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III.: THE STRUGGLE BETWEEN THE EMPIRE AND THE PAPACY, 1073-1250 - 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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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.
Prohibition of Simony and of the Marriage of the Clergy, 1074 ad
Pope Gregory [VII] held a synod in which he anathematized all who were guilty of simony. He also forbade all clergy who were married to say mass, and all laymen were forbidden to be present when such a married priest should officiate. In this he seemed to many to act contrary to the decisions of the holy fathers who have declared that the sacraments of the church are neither made more effective by the good qualities, nor less effective by the sins, of the officiating priest, because it is the Holy Spirit who makes them effective.
Simony and Celibacy. The Roman Council, 1074.
Those who have been advanced to any grade of holy orders, or to any office, through simony, that is, by the payment of money, shall hereafter have no right to officiate in the holy church. Those also who have secured churches by giving money shall certainly be deprived of them. And in the future it shall be illegal for anyone to buy or to sell [any ecclesiastical office, position, etc.].
Nor shall clergymen who are married say mass or serve the altar in any way. We decree also that if they refuse to obey our orders, or rather those of the holy fathers, the people shall refuse to receive their ministrations, in order that those who disregard the love of God and the dignity of their office may be brought to their senses through feeling the shame of the world and the reproof of the people.
Celibacy of the Clergy. Gregory VII, 1074.
If there are any priests, deacons, or subdeacons who are married, by the power of omnipotent God and the authority of St. Peter we forbid them to enter a church until they repent and mend their ways. But if any remain with their wives, no one shall dare hear them [when they officiate in the church], because their benediction is turned into a curse, and their prayer into a sin. For the Lord says through the prophet, “I will curse your blessings” [Mal. 2:2]. Whoever shall refuse to obey this most salutary command shall be guilty of the sin of idolatry. For Samuel says: “For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry” [1 Sam. 15:23]. Whoever therefore asserts that he is a Christian but refuses to obey the apostolic see, is guilty of paganism.
Action of the Ninth General Council in the Lateran Against the Marriage of the Clergy, 1123 ad
We forbid priests, deacons, and subdeacons to live with wives or concubines, and no woman shall live with a clergyman except those who are permitted by the council of Nicæa, viz.: mother, sister, aunt, or others of such sort that no suspicion may justly arise concerning them.
Prohibition of Lay Investiture, November 19, 1078.
Since we know that investitures have been made by laymen in many places, contrary to the decrees of the holy fathers, and that very many disturbances injurious to the Christian religion have thereby arisen in the church, we therefore decree: that no clergyman shall receive investiture of a bishopric, monastery, or church from the hand of the emperor, or the king, or any lay person, man or woman. And if anyone has ventured to receive such investiture, let him know that it is annulled by apostolic authority, and that he is subject to excommunication until he has made due reparation.
Dictatus Papæ,ca. 1090.
Until recently the Dictatus Papæ was supposed to have been written by Gregory VII, but it is now known to have had a different origin. In 1087 cardinal Deusdedit published a collection of the laws of the church, which he drew from many sources, such as the actions of councils and the writings of the popes. The Dictatus agrees so clearly and closely with this collection, that it must have been based on it; and so must be later than the date of its compilation, 1087. It seems evident that some one, while reading the collection of Deusdedit, wishing to formulate the papal rights and prerogatives, expressed them in these twenty-seven theses. Although they were not formulated by Gregory himself, there is no doubt that they express his chief principles.
1. That the Roman church was established by God alone.
2. That the Roman pontiff alone is rightly called universal.
3. That he alone has the power to depose and reinstate bishops.
4. That his legate, even if he be of lower, ecclesiastical rank, presides over bishops in council, and has the power to give sentence of deposition against them.
5. That the pope has the power to depose those who are absent [i.e., without giving them a hearing].
6. That, among other things, we ought not to remain in the same house with those whom he has excommunicated.
7. That he alone has the right, according to the necessity of the occasion, to make new laws, to create new bishoprics, to make a monastery of a chapter of canons, and vice versa, and either to divide a rich bishopric or to unite several poor ones.
8. That he alone may use the imperial insignia.
9. That all princes shall kiss the foot of the pope alone.
10. That his name alone is to be recited in the churches.
11. That the name applied to him belongs to him alone.
12. That he has the power to depose emperors.
13. That he has the right to transfer bishops from one see to another when it becomes necessary.
14. That he has the right to ordain as a cleric anyone from any part of the church whatsoever.
15. That anyone ordained by him may rule [as bishop] over another church, but cannot serve [as priest] in it, and that such a cleric may not receive a higher rank from any other bishop.
16. That no general synod may be called without his order.
17. That no action of a synod and no book shall be regarded as canonical without his authority.
18. That his decree can be annulled by no one, and that he can annul the decrees of anyone.
19. That he can be judged by no one.
20. That no one shall dare to condemn a person who has appealed to the apostolic seat.
21. That the important cases of any church whatsoever shall be referred to the Roman church [that is, to the pope].
22. That the Roman church has never erred and will never err to all eternity, according to the testimony of the holy scriptures.
23. That the Roman pontiff who has been canonically ordained is made holy by the merits of St. Peter, according to the testimony of St. Ennodius, bishop of Pavia, which is confirmed by many of the holy fathers, as is shown by the decrees of the blessed pope Symmachus.
24. That by his command or permission subjects may accuse their rulers.
25. That he can depose and reinstate bishops without the calling of a synod.
26. That no one can be regarded as catholic who does not agree with the Roman church.
27. That he has the power to absolve subjects from their oath of fidelity to wicked rulers.
Section 1 means that the Roman church received the primacy over the whole church directly from Christ. Section 8 is based on the forged Donation of Constantine, according to which the emperor gave the pope the right to use the imperial insignia. In section 11 it is not clear what name is meant. It may be “universal” as in section 2. The bishop of Rome claimed the exclusive right to call himself pope, apostolic, and universal. Papa or pope was at first the common title of all priests, and is still so in the Greek church. But in the course of time it was limited in the west to the bishop of Rome. “Apostolic” was at first applied to all bishops, but eventually the bishop of Rome claimed the exclusive right to it and forbade all other bishops to use it. Since the bishop of Rome was the head of the whole church he was the only one who could call himself “universal.” The right of ordaining, section 14, that is, of raising to the clerical rank, belonged to each bishop, but he could exercise it only in his own diocese. But the bishop of Rome had the whole world for his diocese, and hence he could ordain any one, no matter to what bishopric he belonged. In explanation of section 23 the following passage from pope Symmachus (498-514) is offered (Hinschius, “Decretales,” p. 666). “We do not judge that St. Peter received from the Lord with the prerogative of his chair [that is, with his primacy] the right to sin. But he passed on to his successors the perennial dower of his merits with his heritage of innocence. Who can doubt that he who is exalted to the height of apostolic dignity is holy?”
Letter of Gregory VII to all the Faithful, Commending his Legates, 1074.
It had not been uncommon for the popes to send their legates on missions to various parts of the world, but Gregory VII made a far more frequent use of them than any of his predecessors. He practically ruled the church through them and demanded that they be received and obeyed by all. This letter shows his general attitude on the matter, the authority he gave them, and the reception which he expected them to have.
Gregory, bishop, servant of the servants of God, to all the faithful subjects of St. Peter, to whom these presents come, greeting and apostolic benediction.
You see that wickedness is increasing and that the wiles of the devil are prevailing in the earth, that Christian charity has grown cold and religious zeal has almost disappeared within the church. But since we cannot be everywhere present in person to attend to all these matters, we have sent to you two beloved sons of the holy Roman church, Geizo, abbot of St. Boniface, and Maurus, abbot of St. Sabba, who shall represent us to you and have authority to do in our name whatever may be to the advantage of the church. Remember therefore that saying of the gospel: “He that heareth you heareth me; and he that despiseth you despiseth me” [Luke 10:16]. As you care for the friendship and for the favor of St. Peter, whose messengers they are, receive them with the proper reverence and kindness, and obey them in all matters which may arise as part of their mission or through the exigencies of the situation among you. If it becomes necessary or expedient for the legates to separate and go to different regions, each one of them shall be received and obeyed as our representative.
Oath of the Patriarch of Aquileia to Gregory VII, 1079 ad
Gregory VII required an oath of fidelity from all bishops. By comparing the oath of Boniface to Gregory II (no. 40) and the oath of Richard of Capua (no. 68) with this oath of the patriarch of Aquileia, interesting light will be thrown on the theory and practice of Gregory VII.
From now henceforth I will be faithful to St. Peter and to pope Gregory [VII] and to his successors who shall be elected by the better cardinals. Neither in counsel nor in deed will I do anything to cause them to lose their life, or limb, or the papacy, or that they be taken prisoner through any treacherous trick. To whatsoever synod they, either in person or by messenger or by letter, may call me, I will come and I will obey them according to the law; or if I shall not be able to come, I will send my representative. I will aid and defend them in holding and defending the papacy and the regalia of St. Peter, saving the duties of my position. If they, either in person or by messenger or by letter, shall intrust me with a secret, I will not knowingly reveal it to anyone to their harm. I will treat with honor a papal legate, whether coming [from Rome] or going [back to Rome], and I will give him my aid whenever he needs it. I will not wittingly associate with any whom the pope has excommunicated. Whenever I shall have been called on I will aid the Roman church with my military forces. All these duties I will perform unless I shall have been excused from them.
Gregory VII Exercises Secular Authority.
The Oath of Fidelity which Richard, Prince of Capua, Swore to Gregory VII, 1073.
Gregory VII, in accordance with his political pretensions, endeavored to compel all rulers of the Christian world to acknowledge his supremacy over them. He made the broadest claims to the proprietorship of all kingdoms, duchies, counties, etc., and tried to compel all rulers of every rank to take an oath of vassalage to him and to receive their lands from him as fiefs. Nos. 68-73 illustrate this feature of his policy.
I, Richard, by the grace of God and St. Peter prince of Capua, from this time forth will be faithful to the holy Roman church, to the apostolic see, and to you, pope Gregory. I will have no share in any plan or any deed to injure you in life or limb or to make you captive. Any plan which you may confide to me, wishing it to be kept secret, I will never divulge consciously to your injury. I will faithfully aid you and the holy Roman church to keep, acquire, and defend the regalia and the possessions of St. Peter against all men and I will assist you to hold the papacy and the lands of St. Peter in peace and honor. I will never attempt to attack, seize, or devastate any lands without the express permission of you or your successors, except such lands as you or your successors may have given to me. I promise to pay to the Roman church the legal tribute from the lands of St. Peter, which I hold or shall hold. I will surrender to your authority all the churches which are in my lands, with all their goods, and I will defend them in their fidelity to the holy Roman church. I will swear fidelity to king Henry whenever I shall be commanded to do so by you or your successors, always saving my fidelity to the holy Roman church. If you or any of your successors shall die before I do, I will support the better part of the cardinals and the clergy and the people of Rome in the election and establishment of a new pope to the honor of St. Peter. I will keep all the above promises to you and to the holy Roman church in good faith, and I will keep my oath of fidelity to your successors who shall be ordained popes, if they are willing to confirm the investiture which you have conferred upon me.
Letter of Gregory VII to the Princes Wishing to Reconquer Spain, 1073.
See introductory note to no. 68.
Gregory, pope elect, to all the princes desiring to go into Spain, perpetual greeting in the Lord Jesus Christ.
We suppose you know that the kingdom of Spain belonged of old to St. Peter, and that this right has never been lost, although the land has long been occupied by pagans. Therefore the ownership of this land inheres in the apostolic see alone, for whatever has come into the possession of the churches by the will of God, while it may be alienated from their use, may not by any lapse of time be separated from their ownership except by lawful grant. Count Evolus of Roceio, whose fame you must know, wishes to attack that land and rescue it from the heathen. Therefore we have granted him the possession of such territory as he may win from the pagans by his own efforts or with the aid of allies, on conditions agreed upon by us as the representative of St. Peter. You who join him in this undertaking should do so to the honor of St. Peter, that St. Peter may protect you from danger and reward your fidelity to him. But if any of you plan to attack that land independently with your own forces, you should do so in a spirit of devotion and with righteous motives. Beware lest after you have conquered the land you wrong St. Peter in the same way as the infidels do who now hold it. Unless you are prepared to recognize the rights of St. Peter by making an equitable agreement with us, we will forbid you by our apostolic authority to go thither, that your holy and universal mother, the church, may not suffer from her sons the same injuries which she now suffers from her enemies, to the loss not only of her property, but also of the devotion of her children. To this end we have sent to Spain our beloved son, Hugo, cardinal priest of the holy Roman church, and he will inform you more fully of our terms and conditions.
Letter of Gregory VII to Wratislav, Duke of Bohemia, 1073.
See introductory note to no. 68.
Gregory, etc., to Wratislav, etc. We give thanks to omnipotent God that you have been led by your devotion and reverence for the apostles Peter and Paul, princes of the apostles, to receive our legates with kindness and treat them with the graciousness which is becoming to your majesty. Receive the assurance of our good-will in return for this evidence of your fidelity. It has not been usual for papal legates to visit your land; this, however, is partly the fault of your forefathers, as well as of our predecessors, for the dukes of Bohemia should have requested the pope to send them legates. But some of your subjects have regarded our sending of legates as an innovation, and have treated them with contempt, forgetting the word of God: “He that receiveth you receiveth me” [Matt. 10:40]; “and he that despiseth you despiseth me” [Luke 10:16]. So in failing to show due reverence to our legates, they have not so much despised them, as they have despised the word of truth. . . .
Letter of Gregory VII to Sancho, King of Aragon, 1074.
See introductory note to no. 68.
Gregory, bishop, servant of the servants of God, to Sancho, king of Aragon, greeting and apostolic benediction.
We received your gracious letter with great joy, because of the evidence which it contained of your fidelity to the princes of the apostles, Peter and Paul, and to the holy Roman church. But indeed even if we had not received your letter we should have been well aware of your fidelity through the report of our legates. By enforcing the observances of the Roman form of service in the churches of your kingdom you have shown that you are a true son of the Roman church and that you bear the same friendship to us that former kings of Spain have borne to the Roman pope. Be firm and constant in the faith and complete the good work which you have begun; then the blessed St. Peter, whom our Lord Jesus Christ has made ruler over the kingdoms of this world, will bring to pass the desires of your heart and will make you victorious over your enemies, because of the trust which you have placed in him. . . .
Letter of Gregory VII to Solomon, King of Hungary, 1074.
See introductory note to no. 68.
Gregory, bishop, servant of the servants of God, to Solomon, king of Hungary, greeting and apostolic benediction.
Your letter was late in reaching us because of the delay of the messenger, but when it did come we were displeased with it because its terms were offensive to St. Peter. For the kingdom of Hungary, as you can learn from your own princes, belongs of right to the holy Roman church, having been offered and surrendered to St. Peter with all its rights and powers by the former king Stephen. And when the emperor Henry [II] of blessed memory, attacked the kingdom in the defense of the honor of St. Peter and captured the king, he forwarded to the grave of St. Peter the lance and crown, the insignia of kingship. But we hear that you have accepted the kingdom as a fief from the king of the Germans, thereby infringing the rights and the honor of St. Peter and acting in a manner incompatible with the virtue and character of a king. If you wish to have the favor of St. Peter and our good will, you must correct your faults; you know yourself that you cannot hope for justice, that, indeed, you cannot reign any length of time, unless you admit that you hold the sceptre of your kingdom from the pope and not from the king. As far as God shall give us strength, we will never through fear or affection or any personal consideration consent to the diminishing of the honor of him whom we serve. But if you are willing to mend your ways and act as a king should, you may easily win the love of your mother, the holy Roman church, and our friendship in Christ.
Letter of Gregory VII to Demetrius, King of the Russians, 1075.
See introductory note to no. 68.
Gregory, bishop, servant of the servants of God, to Demetrius, king of the Russians, and to his wife, the queen, greeting and apostolic benediction.
Your son has visited us at Rome, and has asked that we invest him with the kingdom of the Russians in the name of St. Peter. He has given sufficient evidence of his fidelity to St. Peter, and has assured us that he is acting with your consent in making the petition. We have felt justified in granting his petition because of your consent and of the devotion which he has evidenced; therefore we have conferred upon him in the name of St. Peter the government of your kingdom. We pray that St. Peter may protect you and your kingdom and all your possessions by his intercession with God, that he may cause you to hold your kingdom in peace, glory, and honor, all your days, and that at the end of this life he may obtain for you an eternal glory with the King of Heaven. We shall always be ready to grant your request whenever you call upon us in any righteous cause. In regard to this matter of the investiture and other affairs not mentioned in this letter, we have sent you these legates, one of whom is a well-known and faithful friend of yours. Treat them kindly out of reverence for St. Peter, whose legates they are; listen to them and believe without hesitation whatever they may say on our behalf. Do not allow them to be hindered in the discharge of any of the duties with which we have intrusted them, but give them your faithful assistance. May omnipotent God illumine your soul and lead you through this temporal life to his eternal glory.
Conflict between Henry IV and Gregory VII.
Letter of Gregory VII to Henry IV, December, 1075.
Gregory VII met with vigorous opposition from the German clergy as well as from the king when he attempted to enforce his laws against simony and the marriage of the clergy. In a synod at Rome, 1075, Feb. 24-28, Gregory excommunicated five of Henry’s intimate advisers for the sin of simony. Henry refused to recognize the validity of this excommunication, and, regardless of papal protests, persisted in his policy of disposing of bishoprics (Milan, Fermo, Spoleto, for example) as he chose. Gregory determined to proceed to extreme measures. He sent messengers to Henry, bearing this letter (no. 74) in which he defended his decrees against simony and the marriage of the clergy, and announced his determination to hold fast to them and to compel the whole world to accept them. He also intrusted an oral message to the bearers of the letter to the effect that if Henry did not mend his evil life, and drive his excommunicated counsellors from his court, Gregory would not only excommunicate him but also depose him.
Henry’s answer to this message and letter was given at a national synod at Worms, Jan. 24, 1076. This synod deposed Gregory and informed him of their action by two letters, one by Henry (no. 75), and the other by the German bishops (no. 76). Gregory replied by excommunicating and deposing the king (no. 77).
Gregory, bishop, servant of the servants of God, to Henry, the king, greeting and apostolic benediction—that is, if he shall prove obedient to the apostolic see as a Christian king should.
We have sent you our apostolic benediction with some hesitation, knowing that we must render account to God, the severe judge, for all our acts as pope. Now it is reported that you have knowingly associated with men who have been excommunicated by the pope and the synod. If this is true, you know that you cannot receive the blessing either of God or of the pope until you have driven them from you and have compelled them to do penance, and have yourself sought absolution and forgiveness for your transgressions with due penance and reparation. Therefore, if you realize your guilt in this matter, we counsel you to confess straightway to some pious bishop, who shall absolve you with our permission, enjoining upon you suitable penance for this fault, and who shall faithfully report to us by letter, with your permission, the character of the penance prescribed.
We wonder, moreover, that you should continue to assure us by letter and messengers of your devotion and humility; that you should call yourself our son and the son of the holy mother church, obedient in the faith, sincere in love, diligent in devotion, and that you should commend yourself to us with all zeal of love and reverence—whereas in fact you are constantly disobeying the canonical and apostolic decrees in important matters of the faith. For, to say nothing of the rest, in the case of Milan, concerning which you gave us your promise through your mother and through our fellow-bishops whom we sent to you, the event has shown how far you intended to carry out your promise [that is, not at all] and with what purpose you made it. And now, to inflict wound upon wound, contrary to the apostolic decrees you have bestowed the churches of Fermo and Spoleto—if indeed a church can be bestowed by a layman—upon certain persons quite unknown to us; for it is not lawful to ordain men before they have been known and proved.
Since you confess yourself a son of the church, you should treat with more honor the head of the church, that is, St. Peter, the prince of the apostles. If you are one of the sheep of the Lord, you have been intrusted to him by divine authority, for Christ said to him: “Peter, feed my sheep” [John 21:16]; and again: “And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of Heaven; and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven” [Matt. 16:19]. And since we, although an unworthy sinner, exercise his authority by divine will, the words which you address to us are in reality addressed directly to him. And although we only read or hear the words, he sees the heart from which the words proceed. Therefore your highness should be very careful that no insincerity be found in your words and messages to us; and that you show due reverence, not to us indeed, but to omnipotent God, in those things which especially make for the advance of the Christian faith and the well-being of the church. For our Lord said to the apostles and to their successors: “He that heareth you heareth me; and he that despiseth you despiseth me” [Luke 10:16]. For no one will disregard our admonitions if he believes that the decrees of the pope have the same authority as the words of the apostle himself. For if our Lord commanded the apostles out of reverence for the seat of Moses to observe the sayings of the scribes and Pharisees who occupied that seat, then surely the faithful ought to receive with all reverence the apostolic and evangelical doctrine through those who are chosen to the ministry of preaching.
Now in the synod held at the apostolic seat to which the divine will has called us (at which some of your subjects also were present) we, seeing that the Christian religion had been weakened by many attacks and that the chief and proper motive, that of saving souls, had for a long time been neglected and slighted, were alarmed at the evident danger of the destruction of the flock of the Lord, and had recourse to the decrees and the doctrine of the holy fathers; we decreed nothing new, nothing of our invention [that is, against simony and the marriage of the clergy]; but we decided that the error should be abandoned and the single primitive rule of ecclesiastical discipline and the familiar way of the saints should be again sought out and followed. For we know that no other door to salvation and eternal life lies open to the sheep of Christ than that which was pointed out by him who said: “I am the door, by me if any man enter in he shall be saved, and find pasture” [John 10:9]; and this, we learn from the gospels and from the sacred writings, was preached by the apostles and observed by the holy fathers. And we have decided that this decree—which some, placing human above divine honor, have called an unendurable weight and an immense burden, but which we call by its proper name, that is, the truth and light necessary to salvation—is to be received and observed not only by you and your subjects, but also by all princes and peoples of the earth who confess and worship Christ; for it is greatly desired by us, and would be most fitting for you, that, as you are greater than others in glory, in honor, and in virtue, so you should be more distinguished in devotion to Christ.
Nevertheless, that this decree may not seem to you beyond measure grievous and unjust, we have commanded you by your faithful ambassadors to send to us the wisest and most pious men whom you can find in your kingdom, so that if they can show or instruct us in any way how we can temper the sentence promulgated by the holy fathers without offence to the eternal King or danger to our souls, we may consider their advice. But, even if we had not warned you in so friendly a manner, it would have been only right on your part, before you violated the apostolic decrees, to have asked justice of us in a reasonable manner in any matter in which we had injured or affected your honor. But it is evident in what you have since done and decreed how little you care for our warnings or for the observance of justice.
