Pageant of the Popes, by John Farrow, , at sacred-texts.com
The next pope was Pascal II. Like Urban he had been a monk of Cluny and like him he had been called from the cloisters to be made a Cardinal. His name was Ranieri and he was a Tuscan of good family but was perhaps too mild in manner and temperament for an age when strength was the measure of achievement. Compared to the gigantic difficulties which had confronted Gregory and Urban at the beginning of their reigns his lot seemed far easier. The anti-Pope Clement died and was succeeded in his imposture by another clerical rebel, Theodoric, but such opponents, before the mounting impetus of the newly awakened Crusading spirit, had the ineffectuality of passing shadows. The annoyances of Henry IV were also losing much of their former potency although opposition from that direction never ceased. Between the Emperor and the new Pope the familiar routine of excommunication and attack was continued and any hopes for a reconciliation were killed when, in 1104, Prince Henry, his youngest son, rose in revolt and was supported by the Pope. A vile and cruel conflict ensued between the unnatural antagonists and finally the obstinate old Emperor succumbed to his age and broken spirit. Embittered and disillusioned he went to his lonely tomb without the solace
of either Church or filial affection. Henry V was the new Emperor and there was as little change in his policies as there was in his name, despite the fact of Pascal's having befriended him at a critical moment. Charlemagne's story, ever a dangerous dream to princes, swam dizzily in his head as with the thunder of thirty thousand horses about him he smote most of Italy to subjection. He was no fool and when he received the Pope's legate at Sutri he was flanked not only by soldiers but by lawyers as well. He had come, he said, to settle for all time the question of his inheritance. His sovereignty would be nought if he had not the right of investiture. Bishops were temporal lords and as such the power of their selection must rest in his hands, as it had in practice, so argued his advocates, since the time of Charles the Great. Except by investiture how could the holders of the huge land-owning abbeys, the rich cathedrals, be controlled? Two thirds of his kingly inheritance, Germany, he claimed was owned by the clerics and if they were appointed not by him but by Rome then his Kingship was but an empty name. His lawyers rested on their arguments while his cavalry contemptuously possessed the roads.
At Rome the harassed Pope took refuge in his prayers and then made a startling proposal. If the Emperor would abandon his claims of investiture he in turn would give up all temporal possessions of the Church! The immensity of this proposition staggered Europe. The wealth of the Church, accumulated over the centuries, was something almost beyond reckoning. And how would the clergy live? "On alms" was the Pope's simple answer.
He was saint or fool. Romans preferred to think the latter and when Henry arrived at the city to seal the bargain by a great coronation ceremony there was a loud uproar and sudden revolt. The German soldiery broke
before the sudden fury and the Emperor was forced to retreat but with him he took Pascal and some of his court as prisoners. Meanwhile protests against the papal proposal rose to enormous proportions, for by a stroke of the pen the pontiff had essayed to change not only the status of the Church but the entire feudal system. It could not be done and this he soon and sadly realized. But the Emperor pressed his arguments and his despondent prisoner, weary and worn, perhaps with the lack of interest of a disillusioned idealist, made a gesture of assent. Gleefully Henry announced a concordat. At last the eternal question was settled. Market place and abbey, castle and hut, all Christendom stirred with excitement to learn the Pope had agreed that the rights of episcopal investiture should be vested in the secular power. Then shock changed to wrath. The unfortunate Pascal, miserably aware he had given away the precious rights so valiantly preserved by his predecessors, waited nervously at the Lateran as a flood of indignant messages poured in from all Europe. No epithet was left unuttered but he seems to have accepted all abuse with humility and chagrin. "I confess I failed," he said, "and I ask you to pray God to forgive me." Foreseeing the general indignation Henry, in the same unfortunate concordat, had extracted a promise from him never to invoke the retaliation of excommunication. Angrily the Fathers ignored this prompted vow and by their own authority severed the Imperial schemer from the sacred privileges. Life for the unhappy Pope now became a series of hurried exits from, and uncertain entrances to, Rome, dependent upon the maraudings of Henry. His dignity became less and less until even his Cardinals treated him with contempt. Continually he was committing the mistakes of the weak; making explanation and apology.
[paragraph continues] "I am dust and ashes," he would weep, "Anathema, anathema to the unrighteous decree."
God gave him rest in 1118 and another Cardinal monk John Coniula took his place as Gelasius II. The election was held in a Roman monastery and the mood of a brief term was set as once again the city was plunged in anarchy. Factions fought along the streets and daggers flashed in shadows and instead of receiving the respectful salute of the faithful, the new pope was seized by a lawless noble, Cenzio Frangipani, whose ruffians trod the Pope with their spurs before flinging him to a cell. But conscience was not entirely dead in Rome and to the rescue came the nobleman Pierleone who, supported by armed citizens, saw to it that the Pope was returned and installed in his residence with dignity. But civil conflict, bloody and violent, continued to shame the city. Once again the Frangipani managed to capture the sixty year old man, who once again escaped. Scant evidence of majesty, tranquillity, or reverence marked the papal existence at this period. The Roman scene was too violent a tapestry for an ecclesiastical background, so Gelasius sped to France where he was received with appreciation and hospitality. But the privations had been too many and broken in health he retired to Cluny where, one year after his election, he breathed his last.
