The avarice of the Romans raises their confidence.
This letter, having been published and sent to a great many kings, princes, and nobles throughout the world, with only the titles changed, struck fear and dread as well as astonishment to the hearts of those of the true faith, and rendered the emperor’s letter suspected, although it contained probable facts, and also re-established the minds of many which had formerly been in a wavering state. And, had it not been that the Romans’ avarice had alienated the devotion of people from the pope more than was expedient and proper, the whole world would have been exasperated by this letter, and would have risen unanimously against the emperor as an open enemy of Christ and the Church. But, alas! many sons had become estranged from their father, and, adhering to the cause of the emperor, they asserted that inextinguishable hatred, now become hardened between them, excited the aforesaid strife and invectives. The pope unjustly stated that he loved the said Frederick, and advanced" his interests at the beginning of his promotion; for all this was done out of hatred to Otho, whom the Church, with Frederick’s assistance, persecuted to death, because, according to his oath, he endeavoured by force to assemble together the scattered portions of the empire, as the present emperor Frederick also is endeavouring to do; wherefore, by doing this, Frederick fought for the Church, and the church of Rome was more bound by obligations to him than the emperor was to the Roman church. The church in the West, especially the orders of religious men, and the church of England, which / was of all others most devoted to God, felt the daily oppressions of the Romans, but It had never as yet felt any from the emperor. The people, too, added, " What is the meaning of this 1 In times past, the pope accused the emperor of believing in Mahomet and the Saracenic law,, more than in Christ and the Christian faith ; but now, in his abusive letter, he accuses him of (what is horrible to mention) calling Mahomet, as well as Jesus or Moses, Baratazem [an. impostor ?] In his letters, the emperor writes humbly and in a Catholic manner of God, except that in this last one he derogates from the person of the pope, not from the office ; nor does he utter or support anything heretical or profane, as we know of as yet, and he has not sent usurers or plunderers of our revenues amongst us." And in this way a schism much to be dreaded arose amongst the people.
Publication of the sentence of excommunication against the emperor
About this time, by command of the pope, the said emperor Frederick was denounced as excommunicated in St. Paul’s church, at London, as likewise throughout the whole of the bishopric of London, and afterwards throughout the whole kingdom ; and there was no one to put forth the shield of opposition, although the king had good grounds for opposing it, before all the princes of the world, on account of the near relationship existing between him and the emperor.
The sentence of excommunication denounced against the emperor in
When the legate was on his way towards Scotland, he went to the chapter-house of St. Alban’s ; and, after having first preached a sermon on the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin (for this occurred within the octaves of that feast), he excommunicated the emperor; for the monks had obtained letters exempting them from the performance of this duty. And at the same time the said emperor was several times solemnly excommunicated at St. Paul’s church at London, by authority of a warrant from the pope, which had been sent to the legate.
Letters from the emperor to the senate and people of Rome.
In the same year, his majesty, the emperor, wondering that the strength of the Romans was so greatly weakened, and that they recoiled from the firmness of their due subjection and faithfully promised allegiance to him, permitting the sentence of excommunication to be pronounced against him, their natural lord, in their own city, wrote to the cardinals of the court of Rome, as well as to the senators of the city and the inhabitants, as follows :— " Frederick, by the grace of God, emperor of the Romans, ever Augustus, king of Jerusalem and Sicily, to the senator of the city and his fellow Romans, Greeting.—Since Rome is the head and authoress of our empire, and the emperor is called Roman from the name of the city Rome, and as we owe to it the advancement and prestige of our name and honour, we are lost in astonishment that where our honour is to be promoted, and insults to be repelled, we should, amongst those who are bound and whose duty it is to put themselves forward as a wall of defence to our imperial throne, meet with contrary treatment, whilst they themselves hear and conceal the facts. Wherefore, we are greatly grieved that the Roman bishop, as it is reported, has dared to act in the city .against the Roman prince, in a manner in which he would not dare to act elsewhere ; and has impiously blasphemed the Roman emperor, the founder of the city, and the benefactor of the Roman people, without any resistance on their parts; so that we may truly say that the nobles, as well as the Roman people, for whom we have studied to make provision with a liberal and voluntary munificence, and for the continued advantage of whom we are still striving, have been unmindful of our benefactions, and have been held bound by the torpor of sleep, so that there was not a man amongst so many nobles, amongst all the host of Quirites, or amongst the many thousands of the Roman people who would rise in our defence, who would speak one word for us, or condole with us under our injuries ; although we are adding to the honour of the city, rendered illustrious by ancient triumphs and glories, by the succession of our recent victories, and are continually directing our attention to reform the Roman name, as it was in times of old, and to exalt the condition of the Roman empire. Wherefore, we are of necessity led to require you, by urgent warning and exhortations, if any omission has been made by you, through negligence or torpor, now at once to show yourselves ready, and by word and example to induce others to rise promptly, one and all, to avenge the injury inflicted on us, and all in common. For as our defamer would not have dared elsewhere to break forth into blasphemy of our name, and could not in his great presumption boast of having perpetrated such things against us, whether we wished it or not; since it would rather be imputed to ingratitude on your part, whatever you could have done, before the fact, to oppose it, if after the fact you were to defer avenging our and your own common injury. For as we are bound on both sides, we to defend the Roman honour, and the Romans to defend our honour;* if we find you and them negligent in this matter, we should be compelled, however unwillingly, to withdraw our favour from all to whom we have heretofore shown it, since it is not fear of the Romans which has compelled us to confer benefits on them, but rather our special kindness has induced us to do so. Given at Treviso, on the twentieth day of the month of April." The emperor had also written some little time before to the cardinals and had endeavoured to excite the Romans in that quarter; and he now urged them more vehemently in the following letter :— Other letters from the emperor to the cardinals. " Frederick, by the grace of God, Augustus, emperor of the * The original Latin is here very obscure, if not corrupt; but the sense given in the text seems the best that can be given to it. Romans, king of Jerusalem, and Sicily, to his beloved friends, the community of the cardinals of the holy Roman church, Health and sincere affection.—Since Christ is the head of the church, and in the name of Peter has founded his church on a rock, and has appointed you as successors of the apostles, so that, as Peter ministered for all, you, who are the candles of the church, placed on a hill, not under a bushel, may, by your good works, ‘ give light to all in the house,’ and not to endeavour by general consent to withdraw yourselves from the public voice of the world, since you are thought to bear equal participation in whatever he who presides over the see of Peter proposes to do, or hath determined to declare to the world ; unless the previous condition of the church, and an effervescent desire of avoiding general offence, should suggest caution to you for the future. For who will not wonder that he who sits on the throne of the church, strengthened by a general congregation of so many venerable fathers (and would that he were a just judge!) should act so indiscreetly.Is it not remarkable that he should take part, on mere impulse, against the Roman prince, who is the advocate of the church, and whose duty it is to maintain the preaching of the gospel, by drawing the spiritual sword1 unjustly in favour of the rebel Lombards ? notwithstanding that, by peaceable measures, all of the so-called grievances against the churches, which he pleads, however general heads may be vexatiously multiplied into individual acts, have either already received correction, or by the arranged provisions of our forethought, this is on the point of being provided, as our due commands have already gone forth; and full compensation will soon follow? For by letters patent of the prelates, whom the apostolic mandate has appointed as monitors, evidence of the same kind is given; and our preceding decree concerning the recall of the prelates who have suffered injuries, and of making full reparation to those prelates, now gives plain evidence to the truth by letters of the venerable archbishop of Messina, sent to our assessor, appointed for this purpose : wherefore, it is not without good cause that we lament that the apostolic father endeavours so seriously to offend us j and when such a great injury falls on a brave man, although we should wish to endure it patiently, the enormity of the offence does not allow us to do so; but the violence of the deed impels us to the vengeance which the Caesars were accustomed to practise. But whilst we consider the impatience of him who leads the way, and the difficult position of the defendant, we should consider it more endurable, if we were allowed impartially to practise private vengeance on the person by whom the offence has been caused, so that we might inflict retribution on those who are of his blood; and this attempted injury of the see would recoil on him and his although neither he nor the whole race who will suffer on this account are of such importance that the imperial dignity would thirst for vengeance upon them ; and because the authority of the see lets loose the reins of its authority, and the whole community of the venerable brethren may seem to favour it in its pertinacity, the disturbance pains our mind, because, whilst we defend ourselves from the persecutor, we ought in defending ourselves more severely to attack those who oppose us, saving in all respects the sanctity of the church, which we worship with holy worship and due reverence; wherefore, we earnestly beseech your venerable community, out of your deliberate moderation, to check the proceedings of the supreme pontiff, which from evident causes the world knows to be not so just as gratuitous, and to provide for the general condition and present peace of our minds. For though we are favourably bound to promote the well-doing of you all, yet we cannot with evenness of mind abstain from offence at injuries done us; nay, though we may not be able to check beginnings, yet injuries, which cannot be recalled, may justly be repelled by other injuries. Given at Padua, March 10, Indiction 11."