But since we hope that, while the long-suffering patience of God still invites you to repent, you may become wiser and your heart may be turned to obey the commands of God, we warn you with fatherly love that, knowing the rule of Christ to be over you, you should consider how dangerous it is to place your honor above his, and that you should not interfere with the liberty of the church which he has deigned to join to himself by heavenly union, but rather with faithful devotion you should offer your assistance to the increasing of this liberty to omnipotent God and St. Peter, through whom also your glory may be amplified. You ought to recognize what you undoubtedly owe to them for giving you victory over your enemies, that as they have gladdened you with great prosperity, so they should see that you are thereby rendered more devout. And in order that the fear of God, in whose hands is all power and all rule, may affect your heart more than these our warnings, you should recall what happened to Saul when, after winning the victory which he gained by the will of the prophet, he glorified himself in his triumph and did not obey the warnings of the prophet, and how God reproved him; and, on the other hand, what grace king David acquired by reason of his humility, as well as his other virtues.
Finally, in regard to those matters in your letter which we have not yet touched upon, we will not give a definite answer until your ambassadors, Rapoto, Adelbert, and Wodescalc, and those whom we have sent with them, shall return to us and shall make known more fully your intention in regard to the matters which we committed to them to be discussed with you. Given at Rome, the 6th of the Ides of January, the 14th indiction.
The Deposition of Gregory VII by Henry IV, January 24, 1076.
See introductory note to no. 74.
Henry, king not by usurpation, but by the holy ordination of God, to Hildebrand, not pope, but false monk.
This is the salutation which you deserve, for you have never held any office in the church without making it a source of confusion and a curse to Christian men instead of an honor and a blessing. To mention only the most obvious cases out of many, you have not only dared to touch the Lord’s anointed, the archbishops, bishops, and priests; but you have scorned them and abused them, as if they were ignorant servants not fit to know what their master was doing. This you have done to gain favor with the vulgar crowd. You have declared that the bishops know nothing and that you know everything; but if you have such great wisdom you have used it not to build but to destroy. Therefore we believe that St. Gregory, whose name you have presumed to take, had you in mind when he said: “The heart of the prelate is puffed up by the abundance of subjects, and he thinks himself more powerful than all others.” All this we have endured because of our respect for the papal office, but you have mistaken our humility for fear, and have dared to make an attack upon the royal and imperial authority which we received from God. You have even threatened to take it away, as if we had received it from you, and as if the empire and kingdom were in your disposal and not in the disposal of God. Our Lord Jesus Christ has called us to the government of the empire, but he never called you to the rule of the church. This is the way you have gained advancement in the church: through craft you have obtained wealth; through wealth you have obtained favor; through favor, the power of the sword; and through the power of the sword, the papal seat, which is the seat of peace; and then from the seat of peace you have expelled peace. For you have incited subjects to rebel against their prelates by teaching them to despise the bishops, their rightful rulers. You have given to laymen the authority over priests, whereby they condemn and depose those whom the bishops have put over them to teach them. You have attacked me, who, unworthy as I am, have yet been anointed to rule among the anointed of God, and who, according to the teaching of the fathers, can be judged by no one save God alone, and can be deposed for no crime except infidelity. For the holy fathers in the time of the apostate Julian did not presume to pronounce sentence of deposition against him, but left him to be judged and condemned by God. St. Peter himself said: “Fear God, honor the king” [1 Pet. 2:17]. But you, who fear not God, have dishonored me, whom He hath established. St. Paul, who said that even an angel from heaven should be accursed who taught any other than the true doctrine, did not make an exception in your favor, to permit you to teach false doctrines. For he says: “But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed” [Gal. 1:8]. Come down, then, from that apostolic seat which you have obtained by violence; for you have been declared accursed by St. Paul for your false doctrines and have been condemned by us and our bishops for your evil rule. Let another ascend the throne of St. Peter, one who will not use religion as a cloak of violence, but will teach the life-giving doctrine of that prince of the apostles. I, Henry, king by the grace of God, with all my bishops, say unto you: “Come down, come down, and be accursed through all the ages.”
Letter of the Bishops to Gregory VII, January 24, 1076.
See introductory note to no. 74.
Siegfried, archbishop of Mainz, Udo, bishop of Trier, William, bishop of Utrecht, etc. [a list of names of bishops, twenty-six in all], to brother Hildebrand.
At first when you made yourself pope we thought it better to ignore the illegality of your action and to submit to your rule, in the hope that you would redeem your bad beginning by a just and righteous government of the church, although we realized even then the enormity of the sin which you had committed. But now the lamentable condition of the whole church shows us only too well how we were deceived in you; your violent entrance into office was but the first in a series of wicked deeds and unjust decrees. Our Lord and Redeemer has said, in more places than we can well enumerate here, that love and gentleness are the marks of his disciples, but you are known for your pride, your ambition, and your love of strife. You have introduced worldliness into the church; you have desired a great name rather than a reputation for holiness; you have made a schism in the church and offended its members, who before your time were living together in peace and charity. Your mad acts have kindled the flame of discord which now rages in the churches of Italy, Germany, France, and Spain. The bishops have been deprived of their divine authority, which rests upon the grace of the Holy Spirit received through ordination, and the whole administration of ecclesiastical matters you have given to rash and ignorant laymen. There is nowhere in the church to-day a bishop or a priest who does not hold his office through abject acquiescence in your ambitious schemes. The order of bishops, to whom the government of the church was intrusted by the Lord, you have thrown into confusion, and you have disturbed that excellent coördination of the members of Christ which Paul in so many places commends and inculcates, while the name of Christ has almost disappeared from the earth; and all this through those decrees in which you glory. Who among men is not filled with astonishment and indignation at your claims to sole authority, by which you would deprive your fellow-bishops of their coördinate rights and powers? For you assert that you have the authority to try any one of our parishioners for any sin which may have reached your ears even by chance report, and that no one of us has the power to loose or to bind such a sinner, but that it belongs to you alone or to your legate. Who that knows the scriptures does not perceive the madness of this claim? Since, therefore, it is now apparent that the church of God is in danger of destruction through your presumption, we have come to the conclusion that this state of things can no longer be endured, and we have determined to break our silence and to make public the reasons why you are unfit and have always been unfit to rule the church as pope. These are the reasons: In the first place, in the reign of emperor Henry [III] of blessed memory, you bound yourself by oath never to accept the papacy or to permit anyone else to accept it during the life of that emperor or of his son without the consent of the emperor. There are many bishops still living who can bear witness to that oath. On another occasion, when certain cardinals were aiming to secure the office, you took an oath never to accept the papacy, on condition that they should all take the same oath. You know yourself how faithfully you have kept these oaths! In the second place, it was agreed in a synod held in the time of pope Nicholas [II] and attended by 125 bishops, that no one, under penalty of excommunication, should ever accept the papacy who had not received the election of the cardinals, the approbation of the people, and the consent of the emperor. You yourself proposed and promoted that decree and signed it with your own hand. In the third place, you have filled the whole church with the stench of scandal, by associating on too intimate terms with a woman who was not a member of your family [the countess Matilda]. We do not wish to base any serious charge on this last accusation; we refer to it because it outrages our sense of propriety. And yet the complaint is very generally made that all the judgments and acts of the papacy are passed on by the women about the pope, and that the whole church is governed by this new female conclave. And finally, no amount of complaint is adequate to express the insults and outrages you have heaped upon the bishops, calling them sons of harlots and other vile names. Therefore, since your pontificate was begun in perjury and crime, since your innovations have placed the church of God in the gravest peril, since your life and conduct are stained with infamy; we now renounce our obedience, which indeed was never legally promised to you. You have declared publicly that you do not consider us to be bishops; we reply that no one of us shall ever hold you to be the pope.
The First Deposition and Excommunication of Henry IV by Gregory VII, 1076.
See introductory note to no. 74.
St. Peter, prince of the apostles, incline thine ear unto me, I beseech thee, and hear me, thy servant, whom thou hast nourished from mine infancy and hast delivered from mine enemies that hate me for my fidelity to thee. Thou art my witness, as are also my mistress, the mother of God, and St. Paul thy brother, and all the other saints, that thy holy Roman church called me to its government against my own will, and that I did not gain thy throne by violence; that I would rather have ended my days in exile than have obtained thy place by fraud or for worldly ambition. It is not by my efforts, but by thy grace, that I am set to rule over the Christian world which was specially intrusted to thee by Christ. It is by thy grace and as thy representative that God has given to me the power to bind and to loose in heaven and in earth. Confident of my integrity and authority, I now declare in the name of omnipotent God, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, that Henry, son of the emperor Henry, is deprived of his kingdom of Germany and Italy; I do this by thy authority and in defence of the honor of thy church, because he has rebelled against it. He who attempts to destroy the honor of the church should be deprived of such honor as he may have held. He has refused to obey as a Christian should, he has not returned to God from whom he had wandered, he has had dealings with excommunicated persons, he has done many iniquities, he has despised the warnings which, as thou art witness, I sent to him for his salvation, he has cut himself off from thy church, and has attempted to rend it asunder; therefore, by thy authority, I place him under the curse. It is in thy name that I curse him, that all people may know that thou art Peter, and upon thy rock the Son of the living God has built his church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.
The Agreement at Oppenheim, October, 1076.
Various parts of Germany were already in revolt against Henry IV, and the immediate effect of the papal excommunication was to strengthen the rebellious party. Being almost deserted, Henry found himself unable to refuse the demands of the rebels. He agreed to submit to Gregory in all things, and rescinded the edicts by which he had deposed him. He also called on all his subjects to submit to the pope (no. 79).
Promise of king Henry to pope Hildebrand, also called Gregory.
In accordance with the advice of my subjects, I hereby promise to show henceforth fitting reverence and obedience to the apostolic office and to you, pope Gregory. I further promise to make suitable reparation for any loss of honor which you or your office may have suffered through me. And since I have been accused of certain grave crimes, I will either clear myself by presenting proof of my innocence or by undergoing the ordeal, or else I will do such penance as you may decide to be adequate for my fault.
Edict Annulling the Decrees Against Pope Gregory.
Henry, by the grace of God king, to the archbishops, bishops, margraves, counts, and to his subjects of every rank and dignity, greeting and good will. Our faithful subjects have convinced us that in our recent controversy with pope Gregory we were led astray by certain evil counsellors. Therefore we now make known to all, that we have repented of our former actions and have determined henceforth to obey him in everything, as our predecessors were wont to do before us, and to make full reparation for any injury which we may have inflicted upon him or his office. We command all of you to follow our example and to offer satisfaction to St. Peter and to his vicar, pope Gregory, for any fault you may have committed, and to seek absolution from him, if any of you are under his ban.
Letter of Gregory VII to the German Princes Concerning the Penance of Henry IV at Canossa,ca.January 28, 1077.
At Oppenheim Henry IV had been temporarily deposed. He sent away his counsellors who had been excommunicated, gave up all participation in the affairs of government, laid aside all the royal insignia, and withdrew to the city of Speier, which he was not to leave until the matter was adjusted by the pope, who was to come to Germany and hold a diet in February, 1077. But Henry did not keep his word. Fearing that he would be permanently deposed if the pope should come to Germany and sit with his rebellious subjects in judgment on him, he determined to forestall matters by going to see the pope in Italy. So he fled from Speier and hastened as rapidly as possible into Italy. He came to Canossa, where he humbled himself before Gregory and received absolution. It was at least a diplomatic triumph for Henry, because he had kept the pope from coming to Germany and uniting with his rebellious nobles, who would have labored hard to secure the permanent deposition of Henry. The final decision of the matter was indeed left to the pope and the diet which was to be held in Germany, but the pope did not go to Germany, and Henry was able to point to the fact that he had received papal absolution. The oath which Gregory VII required of Henry is given in no. 81.
Gregory, bishop, servant of the servants of God, to all the archbishops, bishops, dukes, counts, and other princes of the German kingdom, defenders of the Christian faith, greeting and apostelic benediction.
Since you have made common cause with us and shared our perils in the recent controversy, we have thought it only right that you should be informed of the recent course of events, how king Henry came to Italy to do penance, and how we were led to grant him absolution.
According to the agreement made with your representatives we had come to Lombardy and were there awaiting those whom you were to send to escort us into your land. But after the time set was already passed, we received word that it was at that time impossible to send an escort, because of many obstacles that stood in the way, and we were greatly exercised at this and in grave doubt as to what we ought to do. In the meantime we learned that the king was approaching. Now before he entered Italy he had sent to us and had offered to make complete satisfaction for his fault, promising to reform and henceforth to obey us in all things, provided we would give him our absolution and blessing. We hesitated for some time, taking occasion in the course of the negotiations to reprove him sharply for his former sins. Finally he came in person to Canossa, where we were staying, bringing with him only a small retinue and manifesting no hostile intentions. Once arrived, he presented himself at the gate of the castle, barefoot and clad only in wretched woollen garments, beseeching us with tears to grant him absolution and forgiveness. This he continued to do for three days, until all those about us were moved to compassion at his plight and interceded for him with tears and prayers. Indeed, they marvelled at our hardness of heart, some even complaining that our action savored rather of heartless tyranny than of chastening severity. At length his persistent declarations of repentance and the supplications of all who were there with us overcame our reluctance, and we removed the excommunication from him and received him again into the bosom of the holy mother church. But first he took the oath which we have subjoined to this letter, the abbot of Cluny, the countess Matilda, the countess Adelaide, and many other ecclesiastic and secular princes going surety for him. Now that this arrangement has been reached to the common advantage of the church and the empire, we purpose coming to visit you in your own land as soon as possible. For, as you will perceive from the conditions stated in the oath, the matter is not to be regarded as settled until we have held consultation with you. Therefore we urge you to maintain that fidelity and love of justice which first prompted your action. We have not bound ourself to anything, except that we assured the king that he might depend upon us to aid him in everything that looked to his salvation and honor.
The Oath of King Henry.
See introductory note to no. 80.
I, Henry, king, promise to satisfy the grievances which my archbishops, bishops, dukes, counts, and other princes of Germany or their followers may have against me, within the time set by pope Gregory and in accordance with his conditions. If I am prevented by any sufficient cause from doing this within that time, I will do it as soon after that as I may. Further, if pope Gregory shall desire to visit Germany or any other land, on his journey thither, his sojourn there, and his return thence, he shall not be molested or placed in danger of captivity by me or by anyone whom I can control. This shall apply to his escort and retinue and to all who come and go in his service. Moreover, I will never enter into any plan for hindering or molesting him, but will aid him in good faith and to the best of my ability if anyone else opposes him.
Countess Matilda Gives All her Lands to the Church, 1102.
The countess Matilda supported the papacy in its claims of temporal sovereignty, and, when she died, left it all her lands. The emperors did not recognize the validity of the legacy, and declared that she had no right to give away what belonged to the empire. The quarrel about these lands was often renewed.
In the name of the holy and undivided Trinity. . . . In the time of Gregory VII, in the Lateran palace, in the chapel of the holy cross, in the presence of [witnesses], . . . I, Matilda, by the grace of God countess, for the salvation of my soul and the souls of my parents, gave to the church of St. Peter and to Gregory VII all my possessions, present and future, by whatever title I may hold them. I gave all my lands in Italy and Germany, and I had a document drawn up to that effect. But now the document has disappeared, and I fear that my gift may be questioned. Therefore, I, countess Matilda, again give to the church of Rome, through Bernard, cardinal and legate of the same holy church of Rome, just as I did in the time of Gregory VII, all my possessions, present and future, in both Italy and Germany, by whatever right I hold them, for the salvation of my soul and the souls of my parents. All these possessions, which belong to me, with all that pertains to them, in all their entirety, I give to the said church of Rome, and by this deed of gift I confirm the church in the possession of them. As symbols and evidences that I have surrendered these lands I have given a knife, a knotted straw, a glove, a piece of sod, and a twig from a tree. . . .
The First Privilege which Paschal II Granted to Henry V, February 12, 1111.
In the struggle about the election and investiture of bishops, which was begun by Gregory VII, Henry V pursued the same policy as his father, Henry IV. He was so vigorous in pushing his claims that Paschal II (1099-1118) yielded and in 1111 decreed that the high clergy should give up all their fiefs and temporal offices, and exercise only spiritual functions. But this action met with a storm of opposition. The bishops refused to give up their temporal possessions, and resisted with such determination that Paschal was compelled to cancel his agreement with Henry V. But the king would not be denied. He brought such pressure to bear on the pope that he made a complete surrender and granted Henry the control of the elections of bishops and the unconditional right to invest them with their office (no. 84).
Paschal, bishop, servant of the servants of God, to his beloved son Henry, and to his successors forever.
Priests are forbidden by the scriptures and by the canons of the church to occupy themselves with secular affairs or to attend the public courts, except in the exercise of their office, such as the saving of the souls of the condemned or the assisting of the injured. In regard to this St. Paul says: “If then ye have judgments of things pertaining to this life, set them to judge who are least esteemed in the church” [1 Cor. 6:4]. But in your kingdom bishops and abbots regularly attend the courts and perform military service, which duties necessarily bring them into contact with rapine, sacrilege, and violence. The ministers of the altar are made ministers of the royal court, and are given cities, duchies, marks, mints, and other offices to hold and to rule. As a result an unbearable custom has arisen that bishops elect cannot be consecrated until they have been invested with office by the king. Simony and worldly ambition have thereby become so prevalent that men are sometimes placed in control of the episcopal properties who have not been elected bishops; and are sometimes invested with them while the true bishops are still alive. Our predecessors, pope Gregory VII and pope Urban II, of blessed memory, were impelled by the many evils resulting from this practice to condemn lay investiture in several councils, decreeing that those who obtained ecclesiastical offices by these means should be forced to surrender them and that those who conferred the investiture should be excommunicated. This was based on the chapter of the apostolic canons which reads: “If a bishop makes use of the secular powers to obtain a diocese, he shall be deposed and those who supported him shall be cast out of the church.” [See no. 33.] Following their example, we have confirmed the present decree, which has been passed by a council of bishops.
All the royal offices and benefices which belonged to the empire in the time of the emperors Karl, Ludwig, and your other predecessors, and which are now held by the church, we order to be restored to you. We forbid any bishop or abbot, under pain of anathema, to hold any of these regalia; that is, cities, duchies, marks, counties; rights of minting, markets, or tolls; offices of advocate or hundred-man; estates which belong to the empire, with any of their appurtenances, the right to hold castles or to do military service. They shall not henceforth have anything to do with these regalia, except at the request of the king. And our successors are forbidden to disturb this arrangement or to molest you or any of your kingdom in the peaceful possession of the regalia.
On the other hand, we decree that the churches shall have absolute control of their free-will offerings and their private possessions, which is in keeping with the promise which you made in your coronation oath.
For it is necessary that the bishops be free from secular duties that they may give their time to the care of their flocks, and not be too long absent from their churches; as St. Paul says of the bishops: “They watch for your souls, as they that must give account” [Heb. 13:17].
The Second Privilege which Paschal II Granted to Henry V, April 12, 1111.
See introductory note to no. 83.
Paschal, bishop, servant of the servants of God, to his beloved son, Henry, by the grace of God king of the Germans and emperor of the Romans, Augustus, greeting and apostolic benediction. It is the will of God that your kingdom should be closely bound to the holy Roman church. Your predecessors obtained the crown and empire of the Roman world because of their wisdom and virtue; you also have been exalted to that dignity by the will of God working through us. And so we confer upon you the prerogatives which our predecessors granted to former emperors. By this document we concede to you the right of investing the bishops and abbots of your kingdom with the ring and the staff, if their election has been conducted canonically and without simony or other illegality. After their investiture they are to be consecrated in due canonical form by their bishops. If the clergy and people elect a bishop or an abbot without first gaining your consent, he shall not be consecrated until you have invested him with his office. The right of consecrating such bishops and abbots as have received investiture from you shall belong to the archbishops and bishops of your kingdom. For your predecessors endowed the churches of their realm with so many benefices from their own lands and offices that it became necessary for them to control the elections of bishops and abbots, and to put down the popular disturbances that frequently arose in these elections.
As a result of this concession you ought to be the more zealous in the defence and in the enrichment of the church of Rome and the other churches of God. If any person, ecclesiastic or layman, shall knowingly violate this decree, he shall be accursed and deprived of his office and rank. But may God reward those who keep it, and grant that you may rule happily to his honor and glory. Amen.
Concordat of Worms, 1122.
The Promise of Calixtus II.
The victory won by Henry V over Paschal II (no. 84) was of short duration because the Cluniac party refused to submit. They renewed the struggle with great bitterness. The contest lasted to 1122, when a compromise was agreed upon. In general it may be said that the compromise was a sensible one, in that the king was recognized as having the right to invest the bishops with their fiefs and secular authority, while the pope was to invest them with their spiritual office and authority. This settlement of the principle did not entirely end the struggle, because, in the first place, neither party observed it perfectly, and, besides, it occasionally happened that there was some doubt as to how the principle was to be applied.
Calixtus, bishop, servant of the servants of God, to his beloved son, Henry, by the grace of God emperor of the Romans, Augustus.
We hereby grant that in Germany the elections of the bishops and abbots who hold directly from the crown shall be held in your presence, such elections to be conducted canonically and without simony or other illegality. In the case of disputed elections you shall have the right to decide between the parties, after consulting with the archbishop of the province and his fellow-bishops. You shall confer the regalia of the office upon the bishop or abbot elect by giving him the sceptre, and this shall be done freely without exacting any payment from him; the bishop or abbot elect on his part shall perform all the duties that go with the holding of the regalia.
In other parts of the empire the bishops shall receive the regalia from you in the same manner within six months of their consecration, and shall in like manner perform all the duties that go with them. The undoubted rights of the Roman church, however, are not to be regarded as prejudiced by this concession. If at any time you shall have occasion to complain of the carrying out of these provisions, I will undertake to satisfy your grievances as far as shall be consistent with my office. Finally, I hereby make a true and lasting peace with you and with all of your followers, including those who supported you in the recent controversy.
The Promise of Henry V.
In the name of the holy and undivided Trinity.
For the love of God and his holy church and of pope Calixtus, and for the salvation of my soul, I, Henry, by the grace of God, emperor of the Romans, Augustus, hereby surrender to God and his apostles, Sts. Peter and Paul, and to the holy Catholic church, all investiture by ring and staff. I agree that elections and consecrations shall be conducted canonically and shall be free from all interference. I surrender also the possessions and regalia of St. Peter which have been seized by me during this quarrel, or by my father in his lifetime, and which are now in my possession, and I promise to aid the church to recover such as are held by any other persons. I restore also the possessions of all other churches and princes, clerical or secular, which have been taken away during the course of this quarrel, which I have, and promise to aid them to recover such as are held by any other persons.
Finally, I make true and lasting peace with pope Calixtus and with the holy Roman church and with all who are or have ever been of his party. I will aid the Roman church whenever my help is asked, and will do justice in all matters in regard to which the church may have occasion to make complaint.
