within which it could be exercised. The decretals, especially the Forged Decretals, provided a solid foundation, and to build upon this came opportunely the revived study of the Canon Law. It is not a question of a finished legal system, but of a continuous process of construction, in which the legal training of Popes like Urban II and Alexander III was of great value. Collections of decretals and opinions, of which Gratian’s was the most complete, were continually being added to by the decrees of Roman Councils and the decisions of Popes given in their letters. This led to uniformity in ritual also, to the victory of the Roman use over local customs; for here again it was the Roman that was to be universal.

In the papal government, even on its ecclesiastical side, there is a general resemblance to the secular governments of the day. Like a lay monarch, the Pope was concerned with the organisation of central and local government, with the formation of a legal system, and with the recognition of his overriding jurisdiction. When we come to the secular side of papal government, the resemblance is still more close. Both as landlord and overlord the Pope acted as any secular ruler, though payments in money and kind are the usual services rendered to him, rather than military service; for this he was really dependent on external assistance. The problem of finance faced him, as it faced every secular ruler. The work of government, both ecclesiastical and secular, involved the expenses of government, and, though in ordinary times the revenue from the Papal States might be sufficient, a period of conflict, by increasing expenditure or by preventing the Pope from obtaining his ordinary revenues, would create serious financial difficulties. This was especially the case with Urban II, and still more with Alexander III, in the crisis of the conflict with the Empire; and, in the interval of peace, the Pope was seriously embarrassed by the sustained effort of the Roman people to obtain self­government.

We have a detailed account of various sources of papal revenue at the end of our period in the Liber Censuum drawn up under the direction of the camerarius Cencius, afterwards Pope Honorius III, in the year 1192. Besides the revenue from the papal domain proper, a census was received: (1) from monasteries who had placed themselves under the papal  “protection,” and who in the course of the twelfth century gained exemption from the spiritual as well as the temporal control of their diocesans ; (2) from some lay rulers and nobles, who put themselves under papal “protection” or, like the kings of Aragon and the Norman rulers of South Italy and Sicily, recognised papal overlordship; (3) in the form of Peter’s Pence, from England since Anglo-Saxon times, and, in the twelfth century, from Norway, Sweden, and some other countries as well. But the census provided only a relatively small revenue, and this was difficult to collect; there were frequent complaints of arrears of payment, especially with regard to Peter’s Pence. On the other hand, the papal expenditure was often heavy. Alexander III had frequently to have recourse to borrowing; and his complaints about some of his creditors seem to have an echo in the decree against usury at the Third Lateran Council. In its difficulties the Papacy had to depend upon the voluntary offerings of the faithful, especially from France, on subsidies from the Normans, or on the support of a wealthy Roman family; thus the Pierleoni constantly supplied the Popes with money, until one member of the family, Anacletus II, was defeated in his attempt to ascend the papal throne. We are still in the early days of papal financial history. Not yet were the visitation offerings from bishops made compulsory, and the servitia  taxes and annates had not yet been introduced. Nor did the Popes claim the right to tax the clergy, though perhaps the first step to this was taken in the second half of the twelfth century, when prohibitions were issued against the taxation of the clergy by lay rulers without papal consent. At any rate the desire to finance the Crusades soon led them to assert the right.