Certain prognostic writings.
About this time, some writings which seemed to be prognostic of the future, were recalled to memory and often mentioned, owing to the imminent dangers of the times, and the discord which had broken out between such powerful persons, who were unequalled in power by any one. One of these writings was as follows:—" Rome shall be excited against Roman, and a Roman substitute shall diminish Rome from the Roman. The rods of shepherds shall become light, and their comfort shall be in rest. The careful will be disturbed, and will pray; and in the tears of the multitude there will be rest. The weak man shall play with the madman, and madness becoming extinguished, shall be soothed. A new flock shall creep to the mound, and those who are entitled in the old, shall be fed on slight food. The expectations of the confident are destroyed, and the comfort which produces confidence is at rest. Those who walked in darkness will return to light; and the things which were separated and scattered abroad will be consolidated. A large cloud will begin to rain, because a changer of the world is born. The lamb shall be substituted for the lion; and lambs shall prey on "lions. ""Madness shall rise" against the simple minded, and simplicity shall breathe attenuated. Honour shall be converted into disgrace, and the joy of the many will become grief." These words, spoken in the year of grace 1119, were understood to mean that the said threats were already impending. Another writing, which the emperor seems to have procured, is nevertheless said to have been the truth: that the following verses were found written in the pope’s bedroom; but how it was done, or who wrote them, is not known:— Fata docent, stellseque monent, aviumque volatus : Totius mundi malleus unus erit. Roma diu titubans variis erroribus acta, Totius mundi desinet esse caput. [The stars and fates, and flight of birds decree, That all this world of ours shall hammered be : Rome totters, through a mass of errors led, And of the world shall cease to be the head.] As the emperor and many others interpreted these verses as redounding to the ruin and desolation of the pope and the Roman court, his holiness retorted by the following verses against the emperor :— Fama refert, Scriptura docet, peccata loquuntur, Quod tua vita brevis ; pcena perennis erit. [Fame, Scripture, and your sins do loudly tell, You’ll, after death, for ever smart in hell.]
The emperor exculpates himself by monitors.
The emperor at this time, seeing that his fame was now endangered, in order to prove his innocence, caused messengers, who were men of great and special authority, to write to the pope, setting forth their own and the emperor’s innocence and justice. The letters of the messengers. " To the most holy father in Christ, Gregory, by the grace of God, supreme pontiff", his devoted servants, the bishops of Wirtzburg, Worms, Vercelli, and Parma, their humble salutation and all due and devoted respect.—With all due respect and devotion, we have received the letters of your apostolic holiness, by which we were sent to admonish his highness the Roman prince on certain points, which were mentioned in the said letters. But we, as in duty bound, yet doubting whether he would receive our warnings with patience, went to him with respect and devotion, and after explaining each of the points contained in these chapters, and having given him a copy of our letters, by the grace of God, who rules and directs the hearts of kings at will, he, with wonderful devotion and unexpected humility, showed himself ready to listen to our admonitions, and the ears of his imperial highness were inclined to us. When we appeared before him, there being also present the archbishops of Palermo and Messina, and the bishops of Cremona, Lodi, Novara, and Modena, and the abbats of St. Vincent’s, besides several of the Preachers and Minorite brethren who had been convoked by him, he replied to our propositions one by one, as is fully and distinctly contained in the following lines, as, according to the apostolic mandate, we inform you by these presents, and are prepared to attest the truth of. " Proposition of the Church :—The churches of Mont Royal, Cephaledi, Catania, and Squillata, and the monasteries of Mileto, St. Eupheinia, Terra-maggiore, and St. John in Lama, have been despoiled of almost all their property; also, almost all the cathedral and other churches and monasteries have, by au unjust inquisition, been deprived of almost all their dependants. The emperor’s answer:—With respect to the injuries to the churches, which are put forth indefinitely, some which have been committed through ignorance, have been ordered to be remedied, without delay, and some have been already corrected, as is evident from the report of our faithful and industrious messenger, Master William de Tocto, our notary, who was deputed for the especial purpose, and who was also ordered to proceed to the Roman court, and, after taking the advice of the venerable archbishop of Messina, to proceed, according to his counsels, to the reformation of those things which he might find to be notoriously wrong. On entering the kingdom, he found in those parts some things which were held by some of the imperial retainers, and to them he showed no mercy, but immediately despoiled them, and restored those who had been despoiled by them, although he was ordered to take from the imperial exchequer whatever he found to be illegally obtained ; so that when the report of what he had done reached the court of Rome, the pope is said to have approved of the foresight of the sender, as well as the diligence of the person sent; but as the kingdom was divided into provinces, he could not travel through them all, to amend what he thought necessary. Again, in answer to the charge respecting the church of Mont Royal, he stated that it had received no injury at the hands of the emperor, unless he wished to refer to the Saracens, who had seized on the property of the church during war, and that they recognised neither the church nor the emperor, and spared nothing that came in their power ; yea, that they had destroyed and pillaged that church to the bare walls, and spared not any one in Sicily, so that in that island there remained few Christians, if any. The emperor, indeed, confesses that he has utterly exterminated these people from Sicily, at much trouble and expense, if they consider that an injury to the church ; and he does not know that he has ever harmed it in any other way, nor does he wish to injure it. He says the same also with regard to the church of Cephaledi, unless reference is made to the castle of Cephaledi, which, being the best fortified citadel on the seacoast, and standing on the frontiers of the Saracens, the kings of Sicily have always held ; and pope Innocent, of good memory, gave orders to his legate, who was then in Sicily on our service, to receive it from the bishop, into whose hands it had fallen by disturbances, and not by right, and that the legate had caused it during our childhood to be held and kef t for us, nor was it restored to that bishop or the present one, nor ought it to be restored, for they had no right to it; and besides that, he was convicted on clear evidence of being a false man, a homicide, a traitor, and a schismatic, wherefore, if he had any claim in the matter, (which God forbid), it was not necessary for it to be given tip to him. Also, with regard to the church of Catana, he says the same, unless the men of the emperor’s demesne are referred to, who, in time of war, went to Catana, on account of the security and fertility of the place. The emperor acknowledges that he had recalled them to his