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46.: Promise of Charles to Adrian I, 774. - Oliver J. Thatcher, A Source Book for Mediaeval History. Selected Documents Illustrating the History of Europe in the Middle Age 
A Source Book for Mediaeval History. Selected Documents Illustrating the History of Europe in the Middle Age, ed. Oliver J. Thatcher and Edgar Holmes McNeal (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1905).
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Promise of Charles to Adrian I, 774.
See introductory note to no. 44.
Now on Wednesday the aforesaid pope [Adrian] came to the church of St. Peter the apostle, with all his officials, both ecclesiastical and military, and held a conference with the king and earnestly besought, admonished, and exhorted him by his paternal love to fulfil the promise which his father, Pippin, the former king, and he himself [that is, Karl], along with his brother Karlmann and all the officials of the Franks, had made to St. Peter and to his vicar the holy pope, Stephen II, of blessed memory, when he went to France; that is, to give to St. Peter and to all his vicars certain cities and their territories in the province of Italy to be held forever. And when the king had caused them to read to him that promise which had been made at Kiersy in France, he and his officials ratified all its provisions. And of his own will and gladly the aforesaid Karl, the most excellent and truly Christian king of the Franks, ordered another promise of the gift, an exact copy of the former, to be drawn up by Etherius, his chaplain and notary, in which he granted to St. Peter the same cities and their territories, and promised that they would be handed over to the pope according to the designated boundaries as they were contained in that gift; that is, Corsica, and from Luna to Suriano, thence over the Apennines to Berceto, thence to Parma, thence to Reggio, and thence to Mantua and Monselice; and besides the whole exarchate of Ravenna as it was of old, and the provinces of Venetia and Istria, as well as the duchies of Spoleto and Benevento. And when the grant had been drawn up and signed with his own hand, Karl caused all the bishops, abbots, dukes, and counts to sign it also. And placing it first on the altar of St. Peter, and then within his holy confession, the king of the Franks and his officials gave it thus to St. Peter and to his vicar the holy pope Adrian, promising with a solemn oath that they would observe everything contained in that grant. And this most Christian king of the Franks caused Etherius to draw up a copy of this grant and placed it himself upon the body of St. Peter, under the gospels which are kissed there, that it might be a perpetual testimonial of the gift and an eternal memorial of his name and of the Frankish kingdom. And the king took with him other copies of the same grant that were made by the notary of the holy Roman church.
Karl the Great Declares the Pope Has Only Spiritual Duties, 796. Letter of Karl to Leo III.
Karl the Great had a keen sense of his authority and position, and resented any action which seemed to him an infringement of his prerogatives. Adrian I had offended him by presuming to approve and publish the acts of the council of Nicæa, 787, without waiting for Karl’s authorization. By this letter to the pope, Leo III, Karl made it plain to him that his duties were only spiritual.
Karl, by the grace of God king, of the Franks and Lombards, and patricius of the Romans, to his holiness, pope Leo, greeting. . . . Just as I entered into an agreement with the most holy father, your predecessor, so also I desire to make with you an inviolable treaty of mutual fidelity and love; that, on the one hand, you shall pray for me and give me the apostolic benediction, and that, on the other, with the aid of God I will ever defend the most holy seat of the holy Roman church. For it is our part to defend the holy church of Christ from the attacks of pagans and infidels from without, and within to enforce the acceptance of the catholic faith. It is your part, most holy father, to aid us in the good fight by raising your hands to God as Moses did [Ex. 17:11], so that by your intercession the Christian people under the leadership of God may always and everywhere have the victory over the enemies of His holy name, and the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified throughout the world. Abide by the canonical law in all things and obey the precepts of the holy fathers always, that your life may be an example of sanctity to all, and your holy admonitions be observed by the whole world, and that your light may so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your father which is in heaven [Matt. 5:16]. May omnipotent God preserve your holiness unharmed through many years for the exalting of his holy church.
Karl the Great Exercises Authority in Rome, 800.
The title of patricius of Rome was somewhat vague and it is impossible to say exactly how much actual authority attached to it. But it is evident from Karl’s conduct that he regarded himself as responsible for the government of Rome. The passage from Einhard’s Annals shows that Karl was the supreme authority in legal matters there. He acted as judge even in the case of the pope. There was no one willing to make a formal charge against Leo, and hence he might have been declared innocent. But he was not willing to receive that sort of acquittal. So of his own accord he took an oath to his innocence.
Anno 800. The day before Karl reached Rome pope Leo came to Nomentum to meet him. Karl received him with great honor and they dined together. The pope preceded Karl to Rome, and the next morning took his stand, with the bishops and all the clergy of the city, on the steps of St. Peter’s to receive Karl when he should come. . . . Seven days later Karl called a public meeting, in which he made known the reasons why he had come to Rome. He then devoted himself every day to the accomplishment of the things which had called him to the city. Of these he began with the most important as well as the most difficult, namely, the investigation of the crimes with which the pope was charged. As there was no one who was willing to prove the truth of those charges, Leo took the gospels in his hand, and, in the presence of all the people, mounted the pulpit in St. Peter’s, and took an oath that he was innocent of the crimes laid to his charge.
The Oath of Pope Leo III before Karl the Great, 800.
See introductory note to no. 48.
Most beloved brethren, it is well known that evil men rose up against me and wished to do me harm and accused me of grave crimes. And now the most clement and serene king, Karl, has come with his priests and nobles to this city to try the case. Therefore, I, Leo, bishop of the holy Roman church, neither judged nor coerced by anyone, do clear and purge myself from these charges before you in the sight of God, who knows my secret thoughts, and of his holy angels, and of St. Peter, in whose church we now stand. I swear that I neither did these wicked and criminal things of which my enemies accuse me, nor ordered them to be done, and of this God is my witness, in whose presence we now stand and into whose judgment we shall come. And I do this in order to clear myself of these suspicions, and not because it is commanded in the canons, or because I desire to impose this practice as a precedent upon my successors or brothers and fellow-bishops.
