1902 Encyclopedia > Rome > Mediaeval Roman History - History of the Roman Republic in the Middle Ages - (b) Holy Roman Empire (from 800 A.D): Leo III; Charlemagne; Otho III; etc.

Rome
(Part 14)




UNIT I: ROMAN HISTORY

SECTION II: HISTORY OF THE ROMAN REPUBLIC IN THE MIDDLE AGES

(b) Holy Roman Empire (from 800 A.D): Leo III; Charlemagne; Otho III; etc.


Leo III. (796-816) further strengthened the ties between Charlemagne and the church by sending the former a letter with the keys of the shrine of St Peter and the banner of Rome. Charlemagne had already joined to his office of patrician the function of high justice. The new symbols now sent constituted him miles of Rome and general of the church. The pope urged him to despatch an envoy to receive the oath of fealty, thus placing himself, the representative of the republic, in the subordinate position of one of the bishops who had received the immunities of counts. And all these arrangements took place without the slightest reference to the senate, the army, or the people. Much resentment was felt, especially by the nobles, and a revolution ensued headed by the primicerius Paschalis and the secundicerius Campulus, and backed by all who wished to liberate the city from the papal rule. During a solemn procession the pope was attacked and barbarously maltreated by his assailants, who tried to tear out his eyes and tongue (799). He was thrown into prison, escaped, and overtook Charlemagne at Paderborn, and returned guarded by ten of the monarch's envoys, who condemned to death the leaders of the revolt, reserving, however, to their sovereign the right of final judgment. Charlemagne arrived in December 800, and as high justice assembled a tribunal of the clergy, nobles, citizens, and Franks; he pronounced Leo to be innocent, and confirmed the capital sentence passed on the rebels. But through the intercession of the pope, who dreaded the wrath of the nobles, this was presently commuted into perpetual exile.

Charlemagne Crowned Emperor

And finally on Christmas day, in St Peter's, before an assemblage of Roman and Frankish lords, the clergy, and the people, the pontiff placed the imperial crown on Charlemagne's head and all proclaimed him emperor.

Thus the new emperor was elected by the Romans and consecrated by the pope. But he was their real master and supreme judge. The pope existed only by his will, since he alone supplied the means for the maintenance of the temporal power, and already pretended to the right of controlling the papal elections. Yet Charlemagne was not sovereign of Rome ; he possessed scarcely any regalia there, and was not in command of the army ; he mainly represented a principle, but this principle was the law which is the basis of the state. The pope still nominated the Roman judges, but the emperor or his missi presided over them, together with those of the pope, and his decision was appealed to in last resort. During the Carolingian times no mention is found of the prefect, and it would seem that his office was filled by the imperial missus, or legate, the judices de clero, and judices de militia. The power of the pope was now entangled with that of the republic on the one hand and that of the empire on the other. The consequent confusion of sacred and secular functions naturally led to infinite complications and disputes.

The death of Charlemagne in 814 was the signal for a fresh conspiracy of the nobles against the pope, who, discovering their design, instantly put the ringleaders to death, and was severely blamed by Louis for this violation of the imperial prerogative. While the matter was under discussion the nobles broke out in fiercer tumults, both in Rome and the Campagna. At last, in 824, the emperor Lothair came to re-establish order in Rome, and proclaimed a new and noteworthy constitution, to which Pope Eugenius II. (824-27) gave his oath of adherence. By this the partnership of pope and emperor in the temporal rule of Rome and the states of the church was again confirmed. The more direct power appertained to the pope ; the supreme authority, présidence of the tribunals, and final judgment on appeal to the emperor. The new constitution also established the right of contending parties to select either the Roman or the Teutonic code for the settlement of their disputes. During the Carolingian period it is not surprising that the commune should have been, as it were, absorbed by the church and the empire. In fact it is scarcely mentioned in history throughout that time.

Decline of the Empire

And when, no longer sustained by the genius of its founder, the Frankish empire began to show signs of dissolution, the popes finding their power thereby strengthened, began to assume many of the imperial attributes. Soon, however, as a natural consequence of the loss of the main support of the papacy, the nobles regained vigour and were once more masters of the city. Teutonic and feudal elements had now largely penetrated into their organization. The system of granting lands, and even churches and convents, as benefices according to feudal forms, became more and more general. It was vain for the popes to offer opposition, and they ended by yielding to the current. The fall of the Prankish empire left all Italy a prey to anarchy, and torn by the faction fights of Berengar of Friuli and Guido of Spoleto, the rival claimants to the crowns of Italy and the empire. The Saracens were advancing from the south, the Huns from the north; the popes had lost all power; and in the midst of this frightful chaos a way was opened for the rise of the republics. Anarchy was at its climax in Rome, but the laity began to overpower the clergy to such an extent that the judices de militia prevailed over the judices de clero. For a long time no imperial missi or legates had been seen, and the papacy was incredibly lowered. The election of the popes had positively fallen into the hands of certain beautiful women notorious for their evil life and depravity.