As the Reform Movement had led directly to the creation of a centralised government of the Church, so top it led, almost inevitably, to the contest for supremacy between the Papacy and its counterpart on the secular side, the Empire, Those ecclesiastics whom the Pope expected to be his obedient officials in the local government of the Church were already the obedient officials of the Empire both in its central and its local government. The Pope was on strong ground in insisting that the spiritual duties of the bishop were his primary consideration. But the Emperor was on strong ground too. The ecclesiastical nobles were an essential part of the economic framework and the political machinery of the Empire, and, to justify his authority over them the Emperor could point to an almost unbroken tradition. The relative importance of spiritual and temporal considerations in the medieval mind gave an initial advantage to the Pope, and in the end the victory. On the other hand, the Emperor could appeal not only to the iron law of necessity, but to the medieval reverence for custom and precedent. Henry IV, moreover, could not forget that the Papacy had itself been subject to his father, and it was his object to recover what he considered to be his lawful authority. With this aim he deliberately provoked the contest. The details of the struggle are described in several chapters in this volume, and need only be briefly alluded to here. Henry’s challenge was taken up by his greater opponent, Pope Gregory VII, who in his turn claimed the supreme power for the Papacy; there could be no real peace until the question of supremacy was settled. Though on this issue the first contest was indecisive, the Papacy registered a striking advance. The Concordat of Worms marked a definite limitation of imperial authority over the ecclesiastical nobility, and it was followed by the reigns of Lothar III and Conrad III, when the German ruler was too complaisant or too weak to press his claims. The Pope was emboldened to take the offensive, and Hadrian IV threw down the challenge that was taken up by Frederick Barbarossa. The positions were reversed, but again the challenger found himself faced by a greater opponent, who again defended himself by asserting his own supremacy. Once more the result was indecisive. The Pope had a single cause to maintain, the Emperor a dual one. Henry IV was defeated by revolt in Germany, Frederick Barbarossa by revolt in Italy, and both alike had been forced to recognise the impossibility of maintaining a subservient anti-Pope. But the greatness of Frederick was never so conspicuous as in his recovery after defeat, and his son Henry VI seemed to be on the point of making the Empire once more supreme when death intervened to ruin the imperial cause. Herein was revealed the second great asset of the Papacy. Built on the rock of spiritual power, the weakness or death of its head was of little permanent moment. The Empire, however, depended on the personality of each of its rulers, and the transference of authority on the deaths of Henry III and Henry VI was on each occasion disastrous. During the minority of Henry IV, the Papacy had built up its power; in the minority of Frederick II, Innocent III was Pope.

In this struggle of Empire and Papacy no insignificant part was played by the Norman rulers of South Italy and Sicily, whose history falls exactly within the compass of this volume. Frequently did they come to the help of the Papacy in its extremity, and skilfully did they make use of papal exigencies to improve their own position. Only once did the Pope whom they supported fail to maintain himself; and the victory of Innocent II over Anastasius II, chosen by a majority of the cardinals and backed by Norman arms, was in many respects unique. Then, and then only, did Pope and Emperor combine against the Normans, but there was no stability in an alliance so unusual. In the Sicilian kingdom were displayed the peculiar characteristics of the Norman race—its military prowess and ferocity, its genius for administration, its adaptability and eclecticism. They brought from Normandy the feudal customs they had there acquired, but they maintained and converted to their use the officials and institutions, the arts and sciences, of the races they conquered— Italian, Greek, and Arab—each of which was tolerated in the use of its own language, religion, and customs. The court of Roger II at Palermo presented an appearance unlike anything else in the West; and the essential product of this extraordinary environment was “the wonder of the world,” Frederick II. The Normans pieced together a most remarkable mosaic, but they never made a nation of their subjects; the elements were too discordant, and they themselves too few. They remained a ruling caste, and then, as the royal house, once so prolific, gradually became sterile, Frederick Barbarossa seized the opportunity to marry his son Henry VI to the heiress Constance and to unite the crowns of Germany and Sicily. But, though the Norman rulers had disappeared, their deeds survived; for their own purposes they had recognised papal overlordship and received from the Pope their titles as dukes and kings. By so doing they added materially to the temporal authority of the Papacy, and created the situation which made so bitter the conflict of Empire and Papacy in the thirteenth century.