The growing strength of medieval France is reflected in the choice and story of the next Pope. The Cardinals who elected him were only six in number, members of the loyal little court who had accompanied Gelasius from Rome. Guy, Archbishop of Vienna and a scholar of royal blood, took the name of Callistus II. A younger son of the Count of Burgundy he never allowed this relationship to pervert his conscience. Nor did Henry of Germany intend any sympathy of blood should change his determined
course. An anti-pope still received his subsidy and, with the help of bribes and German arms, had found residence at Rome. Callistus decided to clarify his position before a Council at Rheims. Here, after attempts to make peace with the Emperor had failed, anathema was once again pronounced. But efforts with other monarchs were not so fruitless. Harmony was restored between Henry I of England and Louis VI of France. Confidence and dignity returned to the papal station as the Pope's ability communicated itself through the channels of the Church. The Latin nations lined behind him and in Germany sympathies turned from the Emperor. Within a year Callistus was able to venture to his rightful see and inheritance. Loyal Normans captured the anti-Pope who quickly acknowledged error before being carried off to a monastery.
With dejection but with sagacity too the Emperor realized that events were being born of a mind that could not be seduced by trickery, perverted by bribes, or over-awed by threats. He made overtures for a peace and as the Pope had the same desire a meeting was arranged. A treaty was discussed and finally Henry, now older and wiser, conceded that the Church should be free in selecting her prelates. The Pope for his part consented that episcopal installations could be graced by the Imperial presence so long as there was no influence either by intimidation or simony. As a further gesture to temporal power it was agreed the monarch should ceremoniously touch a bishop elect with his sceptre to show that the temporalities of the see were subject to him.
The Concordat of Worms was a practical solution to a bitter and vexatious quarrel and it was in principle a victory for the Church. In the future it might often be violated and most grievously, but the pattern, the rule had been set. The Church was to select her own. During the
following Lent, the initiative of Callistus was shown again when for the first, time an Oecumenical Council, the ninth of its kind, was held in the West. Three hundred prelates assembled at the Lateran not only to discuss the new Concordat but to review the general conduct and discipline of the Church. Mourret, the historian, writes that the gathering proclaimed no new dogma "nor any new disciplinary law, but all the progress made by the Church in the course of the preceding centuries was confirmed, defined and sanctioned. The Concordat of Worms was read and amended: twenty-two canons were published. Simony was condemned afresh, likewise clerical concubinage, the encroachments of laymen in ecclesiastical affairs, forbidden marriages, infraction of the Truce of God, debasement of the coinage, violation of the oath to take arms against the infidel and outrages committed on pilgrims. Regulations were drawn up to control the relations of monks with their bishop, and also for a number of special questions."
Within a year both signers of the Concordat were in their tombs and a discord of the usual Roman species was marring the selection of a new pope as opposing factions regulated and declared a choice. Two men claimed the title but the deadlock was not to be for long. The Pierleone family thrust the honours to their candidate, Cardinal Tommaso Buccapecci, and called him Celestine II, but at the height of his ceremonial installation the Frangipani clan crowded forward and tearing off the robes of office forced him to mutter a resignation. Their choice was now declared Pope with the name of Honorius II. He was Cardinal Lamberto Scannabecchi, Bishop of Ostia, Archdeacon of Bologna, and a canon of the Lateran. Despite the circumstances surrounding such a debut he was an able churchman and doubts as to the validity of his authority were settled when, soon after his "election," his
rival died and a more canonical procedure was enacted. He had been a friend of three popes, Pascal, Gelasius, and Callistus, and was thoroughly acquainted with the machinery of their policies. A test of the prudence and lessons learned from these associations came soon after his inauguration. Two princes, Frederick of Hohenstaufen, and Lothair, duke of Saxony, were seeking the succession to the recently deceased and childless Henry V. The Pope threw the weight of his support to Lothair but first obtained a promise that this prince would adhere to the spirit of the Concordat of Worms. He exchanged embassies with the Byzantine Emperor and let his approval seal the sovereignty of Baldwin II, third monarch of the Latin kingdom of Jerusalem. A disagreement between the French bishops and Louis VI employed his diplomacy and won him the goodwill of the French King. From England came the Archbishops of York and Canterbury, both claiming the primacy of their country. By compromise and with satisfaction to the disputants the Pope smoothed their trouble. York was to bow to Canterbury in his capacity of Legate.