Renewed Power of the Aristocracy

The aristocracy alone gained strength ; now freed from the domination of the emperor, it continually wrested fresh privileges from the impotent pontiffs, and became organized as the cracy. ruling force of the republic. Gregorovius, notwithstanding his denial of the continuation of the senate after the 6th century, is obliged to acknowledge that it appeared to have returned to life in the power of this new baronage. And, although this body was now permeated with the feudal principle, it did not discard it's ancient traditions. The nobles claimed to be the main source of the empire; they svished to regain the dignity and office of patricius, and to make it, if possible, hereditary in their families. Nothing is known of their system of organization, but it seems that they elected a chief bearing the title of consul, senator, princeps Romanorum, who was officially recognized by the pope, as a patricius presided over the tribunals, and was the head of the commune.

Theophylact was one of the first to assume this dignity. His wife Theodora, known as the senatrix, was one of the women then dominating Rome by force of their charms and licentiousness. She was supposed to be the concubine of Pope John X. (914-928), whose election was due to her influence. Her daughter Marozia, in all things her worthy rival, was married to Alberic, a foreign mercenary of uncertain birth who rose to a position of great influence, and, although an alien, played a leading part in the affairs of the city. He helped to increase the power of Theophylact, who seemingly shared the rule of the city with the pope. In the bloody war that had to be waged against the Saracens of southern Italy, and at the defeat of the latter on the Garigliano (916), Theophylact and Alberic were the Roman leaders, and distinguished themselves by their valour. They disappeared from the scene after this victory, but Marozia retained her power, and bore a son Alberic, who was destined to greater deeds. The pope found himself caught in this woman's toils, and struggled to escape, but Marozia, gaining fresh influence by her marriage with Hugo, margrave of Tuscany, imprisoned the pontiff himself in Castle St Angelo (928). This fortress was the property of Marozia and the basis of her strength. The unfortunate John died within its walls. Raised to the chair by Theodora, he was deposed and killed by her daughter. The authority of the latter reached its culminating point in 931, when she succeeded in placing her son John XI. on the papal throne. On the death of her second husband she espoused Hugo of Provence, the same who in 928 had seized the iron crown at Pavia, and now aspired to the empire. Dissolute, ambitious, and despotic, he came to Rome in 932, and, leaving his army outside the walls, entered Castle St Angelo with his knights, instantly began to play the tyrant, and gave a blow to Alberic his stepson, who detested him as a foreign intruder.

The Revolt of the Romans. Alberic at the Head of the Commune.

This blow proved the cause of a memorable revolution; for Alberic rushed from the castle and harangued the people, crying that the time was come to shake off the tyrannous yoke of a woman and of barbarians who were once the slaves of at the Rome. Then, putting himself at the head of the populace, he closed the city gates to prevent Hugo's troops from coming to the rescue, and attacked the castle. The king fled; Marozia was imprisoned, Alberic proclaimed lord of the Romans, and the pope confined to the Lateran in the custody of his own brother. Rome was again an independent state, a republic of nobles. Rid of the temporal dominion of emperor and pope, and having expelled the foreigners with great energy and courage, it chose Alberic for its chief with the title of princeps atque omnium Romanorum senator. The tendency of the Roman republic to elect a supreme authority, first manifested in the case of Theophylact, was repeated in those of Alberic, Brancaleone, Crescenzio, Cola di Rienzo, and others. One of the many causes of this tendency may be traced to the conception of the new empire of which Rome was the original and enduring fountainhead. As Rome had once transferred the empire from Byzantium to the Franks, so Rome was surely entitled to reclaim it. The imperial authority was represented by the office of patrician, now virtually assumed by Alberic. That he gave the name of Octavian to his son is an additional proof of this fact. In the Eternal City the mediaeval political idea has always the aspect of a resurrection or transformation of classic antiquity. This is another characteristic of the history of the Roman commune.

