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Shortly before he died the aged Celestine III proposed that John Colonna, better known as Cardinal Giovanni of St Paul, should be his successor. Roger Howden relates that he even suggested abdicating in John’s favour, but the cardinals would not hear of it. If devoted piety and respect for poverty and self-abnegation had been all that was required of the new pontiff, they would have chosen the monk who laid the foundations of the Papal Penitentiary, the humble spirit who befriended Francis of Assisi. They took instead a deacon of the college, Lothar of the Conti family, lords of Segni, thirty-seven years to succeed ninety-one. They wanted a statesman rather than a religious genius, and Lothar seemed the man to restore the political power of the Papacy in Italy and beyond the Alps, to protect the religious orders against secular encroachment, to combat the danger of heresy. The Curia had indeed shown its hand when it supported Tancred of Lecce against Henry VI for the Sicilian kingdom, and there was to be no departure from its political path. Thus far Innocent III—under that name he was consecrated on 23 February 1198—found his lines determined for him. The cardinals knew that he was full of energy and ambition. They could not have foreseen, even dimly, what was to be the effect of his personality and will: the use made of every shifting of fortune to increase the spiritual authority and the temporal possessions of the Holy See; the comprehensive vision that subordinated each detail, however small, to the general execution of his aim; the power of adaptive recovery after defeat, the inexorable genius of order and method and lucid expression. Within the larger framework of that policy they were to see strange fluctuations and unexpected collapses: grandeur of conception jeopardised by unscrupulous agents, splendour of design obscured by faulty understanding and uncertain handling of men. Yet the general result was to stand above all controversy. The religious life of Western Europe was organised and directed as never before; the rivers emptied themselves into the Mediterranean, the roads led to Rome; and the believer could pray Adveniat regnum tuum, more certain at heart that the mirror of the heavenly Kingdom was to be found in the Church-Sate militant here in earth.

Lothar’s ancestors were German settlers in Latium. In the twelfth century the family was of such standing that his father, Thrasamund, could marry a daughter of the Roman house of Scotta. A young man of some means, Lothar had studied theology at Paris under Peter of Corbeil, law at Bologna under Uguccio of Ferrara, the most celebrated of Italian decretists. He was first actively connected with the Curia during the pontificate of Lucius III, thanks, no doubt, to his uncle, the future Clement III. During the short reign of Gregory VIII he was made sub­deacon, and later on in the time of Clement III Cardinal-deacon of SS. Sergius and Bacchus (1187). Celestine III’s elevation brought the Orsini, enemies of the Scotta, into prominence, and Lothar suffered temporary eclipse, during which he wrote the famous, but in all respects conventional, treatise De contemptu mundi—a string of biblical citations connected by a commentary. In the Curia he was probably then the young radical who had to be suppressed for advocating drastic measures as against the caution of older heads. In appearance he was small, but his presence was distinguished and commanding. The early mosaic portrait of him from the apse of St Peter’s, now preserved in the Capella Conti (Villa Catena), shows a young face, stern, dark, and alert. His personality was dynamic rather than magnetic, a man to be admired more than loved. He was an accomplished speaker, had a fine ear for the sound of a period, and his work in the Chancery added considerably to the practice of the Roman cursus. He was a preacher and expositor rather than a philosopher, though he could wield the syllogism with the best. A thorough knowledge of the Old Testament and the Apocrypha provided him with a constant store of allegory and symbolism wherein, like any theologian of his time, he de­lighted, while for secular quotations he drew largely upon the Epistles and Ars Poetica of Horace. Fully four thousand eight hundred of his letters survive, yet it is not easy to form a personal judgment of him from them, so formidable, often so exasperating is the façade of words built by himself or the clerks of his Chancery. The impressive phrase fell easily, a little too easily, from Innocent’s pen. But on a point of law or administration there is no trace of verbiage: all is as clean-cut as an Anglo-Norman writ. Innocent’s rescripts and decretals are classical models of legal judgment. In patient deliberation, in minute examination of every relevant point, he excelled. Thrice a week, we are told, he held a public consistory, in which he heard the complaints of individuals. The smaller cases he examined through judges delegate, the more important he set forth himself with such refinement of skill and wisdom that all were amazed at these qualities, and many learned men and jurisconsults would frequent the Roman Church simply to listen to him, and learned more in his consistories than they would have in the schools, especially when they heard him giving judgment; for so subtle was his statement of the case on either side that each party hoped for victory when it heard his presentment of its position; and no advocate, however skilful, appeared before him but did not acutely dread his objections to the points pleaded. “Solomon III” was the name given him by one of his household in a humorously satirical account of his summer quarters at Subiaco, and the writer may well have heard from his own lips his favourite remark that he was a debtor, to fools as to the wise, to do justice. So too with administration. His keen business-like mind overlooked nothing. He has left us a picture of himself writing indignantly to rebuke the Archbishop of Antivari for accepting as genuine a surreptitious papal letter that made Innocent address him as “Beloved son in Christ” instead of “Venerable brother”, and employ the plural when the singular was the invariable usage. “Wherefore we would have you in like cases take such care that you will no more be circumvented or deceived, but will scrutinise the apostolic letters more diligently in seal and thread, parchment and style, that henceforth you will not take true for false, or false for true”. Tam in bulla quam in filo, tarn eciam in carta quam stylo, the Chancery rhyme, transformed to curial prose, typifies the cautious administrator. But this archivist’s attention to significant minutiae was but a small part of an equipment devoted to the service of the greatest of medieval ideals and one never relaxed: the supremacy of Christ’s Vicar on earth.

“Petro non solum universam ecclesiam, sed totum reliquit saeculum gubernandum.” The claim advanced by Nicholas I, pushed further by Gregory VII in the Dictatus papae, and re-stated by Alexander III, is asserted more fully and strongly than before. Christendom is one community, the garment of Christ without seam: one, not merely in the sense of a moral unity, but a visible, concrete world-state under clerical guidance, its rulers the governors of their various territorial areas, each recognising the supremacy of the Roman See and admitting the Pope’s plenitude of power. The foundation of this Society is unity of faith and obedience to the successor of Peter; for the Pope, that successor, has no equal upon earth. He is the representative of Christ. The Holy See is “set in the midst between God and man, below God, but above man”. At his consecration Innocent preached on the text: “See, I have this day set thee over the nations and over the kingdoms, to pluck up and to break down, to destroy and to overthrow, to build and to plant”. This view was grounded not merely upon Christ’s command to Peter and the Donation of Constantine, but upon a hierarchical reading of Old Testament history which he never tired of repeating. In the answer to the ambassadors of King Philip of Swabia given in consistory (1199 or 1200) his essential thought is expressed: Melchisedech, King of Salem and priest of the Most High, foreshadows and typifies the priesthood in its relation to the world, the superiority of spiritual over temporal power, “praeeminentiam quam sacerdotium habet ad regnum”, because the two were united in the priest-king. Melchisedech is the figure he used in an early letter to the spiritual and lay princes of Germany (3 May 1198) to represent the majesty of Christ as King of Kings and Lord of Lords. This combination of a divine and human order in a single person descends through history to Peter’s representative.

It is easy to multiply instances of this deeply-felt historical mysticism, and what follows here constitutes no denial of the fundamental idea. Yet in spite of these and mother high utterances, his canonist’s caution and vivid sense of the practical kept Innocent from trying to give constant effect to a doctrine of Petrine authority such as glossators and later commentators on his decretals were disposed to put into his mouth. Personally he was no rigid doctrinaire, but a man with a great ideal before him, alive to the facts of the situation, often bowing to the inevitable and reacting to pressure. His spirit was never dismayed by the gulf lying between the high Petrine theory of sovereignty and the historical and more limited practice of the Roman bishop. It could be bridged, if one went carefully enough. It never affected him as strongly as it had affected Gregory VII, with his finer intuition and darker sense of conflict. There were no tears, no spiritual wrestlings, at Lothar’s elevation. He could speak of the Papacy as “the most glorious position on earth”, where Hildebrand had felt only “bitterness of grief and great anxiety” encompassing him. He believed in the power of organisation and the magic of diplomacy, and was never left helpless by the pride and hardness that seemed invincible. A tough patrician, unlike the legal maniac Boniface VIII he could bend without breaking. Whatever he may have felt, the moment he had before him a concrete problem involving principle or had to make a decision constituting a precedent, he became cautious and deliberate, though never purely traditionalist or conservative. When he claimed as the successor of Peter to intervene in temporal matters, it was to provide peace or justice, to help widows, orphans, or crusaders, to punish sin. It was in compliance with his duty to preach peace that lie wrote in 1203 to Philip Augustus calling on him to make terms with John Lackland and drawing a picture of the disastrous consequences of war. When he received the answer that he had no business to interfere in a matter between lord and vassal, he shifted his ground, disavowed the intention of interfering with feudal relations, and maintained that he had rightly intervened ratione peccati, for no one of sound mind could fail to recognise that it was his duty to snatch every Christian from mortal sin. This famous definition of the ground of papal intervention forms one of his decretals: the canonist Hostiensis, however, commenting upon the passage, hastened to point out that the text did not imply that the two jurisdictions, spiritual and temporal, were distinct; nay rather that they both had a single source; that the Papacy possessed the two swords—a doctrine that Innocent did not maintain with absolute consistency.

A similar use was made of the letter which he wrote in 1206 to the Bishop of Vercelli on behalf of the authorities of the commune. Here he directed that papal letters which dealt with matters properly belonging to the secular authorities should be disregarded; but that persons who considered that they had been wronged in the secular courts might appeal to the bishop, or, if they so preferred, to the Pope, particularly at a time when the Empire was vacant and there was no secular judge to whom they could resort. This ruling led Innocent IV in his Apparatus to the Decretals of Gregory IX to enter in great detail into cases of “denial of justice” where the Church might legitimately intervene, and the conclusion is drawn that the Emperor is advocatus of the Pope. But Innocent III was neither laying down rules of justice to be regularly observed during an imperial vacancy, nor transferring into the canonical sphere the consequences of deni de justice in customary law. How cautious an in­novator he was in matters on the border line between spiritual and secular jurisdiction can be seen in the great decretal Per venerabilem, his reply to the Count of Montpellier’s application for the legitimising of his children. The count had pointed, as a precedent, to Innocent’s order removing illegitimacy from the children born to Philip Augustus by Agnes of Meran. Innocent maintained that for temporal purposes legitimisation was a matter for temporal powers to deal with, and the count had a superior. Philip, on the other hand, had no superior and thus wronged no one by submitting to papal jurisdiction. Within the patrimony the Pope had jurisdiction as a temporal lord; without, he could in certain cases exercise it, on the ground that in Deuteronomy provision was made for reference on doubtful matters to the Levites, and their jurisdiction under New Testament dispensation belonged to the Pope. These ‘pertain cases” Innocent defined according to the Decalogue as falling within three categories: inter sanguinem et sanguinem (criminal law in a civil process), inter causam et causam (ecclesiastical and civil law alike), and inter lepram et lepram (the Church’s criminal law). The first and second must come into operation in a case of difficulty or doubt. The condition should be noted, as well as the respect shown for the rights of the overlord. In these cases the apostolic jurisdiction is exercised as a last resort; the Christian law always can, and sometimes must, supply the desired solution. There can be no mistaking the general tendency of the decretal. The priest-king, the Pope, is also the supreme judge in Christendom; the Levites, his Cardinals, are his court. Their jurisdiction resembles the dominium eminens of the Rom Emperors. Potentially supreme in spiritual and temporal causes alike, it is in practice self-limited. It is there, yet not necessarily insisted upon. But nothing can limit it when once it has been called into action upon specific matters where feudal law or national custom cannot avail.