But one man at least gave little approval to his actions and that one man, St. Bernard of Clairvaux, far more than anyone else was the outstanding churchman of the age. For nigh forty years the stern monk was, with his brilliant sermons and splendid example, a dominating figure of the Church. Austere and fearless he made it his vocation not only to serve God himself but also to bring reform to those who had professed the same solemn vow. He preached so well of the mystical delights of monasticism that regiments of men, married and single, rushed to the cloisters. In a barren Burgundian valley he was a leading member of the early community of Clairvaux which was rapidly becoming a model of true asceticism. Piety,
penance, simplicity, humility and manual labor were the rules of these austere men known as Cistercians and forerunners of the Trappists, who with vigor and with honesty tried to follow the ideals, of St. Benedict at a time when many monasteries of his name had grown not only rich in tradition but also in purse and correspondingly lax in discipline. The fame of the monk Bernard spread far and wide, and much more than any pomp-surrounded prelate he became recognized as the vocal conscience and defender of the Church. He was quick to ferret out heresy and evil-doing in high places and he was never afraid to hurl accusation or pronouncement at prince or prelate. He preached the Second Crusade and when a few years before this event, he thought the Pope was wrong in supporting Louis VI against the French bishops, he lost no time about stating his views in a pungent and severe missive to the pontiff.
The lot of Honorius was not to be happy as the end of his reign approached. The insolent bandits who were the feudal lords of Italy were in a particularly active, even for them, state of anarchy and because of their aggressions townships, forced to fortification, were enjoying a species of republican self-government. The Pope whose diplomatic efforts had been successful in distant places found, as his health failed, that his influence was weak in and about Rome so, fatigued and disconsolate, he retreated to a monastery to die. The deathbed was circled by the Frangipani crowd who clustered close, not so much to mourn as to ensure succession for their protégé, the Cardinal Gregory, who after a quickly staged election, took the name of Innocent II. But all the Cardinals had not been consulted and three hours later a group of these, chagrined and angry, and under the patronage of the Pierleone family, elected Cardinal Peter Pierleone who announced
his name to be Anacletus II. Who was the validly elected pontiff? Innocent had to flee Rome for the city was under the control of the powerful Pierleone family although their scion was notoriously unfit for the high station. Doubtless his sorry reputation was one of the reasons which made the distant but powerful Bernard give his support to Innocent, for at the Monk's behest all France welcomed the latter as true Pope and recognition came too, so strong was Bernard's influence, from the Churches of England, Germany, Castille, and Aragon. But to offset these loyalties the wily Pierleone effected a truce with the fickle Frangipani; thus the Pope's position in his own see was shamefully precarious and not until the Emperor Lothair invaded Italy was the Pope able to visit the city. Even then it was to be for a brief time and not until the anti-pope died in 1139 was his residence secure at the Lateran. A "Victor IV" succeeded to the claims of Anacletus but he was no match for the oratory and devices of St. Bernard and he soon submitted to Innocent. Among the many clerical visitors to Innocent's court was St. Malachy O'More, Bishop of Armagh, to whom has been attributed authorship of the "Prophecies," a work supposed to predict the destinies and persons of future popes.
The joys of tranquillity and hospitality came finally to soothe this Pope's life. In 1138, fully recognized by all, he was able to assemble in Rome the tenth Oecumenical Council, the second to be held at the Lateran. Nearly a thousand prelates journeyed from near and far to be present at this event where the delivery of the usual decrees against simony, clerical incontinency, and the rest, were enlivened by spirited discussions on the evils of usury and the use of the crossbow in war. Dimly the Church was glimpsing into the future, trying to prepare for that
day when unlimited armaments and an economic system based on usury were to bring the world to madness, fury, and waste.
The belated peace of Innocent's reign proved to be but temporary when a quarrel with Louis VII, the usual quarrel over the right of episcopal investiture, brought forth from the Pope a prompt interdict upon all the regions of France which should be graced by the monarch's presence. It seemed impossible for temporal rulers to adhere to their promises concerning the appointments of prelates, and indeed when those prelates were vassals who controlled territories and towns it is easy to understand, in those feudal times, the problems, temptations and fears of princes. Just before his death, which occurred on September 24, 1143, the Pope was forced to employ force against elements in the City who, cloaking nefarious schemes behind high sounding phrases, tried to revive the forms of the ancient Republic. Their designs failed and were, apparently, forgotten as Guido, Cardinal-priest of St. Mark, became Pope Celestine II at an election which strangely enough was harmonious and unanimous; the first time in four score years that such a gathering was unshadowed by violence. Unfortunately, the happy circumstances did not bring a long life to the new Pope. His reign only lasted five months and during that short time his principal act was to raise the interdict against the French King. At Lisieux the ever alert Bernard heard of this concession to a monarch with uneasiness, but any suspicion of weakness he might have harbored about the Pope must have disappeared when Celestine gave sharp rebuke and broke off relations with the churlish Count Roger of Sicily. This Norman leader had sponsored the anti-pope "Victor IV" but had since made a species of peace with Innocent, forcing his own terms by a great
display of arms but at the same time, with suspicious ostentation, declaring his willingness to swear fealty to the Pope. Celestine examined and did not like the conditions of such a truce and declared his mind, but death intervened to prevent his further participation in the matter.