own demesne, according to the terms of the general constitution of the kingdom, by which earls and barons and all the vassals of the kingdom recall the men of their demesne wherever they find them, whether on the lands of the churches, or in the cities of the emperor. Nevertheless, a form has been decreed in this matter, and a limited time fixed and accepted at the request of the supreme pontiff, as appears from the testimonial letters of the Patriarch of Antioch, and of the archbishops of Palermo and Messina. Again, in the case of the churches of Mileto and St. Euphemia, although a suitable change had been effected with the abbats and monks of Terra-maggiore, at the wish of the prelates themselves, and the conventual assemblies, according to the form of law, they themselves, to this day, hold and possess the property exchanged. But the village of St. Severius, which did not at all belong to the abbat of Terra-maggiore of Ancona, but had there some rights which it held in fee of the emperor, was, after a trial, destroyed with just cause, because the inhabitants of that place, during the disturbances, slew one Paul of Longothan, a king’s standard-bearer, and carried off the emperor’s cattle ; and, nevertheless, as has been stated, an exchange was given to the abbat and conventual assembly on their behalf, and they hold it to this day. The place, Lama, is enclosed according to sentence by the abbat of St. John the Round, who might justly, according to civil and canonical law, be convened for it, as for a good feudal property, in the imperial court. Proposition of the Church :—The Templars and Hospitallers have been despoiled of their moveable property, as well as fixtures, and have not been restored completely, according to the terms of the peace. The emperor replies,— It is true, that, by a judgment and by an ancient constitution of the kingdom of Sicily, certain feudal and burgage. lands were revoked from the Templars and Hospitallers which they held by a grant from the invaders of the kingdom, to whom they supplied horses, arms, provisions, wine, and all other necessaries in great abundance, when they were harassing the emperor, and absolutely refused all kinds of assistance to the emperor, who was then a mere king in pupilage, and destitute. Other feudal and burgage-lands were, however, allowed to them, as they had obtained and held them previous to the death of King William the second, or of which they had a grant from any of his predecessors. But some burgage-lands, which they bought, were revoked from them, according to the terms of the ancient constitution of Sicily, because no grant of burgage-lands can be made amongst the living without the consent of their prince, nor can they be bequeathed by a last will, without being bound to sell or grant to other secular burgesses, after the lapse of a year, a month, a week, and a day. This decree was made of old for the following reason, that if they were allowed freely and perpetually to buy or receive burgage lands, in a short time they would buy the whole kingdom of Sicily, which would seem of all the provinces of the world to suit them best, and this same constitution is in force beyond sea.” Proposition of the Church :—Also, that he does not allow cathedral and other vacant churches to be filled up ; and by this, the liberty of the church is endangered, faith dies, and, in the absence of a pastor, there is no one to set forth the word of God, and to govern their souls. The emperor, in reply, states, That he wishes and desires cathedral and other churches to be ordained, saving the privileges and dignities which the kings his predecessors had enjoyed up to his own time, and which he had till now used much more moderately than his predecessors ; and he was never opposed to the filling up of churches. " Proposition of the Church :—Concerning talliages and exactions which are extorted from the churches and monasteries, contrary to the terms of the peace. The emperors reply :—Talliages, and taxes collected from ecclesiastical persons, are imposed, not for church property, but for feudal; and patrimonial estates, according to the common law : and this is in force in all parts of the world. -"” " Proposition of the Church :—That prelates do not dare to proceed against insurers, owing to an imperial decree. The emperors reply:—A new and general decree has been issued by the emperor against usurers, by which they are publicly condemned in all their goods, and it has been read in the presence of the prelates, whereby they are not interdicted from proceeding with vigour. " Proposition of the Church :—That clerks are taken and imprisoned, proscribed, and slain. The emperor replies,— That he knows nothing of clerks who are seized and imprisoned, unless that some have been taken by the imperial officials, and are to be given over to the judgment of the prelates, according to the nature of their offences. With respect to proscribed ones, he knows that some have been banished the kingdom for the crime of treason. As to any who had been slain, he knows that, owing to the exemption of clerks and monks from punishment, the church of Venusium mourns the death of their prelate, who was slain by one of his own monks ; and, in St. Vincent’s church, monk slew monk, and no vengeance or canonical punishment for the offence followed. " Proposition of the Church :—Regarding the profanation and destruction of churches consecrated to God. The emperor in reply, states, That he knows nothing at all, unless reference is made to the church of Luceria, which is said to have fallen to pieces of itself through age, and which the emperor would not only allow to be rebuilt, but was also prepared, for the honour of God and the church, himself to give proper assistance to the bishop for the rebuilding of the same. " Proposition of the Church :—That he does not allow the church of Sorano to be repaired. TJie emperor replies,— That he allows the church of Sorano only to be repaired, not the city, at least in his time, as it has been destroyed by a judgment of law. " Proposition of the Church :—That, contrary to the terms of the peace, those who adhered to the church in the time of the disagreement, are deprived of all their property, and driven into exile. The emperors reply:—Those who adhered to the pope against the emperor, during the disagreement, dwell in the kingdom in security, unless, perhaps, some who held offices and jurisdictions, through fear of rendering an account, or others that they may not be convened for civil or criminal causes, remain out of the kingdom ; and, with respect to these, the emperor is willing that they should return in safety, if they will render an account to him and others, who have complaints against them (not, however, for their adhesion to the cause of the church). It must, however, be remembered, that, when the terms of peace were arranged, the pope, contrary to those terms, and in opposition to the opinion of almost all the brethren, detained the city of Castellana ; for the retention of which, to the injury of the empire, he received sinpney, whilst he, the emperor, was in his service against the Romans; in which cause he expended more than a hundred thousand marks of silver, and the church obtained great advantages, as well from the territory which was taken from the Romans and restored to it, as from the restoration of the liberty of the church in the city, on the plea of the aforesaid service." Proposition of the Church:—Respecting the nephew of the king of Tunis, that he did not permit him to come to the Apostolic See to receive the sacrament of baptism, but detained him a prisoner. The emperor replies,—That the nephew of the king of Tunis fled