The same mixture of audacity and circumspection is evident in the most far-reaching of his diplomatic dealings, the business of the Empire. He took his stand upon the claim of Gregory VII to confirm the choice of the electors and to approve the person of the elected; conversely, therefore, to reject the other competitor or competitors. Now Gregory VII justified his attitude by announcing the supremacy of the papal power over all worldly authority. Innocent, on the other hand, less theoretically and very characteristically took as his justification the so-called historical fact of the translatio imperii from the Greeks to the Homans through the medium of the Papacy. In the famous judgment (not however meant for publication) which he delivered in Consistory upon the claims of the three candidates, he upheld the right of the Holy See to deal with the matter on the ground that the Roman Empire belonged to it principaliter and finaliter; principaliter, because the Papacy was the origin and cause of the transference; finaliter, because the Emperor received the last laying-on of hands from the supreme pontiff, was blessed, crowned, and invested by him with the Empire. The argument is from history and historical ceremony. The right to elect none the less rested firmly with the princes of the Empire, and Innocent repeatedly stated that he had no desire to deprive them of it. It is hard to decide whether he was sincere in these assertions; whether his exhorta­tions to unity and concord addressed to the lay and spiritual nobility of Germany between 1199 and 1201 were not disingenuous; whether he was right, when charged with intervening through his legate in the dispute between Otto and Philip, in denying that he had ever exceeded his threefold right of confirmatio, approbation, reprobatio. It is not difficult to show that in this and in many other transactions strong reasons of expediency governed him consciously or subconsciously; but the real point of importance is that his method was always a legal one, and by this deliberate procedure, step by step, he was able to enforce more extreme measures and sentences than any of his predecessors and to do so with remarkable frequency. Yet the very legality of his mind and methods seems to have brought with it a corresponding deficiency in probing character or in understanding local atmosphere and local conditions, and a lawyer’s readiness to seize upon a formal point to the exclusion of other considerations. Once he had set a train of events in movement, he did his utmost to be fair, took nothing for granted, examined every representation made to him and in so doing was liable to see not the wood but only the trees; to lose, as in the Albigensian Crusade, the general control of things and to be forced to rely on his extraordinary resilience and recuperative power to make the best of a bad situation. And he did not always choose the instruments of his policy well. From his subordinates and his allies he often expected more than they could give or failed to fathom their weaknesses. He thought that they were filled with the same kind of impersonal ardour as himself; that the dignity of their offices or commissions would carry them to success. Upon the personal element he frequently set curiously little value.

He had a noble conception of his office, a keen sense of his responsibility. His favourite metaphor was the Fisherman’s boat on Gennesaret. “By Peter’s boat is figured the Church”, he wrote in 1199 to the Greek Patriarch; “Peter, then, according to our Lord’s command launched out his ship into the deep, letting down his net for the draught, and thus placed the supreme command (principatum) of the Church in the region where temporal power flourished at its highest, the home of the imperial monarchy to which the various nations at fixed times paid their tribute, as the waves go to make up the sea”. Here spoke the religious legatee of Rome to the schismatic claimant of the estate. More interesting, because more self-revealing, a use of the imagery came from him five years later after the fall of the Patriarch’s city. Writing on the text Luke V, 3-6, to the crusading clergy at Constantinople a vindication of the primacy of the Roman Church in converting and teaching the world, he said: “Jesus in fact went up into the ship of Simon, when He caused the Church of Peter to rise, a fact clearly apparent from the time of Constantine onwards.,.. And sitting down He taught the multitudes from the vessel, for thenceforward He caused Peter to be firmly seated, whether in the Lateran or in the Vatican, and made him teach, since from now onwards doctors began to multiply in the Church, Leo, Gregory, Gelasius, Innocent, and many others after them. But for a time He ceased to speak, when the word of preaching ceased in the Church, not so much because of the unworthiness of its pontiffs as on account of the evil lives of its subjects.... And therefore He said to Simon, when He ceased to speak, Launch out into the deep and let down the net for a draught. Then is the ship launched into the deep when the Church is lifted up on high by lofty doctrine or advanced to better estate. But whether in these days the ship... was launched into the deep, I prefer not to say, lest I might appear to commend myself; but one thing I affirm with confidence, that I let down the net for the draught”. Innocent launched out in very truth. The deep, he said in one of his sermons, was Rome, preaching the net of many threads and strings that typified the authorities used and the methods of address. He was speaking here as one exercising praelatio, the care of souls, whose first duty is to instruct; and throughout his intensely political life his pastoral task was ever before him. In his sermon at the opening of the Lateran Council he emphasised the Pope’s duty of scrutinising every activity in the Church. “The supreme pontiff, who is watcher over Israel, must traverse (transire) the whole Church... investigating and inquiring into the merits of each and all”. No reader of his Register can fail to be astonished at the rapidity with which he turns from the highest matters of statesmanship to cases involving tiresome and minute detail from the outskirts of Christendom or even to the subtlest points of theology; at the extraordinary versatility of his organising power, and the immense gravity of his judgments.

He was a diplomat and an opportunist, ready to seize the immediate advantage, but never losing sight of the goal. He had no hesitation in playing upon discreditable motives, when he could gain by so doing. He was not above inventing situations that did not exist or even telling deliberate falsehoods. No man in that age could entangle himself in international politics without endangering his honesty, and he quoted most appositely the saying that the man who handles pitch defiles himself. For this lack of scruple—and the very fact proclaims the great advance of the Papacy to temporal power since the days of Alexander III— he has been taken severely to task. Yet he can only be judged as a man of his age. He was convinced that the Papacy alone could guarantee a richer ethical and religious life to the world, and that it must therefore govern men’s lives by means of an organised divine society, the Church. He realised to the full the splendour of her continuity, he felt at one with her saints. A peculiar trend of circumstances gave him some of the gravest of European issues to determine, some of the noblest of op­portunities in European politics to handle. Elected as he was, believing what he did, he could never stand aside or remain an occasional arbiter. For among pontiffs of international mind with the interest of Christendom at heart none of such practical ability joined with such consciousness of his position had appeared since the days of the first Gregory.


We shall confine our account of Innocent’s activities to the part he played outside Germany in limiting and fettering the overmighty Hohenstaufen Empire—that Empire which, in the eyes of the Curia, was the utter negative of the Hildebrandine ideal of an autonomous Church; to the efforts he made to establish the unity of the faith and of Christian worship, both as regards the Eastern Empire as well as the heresy that threatened the West; and to his largely successful attempt to assert the feudal suzerainty of St Peter over the younger kingdoms. We shall, then turn to the main characteristic of his pontificate, the increased centralisation of the papal monarchy, and survey the principal organs of administration which gave effect to it. Finally we shall consider certain particular directions in which Innocent’s legislation was of vital effect in moulding the canonical system of the Church.

In Rome and Italy the situation in 1198 was critical, but full of pos­sibilities. The City lay under the direction of an official who had sworn fealty to Henry VI and of a senate over which the Papacy had no control. In addition, a part of the Roman nobility was not readily disposed to accept the rule of one connected with the Scotta clan. Outside Rome, before Henry VI’s death, his officials had reduced the State of the Church to the boundaries of the Roman Duchy; his seneschal, Markward of Anweiler, had been invested with the March of Ancona and was Duke of Ravenna; Conrad of Urslingen was in possession of Spoleto, and Henry’s younger brother, Philip of Swabia, had been created Duke of Tuscany. But everywhere the tide had turned against the imperial vicars and the cities were rising to their opportunity of independence. Henry VI’s en­deavour had been to strengthen the Empire with the solid monarchy of Sicily by bringing about the succession of his son Frederick to the combined territories; but the widowed Constance stood in need of a protector, and there was a good chance of reforming the feudal compact of 1059 and of gaining more advantages than the Treaty of Benevento (1156) had permitted to the Papacy.

The City prefecture, which Henry had reduced to the position of vas­salage under the Empire, had in the twelfth century become a papal office, exercising criminal and civil jurisdiction over the city, and, in theory at all events, over the surrounding country to a distance of a hundred miles around Rome. The prefect was invested with the purple mantle of office by the Pope, rode by his side in processions, and swore to maintain the rights of the Church. The dignity was in process of becoming hereditary in the Vico family (Viterbese by origin) which possessed considerable estates in Tuscany. By Henry’s death Piero, the present prefect, lost his patron, and Innocent took advantage of the fact to restore the old relation of dependency by making him take the oath of vassalage (22 February 1198). He was at first likewise successful with the Senate. This body during the last fifty years had varied in numbers from fifty-six to a single person. The senators were not papal officials; they represented the Roman municipality, the Republic on the Capitol, and single senators like Benedict Carushomo, who had made themselves independent of the Holy See, had appointed rectors in the Roman country towns and had even sent communal judges into the Sabina and the Marittima. Innocent induced Scottus Paparone, the single existing senator (who had shown himself submissive to Henry VI), to abdicate; but it was essential for him to control the system of election. Accordingly, instead of allowing the whole body of citizens to use their right to vote, he succeeded in nominating a special body of electors, mediani or mediators between the Pope and the citizens, to appoint the new senators. In the present case, as a single senator only was to be nominated, one medianus only was selected. The choice of the new official had however to go before the assembly of citizens for approval, and the Pope’s liberty of choice was therefore restricted. But Innocent got what he wanted, and by means of the newly appointed candidate secured throughout civic territory the replacement by papal judge of the justices appointed by the Capitol. These changes did not involve the abdication by the Romans of their position or the subjugation of the City. In helping the populace in their war against Viterbo (1199) and in dictating terms to that city when defeated (January 1200), Innocent recognised the Roman people as a sovereign power. The subjugation of the Viterbese was made not to him but to the Roman commune. Nor was the problem of the senate by any means settled. In the course of 1202 certain measures taken by Innocent’s brother Richard against Count Odo of the house of Poli caused popular hatred of the Conti, already fostered by their Orsini enemies, to flame out. The Poli, an impoverished noble family, out of enmity to the Conti offered their estates, which were already mortgaged to Richard, to the Roman People on the Capitol. The People accepted them, but Innocent in support of his brother claimed the lands as fiefs of the Church, invested his brother with them, and soon afterwards secured their transference entire to the Conti. This piece of so-called nepotism was to cause fighting between the papal party, led by the Senator Pandulf of the Subura, and the democratic party, and inevitably to raise the question of another form of senate. The city became so dangerous, feeling against the Conti so strong, that in 1203 Innocent had to leave Rome for Palestrina. During the very days when the Latin crusaders were conquering Constantinople, the Pope was forced by the petty feuds of the Roman barons to leave the Eternal City. In the autumn, when Constantinople fell, the irony of the position brought him to such physical weakness that his death was rumoured. At Rome the old senate of fifty-six was tried. In the November elections the cardinals whose duty it was to elect the mediani were forced to swear that they would choose at least two candidates from the faction hostile to the Pope. The new body when elected was sharply divided on the question of the Poli estates, and civil war broke out in Rome. In March 1204 Innocent saw his chance to return and put the senate in order by restoring the single senator. Once back again, he appointed as his medianus John Pierleone, a man acceptable to both parties, to make the choice; but Pierleone’s choice for the senatorship fell upon a noble, and the democrats, ranged finder the demagogue John Capocci, Innocent’s most energetic enemy, proceeded to elect an opposition senate under the title “Good men of the Commune”. The strife was finally settled by the appointment of four umpires to decide the question of the Poli lands and the manner of electing the senate. These adjudged to Innocent the right of electing, for John Capocci’s methods did not appeal to them. The Pope used his success moderately. At first he allowed fifty-six to be chosen; then, six months later, he returned to the plan of a single senator and selected Pandulf, now captain of the papal party in Rome. Peace was finally made between the Pope and the City in 1205. One monument of the struggle survives, the Conti tower, relic of the splendid bastion built by Innocent to overlook the Forum and the Subura. It bears witness to the influence of a family feud upon the constitution of Rome as well as to the local dangers that beset the pontiff.

In central Italy Innocent rode the full flood of reaction that followed immediately upon the Emperor’s death. In the weakness of the imperial power he saw the opportunity to recreate a powerful patrimony of St Peter; but he must do it at first as an Italian patriot, heading the Guelf opposition against the Hohenstaufen Empire. Conrad of Urslingen was overcome without difficulty, and the valley of the upper Tiber together with the important Duchy of Spoleto (which meant the greater part of Umbria) was freed from its fealty to the German dukes. Its cities, Assisi, Foligno, Gubbio, Todi, and even Perugia did homage and had their communal franchises confirmed in return. In Tuscany an anti-imperial league of cities was already in being, established (November 1197) with the co­operation of Celestine III. This confederation Innocent sought to direct. The negotiations which led up to a renewal of the original agreement with the Papacy (October 1198) show clearly that he was aiming at the recovery of the Matildine estates which had fallen into the hands of Florence, Siena, Lucca, and other cities. These he never succeeded in obtaining, and his failure to do so contributed to the future greatness and independence of the Tuscan cities; on the other hand, he was successful in securing such Matildine estates as had been monopolised by Henry VI and Philip of Swabia. The recovered territories were secured by the establishment of a series of castellanies distributed over the Campagna, the Marittima, the “Patrimony of St Peter in Tuscany”, the Duchy of Spoleto, and the bishoprics of Spoleto and Narni. The cities of Romagna and the March of Ancona, when Markward had been ejected, present the same kind of problem as those of the Tuscan league. After the first flush of liberation they formed alliance with the manifest aim of ridding themselves of all external control. They refused to obey the legates of the Holy See, and some, like Ascoli and Camerino, remained subject to the Empire, while others like Sinigaglia allied themselves with the nobility that was friendly to Markward. The final solution of the problem in this district was the contract which Innocent made with Azzo VI of Este in 1212 enfeoffing him with the March of Ancona in return for preservation of the rights of the Church. The administration of the other territories was placed in the hands of papal legates or laymen of standing. This, as a recently discovered constitution of Gregory IX has shown, did not in the long run prove satisfactory, as the restores extranei did not scruple to help themselves from the goods of the Church, and it was finally, after Innocent’s death, found advisable to put the whole patrimony in the charge of a committee of cardinals acting with papal support.