As the Normans exercised an important influence on the great struggle which divided the unity of Europe, so did they also have a decisive effect upon the other great struggle, in which Europe was united against the infidel. The story of the Crusades is described in this volume from the Western point of view, and it has already been told from the Eastern standpoint in Volume IV. Its importance in world-history, and also in the more limited field of European history, need not be stressed here; but it is worthwhile to characterise the different interests involved, and to regard the Crusading movement in its proper setting, as an episode in the general history of the relations of East and West. It was not merely a Holy War between Christian and Muslim. The Seljuqs, already in decline and hampered by internal divisions, were concerned with the effort to maintain what they had won. The Eastern Empire was concerned firstly with the defence of its existence, secondly with the recovery of Asia Minor. The Latins, to whom they appealed for help, were interested rather in Syria and Palestine, to which they were equally attracted by religious enthusiasm and by the prospects of territory or trade. Europe also had its own injuries to avenge. It too had suffered from Saracen invaders, against whom it was now beginning to react—in the advance of the Christian kingdoms in Spain, in the Norman conquest of Sicily, in the capture of Mahdiyah by Genoa and Pisa in 1087. The Crusades were, in one aspect, an extension Eastwards of this reaction, a change from the defensive to the offensive. Against a common foe Eastern and Western Christians had a common cause, but the concord went no further. In the first place, seventeen years before the fatal battle of Manzikert, which had caused the Eastern Empire to turn to the West for aid, the great Schism between the Eastern and Western Churches had already occurred. One of the results hoped for from the First Crusade was the healing of that schism, and to the Western mind the obstinate perversity of the Greek Church made it as dangerous an enemy of the faith as Mohammedanism itself. And, secondly, the Normans in South Italy had conquered Greeks as well as Saracens, and their first advance eastwards was against Greeks not against Saracens. Robert Guiscard by his attack on the Eastern Empire in 1081 began the policy, which was continued by his successors and was adopted by the Emperor Henry VI as part of his Norman inheritance. In other quarters, too, the experiences of the first two Crusades created a body of opinion in favour of the conquest of the Eastern Empire as a necessary part of the whole movement; this opinion gathered strength when the Eastern Emperor came to terms with Saladin to oppose the Western advance which was now a menace to both. Finally, Venice was alienated by the ambition of Manuel Comnenus and the folly of Andronicus, and from being the chief obstacle to the Norman policy became its chief supporter. It was now the aim of the Crusaders to conquer the whole of the Near East, Christian and Muslim alike, and their first objective was Constantinople.

In the internal history of Europe this volume deals, outside Italy, with the three leading countries of Germany, France, and England; the history of the outlying and more backward countries—Spain, Scandinavia, Poland, Bohemia, Hungary—is reserved for the next volume. In these three countries there was much that was similar, for the underlying ideas inherent in feudal society were common to them all. But similar conceptions produced widely differing results. On the one hand, feudal society with its deep reverence for custom and tradition was much affected by local conditions and lapse of time. On the other hand, it was peculiarly sensitive to the workings of human nature, to the ambition of individuals who stressed the privileges and minimised the obligations arising from the idea of contract on which the feudal system was essentially based; it was poised on a delicate balance which the accident of death might immediately upset. In the secular governments, as in the ecclesiastical government of the Church, the trend is in favour of monarchy, and the rulers make, with varying success, a continual effort towards centralisation; but they were all at an initial disadvantage compared with the Pope. The success of the electoral principle might be fatal to monarchical authority; and the hereditary principle had its dangers too, in the event of a minority or the failure of a direct heir. The hereditary principle could not be applied to the Papacy, for which the electoral system worked as a means of continual development; for the cardinals, having no opportunity of obtaining an independent position apart from the Pope, had everything to gain as individuals and nothing to lose by electing the ablest of their number as Pope.

