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SermonIndex.net : Christian Books : CHAPTER VIII GUELF AND GHIBELLINE. (I)

The Church And The Empire by D. J. Medley

CHAPTER VIII GUELF AND GHIBELLINE. (I)

[Sidenote: Hadrian IV.]

Hadrian IV is interesting to us as the only Englishman who has ever sat upon the throne of St. Peter. As Nicholas Brakespeare he had led the life of a wandering scholar, chiefly in France. He entered the house of Canons Regular of St. Rufus near Avignon, and when Abbot of this monastery attracted the attention of Eugenius III, who made him Cardinal Bishop of Albano, and employed him as papal legate in freeing the Church in Scandinavia from its dependence on the Bishops in Germany. The prestige which he acquired in this work marked him out as the successor of the shortlived Anastasius. Hadrian was a much abler man than either of his predecessors, and, while fully conscious of the difficulties of his office, he did not let these deter him from the fulfilment of its obvious duties. We have seen how he drove Arnold from Rome. He found, however, a new danger in Sicily. Roger's son William, known as |the Bad,| took up an attitude of hostility, and when the Pope asserted his overlordship, William's troops overran the Campagna. The Pope retorted by excommunicating his refractory vassals and looking for help from the new German King.

[Sidenote: The new contest.]

With the accession of Frederick I the quarrel between Empire and Papacy enters on a new phase. On the death of Henry V the natural candidate of the papal party for the German throne was Henry the Black Duke of Bavaria, the head of the family of Welf or Guelf. But he was old, and related by marriage to the Hohenstaufen. He was, however, bribed to acquiesce in the election of Lothair by the offer of Lothair's daughter and heiress, Gertrude, as a wife for his son Henry the Proud. This marriage determined the whole course of German history. Henry the Proud obtained the duchy of Bavaria from his father and the duchy of Saxony from his father-in-law. Thus, if the Hohenstaufen family were the heirs of the Franconian Emperors, the Guelfs became the representatives of the opposition to that line which had centred in Saxony; and for the old contest between Papacy and Empire, Saxon and Franconian, there was now substituted a dynastic struggle between Weiblingen or Ghibelline and Guelf. The Guelfs were the papal party only in the sense that, like the Saxons, they were in opposition to the dynasty which occupied the German throne and claimed the imperial title. The name, however, was extended to Italy: it was applied to the collective opposition to the imperial power, and therefore came to denote the friends of the Papacy.

[Sidenote: Frederick I.]

So far the contest had been confined to Germany; for Lothair had sacrificed the claims of the empire to his own immediate interests, while Conrad had never set foot in Italy after his accession to the German throne. But as the attempt of Lothair to crush the acknowledged Ghibelline leaders had been thwarted, so Conrad had failed to render the Guelf harmless; and it was the pretensions of Henry the Lion, the son of Henry the Proud, which determined Conrad to waive the claims of his young son to the succession, and to recommend to the nobles the choice of his nephew Frederick. But Conrad's nomination would have been of little account. Frederick's claims were largely personal. Already before he succeeded his father as Duke of Suabia he had shown a combination of boldness in action with a conciliatory disposition which marked him out as a leader and a statesman. To this was added, as with Conrad, the prestige of a crusader; while in view of the bitter rivalries of the last two reigns, it was a recommendation that Frederick united in his person the two families whose strife had divided the kingdom. Two years elapsed from his accession before Frederick was free to set out for Italy. As the heir of the Franconians his probable attitude was a matter of some anxiety at Rome and in Italy generally. He was no enemy of the Church. His first act after his coronation at Aachen (March 9th, 1152) was to announce his accession to the Pope, who sent him a return message of goodwill. But from the outset Frederick showed his intention of taking a high line, for, in a disputed election at Magdeburg he obtained a party for a nominee of his own who was already a bishop, and therefore ineligible, and by virtue of the Concordat he decided for his own candidate in defiance of all ecclesiastical laws, and straightway invested him with the regalia.

[Sidenote: Imperial rights.]