from Barbary into Sicily, not to be baptized, but to escape death, with which he was threatened by his uncle ; that he was not kept a prisoner, but went at liberty, through Apulia, and, on being asked if he wished to be baptized, he altogether denied it. If, however, he is willing to be baptized, the emperor hears it with pleasure, as he has stated elsewhere in this matter, to the archbishops of Palermo and Messina. " Proposition of the Church :—"With respect to Peter the Saracen, a faithful servant of the church, whom he detains prisoner to the injury of the church, and also with regard to brother Jordan, who is also kept prisoner. The emperor replies,—That Peter the Saracen has been made prisoner by him as an enemy, and slanderer of him, both in the city and elsewhere ; also, that he came not on the business of the English king, but only brought letters from him, entreating us, if he should happen to be taken prisoner, to show mercy to the prisoner; but we did not pay attention to them, for that king did not know what treachery the said Peter had plotted against me. With respect to brother Jordan, the emperor states that he did not seize him, or order him to be seized, although he had defamed him in his sermons, but because it appeared to some of his subjects that his position and stay in the marches of Treviso and Lombardy would be injurious to the emperor; but that, after he had given security that he would not remain in the marches, or in Lombardy, he, the emperor, ordered him to be released and given over to the archbishop of Messina, if he would receive him on the same terms as have been here mentioned. " Proposition of the Church :—That he had excited a disturbance in the city against the church, by which he was endeavouring to expel the Roman pontiff and his brethren from their see, and, in opposition to the privileges, dignities, and honours of the Apostolic See, to trample on the liberty of the church. The emperor, in reply, denies that any disturbance was excited in the city against the church by him ; but, as he had faithful subjects in the city, as his predecessors, both Roman princes and kings of Sicily, were accustomed to have, because sometimes the senators elected by the power of their enemies, strove to offend them, he stood forward in their defence, as he would do in the like cases as often as was expedient. But when the cause ceased, namely, when another senator was elected by common consent, the above-mentioned disturbance ceased, as appears from the evidence of the matter itself, according to the testimony of the archbishops of Palermo and Messina. " Proposition of the Church :—That he gave orders to some of his subjects for the detention of the bishop of Praeneste, the legate of the Apostolic See. The emperor replied,—That with regard to the order for the detention of the bishop of Praeneste, he never ordered, nor even dreamt of such a thing, although he could have justly done so to him as his enemy ; who although sent by the pope as a religious man, yet, by the pope’s command, as he said, he craftily and perniciously, in a great measure stirred up all Lombardy against him, the emperor, and encouraged the Lombards to oppose him to the utmost of his power. Proposition of the Church :—That the crusade was impeded by him, owing to the dispute which he had with some of the Lombards ; although the church was prepared to lend their aid and efficacious endeavours that himself and the honour of the empire might be properly satisfied for the offences committed against him by the Lombards, and even the Lombards themselves were prepared to do this; let him be questioned on these points, and let his answer be told to us. The emperors reply:—With regard to the matter of Lombardy, the emperor said, that he had many times referred it to the church, but had never obtained any advantage thereby, unless that, on the first occasion, the Lombards were condemned to supply four hundred knights, whom the pope ordered to be furnished to him in such a way that he sent them into the kingdom against the emperor himself. On the second occasion, they were mulcted in five hundred soldiers, whom he ordered to be sent, not to the emperor, against whom the offence had been committed, but to be sent beyond sea, under the protection and at the demand of the pope and the church, which was not offended ; and yet even this was never done. On the third occasion, at the request of the cardinals, namely, the ex-bishop of Sabinum, and Master Peter, of Capua, to whom the pope had given full powers, the said business was referred to the church, and there never after was a word said about the matter, unless when the pope learnt that the emperor, after having often been deceived by him, was preparing to descend with his army from Germany into Italy, and then he earnestly begged for the matter to be again intrusted to him; and the emperor, although he had often suffered shipwreck in intrusting this said matter to the same person, was yet willing to refer it to him on a certain day, on condition that it was confirmed to his own honour, and the advantage of the empire. This condition, however, the pope, as appears by his letters, refused to accept, although now he says in his letters, that the church was prepared to determine the business, so as to maintain the right and honour of the empire ; and from this it appears that the pope and his letters most flatly contradict one another. And that it may not be alleged that the emperor wishes to renew his claims on Italy, to the prejudice of the Holy Land, how his lordship the emperor took the cross, and afterwards did not neglect what he had undertaken, appears by his letters in reply, written to the different kings throughout the world, and to the crusaders, who had chosen him as their lord and commander ; in which also he replied to them on the said matters, that he wished to manage that business according to the advice of the church. Finally, as has been before stated, a notary of the emperor’s was sent as a special messenger to repair the injuries inflicted on the Church. The emperor, moreover, added hi reply, that, what was more irregular, and would excite the wonder and astonishment of all who heard it, after the departure of the before-mentioned archbishops of Palermo and Messina, to whom the pope had promised to extend the favour of the church, on the emperor’s behalf, and had stated that he wished to have one and the same interests with him, the emperor himself, as became him, making no small exertion to effect this; and, after a sufficient answer had been given to the said archbishops, concerning certain points set forth by them, as appears by their attestations, these letters were sent, and those heads were enclosed to the prelates, behind the backs and to the confusion of the said archbishops, as they were entirely ignorant of this having been done ; and these letters, although they contained a sort of warning, yet contained evident aspersions on the emperor’s fame. Lastly, the emperor, as a general reply, alleges that, although he was absent from the kingdom and was ignorant of the state of it, he will give orders for whatever injuries have been inflicted on the church (which remain to be shown), to be entirely repaired without any dispute. Nevertheless that, for the general good, which results from union between him and the church, he is prepared to give to the church all the protection which becomes the church and the empire; that for the honour and exaltation of the Christian faith, and to preserve the honour and liberty of the church, he will do his best that he and it may be one. Given, &c."
The emperor’s complaints of the injuries inflicted on him by the pontiff.