Monarchy was in the most favourable position in England, and here it was therefore the most successful. William I started with the initial advantage that the whole land was his by conquest, and to be dealt with as he chose. The Normans, here as in Sicily, displayed their genius in adminis­tration, their adaptability and eclecticism. The political feudalism they brought from Normandy placed the king in England in the strong posi­tion that, as duke, he had held in Normandy; and he adopted what he found suitable to his purpose already existing—the manorial system, the shire and hundred courts, Danegeld. As it had been won by conquest, the whole land was royal domain. Wisely the king kept a large share for himself, though feudal dues and the precedent of general taxation made him less dependent on his own estates for revenue than were his French and German contemporaries. The lands he granted out were held directly from him, as fiefs on military tenure, liable to forfeiture and not transferable at will. No individual baron could match himself with the king or hope to establish an independent position. The king was not dependent upon the barons in the central government, nor were they, as on the Continent, all-powerful in local government. They were not officials but tenants-in-chief, and the strength of the Crown in local affairs is clearly displayed in that the king not only appointed and dismissed the sheriffs at will, but also insisted on their attendance at his Court and a rendering of their stewardship at his Exchequer—just as the Pope in­sisted on the visits ad limina of his local officials, the archbishops and bishops. So too did royal justice penetrate through the country, with the system of inquests, writs, and itinerant judges; the local courts were maintained under royal control, and it was the baronial jurisdiction that suffered. Not that it was directly attacked; the kings were careful not to transgress the letter of the feudal contract. But they preserved their supremacy, and in Church as well as in State; moreover, in spite of Henry I’s dispute with Anselm and Henry II’s long contest with Becket, they avoided any serious conflict with the Papacy. They were, from the English point of view, too much absorbed in their continental possessions, which involved long absences of the king and too heavy a burden on English resources. Yet still, at the end of our period, the monarchy is at the height of its power, both in England and on the Continent. A rapid decline set in with John, who not only lost most of his continental possessions but, by making the mistakes which the wisdom of his pre­decessors had avoided, entered into a serious conflict both with the Pope and with the united baronage.

France presents a complete contrast. In the eleventh century the French monarchy was almost helpless. The great nobles had become practically independent, and, unlike the nobles in Germany, had ceased to be even in theory royal officials. The king had to start de novo, and perhaps in the long run this was an advantage. He was not fettered by all those traditions of the past which hampered royal initiative in Ger­many, and the strongest of the fetters had rusted from disuse. The Capetians had enjoyed the supreme fortune of an uninterrupted succession; the custom of two centuries hardened into a right; and the electoral privileges of the nobles gave way to the hereditary right of the eldest son. In this volume we deal only with the reigns of Louis VI and VII, during which the monarchy recovered from the weakness of the eleventh century and prepared the way for the great period which begins with Philip Augustus. The king had two assets: a domain, which though small was compact, and the potentialities inherent in the kingly office. Louis VI, by his wisdom in concentrating almost entirely on the former, was able eventually to make use of the latter. After a long series of petty wars, he overcame the brigand-nobles of the domain, and so established peace and order within it, made the roads safe for merchants and travellers, and made royal justice attractive. He had his reward in the appeals for his intervention that came from other quarters. So sure was his building that even Louis VII managed to add a few bricks to the edifice. The great vassals absorbed in their own domains ignored the central government, and the king, much to his advantage, was able to create a body of officials directly dependent upon himself. In local government he was confined almost entirely to the royal domain, but soon, by escheat and conquest, this was to become the larger part of France; the king reaped the advantage from the over-aggrandisement of his greatest vassal. Finally, one source of strength had grown out of past weakness. The Papacy in the eleventh century had succeeded in carrying out its reform policy more completely in France than elsewhere, because of the weakness of royal opposition. On France, therefore, it could rely for welcome and a refuge, whatever the king’s attitude, and frequently the Popes availed themselves of this. The result was that they came to depend, Alexander III in particular, on French support; this, as the king became powerful, meant the support of the French king, who soon attained a unique posi­tion among lay rulers in his relations with the Papacy.