All these things have been done with the consent and advice of the princes whose names are written below: Adelbert, archbishop of Mainz; Frederick, archbishop of Cologne, etc.
Election Notice, 1125.
On the death of a king of Germany, it was the duty of the archbishop of Mainz, as archchancellor of Germany, to call a diet for the purpose of electing his successor. He did this by writing a letter in practically the same terms to each of the important men of the kingdom who were members of the diet. These letters were then delivered by special messengers. The diet which met in response to this call in 1125 elected Lothar of Saxony. The tone of the letter reveals the fact that Adelbert of Mainz was inclined rather to the side of the pope. The “yoke of servitude” which was oppressing the church was the imperial control which Henry V had exercised over the ecclesiastical elections.
Adelbert, archbishop of Mainz; Frederick, archbishop of Cologne; Udalric, bishop of Constance; Buco, bishop of Worms; Arnold, bishop of Spcier; Udalric, abbot of Fulda; Henry, duke of Bavaria; Frederick, duke of Suabia; Godfrey, count palatine; Berengar, count of Sulzbach, along with the other princes, ecclesiastical and secular, who were present at the funeral of the late emperor, send their greeting and most faithful services to their venerable brother, Otto, bishop of Bamberg.
After the burial of our late lord and emperor, we who were there present thought it expedient to counsel together in regard to the condition of the state. We were unwilling to make any definite plans, however, without your presence and advice, and so we determined to call a diet to meet at Mainz on St. Bartholomew’s Day [August 25], hoping that this decision would meet your approval. It is our thought that the princes should meet then and take the necessary action in regard to the serious problems that confront us: the general state of the kingdom, the question of a successor, and other matters. In thus calling a diet without first gaining your approval, we have not meant to infringe in any way upon your rights or to arrogate to ourselves any peculiar authority in this matter. We ask you to bear in mind the oppression of the church in these days and to pray earnestly that in the providence of God this election may result in the freeing of the church from its yoke of servitude and in the establishing of peace for us and for our people. You are instructed to declare a special peace for your lands, to be kept during the time of the diet and four weeks thereafter, so that all may come and return in perfect security; and to come to the diet yourself in the customary manner, that is, at your own expense and without inflicting any burden upon the poor of the realm.
Anaclete II Gives Roger the Title of King of Sicily, 1130.
The Norman adventurers in southern Italy were successful beyond all expectation. In 1059 Nicholas II made a duke of Roger Guiscard (see no. 58). He and his successors labored hard to advance the interests of their family, and in 1130 Roger, duke of Sicily, had the satisfaction of receiving the royal title from Anaclete II. There had been a disputed papal election that year, and Anaclete II, one of the rival claimants, needed all the help he could get. So he bought the support of Roger, giving him in return the title of king.
It is fitting that the pope should generously reward those that love the Roman church. And so, because of the labors and services of your father and mother, and because of your own efforts in behalf of the church, we have given and granted to you, Robert, by the grace of God duke of Sicily, and to your son Robert and your other children and heirs, the crown of Sicily, Apulia, and Calabria, and of all the lands given by us or our predecessors to your ancestors, Robert Guiscard and Robert his son, dukes of Apulia. You shall have and hold this kingdom, which shall take its name from the island of Sicily, with all the royal authority and dignity forever. We also grant that you and your heirs may be anointed and crowned by the archbishops of your lands whom you choose for that purpose, assisted by such bishops as you may desire. We hereby renew all gifts, concessions, and authority conferred upon you and upon your predecessors, Robert Guiscard, Robert his son, and William, dukes of Apulia, to be held and possessed by you forever. We give and grant to you and to your heirs the principality of Capua in its full extent as held now or in the past by the prince of Capua; we confer upon you the lordship over Naples and its dependencies, and the right to demand aid from the inhabitants of Benevento against your enemies. At your request we also grant to the archbishop of Palermo and to his successors the right to consecrate the three bishops of Syracuse, Girgenti, and Catania, on the condition that the authority and possessions of these churches shall not be in any way diminished by the archbishop and the church of Palermo. We reserve our decision as to the consecration of the other two bishops of Sicily for more mature deliberation. We have granted all the above concessions on the condition that you and your heirs take the oath of fidelity to us and to our successors at a place agreed upon by both parties, and that you and your heirs shall pay a tax of 600 “schifates” [a gold coin] a year to the Roman church upon demand. . . .
The Coronation Oath of Lothar II, June 4, 1133.
Every king, on his coronation as emperor, was required to take an oath to the pope, the character of which may be seen from the oath of Lothar.
This is the oath which king Lothar swore to pope Innocent in the time of the schism of the son of Pierreleone. The oath was taken by Lothar on the day of his imperial coronation before he received the crown, and was administered by Cencio Frangipani in the presence of the Roman nobles, before the basilica of the Holy Saviour, which is also called the basilica of Constantine.
I, king Lothar, promise and swear to you, pope Innocent, that I will never injure you or your successors in any way or place you in danger of captivity. I further promise to defend the honor of the papacy, and to restore the regalia of St. Peter which I may have in my possession, and to aid you in recovering such as may be held by any other persons.
Innocent II Grants the Lands of the Countess Matilda as a Fief to Lothar II, 1133.
Matilda, countess of Tuscany, espoused the cause of the pope, and, on her death, willed all her lands to him. The emperor refused to acknowledge the validity of this will, declaring that her holdings were feudal, and hence must revert to the crown, because they could not be disposed of without imperial consent. [See no. 82.] Lothar here gives up the imperial claim to them and yields them to the pope, but receives them back as a fief. The question was not thereby settled forever, because later emperors refused to be bound by the action of Lothar, and renewed the imperial pretensions. These lands were a fruitful source of contention between the popes and the emperors. This document, as here given, is probably an abstract of two documents, (1) the one by which the lands were conferred on Lothar, and (2) that by which they were later transferred to Lothar’s son-in-law, Henry, duke of Bavaria.
(The document begins with a general exordium, setting forth the common interests of papacy and empire, recalling the services of Lothar in behalf of the church, and stating the obligation of the pope to reward such services.)
It is on these considerations, therefore, that we now grant you by our apostolic authority the allodial lands which the countess Matilda formerly gave to St. Peter. In the presence of our brothers, the archbishops, bishops, and abbots, and princes and barons, we now confer them upon you by the investiture of the ring, on the following conditions: you shall pay 100 pounds of silver annually to us and to our successors; after your death the property shall revert unimpaired and without hindrance to the possession of the holy Roman church; we and our brothers shall always have safe-conduct and suitable entertainment whenever we pass through or visit the land; and, finally, your representative in the government of the land shall take an oath of fidelity to St. Peter and to the pope.
Because of our love for you we graciously concede this land on the same conditions to your son-in-law, Henry, duke of Bavaria, and his wife, your daughter. It is further stipulated that the duke shall do homage to us and take an oath of fidelity to St. Peter and to the pope; and that after their death the land shall revert to the possession of the Roman church, as said above. In all this there shall be no derogation of the rights and ultimate ownership of the holy Roman church.
Letter of Bernard of Clairvaux to Lothar II, 1134.
In 1130 there was a disputed papal election. Innocent II, on being driven from Rome by his rival, Anaclete II, went to France, where he enlisted Bernard of Clairvaux in his favor. Through the efforts of Bernard the kings of France and Germany were persuaded to support him. Lothar led an army into Italy, established Innocent in Rome, and received the imperial crown. He failed, however, to conquer Roger, who had been made king of Sicily by the antipope, Anaclete II (see no. 88). Bernard wrote this letter to congratulate Lothar on his success in Italy, to urge him to renew the war on Roger because he was still supporting the antipope, and to rebuke Lothar for opposing some decision of the pope in regard to a trouble that had arisen in the church at Toul.
To Lothar, by the grace of God emperor of the Romans, Augustus, Bernard, called abbot of Clairvaux, sends his blessing, if the prayer of a sinner is of any avail.
Blessed be God, who has chosen you and exalted you for a horn of salvation unto us, to the glory of his name, the restoration of the empire, the preservation of his church in this evil time, and the working of his salvation in the midst of the earth. For it is by his will that you are daily growing in strength, in honor, and in glory. And when you recently undertook the hazardous expedition to Rome to secure the peace of the empire and the liberty of the church, it was by his aid that you were able to carry it through successfully, obtaining the crown of the empire without the aid of a large army. But if the earth trembled and was silent before that little band, think what great terror will strike the hearts of the enemy when the king shall proceed against him in the greatness of his power. Moreover, the justice of your cause, nay, more, a double necessity, will inspire you. It is not my duty to incite princes to war; but it is the duty of the defender of the church to ward off all danger of schism; it is the duty of the emperor to recover his crown from the Sicilian usurper. Just as that Jew [that is, Anaclete II] rebelled against Christ when he seized the papal chair, so anyone who would make himself king in Sicily rebels against Cæsar.
But if we are commanded to render unto Cæsar the things which are Cæsar’s and unto God the things which are God’s, why is it that you have permitted the church of God in Toul to be robbed, especially as Cæsar profits not thereby? . . . For it is said that you have interfered with the pope in his efforts to bring the oppressors of that church to justice. I beseech you to act more circumspectly and to recall your intercession and let justice take its course, before that church be destroyed to its foundations. I am a poor person, but a faithful subject, and if I seem importunate it is because of my fidelity. Greet my lady the empress for me in the love of Christ.
Letter of Bernard to Conrad III, 1140.
Because Roger of Sicily had supported the antipope, Bernard had urged Lothar to make war on him. [See no. 91.] But Innocent had, in the meantime, without consulting the emperor, made a treaty with Roger and won his support by also granting him the royal title (1139). Conrad III was offended by this and protested against it. Conrad declared that the kingdom which Roger held, that is, Sicily and southern Italy, was a part of the empire, and therefore the pope had no right to recognize Roger as king there. Conrad regarded Roger as a usurper. He wrote a letter to Bernard complaining of the action of the pope. But Bernard had changed his sentiments since Roger had espoused the cause of Innocent and had received papal confirmation. In a somewhat curt manner he tells Conrad to obey the pope.
I, unworthy person that I am, have received your letter and greeting with gratitude and devotion. The complaints of the king are ours also, especially in regard to the usurpation of the Sicilian.
I have never desired the disgrace of the king nor the diminution of his realm; my soul hates such as do desire these things. But I read: “Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers; whosoever resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God” [Rom. 13:1, 2]. Hearken to this admonition, I pray you, and show such reverence to St. Peter and to his vicar as you wish to be shown to you by the whole empire. There are certain other matters which I have thought better not to put in writing; perhaps it would be better to speak of them to you personally when I see you.
Letter of Conrad III to the Greek Emperor, John Comnenus, 1142.
Although the German and Greek emperors had not adjusted their conflicting claims to southern Italy and Sicily (see no. 58, introductory note), they were agreed in regarding the Normans as usurpers and a common enemy. In order to destroy them the emperors determined to make common cause against them, as is apparent from the following letter. John Commenus, wishing to strengthen the alliance with Conrad, asked him to choose some German princess for his son, Manuel. Conrad chose his sister-in-law, Bertha von Sulzbach, who, at the time of her marriage with Manuel, assumed the name Irene.
Conrad, by the grace of God emperor of the Romans, Augustus, to John, by the same grace emperor of Constantinople, greeting and fraternal love.
As our predecessors, the Roman emperors, made friendship with your predecessors and established the honor and glory of the kingdom of the Greeks, we desire to do the same; and as they defended it, so we will defend it. It is known of all men that your new Rome [Constantinople] is the daughter of our Rome, the root from which have come your branches and fruits. Therefore we are determined to maintain toward you the attitude of a kind mother to her daughter, all the more that we perceive in you a desire to act as a dutiful daughter. We two should have the same interests, the same friends, and the same enemies, on land and sea. Anyone who fails to honor the daughter shall have occasion to know and fear the strength of the mother, be he Norman or Sicilian, or any other. For we have not forgotten the attacks which our enemy has made upon our own empire. With the help of God, we shall repay to every one according to the measure of his guilt. Then the whole world shall see how easily those who have dared to rebel against us both are overwhelmed and cast down; for if we cut his wings, we shall, as it were, take the enemy flying, and cut out of his heart that arrogance which has caused him to revolt against us. It is our firm purpose to maintain friendly relations toward you, and we are sure you hold the same purpose toward us, all the more now that we are bound together by the approaching marriage of your son and the sister of our wife, the empress. . . .
Letter of Wibald, Abbot of Stablo, to Eugene III, 1159.
The following letter shows (1) the mismanagement of the affairs of a great monastery, (2) the troubles which might arise in connection with the election of an abbot, (3) the influence which Conrad III exercised on such elections, and (4) the method of procedure in elections. It will be remembered that the concordat of Worms was now in force.
To his reverend father and lord, pope Eugene, Wibald [abbot of Stablo], sends his reverence and respect.
Our beloved brother Henry, abbot of Hersfeld, who had also been placed in charge of the abbey of Fulda, was called from this earth by God soon after our lord Conrad returned from his expedition to Jerusalem. The king was prevented from immediately settling the affairs of the monastery of Fulda by the evil state into which its affairs had fallen and by the violence of party strife within it. This delay was unfortunate, because the king was not able either to recover its possessions which had been squandered or to provide for the performance of the spiritual functions of the church, that is, the care of souls. Therefore we and our brothers, the abbot of Eberach and other clergymen, urged upon him the necessity of settling its affairs as soon as possible. Finally he came to Fulda on the 5th of April and held a diet there, which was attended by your venerable sons, the archbishop of Bremen, and the bishops of Würzburg and Halberstadt, and many secular princes and nobles. Among other things, the king sought their advice in regard to the affairs of Fulda, seeking to reach a settlement by which he might render unto God the things which are God’s and unto Cæsar the things which are Cæsar’s. After a long and fruitless debate . . . the king said that a certain man had been suggested to him as being of good character and holy reputation. This man, it was said, had been successful in the administration of a small monastery, which had prospered under his rule both spiritually and materially, and there was no reason for doubting that he was well fitted by his zeal and ability to govern the monastery of Fulda. If they voted to elect this man, he was sure that the monastery would recover its former honor and dignity under his wise and mild administration. All those present were delighted with this speech, as showing the interest of the king in the welfare of the church, and the matter was reported by some of us to those who had the authority to elect the abbot. They in turn were rejoiced at this turn of the affair and begged to be told the name of the man. And when it was told to them they proceeded to elect him as their abbot. This man is Mainward, abbot of Deggingen, . . . who has ruled that monastery for eight years and has been very successful in his administration. We beseech you to confirm his election, for he is recommended by those who know him best, and his election took place without his knowledge, and indeed against his will. We believe that by confirming his election and giving him your benediction you will do much to heal the wounds of the distressed congregation of Fulda. We ourselves bear witness that all the brothers of the congregation have promised obedience and devotion to their abbot elect.
May God keep you safe and unharmed to rule his holy church.
Letter of Frederick I to Eugene III, Announcing his Election, 1152.
During the Middle Age there were many constitutional questions which had not been decided. On many points no theory had been formulated, and the practice varied. Thus it had not been clearly determined how far the pope might control the election of the German king. In 1125 Lothar had asked the pope to confirm his election; Frederick I merely informs the pope of his election and tells him the policy which he intends to pursue. Eugene III “approves” his election, but does not use the more technical word, “confirm.”
To his most beloved father in Christ, Eugene, pope of the holy Roman church, Frederick, by the grace of God king of the Romans, Augustus, [sends] filial love and reverence.
. . . Following the custom of the Roman emperors, we have sent to you as ambassadors, Eberhard, venerable bishop of Bamberg, Hillo, bishop elect of Trier, and Adam, abbot of Eberach, to notify you of our election and of the condition of the church and the realm.
After the death of Conrad, king of the Romans, all the princes of the kingdom came together at Frankfurt, and on the day of their assembling elected us king. The princes displayed complete harmony in this election and the people received it with the greatest approval and delight. Five days later, just after the middle of Lent, we were anointed at Aachen by your beloved sons, the archbishop of Cologne, and other venerable bishops, and were raised to the throne with their solemn benediction. And now that we have been invested with the royal authority and dignity by the homage of the secular princes and the benediction of the bishops, we intend to assume the royal character, as set forth in our coronation oath; namely, to love and honor the pope, to defend the holy Roman church and all ecclesiastical persons, to maintain peace and order, and to protect the widows and the fatherless and all the people committed to our care. God has established two powers by which this world should be ruled, the papacy and the empire; therefore we are prepared to obey the priests of Christ, in order that, through our zeal, the word of God may prevail during our time, and that no one may disobey with impunity the laws of the holy fathers or the decrees of the councils, and that the church may enjoy her ancient honor and dignity and the empire be restored to its former strength. We know that you were greatly distressed at the death of our uncle and predecessor Conrad, but we assure you, beloved father, that we have succeeded him not only in the kingdom, but also in the love which he bore you. We undertake his work of defending the holy Roman church, and we intend to carry on the plans which he made for the honor and liberty of the apostolic see. Your enemies shall be our enemies, and those that hate you shall suffer our displeasure.
Answer of Eugene III, May 17, 1152.
See introductory note to no. 95.
Eugene, bishop, servant of the servants of God, to his beloved son in Christ, Frederick, illustrious king of the Romans, greeting and apostolic benediction.
We have received the messengers and the letter which you sent to inform us of your election by the unanimous vote of the princes. . . . We give thanks unto God, from whom cometh every good and perfect gift, for this good news, and we heartily approve your election. We are confident that you intend to take upon yourself the fulfilment of the promise which your uncle and predecessor, Conrad, gave to us and to the holy Roman church. We, on our part, shall labor for your advancement and exaltation, as is the duty of our office. We have sent you an ambassador, who will disclose to you our purpose and intention. In the meantime, we admonish you to bear in mind your oath to defend the church and the clergy of God, to keep peace and order, and to protect the widows and the fatherless, and all your people, that those who obey you and trust in you may rejoice, and that you may win glory with men and eternal life with the king of kings.
Treaty of Constance, 1153.
The situation of the pope was precarious. In the first place, the Romans had rebelled against him and his rule, and had set up a government of their own. Since 1143 he had been compelled to spend most of his time outside of the city. In the second place, Roger of Sicily was in rebellion against him and threatened the papal lands with invasion from the south. And lastly, the Greek emperor was now following a vigorous policy to secure land in Italy. The pope was in sore need of help, especially against the Romans and Normans. Hence he insisted that Frederick should promise to aid him, as well as not to make peace with his enemies without papal consent. Frederick wished the imperial crown, and the papal blessing and support. He was planning the conquest of the Normans, whose territory he regarded as a part of the empire. But in this agreement it will be observed that nothing is said about who owns Sicily and southern Italy, nor is it stipulated that the pope shall not make terms with the Normans without the emperor’s consent. Frederick feared that the pope, who wished to gain control of the Greek church, might make terms with the Greek emperor and help him in his efforts to regain a foothold in Italy.
In the name of the Lord, amen. This is a copy of the agreement and convention made between the pope, Eugene III, and Frederick, king of the Romans, by their representatives; on the part of the pope: cardinals Gregory of Santa Maria in Trastevere, Ubald of San Prassede, Bernard of San Clemente, Octavian of Santa Cecilia, Roland of San Marco, Gregory of Sant Angelo, Guido of Santa Maria in porticu, and Bruno, abbot of Chiaravalle; on the part of the king: Anselm, bishop of Havelberg; Hermann, bishop of Constance; Udalrich, count of Lenzburg; Guido, count of Guerra, and Guido, count of Bianderati.
The king will have one of his ministerials to swear for him that he will not make a peace or a truce either with the Romans or with Roger of Sicily without the consent of the pope. The king will use all the power of his realm to reduce the Romans to subjection to the pope and the Roman church. He will protect the honor of the papacy and the regalia of St. Peter against all men to the best of his ability, and he will aid the church in recovering what she has lost. He will never grant any land in Italy to the king of the Greeks, and will use all his power in keeping him out. All these things the king promises to observe and to do in good faith.
The pope, on his part, promises on his apostolic faith, with the consent of the cardinals, that he will ever honor the king as the most dearly beloved son of St. Peter, and that he will give him the imperial crown whenever he shall come to Italy for it. He will aid the king in maintaining and increasing the honor of his realm, as his office demands. If anyone attacks the honor or the authority of the king, the pope at the request of the king will warn him to make satisfaction, and will excommunicate him if he refuses to heed the warning. The pope will not grant any land in Italy to the king of the Greeks, and will use all the resources of St. Peter to drive him out if he invades that land. All these things shall be observed in good faith by both parties, unless they are changed by mutual consent.
The Stirrup Episode, 1155.
This account of the stirrup episode illustrates the growing pretensions of the papacy, the temper of both Frederick I and the new pope, Adrian IV, and the importance which the Middle Age attached to matters of ceremony.
The king [Frederick] advanced with his army to the neighborhood of Sutri and encamped in Campo Grasso. The pope, however, came to Nepi, and on the day after his arrival was met there by many of the German princes and a great concourse of clergy and laymen, and conducted with his bishops and cardinals to the tent of the king. But when the cardinals who came with the pope saw that the king did not come forward to act as the esquire of the pope [i.e., to hold his stirrup while he dismounted], they were greatly disturbed and terrified, and retreated to Civita Castellana, leaving the pope before the tent of the king. And the pope, distressed and uncertain what he should do, sadly dismounted and sat down on the seat which had been prepared for him. Then the king prostrated himself before the pope, kissing his feet and presenting himself for the kiss of peace. But the pope said: “You have refused to pay me the due and accustomed honor which your predecessors, the orthodox emperors, have always paid to my predecessors, the Roman popes, out of reverence for the apostles, Peter and Paul; therefore I will not give you the kiss of peace until you have made satisfaction.” The king, however, replied that he was not under obligations to perform the service. The whole of the following day was spent in the discussion of this point, the army in the meantime remaining there. And after the testimony of the older princes had been taken, especially of those who had been present at the meeting of king Lothar and pope Innocent (II), and the ancient practice had been determined, the princes and the royal court decided that the king ought to act as the esquire of the pope and hold his stirrup, out of reverence for the apostles, Peter and Paul. On the next day the camp of the king was moved to the territory of Nepi, on the shores of lake Janula, and there king Frederick, in accordance with the decision of the princes, advanced to meet the pope, who was approaching by another way. And when the pope came within about a stone’s throw from the emperor, the emperor dismounted and proceeded on foot to meet the pope, and there in the sight of his army he acted as the pope’s esquire, holding his stirrup for him to dismount. Then the pope gave him the kiss of peace.
Treaty between Adrian IV and William of Sicily, 1156.
By this document the long struggle between the popes and the kings of Sicily was brought to an end. The terms of the treaty were very favorable to the pope, but William retained as privileges certain things which were in other countries generally regarded as belonging to the pope. For the effects of this treaty on the relations between Adrian IV and Frederick I, see no. 100, introductory note.