Moreover, he had a high idea of the imperial mission. It was seventeen years since any emperor had crossed the Alps; and it is difficult to say whether the selfish policy of Lothair or the non-appearance of Conrad must have been the more detrimental to the maintenance of imperial interests. But during the first few months of his reign appeals poured in from the Pope against his various enemies, from some barons of Apulia against the great Roger of Sicily, from the citizens of Lodi against the tyranny of Milan. These, together with the ridiculous proffer of the imperial crown from the lately formed Republic of Rome, seemed to open an opportunity for the successful recovery of imperial rights. And, much as the Italians resented the spasmodic interferences of the Emperor, they were proud of their imperial connection. The commerce of the East, largely increased by the Crusades, flowed into Western Europe chiefly through Italy. As a result, the north and centre of the peninsula were studded with a number of compact, self-governing communities inclined to resent any outside interference, however lawful in origin. But the larger cities were ever trying to group the smaller round them as satellites; and the constant quarrels which resulted, often produced a party which was ready to welcome the interposition of the Emperor. There was this common ground, then, between these cities and the Papacy that, whereas they found it equally necessary to invoke the aid of the Emperor as an outside power against their foes, each was threatened by the assertion of those imperial rights which it was the sole object of Frederick's journey to Italy to assert.

But the results of Frederick's first expedition to Italy were of a very doubtful kind. It is true that he was crowned at Rome, that he asserted his imperial rights both positively in a great assembly on the plains of Roncaglia and, as it were, negatively by the destruction of three refractory towns, and that he got rid of Arnold of Brescia. But, on the other hand, his assertion of power provoked hatred instead of fear; and although, despite some sharp differences, he parted amicably from the Pope, his return to Germany left Hadrian in an impossible position. The republican party in Rome remained untouched: William of Sicily was unsubdued.

[Sidenote: Papal defiance.]

Shortly after his accession Frederick had made an agreement with the then Pope that neither should make peace with the Romans or the Sicilian King without consent of the other. But now Hadrian, deserted, accepted the Commune as the civil authority in Rome, and even came to a treaty with William of Sicily, who engaged to hold all his lands as a vassal of the Pope. Frederick was naturally angry at the repudiation of the mutual obligation with regard to peace and of the imperial suzerainty of William's duchy of Apulia. But he was too much occupied in Germany to do more than protest. And before he was able to assert his power in Italy again Pope Hadrian had, as it were, thrown down a challenge to him. At the Diet of Besancon in Burgundy in 1157 two papal envoys appeared with a complaint of Frederick's conduct in some particular. The letter which they bore spoke of the late coronation of the Emperor by the Pope and used the equivocal word beneficia to describe the papal act. When the assembled nobles resented the expression as implying a feudal relation between Pope and Emperor, the papal representative, the Chancellor Roland, boldly asked, |From whom, then, does the emperor hold the empire if not from the Pope?| Frederick's authority alone saved the envoys from violence, and Hadrian found himself obliged to explain away the objectionable expressions.

[Sidenote: The breach.]

But the papal position had been formulated, and that before a German assembly. The Pope was no longer a suppliant: he claimed to be more than an equal. He had thrown down a challenge. Frederick proceeded to pick it up. In fact, it was this second expedition of Frederick to Italy which opened the long contest between Ghibelline and Guelf, a contest only to be ended by the practical destruction of one or other of the parties. It was the complaints of the other cities against the oppression of Milan, which were the immediate cause of Frederick's appearance in Italy in 1158; and the reduction of the Milanese was followed by the holding of an assembly on the plain of Roncaglia, to which Frederick summoned the most famous lawyers of Italy. By their decision rights and powers were given to him, which placed all the communes at his mercy. Moreover, these were not compatible with the rights asserted since the time of Gregory VII by the papal supporters: the regalia were given to the Emperor at the expense of ecclesiastical as well as lay landowners and corporations. If the papal investiture of Apulia infringed the imperial rights, the investiture of Frederick's uncle, Welf VI of Bavaria, with the inheritance of the Countess Matilda openly ignored the oft-repeated claim of the Papacy. Neither side seemed to take especial pains to avoid a breach. The acrimonious correspondence which ensued centred round the relations of the Italian bishops to the Emperor, the respective claims of each party to Rome, and the restoration of the Tuscan inheritance and all the other lands which it claimed, to the Papacy. The excommunication of the Emperor -- the open declaration of war -- was prevented by Hadrian's death on September 1, 1159.

[Sidenote: The papal schism.]

A schism was inevitable. The majority of the Cardinals elected the papal Chancellor Roland who had defied Frederick at Besancon, and who would be likely to maintain Hadrian's high claims: he was afterwards consecrated as Alexander III. The minority got possession of St. Peter's and proclaimed an imperialist Cardinal as Victor IV. Neither Pope could be consecrated or could remain in Rome: both appealed by legates and letters for the recognition of Christendom. Frederick as Emperor summoned both candidates to submit their claims to the decision of a Council at Pavia. Alexander entirely repudiated the Emperor's implied claim to be the arbiter of Christendom in a spiritual matter, and found support in the fact that only fifty bishops, almost entirely from Germany and Lombardy, assembled at Pavia. The Council, of course, decided in favour of Victor IV. Alexander, however, excommunicated the Emperor, and bent all his energies to gain the adherence of France and England. Not only was he successful in this, but he was also recognised by the Latins of the East and the lessor Christian kingdoms. Victor IV's only supporter was the Emperor.