Lucius II, formerly the Cardinal Gerardo Caccianimici, legate to Germany, began his term in predicament. Count Roger menaced him from without, while in the city the malcontents of Innocent's reign revived their party and their ambitions in the form, so nostalgic to Roman mind and tradition, of the Senate. With arrogance and with the vehemence of newly assumed authority this group pronounced that they alone should control the temporal policies. Lucius was quick to seek aid from the only possible person, the King of Germany. He pleaded with an eloquence and passion born of necessity yet his pleas were in vain, and in desperation he was forced to an action necessarily repugnant to his calling, office and inclinations, but good to his memory. He became the active leader of his troops, a warrior-priest, exhorting and leading his men to action, inspiring them both by his prayers and his courage. Alas, the odds against him were too great and in this unfamiliar martial role he was unsuccessful against both the Count Roger and the Republican Romans. His gallantry brought him wounds which in turn brought death and so he perished, an uncanonised but splendid martyr, during the February of 1145
On the day of his death the new Pope, a Cistercian named Paganelli, was elected and took the title of Eugenius III. The rapidity with which the choice was made both angered and outwitted the Republicans who, not content with the usurpation of temporalities, had intended to set their own candidate upon the papal throne. Before their sinister displeasure Eugenius was forced to flee the
city and seek refuge at Viterbo. Meanwhile, the news of his election continued to amaze Europe for news it was that a simple monk, without the sponsorship of faction or prince and known only for his piety, should be chosen as Pope. Even his former patron Bernard professed surprise and doubt. "You have involved in cares and thrown among the multitudes of men one who had fled from both," he wrote chidingly to the Cardinals. "Was there no wise and experienced person among you more fitted for such things? It seems absurd indeed that a humble and ill-kempt man should be taken to preside over kings, to govern bishops, to dispose realms and empires."
Despite the gloomy forebodings and despite his unworldliness Eugenius met his problems with sound judgment and serene courage. The temporal claims of his office were of little importance to the tonsured monk who always was, despite exalted rank, to set the routine of life by the frugalities and discipline of his Order. His obvious sincerity and goodness, the complete absence from his character of predatory traits or revengeful instincts, did not fail to have effect with the Romans. Perhaps this had been the purpose of the Cardinals when, so unexpectedly, they had chosen him. Almost everybody wanted peace, and peace there undoubtedly would have been, if it had not been for the incorrigible, eloquent ex-priest, Arnold of Brescia, who mingled errors in dogma and his visions of government with a bitter resentment and a burning hatred of hierarchical control. The gentle, truly Christian spirit of Eugenius was no match for the apostate's continual conspiracy and once again a Pope was forced to leave his See. The traditional path of his predecessors was followed and in France he was received with the proper honors by Louis VII and, of course, Bernard. The wide dreams and restless energies of the latter were at this time occupied
with the plans for the Second Crusade. The Pope gave his assent and before a great gathering on the last day of March, 1146, Bernard expounded his project, a giant scheme of attack, against all the encroaching enemies of Christendom; Saracens, Moors, and Pagans. The spell of his oratory, the high ideals of his purpose, had the desired effect and thousands swarmed forward to take the Cross.
Once again all Europe reverberated with enthusiasm and by Christmas, as warriors prepared and their women saddened, even the Emperor Conrad III had declared his support and willingness, for such a cause, to make allies of former rivals and enemies of distant nations. Seventy thousand men gathered together and began to march. The Second Crusade was a fact but from the commencement failure was its story as bad organization, poor leadership, jealousies and the resultant treacheries, did their fatal work. Routed and defeated, disillusioned and despondent, the remnants of the Christian armies straggled back with spirits so damped that even the fiery Bernard could not revive or inflame the martial ardor again. And while the great monk reproached and urged, the Pope, a far gentler man and with little taste for military excursions, returned to Rome where, it had been promised, he would be unmolested. He intended to confine his endeavors to matters of a purely ecclesiastical province but his very presence in the city was a disturbance to Arnold of Brescia, a disturbance sufficient to set professional inciters of opinion at work. Murmurs, deliberate in intent and direction, became the uncontrolled roars of jostling mobs. The streets echoed with rebellious slogans and from the windows of their fortified palaces scions of the ancient houses and factions smiled cynically and drew their swords. Wearily the unfortunate Pope left Rome again and for him it was a last time. He died at Tivoli and in death he was not
alone; for soon after the monks were praying for the soul of Bernard.