The Oath of the Romans to Ludwig the Pious and Lothar, 824.
The emperor, Ludwig the Pious, intrusted the government of Italy to his oldest son, Lothar. In order to keep control of the papal elections, Lothar compelled the Romans to take the following oath:
I, (name), promise in the name of the omnipotent God and on the four holy gospels and on this cross of our Lord Jesus Christ and on the body of most blessed Peter, prince of the apostles, that from this day I will be faithful to our lords, the emperors, Ludwig [the Pious] and Lothar, all my life, according to my strength and understanding, without any fraud or deceit, in so far as this shall not violate the oath of fidelity which I have sworn to the pope. And I promise that according to my strength and understanding I will not permit a papal election to take place in any way except canonically and legally, and that he who may be elected pope shall not with my consent be consecrated until, in the presence of the emperor’s ambassadors and of the people, he takes such an oath as pope Eugene1 did that he will rule without any change.
The Emperor Admits the Right of the Pope to Confer the Imperial Title. Passages from a Letter of Ludwig II, Emperor, to Basil, Emperor at Constantinople, 871.
Although the Greek emperor, Michael, recognized Karl the Great as emperor in the west (see nos. 13-14), some of his successors took a different view of the matter and declared the emperors in the west usurpers. Basil had written to Ludwig II saying that the latter was not emperor and therefore should not assume the title. Ludwig replied with some vigor, advancing various arguments in his own favor. The student should examine this letter to discover (1) the objections which Basil had made, and (2) the arguments by which Ludwig II refuted them.
Among other things, Ludwig said he had a right to the title of emperor:
Because all the patriarchs and all men of every rank, except you alone, have, of their own accord, addressed us as such whenever they have written to us. And besides, our uncles [Charles the Bald and Ludwig the German], glorious kings, willingly call us emperor. And they do so, not out of regard for our age, for they are older than we, but because of the anointing and consecration by which, with God’s will, we were advanced to this high office through the laying on of the hands of the pope, and because, at God’s command, we have the government of the Roman empire. . . .
We are much surprised that you should say we are laying claim to a title which is new to our family. For that cannot be a new title which was held by our grandfather. And he did not usurp it, as you say he did, but he received it at the command of God, by the decision of the church, and through the anointing and laying on of the hands of the pope. . . .
It is absurd that you should say I have not inherited the imperial name, and that my race is not worthy to have such a dignity. Even my grandfather inherited it from his father. Why is not my race worthy of producing an emperor, since emperors have been chosen from among the Spaniards and Isaurians and Khazars? For surely you cannot say that those nations are more renowned than the Franks either in religion or in courage. . . . To your statement that we do not rule over even all of France, here is a brief answer: We surely do rule over all France, since we certainly have what they have, with whom we are one in flesh and blood and one spirit through the Lord.
You wonder that we are called emperor of the Romans instead of emperor of the Franks. But you ought to know that if we were not emperor of the Romans we could not be emperor of the Franks. For we have received this name and dignity from the Romans, whose people and city, the mother of all the churches of God, we have received, in accordance with God’s will, to govern, to defend, and to exalt, and from her our family received the authority, first, to rule as kings, and, afterward, as emperors. For the rulers of the Franks were first called kings and afterward those who were anointed with holy oil by the popes to this office were called emperors. Karl the Great, our grand-grandfather, having been anointed in this way, because of his great piety, was the first of our race and family to be called emperor and to be the anointed of the Lord. How much greater right have we to the imperial title, therefore, than the many who have been made emperor without any religious ceremony or holy rite being performed by a pope, being elected only by the senate and people of Rome, who had no regard for such holy rites? And some have been made emperor by even less authority, being proclaimed by the army, and others by women, and others in still other ways.
Now, if you blame the Roman bishop for what he did [in crowning Karl the Great], you must also blame Samuel, because, after anointing Saul, he rejected him and anointed David to be king. But it will be easy to answer anyone who shall make even one complaint against the pope [for having anointed Karl the Great as emperor]. If you will search the pages of the Greek annals and see what the bishops of Rome had to endure from their enemies, and yet received no protection from you, and even what they had to endure from you and your people, you will find many things which will prevent you from blaming them. But these external matters were of little importance compared with the efforts of the Greeks to destroy the church by their many heresies. So, very properly, the bishops of Rome deserted the apostate Greeks—for what concord hath Christ with Belial? [2 Cor. 6:15]—and joined a people which clung to God and brought forth the fruits of his kingdom. For “God is no respecter of persons,” as the great apostle said, “but in every nation he that feareth him is accepted with him” [Acts 10:34, 35]. Therefore, since this is so, why do you make it a reproach to us who have the imperial crown that we are born of the Franks, when in every nation he that feareth God is accepted with him? Theodosius the elder [379-395] and his sons, Arcadius and Honorius, and Theodosius the younger, son of Arcadius, were Spaniards, and yet we do not find that anyone blamed Theodosius or objected to him because he was a Spaniard, and not a Roman, or tried to prevent his sons from succeeding to the position and honor of their father, as you now try to do, as if the race of the Franks did not belong to that inheritance concerning which the Father speaks to the Son, saying: “Ask of me and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession” [Ps. 2:8]. And in another place: “For them that honor me I will honor” [1 Sam. 2:30]. And there are many other such sayings.