The most formidable opponent was Markward of Anweiler. Innocent’s dealings with this remarkable man and with his German allies in the south are bound up with the regency exercised by the Church over Sicily. Before his death Henry VI had given Markward a series of last instructions for his future dealings with the Curia. These or part of them were found in a box in his baggage captured (1200) after his defeat between Monreale and Palermo, and we owe the account of them to Innocent’s biographer. They are fully in the spirit of the very large concessions which Henry VI had tried to get the Papacy to accept in return for its recognition of the hereditary character of the imperial crown and the right of the young Frederick of Sicily to succeed. The widowed Empress Constance and her son Frederick were to hold Sicily in fee of the Pope and the Roman Church; in case the young king died without heir, the kingdom was to become the property of the Holy See. In return for the Pope’s admission of Frederick’s right of succession, the Matildine lands and the whole Patrimony together with Montefiascone were to be handed over to the Pope, while Markward was to hold the duchy of Ravenna, the territory of Bertinoro, and the March of Ancona from the Papacy. If Markward died without heirs, these fiefs were to become the property of the Roman Church. It is probable that, shortly after Innocent’s elevation and before the news of the election of Philip of Swabia (6 March 1198) arrived, Markward attempted to come to an understanding with Innocent upon these terms, but with no result. Whether he revealed their whole content it is hard to say; but it is not just to charge him with a total refusal to carry out the deceased Emperor’s wishes, or, simply on the strength of the curial account, to condemn him for disavowing the promises made by his representatives. It may well be that Innocent was using the anti-German reaction that followed Henry’s death and the uncertainty existing among the Hohenstaufen supporters in Italy whether to uphold Frederick or not, to demand more than Markward was authorised to concede. At any rate the negotiations failed; Markward was excommunicated, deprived of his duchy of Ravenna and the March of Ancona, and in 1199 left for the Sicilian kingdom to enforce his claim to the tutelage of Frederick in accordance with the permission given him by Philip of Swabia whom he had recognised as Emperor-elect in August 1198.

After the death of her husband, Constance had sought Innocent’s pro­tection for herself and her three-year-old boy. It was the Pope’s opportunity to divide Sicily from the Empire and to recover for the Holy See the ecclesiastical privileges wielded by the Norman kings of Sicily in virtue of their position as hereditary legates of the Church. Innocent only granted Constance the kingdom in fee on condition that she recognised the right of the Papacy to hear appeals, call synods, send legates, and have a considerable say in elections. When she died in November 1198, she left Innocent, as suzerain, the guardianship of her son. The Pope, while exercising a general supervision, placed the government of Sicily in the hands of a council consisting of the Archbishops of Palermo, Capua, and Monreale, and of the Bishop of Troja, Walter of Palear, the most influential as well as the most difficult of councillors to handle, already smarting under a previous dismissal from his chancellorship and ready to take offence. On the mainland there confronted them the particularly difficult task of driving the German nobles from their strongholds. Diepold of Vohburg, Count of Acerra, held Rocca d’Arce in the frontier lands of the Liris; Conrad of Marlenheim was in possession of Sora and the Castle of Sorella. These had made common cause with Markward, who was now (1199) from the vicinity of Naples threatening to descend upon Sicily, while his depredations struck terror into the south. Innocent—it was characteristic of him—both raised an army and opened negotiations; but no agreement was possible when Markward was determined to be regent of Sicily. With the support of Pisan merchants and of a section of the nobility Markward landed in Sicily and prepared to besiege Palermo. A papal army sent by Innocent under the command of his cousin, the Marshal Giacopo, defeated him 21 July 1800, but none the less he suc­ceeded step by step. His progress was largely due to the alienation of the selfish and greedy Walter of Palear from the Pope. In these straits Innocent decided to call in to his help Walter, Count of Brienne, husband of Alberia, a daughter of Tancred, the last Norman king. Walter now appeared at the Curia to demand Lecce and Taranto as his wife’s inheritance. There was no escaping the fact that through her he had also pretensions to the Sicilian Crown, and here the danger lay. Upon taking him into the service of the Church Innocent recognised the justice of his claims to the fiefs, but bound him by oath never to infringe Frederick’s rights as King of Sicily. Walter was nothing more to him than a useful instrument, who could be discarded for a better, if a better presented himself. But the fact that Walter represented the dispossessed dynasty aroused deep distrust at the court of Palermo. It drove the Chancellor into Markward’s arms.

Walter de Brienne was at first successful on the mainland. But the island and, in November 1201, the capital Palermo, fell to Markward. Innocent could not get Walter to leave Taranto and attack Markward in the island. The Frenchman may very reasonably have doubted whether the Sicilian supporters of Frederick would receive him, and we have proof of their suspicions in the fact that Innocent delegated his authority, when Walter’s army should arrive in Sicily, to the Abbot Roffred of Monte Cassino and to Giacopo the Marshal. However, in September 1202 Markward died, and Innocent was transported with joy. “I saw the ungodly flourishing like a cedar of Lebanon: I went by, and lo, his place was nowhere to be found”. It was a fine testimonial, but the joy was a little premature. Walter of Palear came back to Innocent’s side, yet Frederick was still in the hands of Markward’s successor, William Capparone, where he was to remain till Diepold of Vohburg, after having defeated and slain Walter de Brienne (1205), came over to the papal party and restored the boy to the papal legate and Walter of Palear (1206). In 1204, when Peter II of Aragon was in Rome, Innocent had negotiated for his ward a match with Peter’s sister Constance. But it was not until 1208 that the opposition in southern Italy was satisfactorily subdued by Conrad of Marlenheim’s surrender of Sora and Sorella. Then indeed the way was open for a settlement of the Sicilian kingdom. In June 1208 at a great assembly held at San Germano Innocent placed the administration of the mainland in the hands of the Counts of Fondi and Celano as magistri capitanei; and later in the year the regency was brought to an end.

Both now and two years later when Frederick was summoned to the Empire Innocent could feel that he had done his best for Sicily. He had strenuously resisted the alienation of the demesne; he had efficiently fought the imperial interest in the kingdom; he had, as far as was possible, maintained the rights and the possessions of the Sicilian clergy. But for his ward it had been a legal, not a personal relationship. Innocent only once saw Frederick. He expressed interest in his studies, pleasure at his progress; but it was a bitter childhood for the young king. When he was of age he gave short shrift to the canons of Palermo when they besought Innocent to elect upon the vacancy of the see; he dismissed Walter of Palear for a time at least from the chancellorship. He had become a prince determined to recover every lost Crown right, and to restore the power of the central government. In a sense the regentship of Sicily had begotten the greatest future menace to the Papacy.

But to Innocent Sicily was only part of a larger whole defined and guaranteed in the three successive concessions made to him by Otto IV at Neuss (1201) and at Spires (1209) and by Frederick at Eger (July 1213). By them the State of the Church was declared to be the whole territory between Radicofani and Ceprano, the March of Ancona, the Duchy of Spoleto, the land of the Countess Matilda, the county of Bertinoro, the Exarchate of Ravenna, and the Pentapolis with adjacent lands contained in earlier imperial privileges. That there was real need from the papal point of view to have these territories publicly and repeatedly confirmed to the Holy See it will be easily realised. During the contest in Germany the Italian city-states lost no opportunity of securing privileges from whomsoever was in the ascendant. Before Philip of Swabia was released from the ban, in the Duchy of Spoleto itself, Assisi had secured from him the liberty of electing consuls. After his release from the ban, he appeared in Italy in the spring of 1208 as King of the Romans and demanded through Wolfger of Aquileia the rights of the Empire from the Tuscan cities which had appropriated them during the interregnum. A treaty between Philip and the commune of Siena (23 May 1208) shows the demand conceded in the stipulation that all citizens between the ages of fifteen and seventy were to swear fealty to the king and that all property belonging to the Empire at the death of Henry VI should be restored. Treaties of this type were dangerous to the claims of the Church, and Otto’s disregard of his solemn promises in the wholesale granting of the Church land in fee to his supporters after his coronation reinforced Innocent’s determination to have the papal territories once more acknowledged and confirmed. The boundaries of the Papal State are drawn at their fullest.

From the first to the last day of his pontificate Innocent had the idea of the Crusade uppermost in his mind. Some of his finest sermons were preached on the sufferings of the martyrs who had dared all for Christy and he was oppressed by the love of ease among Christian princes and the unfulfilled vows which, as, had delayed the mercy he said of God. His encyclicals and proclamations of a plenary indulgence made in 1198 with the co-operation of Cistercians and Benedictines shew him eagerly concerned with the expedition which was to restore the Christian kingdom in Palestine. A clerical fortieth was demanded, collecting-boxes were ordered to be placed in churches, creditors were bidden to defer their demands for payment from all who took the Cross. Innocent told the Patriarch of Jerusalem, the Bishop of Lydda, and the Grand Masters of the Military Orders to keep him informed of the situation in the Holy Land, and entered into friendly relations with the King of Little Armenia, who recognised him as universal bishop. While prepared to deal on ordinary diplomatic terms with the enemy and to better the conditions of Christians in Muslim areas—and here we may remark the foundation in 1199 of the Order of Trinitarii for redemption of captives—he was the whole time preparing to call the West to the recovery of Jerusalem. In so doing he was bound to face the Eastern question in its contemporary setting; he could not avoid the problem of Constantinople. The general opinion of Western Europe was that the Eastern Empire had hitherto displayed a malevolent neutrality in the matter of the Crusade. Henry VI had tried to cut the knot by planning the capture of the Eastern capital; but this project had made the menace of the Hohenstaufen appear so formidable that Celestine III had not hesitated to enter into friendly relations with Alexius III. It was now Innocent’s policy to secure the reunion of the Greek and Latin Churches (the predominance lying with the Latin), and to make Alexius one of the principal helpers in the Holy War. In thinking that the usurper who had dethroned his brother and ousted that brother’s son from the succession was in a position to be of use either from a military or financial point of view he was undoubtedly mistaken; but it was still more unfortunate that the negotiations for reunion could not be made to keep pace with the preparations for the Crusade. While he was lecturing the Greek Patriarch on the primacy of the Roman See and urging the Greek Emperor to deliberate on the matter at a General Council, the host was collecting, the Hohenstaufen plan for the capture of Constantinople was being revived, and the control of the expedition had been placed in the hands of Boniface of Montferrat, an intimate friend of Philip of Swabia, son-in-law of the dethroned Isaac Angelus. Not only was Innocent not consulted about the supreme command of the expedition, but he was forced to accept as an accomplished fact and to make the best of the terms dictated to the Crusaders by the Venetians, upon whom depended the conveying of the force. He ratified the agreement of 8 May 1201 on condition that a legate should follow the expedition and that no wrong should be done to any Christian people, unless in a case of actual obstruction. It is impossible to say how much Innocent knew then of the Hohenstaufen plan, but it is clear that by November he had heard of the proposal, for in the meantime the young Alexius had visited Rome and in audience with him held out the promise of a union of the Churches, if the legitimate family was restored to the Byzantine throne. Alexius III got wind of this and sent to Innocent to implore him to prevent the danger. In a remarkable reply dated 16 November 1201 Innocent stated that he had discouraged the idea, but that the Emperor should use not words but deeds, and hasten “to extinguish the fire while it was still far away” lest it should reach his own country. He was using as a threat to stimulate the Emperor into action the very danger which he himself must have dreaded and have tried to avert. If he realised its imminence, this conduct was not creditable to him. If he did not, Zara was soon to show him that the fire was not to be played with. The capture of the sea-port in the realms of his Hungarian “vassal” caused him acute distress; it also reduced excommunication to the verge of absurdity, for unless the whole enterprise was to be cancelled—the heroic, but impolitic course—the Crusaders must be conveyed by the excommunicate Venetians. Innocent decided to continue the expedition, and in absolving the Crusaders through his legate issued to them an express prohibition not to violate Greek territory. How that prohibition was observed has been related elsewhere.