The Emperor Conrad had preceded both churchmen to the grave and in the person of his successor, his nephew Frederick Barbarossa, came a determined opposer of the papal interests. Events seemed to favor him in the selection of Anastasius IV, the former Cardinal Conrad. A nephew of Honorius II, this pope was too old and infirm to offer anything save complacency to the encroachments of Frederick. Emboldened by his initial violations of the Concordat of Worms and spurred by an intoxicating dream of rising to the rank and deeds of Charlemagne the prince gathered his armies and prepared to march on Italy. Once there he would bend the feeble wearer of the tiara to his will and then the glory of a united all-embracing Empire, beneath his rule, would be a fact. So ran his dreams but by the time he set foot on Italian territories Anastasius had died and there was a new pope, a man not weak but stern and obstinate, the austere Adrian IV, first and only pontiff of English birth.
The solemnly handsome and pious Adrian was born Nicholas Breakspear and was of obscure parentage. A taste for scholarship had taken him from his native land and a natural talent for leadership had brought him rank in the Church. He had risen to be Abbot of the monastery of St. Rufus near Avignon, and there his reputation as a wise administrator and fearless reformer had reached the ears of Eugenius III who summoned him from the cloisters and despatched him as his Legate to Scandinavia. There the austere Englishman quickly effected a greatly needed hierarchical reorganization and brought satisfactory solutions to many hitherto thorny problems. He was a success and rapidly was recognized as such; grateful peoples called him "The Good Cardinal" and "The Apostle of the
[paragraph continues] North." His return to Rome coincided with the death of Anastasius and the approaching menace of Frederick Barbarossa; and with the city itself once again being disturbed by the indefatigable Arnold of Brescia, his virtues and abilities were too obvious to be overlooked by the papal electors. Following his installation there came quick challenge to his powers of decision and initiative as the Senate, realizing that there was now a pope who would suffer no infringement on his sovereignty, made ready for the usual revolt with the usual ominous preparations. Adrian did not retreat before their threats but instead acted promptly and drastically, threatening to put the entire city under interdict. It was a strong and unusual sentence for Rome, and faced with deprivation of the Mass and with a closing of the churches the revolutionaries knew they could hold no army together. Their opposition weakened to ineffectuality and their leader, the chagrined Arnold, was forced, in his turn, to flee.
With Rome subdued but in danger as the savage armies of Frederick, spreading desolation and terror, came nearer the Pope went to confront the Emperor. They met at Nepi and from the beginning there was a clash of wills. The Pope, weak in temporal force though he was, showed no signs in his proud bearing of the anxious suppliant or the timid conciliator. He was Pope and as such he let be known, he expected the due obeisance of all Christians, be they kings or beggars. He was fearless but certainly some of his cardinals must have experienced a dark moment when, surrounded by the fierce panorama of German soldiery, he turned his back to the Emperor and refused to treat with him until the traditional act of homagethe holding of the Pope's stirrup while he dismountedhad been performed. But courage, perhaps, was one language that could impress the warrior monarch; and
after a few days of brooding he consented to do the act of homage and in return it was arranged he should receive his crown from the Pope's hand at Rome. Thus, it seemed, thanks to the Pope's bravery and diplomacy, the city was to be spared the German brutalities and barbarities. But, spurred by Arnold, a group of the Republicans came to try and make terms with Frederick in the name of the Senate. Their pretentions or opinions did not impress one who considered himself to be a Caesar. He surveyed them with contempt and pointing to his bodyguard thundered: "These are my Patricians of Rome, this is my perpetual Senate. And I am your Sovereign." Such a viewpoint necessarily meant the end for Arnold. He was captured and delivered to the authorities at Rome where he was tried as a traitor and executed.
Frederick received his coronation at St. Peter's but, try as he could, the Pope was unable to prevent bloodshed. The arrogance of the invaders, the hot Roman temper, always suspicious and resentful of foreign intrusion, were ingredients which when thrust together could not make for anything save conflict. Once again massacre, fear, and torment were the routine of the city when suddenly to favor the Romans an unexpected ally came in the form of malarial fever. Frederick withdrew in haste as the epidemic attacked with an effectiveness far more terrible than any human endeavor; but his retreat caused no cessation to the turbulence and intrigue of the Romans. With a rare strength Adrian remained resolute in his judgment and steadfast in his principles yet sometimes he could not but be despondent. "I wish I had never left England," he confided to one prelate, "or had lived out my life quietly in the cloisters of St. Rufus; but I dared not refuse this difficult path, for it was the Lord's bidding. . . . He has put me between the hammer and the anvil. . . ." In a strategical
sense he was indeed between hammer and anvil. Though he did not deny the titular claims of Frederick, the violence of the Germans had convinced him that their actions in Italy must be controlled, so he negotiated a treaty with King William, the Norman ruler of Sicily and an erstwhile enemy who in the past had usurped certain papal possessions and in doing so had incurred excommunication. The sentence was now withdrawn and William was recognized as duke of Apulia, Naples, Salerno, and Capua while for his part the Norman acknowledged himself to be a papal vassal and so bound to pay homage with gold and, when necessary, provide armed protection for Rome.