Alberic's strength was due to his connexion with the nobility, to his father's valiant service against the Saracens at the battle of Garigliano, and to the militia under his command, on which everything depended amid the internal and external dangers now threatening the new state. As yet no genuine municipal constitution was possible in Rome, where neither the people nor the wealthy burghers engaged in industry and commerce had any fixed organization. All was in the hands of the nobles, and Alberic, as their chief, frequently convened them in council, although obliged to use pressure to keep them united and avoid falling a prey to their disputes. Hence the whole power was concentrated in his grasp; he was at the head of the tribunals as well as of the army. The judices de clero and judices de militia still existed, but no longer met in the Lateran or the Vatican, under the presidency of emperor and pope or their missi. Alberic himself was their president; and, a still more significant fact, their sittings were often held in his private dwelling. There is no longer any mention of prefect or patricius. The papal coinage was inscribed with Alberic's name instead of the emperor's. His chief attention was given to the militia, which was still arranged in scholae, and it is highly probable that he was the author of the new division of the city into twelve regions, with a corresponding classification of the army in as many regiments under twelve flags and twelve banderesi, one for every region. The organization of the scholae could not have been very dissimilar, but doubtless Alberic had some important motive for altering the old method of classification. By means of the armed regions he included the people in the forces. It is certain that after his time we find the army much changed and far more democratic. It was only natural that so excellent a statesman should seek the aid of the popular element as a defence against the arrogance of the nobles, and it was requisite to reinforce the army in order to be prepared for the attacks threatened from abroad. This change effected, Alberic felt prepared for the worst, and began to rule with energy, moderation, and justice. His contemporaries award him high praise, and he seems to have been exempt from the vices of his mother and grandmother.





In 933 Hugo made his first attack upon the city, and was repulsed. A second attempt in 936 proved still more unfortunate, for his army was decimated by a pestilence. Thoroughly disheartened, he not only made peace, but gave his daughter in marriage to Alberic, thus satisfying the latter's desire to ally himself with a royal house. But this union led to no conciliation with Hugo. For Alberic, finding his power increased, marched at the head of his troops to consolidate his rule in the Campagna and the Sabine land. On the death of his brother, Pope John XI., in 936, he controlled the election of several successive popes, quelled a conspiracy formed against him by the clergy and certain nobles instigated bv Hugo, and brilliantly repulsed, in 941, another attack by that potentate. At last, however, this inveterate foe withdrew from Rome, being summoned to the north by the victories of his rival Berengarius. But Alberic, after procuring the election of various popes who were docile instruments of his will, experienced a check when Agapetus II. (946-955), a man of firmness and resource, was raised to the papal throne. The fortunes of Berengarius were now in the ascendant. In 950 he had seized the iron crown, and ruled in the Pentapolis and the exarchate. This being singularly painful to the pope, he proceeded to make alliance with all those enemies of Berengarius preferring a distant emperor to a neighbouring and effective sovereign, with the Roman nobles who were discontented with Alberic, and with all who foresaw danger, even to Rome, from the extended power of Berengarius. And Agapetus recurred to the old papal policy, by making appeal to Otho I., whose rule in Germany was distinguished by a prestige almost comparable with that of Charlemagne.

Otho immediately responded to the appeal and descended into Italy; but his envoys were indignantly repulsed by Alberic, and, being prudent as well as firm, he decided to wait a more opportune moment for the accomplishment of his designs. Meanwhile Alberic died in 954, and the curtain fell on the first great drama of the Roman republic. He had reigned for twenty-two years with justice, energy, and prudence; he had repelled foreign invaders, maintained order and authority. He seems, however, to have realized that the aspect of affairs was about to change, that the work he had accomplished would be exposed to new dangers. These dangers, in fact, had already begun with the accession of an enterprising pope to the Holy See. The name of Octavian given by Alberic to his son leads to the inference that he meant to make his power hereditary. But, suddenly, he began to educate this son for the priesthood, and, assembling the nobles in St Peter's shortly before his death, he made them swear to elect Octavian as pope on the decease of Agapetus II. They kept their word, for in this way they freed themselves from a ruler. Possibly Alberic trusted that both offices might be united, and that his son would be head of the state as well as the church. But the nobles knew this to be a delusion, especially in the case of a nature such as Octavian's. The lad was sixteen years old when his father died, received princely honours until the death of Agapetus, and was then elected pope with the name of John XII. He had inherited the ungoverned passions of his grandmother Marozia and great-grandmother Theodora, but without their intelligence and cunning. His palace v was the scene of the most scandalous licence, while his public acts were those of a baby tyrant. He conferred a bishopric on a child of ten, consecrated a deacon in a stable, invoked Venus and Jupiter in his games, and drank to the devil's health. He desired to be both pope and prince, but utterly failed to be either. Before long, realizing the impossibility of holding in check Berengarius, who still ruled over the exarchate, he sought in 960 the aid of Otho I., and promised him the imperial crown. Thus the new ruler was summoned by the son of the man by whom he had been repulsed.