In Germany the situation is much harder to assess; monarchy was firmly established, with a long tradition of power, but the king was handicapped by tradition as well, and still more by his imperial position. His Italian kingdom prevented him from concentrating upon Germany, while the long struggle with the Papacy gave the opportunity for the anti-monarchical forces in both countries to defeat his aims at centralisation. Another weakness was the lack of continuity. More than once already the king had left no son to succeed him, and twice again this happened within our period. So the hereditary principle was never established, and the grip of the electors tightened with each vacancy. The royal resources were distinctly inferior to those of the English kings, for a large part of the land was not held directly from the king and he had no power of instituting general taxation. The royal domain, in which in a sense must be included the ecclesiastical territories held from the king, was widely scattered, and the king was unable to concentrate on one area, as Louis VI did in France. Henry IV attempted this in Saxony, and was defeated by the Saxon revolt; Henry Vs attempt in the Rhine district was cut short by his death; Lothar III started with an extensive Saxon domain, but again a change of dynasty upset his plans; Frederick Bar­barossa, who added his Swabian domain to the Salian inheritance, was the most favourably placed of all, and he was the most powerful. He it was too who solved the problem of the duchies.

The German kings, while very powerful compared with their French contemporaries, were still hampered by the conditions to which the weakness of the ninth century had given rise, and from which they had never been able to shake themselves free. Germany had been saved from the fate of France in the ninth century by the tribal feeling, which prevented her from breaking up into small units. But the very cohesion of the tribal duchies was a handicap to the central authority. In the first place, tribal institutions and tribal customs were too strong to be overridden, and tended to make of Germany a federation rather than a nation; and, secondly, the dukes, as leaders of the tribes, were a constant embar­rassment to the king. Various expedients had been adopted, from Otto I onwards, to control them, but once again in the twelfth century they had risen, in Swabia, Bavaria, and Saxony, to a position little inferior to that of their predecessors in the ninth century. The fall of Henry the Lion at last gave Frederick Barbarossa the opportunity, by partitioning the duchies, to destroy the old tribal units. The smaller units he could more easily control, but he did nothing to replace the tribal bond by a national bond, and so Germany became a federation of many small states in place of a few large ones.

What stood in his way particularly was the status of the German nobility. Dukes, margraves, and counts remained in theory what they had once been in fact—royal officials, entrusted with local government and jurisdiction. These functions they now exercised by hereditary right, and themselves reaped the financial advantages. So, while the nobles could often interfere in the central government, the king, where he was not present, could not control the local government. One important change he did make, by which a landed status tended to supersede the official status. The first rank of German nobles, the principes, had included all holders of official titles, lay and ecclesiastical. After 1180, only those who held directly from the king were ranked as “princes.” So, while the bishops and the abbots of royal abbeys retained princely rank (and were often, in a real sense, royal officials), only some sixteen lay nobles remained in the highest grade. The princes of Germany had the right of choosing the king; this right was now confined to a much smaller number, and already it was recognised that with a privileged few the real decision lay. The elective system was becoming crystallised, and both Frederick Barbarossa and Henry VI vainly attempted to combat it. Frederick was a great ruler himself, a great respecter of law, a great guardian of order. But, though he was successful in preserving order in Germany, he had to be present himself to enforce it. The local magnates, though with a landed rather than an official status, continued like the princes to exercise local control. No attempt was made by Frederick to imitate the English kings, to create a bureaucracy directly responsible to himself and by a system of itinerant justices to enforce locally the king’s law and to make the king’s justice universal. He was so scrupulous in his administration of feudal custom that it was hardly possible that he should contemplate such a change. It was the nobles who instituted the process against Henry the Lion, and it was they, and not the king, who reaped the results of his fall. In fact, there was no real effort at centralisation in Germany, and this was fatal to German unity and so to monarchy in Germany.