As was to be expected the new alliance met no favor in the eyes of Frederick and at a diet held at Besançon during the October of 1157 relations grew more strained when Cardinal Bandinelli, the Papal legate, told the Emperor not to forget that it was the Church which had given him "the signal favor of the crown." In the translation of his speech the word beneficium was given as fief whereupon there was a tremendous outcry from the German barons who did not admit to their Emperor's being a vassal of any man or power. So intense was their fury that had it not been for the personal intervention of Frederick the Legate would have suffered bodily harm. He was a man of rare courage and standing his ground he defiantly asked his irate audience: "From whom then does the Emperor hold the Empire if not from the Pope?"
The next spring witnessed another German invasion of Italy. Frederick was out to prove that his title of Emperor was a true one and all towns and provinces must admit his ownership. With clarity and with alarm Urban could see the Imperial intention of making the Pope, as ruler of Rome, submit to being an Imperial vassal. It was a dangerous situation. Discussions and maneuvering began
but not until the next year, when Milan revolted against German domination, did the conflict become an open war between Emperor and Pope. The latter supported the Milanese while Frederick declared his position as to Rome. "If I, Emperor of the Roman Empire, have no rights in Rome I have no rights anywhere." The reply to his claims was a sentence of excommunication delivered from Anagni. It was the first salvo of the Church in what was to be a long and bitter struggle and it was a fit exit from the earthly scene of an energetic pope to whom, at this critical time, death now came.
By bribe and by threat Frederick now tried to sway the favor of the Cardinals to a candidate of his liking but only three were influenced, the rest voted for Cardinal Bandinelli who became Alexander III. Promptlyand at his behestthe three hirelings of the Emperor now put up an anti-pope, "Victor IV." When Alexander's electors reminded Frederick that as Roman Emperor he should uphold and protect a validly elected pontiff he, with neat hypocrisy, concurred but suggested that inasmuch as there seemed to be dispute and doubt the claimants should present their cases before a Council. Such a suggestion from this despot was a command and soon some fifty Italian and German churchmen were gathered in a convention which was more like a martial review than a clerical assemblage as the Imperial troops crowded the sidelines and applauded lustily the message of their master who, with conceit and presumption, shouted he had a "right to call a Council as Emperor. It is well known that Constantine, Theodosius, Justinian, Charlemagne and others called Councils and I am their successor." Intoxicated by his own speech he then addressed his puppet, the pretender, as the true pope and referred to Alexander, who was at Anagni, as a Cardinal. The farce was continued and the Council
announced their "judgment" to be in favor of Victor. But the circumstances of their shameful decision were too well known to carry any authority. Carthusian and Cistercian monks made it a mission to travel throughout Europe, informing all, in high and low status, of Frederick's misguided activities with the result that nobody except those in the Imperial power or employ would give recognition to the anti-pope no matter how much his royal master schemed or threatened. When Victor died Frederick appointed "Pascal III"; and when he died a "Callistus III" appeared for a brief time; and, when death struck once again an "Innocent III" accepted the false tiara. Meanwhile, pursued and harassed though he might be, the real Pope successfully carried on the complex affairs of his office. At times he was forced, in his need for aid against Frederick, to seek the sympathy of other monarchs and because of this reason he at first supported Henry II of England in that king's quarrel with Thomas aBecket. But when the great tragedy of the latter was acted to its full the pontiff lost no time in admitting his error and in pronouncing punishment against Henry; and, two years later, it was he who presided at the canonization of the murdered Archbishop.
With all his might, and even though his military successes were many, Frederick was slowly discovering he could perhaps hinder but could not own the papacy. During one of his marauding expeditions he stormed St. Peter's and with his soldiers cut a bloody path to the High Altar where, against the desecrated background, his puppet antipope placed a crown upon his head and bade an unheeding Christendom to accept him at his own valuation. But it was all in vain. His attacks, no matter how violent or massive they were, had as much effect as a sword wielded against a running stream.