Otho Crowned Emperor

Otho vowed to defend the church, to restore her territories, to refrain from usurping the power of the pope or the republic, and was crowned on the 2d February 962 with unheard of pomp and display.

Accordingly, after being extinct for thirty-seven years, the empire was revived under different but no less difficult conditions. The politico-religious unity founded by Charlemagne had been dissolved, partly on account of the heterogeneous elements of which it was composed, and partly because other nations were in course of formation. Now too the feudal system was converting the officers of the empire into independent princes, and the new spirit of communal liberty was giving freedom to the cities. Otho once more united the empire and the church, Italy and Germany, in order to combat these new foes. But the difficulties of the enterprise at once came to light. John XII., finding a master in the protector he had invoked, now joined the discontented nobles who were conspiring with Berengarius against the emperor. But the latter hastened to Rome in November 963, assembled the clergy, nobles, and heads of the people, and made them take an oath never again to elect a pope without his consent and that of his son. He also convoked a synod presided over by himself in St Peter's, which judged, condemned, and deposed Pope John and elected Leo VIII. (963-965), a Roman noble, in his stead. All this was done at the direct bidding of the emperor, who thus deprived the Romans of their most valued privilege, the right of choosing their own pope.

Rising Importance of the People

But the people had now risen to considerable importance, and, for the first time, we find it officially represented in the synod by the plebeian Pietro, surnamed Imperiola, together with the leaders of the militia, which had also become a popular institution since Alberic's reign. It was no longer easy to keep the lower orders in subjection, and by their junction with the malcontent nobles they formed a very respectable force. On the 3d January 964 they sounded the battle-peal and attacked the Vatican, where the emperor was lodged. The German knights repulsed them with much slaughter, and this bloodshed proved the beginning of an endless feud. Otho departed in February, and John XII., as the chosen pope of the Romans, returned with an army of followers and compelled the defenceless Leo VIII. to seek safety in flight. Soon afterwards Leo was deposed and excommunicated by a new synod, and many of his adherents were cruelly murdered. But on the 14th May 964 John suddenly expired ; the Romans, amid violent struggles and tumults, resumed their rights, elected Benedict V. and procured his consecration in spite of the emperor's veto. Otho now appeared at the head of an army, committed fresh slaughter, besieged the city, reduced it by famine, and, after holding a council which deposed Benedict and sent him a prisoner to Hamburg, restored Leo VIII. to the papal throne.

But, although the emperor thus disposed of the papacy at his will, his arbitrary exercise of powerroused a long and obstinate resistance, which had no slight effect upon the history of the commune. Leo VIII. died in 965, and the imperial party elected John XIII. (965-972).

Another Revolution

Upon this the nobles of the national party joined the people, and there was a general revolt. The nobles were led by Pietro, prefect of Rome. As we have noted, this office seemed to be extinct during the Carolingian rule, but we again meet with it in 955, after an interval of a century and a half. The leaders of the people were twelve decarconi, a term of unknown derivation, but probably indicating chiefs of the twelve regions (dodecarchi, dodecarconi, decarconi). The new pope was seized and confined, first in Castle St Angelo, then in a fortress in the Campagna. But the emperor quickly marched an army against Rome, and this sufficed to produce a reaction which recalled the pope (November 966), sent the prefect into exile, and put several of the rebellious nobles to death. And shortly after the emperor sacked the city. Many Romans were exiled, some tortured, others, including the twelve decarconi, killed. John XIII. died in 972 and Otho in 973.

All these events clearly prove how great a change had now taken place in the conditions of Rome. The people (plebs) had made its appearance upon the stage; the army had become democratic; the twelve regions were regularly organized under leaders. Opposed to them stood the nobles, headed by the prefect, also a noble, precisely as in Florence the nobles and the podestà were later opposed to the guilds and the people. So far, it is true, nobles and people had made common cause in Rome ; but this harmony was soon to be interrupted. The feudal spirit had made its way among the Roman aristocrats, had split them into two parties and diminished their strength. It was now destined to spread, and, as it was always vigorously detested and opposed by the people elsewhere in Italy, so the same consequence was inevitable in Rome.