When these replies were brought to the pope, his anger was kindled, and, in justification of himself, he held all the aforesaid arguments as frivolous and useless quibbles, and despised them as fictions. He then wrote to the princes and nobles of all Christendom, laymen as well as ecclesiastics. and absolved all those who were bound by allegiance to the emperor Frederick from their obedience to him as their lord. He also caused the sentence which had been pronounced against the said emperor, to be solemnly published throughout all the countries which were obedient to him, and especially throughout England, and seriously defamed him, by declaring him to be an open enemy of God and the church. News of this soon reached the emperor, on which he was greatly grieved, and wrote to his friends as follows, laying heavy complaints against the pope :— The emperor’s letter. "Frederick, &c, &c.—We speak unwillingly, but cannot hold our peace ; for the axe has now been laid at the root of the tree, and the sword, piercing almost to the soul, has loosed our lips. We have to write how wickedness has gained the right of law, and we grieve that a contumacious people have raised their right hand against their own bowels: wrong is preferred to right, and the will triumphs over justice; for the nations are now endeavouring to despise the ruler of Italy and the imperial sceptre; and also unmindful of their own advantage they impose the licentiousness of unrestrained liberty on the quiet of peace, and have preferred it to equity and justice. Do not, however, think that this rebellion has been first originated by us, for we are avenging the injuries of our grandfathers and fathers and are endeavouring to suppress the stock of this hateful liberty which has extended now to other regions. But do not believe that we have, by any means, up to this time, concealed these things, nor have passed them over with the eyes of connivance. For as soon as, when we grew up to manhood, and the virtues of the mind and body began to glow within us, we were raised to the imperial dignity, beyond all human hopes, at the will of divine providence alone, and the kingdom of Sicily, the goodly inheritance of our mother fell into our possession, we directed the eyes of our mind to the aforesaid matters. At length, for the consummation of our purpose, owing to the miserable calamity of the loss of Damietta at that time, after consulting with our venerable father Honorius, the supreme pontiff at Veroli, we, by common consent, thought it right for the promotion of the business of the Holy Land, and for the reformation of the empire, to hold a special court at Verona, at which we, as well as the aforesaid pope, agreed to be present. This design was, however, changed, owing to the fickleness of counsel and the continual disturbed state of affairs at that time ; but we, not wishing to abandon such a good intention, after again holding a conference with the pope at Ferentino, appointed a court to be held at Cremona, to which we summoned our son and a great many of the chiefs of our empire, with a suitable retinue of knights, and we nevertheless brought with us such an array of knights from the Italian provinces as was befitting the honour of the imperial dignity^ and such a great matter. From this time the Lombards, rebelling against us and our honour, in a spirit of opposition and reprobate feelings, and making a pretence of fear because we were attended by armed men, have refused to obey us as their legitimate lord, and by obstructing the roads hindered our ingress into Italy, and have removed our son and chiefs from our sight. To increase their as yet concealed wickedness and perfidy, they added malice and open insolence, for in their plots against us and the empire, they, in spite of our being present amongst them, formed nefarious conspiracies. Being thus baulked in our expectation of seeing our son, we returned into Apulia, because we were then pressed for time, to make our preparations for the passage over the sea, to which we were bound by our vow ; and we intrusted this matter, with respect to satisfaction being made to us and to the empire, to be determined by the decision -of the supreme pontiff, by whose award they were condemned to supply to us, at their own expense, five hundred soldiers for the service of the Holy Land. At first, sowing discord between the church and the empire, they sent them into Apulia against us, and thus, by a perverse mode of satisfaction, they redoubled their former injuries. When, however, we returned from the transmarine provinces, and the dispute between us and the church had been settled, we still adhered to our purpose of reforming the condition of the empire, and, by the advice of our most holy father Gregory, the supreme pontiff, we appointed a general court to be held at Ravenna, and proceeded thither with only our domestic retinue, and unarmed, that all frivolous causes of fear through the presence of armed men, might be removed. Whereon, the aforesaid Lombards not only offered us no marks of devotion and obedience, but even before our eyes, throwing aside the respect due to our person, drew out their Carrochium, and endeavoured violently to assault the city of Verona and Eccelino, which at that time had lately come over to us from obedience to the Romans. They also prevented our son’s coming to us, as well as us from going to him, through the territory and by the roads of the empire (which, although they are their own, are yet common to all), so that the father’s eye could not look on the son, unless, urged on by paternal affection, which cannot be restrained, we trusted ourselves to the dubious chances of a sea passage, and went to Aquileia, for the purpose of seeing our beloved son and the chiefs, who, in their devotion had come to us. The firmness of our clemency did not even then fail us, but laying aside all anger on account of the aggressions of our enemies, we again intrusted the determination of this matter to the church. But we raised in them the horns of disobedience instead of holding forth to them, as we had intended, examples of humanity; they gave us perfidy instead of the fidelity due to us, and contempt instead of devotedness; nor did any annoyance about the aforesaid matters give them understanding."
An eclipse of the sun
On the 3rd of June, in this year, there was an eclipse of the sun about the sixth hour of the day. About the same time of the year, "William, bishop elect of Valentia, was, by the intervention of the pope (who wished, it was said, to appoint him. leader of his army against the emperor), called to the bishopric of Liege, retaining the procuration of the Valentian see, as though he were not branded with the charge of murder; wherefore it is no wonder that people were astonished at hearing this, that he still aspired after the see of Winchester, and appointed the king of England, his zealous agent to effect this purpose. Alas! alas! what; a mass of money inclined the court of Rome to give its consent and permission.
The increasing animosity and hatred between the emperor and the pope
In Lent, of the same year, the pope, seeing the rash proceedings of the emperor, and that his words pleaded excuse for his sins, namely, that by the favouring assistance of some of the nobles and judges of Sardinia, he had taken into his own possession, and still held, the land and castles of the bishop of Sardinia, and constantly declared that they were a portion of the empire, that he by his first and chief oath would preserve the rights of the empire to the utmost of his power, and would also collect the scattered portions of it, was excited to the most violent anger against him, setting forth some very heavy complaints and claims against him, and writing often boldly and carefully to him, he advised him often by many special messengers, whose authority ought to have obtained from him the greatest attention, to restore the possessions he had seized on, and to desist from depriving the church of her possessions, of which she was endowed by long prescription; and, like a skilful physician, who at one time makes use of fomentations, at another of the instrument of incision, and at another of the cauterizing instrument, he mixed threats with persuasions, friendly messages with dreadful denunciations. As the emperor, however, he contumaciously refused his request, and excused his actions by arguments founded on reason, his holiness the pope, on Palm Sunday, In the presence" of a great many of the cardinals, in the spirit of glowing anger, solemnly excommunicated the said emperor Frederick, as though he would at once have hurled him from his imperial dignity, consigning him with terrible denunciations to the possession of Satan at his death; and making use of these words, and, as it were, thundering forth the fury of his anger, he excited terror in all his hearers.
The excommunication pronounced against the emperor Frederick.