In 1176, for a fourth time, he invaded Italy but this time his former victims, united by the Pope's diplomacy, were prepared and were able to offer fierce resistance. Milan was avenged at Ancona, and at Legnano the Teutons, losing all semblance of order, ceased to be an army before the determined onslaught of the Lombards. The surprised and humiliated Emperor left the battlefield a fugitive like the commonest and most unskilled of his soldiers. A truce was in order but it took a year before his pride would allow him to relinquish his ambitions. Finally, after many negotiations there came the sweet moment of triumph for Alexander. At Venice, now rising to its greatest, the page escorted the Pope from the flagship of the Sicilian fleet to St. Mark's in magnificent procession. It seemed as though the world had come to pay tribute to the pontiff and share his victory. Envoys of England and France, Sicily, Spain and the Free Cities walked with Prince-bishops and mitred Abbots. Nobles, citizens, soldiers, and mariners jostled shoulders with monks from everywhere who eyed with wonder and perhaps with distaste the luxuriousness of the crowd. Gems and gold were in profusion and so were rich stuffs, velvets of deep color, scarlet and gold and wine, and damasks and silks and laces. Splendid St. Mark's was a fitting frame for the vivid pageantry and for the solemn drama which was its purpose. Enthroned, the Pope waited while the Emperor made his long approach through the staring court, his pride conscious of every eye upon him. Before the papal chair he bent his knee and tears were seen in Alexander's eyes as with a mercy worthy of his rank he bestowed upon the humiliated monarch the kiss of peace. Legend has it that at the moment he knelt Frederick whispered "Not to thee, but to Peter." And the Pope's gentle reply was: "To me as to Peter."
Two years later Alexander, in full and proper possession of Rome, crowned his triumphs by assembling a thousand prelates for the Third Lateran Council. From this assemblage came the law that at a papal election a two-third's majority of the cardinals would suffice to secure a choice and it is to be noted that the distinction made, in this matter of electing a pope, between Cardinal Bishops and other Cardinals is not in the new law. Ten years more than the allotted span had been granted Alexander. In his long life he had endured hardship, sorrow, and pain but he had also experienced victory and before him the claimant of Charlemagne's title had admitted subjection. Now, once again, the pendulum of fortune swung to an opposite extreme. With the Germans quelled, the Republicans of Rome began their usual noise and the Pope, aware of his years and with energies near exhaustion, was compelled to leave the city because of the whims of its rabble. Death came quickly to remove his heartbreak during the August of 1181. To assume his burden the cardinals appointed another old man, Lucius III, ex-monk and cardinal. This good priest tried to make peace with the Roman malcontents but would not compromise the principles of his office; so after a precarious sojourn at the Lateran he left the city and never returned. His character, mild and pious but not aggressive, was an invitation to the brooding Frederick who, using the lessons taught by past errors, betrothed his son Henry to the daughter of the Sicilian monarch, King William, thus leaving the papacy virtually unprotected and deprived of a former ally.
The most positive act of Pope Lucius was the establishment of a form of Episcopal inquisition which was levelled at all heresies and in particular at the followers of Peter Waldo, an ex-banker of Lyons. This man, pious and
earnest like so many other founders of heresies, had felt an urge for a more literal adherence to the Divine teachings. Preaching a dream of universal poverty he attracted many adherents who with zeal discarded worldly possessions and connections and swore to live by alms and fasting and prayer. At the commencement of this movement there was no ecclesiastical disapproval but when fervor developed into fanaticism and when the conceit of self-righteousness begot dangerous errors of intolerance in the form of anti-sacramentarian criticisms then anathema was considered necessary.
Lucius III died at Verona on November 25, 1185, and on that same day the cardinals hastily gave their favor to a scion of the Crivelli family, Uberto, Archbishop of Milan. He selected the name of Urban III and almost immediately was in conflict with Frederick, for the machinations of the latter were rapidly gaining success. The second month after Urban's election saw the Emperor's son, Henry, married, as he had so astutely planned, to Constance of Sicily. Gradually the lord of Germany had won control of Sicily and Naples and at the royal wedding his son was crowned King of Lombardy by the Patriarch of Aquileia. The situation was grave indeed for Pope Urban but he unhesitatingly showed his lack of fear or intimidation by two immediate acts of firm opposition. He excommunicated the obliging Patriarch and declared against Frederick's candidate for the See of Treves. Enraged and thwarted, Frederick ordered his son to leave his bride and lead an army upon the Papal States.