The change of tone between his communications of the beginning of February and those of early November 1204 is very marked. In the first instance he was frigidly addressing leaders who had again incurred excommunication for infringing his express command; in the latter he was warmly congratulating Baldwin for acting as the medium of the divine justice in translating the Greek kingdom from schismatics to the Catholics. The change was not only due to his recognition of an accomplished fact, the taking of Constantinople, which he spoke of as a “miraculous event” for the union of the Churches which it promised; he had genuinely convinced himself that Constantinople was a necessary stage in the delivery of Jerusalem. But he was to be disillusioned. He had allowed the Crusaders a year to establish themselves in the city and its surrounding country; unfortunately, in June 1205, Cardinal Peter of Capua absolved from their vows all Crusaders who remained in Constantinople till March 1206. This was not Peter’s first misdemeanour, and he was sharply rebuked and sent back to Palestine. In the autumn of 1205 the Pope rebuked Boniface of Montferrat for neglecting his vow and antagonising the Greek Church by the plunder of its treasuries. March 1207 saw him still hopefully addressing the Latins in the Empire as crucesignati; but the army which had been collected by the Bishop of Soissons to strengthen the force in Constantinople lost its chief at Bari, and thenceforward Innocent’s hopes began to fail. He bitterly reproached Venice as the cause of the diversion, and his belief was to be strengthened by her purely selfish expedition for the reduction of Crete in 1209. The year before he finally despaired of further progress and began efforts for a totally new enterprise.

Yet disappointment was outweighed by the interest of reorganising the Greek Church, and Innocent threw himself wholeheartedly into the task. The Latin occupation did not automatically bring with it the desired union. Outside the newly appropriated territories were formidable centres of resistance, the Empire of Theodore Lascaris in Bithynia, the lordship of the Princes Alexius and David in Trebizond and Heraclea (Pontus), and the Epirote despotism of Michael Angelus. Within, the conduct of the Latins at Constantinople had not advantaged Rome, and the Greeks were sullen and suspicious. It was Innocent’s desire at first to Latinise the Greek rite; but the mission of Cardinal Benedict of Santa Susanna (May 1205) led to wiser counsels. Benedict concentrated principally on questions of dogma, and did his work with moderation and humanity. He entered into relations with the independent Greeks of Nicaea, represented by the Metropolitan of Ephesus; at Constantinople, Thessalonica, and Athens he assembled the principal doctors of the Greek Church, let them defend their position, and expounded to them Latin doctrine. At Athens he conducted a series of formal disputations on the Procession of the Holy Ghost with its great archbishop, the early humanist Michael Acominatus. He told Innocent that he was not in favour of making the question of leavened or unleavened bread in the Eucharist the ground for rupture or the exercise of compulsion, and the Pope agreed with him. Innocent saw that more could be done by propaganda than by force, and from France and Germany called for a band of regular clergy armed with missals and breviaries, and for volunteers from the masters and scholars of the University of Paris. The real stumbling-block was the oath of canonical obedience which Innocent and the legate made a sine qua non. This was the test that led to the voluntary exile of Acominatus to Ceos, of Manuel of Thebes to Andros, and of the Archbishop of Crete to Nicaea. The oath was a double one taken both to the Latin superior and to the Pope. A great number of clergy swore obedience to Innocent, though they did it with bad grace. “They declare and believe that the Pope is not the successor of Peter, but Peter himself”, was their acute remark about the Latins. But the Venetian Patriarch of Constantinople, Thomas Morosini, did not inspire confidence. Appointed over again by Innocent on grounds of the initial illegality of his choice, and consecrated at Rome (20 March 1201), Morosini had received the pallium and large privileges, including that of nominating Latin clerks to benefices vacated by Greeks. The Orthodox knew that he was very amenable to Venetian pressure, that the Doge Dandolo had made him swear to allow only Venetians to be appointed canons of Santa. Sophia, that when begot badly into debt he was forced to hand over certain of the churches to his creditors in payment; they knew that he was not above despoiling the treasure of his own cathedral, and that he was so little regarded by his fellow Latins that two years after the conquest Innocent had to instruct the Emperor and the Latin leaders at Constantinople to pay him due respect in order that the recalcitrant Greek clergy might follow their example. Had Cardinal Benedict been in Morosini’s place, the oath of obedience  might have proved easier. As it was, the only temporary rapprochement between Greeks and Latins was brought about by the mission of the intolerably pompous Cardinal Pelagius in 1213-14, when the Greek clergy clamoured to the Latin Emperor for protection against the invader. The description given by the Metropolitan of Ephesus of the negotiations with the court of Theodore Lascaris reveals with bitterly sarcastic humour the gulf that lay between the mind of Nicaea and the mind of Rome.

The financial settlement of the new Latin Church was set forth in a triangular agreement which Innocent ratified between his representative Cardinal Benedict, the Patriarch Morosini, and the Emperor and barons. The conquerors promised, to give the Church a fifteenth of all possessions in land or on the coast outside Constantinople, and a fifteenth of all merchandise coming from without, the distribution to be made by a committee of assessors. The Latins were to pay tithes of all fruits and crops, even if the Greeks were finally induced to pay also; and all Church property and its inhabitants were to be free from lay jurisdiction. The Church was to be the first recipient of a fifteenth of any lands won by future conquest. Later, Innocent ruled that the Emperor was to receive the oath of fealty from the bishops for any temporalities which they might hold from him. When the conquest and partition of northern Greece and the Morea had been effected, Achaea, the metropolis of which was Patras, was divided into six suffragan bishoprics, the archbishop holding from Geoffrey Villehardouin eight knights’ fees and his diocesans one apiece, the quota of the Teutonic Knights, the Hospitallers, and the Templars respectively. In place of Archbishop Acominatus, whose cathedral was the still unruined Parthenon, “Our Lady of Athens”, a Frenchman was installed. “The renewal of the divine grace”, wrote Innocent, “suffers not the ancient glory of the city of Athens to grow old”. Innocent granted the request of the archbishop and chapter (whose members proved scandalously non­resident) that the Athenian Church should be governed by the custom of the Church of Paris. She had under her eleven sees. To Corinth Innocent allotted seven. These arrangements were found unworkable owing to poverty, and the provinces of Patras and Corinth were later reduced to four sees each. Internally, there was much friction. The primate of Achaea was restive under a Venetian patriarch, and the Franks were for the most part hostile to their own Latin clergy. Tithe was hardly forthcoming, and the nobles had no hesitation in appropriating it. In vain Innocent wrote to the Emperor asking him to enforce its payment. There were amazing disorders in the quarrel between Villehardouin and the Archbishop of Patras: the confiscation of the archbishop’s fee, the singular course adopted by Villehardouin of releasing the Greek priests and monks from the jurisdiction of the Church of Patras, and of prevent­ing Greek serfs from showing obedience to the Roman Church. Innocent’s formal triumph resulted in a feudalised Church, poor and in peril of secular encroachment, in a muddle of doctrinal compromise or in sullen and suspecting isolation. Orthodoxy had a racial and political past that could not be effaced, and the Councils of Ferrara and Florence were later to prove that even agreement at a representative congress of the two Churches was not a sufficient guarantee of union.

But within the Western Church itself all was not well. It is difficult to realise that at the zenith of her power maintenance of the unity of the faith was the most urgent spiritual task incumbent upon each pontiff. Innocent had to restore rather than to maintain. The heresy that increasingly threatened the Church throughout the second half of the twelfth century was not academic unorthodoxy, but various forms of attack on the foundations of the hierarchical system coming from the adherents of men of deep spiritual life like Peter de Bruys, Henry of Lausanne, and the followers of Peter Waldo. Innocent—and, indeed, his predecessors—had no lack of sympathy for the desire for poverty and simplicity; the example of St Bernard had not been for nothing. Innocent could understand, though he might not condone, the anti-sacerdotalism provoked by the wealth and worldliness of the higher clergy, and he never failed to castigate negligence and luxury; but when the assault on the hierarchy was the outcome of a theory of mind and matter impossible from a philosophical and a social point of view alike, a theory that attracted both by the intensity of its contrast with prevalent conditions as well as by its permitted laxities, resistance on the part of the Church was inevitable. Besides the territorial wealth and state of prelates, ignorance was responsible for much. The laity were but poorly educated in matters of doctrine and religious organisation. There was urgent need of popular explanations of the tenets of the faith in non-technical language. Country priests were often too simple and unlearned, and the upper ranks too aloof and occupied in the politics of their convents or sees, to attend to the pastoral duty of exposition. Innocent first encountered the problem in Lorraine. Men and women of the laity in the diocese of Metz had been holding private group-meetings for the purpose of reading a French translation of certain books of the Bible, and when admonished by their parish priests disdainfully refused to desist. This lay usurpation of the preacher’s office led Innocent to expound in an encyclical the Catholic view that preaching was essentially an act of public instruction to be performed by priests, seeing that the mysteries of the faith were not for all men. “For such is the depth of Holy Scripture that, not only the simple and illiterate, but even the wise and learned are not of themselves sufficient to understand them”. Even professional teachers must not depreciate simple priests, but rather honour them for their ministry. If the priest went wrong, the only person to apply correction was his bishop. Innocent’s gentle reproof of the laity for despising the simplicitas sacerdotum did not, however, conceal his anxiety. The insistence laid in his correspondence upon the need for good instruction and the provisions made by the Lateran Council for the supply of theologians in cathedral churches indicate his views on the matter. But it should be noted that the permissions to preach given by him in 1201 to the Humiliati, in 1207 to Durand de Huesca, and in 1210 to St Francis himself had a moral, not a doctrinal end in view. The arcana fidei were for ordained ministers alone to expound.

Elsewhere it was not unorganised piety, but local paganism and political anarchy which encouraged heresy. In Hungary and the Balkans the Church was miserably weak. The Latin convents drew their novices principally from Germany and Italy; Slavonic monks disliked Latin ritual and turned longingly to Byzantium. The Archbishops of Gran and Kalocsa were engaged in perpetual strife. There was only one see in Bosnia, and both here and in Dalmatia the Catharist Church was strong. The Ban Kulin, the vassal of King Emeric of Hungary, had been converted together with his family to Catharism, and was an active proselytiser. In October 1200 Innocent brought pressure to bear upon Emeric, whom he considered as his vassal, to order the ban to persecute the heretics, or, in the event of his refusal, to take possession of his domains—the authorisation he was later to give to Philip Augustus in respect of the lands of Raymond VI of Toulouse—and communicated to him the statute made against the Cathari at Viterbo. Though Kulin yielded to a papal mission in 1202, Catharism, as Honorius III was to find, was by no means stamped out among the Southern Slavs. In Italy the secularist attitude of many communal authorities encouraged a rich crop of tares. Besides the Cathari proper, whose organisation was very strong and complete, there were Patarines, “Poor” Lombards, and Waldensians proper of the Lyons congregation, distributed among the Lombard cities and in Tuscany. The chronicler Stephen de Belleville tells of the chief men of seven different sects engaged in a public dispute held in one of the churches of a town in Lombardy, and relates elsewhere that a Waldensian of eighteen years’ residence in Milan informed him that as many as seventeen sects were to be found there, a se invicem diversae et adversae. The strongest centres of Catharism itself were Verona, Viterbo, Ferrara, Florence, Prato, Orvieto, Rimini, Como, Parma, Cremona, and Piacenza, while there were important churches at Desenzano on Lake Garda and in the March of Treviso, where the licentiousness and turbulence of the local clergy brought into relief the more austere conversation of the heretics. Innocent’s chief efforts were directed to keeping them out of the town magistracies, where, as consuls or chamberlains, they had ample opportunity to squeeze contributions for civic purposes out of the bishops and local clergy. In 1198 he instructed his legate in Lombardy to exact an oath from all municipal officials not to admit heretics to office. To Orvieto he sent at the request of the Catholics (1199) a young Roman noble Peter Parenzo as podestà, but so strong was the heretical opposition that the unfortunate man was dragged outside the walls and beaten to death. To Viterbo he issued strict injunctions that no heretic was to be allowed office nor enjoy power of devise or right of succession; if he was a judge, his sentences were to be null; if an advocate, he must not be permitted to plead in court; if a notary, his authentication was to be invalid. Within the patrimony, the temporal goods of heretics were to pass into the hands of the Church; without, they were to be at the disposal of the (faithful) municipal authorities. These instructions Viterbo disregarded. Not until Innocent came in person to the town in 1207 were the principal perfecti and credentes of the Viterbese Cathari compelled to leave the town, their goods confiscated, and their homes demolished. We shall observe the importance of the issue in considering the 46th clause of the Lateran Council’s decrees.