In the name of the Lord, the eternal God, and of our Saviour, Jesus Christ, amen. To Adrian, by the grace of God, pope of the holy Roman church, his most beloved lord and father, and to his successors, William, by the same grace king of Sicily, duke of Apulia, and prince of Capua.
(Introduction reviewing the differences between the pope and the king of Sicily, and relating the course of the negotiations.)
We agree, therefore, to this treaty of peace as drawn up by the representatives of both of us.
1. Concerning appeals to the pope. In Apulia and its dependencies and in Calabria, appeals in ecclesiastical matters which cannot be settled by the regular ecclesiastics of those lands may be made freely to Rome. If it seems advantageous or necessary to transfer priests from one church to another, this may be done with the consent of the pope. The Roman church shall have the right to consecrate and to make visitations throughout our whole realm. The Roman church shall have the right to hold councils in any of the cities of Apulia or its dependencies or Calabria, except that a council may not be held in any city in which the king is staying, without his consent. The Roman church shall have the right to send its legates into Apulia and its dependencies and into Calabria, but those legates shall not waste the possessions of the churches to which they are sent. The Roman church shall have the same right of consecration and visitation in the island of Sicily. . . . The Roman church shall have in Sicily all the rights which it as in other parts of our kingdom, except the right of hearing appeals and sending legates, which shall be exercised only at the request of the king.
2. Concerning those churches and monasteries which have been in dispute between us. You and your successors shall have in them the rights which you exercise in other churches of our lands, which are accustomed to receive their consecration and benediction from the Roman church, and these churches shall pay the legal taxes to the Roman see.
3. Concerning elections. The clergy shall elect a suitable person, keeping his name secret until they have notified you. The name shall then be reported to us, and we will give our consent to the election, unless the person is one of our enemies or a traitor, or for some other good reason is displeasing to us.
4. You shall confer upon us and upon our son Roger, and our heirs, the kingdom of Sicily, the duchy of Apulia, and the principality of Capua, with all the lands which belong to them as follows: Naples, Salerno, and Amalfi, with their dependencies; Marsia and all that we hold beyond Marsia; and all the other possessions which we now hold, or which have been held by our predecessors. You promise, moreover, to aid us in good faith to hold them against all men.
5. In consideration of these concessions, we have taken the oath of fidelity to you and to your successors and to the Roman church, and the oath of liege homage to you. Two copies of this oath have been made, one of which has been signed and sealed by us and given into your keeping, and the other sealed by you and given to us. We agree also to pay an annual tribute of 600 “schifates” for Apulia and Calabria, and 500 from Marsia. . . . You agree to grant all these things also to our heirs and successors, on condition that they do homage to you and your successors, and keep the promises which we have made to you. . . .
The Besançon Episode, 1157.
Letter of Adrian IV to Frederick, September 20, 1157.
Frederick I had been deeply offended by the treaty which Adrian IV made with William of Sicily (no. 99), because it had been made without his consent, and without in any way considering the claims which the emperor laid to Sicily. In making the treaty of Constance (no. 97) Frederick had undoubtedly been outwitted by the papal diplomacy. He had been led to promise not to make peace with the Normans without the consent of the pope. He apparently took it for granted that the pope was bound in the same way not to make peace with the Normans without the imperial consent, although it was not stipulated in the agreement. While Frederick had promised certain definite things, the pope’s promise was couched in general terms. He had promised to “aid the king in maintaining and increasing the honor of his realm as his office demands. If anyone attacks the honor or the authority of the king, the pope will warn him to make satisfaction,” etc. The pope denied that William of Sicily was “attacking the honor or authority of the king” because the lands which William held did not belong to Frederick; they were the property of the pope himself, and therefore he might make terms with William without consulting Frederick. Frederick complained that the pope had acted in bad faith in making peace with William, and that he had broken the treaty of Constance. The pope, however, maintained that he had in no way infringed the treaty, and that Frederick had no grounds for complaint. This is the general background for the Besançon episode, the chief features of which will be clear from the following documents.
Adrian, bishop, servant of the servants of God, to his beloved son Frederick, illustrious emperor of the Romans, greeting and apostolic benediction. We wrote to you a few days ago recalling to your mind that execrable crime which was recently committed in Germany and expressing our grief that you had allowed it to go unpunished. For our venerable brother, Eskil, archbishop of Lund, on his return from the apostolic seat, was seized and made captive in your land by certain impious and wicked persons, who even threatened him and his companions with drawn swords and subjected them to dishonor and indignity.
Not only are these facts well known to you, but the report of them has spread to the most distant regions. It was your duty to avenge this wicked deed and to draw against its perpetrators the sword intrusted to you by God for the punishing of evil-doers and the protection of good men. But it is reported that you have palliated this offence and allowed it to go unpunished, so that those who committed the sacrilege are unrepentant and believe that they have done this with impunity. We are entirely at a loss to understand this negligence of yours, for our conscience does not accuse us of having offended you in any way. Indeed we have always regarded you as our most beloved son and as a Christian prince established by the grace of God upon the rock of the apostolic confession. We have loved you with sincere affection and have always treated you with the greatest kindness. You should remember, most glorious son, how graciously your mother, the holy Roman church, received you last year, how kindly she treated you, and how gladly she conferred upon you the imperial crown, the highest mark of dignity and honor; how she has always fostered you on her kindly bosom, and has always striven to do only what would be pleasing and advantageous to you. We do not regret having granted the desires of your heart; nay, we would be glad to confer even greater benefits (beneficia) upon you, if that were possible, because of the advantage and profit that you would be able to confer upon the church of God and upon us. But the fact that you have allowed this terrible deed, which is an offence against the church and the empire, to go unpunished has made us fear that you have been led by evil counsellors to imagine that you have some grievance against your mother, the holy Roman church, and against us. In regard to this matter and other important affairs, we have sent you these legates, two of the best and dearest of those about us, namely, our beloved sons, Bernard, cardinal priest of Santa Clara, and Roland, chancellor and cardinal priest of San Marco, men conspicuous for their piety, wisdom, and honesty. We beseech you to receive them honorably and kindly, to treat them justly, and to give full credence to the proposals which they make, as if we were speaking in person.
Manifesto of the Emperor, October, 1157.
God, from whom proceeds all authority in heaven and in earth, has intrusted the kingdom and the empire to us, his anointed, and has ordained that the peace of the church be preserved by the imperial arms. Therefore it is with great sorrow that we are forced to complain to you of the head of the church which Christ intended should reflect his character of charity and love of peace. For the actions of the pope threaten to produce such evils and dissensions as will corrupt the whole church and destroy its unity, and bring about strife between the empire and the papacy, unless God should intervene. These are the circumstances: We held a diet at Besançon for the purpose of considering certain matters which concerned the honor of the empire and the security of the church. At that diet legates of the pope arrived, saying that they came on a mission that would redound greatly to the honor and advantage of the empire. We gave them an honorable reception on the first day of their arrival, and on the second day, as is the custom, we called together all the princes to listen to their message. . . . Then they delivered their message in the form of a letter from the pope, of which the general tenor was as follows: the pope had conferred the imperial crown upon us and was willing to grant us even greater fiefs (beneficia). This was the message of fraternal love which was to further the union of the church and the empire, and bind them together in the bonds of peace, and to inspire the hearts of its hearers with love and fidelity for both rulers! Not only were we, as emperor, incensed by this false and lying statement, but all the princes who were present were so enraged that they would undoubtedly have condemned the two priests to death off-hand had they not been restrained by our presence. Moreover, we found in their possession many copies of that letter, and blank forms sealed by the pope to be filled out at their discretion, with which they were intending to spread this venom throughout the churches of Germany, as is their custom from of old, and to denude the altars, rob the houses of God, and despoil the crosses. Therefore, in order to prevent their further progress, we compelled them to return to Rome by the way they had come. We hold this kingdom and empire through the election of the princes from God alone, who by the passion of his Son placed this world under the rule of two swords; moreover, the apostle Peter says: “Fear God, honor the king” [1 Pet. 2:17]. Therefore, whoever says that we hold the imperial crown as a benefice from the pope resists the divine institution, contradicts the teaching of Peter, and is a liar. . . .
Letter of Adrian IV to the Emperor, February, 1158.
Ever since we were called by the will of God to the government of the universal church, we have tried to honor you in every way, in order that your love and reverence for the apostolic seat might daily increase. Therefore we were greatly astonished to learn that you were incensed at us and that you had treated with such scant respect the legates . . . whom we had sent to you for the purpose of learning your wishes. We are informed that you were enraged because we used the word beneficium, at which surely the mind of so great a person as yourself should not have been disturbed. For although with some that word has come to have a meaning different from its original sense, yet it ought to be taken in the sense in which we have used it and which it has had from the beginning. For beneficium comes from bonum and factum, and we used it to mean not a feudum (fief), but a “good deed,” in which sense it is used throughout the holy Scriptures; as when we are said to be guided and nourished by the beneficium of God, which means not the “fief,” but the kindness of God. You surely admit that in placing the imperial crown upon your head we performed an act that would be regarded by all men as a “good deed.” Moreover, if you misunderstood the phrase “we conferred the imperial crown upon you,” and distorted it from its ordinary meaning, it could only be because you wished to misunderstand it or because you accepted the interpretation of persons who wished to disturb the peace existing between the church and the empire. For we meant by the words “we conferred” no more than “we placed,” as we said above. In ordering the recall of the ecclesiastics whom we sent to make a visitation of the churches in Germany according to the right of the Roman church, you must surely recognize that you acted unwisely, for if you had any grievance you should have informed us, and we would have undertaken to satisfy your honor. Now by the advice of our beloved son Henry, duke of Bavaria and Saxony, we have sent you two legates, our brothers Henry, cardinal priest of San Nereo and Sant Achilleo, and Hyacinth, cardinal deacon of Santa Maria in Cosmedin, both wise and honorable men, and we urge you to receive them honorably and kindly, and to accept the message which they deliver as coming from the sincerity of our heart; so agreeing with them through the mediation of our son the duke, that no discord may remain between you and your holy mother, the Roman church.
Definition of Regalia or Crown Rights, Given at the Diet Held on the Roncalian Plain, 1158.
The rights of the crown were called “regalia.” When Frederick I went into Italy (1158) he found that the royal rights had been usurped by the cities and nobles. At the diet which he held on the Roncalian plain he consulted lawyers who had been trained in the law of Justinian, and asked them what the imperial rights in Italy were. Their decision, which is here given, was largely influenced by their study of the Roman law. The account which Ragewin (IV, 7) gives of this diet is as follows: “Frederick then examined into the matter of the royal jurisdiction and the regalia, which for a long time had been lost to the empire because they had been usurped and the kings had neglected to recover them. The bishops, the nobles, and the cities, since they could find no excuse for retaining these rights, resigned them to the emperor. Milan was the first to surrender them. When the emperor asked what these rights were, the decision was given that they were the right to appoint dukes, marquises, counts, and consuls [in the cities]; to coin money; to levy tolls; to collect the fodrum [a tax in provisions for the support of the emperor and his army when passing through the territory]; to collect customs and harbor dues; to furnish safe-conducts; to control mills, fish-ponds, bridges, and all the water-ways, and to demand an annual tax not only from the land, but also from each person.”
These are the regalian rights or rights of the crown: Arimanniæ,1 public roads, navigable rivers and those which unite to form navigable rivers, harbors, and the banks of rivers; tolls, coinage, profits from fines and penalties; ownerless and confiscated lands, and the property of those who have contracted incestuous marriages or have been outlawed for crimes mentioned in the Novellæ of Justinian; rights of conveyance on direct routes and cross-roads2 (angariæ and parangariæ), and the prestation of ships;3 the special taxes for the royal expedition; the appointment of officials for the administration of justice; mines; royal palaces in the customary cities; the profits of fisheries and salt-works; the property of those who are guilty of offence against the majesty of the emperor; half the treasure discovered in places belonging to the emperor or dedicated to religious purposes, and all of it if the finder was aided by the emperor.
Grounds for the Quarrel between Adrian IV and Frederick I. Letter of Eberhard, Bishop of Bamberg, to Eberhard, Archbishop of Salzburg, 1159.
Although the stirrup episode and the Besançon episode were ended without a rupture between Frederick and Adrian, the fundamental question between them was not yet settled. Frederick continued to act in accordance with his ideas of what his office demanded, thus giving deep offence to the pope. The various matters in which the pope felt that Frederick had offended are set forth in this letter. They involve the deeper question of supremacy. The relations between the pope and emperor were becoming more and more strained. Although Frederick had previously refused to consider the propositions of the commune of Rome, he now received their ambassadors courteously. The people of the city wished to obtain his recognition of their government. Since the pope was obdurate Frederick threatened to make common cause with the rebellious city, hoping, no doubt, that Adrian would thereby be compelled to sue to him for terms.
To his reverend father and lord, Eberhard, archbishop of Salzburg, Eberhard, by the grace of God bishop of Bamberg.
. . . That perilous time seems near at hand when strife shall arise between the king and the pope. The cardinals Octavianus and William, former archdeacon of Pavia, were sent by pope Adrian to the emperor with a message which began with a conciliatory introduction but which contained most vexatious matter. For instance, they said: the emperor must not send ambassadors to the city of Rome without the consent of the pope, as all the magisterial power in Rome and all the regalian rights there belong to St. Peter; the fodrum must not be collected from the papal estates except at the time of the imperial coronation; Italian bishops should take only the oath of fidelity to the emperor and not the oath of homage [see no. 214]; bishops shall not be required to entertain the ambassadors of the emperor in their palaces; the following possessions, belonging of right to the Roman church, must be restored: Tivoli, Ferrara, Massa, Fiscaglia, all the lands of the countess Matilda, all the land from Aquapendente to Rome, the duchy of Spoleto, and the islands of Sardinia and Corsica. The emperor was willing to do justice in these matters if the pope would give him justice in return [that is, the emperor was willing to submit each matter to trial and abide by the decision, if the pope would do the same], but the cardinals were only empowered to receive justice and not to give it, for they said that they could not bind the pope. The emperor on his part then made the following complaints: that the treaty of Constance had not been kept by the pope in the matter of his promise not to make peace with the Greeks, the Sicilians, or the Roman people without the consent of both parties [see no. 97]; that cardinals were sent through Germany without the emperor’s consent, and that they entered the palaces of bishops who possessed regalian rights from the emperor; that the pope heard unjust appeals; and many similar matters. The emperor agreed that the pope should be notified of these demands by the aforesaid cardinals, but the pope refused to send other cardinals empowered to treat of these things, as the emperor had requested. In the meantime ambassadors came from the Roman people to make a treaty of peace with the emperor, and were favorably received and dismissed with honor. The emperor is about to send ambassadors both to the pope and to the city of Rome; if possible, he will make a treaty of peace with the pope, but if this fails, he will ally himself with the Romans. . . .
The Disputed Papal Election of 1159.
Letter of Alexander III about his Election, 1159.
When Adrian IV died, 1159, the quarrel between him and the emperor had reached such a pitch of bitterness that he was about to excommunicate Frederick. But there was a party in the college of cardinals which was heartily supporting the emperor against the pope. The members of this German party, as it was called, had opposed the treaty which Adrian had made with William of Sicily (see no. 99) and had sympathized with Frederick in the Besançon episode and in his later contentions with the pope (see nos. 100-102). They believed that the pope was transcending his powers, and usurping authority which belonged to the emperor alone. But this German party, of which Octavian was the head, was hopelessly in the minority. When the cardinals met to elect a successor to Adrian IV, it was not able to secure the unanimous election of its candidate. Two popes were elected, and a schism ensued which lasted for seventeen years. Alexander III was very clever and succeeded in uniting all of Frederick’s enemies against him. Under the pope’s leadership and by his diplomacy, the Lombard league was formed. It completely defeated the emperor at Legnano, 1176 (see nos. 108-109). We give first a letter of Alexander III, which contains an account of his election. Then Victor’s letter follows (no. 106). And finally a brief account of the election by Gerhoh of Reichersberg is given (no. 107).
Alexander, bishop, servant of the servants of God, to his venerable brothers, Syrus, archbishop of Genoa, and his suffragans, greeting and apostolic benediction.
The eternal and unchangeable will of the Creator provided that his holy and immaculate church from its very foundation should be ruled by one pastor and governor, to whom all prelates should be obedient. As members are united to one head, so they should be joined to him in perfect unity and never separate themselves from him. And Christ, who confirmed the faith of his disciples by saying: “Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world” [Matt. 28:20], will without doubt keep his promise to his church which he put under the control of his apostle [Peter]. And although his church, like the little boat of St. Peter, may sometimes be tossed about by the waves, he will preserve it in safety.
Three false brothers have gone out from us, but they were not of us, and, transforming themselves into angels of light, although they are servants of Satan, they are trying to rend and tear the church, the seamless robe of Christ, which he, in the person of the Psalmist, prayed might be delivered from the lion’s mouth, and from the sword and from the power of the dog [Ps. 22:20]. Nevertheless Christ, the founder and head of the church, is carefully guarding her, his only spouse, and he will not permit the little boat of St. Peter to suffer shipwreck, although it may often be tossed about by the waves.
Our predecessor, Adrian IV, of blessed memory, died September 1, while we were at Anagni, and his body was brought to Rome and honorably buried in the customary manner in St. Peter’s Church, on September 4. Nearly all the cardinals were present, and after the burial they began to take steps to elect his successor. After three days of discussion all the cardinals except three elected us, although we are not sufficient for this burden and not worthy of so high an office. The three who opposed our election were Octavian, John of St. Martin’s, and Guido of Crema. God is our witness that we are telling the exact truth when we say that all the others unanimously elected us, and the other clergy and the people of Rome assented to it. But two, John and Guido, voted for Octavian and stubbornly insisted on his election. The prior of the cardinal deacons was putting the papal mantle on us in the customary manner, although we were reluctant to receive it because we saw our insufficiency for the high office. When Octavian saw this he was almost beside himself with rage, and with his own hands snatched the mantle from our neck and took it away. This caused a great tumultuous outbreak. Some of the senators were present and saw it, and one of them, inspired by the spirit of God, snatched the mantle from the hands of Octavian, who was now raging. Then Octavian, with angry face and fierce eye, turned to one of his chaplains who had come prepared for this, upbraided him, and ordered him hastily to fetch him the mantle which he had brought with him. The mantle was brought without delay, and while all the cardinals were trying to get out of the room, Octavian removed his hat, bowed his head, and received the mantle from his chaplain and another clergyman. And because there was no one else there, he had to assist them himself to put it on him. But the condemnation of God was seen in the fact that he put the mantle on with the wrong side in front. Those who were present saw it and laughed. And as he was of a crooked mind and intention, so the mantle was put on crooked as an evidence of his condemnation. When this was done, the doors of the church, which had been closed, were opened and bands of armed men with drawn swords entered and made a great noise. But they had been hired by Octavian to do this. And because that pestilential Octavian had no cardinals and bishops he surrounded himself with a band of armed knights. . . .
Letter of Victor IV to the German Princes, 1159.
Victor, bishop, servant of the servants of God, to his venerable brothers, the patriarchs, archbishops, bishops, and his dear sons, the abbots, dukes, marquises, counts, and other princes, and the imperial family who are connected with the most holy court of Frederick, the most serene and unconquered emperor of the Romans, greeting and apostolic benediction.
We believe that you cannot have forgotten how sincerely we have loved the empire and how we have labored in support of its honor and dignity. And now that we have been elevated to a higher dignity we wish to do even more for you and the empire. We therefore confidently beseech you, for the reverence which you have for St. Peter and for your love to us, to ask the emperor to take immediate steps to come to the aid and protection of the empire, which God has committed to him, and of the church of God, the bride of Christ, of which God has made him advocate and defender. If he does not, there is danger that his malicious enemies may prevail in this great struggle, and the little boat of St. Peter be overwhelmed by winds and storms, and the imperial dignity be humiliated.
We wish to inform you that under the Lord’s guidance we have been elected pope. After our predecessor, Adrian IV, of blessed memory, had gone the way of all flesh and been buried in the church of St. Peter, we all came together to elect his successor. After long discussion and mature deliberation, God graciously inspired our brothers, the cardinal bishops, priests, and deacons of the holy Roman church, and the other clergy of Rome, to elect us. The people of Rome asked for our election and the senators and other nobles assented to it. We were canonically elected and then elevated to the throne of St. Peter. And on the first Sunday in October we were consecrated and received the full power of our office.
We humbly beseech you to aid us with your prayers to Him from whom come all power and dignities. Now the former chancellor, Roland, who was bound by oath in a conspiracy against the church of God and the empire in support of William of Sicily, had himself thrust into the papal office twelve days after we were elected. Such a thing had never been heard of before. If he should send you letters, you should refuse to receive them, because they are full of lies and he is a schismatic and a heretic. Pay no attention whatever to his letters.
The Account of the Election as Given by Gerhoh of Reichersberg,ca. 1160.
See introductory note to no. 105.
When Adrian IV died, all the cardinal clergy of the holy Roman church met to elect his successor. A secret ballot was taken and the result announced. It was found that a majority of the cardinals had voted for Roland, the chancellor of Adrian IV. A few had voted for Octavian, and some also for Magister Bernard. Since there could not be three popes, the majority tried to persuade the minority to give up their candidates and make the election of Roland unanimous. Those who had voted for Bernard then deserted him and some of them joined the party of Roland. The others said that they had no preference but would support either Octavian or Roland, provided the election of either were unanimous, and the church should not be divided on account of it. The number of cardinals who supported Octavian, or were willing to support him if elected, was seven. But a much larger number supported Roland. The majority then tried hard to persuade these seven to unite in electing Roland, and won over all but three of them. Two of these, John of Pisa, and Guido of Crema, were very contentious and declared that they would never desert Octavian. So they with the bishop of Tusculum made Octavian pope.
The Preliminary Treaty of Anagni between Alexander III and Frederick I, 1176.
The quarrel between the pope and emperor increased in bitterness. At the same time the Italian cities rebelled against Frederick and joined the pope. The Lombard league was formed and at Legnano, 1176, the emperor was utterly defeated. He then sent ambassadors to the pope at Anagni to discuss the terms of a treaty of peace. They agreed on the following articles which were afterward incorporated in the peace of Venice, 1177. The final treaty was made in 1183 and is called the treaty of Constance (see no. 109).
1. The emperor and the empress, and their son, king Henry, and all the princes promise to accept pope Alexander III as the catholic and universal pope, and to show him such reverence as their predecessors were wont to show to his predecessors.
2. The emperor promises to keep peace faithfully with pope Alexander and his successors and with the whole Roman church.
3. All the regalia and other possessions of St. Peter as held by the Roman church in the time of pope Innocent II, which have been seized by the emperor or his allies, shall be restored to pope Alexander and to the Roman church, and the emperor engages to aid the church in retaining possession of them.