Nor did Frederick gain anything by his successes in Lombardy. It cost him seven months to subdue the little town of Crema; while it was three years (1159-62) before Milan surrendered and was destroyed. It is true, Alexander could no longer maintain himself in Italy, but in 1162 sought refuge in France. Frederick's attempts to drive him from his new asylum failed. Alexander carried on skilful negotiations with Louis VII of France and Henry II of England; and at Whitsuntide, 1163, a Council assembled at Tours, composed of a large number of cardinals, bishops, and clergy, and acknowledged Alexander with the utmost solemnity, while at the joint invitation of the two Kings the Pope took up his abode at the city of Sens.

[Sidenote: Fredericks's chance.]

The death of the anti-Pope was a further blow to Frederick's cause, for the action of his representative in Italy committed him to recognise a second anti-Pope and laid him open to the accusation of desiring to perpetuate the schism. It seemed, however, as if his chance had come when the quarrel between Henry II and Thomas Becket drove the English Archbishop to take refuge with the Pope at Sens. Alexander was in a difficulty. Henry was perhaps the most powerful monarch in Europe, and his support was of the utmost importance to the Pope. But the rights for which Thomas was contending were part of the rights which Alexander himself was claiming against the Emperor -- the right of the Church to manage her own concerns without lay interference. While, therefore, prudence forbade him to throw down a distinct challenge to the English King, it was impossible that he should comply with Henry's demand for the condemnation of the refractory Archbishop. Frederick took advantage of Henry's ill-humour to propose a marriage alliance between the royal houses and to sound Henry on the question of a change of alliance. The marriage thus arranged -- of Frederick's cousin, Henry the Lion, to Henry II's daughter -- ultimately took place. But both clergy and people in England were for the most part in sympathy with Becket and unwilling to prolong the schism. The altars used by Frederick's envoys in England were purified after their departure; and although Henry's representatives appeared at the Diet of Wurzburg in May, 1165, and even took an oath to acknowledge the anti-Pope, the English King did not dare to ratify their action.

[Sidenote: Frederick's momentary triumph.]

Nor was this the only time when success seemed possible to Frederick. This failure to move the English allegiance and the defection of a number even of the German clergy emboldened Alexander to assume the aggressive, and he ventured to leave France and to take up his abode at Rome. (December, 1165.) Again the discontents of Lombardy were the occasion for the Emperor's visit. In the autumn of 1166 he crossed the Alps, and after spending some months in Lombardy he forced an entrance into Rome, enthroned his own Pope in St. Peter's, and himself wore his imperial crown. Frederick refused to treat with Alexander except on the basis of the resignation of both existing Popes and the election of a third. Alexander's position was unbearable and he fled to Benevento. The Romans accepted Frederick as their lord. The Emperor's triumph seemed complete: Charlemagne's successor had indeed arrived. But the triumph was short-lived. The summer pestilence, which so often attacked a German army in Italy, fell more fiercely than ever before. Frederick fled northwards before it, and found so much hostility in Lombardy that it was only by bypaths and in disguise that he was able to make his way out of Italy.

[Sidenote: The Lombard League.]

It was seven years (1167-74) before Frederick was able to return to Italy; and although by that time his position in Germany was unquestioned and the mutual relations of Louis VII and Henry II precluded any likelihood of interference from France or England, the Italian foes of the Emperor had gathered strength and combined their forces. Chief among these were the cities of Lombardy. Divided as they were into imperialist and anti-imperialist, or, to use the terms coming into vogue, Ghibelline and Guelf, they at first followed no common policy. Milan had taken the lead of the anti-imperialists. After the destruction of Milan a league formed by the cities of the Veronese March helped to force Frederick for a time to abandon his designs upon Italy (1164). During his expedition of 1166-7 a Lombard League sprang up and coalesced with the Veronese League; a common organisation was set up, Milan was restored, many of the staunchest imperial towns were forced to become members, and the crowning work of the League was the foundation of a common stronghold which in compliment to the Pope was named Alessandria.

[Sidenote: Alliance with the Pope.]

The real danger to the Emperor came from alliance of this League with the Pope. The Lombard cities were the Pope's natural enemies. Some of them were the rivals of Rome -- Pavia as the capital of the kingdom of Italy; Milan the quondam champion of the cause of the married clergy; Ravenna as the rival patriarchate in Italy. Strong local feeling made them resent all outside interference, of Pope no less than of Emperor.