Therefore, my dearest brother, cease to be contentious in this matter and to listen to flatterers. For the race of the Franks has brought forth the most abundant fruits to the Lord, not only in believing quickly, but also in converting others to the faith. But the Lord spoke of you when he said: “The kingdom shall be taken from you and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof” [Matt. 21:43]. For as God was able of stones to raise up children unto Abraham [Matt. 3:9], so from the hardness of the Franks he was able to raise up successors to the Roman emperors. . . . And as Christians, through faith in Christ, are the seed of Abraham, and the Jews, through lack of faith, ceased to be sons of Abraham, so also we, through our correct belief, that is, through our orthodoxy, received the government of the Roman empire, and the Greeks, because of their heresy, ceased to be emperors. They deserted not only the city which was the seat of the empire, but even the Roman people, and moved to other parts [that is, Constantinople], and have even lost the Latin tongue.
The Pope Enacts that Papal Elections must Take Place in the Presence of the Emperor’s Representatives. Enactment of a Roman Synod Held by John IX, 898.
The election of a pope was often attended with violence on the part of Roman factions, which, under the leadership of various noble families, sought to elect one of their own party. John IX recognized that the emperor was the only one who could prevent these abuses and so enacted that all papal elections should take place in the presence of the emperor’s representatives.
Since the holy Roman church, over which in accordance with God’s will we preside, on the death of a pope often suffers violence from many persons, because the pope is elected without the knowledge of the emperor, and hence the emperor does not send messengers, as canonical custom and practice require that he should, who may be present and prevent all disturbances during the election, we decree that when a pope is to be elected, the bishops1 and all the clergy shall come together and the election shall take place in the presence of the senate and people. And the one thus chosen shall be consecrated in the presence of the emperor’s messengers.
The Oath of Otto I to John XII, 961.
Although the pope needed the help of the king of the Germans, and was willing to confer upon him the title of emperor, yet he was afraid that Otto might assume too much authority and deprive the papal office of much of its power. He accordingly attempted to secure his position by demanding the following oath of Otto. It will be observed that Otto did not take the oath in person but sent his representative to take it for him. It was, nevertheless, binding on Otto. However, it did not prevent him from afterward deposing John and putting another pope in his place.
I, Otto, king, cause my representative to promise and swear to you, pope John, in my name, by the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and by this piece of the life-giving cross and by these relics of the saints, that, if I shall come to Rome with the consent of God, I will exalt the holy Roman church and you, her ruler, to the best of my ability. And you shall never by my wish, advice, consent, or instigation, suffer any loss in life or in limb, or in the honor which you now have or which you shall have obtained from me. I will never make laws or rules in regard to the things which are under your jurisdiction or the jurisdiction of the Romans without your consent. I will restore to you all of the lands of St. Peter that shall have come into my hands; and I will cause the one to whom I shall have committed Italy to rule in my absence2 to swear to you that he will always aid you according to his ability in defending the lands of St. Peter.
Otto I Confirms the Pope in the Possession of his Lands, 962.
In order to secure his possessions, John XII persuaded Otto I to confirm his rights to them. In section 15 Otto reserves his imperial rights, thus furnishing another proof that he was sovereign over the lands which the pope held. By comparing this document with the donations of Pippin and of Karl the Great (nos. 45 and 46), the growth of the papal land claims will be apparent.
In the name of omnipotent God, the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. We, Otto, by the grace of God emperor and Augustus, together with our glorious son, king Otto, promise and pledge to thee, St. Peter, prince of apostles and keeper of the keys of heaven, and through thee to thy vicar, pope John XII, the following possessions, as his predecessors have held and possessed them up to the present time; namely, (1) the city of Rome with its duchy, and its neighboring villages and territories, highland and lowland, shores and ports; (2) all the cities, towns, fortresses, and villages of Tuscany; that is, Porto, Civita Vecchia, Ceri, Bieda, Marturianum, Sutri, Nepi, Gallese, Orte, Polimartium, Ameria, Todi, Perugia, with its three islands, the larger and the smaller, and Pulvensis, Narni, and Otricoli, with all the territories belonging to the aforesaid cities; (3) the whole exarchate of Ravenna with all the cities, towns, and fortresses which our predecessors the most excellent emperors, Pippin and Karl, conferred on St. Peter and your predecessors by a deed of gift; namely, the city of Ravenna and the district of Emilia, including the following towns: Bobbio, Cesena, Forlimpopoli, Forli, Faenza, Imola, Bologna, Ferrara, Comacle, Adria, and Gabello, with all the territories and islands by land and sea which belong to the aforesaid cities; (4) likewise also the Pentapolis; that is, Rimini, Pesaro, Fano, Sinigaglia, Ancona, Osimo, Humana, Iesi, Forum Sempronii, Montefeltre, Urbino, and the territory of Balneum, Cagli, Lucioli, and Gubbio, with all the territories belonging to the aforesaid cities; (5) likewise the whole Sabine territory as it was granted to St. Peter by our predecessor, emperor Karl, by a deed of gift; (6) likewise in Lombard Tuscany the fortress of Felicitas, and the towns of Orvieto, Bagnorea, Ferento, Viterbo, Orcle, Marca, Toscanella, Soana, Populonia, and Roselle, with all their suburbs and villages and all their territories, towns, and boundaries; (7) and likewise from Luna, with the island of Corsica, to Suriano, thence over the Apennines to Berceto, thence to Parma, thence to Reggio, thence to Mantua and Monselice, together with the provinces of Venetia and Istria and all the duchies of Spoleto and Benevento, and the church of St. Christina which is situated on the Po about four miles from Pavia; (8) and likewise in Campania, Sora, Arce, Aquino, Arpino, Teano, Capua; (9) likewise the patrimonies under your power and sway, such as the patrimonies of Benevento, Naples, and upper and lower Calabria, and also of the island of Sicily, if God shall give it unto our hand; (10) likewise the cities of Gaeta and Fondi with all their belongings; (11) moreover we offer to thee, St. Peter, the apostle, and to thy vicar, pope John and his successors, for the salvation of our own soul and the souls of our son and our parents, the following cities and towns from our own lands; namely, Rieti, San Vittorino [on the Aterno], Furco, Norcia, Balua, Marsi, and besides the city of Teramne. (12) All the aforesaid provinces, cities, towns, fortresses, villages, territories, and patrimonies, we now grant to thee, St. Peter, and through thee to thy vicar, our spiritual father, pope John, and his successors to the end of the world, for the salvation of our own soul and the souls of our son, our parents, and our successors, and for the preservation of the whole Frankish people; and we grant them in such a way that the popes shall possess them in their own right and government and control. (13) Likewise, by this agreement we confirm all the gifts which king Pippin and emperor Karl voluntarily gave to St. Peter, the apostle, and also the rents and payments and taxes which were paid annually to the king of the Lombards from Tuscany and the duchy of Spoleto, as is contained in the aforesaid donation and as was agreed upon between pope Adrian of blessed memory and the emperor Karl, when the same pope surrendered to the emperor his claims on the provinces of Tuscany and Spoleto on condition that the aforesaid taxes should be paid each year to the church of St. Peter, the apostle. But in all this our authority over these provinces and their subjection to us and to our son are not in any way diminished. (14) We therefore confirm your possession of all the things mentioned above in this document; they shall remain in your right and ownership and control, and no one of our successors shall on any pretext take from you any part of the aforesaid provinces, cities, towns, fortresses, villages, dependencies, territories, patrimonies, or taxes, or lessen your authority over them. We will never do so, nor allow others to do so, but we will always defend the church of St. Peter and the popes who rule over that church in their possession of all these things, as far as in us lies, that the popes may be able to keep these things in their control to use, enjoy, and dispose of. (15) In all this there shall be no derogation of our power or of the power of our son and our successors.