" In the name of the Almighty God, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, and by the authority of the apostles Peter and Paul, we excommunicate and anathematize the said Emperor Frederick, because he has raised a sedition against the Roman church in the city, whereby he endeavours to drive the Roman pontiff and his brethren from their see, and, in opposition to privileges, rank, and persons, to trample on the liberty of the Apostolic See, as well as of the church, in rash violation of the oath by which he is bound in this matter to the Roman church. We also excommunicate and anathematize the said emperor, because he ordered some of his subjects to prevent our venerable brother the bishop of Prseneste, a legate of the Apostolic See, from proceeding in the legation which we had intrusted to him in the Albigensian provinces, for the confirmation of the Catholic faith. Again, we excommunicate and anathematize him, because he will not permit certain cathedral and other vacant churches in his kingdom to be filled up, and by these means the liberty of the church is endangered, and faith dies, because there is no one to set forth the word of-God, or to govern their souls in the absence of a pastor. The names of the said vacant churches are as follow : Oatana, Reggio, Accriviara, Squilata, Resa, Potenza, Otranto, Policastro, Saretina, Aversana, Valva, Monopoli, Polognagno, Melfi, Rappella, Cributo, Alifana, Mazara, Vigiliara, and Frethina; with the monasteries of Venusia, and of the Holy Saviour at Messina. Again, we excommunicate and anathematize the said emperor, because in his kingdom clerks are seized and imprisoned, proscribed, and slain. Again, we excommunicate and anathematize him, because in his kingdom churches devoted to God are destroyed and profaned. Again, we excommunicate and anathematize him, because he does not allow the church of Sorano to be repaired. Again, we excommunicate and anathematize the said emperor, because, when the nephew of the king of Tunis was coming to the church of Rome to receive the sacrament of baptism, he detained him, and would not allow him to come. Again, we excommunicate and anathematize the said emperor, because he seized and detained in prison Peter the Saracen, a noble Roman citizen, when coming to the Apostolic See on behalf of the king of England. Again, we excommunicate and anathematize him, because he has taken possession of the lands of the church, namely, Ferrara, Pingnogoma, Bologna, the diocese of Ferrara, that of Bologna, and the diocese of Lucca, as well as the territory of Sardinia, in rash violation of the oath by which he is bound to the church in this matter. Again, we excommunicate and anathematize him, because he has seized and ravaged the lands of some of the nobles of his kingdom, which the church held in her rule. Again, we excommunicate and anathematize him, because he has spoiled certain cathedral churches of their possessions, namely, those of Mont Royal, Cephelada, Catana, Squilata, and also the monasteries of Mileto, of St. Eufemia the Greater, and of St. John in Lament ano. Again, we excommunicate and anathematize the said emperor, because many cathedral and other churches and monasteries of his kingdom have been, by an unjust inquisition, deprived of almost all their possessions. Again, we excommunicate and anathematize him, because the Templars and Hospitallers in his kingdom, who were despoiled of their moveable as well as immoveable property, were not remunerated in full, according to the terms of the peace. Again, we excommunicate and anathematize him, because the prelates of the churches and the abbats of the Cistercian and other orders in his kingdom, are obliged, every month, to give a certain sum of money towards the building of new castles. Again, we excommunicate and anathematize the said emperor, because, contrary to the terms of the peace, those who adhered to the church were obliged to leave their country as proscribed men, whilst their wives and children were imprisoned. Again, we excommunicate and anathematize him, because it is by him that the crusade is impeded, as well as the restoration of the Roman empire. And all those who are bound by their oath of fealty to him, we decree are absolved from the observance of that oath, and strictly forbid them to observe their allegiance to him, so long as he is bound by the chain of excommunication ; and for his oppressions and other injuries inflicted on nobles, poor widows, orphans, and others of the kingdom, on whose behalf the said emperor Frederick has formerly sworn to abide by the commands of the church, we intend to depose him, and in this matter, with God’s assistance, we will proceed, as we ought with justice to do. Moreover, for all and singular the above-mentioned offences, for which the said Frederic has been by us carefully and often admonished, although he did not trouble himself to obey us, we excommunicate and anathematize the said Frederick. Again, because the said Frederick is seriously defamed by these said deeds of his, many crying out, as it were, through the whole world, that he does not entertain right opinions respecting the Catholic faith, we, with God’s assistance, will proceed in. this matter at its proper time and place, according to the rules of the law."
How the emperor’s anger was kindled against the pope.
The emperor, on hearing of this, was inflamed with violent anger, and with oft-repeated reproaches accused the church and its rulers of ingratitude to him, and of returning evil for good ; recalling to their recollection how he had exposed himself and his property to the billows and to a thousand kinds of danger for the advancement of the church’s welfare and the increase of the Catholic faith; and affirmed that whatever honours the church possessed in the Holy Land, had been acquired by his toil and industry. " But," said he, " the pope, jealous at such a happy increase being acquired for the church by any layman, and who desires gold and I silver rather than an increase of the faith, as witness his ‘ proceedings, and who extorts money from all Christendom, in the name of tithes, has, by all the means in his power, I done his best to supplant me, and has endeavoured to disinherit me whilst fighting for God, exposing my body to the weapons of war, to sickness, to the snares of his enemies, after encountering the dangers of the unsparing billows. See what kind of protection is this of our father’s! What ‘kind of assistance in difficulties is this afforded by the vicar of Jesus Christ I And now this persecutor’s rage is not satisfied; for he has, to confuse and destroy me, set up in opposition to me John de Brienne, formerly king of Jerusalem, whom he knew to be bold in war and skilled in military discipline, and to be my most bitter enemy, whilst I had no apprehension of the kind. He has also enriched himself with a large sum of money which he has impudently extorted from the poor prelates of the churches throughout the world; and it is not easy to disclose what sighs, what tears, this grief produced in my heart when I heard such things from my subjects ; but He knows who is ignorant of nothing. At once, however, concealing this heartfelt grief under a calm countenance, I began to treat for a peace, and a truce having been agreed on, I hastened my return, lest our enemies should happen to learn this, and become proud in their exultation, and thence become more harassing to us. But when I returned home, I found my territory seized and occupied by the relatives and friends of the pope, the leader and chief of whom was the aforesaid John de Brienne; these, however, I seized, and with God as my avenger, I punished those men who had obstructed the affairs of the cross according to their deserts. Let God judge between me, his soldier, and the pope, his vicar ; Christ knows, and the world knows, that I do not wander from the path of truth. This is the root and origin of his hatred. A schism has taken place amongst the people ; and by the presence of their natural lord the emperor, they have been reunited and the strength of the empire restored in a short time."
The desolation of the Bolognese and other partisans of the pope.
In the summer of this year, a little before the commencement of autumn, the emperor, wishing to prevent the Bolognese from rendering assistance to his traitorous subjects the Milanese, made a formidable attack on them ; for they were endeavouring, in favour of the pope and their neighbours the Milanese, to sally forth and make an attack on the emperor’s army ; but as they were sallying forth, the emperor suddenly came upon them, and placing his troops between the citizens and the city, he scattered their battalions in dreadful disorder ; and the fugitives endeavouring to retreat to the city by by-ways, precipitated themselves into the river, which it was necessary for them to cross to reach it ; so that more perished by the miserable death of drowning than by the sword. The emperor next, after the Bolognese who remained in the city had given him their right hands in token of friendship, led his army against Milan, and having erected his engines, and constructed bridges, he, in a short space of time, with his numerous army, crossed the trenches, with which the Milanese had surrounded themselves on all sides. Fear and trembling then took possession of the citizens, and by the news of the misfortune of the Bolognese woe was heaped on woe; and this business would soon have been brought to a conclusion, had not a dangerous disturbance, excited by the pope, summoned the emperor to distant parts; on learning which circumstance, the citizens becoming more bold, again raised their head, and traversing the neighbouring provinces, laid siege to the emperor’s castles. Being also strengthened and encouraged by a legate, whom the pope had sent thither for their comfort and consolation, they surrounded and laid siege to Ferraraand by advice of the legate, who, without pity, forced them to do so, they refused all terms of reparation from the besieged, unless they surrendered unconditionally. At this time, too, one of the companions of St. Oswin was found.
How the monks of Monte Casino came to the pope at Rome.
In the same year, the monks of Monte Casino (where St. Benedict had planted a monastery), to the number of thirteen, came to the pope in old and torn garments, with dishevelled hair and unshorn beards, and with tears in their eyes, and on being introduced to the presence of his holiness, they fell at his feet, and laid a complaint that the emperor had ejected them from their house at Monte Casino. This mountain was impregnable, and indeed inaccessible to any one unless at the will of the monks and others who dwelt on it; however E. Guiscard, by a device pretending that he was dead, and being carried thither on a bier, thus took possession of the monks’ castle. When the pope heard this, he concealed his grief, and asked the reason; to which the monks replied, "Because, in obedience to you, we excommunicated the emperor." The pope then said, "Your obedience shall save you;" on which the monks went away without receiving anything more from the pope.