It was among these free, self-governing communities that heresy found its chief adherents. But for the moment the common danger from the Emperor overshadowed all other differences. The old imperial rights which Frederick designed to recover included the power of appointing local officers whether consuls or bishops. Alone, neither Pope nor Lombard cities could look for success. In 1162, when all the cities fell before Frederick, Alexander remained practically untouched. But although his position was immensely strengthened since then, experience had shown that the Pope could not hold his own in Italy or Rome without the help of some secular power. At the same time, in Europe at large he had proved a most potent force, since he wielded weapons which were independent of time and place for their action, and such as the most powerful secular prince had found it impossible to ignore. It was under direct encouragement from Alexander that the cities concluded their League in 1167. Before the next imperial expedition it had become all-powerful in Northern Italy; not only the chief Ghibelline cities, including Pavia itself, had joined, but even the remaining feudal nobles had found it impossible to stand outside.

[Sidenote: Submission of Henry II.]

Nor was this Alexander's only triumph. So long as Archbishop Thomas Becket remained unreconciled to Henry II, the English King had done all in his power to influence Alexander. A marriage alliance was carried out between the royal families of England and Sicily, solely with the object on Henry's side of neutralising one of the chief papal supporters, and Henry scattered his bribes among the Lombard cities with the same intent. But the reconciliation to which the attitude of his own people forced Henry in 1170 robbed him of all excuse for harassing the Pope, and the murder of the Archbishop by four of the King's knights in Canterbury Cathedral isolated Henry and forced him to a humiliating treaty with Alexander.

[Sidenote: Final failure of Frederick.]

Frederick entered Italy in 1174 with small chance of success, for his army was composed of mercenaries, and many of the leading German nobles, notably his cousin Henry the Lion, refused to accompany him. He exhausted all the resources of his military art in a vain attempt to take the new fortress of Alessandria. The jealousies within the League made negotiations possible, but these broke down because Frederick refused to recognise Alessandria as a member of the League or to include Pope Alexander in any peace made with the cities. But the end was at hand. When at length the forces met at Legnano on May 29, 1176, the militia of the League won a decisive victory. All possibility of direct coercion was gone, and Frederick was forced to consider seriously a change of policy. His only chance of good terms lay in dividing his enemies. He applied to Alexander, who refused to separate his cause from that of his allies, though he allowed that the terms might be arranged in secret. This was done. Frederick undertook to recognise Alexander and to restore all the papal possessions. For the allies, peace would be made with Sicily for fifteen years; the Lombards should have a truce for six years. After much negotiation Venice was agreed upon for a general congress of all the parties to the contest, and Frederick was forced to promise that he would not enter the city without the Pope's consent. Up to the last he hoped that mutual suspicion would divide his allies. But the terms of peace were agreed upon among the allies on the bases already mentioned; then Frederick was admitted into Venice, and a dramatic reconciliation between Pope and Emperor was enacted (July 25, 1177). Frederick returned to Germany at the end of the year.

[Sidenote: Triumph of Alexander.]

The schism was over, the anti-Pope submitted, and Alexander's conciliatory policy opened the way for his return to Rome. The Pope signalised the close of the long schism of eighteen years by gathering in 1179 a General Council, distinguished as the Third Lateran Council, to which came nearly a thousand ecclesiastics from various parts of Christendom. The chief canon promulgated placed the papal election exclusively in the hands of the cardinals, and ordained that a two-thirds majority of the whole College should suffice for a valid election. During the rest of his reign Alexander was occupied in mediating between Henry II and his sons, and between Henry and Louis of France. He died, again an exile from Rome, on August 30, 1181. His long pontificate is one of the most eventful in papal history. He was matched against an opponent who not only aimed at reviving the imperial claims, but was himself a man of imperial character. The difficulties of the situation might have seemed overwhelming. Where Gregory VII failed Alexander succeeded. Tact, not force, was the quality required. The infinite patience and long tenacity of Alexander met their reward. The Emperor was forced to violate the solemn oath he had sworn at Wurzburg in 1165, never to acknowledge Alexander or his successors, and never to seek absolution from this oath. The Pope had successfully asserted his claim to the civil government of Rome and to many other purely temporal possessions.

[Sidenote: Frederick's new move.]