Leo VIII Grants the Emperor the Right to Choose the Pope and Invest all Bishops, 963.
Otto I, after the rebellion of John XII, deposed him and caused a layman to be made pope, who took the title Leo VIII. The new pope then issued a decree, the essence of which is contained in the following document. It shows how determined Otto was to assert his imperial authority and is important as a statement of the imperial theory. Leo VIII is regarded as an anti-pope by the Roman church, because, according to the papal theory, Otto had no power to depose a pope. John XII was the legal pope and there could be no other until he died.
In the synod held at Rome in the Church of the Holy Saviour. Following the example of blessed pope Adrian, who granted to Karl, victorious king of the Franks and Lombards, the dignity of the patriciate and the right to ordain the pope and to invest bishops, we, Leo, bishop, servant of the servants of God, with all the clergy and people of Rome, by our apostolic authority bestow upon lord Otto I, king of the Germans, and upon his successors in the kingdom of Italy forever, the right of choosing the successor of the pope, and of ordaining the pope and the archbishops and bishops, so that they shall receive their investiture and consecration from him, with the exception of those prelates whose investiture and consecration the emperor has conceded to the pope or the archbishops. No one, no matter what his dignity or ecclesiastical rank, shall have the authority to choose the patricius or to ordain the pope or any bishop without the consent of the emperor, and that without bribery; and the emperor shall be by right both king [of Italy] and patricius [of Rome]. But if anyone has been chosen bishop by the clergy and people, he shall not be consecrated unless he has been approved by the aforesaid king and has received his investiture from him. . . .
The Pope Confers the Royal Title. A Letter of Pope Sylvester II to Stephen of Hungary, 1000.
Previous to this time, it was considered the emperor’s right to confer the royal title and to elevate a person to the rank of king. Here, for the first time in the history of the papacy, a pope confers the royal title, thereby intrenching on the imperial prerogative. Otto III, who was then emperor, did not resist this papal infringement of his rights. Later popes were not slow to see the value of this act as a precedent (see nos. 69, 72, 128), and exercised the right to confer titles and dignities as they pleased. This act of Sylvester II is, therefore, an important milestone in the history of the development of the papal prerogatives.
Sylvester, bishop, servant of the servants of God, to Stephen, king of the Hungarians, greeting and apostolic benediction. Your ambassadors, especially our dear brother, Astricus, bishop of Colocza, were received by us with the greater joy and accomplished their mission with the greater ease, because we had been divinely forewarned to expect an embassy from a nation still unknown to us. . . . Surely, according to the apostle: “It is not of him that willeth nor of him that runneth, but of God that showeth mercy” [Rom. 9:16]; and according to the testimony of Daniel: “He changeth the times and the seasons; he removeth kings and setteth up kings; he revealeth the deep and secret things; he knoweth what is in the darkness” [Dan. 2:21, 22]; for in him is that light which, as John teaches, “lighteth every man that cometh into the world” [John 1:9]. Therefore we first give thanks to God the Father, and to our Lord Jesus Christ, because he has found in our time another David, and has again raised up a man after his own heart to feed his people Israel, that is, the chosen race of the Hungarians. Secondly, we praise you for your piety toward God and for your reverence for this apostolic see, over which, not by our own merits, but by the mercy of God, we now preside. Finally, we commend the liberality you have shown in offering to St. Peter yourself and your people and your kingdom and possessions by the same ambassadors and letters. For by this deed you have clearly demonstrated that you already are what you have asked us to declare you [i.e., a king]. But enough of this; it is not necessary to commend him whom God himself has commended and whose deeds openly proclaim to be worthy of all commendation. Now therefore, glorious son, by the authority of omnipotent God and of St. Peter, the prince of apostles, we freely grant, concede, and bestow with our apostolic benediction all that you have sought from us and from the apostolic see; namely, the royal crown and name, the creation of the metropolitanate of Gran, and of the other bishoprics. Moreover, we receive under the protection of the holy church the kingdom which you have surrendered to St. Peter, together with yourself and your people, the Hungarian nation; and we now give it back to you and to your heirs and successors to be held, possessed, ruled, and governed. And your heirs and successors, who shall have been legally elected by the nobles, shall duly offer obedience and reverence to us and to our successors in their own persons or by ambassadors, and shall confess themselves the subjects of the Roman church, who does not hold her subjects as slaves, but receives them all as children. They shall persevere in the catholic faith and the religion of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, and strive always to promote it. And because you have fulfilled the office of the apostles in preaching Christ and propagating his faith, and have tried to do in your realm the work of us and of our clergy, and because you have honored the same prince of apostles above all others, therefore by this privilege we grant you and your successors, who shall have been legally elected and approved by the apostolic see, the right to have the cross borne before you as a sign of apostleship,1 after you have been crowned with the crown which we send and according to the ceremony which we have committed to your ambassadors. And we likewise give you full power by our apostolic authority to control and manage all the churches of your realm, both present and future, as divine grace may guide you, as representing us and our successors. All these things are contained more fully and explicitly in that general letter which we have sent by our messenger to you and to your nobles and faithful subjects. And we pray that omnipotent God, who called you even from your mother’s womb to the kingdom and crown, and who has commanded us to give you the crown which we had prepared for the duke of Poland, may increase continually the fruits of your good works, and sprinkle with the dew of his benediction this young plant of your kingdom, and preserve you and your realm and protect you from all enemies, visible and invisible, and, after the trials of the earthly kingship are past, crown you with an eternal crown in the kingdom of heaven. Given at Rome, March 27, in the thirteenth indiction [the year 1000].