Judices Dativi

Another notable change, and a subject of unending controversy, had also occurred in the administration of justice. So far there were the judiees de clero, also known as ordinary or palatine judges, and the judiees de militia, also styled consules or duces. These judges generally formed a court of seven, three being de clero, four de militia, or vice versa, under the presidency of the papal or imperial missi. In criminal cases the judiees de militia had the prefect or the imperial missus for their president. But there was a third order of judges called pedanei, a consulibus creati. It seems clear that the duces, being distributi per judicatus, found themselves isolated in the provinces, and to obtain assistance nominated these pedanei, who were legal experts. In Rome, with its courts of law, they were less needed, but possibly in those sections of the city where cases of minor importance were submitted to a single magistrate reference was made to the pedanei. But many changes were made under the Franks, and when the edict of Lothair (824) granted free choice of either the Roman or Germanic law, and the duces were replaced by comites and gastaldiones, chiefly of German origin, the use of legal experts became increasingly necessary. And the custom of employing them was the more easily diffused by being already common among the Franks, whose scabini were legal experts acting as judges, though not qualified to pass sentence. Thus the pedanei multiplied, came to resemble the scabini, and were designated judices dativi (a magistratu dati) or simply dativi. These were to be found in the exarchate in 838, but not in Rome until 961, when the judices de militia had ceased to exist. The great progress of the German legal procedure may then have contributed to the formation of the new office.

Meanwhile Pope John XIII. had been succeeded by Benedict VI. (973-974) and Otho I. by his son Otho II., a youth of eighteen married to the Byzantine princess Theophano. Thereupon the Romans, who had supported the election of another pope, and were in no awe of the new emperor, rose to arms under the command of Crescenzio, a rich and powerful noble. They not only seized Benedict VI. by force, but strangled him in Castle St Angelo. The national and imperial parties then elected several popes who were either exiled or persecuted, and one of them was said to be murdered. In 985 John XV. was elected (985-996).





Giovanni Crescenzio

During this tur-moil, the national party, composed of nobles and people, led by Giovanni Crescenzio, son of the other Crescenzio mentioned above, had taken complete possession of the government. This Crescenzio assumed the title of patrician, and sought to imitate Alberic, although far his inferior in capacity. Fortunately for him the reigning pope was a detested tyrant, and the emperor a child entirely guided by his mother. But the new emperor Otho III. was backed by a powerful party, and on coming to Rome in 996 was able, although only aged fifteen, to quell the rebellion, oust Crescenzio from public life, and elect as successor to John XV. his own cousin, Pope Gregory V. (996-999). But this first German pope surrounded himself with compatriots, and by raising them to lofty posts even in the tribunals excited a revolt that drove him from the throne (29th September 996). Crescenzio, being master of Castle St Angelo, resumed the title of patrician or consul of the Romans, expelled the German judges, reconstituted the government, prepared his troops for defence, and created a new pope. But the following year Otho III. came to Rome, and his party opened the gates to him. Although deserted by nearly all his adherents, Crescenzio held the castle valiantly against its besiegers. At last, on the 29th April 998, he was forced to make terms, and the imperialists, violating their pledges, first put him to torture and then hurled him from the battlements. Gregory V. dying shortly after these events, Sylvester II., another German, was raised to the papacy (999-1003).

Otho III.

Thus Otho III. was enabled to establish his mastery of Rome. But, as the son of a Greek mother, trained amid Greek influences, his fantastic and contradictory nature seemed only to grasp the void. He wished to reconstitute a Romano-Byzantine empire with Rome for his capital. His discourse always turned on the ancient republic, on consuls and senate, on the might and grandeur of the Roman people ; and his edicts were addressed to the senate and the people. The senate is now constantly mentioned, and its heads bear the title of consuls. The emperor also gave renewed honour to the title of patrician, surrounded himself with officials bearing Greek and Roman designations, and raised the prestige of the prefect, who, having now almost the functions of an imperial vicar, bore the eagle and the sword as his insignia. Nevertheless Otho III. was thoroughly German, and during his reign all Germanic institutions made progress in Rome. This was particularly the case with feudalism, and Sylvester II. was the first pope to treat it with favour. Many families of real feudal barons now arose. The Crescenzii held sway in the Sabine hills, and Praeneste and Tusculum were great centres of feudalism in the 11th century. The system of feudal benefices was recognized by the church, which made grants of lands, cities, and provinces in the feudal manner. The bishops, like feudal barons, became actual counts. And, in consequence of these changes, when the emperor, as head of the feudal system, seeks to impose his will upon the church (which has also become feudal) and control the papal elections, he is met by the great question of the investitures, a question destined to disturb the whole world. Meanwhile the Roman barons were growing more and more powerful, and were neither submissive nor faithful to the emperor. On the contrary they resented his attitude as master of Rome, and, when he subjected Tivoli to the Holy See, attacked both him and the pope with so much vigour as to put both to flight (16th February 1001). Thereupon Rome again became a republic, headed by Gregory of Tusculum, a man of a powerful family claiming descent from Alberic.