4. The emperor restores to the pope and to the Roman church the control of the office of prefect of the city of Rome; the pope shall see to it that justice shall be done the emperor when he has occasion to seek his rights in the city.
5. All vassals of the church won over by the emperor to his side during the late quarrel, shall be released from their allegiance to him and restored to the pope and to the Roman church.
6. The emperor will restore to the pope and to the church the lands of the countess Matilda as they were held by the church in the time of the emperor Lothar and king Conrad and the present emperor Frederick.
7. The pope and the emperor will mutually aid one another in maintaining the honor and the rights of the empire and the church.
8. Everything unjustly taken from the churches by the emperor or his followers during the schism shall be restored to them.
9. The emperor will make peace with the Lombards on the terms to be agreed upon by representatives appointed for this purpose by the emperor and the pope and the Lombards. In case any difficulty arises in the course of these negotiations which the representatives cannot settle, it shall be decided by the majority of the special commissioners to be appointed for this purpose by the emperor and the pope in equal numbers.
10. The emperor will make peace with the king of Sicily and with the emperor of Constantinople and with all the allies of the pope, and he will not take revenge for any wrongs which they may have committed in assisting the Roman church.
11-22. Articles referring to individuals and lesser details.
23. Pope Alexander and the cardinals on their part make peace with the emperor and the empress and their son, king Henry, and all their party. This, however, shall not prejudice those rights of controlling and judging ecclesiastical persons which are herein surrendered to the pope and to the Roman church, nor the rights of the Roman church over the lands of St. Peter now withheld by other persons, nor the special exceptions made in this document in favor of the pope and the Roman church, on one side, and the emperor and the empire, on the other.
24. The pope and the cardinals will take their oath to keep this peace, the oath to be drawn up in writing and signed by the cardinals.
25. The pope shall immediately call together as large a council as possible, and with the cardinal bishops and other clergy who may be present, shall excommunicate all who break this peace. Afterward he shall do the same in a general council.
26. Many of the nobles of Rome and the great vassals of Campania shall also take oath to keep this peace.
27. The emperor and the princes of the empire will also take their oaths to keep this peace, the oath to be drawn up in writing and signed by the emperor and the princes.
28. If the pope should die first, the emperor and his son, king Henry, and the princes shall observe these terms of peace with his successors and all the cardinals and the whole Roman church, and with the Lombards and the king of Sicily and all the allies of the church. If the emperor should die first, the pope and the cardinals and the Roman church shall observe these terms with the empress Beatrice, and her son, king Henry, and with all the German people and their allies, as written above.
29. In the meantime the emperor shall not attack the land of St. Peter, whether held by the pope in person or by the king of Sicily or other vassals of the pope.
30. If the negotiations for peace are broken off by either side before they are completed, which God forbid, truce shall be kept for three months after the notification of withdrawal.
The Peace of Constance, January 25, 1183.
See introductory note to no. 108.
In the name of the holy and undivided Trinity. Frederick, by divine mercy emperor of the Romans, Augustus, and Henry VI, his son, king of the Romans, Augustus. . . .
1. We, Frederick, emperor of the Romans, and our son Henry, king of the Romans, hereby grant to you, the cities, territories, and persons of the league, the regalia and other rights within and without the cities, as you have been accustomed to hold them; that is each member of the league shall have the same rights as the city of Verona has had in the past or has now.
2. The members of the league shall exercise freely and without interference from us all the rights which they have exercised of old.
3. These are the rights which are guaranteed to you: the fodrum, forests, pastures, bridges, streams, mills, fortifications of the cities, criminal and civil jurisdiction, and all other rights which concern the welfare of the city.
4. The regalia which are not to be granted to the members of the league shall be determined in the following manner: in the case of each city, certain men shall be chosen for this purpose from both the bishopric and the city; these men shall be of good repute, capable of deciding these questions, and such as are not prejudiced against either party. Acting with the bishop of the diocese, they shall swear to inquire into the questions of the regalia and to set aside those that by right belong to us. If, however, the cities do not wish to submit to this inquisition, they shall pay to us an annual tribute of 2000 marks in silver as compensation for our regalia. If this sum seems excessive, it may be reduced.
5. If anyone appeals to us in regard to matters which are by this treaty admitted to be under your jurisdiction, we agree not to hear such an appeal.
6. The bishops, churches, cities, and other persons, clerical and lay, shall retain possession of the property or rights which have been granted to them before this war by us or by our predecessors, the above concessions excepted. The accustomed dues for such holdings shall be paid to us, but not the tax.
7. Such possessions as we have granted to members of the league, inside or outside of cities, shall not be included among those regalia for which taxes are to be paid to us.
8. All privileges, gifts, and concessions made in the time of the war by us or our representatives to the prejudice or injury of the cities, territories, or members of the league are to be null and void.
9. Consuls of cities where the bishop holds the position of count from the king or emperor shall receive their office from the bishop, if this has been the custom before. In all other cities the consuls shall receive their office from us, in the following manner: after they have been elected by the city they shall be invested with office by our representative in the city or bishopric, unless we are ourselves in Lombardy, in which case they shall be invested by us. At the end of every five years each city shall send its representative to us to receive the investiture.
10. This arrangement shall be observed by our successor, and all such investitures shall be free.
11. After our death, the cities shall receive investiture in the same way from our son and from his successors.
12. The emperor shall have the right of hearing appeals in cases involving more than 25 pounds, saving the right of the church of Brescia to hear appeals. The appellant shall not, however, be compelled to come to Germany, but he shall appeal to the representative of the emperor in the city or bishopric. This representative shall examine the case fairly and shall give judgment according to the laws and customs of that city. The decision shall be given within two months from the time of appeal, unless the case has been deferred by reason of some legal hindrance or by the consent of both parties.
13. The consuls of cities shall take the oath of allegiance to the emperor before they are invested with office.
14. Our vassals shall receive investiture from us and shall take the vassal’s oath of fidelity. All other persons between the ages of 15 and 70 shall take the ordinary oath of fidelity to the emperor unless there be some good reason why this oath should be remitted.
15. Vassals who have failed to receive investiture from us or to render the services due for their fiefs, during the war or the truce, shall not on this account lose their fiefs.
16. Lands held by libelli and precariæ shall be held according to the customs of eahc city, the feudal law of Frederick I to the contrary notwithstanding.
17. All injuries, losses, and damages which we or our followers have sustained from the league or any of its members or allies are hereby pardoned, and all such transgressors are hereby received back into our favor.
18. We will not remain longer than is necessary in any city or bishopric.
19. It shall be permitted to the cities to erect fortifications within or without their boundaries.
20. It shall be permitted to the league to maintain its organization as it now is or to renew it as often as it desires.
The Formation of the Duchy of Austria, 1156.
The nobles of Germany early showed the desire to free themselves from the control of the emperor and to acquire independence at the expense of the crown. The document by which Frederick I created the duchy of Austria out of the Bavarian east mark and gave it to his uncle, Henry, contains some concessions which tended to weaken the crown. Instead of binding the new duke closely to the crown and compelling him to render services commensurate with his high position, the emperor excused him from attending diets which were not held near his lands, and from military service except in the lands which adjoined his. He also gave the duke the complete administration of justice in his territory. Other princes were not slow to demand similar privileges, and the crown was gradually stripped of its powers and prerogatives. See nos. 136, 139, 153, 160. The duchy of Austria, created by this grant, came into the possession of the Hapsburg family, and formed the centre of the Hapsburg lands, the present Austro-Hungarian empire. See no. 150.
In the name of the holy and undivided Trinity. Frederick, by divine mercy emperor of the Romans, Augustus. . . . Know all our faithful subjects, present and future, that with the aid of him who sent peace on earth, we have been able to settle the long quarrel between our beloved uncle Henry, duke of Austria, and our beloved nephew, Henry, duke of Saxony, over the possession of the duchy of Bavaria. This was accomplished at the diet of Regensburg on the day of the Nativity of the blessed Virgin Mary in the presence of many pious catholic princes. This is the way in which the settlement was reached: The duke of Austria resigned the duchy of Bavaria into our hands, and we immediately granted it in fief to the duke of Saxony. Then the duke of Bavaria [Henry of Saxony] surrendered to us the mark of Austria with all its rights and all the fiefs which the former margrave Luitpold held of the duchy of Bavaria, and we have made the mark of Austria a duchy with the consent of the princes, Wadislaus, duke of Bohemia, putting the motion and the other princes agreeing to it. This was done in order that our beloved uncle should not lose in rank by the transfer. We have now granted the duchy of Austria in fief to our uncle Henry and to his wife Theodora, decreeing by this perpetual edict that (1) they and their children after them, whether sons or daughters, shall hold and possess it by hereditary right. If our uncle and his wife should die without children, they may leave the duchy by will to whomsoever they desire. (2) We decree also that no person, great or small, shall presume to exercise any of the rights of justice within the duchy, without the consent and permission of the duke. (3) The duke of Austria does not owe any services to the empire, except to attend, when summoned, such diets as may be held in Bavaria. (4) He is not bound to join the emperor on any campaign except such as may be directed against parts of the kingdom neighboring to Austria.
The Bishop of Würzburg is made a Duke, 1168.
The old duchy of Franconia disappeared with Conrad II (1024-39). The Staufer, who inherited the family lands of Conrad II, called themselves dukes of Rothenburg, and not of Franconia. A large part of the original duchy went to make up the bishoprics of Mainz, Bamberg, and Würzburg. In time the bishops of Würzburg put forth the claim that they had received the ducal office in Franconia. In a diet at Würzburg, 1168, Herold, the ambitious bishop of Würzburg, presented some forged documents to Frederick I to prove that the bishops of Würzburg were also dukes and had ducal authority in the duchy of Würzburg, which was identical with the bishopric. Frederick was deceived by these forgeries and confirmed the bishop in his usurped title and authority. The bishops of Würzburg now received the highest jurisdiction over their territory.
In the name of the holy and undivided Trinity. Frederick, by the mercy of God emperor of the Romans, Augustus. . . . Be it known to all the faithful subjects of God and of our empire, both present and future, that we held a diet at Würzburg recently, where with the aid of God we were able to reconcile the differences which had arisen among the princes of Saxony. At that diet also Herold, venerable bishop of Würzburg, attended by his whole chapter and by a large following of freemen and ministerials, besought us to confirm by our imperial authority the jurisdiction over the church and duchy of Würzburg, which has belonged to his predecessors since the time of Karl the Great. We always delight to grant the reasonable requests of suppliants, and we have no wish to disturb the arrangements made by former emperors, unless there is some need of correction. In this case it is apparent that the settlement made by the former emperors is just, and that the lands have been held unquestioned for a long time by the church and the duchy of Würzburg. Therefore, influenced by the fidelity and devotion of the bishop and by the intercessions of the chapter of his church, whose devotion to him has touched our heart, we give and grant to the venerable bishop Herold and to his successors forever the jurisdiction and right of administering justice in the whole bishopric and duchy and all its counties; that is, the right to punish cases of rapine and incendiarism, to exercise authority over freeholds, fiefs, and vassals, and to inflict capital punishment. By our imperial authority expressed in this perpetual decree, we forbid any person, ecclesiastical or secular, to exercise any jurisdiction in these matters within the bishopric and duchy of Würzburg and its counties; except that the counts should have jurisdiction within their counties over those freemen who are known as bargaldi. If anyone acts contrary to this he is guilty of violating the decrees of former emperors, the rights of the church of Würzburg, and this our decree. We also forbid anyone to create hundred-courts or appoint centgrafs (hundred-courts) within this bishopric and duchy and its counties, except by the grant of the bishop-duke of Würzburg. Further, we have destroyed the castle of Bamberg, which has been the cause of so much trouble to the church and the whole province, and have given the hill upon which it stood to the church of Würzburg, forbidding the erection of a castle or fortification again upon it. We have destroyed also the castle of Frankenberg, which menaced the neighboring monastery of Amerbach and imperilled the peace of the church of Würzburg, and have given it under similar conditions to that church.
Decree of Gelnhausen, 1180.
As early as 953 Bruno, archbishop of Cologne, received the ducal authority over Lothringen. This gave him the power to hold local diets and to summon both the bishops and secular nobles to attend them. The Gelnhausen decree, so named because it was published in a diet held at Gelnhausen, is important because it contains an official account (1) of the trial of Henry the Lion, and (2) of the partition of the duchy of Saxony. The archbishop of Cologne now receives the ducal authority over a part of the duchy of Saxony. There is here a good illustration of the policy which Frederick I followed of weakening the great duchies by dividing them.
In the name of the holy and undivided Trinity. Frederick, by divine mercy emperor of the Romans, Augustus. . . .
Know all faithful subjects of the empire, both present and future, that Henry, former duke of Bavaria and Westphalia, has oppressed the churches of God and the nobles of the empire by seizing their lands and violating their rights, has refused to obey our summons to present himself before us and has therefore incurred the ban, and even after that has continued to injure the churches and nobles. Now therefore on account of the injuries which he has inflicted upon these persons, and on account of the contempt which he has so often shown to us, and especially on account of his violation of feudal law, in that he refused to obey the three summonses to present himself before us, he has been judged contumacious and by the unanimous sentence of the princes in the diet held at Würzburg has been deprived of the duchies of Bavaria, Westphalia, and Engria [that is, Bavaria and Saxony] and of all the fiefs which he held of the empire, and these territories have been restored to our control.
Now by the advice of the princes we have divided the duchy of Westphalia and Engria [Saxony] into two parts and have conferred that part which is included in the dioceses of Cologne and Paderborn upon our beloved prince, Philip, archbishop of Cologne, because of his conspicuous merits, and of his labors and expenditures for the crown. We have given and granted this territory to the church of Cologne with the counties, advocates, rights of safe-conduct, domains, farms, fiefs, ministerials, serfs, and all other things which belong to that duchy; and we have solemnly invested the aforesaid Philip by the banner [flag] of the empire with that portion of the duchy which is given to his church. This was done by the decision of all the princes of the diet, and with the public consent of our relative, duke Bernard, to whom we have given the other part of the duchy of Westphalia and Engria. . . .
Papal Election Decree of Alexander III, 1179.
Disputed elections might easily take place, because there was no clear law governing them. It was not the majority of the cardinals who could elect, but those of the “better and wiser counsel.” No matter how small the number of cardinals who might vote for a particular candidate, he could easily claim to be elected because he could say that his supporters were of the “better and wiser counsel.” To prevent such occurrences, Alexander III decreed that the votes of two-thirds of the cardinals were necessary to elect.
Concerning the election of the pope. Although our predecessors have issued decrees intended to prevent disputed elections in the papacy, nevertheless, the unity of the church has frequently been imperilled by the wicked ambition of men. We have decided with the advice of our brothers and the approval of the council that something further must be done to prevent this evil. Therefore we have decreed that when the cardinals cannot come to a unanimous vote on any candidate, that person shall be regarded as pope who receives two-thirds of the votes, even if the other one-third refuse to accept him and elect a pope of their own. If anyone who has been elected by only a third of the cardinals shall presume to act as pope he and his followers shall be excommunicated and deprived of all ecclesiastical rank; they shall not be allowed to take communion, unless it be extreme unction, and unless they repent they shall have their part with Dathan and Abiram [Num. 16], whom the earth swallowed alive. No one who has been elected by less than two-thirds, shall presume to act as pope, and if he does he shall suffer the same penalty. This decree shall not be to the prejudice of the canon law or of the practice in other churches where the voice of the majority is declared to be decisive in elections, because any dispute arising in these churches can be settled by appeal to higher authority. The Roman church requires a special law, because there is in her case no higher authority to appeal to.
Supremacy of the Papal Power.
Innocent III to Acerbius, 1198.
Innocent III here gives an interesting statement of the theory of papal supremacy and of the relations existing between papacy and empire.
Innocent III to Acerbius, prior, and to the other clergy in Tuscany. As God, the creator of the universe, set two great lights in the firmament of heaven, the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night [Gen. 1:15, 16], so He set two great dignities in the firmament of the universal church, . . . the greater to rule the day, that is, souls, and the lesser to rule the night, that is, bodies. These dignities are the papal authority and the royal power. And just as the moon gets her light from the sun, and is inferior to the sun in quality, quantity, position, and effect, so the royal power gets the splendor of its dignity from the papal authority. . . .
The Use of the Pallium. Innocent III to the Archbishop of Trnova (in Bulgaria), 1201.
To the honor of omnipotent God, and of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and of the blessed apostles, Peter and Paul, and of pope Innocent and of the Roman church, as well as of the church committed to you, we give you the pallium. It was first placed on the tomb of St. Peter, from which place we have taken it to send it to you. It is the symbol of the full power of the bishop’s office. You shall wear the pallium only when you celebrate mass in the churches of your own diocese on the following days: Christmas, St. Stephen’s, Circumcision, Epiphany, Purification of the Virgin Mary, Palm Sunday, Thursday and Saturday of Passion week, Easter Sunday, Monday after Easter, Ascension of our Lord, Pentecost, the three feasts of St. Mary, the birthday of John the Baptist, the feast days of all the apostles, All Saints’ day, and when a church is to be dedicated, or bishop consecrated, or clergy ordained, on the principal feast days of your own church, and on the anniversary of your consecration.
The bishop of Rome alone always wears the pallium when celebrating mass because he has the plentitude (fullness) of ecclesiastical power, which is symbolized by the pallium. Others wear it only on certain days, and in that diocese over which they have received ecclesiastical authority, because they are called to have authority over only a part of the church, and not over all of it [as the pope is].
The Punishment of Heretics.
Innocent III to the Archbishop of Auch in Gascony, 1198.
Many heresies were appearing in various parts of Europe, and Innocent III made special efforts to suppress them. The three following documents illustrate the means by which he hoped to destroy them. These letters are directed to Spain and to Gascony, where the Albigensian heresy was flourishing.
The little boat of St. Peter is beaten by many storms and tossed about upon the sea, but it grieves us most of all that, against the orthodox faith, there are now arising more unrestrainedly and with more injurious results than ever before, ministers of diabolical error who are ensnaring the souls of the simple and ruining them. With their superstitions and false inventions they are perverting the meaning of the Holy Scriptures and trying to destroy the unity of the catholic church. Since we have learned from you and others that this pestilential error is growing in Gascony and in the neighboring territories, we wish you and your fellow bishops to resist it with all your might, because it is to be feared that it will spread and that by its contagion the minds of the faithful will be corrupted. And therefore by this present apostolical writing we give you a strict command that, by whatever means you can, you destroy all these heresies and expel from your diocese all who are polluted with them. You shall exercise the rigor of the ecclesiastical power against them and all those who have made themselves suspected by associating with them. They may not appeal from your judgments, and if necessary, you may cause the princes and people to suppress them with the sword.
Innocent III Commands all in Authority to aid his Legates in Destroying Heresy, 1198.
See introductory note to no. 116.
In order to catch the little foxes which are destroying the vineyard of the Lord [Song of Sol. 2:15], and to separate heretics from the society of the faithful, we have sent to you our beloved son and brother, Rainerius, who, by the divine aid, is powerful in both word and deed, and with him our beloved son and brother, Guido, who fears God and is devoted to works of love. We ask, warn, exhort, and for the forgiveness of your sins command you to receive them kindly and render them assistance against the heretics by giving them advice and aid. We have ordered Rainerius to go on into Spain on certain important ecclesiastical matters, and so we order all archbishops and bishops to use, at the command of Guido, the spiritual sword against all heretics whom he shall name to you. And we order the laymen to confiscate their goods and drive them out of your territories, and thus separate the chaff from the wheat. Moreover to all who faithfully and devoutly aid the church in preserving the faith in this time of great danger which is threatening her, we grant the same indulgence of sins as to those who make a pilgrimage to the churches of St. Peter or of St. James.
Confiscation of the Property of Heretics. Innocent III to the King of Aragon, 1206.
See introductory note to no. 116.
Since according to the gospel, the “laborer is worthy of his hire” [Luke 10:7], and in another place it is said, “Thou shalt not muzzle the mouth of the ox that treadeth out the corn” [1 Cor. 9:1], it is certainly even more fitting that a proper reward should be given those who, zealous for the divine law, labor to destroy the little foxes which are ruining the vineyard of the Lord [Song of Sol. 2:15]; we mean those who are endeavoring to pervert the Christian faith. Their reward should be all the greater, because if these foxes are killed the vineyard will be able to bear much greater fruit in works of piety. Led by such considerations, we concede to you, by this present writing, the right to reserve for your own use all the movable as well as immovable goods of heretics and of their supporters, of which you are able to get possession.
Innocent III Commands the French Bishops to Punish Usury, 1198.
The code of Justinian permitted the taking of interest, but the Biblical view of the matter prevailed and in the Middle Age to accept interest in any form on loans was usury. The church often renewed her prohibitions of the custom, but was unable to abolish it. Finally in the sixteenth century the distinction was made between a reasonable and just rate of interest, which was permissible, and an excessive rate, which was declared to be usury, and therefore prohibited.
We believe that you know how pernicious the vice of usury is, since, in addition to the ecclesiastical laws which have been issued against it, the prophet says that those who put their money out at interest are to be excluded from the tabernacle of the Lord [Ps. 15:5]. And the New Testament, as well as the Old, forbids the taking of interest, since the Truth [Christ] himself says: “Lend, hoping for nothing again” [Luke 6:35]. And the prophet says: “Thou shalt not receive usury or increase” [Ezek. 18:17]. We command you all by this apostolical writing not to permit those who are known as usurers to clear themselves by any subterfuge or trick when they are charged with the crime.
Innocent III Forbids Violence to the Jews, 1199.
During the Middle Age the Jew received no protection from the law. It took no account of him. He was compelled to pay for the permission to live in a Christian state or in a Christian town. Such a permission was often revoked at the will of the government (emperor, duke, bishop, city council, etc.), and the Jews were then plundered by the government or the mob, and made to pay well to have the permission renewed. Although the government often robbed them, they had more to fear from the fanaticism and covetousness of the mob, against which the government was generally helpless to protect them. The more enlightened of the clergy tried to shield them, but generally without success. This document gives an idea of the ways in which they were commonly molested, as well as of the enlightened humanity of Innocent III. See also nos. 299, 300.
. . . We decree that no Christian shall use violence to compel the Jews to accept baptism. But if a Jew, of his own accord, because of a change in his faith, shall have taken refuge with Christians, after his wish has been made known, he may be made a Christian without any opposition. For anyone who has not of his own will sought Christian baptism cannot have the true Christian faith. No Christian shall do the Jews any personal injury, except in executing the judgments of a judge, or deprive them of their possessions, or change the rights and privileges which they have been accustomed to have. During the celebration of their festivals, no one shall disturb them by beating them with clubs or by throwing stones at them. No one shall compel them to render any services except those which they have been accustomed to render. And to prevent the baseness and avarice of wicked men we forbid anyone to deface or damage their cemeteries or to extort money from them by threatening to exhume the bodies of their dead. . . .