The Emperor, Henry III, Deposes and Creates Popes, 1048.
The papacy having again fallen under the control of Roman factions, there were three men claiming to be pope. The emperor regarded it as his duty as well as his right to decide who was the true pope, and came to Italy for that purpose. He not only deposed the three contesting popes and named another, but so long as he lived he controlled the papal elections.
Now when the report of this incredible controversy had reached the ears of Henry, by the grace of God most invincible emperor, he set out for Italy with a great force and an immense army. And when he came to the city called Sutri, he called to him pope Gregory and the clergy of Rome and decreed that a great synod should be held in the holy church of Sutri. And after he had tried the case canonically and justly and had made the rights of the matter plain to the holy and religious bishops according to the canons, he condemned with perpetual anathema John, bishop of Sabina, to whom they had given the name Silvester, John the archpresbyter, whom they called Gregory, and the aforesaid pope Benedict. Then he proceeded to Rome with so great a following that the city could not hold it. Henry, by the grace of God pious and benign king, called together the multitude of the Roman people and the bishops and abbots and the whole Roman clergy in the basilica of St. Peter, and held there a holy and glorious synod; and on the day before Christmas he appointed an excellent, holy, and benign pope, who took the name of Clement. And on Christmas day the aforesaid king was crowned by the holy and benign pope, and the whole city of Rome rejoiced and the holy Roman church was exalted and glorified because so dangerous a schism had at length by the mercy of God been ended. And then the most serene emperor, perceiving the desire of the whole Roman people, as they had expressed it to him, placed on his own head the band with which the Romans from of old had been wont to crown their patricii. And the pope and the clergy and the Romans granted him the right to create popes and such bishops as have regalian rights; and it was further agreed that no bishop should be consecrated until he had received his investiture from the hand of the king. And just as pope Adrian had confirmed these things by a charter, so also they, by a charter, gave, confirmed, and put in the power of Henry and his successors the patriciate and the other rights as stated above.1
Now after the king had returned to his own realm, pope Clement sat upon the apostolic throne nine months and sixteen days, and then left the terrestrial for the celestial kingdom.
Then the Roman people, assembled together, sent messengers to king Henry with a letter beseeching him, as servants beseech their lord, or children their father, to appoint for them a chaste and benign man of godly life as shepherd of the holy Roman church and of the whole world. Now when Benedict, the former pope, learned of the death of Clement (for he was staying at Tusculum), he succeeded in winning over a part of the Roman people by bribery and again usurped the pontificate. But when the ambassadors of the Romans came to the king, he received them in his palace with great honor and gave them many gifts; then, calling together a great assembly of bishops, abbots, counts, margraves, and other princes, according to the decrees of the holy fathers, he chose a pope who should be pleasing to God and the whole people.
The ambassadors of the Romans returned to Rome, preceding the new pope, Damasus. But the good pope himself changed his route and betook himself to Italy. Now when he had come to the margrave Boniface, who had assisted the aforesaid pope Benedict to seize the papal throne, the margrave addressed him in these cunning words: “I cannot go on to Rome with you, because the Romans have restored the former pope, and he has regained the power which he had formerly, and has made peace with them. Therefore I cannot go to Rome, especially as I am now an old man.” When the holy pope heard this, he returned and told all these things to the emperor. When the king heard it, he recognized the shrewdness and cunning of the margrave, and addressed him by letter, as follows: “Since you have restored to the pontificate a pope who was canonically deposed, and have been led by your love of gain to hold our empire in contempt, understand now that, unless you mend your ways, I will come quickly and make you mend against your will, and I will give the Roman people a pope worthy in the sight of God.” Then Boniface, seeing that his rebellion would profit him nothing, drove Benedict from the papal throne by his ambassador and went to Rome with pope Damasus. . . . And Damasus held the pontificate twenty-three days and then died, and Leo was enthroned in the Roman see by the emperor and his nobles.
The Pope Becomes the Feudal Lord of Southern Italy and Sicily, 1059. The Oaths of Robert Guiscard to Pope Nicholas II, 1059.
Southern Italy and Sicily had been allowed to take care of themselves. The Greek emperor had not been able to retain his hold on them, and the German emperor, while claiming them, had never succeeded in extending his power over them. A handful of adventurous Normans had established themselves on the mainland and had assumed the title of counts. Their ambition grew with their fortune; they desired a higher title than count and wished to increase their possessions. So they turned to the pope and asked him to confer upon them the title of duke, and to give them his blessing in their proposed conquest of Sicily, which was in the hands of the Mohammedans. In granting the request of these Normans, the pope assumed the lordship over southern Italy and Sicily, to which he had no right, and thereby put forth claims which conflicted with those of both emperors. For more than two centuries the possession of southern Italy and Sicily was the ground for a bitter struggle between the popes and the German emperors.