But the inveterate problem was that of Southern France, which not even St Bernard’s eloquence had been able to move. The home of the Catharist church was the county of Toulouse, the diocese of Carcassonne, and the county of Foix, though throughout Languedoc the nobility had allowed themselves to be won by Catharism, and many families openly practised “adoration” of the perfecti. In 1177 Raymond V of Toulouse had lamented the impossibility of extirpating heresy from his domains: his son Raymond VI favoured it openly. He was accompanied everywhere by two perfecti so as not to die without receiving the consolamentum. This example led to a general carelessness of, and often hostility to, the rights of the Church. Heretics were allowed to preach in the villages and to act as doctors; perfecti received legacies for the good of their Church. The lords of the south thrust Cathari superiors upon the convents in their gift, and high dignitaries of the Catholic community either encouraged or did not oppose the sect. Raymond de Roquefort, Bishop of Carcassonne, secretly encouraged it; Raymond, Bishop of Toulouse, deposed in 1206 on grounds of simony, was suspected of the same offence, and the Archbishop of Narbonne did not trouble himself about their activities. In Berengar, a natural son of Raymond Berengar, Count of Barcelona, we have a typical southern ecclesiastic, of whom Innocent might justly complain that his example corrupted the Church. This prelate, “the shadow of a great name” (stans magni nominis umbra), as Innocent happily described him, lived luxuriously quiescent in his abbey of Mont Aragon, which he had failed to surrender when made archbishop, never visiting his diocese, sometimes not going to church for a fortnight at a time, refusing to fill the vacant stalls in his chapter and dispensing with the awkward presence of an archdeacon. The heretic might perhaps have smiled more bitterly at the troubadour Folquet of Marseilles, the Genoese, who left his elegies and indiscretions for the Cistercian habit and later tile bishopric of Toulouse; where, in the acid description of the author of the Chanson de la Croisade, “there was lit such a fire that no water could ever extinguish it; for he deprived more than five hundred thousand people, great and small, of life, body, and soul. By the honesty I owe you, in deed and in word, he is more like anti-Christ than a messenger of Rome”. The figures are exaggerated, the facts are not. In that environment paganism turned as quickly to Christianity as Christianity to paganism. Yet the greatest of medieval poets forgot the butchery and set Folquet in the Heaven of Venus amongst those who had been lovers upon earth.

Until 1204 Innocent tried the weapon of evangelism, and used small groups of Cistercian missioners whose executive powers were gradually increased as resistance stiffened. They were badly received, for it was known that Peter de Castelnau, archdeacon of Maguelonne, their leader and legate of the Holy See after 1203, was armed with powers of deprivation, and the retinue and pomp displayed by the Cistercian abbots, who joined and them on their journeys, antagonised the devotees of a simpler sect. New tactics were introduced by Diego, Bishop of Osma, and his subprior Dominic, who went barefoot into the towns and villages, to discuss with the Cathari the principles of the Catholic faith. Debates were held in Catharist strongholds: at Pamiers, Diego came to argue before the family of the Count of Foix; at Montreal, discussions lasted a fortnight, and the best Catharist speakers appeared. But the soundness of the Catholic position could not be allowed to depend upon the verdict of arbiters often prejudiced in favour of heresy. By 1204 it had become plain to the legates that neither argument nor example were of any use. A drastic, purging of the Church was needed: loyal clergy would have to be substituted for those suspected of heresy; and, above all, pressure would have to be brought to bear upon the chief supporters of the Cath­arist Church, the Count of Toulouse and his vassals and the communal authorities, to expel all heretics from their territories. This conclusion was impressed upon Innocent by the firmly convinced Arnaud Amalric, Abbot of Citeaux, now Peter de Castelnau’s colleague in Provence, with the result that at the end of May 1204 the legates received commissions in very general terms to extirpate heresy in Provence and Languedoc, and to ask for the help of Philip Augustus and his vassals against the lords of the south. At the end of his letter Innocent cautioned Arnaud and Peter to proceed moderately and give no occasion for reproof. He must have felt that the legates saw the issue more clearly and decidedly than he did, and that, while giving them general support, he must leave room for contingencies. The fact became clear when the legates came to deal with Berengar of Narbonne. They called insistently for his deposition; but Berengar appealed, appeared personally in Rome, and by clever manoeuvring succeeded in delaying till 1210 the penalty he deserved. Innocent was ready to give the man a chance to show his penitence. He never prejudged this or any other case. If information was brought to him, he was prepared to have inquiry made at once, and the new facts would be weighed with the old before action was taken. The contrast between this cautious legality and the hard, opinionated, and (until his quarrel with Simon de Montfort) perfectly consistent attitude of Arnaud Amalric comes out in the way in which the parties faced the crux of the whole matter, Raymond VI of Toulouse. The process of deposing suspected ecclesiastics (1204-6) was not so difficult as that of inducing Ray­mond to enforce Innocent’s sentence calling upon lords to expel heretics from their fiefs. For this purpose the legate Peter formed a league of the count’s vassals which he invited Raymond to join. On the latter’s refusal, the legate excommunicated him, laid his lands under interdict, and turned the league of vassals against their over-lord. Menaced both by Innocent and by the confederation, Raymond yielded and promised adhesion; but he could scarcely forgive the legate for his action. In January 1208 Peter de Castelnau was murdered by some unknown person.

It was probably a case similar to Becket’s, a deed done by some underling who thought to rid the count of his principal enemy. Opinion set definitely against Raymond, and Arnaud was not slow to use the suspicion (which he proclaimed as a fact), and the emotions roused by the event. Its main result was to unite Innocent and his legates in method as well as in aim. Doubtless at their suggestion the Pope in May 1204 and February 1205 had made his first requests to Philip Augustus for aid in extirpating Catharism in the south. After gaining nothing he had waited more than two years and then (November 1207) had written again, on this occasion holding out to the king and his vassals indulgences similar to those granted for the Holy Land, thereby turning an expedition within the bounds of Western Christendom into a crusade. Philip had replied that he was engaged in a struggle with John Lackland and could not divide his forces; if the Holy See would guarantee him a firm truce with England, he would make war for a year; but he would not expend more than a certain sum. After the legate’s death Innocent, having declared the Count of Toulouse excommunicate and absolved his vassals from their oaths of obedience, sounded the call to arms more urgently, and had the crusade preached throughout northern France. A special mission headed by Car­dinal Guala di Beccaria was sent to make a great effort with Philip Augustus. Innocent saw clearly the danger of 1203 repeating itself; divided counsels and the pressure of overpowerful or irresponsible elements on the course of the Crusade would be avoided if the sovereign of the greatest Christian community in the West took the lead or nominated a deputy to act on his behalf and thereby made the crusade his own. Philip would do neither. He would allow his vassals to participate, but they must take their own under-tenants and their supporters, not the competent mercenaries whom he needed against the “two great lions” on his flanks, John and Otto. Many lords of the Île-de-France, the Orléanais, and Picardy answered the summons, and a number of prelates, including the Archbishops of Bourges, Bordeaux, Rheims, and Rouen. Peter de Vaux-Cernay puts the numbers of the crusading host before Carcassonne at 50,000 men, probably an extreme figure. These forces the legate Arnaud assembled at Lyons before the end of June 1209.

Meanwhile the tragicomedy of the Count of Toulouse had started. Raymond first tried to raise a coalition against the crusading army, when it should arrive. When this failed, he pressed forward the negotiations which he had already begun with Rome. At the end of 1208 he had sent the Archbishop of Auch and the deposed Bishop of Toulouse to complain of the hostility shown him by Arnaud. He was willing, he said, to make complete submission before any other legate. Innocent, reasonable and judicial as ever, promised to examine his justification, and sent into Provence for the purpose a new legate, the apostolic notary Milo. Raymond was accordingly cited to Valence, where he promised to obey the legate’s orders; his absolution took place in front of the porch of St Gilles (17 June 1209), and next day he was given the requirements of the Church: among other terms, the complete banishment of all heretics from his domains and his active and personal support for the Crusade. He took the Cross on 20 June; and on 26 July Innocent sent him a letter of congratulation and promised him his protection. Four days before that letter was written the awful carnage of Beziers had taken place, the systematic dispossession of the southern nobility begun. Narbonne and many other towns surrendered in sheer terror, Carcassonne capitulated on 15 August and its viscount, Raymond Roger, was made a prisoner and died during the following winter. Simon de Montfort, who had accepted command of the expedition after the Duke of Burgundy and the Counts of Nevers and St Pol had refused it, became Viscount of Beziers and Carcassonne and organiser of the occupation. There was complete understanding between him and the legate. Both saw that Innocent had not considered ahead what was to be the permanent fate of the acquired territories, though he had offered them to Philip Augustus. But Philip had refused to play, and the way was open before the ambitious Simon. Both had taken the measure of Raymond and knew him to be very uncomfortable in his present false position and thoroughly untrustworthy; they would at first isolate him (they had Innocent’s approval for this course), conquer up to the borders of his demesne, then provoke him by excommunication and interdict to actions of definite hostility which would justify a general assault upon his lands and his capital. Both realised that, to counteract the trickling back to the north of the crusaders who came for forty days’ service only, a permanent garrison must be established at strategic points in the country, especially in the Black Mountain (the high ground between Carcassonne and Albi) and along the river Agout, while to secure the strongholds in the foot-hills of the Pyrenees north and north-east of Foix would prevent its count from giving trouble. It was the reduction of this territory by the acquisition in 1210 of Bram and Montreal and in 1212 of Lavaur that brought the crusaders to the borders of Raymond’s direct dominion.

Ever since he had left the crusading army after the taking of Carcassonne, Raymond’s relations with Simon de Montfort and the legate Arnaud had become more and more strained. When summoned to give literal execution to the promises made at St Gilles and to surrender to the crusaders a number of burgesses of Toulouse suspected of heresy, he had refused, and the refusal had brought renewed excommunication and the interdict upon Toulouse. This time Raymond was not content with an embassy, but went in person to Rome. He saw what the encirclement and the excommunication were aimed at—his own disinheritance. Whether his case satisfied Innocent or not (and there is no evidence that it did), the Pope cautiously decided that non-fulfilment of the “contract” made at St Gilles was not legitimate ground for dispossession; and he referred the question of his guilt to a council at which a third assessor besides the two legates was to be present. At the same time he told Arnaud to go carefully, as everything depended on his action. There is no need to assume any opposition between Innocent and Arnaud at this time. The Pope, however, was a lawyer; Arnaud and Simon were not. The subtle pupil of Uguccio had no sympathy with summary justice. The Church would lose incalculably by a false step in so vital a matter as the dispos­session of a great feudatory of the French Crown, and the King of Aragon, the Pope’s vassal, would feel justly aggrieved if his Pyrenean vassals, the Counts of Foix and Commingles, were disinherited. Yet as evidence against Raymond accumulated, Innocent veered towards the legate’s idea of dis­possessing him. He had to take the opinion of his representatives on the spot, and as the purification of the Church became more complete, petitions and letters against the count streamed into Rome from the newly-established clergy. He could not have resisted so strong a body of loyal opinion without making his representatives look foolish and creating antagonism. At the same time it was quite clear from Simon de Mont­fort’s progress in Languedoc and settlement of the crusading army on the conquered lands that the motive of territorial annexation was indissolubly linked with the zeal for the principle of Catholicism. The establishment of a droit coutumier for the new territories at Pamiers organising the confiscation on a permanent legal basis raised the question of the finality of the settlement. Philip Augustus disputed it actively; and now at the end of 1212 Peter II of Aragon sent to Rome a strong protest against the usurpations committed by Simon de Montfort against Raymond and his own vassals. Innocent recognised the weight of this plea, and himself pointed out to the legates that Raymond had never been allowed to clear himself of the murder of Peter de Castelnau, and that even if lie failed in that justification, the sentence would not involve Raymond’s son. The legates disposed of the situation very simply. A council met at Lavaur, heard Raymond’s justification, and rejected it; shortly afterwards they rejected the King of Aragon’s demand for restitution of his lands (which had now been overrun) to Raymond, and Peter appealed to Rome; but before the plaint was lodged, Innocent had realised how fast matters were moving and commanded Arnaud, now Archbishop of Narbonne, to stop the Crusade and to direct the Christian effort against the Moors in Spain.

It was too late. Threatened with excommunication by the council for taking Raymond’s part, Peter at the end of his patience formed a league consisting of the Counts of Toulouse, Foix, Comminges, the Viscount of Béarn, the knights of Toulouse and Carcassonne, and the consuls of Toulouse, and recklessly challenged Simon de Montfort. The southern opposition had crystallised. Innocent might send the legate Robert de Courson to establish peace in Languedoc and turn the Crusade to the Holy Land, but the battle of Muret (12 September 1213) settled for the time being the question of the occupation. The death of Peter and the utter defeat of the coalition opened Provence and the lower Rhone Valley also to Simon. That born leader won over both Courcon and Cardinal Peter of Benevento, whom Innocent sent in 1214 to reconcile the citizens of Toulouse and the southern lords to the Church and to protect their property; and the war of acquisition blazed again fiercely throughout Languedoc. Innocent’s policy of pacification was completely overborne. Even when Philip Augustus thought it time to intervene and sent his son Louis to the south under commission to protect the lordship of Montpellier and the interest of Peter of Aragon’s heir, Simon and the legate succeeded in winning him to their designs and, thanks to Louis, the count was proclaimed Duke of Narbonne. From the Rhone to the Garonne, from Albi to the Pyrenees, Simon de Montfort was master. The acts of his chancery entitled him Count of Toulouse and Leicester, Viscount of Beziers and Carcassonne, and Duke of Narbonne.