The emperor directs his march towards the city.
About this time, the emperor, finding that the pope not only most eagerly thirsted after his blood, but, in favouring the rebellious heretical Milanese, longed to effect his owned is graceful downfall, suspended for a time his purposed plan of war, and boldly approached the city, that he might appear more terrible to his subjects. At his approach, the inhabitants of Viterbo, with the nobles and citizens of other distinguished cities, and a large number of Romans, came to meet him, with all respect and honour, as their lord; and this fact can plainly be proved by a letter which the emperor sent to the king of England. The emperor’s letter to the King of England. "Frederick, by the grace of God, ever Augustus, emperor of the Romans, king of Jerusalem and Sicily, to the illustrious king of England, his beloved brother-in-law, Health and sincere affection.—The threefold sting of grief which daily pierces and excites our hearts, does not now permit us to weep any longer without our inward grief breaking forth into groans, and our groans bursting into cries, inasmuch as, by a material for new dissensions, to which the ruler and pontiff of the universal Church has, by some violent means of compulsion, driven us, we discover the injury which will accrue to the Catholic faith; we plainly see the shade which will be cast over justice, and pity and deplore the loss which the Holy Land will suffer. But we are no less oppressed by this sorrow, namely, that the eyes of Eli the priest are become dim, and do not perceive any of these dangers; and that he is stimulated by such anger towards us, and is bound by such feelings of affection towards the Milanese and their abettors, who are rebelling against the empire, that, though the whole world is entirely exposed to the occurrences of a dubious succession of events, or rather to the perils of fortune, he rises to trample on the justice of the holy empire, and to render assistance to our rebellious subjects the Milanese. But we are not pierced by the sting of a guilty conscience in this matter, nor do we expect the damaging judgment of fame; for from times long past, by the Divine inspiration of a presage of all these dangers, we have always avoided the present cause of scandal, and have endeavoured, by all the contrivances in our power, but in vain, to obtain favour with this supreme pontiff, not sparing our own personal toil, paying no regard to the loss of our property, and very often freely exposing the lives of our faithful subjects for the assistance of him and the Roman church. But (and we relate it with sorrow) during the whole time of our struggles, we have not received anything at all from him, no marks of affection have we had paid to us for our obedience, but he has always opposed himself to, and obstructed the advantage of, the holy empire ; yes, and what must be considered more cruel by every one, whilst we were employed in the service of the holy Church, he took the city of Castellana away from the empire, as is clearly proved by his letters, which the Castellans have lately forwarded to us, and at that time we could not, notwithstanding all our petitions, obtain anything favourable to us or the empire ; and by secret contradictory letters, he subsequently deprived the legate of all authority, whom he said that he had sent into Syria to obtain satisfaction for the injuries inflicted on us and our son, by the inhabitants of Acre and some of the nobles of the kingdom of Jerusalem. Nor could we, at that very same time, obtain any letters to prohibit the Milanese from attacking the inhabitants of Cremona, who were faithful to the empire, nor the Florentines from injuring our faithful subjects the Venetians, although he refused to grant us permission to proceed to their assistance, which we wished to do, in order that we might not leave the Church undefended. Again, when we were proceeding to Germany, to check the malice of our eldest son, he verbally promised to favour us in every respect; but by a messenger of his, bearing credential letters, he secretly, by every attestation in his power, enjoined on our chiefs who were present with us at the court at Mayence, not by any means to consent to the election of our younger son, or of any one of our house and blood. He afterwards, to the utmost of his skill and power, obstructed our progress into Italy to reform the state of the empire, both by his letters and messengers, and especially by the bishop of Praeneste, who, by every possible craft and cunning, gained over Piacenza and Mantua. At length, when by God’s grace we had gained a victory by the slaughter of the Milanese, as he saw that these clandestine letters and legations were of no advantage to him, as the sword of our justice prevailed over his deceitful wickedness, he began more openly to throw obstacles in the way of our proceedings, and plainly forbade the citizens and nobles of the march of Ancona and the valley of Spoleto, whose duty it was to assist and not to injure the empire, to attempt to come or to send soldiers into Lombardy. He also, notwithstanding our command and prohibition, enjoined on the inhabitants of Ancona and other maritime towns, under penalty of excommunication and a fine of ten thousand marks, to supply all necessaries to the Venetians who were in rebellion against our majesty, and all this is plainly proved by his letters. To some of the nobles of the march of Treviso, whom he had rendered weak and wavering in their allegiance to us, he sent letters, ordering them openly to secede from their allegiance, giving them to understand that, unless we chose absolutely to intrust the affairs of Lombardy to his disposal and authority, he would thunder forth the sentence of excommunication against us. After having taken counsel on all these matters with our well-beloved chiefs and others who were then assisting us at the siege of Brescia, we, wishing (as we before stated) to prevent any cause of offence from arising between us and the Church, sent special ambassadors from us to the Apostolic See, through whom we offered to render satisfaction also for some frivolous offences which he said had been attempted in our kingdom of Sicily, contrary to the rights and liberty of the Church, and by the same messengers again requested that the desired union between us and the Church, which we had often attempted to bring about by innumerable messengers, should be confirmed by messengers and by mutual securities. This he said he would willingly agree to, and committed the manner and form of security to our judgment; but when our messengers and his, in full confidence that union and peace were established, were returning with alacrity to us, and were entirely out of his sight, he entrusted the office of the legateship in Lombardy to Gregory de Monte Longo, who was formerly suspected by us and ours, when we had received him as a simple nuncio in that province, and he, the pope, had promised to recall him from thence. To add to the mass of his wickedness, when he discovered us to be off our guard, owing to our confidence in the promised union, he ordered us to be admonished, by some chiefs and subjects of ours, of some offences which he said had been committed by our officials and messengers in the kingdom of Sicily and the city of Rome against him and the Church. After we had sent to the master of these monitors, rather than for the judgment of other religious persons, a full answer to all these things; not content with each of our answers to each head, we added a general remark, that we left our wishes and reply in everything to his judgment, as is certified by the letters and evidence of prelates altogether worthy of belief. And when we had sent our messengers on all these points to convey our answers and to make full satisfaction, fortified by our authority, to put a stop to his cunning proceedings against us, he on Palm-Sunday, a day wholly unusual for such processes, contrary to the practices of the Church, wrongly and injuriously launched proceedings against us. But we, who considered such a proceeding to be full of temerity, and void of justice, sent letters to his brethren and the legates, demanding a general council to be convoked, at which we engaged to prove, by arguments clear as light, the baseness of the corrupt judge, and our own innocence; on which, not to say spurning the proofs of our innocence, but even against the law of nations, which does not permit ambassadors or messengers to be insulted, this man, who styles himself ‘servant of the servants of God,’ ordered the aforesaid messengers, our bishops, to be most disgracefully thrust into prison. Give your attention, then, and see if these proceedings are worthy of a pope, if these are the works of holiness, and if it befit a preacher to bring down justice to destruction, and to tread it under foot, and, ignoring the judgment of all