The importance of this event is seen when we consider that the long struggle between the papacy and the empire was about to begin. The pope had little besides his spiritual weapons (excommunication, interdict) with which to oppose the emperor. But in Robert Guiscard he secured a powerful vassal who was to render him great military aid against the emperor.
§ 70. I, Robert, by the grace of God and of St. Peter duke of Apulia and Calabria, and with their aid to be duke of Sicily [that is, when I shall have conquered it], in confirmation of the gift and in recognition of my oath of fidelity, promise that from all the lands which I hold under my own sway, and which I have never conceded that anyone from beyond the mountains1 [Alps, that is, Germany] holds, I will pay annually for each yoke of oxen 12 denarii of the mint of Pavia to you, my lord, Nicholas, pope, and to all your successors, or to your or their legates. And this payment shall be made at the end of the year on easter day. I bind myself and my heirs and my successors to pay this sum to my lord, Nicholas, pope, and to your successors. So help me God and these holy gospels.
§ 71. I, Robert, by the grace of God and St. Peter duke of Apulia and Calabria, and by the aid of both to be duke of Sicily, from this hour forth will be faithful to the holy Roman church and to you, my lord, Nicholas, pope. I will have no share in any counsel or act intended to deprive you of life or limb, or to capture you by any fraud. Any secret plan which you may reveal to me with the command not to tell it I will not wittingly publish to your hurt. I will always aid with all my might the holy Roman church to acquire the regalia and possessions of St. Peter, and to hold them against all men. I will aid you to hold in security and honor the papal office, the land of St. Peter, and the government. I will not try either to usurp or to seize it, nor will I devastate it without your permission or that of your successors, except only that land which you or your successors may give me. I will earnestly strive to pay at the appointed time the sum agreed on from the land of St. Peter which I may hold. I put all the churches, with their possessions, which are in my lands, under your authority, and I will defend them according to my oath of fidelity to the holy Roman church. And if you or your successors shall die before I do, according as I shall have been advised by the better cardinals, the clergy of Rome, and the laity, I will do all that I can that a pope may be elected and ordained to the honor of St. Peter. All the above written things I will observe with true faithfulness to the holy Roman church and to you. And this oath of fidelity I will observe to those of your successors who may confirm to me the investiture which you have granted me. So help me God and these holy gospels.
The Papal Election Decree of Nicholas II, 1059.
Henry III (1039-56) deposed and appointed popes as he pleased (see no. 57). But with the spread of Cluniac ideas, there grew up a party in the church which strove with increasing energy and clearness of purpose to make the church self-governing and independent of all lay influence. Its aim was to unify and organize the government of the church by putting all ecclesiastical power in the hands of the pope, who should rule the church through a hierarchy of archbishops and bishops. Of this party, which was called hierarchical, the archdeacon, Hildebrand, was the head. It took advantage of the opportunity offered by the youth of Henry IV and the weak rule of the regent, his mother Agnes, to establish a way by which the pope might be elected by the clergy instead of being appointed by the emperor. The document by which this was done is know as the election decree of Nicholas II (1059-61) and was enacted in a council at Rome in 1059. Since 1048 Hildebrand had been the power behind the papal throne, and with rare skill he had directed the policy of each successive pope. He had been able to do much toward accomplishing the purpose of this party. But at the death of Stephen IX in 1058 a faction of the Roman nobility, known as the Tusculan party, threatened to overturn all that the hierarchical party had accomplished. While Hildebrand was absent from Rome on a mission to Germany, Stephen IX died and the Tusculan party set up one of its own members as pope, who called himself Benedict X. The cardinals who attempted to resist this election were persecuted and compelled to flee. When Hildebrand heard of this he hastened to call a council at Siena. This council, which was composed chiefly of five cardinal bishops, deposed Benedict X and elected Gerhard, bishop of Florence, pope, who assumed the name of Nicholas II.
According to this decree the election of a pope consisted of the five following parts: (1) The seven cardinal bishops chose the pope. Although their choice was supposed to be final it must (2) be confirmed by the other cardinal clergy. (3) Then the rest of the clergy and the people of Rome must express their consent. (4) The election was then reported to the emperor, who was expected to confirm it, and then (5) the pope elect was consecrated as pope and enthroned in the chair of St. Peter by the cardinal bishops. This latter part of the ceremony must, of course, take place at Rome. The decree does not say what shall be done if the other clergy or the emperor should refuse to confirm the choice of the cardinal bishops.
There were those who demanded that the emperor be permitted to approve or reject the candidate before the election took place. As precedents in favor of this they referred to the long list of popes who had been either nominated or appointed by various emperors. The part which the emperor was to have in the election of a pope is not stated in the decree, but section 4 shows plainly that Nicholas and Henry had come to an agreement on that subject, and from other sources we know what its terms were. This agreement was limited to Henry alone, for each of his successors must secure his share in the papal election by demanding it of the pope.
This decree seems to justify certain irregularities or peculiarities in the election of Nicholas himself and hence may be said to have an apologetic character. (1) His election took place not in Rome, but in Siena. (2) He was not a member of the church in Rome, but was bishop of Florence. (3) It was chiefly the cardinal bishops who elected him. (4) Since the Tusculan party held Rome it was some time before he could be consecrated and enthroned, but in the meanwhile he exercised papal authority.