Yet Innocent had the last word. By declaring the property of lay heretics confiscate and extending the penalty to all supporters who did not within a year seek absolution from the excommunication imposed upon them, the Lateran Council of 1215 appeared to Simon de Montfort and his friends to sanction the fall of Raymond and his allies. But the Count of Toulouse, accompanied by the Counts of Foix and Comminges, appeared before the Council to defend his interests and a legal contest between his party and the representatives of Simon de Montfort followed. Innocent’s decision attempted to conciliate both parties. He did not venture to disavow his legates. Raymond had been guilty and justly deprived of his estates; the Pope however assigned him an annuity of 400 silver marks. The Countess of Toulouse was declared a faithful Catholic and her dower was maintained. The lands conquered by the crusaders, especially Montauban and Toulouse, were to remain in the hands of Simon de Montfort and other grantees; but those not yet occupied were to be guarded in the name of the Church for the son of Raymond VI when he came of age. The question of Foix was treated in the same spirit. The count’s territories were to be guarded by the Church pending an inquiry into his conduct, and Foix itself was to be restored to him as soon as he had obtained absolution. It is probable that the Count of Comminges was treated in the same way. A sentence of total disinheritance, of doubtful validity in feudal law, would not have pleased the court of France, and the relations between the secular and ecclesiastical authorities in regard to the lands of heretics were still very ill-defined.

In his relations with the temporal powers Innocent was governed by the thought of Gregory VII: the Pope is responsible to God for the salvation of kings just as much as of ecclesiastics. It is his business to exhort them to righteousness and peaceful conduct towards each other and to respect for the rights of the Church. Much of his effort was directed to preserving among the newer or less securely based monarchies the forces of order that favoured reforming canonical ideas. Where he could, he continued the Gregorian policy of binding them to the Roman See by the feudal contract; where he could not, he intervened by remonstrance or excommunication and interdict to defend the ius canonicum against the conflicting claims of national custom or individual interest.

As a civilising force spreading religion and learning the care of the Papacy was unquestionably valuable in the less integrated communities, but in its relations with the local religious situation the Holy See was brought into opposition with powerful interests, and local upholders of the papal point of view found themselves involved in some phase of the great ecumenical struggle between Church and State. This was especially the case in Scandinavia, The Norwegian Church settlement dated from 1152 when Nidaros was separated from Lund and erected into a metropolis with eleven dependent sees. Under the arrangement made by Cardinal Nicholas Breakspeare the choice of bishops had passed from the king to the cathedral chapters, and bishops had been given the right to appoint to parishes, while a change in the law of bequests had permitted a proportion of both real and personal property to be devised upon the Church. During the weakness of the kingdom before the coming of King Sverre (1184), King Magnus (V) had been forced to purchase the support of the powerful reformer, Archbishop Eystein, by still further grants of immunity, including a large measure of Church influence in determining the succession to the Crown; and during the same period, “God’s law”, the ius canonicum, was drawn up for the Norwegian kingdom, and administered in the Church Courts. When Sverre the priest fought his way to the Crown, it was a question whether the old law of the kingdom of Norway and the ecclesiastical arrangements of St Olaf should stand, or whether the recent compact between the feebler kings in the days of Cardinal Nicholas and Archbishop Eystein should supplant them. Sverre had acted as the champion of ancient custom; he had upheld against the metropolitan the rights of private patrons over the Eignekirchen, and had refused to accept Eystein’s codification of Church Law. For his exile of Archbishop Eric of Nidaros (Eystein’s successor) and his vigorous op­position to Bishop Nicholas of Stafanger and the party of the Bagals, he had been declared excommunicate and had issued a defiant apology of his own conduct. Innocent, on his accession, paid no heed to the arguments drawn from ancient custom or from the Decretum of Gratian, which Sverre strikingly used in his defence, but laid the interdict upon Norway. He wrote warning the Icelandic Bishops of Skaalholt and Hole to use every weapon against the king’s party; he bade Archbishop Eric from his refuge with Archbishop Absalon in Denmark excommunicate the Bishop of Bergen for favouring Sverre, and ordered the whole body of prelates in Norway to abstain from any dealings with the man. He begged the Kings of Denmark and Sweden to gird themselves and overthrow “that limb of the dev”il. The interdict was not enforced with the same rigour as in England, for the position of the monarchy was even more absolute in Norway, and Sverre was standing upon ancient custom while John tended to defy it. Before his death, however, the great Viking relaxed somewhat, and suggested a more peaceful policy to his son Hakon. This was to recall the fugitive bishops, and accordingly upon the new king’s accession Eric and his colleagues returned. Hakon held out as a compromise the terms of the settlement of 1152. Although Sverre himself had regarded the burning question of the appointment of bishops by the Crown as unaffected by the settlement of Cardinal Nicholas, the archbishop accepted, took the excommunication off Sverre’s adherents, and removed the restrictions consequent upon the interdict. It was probably a wise policy, but Innocent’s point of view was very different. In a letter of 1204 exulting over the late king’s death, he severely rebuked the archbishop for removing the sentence in usurpation of papal right, and compared him to an ape that imitates human actions which it is unable to perform. Innocent’s dealings with Norway make it clear that he gave no thought to the position of the dynasty, threatened as it was by the understanding between its opponents the Bagals and reforming churchmen. No Norwegian monarch could have adopted the full Church programme without endangering his throne; but Innocent never took such considerations into account, unless the relation between the monarch and the Papacy was a feudal one. Then, as in the case of King Emeric of Hungary and of King John, a measure of protection against rebellious rivals or subjects was freely given, as feudal custom demanded. It is, however, only fair to remember that pressure upon temporal rulers regardless of their internal political situation was sometimes necessary in order to guarantee continuity of religious life in the country, as is shown by the case of Vladislav and the Polish dukes excommunicated by the Archbishop of Gnesen; or in support of the fundamental principles of the Canon Law, though here the strength of that pressure might be varied in accordance with the measure and quality of the opposition likely to be encountered—a point borne out by the course of Innocent’s remonstrances with Philip Augustus over his long maltreatment of Ingeborg.


In the time of Gregory VII the idea of grouping the various Christian states under the suzerainty of Rome was favoured by the Curia chiefly in the interests of the clerical reform which would be diffused thereby. The ends were largely moral and religious. But as the Church’s organisation developed, the possibility of having at one’s back so powerful and universal an instrument made an increasing appeal to the risers of smaller kingdoms who wished to guarantee their conquests (often at the expense of their neighbours), and the Curia for its part began to see the temporal as well as the spiritual advantage in the tribute which in certain cases was paid in addition to the customary Peter’s Pence. In Mediterranean politics the aid of Aragon, for the time being one of the most loyal of tributary feudal kingdoms, was a valuable asset, as we have seen in the case of Sicily; and from the point of view of relations with the Eastern Empire it was important that Hungary and the newly-formed Bulgarian kingdom should be centres of Latin influence among peoples by nature more inclined to the Orthodox than to the Western rite.

The history of the Spanish kingdoms provides good illustration of the way in which the contract was interpreted. Innocent doubtless had before him in the original Register of Gregory VII the Pope’s letter declaring that in virtue of ancient customs (by which the Donation of Constantine was probably intended) the kingdom of Spain was delivered to St Peter in ius et proprietatem, but that the service (servitium) had been interrupted by the Saracens, and calling upon the princes to help St Peter to recover “his justice and his honour”. That there lay in the Gregorian use of the terms servitium, fidelitas, a perhaps not unintentional ambiguity is suggested by the tactics of the Curia at the time in attempting to make Peter’s Pence a sign of feudal subjection to Rome. Innocent, on the other hand, thought more clearly. Both in the case of Spain and elsewhere he made a distinction between such annual payments and the tribute paid in virtue of the direct feudal concession of a kingdom to the Papacy: salvis per omnia denariis Sancti Petri, as was stipulated in the terms of King John’s contract. Castile and Leon did not fall within this category, and it was in defence of the law of marriage that Innocent intervened to annul the marriage (on grounds of consanguinity) of Berenguela, daughter of Alfonso VIII, with Alfonso IX of Leon, and laid the interdict on the countries when he could not get the parties to separate. But over Portugal and Aragon he claimed and exercised definite feudal rights. From the former he demanded, and, after resisting King Sancho’s attempts to bargain, received the annual payment of 100 gold bezants; from the latter he got 250 gold obols per annum. In 1204, Peter II of Aragon came to be anointed and crowned in San Pancrazio, and swore to be the obedient feudatory of his lord, Pope Innocent; to maintain his realm in that obedience, to defend the Catholic faith, persecute heresy, and respect the liberties of the Church. Innocent’s reciprocal duties to his Spanish vassals took shape not only in confirming important acts of the Portuguese and Aragonese Chanceries, but in co­ordinating and placing under the leadership of Aragon the Christian effort to wipe out the Almohad reconquest, which proved successful at the great victory of Las Navas de Tolosa. We have already seen how Innocent carries out his obligations of guardianship towards Sicily. In England the legate for the time being played a vital part in English administration from 1213 onwards. Guala was in a very real sense a defender of the country against the attacks of Prince Louis both before and after Henry III’s accession. For in April he had gone at Innocent’s bidding to the Council of Melun to dissuade the King of France from conquering England, the property of the Roman Church in virtue of its right of lordship—a doctrine which Philip Augustus, in view of the condemnation of John by his own court, denied. After John’s death he played a most important part. The advantages of the feudal relation to the nascent state as well as to Rome may be read in Innocent’s relations with the Bulgaro-Wallachian kingdom comprising Bulgaria, Roumania, and a part of what was Roumelia. Johannitsa, the ruling tsar, had inherited the anti-Byzantine traditions of the first Bulgarian empire, which he had made it his intent to revive at the expense both of Hungary and of Constantinople. To secure this, he asked Innocent for coronation and unction, promising to hold the kingdom from St Peter. Innocent saw the advantage of having a friendly power along the great crusading route from central Europe; but to him the enfeoffment of Johannitsa was dependent upon the Bulgarian’s readiness to allow the complete dependence of the clergy upon the Roman Church and his permission to the Archbishop of Trnovo to receive the pallium from the Pope alone. Johannitsa’s aims were frankly political, but he could afford the conditions demanded; Innocent, as he expressed the hope to his future vassal, saw a Romanised dynasty and a Latinised Church. Petrus sicut plenitudine, sic latitudine.


Innocent’s immense diplomatic and pastoral activity was alone made possible by a very highly organised Curia containing within itself a Chancery, a Camera or Exchequer, and judicial organs. Before we pass to his legislation, we must speak briefly of the secretariat and the system of justice over which he presided.

The coming of Innocent, as M. Delisle pointed out, marks a new era in the history of the Papal Chancery. Its traditional usages crystallise, and a system of minute rules for the conduct of business, regular formulae for the different kinds of letters, and a more exact science of documentary criticism appear. At the head of the organisation stood the Chancellor or Vice-Chancellor. The Chancellor, by tradition the regular datary of the Apostolic letters, had ceased to be Librarian when the Archives and the Library were separated (1144). Up till 1187, with a single exception, he was a Cardinal-priest or Cardinal-deacon holding his post for life or until he was made Pope. As he had to autograph all letters, deputies vices cancellarii gerentes were frequently employed, and out of this practice grew the vice-chancellorship, though the formal title was frequently avoided in order to benefit the papal coffers. These deputies were not necessarily cardinals. Under the anti-Pope Calixtus III and under Urban III persons of lower dignity had been employed; Gregory VIII and Clement III used the services of Moyses, a canon of the Lateran, and Innocent himself, at the beginning of his pontificate, permitted three notaries in succession, Raymond, Blasius, and John, to sign as Vice-Chancellors. In 1205 he returned to the old system and had John, Cardinal-deacon of Santa Maria in Cosmedin, as Chancellor till 1213; John was the last of the line, for after his death Innocent put in deputies. Dr Poole has pointed out that the significance of this change lay in the fact that henceforward the Vice-Chancellor, who had become the real head of the Chancery, was appointed from outside the ranks of the cardinals, and was chosen not for dignity, but for competence. He might be someone who had risen from the lower offices of the Chancery. These were four in number, each directed by a notary of the Sacred Palace, part of whose business was to submit to the Pope the petitions forwarded to the Holy See. There was the office of the minutes, staffed by the abbreviatures, who drew up in a shortened form minutes of the papal acts called by Innocent litterae notatae; there was the office of engrossment, where, according to the tenour of the minute made, the papal letter was written out in full (in grossam litteram), the gross, it may be noted, frequently passed under the eye of the Pope; thirdly, there was the office of the Registers, wherein the registratores or Scriptores registri copied from the minutes the papal acts into the official archives. With Innocent’s pontificate begins the great continuous series of thirteenth-century Papal Registers; with the exception of the Registrum de negotio Imperii, the volumes that we possess of Innocent’s records are not the original registers, but books compiled from the finished documents after they had been got ready for despatch, a more elaborate form of procedure than had been hitherto in use. Lastly, there was the office of the Bull, where the bullarii applied the papal seal by attaching it in the manner prescribed for the various categories of docu­ments.