By the emperor's death in January 1002 the race of the Othos became extinct, the papacy began to decline, as at the end of the Carolingian period, and the nobles, divided into an imperial and a national party, were again predominant. They reserved to themselves the office of patrician, and, electing popes from their own ranks, obtained enlarged privileges and power.

The Second Giovanni Crescenzio

At the time when Ardoin, marquis of Ivrea, profiting by the extinction of the Othos and the anarchy of Germany, was stirring Italy in the vain hope of constituting a national kingdom, the Roman republic was being consolidated under another Giovanni Crescenzio, of the national faction. He was now elected patrician ; one of his kinsmen was invested with the office of prefect, and the new pope John XVIII. (1003-9) was one of his creatures. Although the power of Henry of Bavaria was then gaining ascendency in Germany, and giving strength to the imperialist nobles, Crescenzio still remained supreme ruler of the city and the Campagna. Surrounded by his judges, the senators, and his kinsman the prefect, he continued to dispense justice in his own palace until his death in 1012, after ten years' rule. And, Pope Sergius IV. having died the same year, the counts of Tusculum compassed the election of Benedict VIII. (1012-24), one of their own kin. This pope expelled the Crescenzii, changed the prefect, and reserved the title of patrician for Henry II., whom he consecrated emperor on the 14th February 1014. A second Alberic, bearing the title of " eminentissimus consul et dux," was now at the head of the republic and dispensed placita in the palace of his great ancestor, from whom the counts of Tusculum were also descended.

Henry II.

The new emperor endeavoured to re-establish order in Rome, and strengthen his own authority together with that of the pope. But the nobles had in all things the upper hand. They were regularly organized under leaders, held meetings, asserted their right to nominate both pope and emperor, and in fact often succeeded in so doing. Even Henry II. himself was obliged to secure their votes before his coronation. The terms senate and senator now recur still more frequently in history. Nevertheless, Benedict VIII. succeeded in placing his own brother, Romano, at the head of the republic with the title of " consul, dux, and senator," thus making him leader of the nobles, who met at his bidding, and chief of the militia and the tribunals. The prefect still retained his authority, and the emperor was by right supreme judge. But, a violent revolt breaking out, the emperor only stayed to suppress it and then went to Germany in disgust. The pope, aided by his brother, conducted the government with energy; he awed the party of Crescenzio, and waged war against the Saracens in the south. But he died in 1024, and in the same year Henry II. was succeeded by Conrad II. There was now beheld a repetition of the same strange event that had followed the death of Alberic, and with no less fatal consequences. Benedict's brother Romano, head of the republic, and still retaining office, was, although a layman, elected pope. He took the name of John XIX. (1024-33), and in 1027 conferred the imperial crown on Conrad the Salic, who, abolishing the Lothairian edict of 824, decreed that throughout Rome and its territory justice should be henceforth administered solely by the Justinian code. Thus, notwithstanding the spread of feudalism and Germanic procedure, the Soman law triumphed through the irresistible force of the national character, which was already manifested in many other ways.

Meanwhile John XIX. was succeeded by his nephew, Benedict IX. (1033-45), a lad of twelve, who placed his own brother at the head of the republic. Thus church and state assumed the aspect of hereditary possessions in the powerful house of the counts of Tusculum. But the vices and excesses of Benedict were so monstrous that the papacy sank to the lowest depth of corruption; there followed a series of tumults and reactionary attempts, and so many conflicting elections that in 1045 three popes were struggling for the tiara in the midst of scandal and anarchy. The streets and neighbourhood of Rome swarmed with thieves and assassins; pilgrims were plundered; citizens trembled for their lives; and a hundred petty barons threatened the rival popes, who were obliged to defend themselves by force. This state of things lasted until Henry III. came to re-establish order. He appointed a synod to depose the three popes, and then, with the consent of the wearied and anarchy-stricken Romans, assuming the right of election, proposed a German, Clement II., who was consecrated at Christmas 1046. Henry III. was then crowned, and also took the title of patrician. Thus the emperor was lord over church and state. This, however, stirred both people and pope against him, and led to the terrible contest of the investitures, although for the moment the Romans, being exhausted by past calamities, seemed not only resigned but contented.