The cardinal bishops had already acquired certain prerogatives over the other cardinal clergy. They alone, besides the pope, could say mass at the high altar in St. John’s in Lateran; they represented the pope during his absence from Rome; they consecrated and enthroned the pope; they assisted the pope in anointing and crowning the emperor; and without their consent the pope could not bestow the pallium upon an archbishop. By this decree they now acquire the new and important right of nominating the pope. But this high prerogative they were not able to retain permanently. From 1050 to 1100 they succeeded in depriving the other cardinal clergy of much of their power and influence. They were the chief advisers of the popes. In accordance with the terms of this decree they elected Alexander II (1061-73) (the election of Gregory VII (1073-85) was somewhat irregular), Victor III (1086-87), and Urban II (1087-99). But the other cardinal clergy were not content to be thus thrust down; they struggled successfully against the growing power of the cardinal bishops and finally regained the right which had once been theirs. The election of Paschal II (1099-1118) was made by all the cardinal clergy, not by the cardinal bishops alone, and afterward the election of a pope was the concern of all the cardinal clergy.
The original of this decree is lost and the copy which has come down to us is slightly imperfect, as there are omissions in it. Some one representing the imperial party, not satisfied with the share which it gave the emperor in the papal election, changed it to suit the demands of his party. It is now known that this imperial form of the decree is a forgery.
In section 2 the quotation from Leo I (440-461) is meant in a general way to justify the prerogative here attributed to the cardinal bishops, and especially their right to consecrate and enthrone the pope.
In the name of the Lord God, our Saviour Jesus Christ, in the 1059th year from his incarnation, in the month of April, in the 12th indiction, in the presence of the holy gospels, the most reverend and blessed apostolic pope Nicholas presiding in the Lateran patriarchal basilica which is called the church of Constantine, the most reverend archbishops, bishops, and abbots, and the venerable presbyters and deacons also being present, the same venerable pontiff by his apostolic authority decreed thus concerning the election of the pope: “Most beloved brothers and fellow-bishops, you know, since it is not hidden even from the humbler members, how after the death of our predecessor, Stephen of blessed memory, this apostolic seat, which by the will of God I now serve, suffered many evils, how indeed it was subjected to many serious attacks from the simoniacal money-changers, so that the column of the living God seemed about to topple, and the skiff of the supreme fisherman [Peter] was nearly wrecked by the tumultuous storms. Therefore, if it pleases you, we ought now, with the aid of God, prudently to take measures to prevent future misfortunes, and to provide for the state of the church in the future, lest those evils, again appearing, which God forbid, should prevail against it. Therefore, fortified by the authority of our predecessors and the other holy fathers, we decide and declare:
“1. On the death of a pontiff of the universal Roman church, first, the cardinal bishops,1 with the most diligent consideration, shall elect a successor; then they shall call in the other cardinal clergy [to ratify their choice], and finally the rest of the clergy and the people shall express their consent to the new election.
“2. In order that the disease of venality may not have any opportunity to spread, the devout clergy shall be the leaders in electing the pontiff, and the others shall acquiesce. And surely this order of election is right and lawful, if we consider either the rules or the practice of various fathers, or if we recall that decree of our predecessor, St. Leo, for he says: ‘By no means can it be allowed that those should be ranked as bishops who have not been elected by the clergy, and demanded by the people, and consecrated by their fellow-bishops of the province with the consent of the metropolitan.’ But since the apostolic seat is above all the churches in the earth, and therefore can have no metropolitan over it, without doubt the cardinal bishops perform in it the office of the metropolitan, in that they advance the elected prelate to the apostolic dignity [that is, choose, consecrate, and enthrone him].
“3. The pope shall be elected from the church in Rome, if a suitable person can be found in it, but if not, he is to be taken from another church.
“4. In the papal election—in accordance with the right which we have already conceded to Henry and to those of his successors who may obtain the same right from the apostolic see—due honor and reverence shall be shown our beloved son, Henry, king and emperor elect [that is, the rights of Henry shall be respected].
“5. But if the wickedness of depraved and iniquitous men shall so prevail that a pure, genuine, and free election cannot be held in this city, the cardinal bishops with the clergy and a few laymen shall have the right to elect the pontiff wherever they shall deem most fitting.
“6. But if after an election any disturbance of war or any malicious attempt of men shall prevail so that he who is elected cannot be enthroned according to custom in the papal chair, the pope elect shall nevertheless exercise the right of ruling the holy Roman church, and of disposing of all its revenues, as we know St. Gregory did before his consecration.
“But if anyone, actuated by rebellion or presumption or any other motive, shall be elected or ordained or enthroned in a manner contrary to this our decree, promulgated by the authority of the synod, he with his counsellors, supporters, and followers shall be expelled from the holy church of God by the authority of God and the holy apostles Peter and Paul, and shall be subjected to perpetual anathema as Antichrist and the enemy and destroyer of all Christianity; nor shall he ever be granted a further hearing in the case, but he shall be deposed without appeal from every ecclesiastical rank which he may have held formerly. Whoever shall adhere to him or shall show him any reverence as if he were pope, or shall aid him in any way, shall be subject to like sentence. Moreover, if any rash person shall oppose this our decree and shall try to confound and disturb the Roman church by his presumption contrary to this decree, let him be cursed with perpetual anathema and excommunication, and let him be numbered with the wicked who shall not arise on the day of judgment. Let him feel upon him the weight of the wrath of God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, and let him experience in this life and the next the anger of the holy apostles, Peter and Paul, whose church he has presumed to confound. Let his habitation be desolate and let none dwell in his tents [Ps. 69:25]. Let his children be orphans and his wife a widow. Let him be driven forth and let his sons beg and be cast out from their habitations. Let the usurer take all his substance and let others reap the fruit of his labors. Let the whole earth fight against him and let all the elements be hostile to him, and let the powers of all the saints in heaven confound him and show upon him in this life their evident vengeance. But may the grace of omnipotent God protect those who observe this decree and free them from the bonds of all their sins by the authority of the holy apostles Peter and Paul.”