The documents which emanated from Innocent’s Chancery were, in the language of diplomatic, either Great or Little Bulls. Great Bulls or “ Privileges”, as Delisle called them, were solemn acts containing the Rota and the monogram and the full Chancery Date, subscribed by a certain number of Cardinals, issued to confirm the liberties and possessions of Churches. Little Bulls or “Letters” may be classified as either Letters of Grace or Letters of Justice, the one being Licences or Indults, the other Mandates or Commissions. The former were scaled on silk with the Pope’s name written in capitals; the latter were sealed on hemp and have only the initial letter in capitals. The character of a letter conferring a favour differed in the ornateness of its script and style from one containing a judgment or a command. Most minute care was taken over the bulla. Innocent once repudiated as false a document said to be his “because it lacked one point”. The points were dots round the circumference and dots framing the heads (on one side of the seal) of the Apostles Peter and Paul; St Peter’s hair and beard were entirely composed of them. Innocent’s bulls, as Delisle showed, had 73 round the circumference, 25 round St Paul, 26 round St Peter, while St Peter’s hair had 25 and his beard 28. A genuine bull must have all these, otherwise the matrix was spurious and it could be rejected. Innocent greatly improved the science of diplomatic. He drew up a set of rules for the detection of forgeries. Not only were the seals examined, but also their attachment to the string and that of the string to the document. In difficult cases one must look further to the modus dictaminis, that is the correct observance of the cursus, the curial rule of rhythm, and to the forma scripturae, the correctness of the document in its form. Innocent was by no means infallible as a detector of forgery, as it appears when he took for genuine two gross forgeries purporting to be indults of Pope Constantine in 709 and 710 written on parchment, which, of course, was not used at that period. But the science of diplomatic could not yet embrace documents five hundred years old, and within these limitations the Curia must have been acute at detecting the spurious and the supposititious letter. This was essential, for into the papal court streamed the causes of Christendom, the litigants in numerous cases supporting themselves by earlier grants, privileges, and concessions of the Holy See not all discoverable in the Registers. A large proportion of the chapter De fide instruments rum in the Decretales of Gregory IX was supplied by Innocent.

The majority of cases, tried originally before the bishops, which were taken by way of appeal to Rome, came before the Pope as index ordinarius singulorum and were decided in consistory, that is, the judicial session of the Pope and those of his cardinals for the time being in Rome. Once submitted to him, they might be sent for hearing to judges delegate in the country whence they came, the Pope reserving to himself the final pronouncement of the sentence, or they might be dealt with in Rome itself. In the latter case he frequently deputed one or more of his cardinals or chaplains skilled in law as auditores to hear and examine the evidence and come to a conclusion on a specific point of fact, which had to be cleared up before he could pronounce in consistory a definite sentence in the suit. Sometimes he committed the whole case to them and gave judgment on the basis of their findings; sometimes he dealt with the matter in his own auditory. The beginning of the thirteenth century is too early a period in which to speak of a definite college of auditors, the Rota, for in Innocent’s time the auditors are not yet generales, as they became under Gregory IX and Innocent IV, not yet permanent officials, but persons appointed under special commission. A great deal of the argument of the advocates (standing counsel at the Curia), and of the proctors or repre­sentatives of the parties, took place before them, for no Pope could attend personally to such a mass of business throughout the length of its course.

Two examples, one purely legal, the other a cause célèbre into which political consideration entered, will illustrate the phases of a case in the Roman Curia. Two citizens of Viterbo are disputing before the local ecclesiastical judges a contract made at the church door over the purchase of a house. The judges condemn the detainer of the premises, who appeals on the ground that the sale was conditional, not free. Innocent submits the case to a papal sub-deacon and chaplain, as auditor, making it his duty to find out the relative value of the evidence of written instruments and of witnesses present at the contract. When the Pope has satisfied himself on this point, he pronounces judgment in consistory that the sale was conditional. Here the judges of first instance are judges ordinary. The case of Gerald de Barri, besides illustrating procedure at Rome, displays the action of judges delegate appointed by the Papacy during the course of an appeal, very much in the capacity of auditors at the Roman court. On the death of Bishop Peter de Leia the chapter of St Davids nominated their effervescent and inimitable archdeacon Gerald foremost along with three others for their bishop. Hubert Walter, the Archbishop and Justiciar, was determined on political grounds that no Welshman should become bishop, especially as the Church of St Davids had claims to be metropolitan and independent of Canterbury, and did all he could to prevent the canons being given royal permission to elect Gerald. Owing to John’s accession he did not at first succeed, the election was made, and Gerald left England to receive consecration from Innocent in order to obtain the dignity of a metropolitan. Hubert, well knowing the nature of the Welshman’s claim, did all he could to impugn the validity of the election, and Gerald was forced to pay in all three visits to the Roman Court betwe 1en199 and 1202. On the first (November 1 to middle of March 1199-1200) the archbishop forestalled him by writing to the Pope and cardinals, and Innocent refused to consecrate, though he had raised Gerald’s hopes by calling him “Menevensis electe”, and had received in return a copy of the most painful laudatory elegiacs. He referred the matter of the election to judges delegate in England, and when Gerald asked for another commission to decide the status of the Church of St Davids, he would not accord it. He evidently did not think that Gerald’s answers to the gentle and crafty questions about St Davids, which he had asked one evening in his room, were satisfactory, and what he must have thought of Gerald’s memorandum on the history of the see, a document full of historical howlers, one can only imagine. Nothing daunted, Gerald entered the registry, and with the clerk looking on turned up the registers and found a decision of Eugenius III to submit the claim of St Davids to a commission. This was precedent, and Innocent consented to have this question also investigated by judges delegate. Gerald returned to Wales, unearthed fresh evidence at St Davids, and prepared to appear before the judges delegate in England. But King John refused to grant him a safe conduct, and the Pope transferred the hearing to Rome. Arriving there for the second time (March 1201) Gerald found two clerks sent by the archbishop already there to oppose him. The case of the status of St Davids was heard in public consistory, while that of his own election was taken before two auditors before going before the Pope. But the archbishop’s representatives asked for a delay which was accorded them, and the papal judgment in consistory could therefore only deal with the costs of the case. The next hearing was appointed at Rome for November 1201, and Gerald returned to Wales to find the chapter bribed against him and the Justiciar Geoffrey Fitz Peter issuing writs for the confiscation of his rents. It seems, however, that before November the judges delegate in England summoned him to appear, but that the trial could get no further because the Bishop of Ely, one of the chief judges, was away. Losing patience, Gerald took the false step of excommunicating two of his principal opponents, and was therefore cited to appear before judges delegate of the Papacy for such an action taken pendente lite. He appealed to Rome, and, although every conceivable form of pressure was exerted to make him come to terms with the archbishop, prepared once more for the journey. He succeeded in defying the king’s prohibition for him to cross, reached St Omer (November 1201) and arrived at Rome just before Christmas. In consistory he made the doubtful move of impeaching the character of the archbishop’s witnesses (he said they were suborned men who had never seen St Davids) before dealing with the validity of their evidence, and had to suffer in return the ridiculous charge of horse­stealing, which entertained Innocent greatly. Not till April 1202 did the Pope give sentence, then only to quash the elections both of Gerald and of the archbishop’s candidate. The instance shows the limitations of papal judges delegate in the realms of a man like King John and the strength of political pressure in a case where election was complicated by other considerations. For Llewelyn of Wales was in the background, and to Hubert Walter Gerald was, unfortunately, Gerald.

Criticise it as we may, and as most contemporaries did, for its delays and venality, in the Roman Curia men moved in a different world to that of the State: a World where subtle distinctions were heard, and delicately shaded opinions expressed, the spiritual home of educated and intelligent humanity. Moulded by this atmosphere, Innocent set himself to ensure the supremacy throughout Christendom of that cultured life in all the ranges of its activity, art and ceremony, law, philosophy, and literature, welded together in the synthesis of religion. The community that by its wealth of institutions and its group-life alone could make spiritual activity possible must conquer; the mind of the Church must prevail in society. But that community could only achieve this by setting its own house in order, by a perfect system of organisation, canons regulating in every detail the life and position of each member of the hierarchy and reducing the laity to a state of passive obedience.

To this order Innocent made a powerful and many-sided contribution, developing the legal logic of his immediate predecessors, himself the vehicle of a progressive tradition. For just as it is impossible to think of Edward I apart from Bracton, so Innocent can scarcely be considered apart from the later commentators on the Decretum of Gratian, and without reference to the general tendency of papal legislation from Alexander III onwards. Like Edward I he came to codify and to define. His canons are to be found in two compilations of a series of five, the compilatio tertia and quanta. The “third” contains his decretals up to 11210, the “fourth” includes the canons of the Fourth Lateran Council. An earlier selection was made from innocent’s Registers by Bernard of Compostella, archdeacon of the Roman Church, called by Bologna students the Romana Compilatio; but, finding that it contained certain decretals objected to by the Curia, Innocent got his notary, Peter of Benevento, to make the “third” for the Bologna law school. Walter von der Vogelweide spoke of it like a loyal German episcopalian as Innocent’s “swarzes buoch daz ime der hellemor hat gegeben”. From a national point of view he was right: the book was in many respects diabolical. The novum ius, the papal decretals from the time of Alex­ander III, bore marked contrast to Gratian’s academic moderation, the vetus ius, as Bernard of Pavia called the famous Decretum. The new decretals were not a text-book, as was Gratian’s, but authoritative canons of a centralising order that constituted the ground-work of the first collection with the force of universal law, the Decretals of Gregory IX. The t Council of 1179 is the starting-point of the new tendency, and Innocent in the great assembly of 1215 took as his basis, and re-enacted, a number of its most important canons. Any tendency, therefore, to treat the Council of 1215 in isolation must be avoided. Yet it was in many ways unique: since the early days of Nicaea and Ephesus and Chalcedon no such assembly had been seen. Four hundred and twelve bishops, eight hundred abbots and priors, and numerous representatives of absent bishops and of chapters crowded close upon each other, and ambassadors were sent by Frederick II, by the Latin Emperor of Constantinople, the Kings of France, England, Jerusalem, Aragon, and Hungary. A note alike of climax and of expectation was struck by Innocent’s sermon on the text: “With desire have I desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer”. It was in a sense the highest point of his career. Passover, he explained, meant a transition, a temporal passage of the crusaders to Jerusalem and the deliverance of the Holy Places, a spiritual passage to the Reform of the Church, and it was to this double end that the Council had been sum­moned.

The depth and scope of these and of his earlier canons, their historical background, their reception and effect, cannot be analysed in a few paragraphs. We can but present very simply some of their more constructive aspects, using not the proper legal classification, but a more arbitrary division into decretals concerned with the sacramental doctrine of the Church, the personnel, organisation, and discipline of the clergy.

The Church is declared to be one and universal, the only means to salvation; her sacraments are the channel by which grace is communicated to men. Chief among them is the Eucharist, wherein the body and blood of Christ “are really contained in the Sacrament of the altar under the species of bread and wine, the bread being transubstantiated into the body and the wine into the blood by the power of God, so that, to effect the mystery of unity we ourselves receive of that which is His what He himself received of that which is ours”. Only a priest duly ordained according to the Church’s power of binding and loosing might celebrate this mystery. It was a wide and moderate declaration suitable for acceptance as a matter of faith, as it contained no precise statement on the nature of the presence in the sacrament and was agreeable alike to those who held a carnal view and to those who followed the twelfth-century theologians, in emphasising the spiritual character of Christ’s Body there present. For the historian the emphasis should, however, lie on the sacramental function of the priesthood; this, as Troeltsch rightly said, “bound the organism together and is the essential factor of importance in the Church’s encircling miraculous power”. The point is borne out by the canon of the council (c. 21) ordaining that all who had come to years of discretion should confess their sins at least once a year to their own priests, fulfil the penance imposed, and receive the sacrament of the Eucharist at least once a year, at Easter, unless counselled by their own priest to refrain for a time; anyone wishing to confess to some other priest must first obtain the leave of his own to do so. The effect of this canon, in conjunction with the first, was to strengthen the position of the parish priest. But it also laid stress upon the importance and necessity of absolution for the forgiveness of sins and helped to make clearer the interrelation of the different elements in the sacrament of penance. For while confession to priests had been practised for centuries, the doctrine of its place in the penitential system was still not very precise. Gratian in his Decretum had balanced and compared the views of those who said that contrition atone was necessary and confession to a priest merely the attestation of pardon, and of those who maintained that complete remission could not take place before confession and satisfaction; and although he determined in favour of the latter view, the very fact that he reproduced so carefully the theory of a number of theologians who laid the greatest possible stress on contrition is significant. Furthermore, Innocent’s own canonist master, Uguccio of Ferrara, definitely came down upon the side of those who maintained that sin was remitted by contrition alone without confession or satisfaction, though he admitted that confession of faults was necessary in order to give public effect to penitence. Innocent’s view was more like that of Hugh of St Victor and Peter Lombard, who felt that exaggerated emphasis on contrition tended to restrict the effects of absolution.