Innocent III to the Archbishop of Rouen, 1198.
It was not uncommon for clergymen to hold livings or benefices (receive an income) from different churches at the same time. In such cases, they of course found it impossible to live in all the parishes from which they received money or support. And some clergymen, although supported by some church, cared little for their clerical duties and evaded them by living in some other parish. This letter to the archbishop of Rouen represents a part of the reforming work of Innocent III. He endeavored to correct these abuses, as is apparent from this letter.
Since it is written that whoever does not work shall not eat [2 Thess. 3:10], we believe it wrong that clergymen do not serve those churches from which they have their livings. You have informed us that certain canons of the church of Rouen receive incomes and livings from the church, but do not live there, as they should, and that the church of Rouen is thereby unjustly deprived of the services of the clergy whom she supports. Therefore we grant your petition, venerable brother in Christ, and by our apostolic authority give you full power to use ecclesiastical discipline to compel them to live in their churches, as the law and custom of the church require. . . .
Innocent III to a Bishop, Forbidding Laymen to Demand Tithes of the Clergy, 1198.
This letter does not differ materially from the bull “Clericis laicos,” no. 162. See the introductory note to it.
Since it is improper and contrary to reason that laymen, who are bound to pay tithes to the clergy, should presume to extort tithes from them, to the utter confusion of the established order of things, we grant your petition, and give all the monasteries, churches, and clergy of your diocese the permission to refuse to pay any tithes which may be demanded of them by laymen, no matter under what pretext such a demand may be made. And if laymen, contrary to this writing, shall attempt to collect such tithes by violence, you shall put them under ecclesiastical interdict and deprive them of the right to appeal.
The Secular Power of Innocent III.
The Prefect of Rome Takes the Oath of Fidelity to the Pope, 1198.
Innocent III attempted to build up a system of papal government in all the lands which he claimed. This document shows how his authority in Rome was recognized. No. 124 is an illustration of the oath which he required of the local princes in Italy who held lands from him. No. 125 is offered as an evidence of his government in Sicily.
The next day after the coronation of Innocent III, Peter, prefect of the city of Rome, in the consistory of the Lateran palace, publicly took the oath of fidelity to Innocent and his successors, against all men, and received from the pope a robe as the symbol of his investiture, with the prefecture. And then he did Innocent liege homage and the pope gave him a silver cup as the sign of his favor.
The oath. In the name of Christ. I, Peter, prefect of the city, swear that the land which the pope has given me to govern, I will govern to the honor and profit of the church. I will neither sell, nor hire out, nor enfeoff, nor pawn, nor aleniate in any other way, any part of it. I will carefully find out and maintain all the rights of the Roman church, and I will endeavor to recover those rights which she has lost; and when I have recovered them, I will preserve and defend them as long as I shall hold this office. I will guard the roads and administer justice. I will give diligent zeal and attention to the guarding of the defences in order that they may be guarded well and to the honor of the church and in accordance with her wishes. I will neither change nor cause to be changed those who have charge of the fortresses, nor will I introduce, or cause to be introduced, others into the fortresses, contrary to the command of the pope. The faithful subjects and vassals of the pope, who live on the patrimony of the church, I will not permit to take the oath of fidelity and homage to me without the special command of the pope. Nor shall any of them be required to be faithful to me except during my governorship. In the territory committed to me I will not cause any strongholds to be built without the command of the pope. I will give a faithful account of my governorship whenever the pope may demand it. And I will freely resign my office whenever the pope or the holy Roman church may command me to do so. All these things I swear that I will faithfully observe without fraud, to the best of my ability, the command of the pope being supreme in all things. So help me God and these holy gospels of God.
John of Ceccano’s Oath of Fidelity to Innocent III, 1201.
See introductory note to no. 123.
In the fourth year of the pontificate of Innocent III, in the papal palace at Anagni, a nobleman, John of Ceccano, took an oath of fidelity to pope Innocent for Ceccano and for all the land which he holds. The oath was taken in the presence of cardinal bishops, priests, and deacons; there were present also many other clergy and nobles of Anagni and of other places, as well as the knights of John of Ceccano. And he admitted that he held Ceccano and all the rest of his land from the Roman church. And this was his oath:
I, John of Ceccano, swear that from this hour on I will be faithful to St. Peter, the Roman church, and my lord pope Innocent and his successors. I will have no share in any counsel or deed, either by word or act, to deprive them of life or limb or to capture them by fraud. Any plan which they may reveal to me either in person or by messenger or by letter I will not wittingly make known to their hurt. If I learn of an impending injury to them I will prevent it if possible; if I cannot prevent it I will inform them of it either in person or by letter or by messenger, or I will tell it to some person who, I believe, will tell them of it. I will aid them in defending Ceccano and all the land which I hold, and the other regalia of St. Peter which they hold. If they have lost any regalia, I will aid them in recovering, keeping, and defending it against all men. These things I will keep in good faith, without fraud or deceit. So help me God and these holy gospels.
After these things he put his hands into the hands of the pope and did him liege homage. And the pope graciously gave him a silver cup overlaid with gold. And afterward, in the same year, the same pope, because of his faithfulness and services of John of Ceccano and his ancestors, gave him the castle of Sitense as a fief.
Innocent III Commands the Archbishop of Messina to Receive the Oaths of Bailiffs in Sicily, 1203.
See introductory note to no. 123. This document is an evidence that the government of Sicily was administered by the pope. According to the Constitutions of Sicily, 1231, the bailiffs had jurisdiction over thefts, the use of false weights and measures, and the less important civil cases.
Knowing your orthodoxy and your faithfulness we do not hesitate to commit to your charge those things which will advance the honor of the apostolic see. Accordingly, by this apostolic writing, we command you to demand and receive, in our name, the bailiff’s oath from all counts, barons, citizens, and others who have not yet taken it.
Innocent III Commands the English Barons to pay their Accustomed Scutage to King John, 1206.
Innocent III presumed to dictate to the whole Christian world in all matters, temporal as well as spiritual. The following documents, nos. 126-129, are offered merely to illustrate by a few specific cases the authority which he assumed. They explain themselves.
Innocent . . . . to his beloved sons, the great nobles, barons, and knights in England, greeting and apostolic benediction. Our most dear son, John, the illustrious king of England, has informed us that, although your ancestors were accustomed from ancient times to pay the king scutage for the baronies which they held from him, and although you yourselves have paid this scutage up to very recent times, you have now arbitrarily refused to pay scutage for the army which he led last year into Poitou. In order that your king’s plans may not be interfered with by such action, we earnestly admonish and exhort you, and by this letter we command you to pay promptly and without further resistance or objection the said scutage in accordance with your obligation. For without judicial procedure he cannot be despoiled of this scutage because his ancestors and he have been accustomed to receive it, and besides, provided his right to it is admitted, he is ready to hear any just complaints that may be made to him about it.
Innocent III to Peter of Aragon, 1211.
See introductory note to no. 126.
Since you say that while you were still a minor you did yourself great damage by making grants which now involve a large part of your income, and that, although you are very poor, you incur heavy expenses in fighting the enemies of Christianity [that is, the Mohammedans in Spain], I hereby give you the authority to revoke all the grants you made during your minority; but with this proviso, that if you wish to revoke any grants which you made to churches or to other places which are put to a religious use, such revocations shall be passed on by an ecclesiastical judge.
Innocent III Grants the Title of King to the Duke of Bohemia, 1204.
See introductory note to no. 126 and to no. 56.
Although there have been many in Bohemia who have worn a royal crown, yet they never received the papal permission to call themselves king in their documents. Nor have we hitherto been willing to call you king, because you were crowned king by Philip, duke of Suabia, who himself had not been legally crowned, and therefore could not legally crown either you or anyone else. But since you have obeyed us, and, deserting the duke of Suabia, have gone over to the illustrious king, Otto, emperor elect, and he regards you as king, we, at his request and out of consideration of your obedience, are willing hereafter to call you king. Now that you know why this favor has been granted you, strive to shun the vice of ingratitude. And show that you have deserved our favor which we have so graciously shown you, and try also to retain it. See to it that you are solemnly crowned by Otto as soon as possible.
Innocent III Rebukes the English Barons for Resisting King John of England, 1216.
See introductory note to no. 126.
Innocent, etc., to his beloved sons, the magnates and barons of England, greeting and apostolic benediction.
We are gravely troubled to learn that a quarrel has arisen between our most beloved son, John, king of Egland, and some of you, about certain questions that have recently been raised. Unless wise counsel prevails and diligent measures are taken to end this quarrel, it will cause injury. It is currently reported that you have rashly made conspiracies and confederacies against him, and that you have insolently, rebelliously, presumptuously, and with arms in your hands, said things to him, which, if they had to be said, should have been said humbly and submissively. We utterly condemn your conduct in these matters. You must no longer try, by such means, to hinder the king in his good plans. By our apostolic authority we hereby dissolve all conspiracies and confederacies that have been made since the quarrel between the crown and the church began, and forbid them under threat of excommunication. We order you to endeavor by clear proofs of humility and devotion to placate your king and to win his favor by rendering him those customary services which you and your ancestors have paid him and his predecessors. And in the future, if you wish to make a request of him, you shall do it, not insolently, but humbly and reverently, without offending his royal honor; and thus you will more readily obtain what you wish. We ask and beseech the king in the Lord and command him, in order to obtain forgiveness of his sins, to treat you leniently, and graciously to grant your just petitions. And thus you yourselves may rejoice to know that he has changed for the better, and on this account you and your heirs may serve him and his successors more promptly and devotedly. We ask, and, by this apostolic writing, command you to bear yourselves in such a way that England may obtain the peace she so earnestly longs for, and that you may deserve our aid and support in your times of trouble.
Decision of Innocent III in Regard to the Disputed Election of Frederick II, Philip of Suabia, and Otto of Brunswick, 1201.
At the death of Henry VI, 1197, his brother, Philip of Suabia, tried to persuade the princes to elect the infant son of Henry, Frederick, as king. While some were in favor of this, others refused on the ground that it would be ruinous to elect a child king. They offered the crown to Philip, but he refused it because he was unwilling to appear to be false to his little nephew. In spite of Philip’s persistent refusal a party of the princes elected him. The Guelf party elected Otto, son of Henry the Lion. Under these circumstances Innocent III declared that it was his right as pope to decide the disputed election. His reasons for deciding in favor of Otto are given in the following document.
In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
It is the business of the pope to look after the interests of the Roman empire, since the empire derives its origin and its final authority from the papacy; its origin, because it was originally transferred from Greece by and for the sake of the papacy, the popes making the transfer in order that the church might be better protected; its final authority, because the emperor is raised to his position by the pope who blesses him, crowns him, and invests him with the empire. Henry [VI] recognized this truth in respect to our predecessor, pope Celestine of blessed memory, for although for a little while after he had received the crown from the pope, he refused to admit this, later he came to his senses and besought the pope to invest him with the golden mantle of the empire. Therefore, since three persons have lately been elected king by diferent parties, namely, the youth [Frederick II], Philip, and Otto, so also three things must be taken into account in regard to each one, namely: the legality, the suitability, and the expediency of his election.
In respect to the youth, the son of emperor Henry, at first glance it does not seem lawful to oppose his election, because it was supported by the oaths which his father received from the princes before his death. For although that oath may have been extorted from them by force, nevertheless it is not thereby rendered void; in the case of the oath which the children of Israel swore to Gibeon, they decided that, although it had been secured by fraud, it ought still to be kept. Moreover, if the oath of the princes was originally extorted from them, the emperor later recognized his sin, and released them from their oath, sending back the letters in which they promised to elect his son; then the princes, in the emperor’s absence, of their own accord elected his son, and almost all of them promised him fidelity and some did him homage. Therefore it does not appear that they may lawfully break that oath. It does not seem proper for us to deprive him of his kingdom, because he has been intrusted to our guardianship and protection, and moreover it is written: “Defend the fatherless” [Ps. 82:3]. It does not seem expedient to oppose him, because, when the youth shall arrive at years of discretion and shall learn that he was deprived of his kingdom by the pope, not only will he not show us reverence, but even as far as he is able he will attack the church, and withhold from her the allegiance and dues which she should receive from the kingdom of Sicily. On the other hand, there are good reasons why it should be lawful, fitting, and expedient to oppose his election. It is lawful because the oaths of the princes were illegal, and the election was unwise. For they elected as emperor a person unsuited not only to that, but to any other office, for he was then scarcely two years old and was not yet baptized. It appears then that such illegal and unwise oaths should not be kept. The case of the oath sworn to Gibeon does not apply, for that oath could be kept without working injury to the people of Israel, while the observance of these oaths will not only injure one race, but will cause great loss and damage to the church and the whole Christian people. Nor can it be said that these oaths are legal if interpreted according to the intention of the princes who swore them. They meant that if they elected him emperor, he was not to rule immediately, but later when he came of age. But how then could they judge of his fitness to rule? Might he not turn out to be so foolish and simple as to be utterly unworthy even less honor? Suppose that they meant he should rule only when he was fitted to, and that in the meantime his father should govern the state. But later an event occurred which the princes had not thought of, and which made it neither right nor possible for the princes to keep their oaths; that is, the sudden death of the father. Now since the empire cannot be governed by a deputy, and an emperor cannot be elected for a temporary term, and since the church neither wishes nor is able to do without an emperor, it is lawful to elect some one else. It is not fitting that he should rule. For how can he rule who is himself under the rule of others? How can he protect the Christian people who is himself under the tutelage of others? It is no sufficient answer to this to say that it was to our guardianship that he was intrusted, because this was done not that we might give him the empire, but that we might hold the kingdom of Sicily for him. The Scripture says: “Woe to thee, oh land, when thy king is a child, and thy princes eat in the morning” [Eccles. 10:16]. It is not expedient that he should become emperor, because thereby the kingdom of Sicily would be united with the empire to the danger of the church; for, to say nothing of other dangers, he would, like his father before him, be unwilling to prejudice the dignity of the empire by taking the oaths of fidelity and homage to the pope for the kingdom of Sicily. And it is no answer to this to say that he would later oppose the church if we deprived him of the empire, for it is not we who are depriving him of his empire, but his uncle [Philip] who has attempted to seize not only the empire, but his maternal possessions as well, while we have been defending them for him at great expense and with great labor.
As to Philip, it does not seem lawful to oppose his election. In deciding the legality of elections, account has to be taken of the zeal, the rank, and the number of the electors. It is not easy to determine the zeal, but, in respect to the other considerations, it is clear that Philip was elected by many princes of high rank, and that many others have since given him their support. Therefore his election seems to be legal, and not to be opposed. It would seem also that it is not proper for us to oppose his election, for we would appear thereby to be taking revenge for our injuries, if, because his father [Frederick I] and his brother [Henry VI] persecuted the church, we should persecute him and visit upon him the punishment incurred by the sins of others; whereas our Lord has said: “Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you” [Matt. 5:44]. It would seem also not to be expedient to oppose his election. To oppose a man so strong in wealth and supporters is like battling with the torrent with the bare arms. We would only make an enemy of him and create even greater strife in the church. We ought rather to seek peace and pursue it, which we could do by supporting him. But on the other hand it seems lawful to oppose his election, for he was excommunicated lawfully and in solemn form by our predecessor. Lawfully, because he had seized the lands of St. Peter [Tuscany], and ravaged and burned them, refusing to make satisfaction after being warned to do so once and again by our brothers; in solemn form, for it was done at mass in the church of St. Peter on a great feast-day, and he himself recognized the validity of the excommunication by sending a messenger to us to beseech absolution, and by having himself absolved later after his election, by our legate, although contrary to our commands. So it is evident that he was elected while under sentence of excommunication, and some believe that he is not yet released from it. For in giving him absolution, the former bishop of Sutri did not observe the conditions laid down by us; namely, that Philip should first release the archbishop of Salerno from captivity, and should then be freed from the necessity of coming to Rome for absolution if he would take oath publicly to obey us in respect to the deeds for which he had been excommunicated, and then only should be given absolution. But the bishop of Sutri attempted to absolve him secretly while the said archbishop was still a prisoner, and without requiring any oath at all; for which disobedience he was deprived of his bishopric by us and ended his days in a monastery. Moreover, since we have frequently excommunicated Markwald and all other German and Italian supporters of Philip, Philip himself, the author of their sins, is surely subject to the same sentence. Moreover, it is notorious that he swore fidelity to the youth [Frederick], and yet has seized his kingdom and tried to seize the empire; therefore he is guilty of perjury. It is objected that we have already declared such oath to be illegal, and that he is not guilty of perjury in not keeping it, because we have said it ought not to be kept. But even if the oath was unlawful, he should not have broken it on his own authority, but should first have consulted us, after the example of the children of Israel, in the case of the oath which they swore to Gibeon; for although the oath had been won from them by fraud they did not break it of their own accord, but decided to consult the Lord. Moreover since whatever is done against the conscience leads to hell (according to the words of the apostle: “Whatsoever is not of faith is sin” [Rom. 14:23]), and since Philip excuses himself in this matter by saying that he would not have taken the kingdom if he had not known that otherwise some other persons would have seized it, it is clear that he believed he ought to have kept the oath, and that in violating it he went against his own conscience. So it seems that we ought to oppose him and resist his attempt to hold the empire, since he is legally under excommunication and is guilty of perjury. It appears also that we may properly oppose his election, for by his succession, brother will be succeeding brother, just as formerly son succeeded father when Frederick handed on the crown to his son [Henry VI] and Henry tried to do the same for his son [Frederick II]; and thus the empire tends to become hereditary, the abuse becoming law by long custom. Also it appears expedient to oppose him, for he is a persecutor, and of a race of persecutors, and if we do not oppose him now we shall be arming our enemy against ourselves.
As for Otto, at first it does not seem lawful to favor him, because he was elected by only a few electors; it does not seem fitting, because we should have the apearance of supporting him out of hate to another; it does not seem expedient, because in comparison to the other his party is small and weak. But there are better reasons on the other side. In the first place, the rank of the electors and the fitness of the candidate must be considered, as well as the number of electors; and Otto was elected by as many or more of those princes that have the best right to elect the emperor, and is himself much better fitted to rule than is Philip. Then again the Lord visits the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate him; that is, upon those that continue in the evil way of their fathers, and Philip has certainly persisted in the wicked persecution of the church which his father began. Finally, although we ought not to return evil for evil, but ought rather to bless them that curse us, yet we should not return good for injury to those who persist in their wickedness or put weapons in the hands of those who rage against us, for God himself exalted the lowly to overthrow the mighty. Therefore it is lawful, proper, and expedient for the pope to favor the election of Otto.
Far be it from us that we should defer to man rather than to God, or that we should fear the countenance of the powerful, since, according to the apostle, we should abstain not only from evil, but also from all appearance of evil [1 Thess. 5:22]. For it is written: “Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm” [Jer. 17:5]. On the foregoing grounds, then, we decide that the youth should not at present be given the empire; we utterly reject Philip for his manifest unfitness, and we order his usurpation to be resisted by all. As to the rest, we have commanded our legate to persuade the princes either to choose some suitable person or to refer the matter to us for final decision. If they cannot come to a decision, since we have waited long, have frequently urged them to agree, have instructed them as to our desires by letters and legates [we shall take the matter into our own hands], that we may not seem to foster discord, and that we may say with Hezekiah: “There shall be peace and truth in my days” [Is. 39:8], and that we may not be forced, like Peter, to deny the truth, which is Christ, by following afar off, to see the end [Matt. 26:58]. But since the affair will not brook delay, and since Otto is not only himself devoted to the church, but comes from devout ancestors on both sides (on his mother’s side from the kings of England, and on his father’s from the dukes of Saxony, all of whom were faithful servants of the holy see, especially his great-grandfather the emperor Lothar, who twice came down to Apulia on behalf of the papacy and died in the service of the Roman church), therefore we decree that he [Otto] ought to be accepted and supported as king, and ought to be given the crown of the empire, after the rights of the Roman church have been secured.
Treaty between Philip, King of Germany, and Philip II, King of France, 1198.
About 1200 Europe was divided into two hostile camps, as is apparent from this and the following number. They also show the parties to this struggle which culminated in the battle of Bouvines, 1214.
Philip, by the grace of God, king of the Romans, Augustus. Let all men know that because of the love which existed between our father, Frederick [I] and our brother, Henry [VI], emperors of the Romans, and Philip, king of France, and for the sake of peace, and for the public good, we have made the following peace with the said Philip, king of France.
(1) We will aid him especially against Richard, king of England, and his nephew, Otto [IV], and Baldwin of Flanders, and Adolf, archbishop of Cologne, and against all his other enemies. We will aid him in good faith and without treachery, whenever the opportunity is offered, if it is not against our honor.
(2) If any of our subjects wrongs him, or his kingdom, we will warn him to make reparation within forty days after we hear of it. If we are in Italy, the bishop of Metz shall warn him. If he does not make good the damage which he has inflicted on the king or his realm within the forty days, the said king may take vengeance on him and we will aid him to do so.
(3) We will not keep in our realm any vassal, whether lay or cleric, of the king of France, contrary to the will of the said king.
(4) The said king, whenever he wishes, may take vengeance on the count of Flanders, by attacking the lands of the said count which he holds in the empire, whether they are fiefs or allodial lands.
(5) We promise in good faith that, if we learn that anyone is trying to injure the king of France or his realm, we will try to prevent him from doing so. If we cannot, we will inform the king of France about it. . . .
Alliance between Otto IV and John of England, 1202.
See introductory note to no. 131.
John, by the grace of God king of England, lord of Ireland, duke of Normandy and Aquitaine, count of Anjou, etc. . . . We wish all to know that, in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, we have made a league with our beloved nephew, Otto, by the grace of God illustrious king of the Romans, Augustus, for the purpose of guarding and defending his empire and his rights, and of giving him faithful counsel and aid in maintaining his rights. By this league all quarrels and differences which existed between us have been settled and we have mutually pardoned each other. . . .
Concessions of Philip of Suabia to Innocent III, 1203.
In the beginning of the war between Philip of Suabia and Otto IV, it seemed that Philip would easily be the victor. But things began to go against him and toward the end of 1202, he secretly sent messengers to the pope to see what terms he could secure. Innocent was at least willing to negotiate and sent Martin to him to discuss the situation. In the presence of Martin Philip drew up the concessions which he was willing to make. These concessions were not sufficient for Innocent, and, besides, Otto IV began to have greater success in the field against Philip. So Innocent repudiated what Martin had done and gave his support to Otto again. But the success of Otto was brief. In 1204-5, Philip began to prevail over Otto, who soon found himself without support. Then Innocent, deserting Otto for his more successful rival, renewed the negotiations with Philip. In 1208 they agreed to a treaty, but its terms were not made public, and the negotiations were not entirely completed when Philip was murdered.