Quickly the undaunted Pope prepared a sentence of excommunication against the aggressor but the frightened citizens of Verona, at this time the papal refuge, begged it might not be delivered from their city. Urban journeyed to Ferrara; there at this critical moment he died and it
was there he was buried, a pope who had never occupied Rome. Another old man succeeded him as Gregory VIII. He was Albert de Mora. As Cardinal of St. Laurence in Lucina he had been known for a gentle and conciliatory nature and perhaps it was this reputation that won for him the favor of the worried electors. His reign was only to last two months but in that short time a new field had attracted the ambitions and energies of Frederick. Jerusalem had been conquered by the Saracens and their leader, the Kurdish warrior Saladin, was achieving success after success against the Christian knights who by constant quarrelling in their own ranks were well equipped for defeat. A new Crusade, the Third, was proclaimed by Pope Gregory and encouraged by his successor; and a seven-years truce was declaredalthough never fulfilledbetween Christian princes. Leaving his able son Henry to act as regent the restless Frederick marched on to the Holy Landand to his death, for he perished by drowning while fording the swollen waters of the River Salef in Asia Minor. He was not the only prince of first rank to embark on this Crusade. There was Philip Augustus of France and Richard the Lion Hearted of England and, perhaps because of their wretched rivalries, Jerusalem remained undelivered and multitudes died miserably and in vain. If Frederick, with his will of iron and fierce determination, had not gulped his death in the muddy current of a distant river, the story, the sad bitter story of disaster by sword and by plague and by treachery too, might have had a different ending.
Henry VI inherited the stern nature of his father, the same severities and abilities, the same high ambitions. To stand in his way was the new Pope, Clement III, who had been Paolo Scolari, Bishop of Palestrina and a Roman by birth. He was possessed of great diplomatic skill and
at the beginning of his reign, without compromise of principle or rights, he managed to evade an open break with the prince whilst most of his energies were devoted to the encouragement of the Crusade and the negotiation of a treaty with the Roman Senate. Perhaps the latter was not a very satisfactory pact for while it was agreed that the pontiff should be recognized as the city's temporal lord much of the practical administrative machinery remained in the control of the Senate. Nevertheless, a pope once again sat in the Lateran. For three busy years he ruled and his diplomatic skill was manifested even in far-away Scotland where he freed the episcopacy of that country from the jurisdiction of the metropolitan see of York. But despite the most skilful employment of the diplomat's science it was inevitable that a break should come between him and Frederick's son, for the prince, carefully consolidating the schemes and accomplishments of his father, was relentlessly forcing the papacy, as a temporal power, to an isolated and pitifully defenceless position. There was only one chance to break the cunning encirclement. Henry's marriage with Constance had given him claim to the throne of Sicily but when her father died the claim was disputed by Tancred, an illegitimate descendant of the Norman kings and many Sicilians, fearful of the Imperial domination, supported him. So, too, did Pope Clement.
Promptly Henry accepted the challenge and, marshalling his armies, began the march through Italy. Clement died at this time and to inherit his burden the Cardinal Giacinto Boris was chosen, an Orsini who took the name of Celestine III. When Henry appeared at the gates of Rome with his vast army the new but aged pontiff had no recourse but to crown him Emperor. Not so easy was Henry's path elsewhere. Defeat was his destiny at Naples where, before the desperate fury of patriots, his fleet was
destroyed and his army scattered. A grave illness sapped his own strength and he was forced to retire. In the bloody disorder of the retreat his wife Constance was seized and held as hostage by his opponent Tancred. In Germany there was trouble with Henry of Brunswick but this was finally solved by the marriage of that prince with the Imperial niece: not for nought was Henry the son of Frederick. Displaying the same fierce persistence and resourcefulness as his parent he gathered fresh armies, financed mainly from the moneys gained by the ransom of Richard the Lion Hearted, and hastened back to Italy. Meanwhile Pope Celestine had interceded with Tancred and had begged him to release Constance. This was done but there was no halt to the German march, so grimly the Sicilians prepared for defence. Twice before had Death opportunely removed antagonists to the will of Henry and his father. Now, for a third time, there was the same macabre assistance; for Tancred died, leaving as a successor a mere child. Bereft of a real leader the Sicilians were nothing before Henry's fury, and by sword and by flame he exacted terrible vengeance.
It was ferocity, but it was a ferocity that followed a plan. Henry lived to fulfill the same ambitions that had stirred his father. He would be Master of the World, and the Empire must be the property of his heirs. He would unite the West, he would subjugate the East, and he would free the Holy Land. He would take rank with Charlemagne and Constantine and by force and threat of force he set out to make facts of his visions. His soldiers marched, his agents informed, and below the Imperial insignia and by the Imperial authority, in city and in village and along country roads, men were killed, burned, and tortured to bring substance to a dream. All Europe groaned beneath a common tyranny and the pontiff, now
ninety years of age, could not but have been alarmed when Henry ordered, for it was an order, that the papal authority should secure his son's intended inheritance. The royal infant, Frederick, was only two years old but Henry proposed that the pope should bestow the crown and so ensure the succession. Celestine demurred, but before the Emperor's wrath was translated to measures of revenge, death, surely no part of his plans for he was still a young man, intervened. Vainly struggling in the throes of fever he died, his dreams unrealized, his visions to become a jest upon the lips of those whom he would have conquered. It was the August of 1197 and six months later Pope Celestine also went to his grave. He had been the 174th pontiff.