If such were to be the priest’s powers and responsibilities, the matter of his selection was of the highest importance. At the top of the scale, the supreme authority in the province and in the diocese must be “freely and lawfully” elected, as Gratian had prescribed. In all parts of Europe elections of the higher clergy presented the most complicated issues owing to the pressure exerted by the secular power and to dissensions in cathedral and other chapters; for, in the case of bishops, throughout the second half of the twelfth century the cathedral chapter was gradually taking the place of the original electing body, the clergy and people of the cathedral centre. The qualifications for office had been determined by the Third Lateran Council. The candidate for a bishopric must be at least thirty, for other offices with the care of souls at least twenty-five years of age, and of up­right character and a good standard of education (c. 3). Though in disputed elections both greater merit and numerical majority were required to enable a candidate to succeed (c. 17), the methods of choice varied considerably, and in 1215 it was time that they should be still further defined. In the twenty third canon of the Council three forms were admitted, election by scrutiny, by inspiration, and by compromise, i.e. in cases of disagreement by a committee chosen from the opposing parties. In election by scrutiny there was to be a secret ballot, and the choice was to fall upon the man on whom the votes of all or of the maior vel sanior pars concurred. The sanior was a necessary qualification; and if a majority candidate was found unworthy, a minority candidate worthy, Innocent would confirm the election of the latter. It was his object to get men of the best character, and, when possible, of learning and experience. He regularly and carefully exercised his right to examine the person of the elect and the method followed in the election, before he confirmed the chapter’s choice. The canons had to be observed. An illegitimate person might be asked for, but could not be elected by the chapter: the election of Mauger to the see of Worcester was quashed in 1200 because the chapter had not humbly prayed for a dispensation on his behalf. In 1208 there was a disputed election to the archbishopric of Tours: one side had elected the chanter of Paris, the other their own dean. Innocent confirmed the choice of the side auctoritate et numero maior, but after ascertaining that the elected was well commended. Not only did Innocent quash elections and make it his rule to punish chapters guilty of irregular practice and ecclesiastical superiors who permitted it, but he held that failure to elect within a fixed time might lead, in the case of a metropolis, to the election passing to the Papacy. The principles of the right of devolution (the word itself seems to have been first? used by Innocent) were laid down in the General Council of 1179 (cc. 3,8,17). Collation to higher ecclesiastical offices must take place within six months, in default of which it was to pass to the immediate higher authority. In 1215 the principle was confirmed and its application was extended to benefices compulsorily vacated by clerks who had more than one cure of souls, if the patron did not appoint within three months (c. 29). It is noteworthy that the task of examining how benefices were distributed by the bishop and chapter was particularly entrusted to provincial synods (c. 30).

In two other cases the Papacy might intervene. The Pope alone authorised translation of bishops. Innocent suspended Conrad of Hildesheim for accepting the bishopric of Wurzburg, and, when William of Chimay with the connivance of his metropolitan left Avranches for Angers, he threatened the bishop with suspension. In the second place, he had the right and, as he expressed it, the duty in virtue of his plenitude of power to provide for necessitous clergy; as he said to the chapter of Harlebeke (Flanders), “we are bound to occupy ourselves in securing to poor clerks means of existence”. He was prepared to step in and collate to prebends literate and unbeneficed clerks of good reputation. He asked the king of England and Richard of York to intervene with the canons of York on behalf of his old Paris teacher, Peter of Corbeil. Though benefices were sometimes conferred by him on clerks of the Curia, the right was exercised with moderation. He was always clear about the principle underlying his right to provide.

In the sphere of organisation Innocent gave a vigorous impulse to synodal and capitular activity. No less than sixteen councils were held by his legates in different countries before the great assembly of 1215. The Lateran Council ordered provincial councils to be celebrated yearly by metropolitans and the “canonical rules” had to be read aloud. In every province there was to be a triennial chapter of religious orders and regular canons which had not held such meetings previously. Abbots and priors were to attend and two abbots of the Cistercians were to be present to instruct in the rules of procedure followed by their order. The aim of these gatherings was to be reform and the observation of the rule. In these chapters visitors of the monasteries and nunneries of the order throughout the province were to be appointed; they were to go in the Pope’s name to exempt as well as to non-exempt houses, and to report irregularities to the diocesan, and, in case of difficulty, to the Holy See. This order was not popular with English Benedictines. Its effect was to generalise representa­tion throughout the religious orders and to provide a greater system of surveillance and discipline. To make the circle of uniformity complete, the thirteenth canon of the Council forbade the establishment of any new religious order.

Great stress was laid on the need for instructing the clergy and laity and on the duty of preaching. Many bishops, observed the Council, were hindered from that duty by the size of their dioceses, by sickness, hostile incursion, or (a scandal henceforth not to be tolerated) lack of knowledge. In such cases they must appoint and ordain in cathedral and other churches preachers and confessors to supply the need. In conformity with the eighteenth canon of the Third Lateran Council, each cathedral and other church that can afford it must spare a prebend to support a master to teach clerks and other poor scholars literature and composition, and each metropolitan church should sustain a theologian also to instruct its priests and others in Holy Scripture and the care of souls. In these canons Innocent had his eye upon the nascent universities, whose activities he greatly encouraged; for it was he who had backed the party of the future by recognising the society gf Paris masters as a legal corporation (1210-11) and by placing upon the chancellor restrictions which prohibited, in Dr Rashdall’s words, “the efforts of a local hierarchy to keep education in leading-strings” (1212); it was the policy of his legate, Nicholas of Tusculum, through the ordinance of 1214, to encourage the autonomy of the masters of Oxford in their struggle for corporate existence against the local burgesses.

In the canons upon the sacrament of marriage and the immunity of clerical property from lay taxation Innocent’s legislation had special effect upon the relations between Church and laity. In marriage the Church exercised the greatest influence upon social life, for, as is well known, by Innocent’s time she had acquired exclusive right of legislation in matrimonial matters and most cognate questions. In the thirteenth century the canonists who turned their attention to the subject were chiefly engaged in determining the conditions necessary to make the act of consent a valid one, and in working out a theory of impediments characterised by common sense and leniency. For the Church found herself compelled to give up the “exogamic” system (as M, Le Bras has termed it) by which marriages between relations of the seventh degree were prohibited, especially in view of the conditions in rural communities where the inhabitants were largely interrelated. Innocent now had the prohibition on grounds of consanguinity confined to the first four degrees only, and a similar simplification made for cases of affinity. Clandestine marriages were forbidden, and the intention of the parties had to be publicly announced by the priest. The Church courts were directed only in very exceptional cases to admit hearsay evidence of impediment; the witnesses giving it must be grave and responsible persons and the sources of their information must be carefully indicated.

Around the claim of the Church to hold her lands independent of lay exactions a battle had raged ever since the apparently indefinite increase in her possessions began to threaten secular lords with expropriation or the withholding of services. In the twelfth century it was the communes which with their egalitarian principles and peculiar needs had most of all denied this claim to “real immunity”, and had called upon the bishops and clergy in the cities to contribute to the cost of expeditions and the upkeep of defensive works. The principle followed by the Church was that laid down in the Decretum for the bishop who wished to raise any contribution from his flocks: any subsidy from clerical immovables must be caritativum, a voluntary gift, and made there only for “just and reasonable cause”. It was in this spirit that the Third Lateran Council, alter deploring secular extortions and anathematising those that made them, forbade the communal authorities to levy such exactions unless the bishop and clergy saw that there was real need for it and the contributions of the laity were not sufficient for the purpose (c. 19, non minus). The canon had little effect. After Alexander III’s death the situation grew worse. Throughout Italy the demands of the secular authorities to tax clerical property increased, and led to excommunication and frequently to a state of war within the city or the eviction of the clergy. Innocent constituted himself the defender of clerical property, as Lucius III and Clement III had done; he got provincial synods to use the interdict freely against the wicked consuls and rectors. The forty-sixth clause of the Fourth Lateran Council strengthened the canon of 1179 and opened up a new avenue of intervention. It covered the private property of clerks as well as the goods of the Church; and it added to the conditions upon which the subsidy might be granted the stipulation that the Papacy should be asked by the local clergy to give its authorisation before the grant was made, because in the past some of the contributions had been made unwisely.

The canons on ecclesiastical discipline issued in 1215 followed in some respects the lines laid down by the legate Robert de Courson at Paris in 1212 (or 1213) and at Rouen in 1214. The Paris assembly was, however, remarkable for the very detailed instructions it issued on the life and morals of the clergy and the conduct of monasteries and nunneries. The Lateran Council, while ordering penalties for incontinency and drunkenness and regulating the dress and conduct of religious and secular clergy alike, was occupied with the larger administrative questions of the tenure of benefices, jurisdiction, and ecclesiastical censure. There must be no fraudulent resignations; pluralities are forbidden; sons and illegitimate sons of canons must not succeed to prebends in their fathers’ churches. Rectors must pay their vicars a portio sufficient and not keep them on starvation-wages, and those in charge of parish churches must administer them in person and not by vicars, unless the church is annexed to a prebend or an office, in which case a properly paid vicar must be put in. Procurations may only be exacted when archdeacons or papal legates come in person, and these victors must not exceed the tariff of entertainment laid down by the Third Lateran Council, nor should prelates exact from their subordinates more than they are bound to furnish in such payments. In judicial matters, no clerk may extend his jurisdiction to the prejudice of secular justice. Appeals to a higher court should only be made for serious reasons which must be submitted to, and considered valid by, the judge of first instance, and bringers of frivolous appeals must pay the costs of the action—this without prejudice to the right of the Papacy to try the “greater causes”. No one may abuse the good faith of the Holy See and obtain letters citing his opponent before a court Christian more than two days journey from his own natal-diocese, unless both parties agree. Very careful rules were made for the examination of clerks charged with misconduct: no accusation involving degradation of the defendant may be made unless the accuser is willing to undergo a similar penalty in the event of his case being unfounded, and the methods of prosecuting notorious evil-doers were defined. A properly attested record of every case must be drawn up for the benefit of each party, a copy being kept by the court to prevent disputes arising out of the judg­ment. In cases of spoliation, the plaintiff who gets the judgment shall not lose his property by prescription, i.e. by not being able to enter into possession of it within the specified year, but shall be put into possession of it even after a year’s delay. No sentence of excommunication may be uttered without due canonical admonition, and never without certain and valid reason; in cases where the sentence was unfounded and the utterer refused to withdraw it, complaint to a superior judge was permitted.

Upon foundations such as we have tried to depict rather than upon the half-successful, half-baffled effort to win temporal power rested the papal theocracy. Its dogma, its rite, its organisation, its system of justice—these, as Innocent knew, were its abiding possessions. Yet a material and temporal superstructure had to be built in a rough age in which respect for power and acquisition competed, and often successfully, with reverence for law and right, an age in some respects extraordinarily materialist and extraordinarily devoted to tradition. That tradition was not of the Rome whither the Christ of legend turned again to be crucified, Rome red with the blood of martyrs or bewildering with her churches, but of the city of the earlier Emperors, marble-white and mighty, the tamer of the East, the terror of the farthest West. The magic of this Pagan past wrought silently in the lives of the greatest Italian Popes of the Middle Ages. At its best it gave them their genius for uniformity and discipline, their large and splendid solicitude for their subjects. It was Innocent III who in a sermon on an anniversary of his consecration gave noblest expression to their ideal: “Nam ceteri vocati sunt in partem sollicitudinis, solus autem Petrus assumptus est in plenitudinem potestatis. In signum spiritualium centulit mihi mitram, in signum temporalium dedit mihi coronam; mitram pro sacerdotio, coronam pro regno, illius me constituens vicarium, qui habet in vestimento et in femore suo scriptum, “Rex regum et Dominus dominantium: Sacerdos in aeternum, secundum ordinem Melchisedech.”