I, Philip, king of the Romans, Augustus, etc. Before Martin, Camaldolensian prior, and brother Otto, monk of Salem, came to me to negotiate about making peace with the church, I had already vowed to God and to his saints to go across the sea to liberate the land of promise from the cruelty of the Gentiles [Turks]; and again after they came and told me of the peace negotiations and of the concessions which the pope was willing to make, I vowed and promised to God and to his saints and to the said prior and brother, representatives of the pope, that, at a suitable time, in good faith and without fraud, I would go on a crusade, to the support of the church and of the empire, and do all I could to liberate the said land. The following persons were witnesses of my vow: Diethelm, bishop of Constance, etc. Besides, I promised that I would do all the following things: I will restore to all churches all the possessions which my predecessors, or I, have unjustly seized or held, and I will no longer disturb them in their possessions. I will cease from all the abuses which my predecessors have practised toward the church, as for example, when a bishop or abbot dies, I will not seize his possessions [spolia]. I will permit the elections of bishops and other prelates to take place in a canonical way, and I surrender control in spiritual matters to the pope. With the help of the pope I will endeavor, as far as my imperial office will permit, to subject all independent monasteries to some one of the regular orders, such as the Cistercian, Camaldolensian, or Premonstratensian. And I will try to compel the clergy as well as the monks to lead a decorous life, such as is becoming to their profession. As far as I can, I will compel advocates and patrons of churches to cease from oppressing the churches with exactions, such as angariæ and parangariæ.1 If God shall subject the empire of the Greeks to me or to my brother-in-law, I will subject the Greek church to the Roman church. I will always be a faithful and devoted son and defender of the Roman church. I will make a general law and cause it to be observed always and everywhere in my empire that whoever shall be excommunicated by the pope shall be under the ban of the empire. Furthermore, in order that this league of peace and friendship between the pope and me may be observed forever, and that all grounds for suspicion may be removed, and that he may always be to me a most gracious father and I a most faithful son to him, I will give my daughter to his nephew in marriage, and any other members of my family, male or female, I will cause to be joined in marriage to members of his family, as the pope may desire. I will make full satisfaction to God and to the church for all my offences, as the pope may command. These things were done in the presence of the bishop of Constance, etc.
Promise of Frederick II to Innocent III, 1213.
The powerful personality of Innocent III impressed itself deeply on the young king, Frederick II. The boy was truly devoted to Innocent, who was his guardian, and was willing to do whatever the pope required of him. In 1213 he wrote the following letter to Innocent in which he concedes practically everything for which the popes had been struggling. If the emperor had kept these promises, there would have been no further contest between the papacy and the empire. But as he grew older, and became conscious of his position, and learned what the imperial claims were, he gradually reasserted them and so renewed the conflict which ended in the destruction of his family.
In the name of the holy and undivided Trinity. Frederick II, etc. . . . To you, most holy father, and to all your successors, and to the holy Roman church, who has been a true mother to us, with a humble heart and devout spirit we will always show all obedience, honor, and reverence, such as our ancestors, catholic kings and emperors, have shown your predecessors. And in order that our devotion to you may be shown to be greater than theirs we will pay you greater obedience, honor, and reverence than they did. Wishing therefore to abolish that abuse which some of our predecessors are said to have practised, we grant that the election of bishops may be free and canonical, so that he whom the whole chapter, or the majority of it, may elect may be established over the vacant church, provided there is nothing in the canon law against his election. Appeals in all ecclesiastical matters may freely be made to Rome, and no one shall attempt to interfere with them. We also will cease from that abuse which our predecessors practised, and will no longer seize the property [spolia] of deceased bishops or of vacant churches. Jurisdiction in all spiritual matters we yield to you and the other bishops, that those things which are Cæsar’s may be rendered to Cæsar, and those which are God’s to God. Moreover we will give our best help and aid in the destruction of heresy. We grant to the Roman church the free and undisturbed possession of all those lands which she has recovered from our predecessors who had despoiled her of them. If there are any such lands which she has not yet succeeded in recovering, we will, with all our strength, aid her to recover them; and if any of them shall fall into our hands we will freely restore them to her. In this we understand that the following lands are included: All the land from Radicofano to Ceperano, the march of Ancona, the duchy of Spoleto, the land of the countess Matilda, the county of Bertinoro, the exarchate of Ravenna, the Pentapolis, with the other lands lying adjacent to them, as described in many documents given by kings and emperors from the time of Ludwig, in which it is said that these lands shall belong forever to the jurisdiction and control of the Roman church. And whenever we shall be called by the pope to come and receive the imperial crown or to render any service to the church, we will receive from them fodrum and other entertainment only as the pope shall give his consent. As a devoted son and catholic prince we will aid the Roman Catholic church to keep and defend the kingdom of Sicily and all other rights which she possesses. . . .
Promise of Frederick II to Resign Sicily After his Coronation as Emperor, 1216.
The pope had with difficulty succeeded in maintaining his ownership of Sicily. Now a new danger was threatening. He feared that, if Sicily should be held by the emperor, it would lead to the revival of the imperial claims to Sicily. In order to prevent this he persuaded Frederick II to promise that as soon as he should be crowned emperor he would resign Sicily to his little son, Henry.
To his most holy father in Christ, Innocent, bishop of the holy Roman church, Frederick, by the grace of God and of Innocent king of the Romans, Augustus, and king of Sicily, offers due obedience in all things, and reverence with filial subjection.
Desiring to provide for the welfare of both the Roman church and the kingdom of Sicily, we firmly promise that as soon as we shall be crowned emperor we will release from our paternal authority our son Henry, whom we, at your command, have had crowned king [of Sicily], and we will entirely relinquish all the kingdom of Sicily on both sides of the strait [of Messina] to be held by him from the Roman church alone, just as we have held it from her. From that time we will neither regard nor call ourselves king of Sicily, but until our son becomes of age we will have the kingdom ruled by some suitable person who shall in all respects be subject to the Roman church, because the government of that kingdom is known to belong to her. We promise to do this because, if we should become emperor and at the same time be king of Sicily, it might be inferred that the kingdom of Sicily belonged to the empire. And such an inference would do injury to the Roman church as well as to our heirs. In order that this our promise may be carried into effect we have caused a golden seal to be affixed to this document.
Concessions of Frederick II to the Ecclesiastical Princes of Germany, 1220.
Frederick II had agreed that Sicily and Germany should never be held by the same person, but in 1220 he was scheming to have his son Henry [VII] elected and crowned king of Germany. Now Henry [VII] was already king of Sicily. If he were to be elected king of Germany, he would, in accordance with his father’s oath, be compelled to resign the crown of Sicily. But this Frederick did not intend that he should do. Frederick’s pretext for having his son made king of Germany was that he could not go on a crusade without leaving his son as king to care for the government of Germany in his absence. His real purpose was to evade his oath to the pope and secure both crowns in the possession of his family. In spite of the protests of the pope Frederick secured the election and coronation of his son. He bought the aid of the German clergy by granting them large regalian rights. These concessions which he made to the clergy bought their support for the moment and made it impossible for the pope to proceed to extreme measures against him for having his son crowned king of Germany, contrary to his oath. The policy which Frederick followed here was ruinous to the German crown. He made of each ecclesiastical prince a little king in fact, though not in name, thus stripping the crown of its rights and powers. For the logical and ruinous effects of this policy on the royal power, see the Golden Bull, no. 160.
In the name of the holy and undivided Trinity. Frederick II, by the grace of God king of the Romans, Augustus, and king of Sicily.
We bear in grateful remembrance the fidelity of the ecclesiastical princes to us, and their help in raising us to the empire, and supporting us in that station, and in electing our son Henry as king, and we propose to promote their interests as they have promoted ours, and to support them as they have supported us.
Therefore since certain injurious customs, or rather abuses, have grown up during the long conflicts of the empire (which now by the favor of God have ceased), in the way of new tolls, the minting of coins which led to confusion by their similarity to existing coins, private wars of advocates, and other evils without number, we now remove these abuses by the following decrees:
1. We promise that we will never henceforth lay claim to the personal property of a prelate at his death [the right to the spolia], but that, if a prelate dies intestate, his possessions shall go to his successors, and that no layman shall lay claim to them on any pretext whatsoever. If the prelate made a will it shall be valid in the law.
2. We will never grant any new tolls or new mints within the territory or jurisdiction of any one of the princes except by his consent and desire. We will preserve and defend the ancient tolls and mints which have been granted to their churches, neither infringing these rights ourselves nor permitting anyone else to do so. We forbid anyone to cheapen or confuse the coinage of the princes by making coins of similar appearance.
3. We will never admit to citizenship in our cities the subjects of any of the ecclesiastical princes, who have left the services of their lord for any cause. We desire that the same consideration be shown by the ecclesiastical princes to one another, and by the lay princes to the ecclesiastics.
4. We forbid advocates to injure the property of churches committed to their care. If they do so they shall restore the damage twofold, and pay 100 marks of silver to the royal treasury as a fine.
5. If the vassal of any of the ecclesiastical princes has been convicted of offence against his lord by feudal law and has been ejected from his fief, we will protect the lord in his retention of the fief, and if he wishes to give the fief to us we will accept it without regard to the love or hate of anyone. If the fief of an ecclesiastical lord has become vacant by the above process or by the death of the holder, we will never lay claim to it unless it is given to us by the will and desire of the lord, and we will defend him in his possession of it.
6. If any of the ecclesiastical princes has excommunicated anyone and has notified us of this by word of mouth or letter or by reliable messengers, we will refuse to have any dealings with the excommunicated person. Such a person shall be deprived of his rights before the law, this deprivation not freeing him from the obligation of answering the accusations against him, but destroying his right to bear testimony or give judgment, or to bring suit against others.
7. And since the secular sword is intended to support the spiritual sword, we declare that our ban shall follow upon the excommunication pronounced by an ecclesiastical prince, if the excommunicated person is not absolved within six weeks; the ban of the empire shall not be revoked until the excommunication is withdrawn.
8. We have promised also to support and defend the princes by our authority in all cases, and they have promised on their faith to aid us to the best of their ability against any man who resists our authority.
9. We decree also that no buildings, castles, or cities shall be erected upon ecclesiastical lands through the interests of the advocate or through any other pretext. If such are erected without the consent of those to whom the lands belong they shall be destroyed by the royal authority.
10. Following the example of our ancestor, the emperor Frederick of blessed memory, we forbid any of our officials to claim jurisdiction in the matter of tolls, mints, or other rights, in any of the cities of the ecclesiastical princes, except during the time of the public diet and eight days before and eight days after. During that time the officials of the emperor shall exercise jurisdiction in accordance with the customs of the city and the laws established by its prince. If we come into any of their cities at any other time, we will not exercise any rights in it, but the authority of the prince or the lord of the city shall continue unimpaired.
11. Finally, since the acts of men are wont to sink into oblivion through the lapse of time, we hereby decree that these benefits and privileges shall be perpetually granted to the churches, and that our successors shall preserve them and enforce them on behalf of the church. . . .
Decision of the Diet Concerning the Granting of new Tolls and Mints, 1220.
The ecclesiastical princes promptly demanded that the emperor’s concessions to them (no. 136) be put into force. To illustrate the effect of his grant, we give two documents, one in response to complaints about some new tolls established by the count of Gelder, the other to the patriarch of Aquileia who had presented a long list of grievances for redress. Frederick revoked the charter which he had given the count of Gelder and gave the patriarch a charter confirming him in the possession of many regalian rights (no. 138). This latter document shows that the patriarch was in the possession of a high degree of sovereignty. It also throws light on the movement in the cities, which were throwing off the rule of their lords and establishing local self-government (see section X).
Frederick, etc. We wish all to know that while we were holding a diet at Frankfort the following decision was rendered with the consent of the princes, namely: That we have not the right to empower anyone to establish new tolls or mints to the damage or disadvantage of another. Since we have heard many complaints about the tolls and mint which the count of Gelder has established, as he says, with our permission, we inform you all that we do not grant him the permission for these tolls and this mint. We forbid him to interfere in any way with the tolls at Arnheim, or Oesterbeke, or Lobith, or in any other place on the Rhine, or with any mint. We do this regardless of the fact that he says he has our permission, and regardless of any letters, from us or any of our predecessors, which he may have.
Frederick II Gives a Charter to the Patriarch of Aquileia, 1220.
See introduction to no. 137.
Frederick II, etc. . . . We wish all to know that in a full diet a decision was rendered by our princes that (1) the patriarch of Aquileia has the authority to take whatever action he wishes in regard to establishing a market in any of the cities, towns, villages, and in all other places, where he has jurisdiction. (2) He may put under the ban any of his subjects, and also release them from it. (3) The cities, towns, and villages, which are under his jurisdiction, have no right to elect their rulers, or consuls, or rectors, contrary to the will of the patriarch. (4) No city, commune, or organization of any kind, whether lay or cleric, over which the said patriarch has jurisdiction, has the right to interfere with the bishopric after the death of the bishop, or with any of the things which belong to the bishopric. (5) No one has the right to establish new tolls, mints, or markets, in the lands over which the patriarch has jurisdiction, without his consent. (6) No one shall build mills on any of the streams without his consent. (7) No official shall confer freedom on anyone, or sell or alienate any vineyards, fields, meadows, roads, or anything else which belongs to the regalia, without the patriarch’s consent. (8) The Venetians have no right to levy a tax on the lands or anything else belonging to the patriarch, or to compel his vassals to take an oath of fidelity to them. (9) No one under the jurisdiction of the patriarch, whether free, vassal, or ministerial, has the right to make a league or alliance without the consent of the patriarch. If any such league is made, it is invalid and the parties to it shall be proscribed. (10) No one has the right to establish new cities, towns, or markets, on land which is under the jurisdiction of the patriarch, without his consent.
Statute of Frederick II in Favor of the Princes, 1231-2.
Henry [VII], being a mere child when he was crowned, was under the control of regents until 1229, when he began to rule in his own name. But he fell under the influence of princes who persuaded him to grant them many regalian rights. When Frederick II came into Germany, 1231, the princes asked him to confirm the grants which his son had made them. He consented to do so and the following document was given them. Like the grant to the ecclesiastical princes in 1220, it diminished the rights of the crown and increased the independence of the princes.
In the name of the holy and undivided Trinity. Frederick II, by divine mercy emperor of the Romans, Augustus, king of Jerusalem, king of Sicily.
(Introduction stating the occasion for the statute, which confirms the grants of his son Henry.)
1. No new castles or cities shall be erected by us or by anyone else to the prejudice of the princes.
2. New markets shall not be allowed to interfere with the interests of former ones.
3. No one shall be compelled to attend any market against his will.
4. Travellers shall not be compelled to leave the old highways, unless they desire to do so.
5. We will not exercise jurisdiction within the ban-mile of our cities.
6. Each prince shall possess and exercise in peace according to the customs of the land the liberties, jurisdiction, and authority over counties and hundreds which are in his own possession or are held as fiefs from him.
7. Centgrafs shall receive their office from the prince or from the person who holds the land as a fief.
8. The location of the hundred court shall not be changed without the consent of the lord.
9. No nobleman shall be amenable to the hundred court.
10. The citizens who are known as phalburgii [i.e., persons or corporations existing outside the city, but possessing political rights within it] shall be expelled from the cities.
11. Payments of wine, money, grain, and other rents, which free peasants have formerly agreed to pay [to the emperor], are hereby remitted, and shall not be collected henceforth.
12. The serfs of princes, nobles, ministerials, and churches shall not be admitted to our cities.
13. Lands and fiefs of princes, nobles, ministerials, and churches, which have been seized by our cities, shall be restored and shall never again be taken.
14. The right of the princes to furnish safe-conduct within the lands which they hold as fiefs from us shall not be infringed by us or by anyone else.
15. Inhabitants of our cities shall not be compelled by our judges to restore any possessions which they may have received from others before they moved there.
16. Notorious, condemned, and proscribed persons shall not be admitted to our cities; if they have been, they shall be driven out.
17. We will never cause any money to be coined in the land of any of the princes which shall be injurious to his coinage.
18. The jurisdiction of our cities shall not extend beyond their boundaries, unless we possess special jurisdiction in the region.
19. In our cities the plaintiff shall bring suit in the court of the accused.
20. Lands or property which are held as fiefs shall not be pawned without the consent of the lord from whom they are held.
21. No one shall be compelled to aid in the fortifying of cities unless he is legally bound to render that service.
22. Inhabitants of our cities who hold lands outside shall pay to their lords or advocates the regular dues and services, and they shall not be burdened with unjust exactions.
23. If serfs, freemen subject to advocates, or vassals of any lord, shall dwell within any of our cities, they shall not be prevented by our officials from going to their lords.
Treaty of San Germano, 1230.
The Preliminary Agreement.
The chief cause of the first quarrel between Frederick and the pope was Frederick’s refusal to keep his vow to go on a crusade. In 1215, on the day he was crowned king, he vowed to make a crusade, and again in 1220, when crowned emperor, he renewed the vow. For various reasons he several times put off going. Each time the pope was deeply disappointed, but eventually accepted the emperor’s excuses. Again in 1225 he renewed his vow and set the time of his departure in August, 1227. But the pope had lost confidence in Frederick, as well as his patience. He stipulated that if the emperor did not keep his word, he should be excommunicated. Frederick sailed Aug. 8, 1227, but returned to land two days later. On this account Gregory IX excommunicated him, Sept. 29, 1227. Frederick published an apology for his conduct and called a crusade to take place the following May. Without seeking to have the excommunication removed, he sailed in June, 1228. For this the pope renewed the excommunication. While Frederick was absent in Palestine, his imperial vicar in Italy came into actual conflict with the papal officials about matters of government. When Frederick returned from Palestine in 1230, the pope was hardly prepared to carry on the war. So through the intercession of various princes the peace of San Germano was brought about. The preliminary agreement is found in no. 140. The papal stipulations are contained in no. 141. In order to convince the pope of his good intentions and to renew friendly relations with him, Frederick made him a visit soon after the peace was established. The pope wrote a friend an account of this visit, which is found in no. 142.
In the name of the Lord, amen. Bertold, patriarch of Aquileia; Eberhard, archbishop of Salzburg; Siegfied, bishop of Regensburg; Leopold, duke of Austria and Styria; Bernard, duke of Carinthia; Otto, duke of Meran; by the grace of God princes of the empire. Know all people by this writing that our mother the holy Roman church, and our lord, Frederick, emperor of the Romans, Augustus, king of Jerusalem and Sicily, have agreed to enter into negotiations for the purpose of discovering some means by which the cities of Gaeta and Sant’ Agatha and other cities of Sicily which have gone over to the church may be restored to the empire without detracting from the honor of the church. The time within which these negotiations shall be completed is limited to one year, and the church promises to do all in her power to discover the means of arranging the transfer within that time. If, however, no agreement is reached within the year, the church and the empire are to appoint each two representatives who shall try to reach a settlement. If they are unable to agree, they shall choose a fifth person, and the majority shall decide. The emperor has caused Thomas, count of Acerra, to swear for him that he, the emperor, will not molest the said lands and persons nor permit them to be molested during the course of the negotiations, and that he will accept the terms agreed upon by the holy Roman church and the emperor or by their respective representatives. Know also that the emperor has pardoned the Germans, Lombards, Tuscans, Sicilians, French, and all others who adhered to the church party against him, and has caused the count of Acerra to swear for him that he will never molest them nor allow them to be molested on account of the assistance which they gave the Roman church against him, but that he will keep true peace with them and with the church. The emperor also remits all sentences, decrees, and bans issued by him or by anyone else because of this quarrel. He promises also that he will not invade or waste the lands of the church in the duchy [of Rome] or the march [of Ancona], as set forth in other documents under the imperial seal. We have pledged ourselves on the holy gospels to see to it that the emperor does not violate these conditions. If he does, after allowing him a certain time to make satisfaction (namely: three months in Sicily, four months in Italy, and five months outside of Italy), we will assist the church at her request against him until he shall make satisfaction. If the emperor fails to appoint representatives or prevents them from going to the conference, we will hold ourselves bound to assist the church, as said above. But if the church refuses to appoint representatives or prevents them from attending the conference we shall not be bound by this oath.
Papal Stipulations in the Peace of San Germano, 1230.
See introductory note to no. 140.
We, John, by the grace of God Sabine bishop, and Thomas, cardinal priest of the title of Santa Sabina, legates of the apostolic see, by the authority of the pope, make the following demands of the emperor. 1. He shall not prevent free elections and confirmations in the churches and monasteries of the kingdom. 2. He shall make satisfaction to the counts of Celano and to the sons of Rainald of Aversa, according to the terms of the agreement, in those things for which the church became security. 3. Likewise he shall make satisfaction to the Templars and Hospitallers and other ecclesiastical persons, for the property which he has taken from them, and the injuries and losses which he has inflicted upon them, and the terms of this satisfaction shall be fixed later by the church. 4. Likewise for eight months from the day of his absolution he shall furnish suitable persons under oath as security to the church. The church will name these persons from among the princes, counts, and barons of Germany, and the communes of Lombardy, Tuscany, the mark, and Romagnola, and the marquises, counts, and barons of those territories, and they shall stand as security to the church for the conduct of the emperor. If he does not obey the commands of the church, or breaks the peace, or seizes or devastates the land of the church or of her vassals, they shall aid the church against him. The church will not proceed against him at once if he commits a wrong. But if he is in the kingdom of Sicily, he may have three months; if he is in Italy, he may have four months; if he is outside of Italy, he may have five months, in which to make good any wrong he may do. Those who are security for the emperor shall give the church sealed documents containing their promise to aid her. The emperor shall, within fifteen days, send a messenger to the papal court to receive the names of those whom the church wishes as security. All the above things are stipulated. But we leave it to his honor to fulfill all that he has promised about the crusade, and to obey the church in this matter. If through preoccupation or inattention we have omitted anything which we should have included in the above stipulations, the pope shall have the right to add it.
They also declared that the pope wished to be reimbursed for all the expenses to which the church had been put outside of the kingdom in preserving her liberties and the patrimony of St. Peter.
The legates also pronounced a sentence of excommunication on the emperor which should go into effect at once if the emperor should fail to observe any of the above stipulations. . . .
Letter of Gregory IX about the Emperor’s Visit to him after the Peace of San Germano, 1230.
See introductory note to no. 140.