faithful eyes, to give judgment in favour of the unfaithful people of Milan. But for all these injuries, although he was proceeding rashly against us, in the spirit of his own anger, we were not provoked to visit him with the imperial vengeance, until he showed that he was dashing forward to effect our utter destruction, and to deprive us of our imperial inheritance, inasmuch as when we were staying in the march of Treviso, for the purpose of pacifying that district (which, owing to the old and continual dissensions, we found everywhere stained with the blood of the slain), he, by the present of a large sum of money, incited the marquis d’Este, and the count of St. Bonifacio (who had, at the suggestion of the supreme pontiff, conspired against our life), as well as the city of Treviso, to rebel against us and the empire. He also, by means of Paul Traversari, formerly a most faithful subject of ours, but who was afterwards corrupted by the pope, and by the agency of the cardinal legate, took away our city of Ravenna from the march and the empire, and, although a prince and a pontiff, received from them their oath of fealty to himself and the Church; he also ordered the public roads through the march and the duchy, which he detained from the empire, to be closed against the messengers who were coming to us, and bringing necessaries to us and our army, and some of them he presumed, robber-like, to deprive of all their goods, and to imprison them afterwards: all these things he did, either to starve us and our soldiers, Italians as well as Germans, or to recall us from our blockade of the Milanese, and from ravaging the country of our rebellious subjects. Not content with all this, he openly declared himself the leader and chief of the war against us and the empire, making the cause of the Milanese and other faithless traitors his own, and openly turning their business to suit his own interests; moreover, he appointed as his lieutenants over the Milanese, or rather the papal army, the before-mentioned Gregory de Monte Longo, and brother Leo, a minister of the Minorite order, who not only girded on the sword, and clad themselves in armour, presenting the false appearance of soldiers, but also continuing their office of preaching, absolved from their sins the Milanese and others, when they insulted our person, or those of our followers. At this time, too, the legate and Minorite brother aforesaid, sign themselves governors and lords, in opposition to us and the empire; by which it is evidently given us to understand that the pope is not only a friend to the infidels, whom the public voice of the world declares to be heretics, but to the prejudice of the empire, and to disinherit us, he has usurped the temporal government and dominion of Milan. We, therefore, having been provoked beyond bounds by so many losses, and worried by so many injuries, could not restrain our hands, but took up the sword and shield publicly, to sustain our own cause and that of the empire against our public enemy, opposing temporal power by temporal power; nor could we any longer show filial affection to him, for he not only would not return it by paternal affection, but endeavoured to injure and disinherit us, and cruelly thirsted after our life and blood. After we had reduced, with the help of knights and cross-bowmen. all the province of Liguria, which had been surrendered to us, and had also in our march through Tuscany reformed many of the laws of the empire, we sent our beloved son H., the illustrious king of Torres and Gallury, ambassador of the holy empire in Italy, to recall the march of Ancona to its allegiance, and we ourselves raised our victorious eagles, directed our march in person towards the duchy of Spoleto and the provinces adjoining the city, and, with the exception of a few cities only, recalled the whole of the country which we passed in our progress as far as Viterbo to its proper allegiance to the empire. By the Viterbians, and in the cities and places lying round it in the neighbourhood, we were received with the greatest devotion, so that when we showed our enemy our power, he was seized with a dreadful alarm at our proximity to him, and, as he did not believe that he could save himself by tardy repentance, he fell into the depths of despair, and, losing all confidence in his own strength, as the Roman people shouted with joy at our approach to the city, he, with an extraordinary profusion of real tears, prevailed on some boys and old women, and with them a small number of mercenary soldiers, to assume the cross against us, lyingly asserting in his preachings to them that we were endeavouring to proceed to the uprooting of the Roman church, and the violation of the sacred relics of the most blessed apostles Peter and Paul. Your majesty, therefore, in a right judgment, will excuse our proceedings, to which the malignity of our enemy has driven us, and which justice has urged me to adopt for the preservation of the honour not more of the empire than of all the kings and princes of the earth. And you, above all other kings, ought to take up our cause with the more favour, and with the more confidence to maintain it, inasmuch as you participate with us in the whole burden and honour, having been confidently chosen by us, if you remember aright, to be arbiter in all these matters, and having been despised by the opposed party, so that you may protect our innocence and our imperial justice with the purer zeal and the more sincere conscientiousness. Given at Viterbo."
Alarms of the world, and dedication of certain churches.
When these things were rumoured and made known throughout the world, the fame and authority of the pope received a shock and much diminution; a great scandal arose, and wise and holy men began to entertain great alarm for the honour of the Church, the pope, and the whole clergy, and to fear lest the Lord, in his great anger, should inflict an incurable wound on his people. About this time, on the 9th of August, which was St. Romanus’s day, a conventual church was dedicated at Abingdon, by Robert, bishop of Salisbury, the diocesan of that place, and about the same time, too, a church was dedicated at Wells. In the same year the churches of Evesham, Gloucester, Tewkesbury, Wicumbery, Pershore, and Aldchester, were dedicated, as also many others throughout England. About Michaelmas of this year, Robert de Thoriy, a man of noble family, died at sea. About this same time, when the bishop of Lincoln was persecuting his canons, one of them in preaching a sermon to the people, complaining of the bishop, said, " Even though we should hold our peace the stones will cry out for us," when on a sudden the stonework of the tower of the new church of Lincoln fell down, crushing the people who were under it; by the fall of which the whole church was shaken and injured, and this was taken as a sad omen; the bishop, however, set to work to rebuild it effectually.
The slaughter of the Tartars.
About this time the Tartars, a barbarous race of people, who had invaded the Christian countries and committed great slaughter, wandering here and there in Greater Hungary, were defeated and forced to retreat; the greatest portion of these, however, were slain at the sword’s point, and fell before the hand of power, having been attacked by five Christian and Saracen kings, who were united for this purpose by the grace of God’s holy spirit. After the slaughter of these barbarians, the kings of Dacia and Hungary sent some Christians to inhabit the provinces, which had been reduced, as it were, to a desert by the said Tartars; and more than forty ships went from Dacia alone filled with them. In the same year Mount Casino, an impregnable place, was taken by the emperor’s army, as has been mere fully related above.
The death of William, bishop elect of Liege.
As the feast of All Saints drew near, William, bishop elect of Valentia, of whom we have made mention above as having obtained permission from the pope to be elected bishop of Liege, and to hold the bishopric of Winchester, closed his life at Viterbo, having, as was said, been poisoned at the instigation of Master Lawrence, an Englishman, but who afterwards entirely cleared himself of the charge. When the pope heard of this event, he was much grieved, for he had purposed to make him the commander of his army in his war against the emperor, and had thus made him a spiritual monster and a beast with many heads ; for he knew that he was strenuous in slaughter, prone to~ bloodshed, and wanton in incendiarism; that he was master of the English king, a friend of the French monarch, a brother-in-law of both of them, an uncle of their queens, a brother of the count of Savoy, and allied to many others by kindred or blood; his unexpected death, however, disconcerted his whole scheme.
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“Chronicle of Matthew Paris: Year 1239, part 2