Hildebrand and the Question of Investiture

In fact, the idea of reform and independence was already germinating in the church and was soon to become tenacious and irresistible. Hildebrand was the prompter and hero of this idea. He sought to abolish the simony and concubinage of the priesthood, to give the papal elections into the hands of the higher ecclesiastics, and to emancipate the church from all dependence on the empire. Henry III. procured the election of four German popes in succession, and Hildebrand was always at hand to inspire their actions and dominate them by his strength of intellect and still greater strength of will. But the fourth German pope, Victor II., died in 1057, and Henry III. had been succeeded in 1056 by the young Henry IV. under the regency of a weak woman, the empress Agnes. Hildebrand seized this favourable moment for trying his strength and procured the election of Stephen IX. (1057-58), a candidate he had long had in view. Stephen, however, died in 1058; the nobles instantly rose in rebellion ; and Gregory of Tusculum, who had assumed the patriciate, caused an incapable cousin to be named pope (Benedict X.). Upon this Hildebrand postponed his design of maintaining the papacy by the help of Italian potentates and had recourse to the empress. In a synod held at Siena with her consent Benedict was deposed and Nicholas II. (1059-61) elected in his stead. This pope entered Rome escorted by the troops of Godfrey of Tuscany, and, when also assured of help from Naples, assembled a council of one hundred and thirteen bishops (1059), who condemned the deposed pontiff and renewed the prohibition of simony and concubinage among the priesthood. Finally Nicholas instituted the college of cardinals, entrusting it with the election of the pope, who was in future to be chosen from its ranks. The assent of the clergy and people was left purely formal. The decree also contained the proviso— "saving the honour and reverence due to the emperor"; but this too was an empty expression.

The new decree was a master-stroke of Hildebrand's genius, for by means of it he placed the papal election in the hands of a genuine ecclesiastical senate and gave a monarchical form to the church. Backed by the Normans who were in Rome, and whose commander, Richard of Capua, did not scruple to strike off the heads of many recalcitrant nobles, Hildebrand and the pope could now pursue their work of reform. Nevertheless the nobles again revolted on the death of Nicholas II. in 1061, and declared their purpose of restoring to Henry IV. the patriciate and right of election; but Hildebrand, by speedily convoking the cardinals, procured the election of Alexander II. (1061-73). This pope, although friendly to the empire, did not await the imperial sanction, but, protected by the Romans, at once entered the Lateran and put some other riotous nobles to death. The German bishops, however, elected Honorius II., who had the support of the barons. Thus the city was split into two camps and a deadly civil war ensued, terminating, despite the vigorous resistance of the nobility, in the defeat of Honorius II. But the nobles persevered in the contest and were the real masters of Rome. By conferring the patriciate on the emperor, as their feudal chief, they hoped to organize themselves under the prefect, who now, with greatly increased authority, presided over both the civil and criminal courts in the absence of the pope's representative. In a general assembly the Romans elected their prefect, whose investiture was granted by the emperor, while the pope elected Viother. Thus disorder was brought to a climax.

Alexander died on the 21st April 1073, and thereupon Hildebrand was at last raised to the chair as pope Gregory VII. (1073-85). He reconfirmed his predecessors' decrees, dismissed all simoniacal and non-celibate priests, and then in a second council (1075) forbade the clergy to receive investiture at the hands of laymen. No bishop nor abbot was again to accept ring or crozier from king or emperor. Now, as ecclesiastical dignities included the possession of extensive benefices, privileges, and feudal rights, this decree gave rise to tremendous dispute and to fierce contest between the empire and the church. The nobles took a very decided part in the struggle. With Cenci, their former prefect, at their head, they rose in revolt, assailed the pope on Christmas day 1075, and threvv him into prison. But their fear of the popular wrath compelled his speedy release; and he then decreed the excommunication and deposition of the emperor who had declared him deposed. That monarch afterwards made submission to Gregory at Canossa (1077), but, again turning against him, was again excommunicated. And in 1081 he returned to Italy bringing the antipope Clement III., and besieged Rome for forty days. Assembling the nobles in his camp, he there arranged a new government of the city with prefect and senate, palatine judges, and other magistrates, exactly similar to the existing government within the walls. He then took his departure, returned several times in vain, but at last forced his way into the city (March 1084), and compelled Gregory VII. to seek refuge in Castle St Angelo. The emperor was then master of Rome, established the government he had previously arranged, and, calling a rjarliament of nobles and bishops, procured the deposition of Gregory and the consecration of Clement III., by whom he was crowned in 1084. He then attacked and seized the Capitol, and assaulted the castle in order to capture the pope. But Robert Guiscard brought his army to the rescue. Emperor and anti-pope fled; the city was taken, the pope liberated, and Rome reduced to ruin by fire and pillage. Upon this Gregory VII., broken with grief, went away with the Normans, and died at Salerno on the 25th May 1085. He had separated the church from the people and the empire by a struggle that, as Gregorovius says, disturbed the deep sleep of the Middle Ages.