Gregory, etc. Since we know that you, as an especially dear son, are pleased to hear good news about us, we have determined to inform you by letter of the good fortune which has befallen us in the last few days. The other day [Sept. 1] our most dear son in Christ, the illustrious emperor of the Romans [Frederick II], came with great pomp and a magnificent retinue to visit us. He manifested a devotion which was truly filial. His humility before us and his reverence for us as the vicar of St. Peter, the prince of the apostles, were as great as any of his predecessors have shown to any of ours. As an evidence of his favor and of his attitude toward us, the next day after his arrival he came to see us in our own home, not with imperial ceremony, but, as it were, in the simplicity of a private person. He took dinner with us and we were surprised and delighted with his kindness and devotion. The day was rendered joyful and memorable by the pleasure which we both received from taking dinner together. After dinner we talked and laughed about all sorts of matters, and we discovered that he was quite ready to obey our wishes in all respects, in regard both to religious matters and to the patrimony of St. Peter. By this we were greatly comforted in the Lord, and we thought that we ought to let you, first of all, share in our comfort and joy. We hope you will make this known to all those about you. We command you to make it known to our subjects in Campania and to encourage them to remain faithful to St. Peter and to us. Strengthen them as much as you can, and urge them to be constant and courageous. As we have told you of the promises of Frederick, we shall keep you informed of the way in which he fulfils them.
The Final Struggle between Gregory IX and Frederick II.
Papal Charges and Imperial Defence, 1238.
The peace of San Germano was not kept long. The fundamental principles of pope and emperor conflicted with each other. No peace between them could be lasting so long as the primary question of supremacy was not settled. Frederick soon began to put forth imperial claims in various matters, and the pope resisted them. The struggle grew more and more bitter and they both came into such a state of mutual exasperation and irritation that any trifle brought forth long complaints and sharp reproofs. Of the many vigorous documents which concern their final break we give only two. Gregory wrote to certain bishops ordering them to take the emperor to task on a long list of charges. They did so, and the emperor refuted them, charge by charge. These papal charges and imperial denials are given first. Gregory was not convinced by the emperor’s answers. The document by which he excommunicated Frederick is given in no. 144.
To the most holy father in Christ, Gregory [IX] by the grace of God pope, his devoted bishops of Würzburg, Worms, Vercelli, and Parma, humbly commend themselves and offer due and sincere reverence.
We reverently received your letter in which you ordered us to remonstrate with our lord the Roman emperor [Frederick II] about certain matters, a list of which was enclosed in your letter. Although we hesitated to do so because we are his subjects and were not sure that he would patiently receive our remonstrances, nevertheless we reverently went to him and set forth all the things which were contained in your letter to us and also in the large number of letters which you had written to him. God who rules and directs the hearts of kings as he will brought it about that he granted us an audience and listened to our words with great readiness and humility. He also called together the venerable archbishops of Palermo and Messina, the bishops of Cremona, Lodi, Novara, and Modena, and the abbot of San Vincenzo, and a great number of friars, both Dominicans and Franciscans, and in the presence of us all he responded to each one of the charges in their order as is set forth below. And in accordance with your command, we send you a faithful statement of his answers.
1.The papal charge. The churches of Monreale, Cefalu, Catania, and Squillace, and the monasteries of Mileto, Santa Eufemia, Terra Maggiore, and San Giovanni in Lamæ, have been robbed of almost all of their possessions. Likewise nearly all bishoprics, churches, and monasteries have been unjustly deprived of their liberties and prerogatives. The emperor’s answer. In regard to the complaints of the churches, which are stated in a general way, orders have been given that certain things, done in ignorance, should be corrected at once; and others have already been corrected by our faithful messenger and notary, William de Tocco. He was sent especially for this purpose and he was ordered to go first to the papal court, and, after consultation with the archbishop of Messina, to follow his counsel in revoking all the things which he found were done unjustly. He had scarcely entered the kingdom when he found certain lands in the possession of members of the imperial family [ministerials]. He dispossessed them and restored the lands to their former owners. If he should find any lands were held illegally by the emperor, he was ordered to restore them to their owners. And when the pope learned of what he had done he approved the emperor’s action in sending him and the diligencce of the messenger. Since the kingdom is divided into several provinces, the messenger has not yet been able to go through them all. Hence his work is not yet done, and there are still some things to be corrected. In regard to the church of Monreale, the emperor declared that it had not suffered anything through him, unless it wished to hold him responsible for the devastations committed by the Saracens who had ravaged its lands. But they recognize neither the emperor nor the church. Nor had they spared anyone or anything. They had devastated the land clear up to the walls of the church, and they had spared no Sicilian. In fact, they had left scarcely a Christian alive in all that territory. The emperor declares that with great difficulty and expense he has exterminated them from Sicily. If he has done the churches a wrong in this, it is at least his only one. Nor has he tried to injure them.
In regard to the church at Cefalu, the emperor said that he had done no wrong, because the kings of Sicily have always held the castle of Cefalu, which is a strong citadel in the mark of the Saracens, and commands the sea. In the days of Innocent III the bishop of Cefalu had got possession of it, not legally but through an uprising. But Innocent ordered his legate who was then in Sicily caring for the interests of Frederick, who was still a child, to take the castle from the bishop and have it kept for Frederick until he should come of age. It has not been restored to the bishop nor should it be, because he has no right to it. Even if he had a right to it, it should not be restored to him, because, according to common report, he is a forger, a homicide, a traitor, and a schismatic. Therefore even if he had a right to it, it should not be restored to him. In the same way he said he was innocent of the charges about the church of Catania, unless he were held responsible for the conduct of some of the men from the imperial domain, who, in time of war, had gone to Catania to find a place that was secure and fertile. The emperor said that he had recalled them to his domains by a general edict of the realm, by which the counts, barons, and other men of the realm recalled the men belonging to their domains, no matter where they should find them, whether on the lands of the church or in the imperial cities. Besides, in regard to these things, the statute was passed and the time set at the request of the pope, as is clear from the letters of the patriarch of Antioch and the archbishops of Palermo and Messina. Likewise the emperor said that an equitable trade had been made with the churches of Mileto and Santa Eufemia, and with the abbot and monks of Terra Maggiore. This trade had been made with the permission of their clergy and their convents, according to the legal form, and they to-day hold and possess the things which they received in exchange. But the village of San Severo was not wholly the property of the abbot of Terra Maggiore, for another had certain rights there which he held as a fief from the empire. It was justly condemned and destroyed, because the men of that place in the time of an uprising had killed Paul de Logotheta, the bailiff of the emperor, and seized the cattle of the emperor. And yet the abbot and his monastery had received some land in exchange for their share of this village which had been destroyed. In accordance with a legal decision the place called Lamæ has been fortified by the abbot of San Giovanni Rotundo, and according to both the civil and canon law, suit about it must be brought against him in the imperial court.
2.The papal charge. The possessions, both movable and immovable, which had been taken from the Templars and Hospitallers, have not been restored to them in accordance with the terms of the agreement which was made. The emperor’s answer. It is true that by a legal process and in accordance with an ancient law of the kingdom of Sicily, fiefs and “burgher lands” have been taken from the said orders. But they had received those lands from those who were invading the kingdom and waging war on the emperor. Besides they furnished the king’s enemies with horses, arms, food, and wine, and all kinds of provisions, while refusing to aid the emperor who was still a minor. But other fiefs and burgher lands have been restored to them which they had acquired before the death of William II [king of Sicily], or for which they had a grant from some one of our predecessors. And some burgher lands which they had bought have been taken from them in accordance with an ancient law of Sicily, that without the king’s consent no burgher lands shall be given to the said orders or left to them as a legacy; but if such lands are given them, they are bound to sell them within a year, a month, a week, and a day, to some of the citizens. This law was passed long ago, because if they were permitted to buy and accept burgher lands they would in a short time possess the whole kingdom of Sicily, which they like better than any other part of the world. And this law is valid beyond the sea.
3.The papal charge. He does not permit vacant bishoprics and other churches to be filled, and on this account the liberty of the church is in danger and the true faith is perishing, because there is no one to preach the word of God and care for souls. The emperor’s answer. The emperor wishes and desires that vacant bishoprics and other churches be filled, but without infringement on the privileges and rights which his predecessors have held. He has insisted less than his predecessors on his privileges, and he has never opposed the filling of the vacant churches.
4.The papal charge. In regard to taxes and exactions which are extorted from churches and monasteries contrary to agreement. The emperor’s answer. Taxes and dues are assessed on the clergy and ecclesiastical persons, not because of their ecclesiastical property, but because of their fiefs and other possessions. And this is in accordance with the common law and is practised everywhere all over the world.
5.The papal charge. That prelates do not dare proceed against usurers, because of an imperial edict. The emperor’s answer. The emperor has published a new general law against usurers, in accordance with which they are condemned, and action may be brought against all their possessions. And this law is read before all prelates, and they are not prevented by it from proceeding against usurers.
6.The papal charge. That clerygmen are seized, imprisoned, proscribed, and killed. The emperor’s answer. He knows nothing about any clergymen who have been seized and imprisoned, except that some have been condemned by the decision of prelates, according to their crimes. These have been surrendered to the imperial officials who have seized them. He knows nothing about clergymen who have been proscribed except that some have been charged with the crime of lèse majesté and have been proscribed from the kingdom. He knows nothing about any clergymen who have been slain except those who were slain by other clergymen. The church of Venusa is mourning the death of its prelate who was killed by one of his monks. In the church of San Vincenzo one monk killed another. But the monks and the clergy commit such crimes with impunity, and it is the fault of the church that they escape all canonical punishment.
7.The papal charge. Churches which are consecrated to the Lord are profaned and destroyed. The emperor’s answer. He knows nothing of such churches, unless the pope means the church of Luceria; but it is said to have fallen down of itself because of its great age. And the emperor will not only permit it to be rebuilt, but he will give a good sum to the bishop for its reconstruction.
8.The papal charge. That he does not permit the church of Sorana to be rebuilt. The emperor’s answer. He will permit the church of Sorana to be rebuilt, but not the town. It shall not be rebuilt as long as he lives, because it was destroyed in accordance with a legal decision.
9.The papal charge. That contrary to the agreement those who had supported the church in the time of struggle between the pope and emperor have been robbed of their goods and driven out of the country. The emperor’s answer. Those who adhered to the church in the time of the struggle against the emperor are living in security in the kingdom, except those who held some office and are afraid that they will be compelled to give an account of it, and some others who have left the kingdom to escape civil and criminal charges. The emperor will permit them to come back in safety if they will give an account of their conduct in office and respond to those who have entered suit against them. But he will do nothing against them for having adhered to the church. If the pope complains that the treaty of peace has not been kept, let him remember that contrary to its terms and to the judgment of nearly all the friars, he is holding the city of Castella. For keeping this city to the detriment of the empire he is receiving money, although the emperor has expended more than 100,000 silver marks in aiding him against the Romans. From this the church has received great advantages, for land has been taken from the Romans and restored to the church and her liberties have been recovered and reformed in Rome through the help of the emperor.
10.The papal charge. That he has seized and now holds imprisoned the nephew of the king of Tunis who wished to come to the pope to receive baptism. The emperor’s answer. That the nephew of the king of Tunis was fleeing from Barbary to Sicily, not to receive baptism, but to escape his uncle who was threatening him with death. He is not held captive but is going about freely in Apulia, and although he is often urged to be baptized, he steadfastly refuses. If however he wishes to be baptized, the emperor will receive him with rejoicing. He has already expressed himself in regard to this to the archbishops of Palermo and Messina.
11.The papal charge. That the church is humiliated and insulted by the fact that Peter Saraceno, her faithful subject, and friar Jordan are held captive. The emperor’s answer. Peter Saraceno has been seized because he is an enemy and detractor of the emperor. He has attacked the emperor in Rome as well as elsewhere. He did not come on the business of the king of England, but he carried a letter of the king in order that if he were arrested we might be led to spare him. But we did not heed this letter because the king did not know what snares this man had prepared for us. In regard to the friar Jordan, although he had defamed the emperor in his sermons, the emperor neither seized him nor ordered him to be seized. But because some of the emperor’s faithful subjects knew the friar’s character and his trickery, and so were sure that if he stayed in the mark of Treviso and in Lombardy, he would injure the cause of the emperor, the emperor caused him to be set free and would have given him over to the archbishop of Messina, if he had been willing to submit to the said archbishop.
12.The papal charge. The emperor had stirred up sedition in Rome against the church with the purpose of driving out the pope and his cardinals, and, contrary to the privileges and rights of the pope, to destroy the ecclesiastical liberties. The emperor’s answer. The emperor denies that he stirred up the sedition in Rome. But he has his faithful subjects in Rome just as his predecessors, the Roman emperors and kings of Sicily, had had. And sometimes at the election of senators, the attempt was made to injure his subjects. Under these circumstances he had assisted his subjects in their defence, and he would do so as often as it should be necessary under similar circumstances. But when the election of a senator took place harmoniously, there was no rioting, as can be proved by the testimony of the archbishops of Palermo and Messina.
13.The papal charge. That the emperor had ordered his subjects not to permit the papal legate, the bishop of Preneste, to pass through their territory. The emperor’s answer. The emperor had never even dreamed of giving such an order, although he might justly have done so, because the bishop was his enemy. Although he had been sent by the pope as a religious man on a religious errand, he had nevertheless at the command of the pope, as he said, in a treacherous and wicked manner led a large part of Lombardy to revolt against the emperor and had done all he could to incite the Lombards to rebellion.
14.The papal charge. The cause of the crusade is delayed by him through the quarrel which he has with certain Lombards, although the church is ready to use all her powers to secure proper satisfaction from the Lombards for what they have done against the emperor, and the Lombards themselves are ready to make satisfaction. The emperor’s answer. He had often referred that matter to the church, but he had never received any satisfaction. For the first time, the Lombards were condemned to furnish 400 knights. But instead of sending them to aid the emperor, as they should, the pope used them to make war on the emperor. The second time, they were condemned to furnish 500 knights, but the pope declared that they should not be sent to the aid of the emperor, but that they should be sent on the crusade under the control and protection of the pope and the church. But not even this was done. The third time, at the request of the cardinals, the Sabine bishop and Magister Peter of Capua, the affair was again referred to the pope exactly as the pope desired. But afterward the matter was never mentioned again until the pope learned that the emperor, having been deceived so many times about it, was preparing to lead an army from Germany into Italy. And then the pope at once begged that the matter be referred to him again. And although the emperor had so often been deceived in submitting it to the pope, he nevertheless was willing to submit it to him once more, but a time limit was set and it was stipulated that it should be decided to the honor of the emperor and to the advantage of the empire. But the pope was not willing to accept these conditions, as may be proved by his letter, although he now says that he was ready to decide the case in accordance with the rights and honor of the empire. From this it is apparent that the pope’s letters are contradictory to each other. And let the pope not pretend that the emperor, in trying to restore the rights of the empire in Italy, injured the prospects of the crusade, for the letters which the emperor wrote in answer to the kings of the world and to the crusaders in France, who had chosen him as their leader, will show that he took charge of the crusade and did not neglect it. He also wrote that he wished to conduct the whole matter in accordance with the advice of the church. . . . Finally, the emperor declared that since he had been absent from the kingdom and did not know the exact condition of things, if anything had been done injurious to the church, and had not yet been corrected, he would order it to be set entirely right, and also because of the great general good which would come if there were harmony between him and the church, he would give the church any reasonable security that he would act in harmony with her, and use all his powers and means for the honor and advancement of the Christian church and for the preservation of her liberties.
The Excommunication of Frederick II, 1239.
See introductory note to no. 143.
1. By the authority of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and of the blessed apostles Peter and Paul, and by our own authority, we excommunicate and anathematize Frederick, the so-called emperor, because he has incited rebellion in Rome against the Roman church, for the purpose of driving the pope and his brothers [the cardinals] from the apostolic seat, thus violating the dignity and honor of the apostolic seat, the liberty of the church, and the oath which he swore to the church.
2. We excommunicate and anathematize him because he ordered his followers to prevent our brother, the venerable bishop of Preneste, the legal legate, from proceeding on his mission to the Albigenses, upon which we had sent him for the preservation of the Catholic faith.
3. We excommunicate and anathematize him because he has not allowed the vacancies in certain bishoprics and churches to be filled, thereby imperilling the liberty of the church, and destroying the true faith, because in the absence of the pastor there is no one to declare unto the people the word of God or to care for their souls. . . .
4. We excommunicate and anathematize him because the clergy of his kingdom are imprisoned, proscribed, and slain, and because the churches of God are despoiled and profaned.
5. We excommunicate and anathematize him because he has not permitted the church of Sorana to be rebuilt.
6. We excommunicate and anathematize him because he has seized the nephew of the king of Tunis and kept him from coming to the Roman church to be baptized.
7. We excommunicate and anathematize him because he has imprisoned Peter Saraceno, a Roman noble, who was sent as a messenger to us by the king of England.
8. We excommunicate and anathematize him because he has seized the lands of the churches of Ferrara, Pigogna, and Bondenum, and the dioceses of Ferrara, Bondenum, and Lucca, and the land of Sardinia, contrary to the oath which he swore to the church.
9. We excommunicate and anathematize him because he has occupied and wasted the lands of some of the nobles of his kingdom which were held by the church.
10. We excommunicate and anathematize him because he has robbed the churches of Monreale, Cefalu, Catania, Squillace, and the monasteries of Mileto, Santa Eufemia, Terra Maggiore, and San Giovanni in Lamæ.
11. We excommunicate and anathematize him because he has robbed many bishoprics, churches, and monasteries of his kingdom of almost all their goods through his unjust trials.
12. We excommunicate and anathematize him because he has not entirely restored to the Templars and Hospitallers the property of which he had despoiled them, as he agreed to do in the treaty of peace.
13. Because he has extorted taxes and other payments from the churches and monasteries of his kingdom contrary to the treaty of peace.
14. We excommunicate him and anathematize him because he has compelled the prelates of churches and abbots of the Cistercian and of other orders to make monthly contributions for the erection of new castles.
15. We excommunicate and anathematize him because he has treated the adherents of the papal party as if they were under the ban, confiscating their property, exiling them, and imprisoning their wives and children, contrary to the treaty of peace.
16. We excommunicate and anathematize him because he has hindered the recovery of the Holy Land and the restoration of the Roman empire.
We absolve all his subjects from their oaths of fidelity to him, forbidding them to show him fidelity as long as he is under excommunication. We shall admonish him again to give up oppressing and injuring the nobles, the poor, the widows and orphans, and others of his land, and then we shall proceed to act ourselves in the matter. For all and each of these causes, in regard to which we have frequently admonished him to no purpose, we excommunicate and anathematize him. In regard to the accusation of heresy which is made against Frederick, we shall consider and act upon this in the proper place and time.
Current Stories about Frederick II.
A few passages from the chronicle of Matthew of Paris are offered to illustrate the character of Frederick and to throw a little light on the great struggle between him and the pope. The last paragraph is particularly interesting because it indicates that the pope was becoming conscious that he was meeting with national opposition. But he evidently misjudged the strength of it. For after overcoming the empire, the papacy was to succumb to the French king and be subservient to him for seventy years. And the national opposition was to grow until it culminated in the great rebellion which has had many stages but has finally ended in the complete destruction of the temporal power of the pope.
It was about this time  that evil reports became current, which blackened the reputation of the emperor Frederick. It was said that he questioned the catholic faith and that he had made statements that showed not only that he was weak in the faith, but that he was indeed a heretic and a blasphemer. It is not right even to repeat such things, but it is reported that he said there were three impostors who had deceived the people of their time for the purpose of gaining control of the world, Moses, Jesus, and Mohammed, and that he made certain absurd remarks about the eucharist. It is incredible that any sane man should have uttered such terrible blasphemy. His enemies also said that he believed more in the religion of Mohammed than in that of Jesus Christ, and that he kept certain Saracen women as his concubines. There was a common complaint among the people that the emperor had for a long time been allied with the Saracens, and that he was more friendly with them than with Christians. His enemies, who were always trying to blacken his character, attempted to prove these statements by many evidences; whether or not they have sinned in doing this, He alone knows who knows all things. . . . In this year , while the emperor was spending the winter in Italy, he recovered certain important islands in the Mediterranean just off the shore of Pisa, the most important acquisition being the greater and more valuable part of the island of Sardinia, which belonged to the patrimony of St. Peter. The emperor, however, asserted that it belonged of old to the empire, that it had been taken from the empire illegally by occupation and other wrongful measures and that he now restored it to the empire. He said: “I have sworn, as is known to all the world, to recover the dispersed parts of my empire; and I shall give my best efforts to carrying out my oath.” So he sent his son [Enzio], in spite of the prohibition of the pope, to receive in his name that portion of the island that had surrendered to him . . . . When Frederick heard that the pope had deposed him, he was terribly enraged, and could scarcely contain himself for his wrath. Looking fiercely on those who sat around him, he thundered forth: “That pope has deposed me in his synod and has taken away my crown. Was there ever such audacity; was there ever such presumption? Where are the chests that contain my treasure?” And when these were brought and opened before him at his command, he said: “See now whether my crowns are lost.” Then taking one of them and putting it on his head, he stood up, with a threatening look, and spoke out in a terrible voice from the bitterness of his heart: “I have not yet lost my crown, nor shall the pope and all his synod take it from me without a bloody struggle. And has his presumption been so boundless that he has dared to depose me from the empire, me, a great prince, who have no superior, indeed no equal? So much the better for my cause; for before this I was bound to obey him, and to do him reverence, but now I am absolved from any obligation to love or reverence him or even to keep peace with him.” . . . . When Frederick heard of the acts of the papal legate in Germany, he was bitterly enraged and sought everywhere for a means of wreaking vengeance upon the pope. It was feared by some wise and thoughtful men that Frederick in his wrath might turn apostate, or call in to his aid the Tartars from Russia, or give the Sultan of Babylon, with whom he was on the most friendly terms, the chance to overrun the empire with his pagan hosts, to the destruction of all Christendom. . . . . Frederick attempted to make peace with the pope, . . . but the pope replied that he would not restore the emperor to his former position on any such easy terms, since he had been deposed and condemned by the general council of Lyon. And some asserted that the pope desired above all else utterly to crush Frederick, whom he called the great dragon, in order that he might then destroy the kings of England and of France and the other Christian kings (whom he spoke of as kinglets and little serpents), after he had overawed them by making an example of Frederick, and thus be able to rob them and their prelates at his pleasure.
[1 ] Arimanniæ: Taxes paid by those who held certain lands or estates which had once been held by the arimanni, or free Lombards.
[2 ] When the emperor travelled he had the right to demand conveyances of various kinds from the people of the territory through which he was passing. Angariæ were conveyances for the “direct roads”; parangariæ, conveyances for the “cross-roads.” By “direct roads” are meant the chief roads; in Italy, those which led directly to Rome, and along which the emperor must pass when going to Rome. The “cross-roads” were the less important roads, which ran at right angles to the direct roads.
[3 ] In the same way the emperor had the right to demand ships for the transport of himself and his men.
[1 ] See no. 103, note 2.