Hitherto the political side of feudalism had been displayed in arrange­ments or conflicts between the king on the one side and the nobles on the other. But now, as the more settled state of things gave opportunity for the development of more peaceful pursuits, a third factor enters in with the rise of the towns. In this volume we are concerned with the political importance of these urban communities, and the economic history’ of the development and organisation of trade and industry, as well as of agricultural conditions, is reserved for later volumes. The king was naturally interested in keeping control of the towns, which provided useful sources of revenue: in England the leading boroughs were retained as royal boroughs by William I and were heavily taxed by Henry I; in Germany there were many royal towns, and, as most towns were under a bishop, royal control was usually maintained. The towns, for their part, were anxious to hold directly from the king, and were willing to pay the price. For the king alone could legally grant the privileges they coveted, and a strong monarchy was the best guarantee of the peace which was so necessary a condition for the expansion of trade and industry. They were, therefore, naturally on the side of the king against the nobles, and often rendered him valuable support. The work of Louis VI in the royal domain was so much to their interest that we find the towns a constant ally of monarchy in France, though the kings until Philip Augustus were slow to recognise the advantage this gave them. In England, the support of London was one of Stephen’s chief assets. In Germany, the assistance of the Rhine towns turned the tide in favour of Henry IV when his fortunes were at their lowest ebb, and he never lost their support. Henry V, depending at first on the nobles, had to throw over the towns, but he tried energetically, though not altogether successfully, to regain their support later on. The twelfth century was the great flowering period of corporate town-life in Germany, aided by royal grants of self-government. Frederick II in the thirteenth century handed the towns over to the nobles; they were forced to depend upon themselves, and adopted the plan of leagues for mutual support and the furtherance of trade.

In the towns of northern and central Italy, for different reasons, this stage had already been reached in the twelfth century; the motives governing their actions, though the same as elsewhere, led to contrary results. The Italian towns had been accustomed to city-organisation from Roman times, and their geographical situation caused an earlier development of trade and greater prosperity than elsewhere in Europe. Some of them had already acquired charters and liberties in the eleventh century, and they found their opportunity when they were practically left to themselves by Lothar III and Conrad III. During this period they suppressed the local feudal nobility, who made peaceful trading impossible, and, getting rid of their episcopal lords, established themselves as self­governing communities. The royal power had not assisted them, and was now the only bar to complete independence. They had violated the sovereign rights of the Emperor, and such a breach with feudal law could only be made good by revolution. Frederick Barbarossa was entirely within his rights in enforcing at Roncaglia the recovery of the regalia, so important a source of revenue, which they had usurped. The towns justified themselves by success, and, though they consented to an outward recognition of imperial overlordship, the tie was too slender to affect their independence. But the league of Italian cities, its defensive purpose achieved, did not continue, as the later leagues in Germany, for the preservation of order and the mutual furtherance of trade. City rivalries and trade jealousies counterbalanced the bond of common interest, and the cities suffered from constant internal as well as external strife; the rise of oligarchies of wealth led to class struggles, and the competition of different crafts to conflicts between the gilds.

In an age when monarchical government, secular and ecclesiastical, was not only regarded as divinely instituted but was also the best guarantee of peace and order, the capacity of the ruler was of the first importance and attention is focussed upon individuals. The second half of the eleventh century is dominated by the personality of Pope Gregory VII, the second half of the twelfth by that of the Emperor Frederick Barbarossa. In the middle period it is neither lay ruler nor ecclesiastical ruler, but a Cistercian abbot, St Bernard, who fills the centre of the stage; and that this could be so is a sign of the effect on medieval life of spiritual considerations. It was the admiration felt for the holiness of his life, and his reputation as a great and fearless preacher, that gave St Bernard his extraordinary influence over his generation. He figures in several chapters in this volume, and his life-story provides an epitome of most of the leading features of contemporary human endeavour. It was an age of new monastic experi­ments, which were of great importance in the life of the Church; for monastic reform had preluded, and constantly recurred to reinvigorate, the Reform of the Church as a whole. Not only did St Bernard’s outstanding personality make Cistercianism the most popular Order of the day; his ardent zeal put new life into the older Benedictine monasteries and materially assisted the beginnings of the other new Orders— Carthusians, Templars, Premonstratensians, Augustinian canons; particularly did he encourage the substitution of regular for secular canons in cathedral chapters. The twelfth century witnessed also a new wave of intellectual endeavour, and St Bernard was the arbiter on some of the leading questions of the day, including the condemnation of Abelard and Arnold of Brescia in 1140, and the less successful trial of Gilbert de la Porrée in 1147. In this way he exercised an unfortunate influence; his £ rigid orthodoxy made him immediately suspicious of a critical mind, and was more in place in combating the heresy which was already beginning to spread in the south of France.