Pascal II. and the Nobles

Pope Paschal II. (1099-1118) found himself entirely at the mercy of the tyrannous nobles who were alike masters of Rome, of its government, and its spiritual lord. As they were divided among themselves, all the pope could do was to side with one party in order to overcome the other. With the help of his own nephew Gualfredo, the prefect Pietro Pierleone, and the Frangipani, he was able to keep down the Corsi, and hold the Colonna in check. Being compelled to repair to Benevento in 1108, he left Gualfredo to command the militia, Tolomeo of Tusculum to guard the Campagna, and the consuls Pierleone and Leone Frangipani, together with the prefect, in charge of the government. The consulship was no longer a mere title of honour. The consuls seem to have been elected, as at Ravenna, in imitation of those of the Lombard cities, and were at the head of the nobles and senate. The expressions "praefectus et consules," " de senatoribus et consulibus," are now of frequent occurrence. We have no precise knowledge of the political organization of the city at this moment; but it was an aristocratic government, similar to that originally formed in Florence, as Villani tells us, with a senate and consuls. The nobles were so completely the masters that the pope, in spite of having trusted them with the government, could only return to Rome with the aid of the Normans. Being now absorbed in the great investiture question, he had recourse to a daring plan. He proposed to Henry V. that the bishop should resign all property derived from the crown and depend solely on tithes and donations, while the empire should resign the right of investiture. Henry seemed disposed to accept the suggestion, but, suddenly changing his mind, took the pope prisoner and forced him to yield the right of investiture and to give him the crown (1111). But the following year the party of reform annulled in council this concession, which the pope declared to have been extorted by force. By the death of Countess Matilda in 1115 and the bequest of her vast possessions to the Holy See, the pope's dominions were greatly enlarged, but his authority as a ruler was nowise increased. Deeds of violence still continued in Rome; and then followed the death of the prefect Pietro. The nobles of the imperial party, joined with the people, wished to elect Pietro's son, also nephew to Tolomeo of Tusculum, who then held the position of a potent imperial margrave, had territories stretching from the Sabine mountains to the sea, was the dictator of Tusculum, master of Latium, and consul of the Romans. The pope opposed this election to the best of his strength; but the nobles carried the day, and their new prefect received investiture from the emperor. Upon this the pope again quitted Rome, and on his return, two years later, was compelled to shut himself up in Castle St Angelo, where he died in 1118.

New Power of the People

The popes were now the sport of the nobles whom they had aggrandized bv continual concessions for the sake of peace. And peace seemed at hand when Innocent II. (1130-43), after triumphing over two antipopes, came to terms with Roger I., recognized him as king of Sicily, and gained his friendship and protection. But now still graver tumults took place. In consequence of the division of the nobles neither party could overcome its foes without the aid of the people, which thus became increasingly powerful. Throughout Upper and Central Italy the cities were being organized as free and independent communes on a democratic basis. Their example was soon followed in the ancient duchy of Rome and almost in the immediate neighbourhood of the city. Even Tivoli was converted into a republic. This excited the deepest jealousy in the Romans, and they became furious when this little city, profiting by its strong position in the Teverone valley, not only sought to annex Roman territory, but dared to offer successful resistance to the descendants of the conquerors of the world. In 1141 Tivoli openly rebelled against the mother city, and the pope sent the Romans to subdue it. They were not only repulsed, but ignominiously pursued to their own gates. Afterwards, returning to the assault in greater numbers, they conquered the hostile town. Its defenders surrendered to the pope, and he immediately concluded a treaty of peace without consulting either the people or the republic. The soldiery, still flushed with victory, were furious at this slight. They demanded not only the submission of Tivoli to the Roman people, but also permission to demolish its walls and dwellings and expel its population. Innocent II. refused consent to these excesses, and a memorable revolution ensued by which the temporal power of the papacy was entirely overthrown.


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