I, Nicholas, bishop of the holy Catholic and apostolic church, have subscribed this decree which has been promulgated by us, as said above. I, Boniface, by the grace of God bishop of Albano, have subscribed. I, Humbert, bishop of the holy church of Silva Candida, have subscribed. I, Peter, bishop of the church of Ostia, have subscribed. And other bishops to the number of seventy-six, with priests and deacons.
THE STRUGGLE BETWEEN THE EMPIRE AND THE PAPACY, 1073-1250
Prohibition of Simony, Marriage of the Clergy, and Lay Investiture, 1074-1123.
According to Roman ideas religion and its ministers were a part of the state and hence under the control of the government. When Constantine made Christianity a legal religion the state took the same attitude toward the new religion that it had toward the old. The emperor assumed control over the Christian clergy, and the view soon prevailed that they were officials of the state. Their duties, which were at first purely spiritual, were soon extended to secular matters. For obvious reasons the bishops were given an oversight over the administration of justice. During the invasions of the barbarians the secular functions of the bishops were greatly increased. Karl the Great made constant use of the bishops in the administration of his realm. By the tenth century many bishops were intrusted to a large extent with the secular government of their dioceses and so were full-fledged officials of the state. Attendance on diets was required of all officials, and eventually it was required only of officials. So it came about that the bishops especially formed an important part of the diet. Because of their learning they were indispensable to the emperor in conducting the affairs of his court and government; they naturally became his chief advisers. The bishops, then, have two sets of functions, the one spiritual, the other secular.
Through bequests and gifts from various sources the clergy, and especially the bishops and chief abbots, became great landholders. Many gave to the clergy for religious reasons, such as the salvation of their souls. But the emperors had still other motives: because of their office as emperor they were bound to build up the church; they felt it to be their duty to reward and to strengthen the clergy who were their faithful officials; and, furthermore, since they frequently met with opposition from the lay nobility, they thought it advisable to build up a strong ecclesiastical nobility to serve as a check upon the former.
As all other offices and relations became feudalized, so all the clergy underwent the same process. The bishops became the vassals of the emperor, and sustained the same feudal relations to him as did the lay nobility.
Since the bishops were both the officials and vassals of the emperor, it is certain that he would insist on having a voice in their election. Although the laws of the church did not permit this, nevertheless we find that from Karl the Great to Henry III all the emperors exercised the right of naming or appointing the bishops. Although at the time no objection was made to this action of the emperors, a new party had now arisen in the church which condemned it as simoniacal. This new party had its origin in the monastery of Cluny, from which it took its name. It was famous for the great reforms which it was trying to bring about. Now it was a part of the Cluniac programme that the church should be freed from all lay influence and that all ecclesiastical offices should be filled not by lay appointment but by election by the clergy (canonical election). Thus they gave simony a new meaning by declaring that every election which was not canonical was simoniacal. For simony was originally only the purchase or sale of any ecclesiastical office, but as the church, under the influence of this Cluniac party, developed her laws regarding canonical election and investiture, it came to be applied to every form of election and investiture other than canonical. The emperors had not only appointed the bishops, but they had also inducted them into their office. The induction into office was called investiture. Without it no one could fill the office to which he had been elected. To symbolize the power of the office the emperor presented the bishop with certain objects, such as a ring and a staff, which represented his spiritual authority over his diocese, and with a sceptre, which represented his temporal authority. The Cluniac party opposed all lay investiture and insisted that all the clergy should receive the symbols of their power from the church. But since the emperor’s temporal interests were so largely involved, he could not yield to the Cluniac demands without great loss of power. He could not tamely surrender to the pope the control of the bishops and their broad lands. Nor was it probable that the nobility would give up their rights (as patrons, etc.) to appoint the local clergy and to invest them with their office. So the struggle over investiture was long and bitter.
Lay investiture had already been prohibited by Nicholas II in the Lateran synod of 1059 but no steps had been taken to enforce the prohibition. Gregory VII renewed the prohibition and made it one of the prominent parts of his programme.
Although the opinion had long prevailed in the church that the celibate life, or chastity, was more holy than the married life, and therefore more becoming in the clergy, yet it was not uncommon for clergymen to marry. The Cluniac party regarded this state of affairs as especially blameworthy, and demanded that all the clergy be required to take the vow of perpetual chastity. In this, as in other respects, Gregory VII endeavored to carry out the Cluniac programme and so exerted himself to suppress clerical marriage, or, as the Cluniac party called it, clerical concubinage.
The following documents, nos. 60-64, illustrate the legislation of the church in regard to simony, celibacy, and investiture.
[1 ] Eugene II (824-827) was then pope. The text of the oath which he had sworn to Lothar is not preserved. But we may infer its contents from the expression “that he will rule without any change.”
[1 ] More than thirty bishops took part in the election of Stephen VI, 896, although there were but seven cardinal bishops. Hence this probably means all the bishops of the whole diocese of Rome, not simply the seven cardinal bishops. It is apparent therefore that in the ninth century the cardinal clergy had not yet secured any special prerogative in the election of a pope. Many think that this enactment was made in 816 instead of 898.
[2 ] In accordance with imperial theory, Otto, as emperor, would rule over Italy. He agrees to protect the pope “in the things which are under his jurisdiction,” but that does not mean that the pope had jurisdiction in all things. The supreme authority is the emperor, to whom the pope, as well as all other bishops and princes of Italy, are subject.
[1 ] The title “apostolic king of Hungary” is still used by the emperor of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.
[1 ] Apparently this was a reënactment of the grant of Leo VIII to Otto I, 963. See no. 55.
[1 ] Robert here denies that the German emperor has any right to Sicily and southern Italy. He had never held them, and hence they were not a part of his empire.
[1 ] The seven cardinal bishops were those of Palæstrina, Porto, Ostia, Tusculum, Silva Candida, Albano, and Sabina.