In a larger sphere he also predominated. It was his decision in favour of Innocent II that settled the issue of the papal schism following the death of Honorius II in 1130. It was his preaching that kindled the Second Crusade, and his influence that caused the Kings of France and Germany to participate in it; its disastrous failure reacted on his popularity but did not deter him from attempting to assemble a new crusade. He not only laid down rules of life for bishops, monks, secular clergy, and laity, but he dispatched admonitions and censures, in the plainest of language, to Popes, cardinals, and kings. Most interesting of all is the long lecture he addressed to Eugenius III on the duties of the papal office—the De Consideratione. In this he develops a view of the extent of spiritual authority that did not fall short of the extreme conception of Gregory VII; he speaks of the plenitudo potestatis of the Pope and of the two swords, material as well as spiritual, belonging to the Church. But, on the other hand, he was quite emphatic that this power must be used for spiritual purposes only, and the idea of the Pope as a ruler is abhorrent to him. The Pope has a ministerium not a domination the Roman Church is the mater not the domina of all the churches; the Pope’s power is “ in criminibus non in possessionibus.” He is especially vehement against the increasing absorption of the Pope in the pomps and secular cares of his office, and though his treatise does not supply a very practical solution of the difficulties with which the Pope was faced, it does convey a timely warning, and in a sense a prophecy of the fate that was soon to overtake the Papacy.


Gross, C. Sources and Literature of English History from the earliest times to about 1485.


Hastings, J. and Selbie, J. A. Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics. 12 vols.


The lands of the eastern caliphate : Mesopotamia, Persia and Central Asia from the Moslem conquest to the time of Timur



The Rise of the Spanish Empire in the Old World and in the New.- The Middle Ages

The Catholic Kings.- Charles V Philip II


The Latins in the Levant; a history of Frankish Greece (1204-1566)


The Empire from Ausgustus to Theodosius : being a general history from B.C. 44 to A.D. 395

The Empire from Theodosius Leo II of Constantinople: being a general history from A.D. 395 to 740


A political history of the great Latin Patriarchate

[v. 1] Books I & II. From the first to the close of the fifth century. 1856.--[v. 2] Books III, IV & V. From the close of the fifth to the middle of the ninth century.--[v. 3] Books VI, VII & VIII. From the middle of the ninth to the close of the tenth century.--[v. 4] Books IX, X & XI. From the close of the tenth century to the Concordat of Worms (AD. 1122)--[v. 5] Books XII & XIII. From the Concordat of Worms (A.D. 1122) to the close of the pontificate of Innocent III (A.D. 1216)


The life and times of Hildebrand, Pope Gregory VII


The early history of the House of Savoy, 1000-1223


Roger of Sicily, and the Normans in Lower Italy, 1016-1154


A history of Pisa, eleventh and twelfth centuries


Mohammadan Dynasties


Henry, the Lion


The Popes and the Hohenstaufen.


The Life and Times of St. Bernard


The loss of Normandy (1189-1204) Studies in the history of the Angevin empire


England under the Normans and Angevins.


The English church from the Norman conquest to the accession of Edward I (1066-1272)


The Life and Martyrdom of St Thomas Becket


The development of the French Monarchy under Louis VI le Gros


Political theories of the Middle Age.


The Universities of Europe in the Middle Ages.


A history of the law of nations



A Complete Manual of Canon Law


Schools of Gaul; a study of pagan and Christian education in the last century of the Western empire