Once more Frederick crossed the Alps. He had crushed his formidable cousin, Henry the Lion, and banished him from Germany; he had turned the truce with the Lombards into the Peace of Constance by acquiescing in the loss of the imperial rights for which he had fought. His eldest son, Henry, had been crowned King of Germany as long ago as 1168. Frederick was now anxious to secure for him the succession to the imperial title, and hoped to find the Pope willing to crown Henry as his father's colleague in the Empire. But although Lucius III, Alexander's successor (1181-5), had been driven from Rome, and was dependent on the Emperor's help, it was impossible for him or for any Pope to agree to Frederick's wish. Two emperors at once were a manifest absurdity, and Frederick was not likely to accept the Pope's suggestion that he should resign in favour of his son. Moreover, there lay between Pope and Emperor the still unsettled question of the inheritance of the Countess Matilda. It was clear that the quarrel must shortly be renewed. By the nature of the respective claims there could never be more than a temporary truce. Lucius died, but his successor, Urban III, was yet more irreconcilable. Meanwhile Frederick had resolved on an act which would make the breach between Papacy and Empire irreparable. The King of Sicily was William II |the Good.| His marriage to a daughter of Henry II of England (1177) had proved childless, and the succession seemed likely to fall to Constance, daughter of King Roger and aunt of the reigning King. She was over thirty years of age. Frederick's defeat in 1174 had been due to his failure to divide his enemies. Now, however, he had his chance. The Lombards, having got all that they wanted, were quite favourable to him. He planned to win Sicily also by a marriage between his youthful son Henry and the almost middle-aged heiress Constance. A party in Sicily helped him; and the marriage and the coronation of the happy pair as King and Queen of Italy took place at Milan in January, 1186. Not only had the Emperor knocked away the staff upon which the Papacy had been disposed to lean its arm for more than a century; but he had actually picked it up and proposed to use it in the future for the purpose of belabouring the Popes. Moreover, he had really secured his object of a hereditary empire; for Henry, now King with his father in Germany and in Italy, must needs succeed to all the paternal honours. In vain Urban tried to raise up a party against the Emperor; and the sentence of excommunication, which at length he had determined to pronounce, was stopped only by the death of the Pope on October 20, 1187.

[Sidenote: Frederick's death.]

It was, however, chance and not the policy of the Emperor that averted the inevitable conflict. On July 5 the Christians of Palestine had suffered a crushing defeat at the battle of Hittim or Tiberias at the hand of Saladin, and on October 3 the Mohammedan conqueror entered Jerusalem. The quarrel was necessarily suspended, and a new crusade was preached with such success that in May, 1189, Frederick set out for Palestine, to be followed a year later by the Kings of France and England. But the Emperor never reached the Holy Land. He made his way by Constantinople and Iconium into Cilicia, and there not far from Tarsus he disappeared, apparently drowned while crossing or bathing in a river.

[Sidenote: The new contest.]

With the great Emperor's death the contest between Papacy and Empire enters on a new phase. It is typical of this phase that the one outstanding question between the two powers after the Peace of Venice was the question of Tuscany. For the quarrel was now almost entirely political, and was becoming more and more confined to Italian politics. The imperial attempt to subdue Italy to Germany had failed, and it remained for the Emperor to make it impossible for the Pope to live at Rome except as a dependant of the German King. With Tuscany, Lombardy, and Sicily under the imperial control, there was no room for papal action in Italy. In a contest of abstract principles the Emperor had entirely failed to subdue the Pope; and the interest and importance of the contest between Frederick and Alexander lay in the fact that each was the representative of an idea. This is no doubt the reason why Frederick's failure did not damage his prestige. But he had learnt that he could not set the abstract claims of the Empire against those of the Papacy. The former did not appeal to any one beyond the limits of Germany; whereas the latter could count on sympathy in every country of Western Europe. Frederick, therefore, made no more appeals to Europe. His disputes with the Papacy were now individual matters: they were contests of policy, not of principle, and he would not hesitate to turn circumstances to his advantage. Perhaps, fortunately for Frederick's reputation, he did nothing more than inaugurate this policy. But it was a policy which essentially suited the peculiar genius of his successor.

[Sidenote: Henry VI.]

As soon as Frederick had started for Palestine Henry was plunged in difficulties. Henry the Lion returned from banishment and raised a disturbance. A few months later William II of Sicily died, and Pope Clement III (1187-91) immediately invested with the kingdom Tancred, Count of Lecce, an illegitimate member of the Hauteville family, who had been elected by the party opposed to the German influence. On the top of these difficulties came the news of Frederick's death. There was thus a double reason for an expedition to Italy -- Henry must assert his wife's claim to the throne of Sicily, and he must do this without quarrelling with the Pope, from whom he must obtain the imperial crown. His first expedition was only a formal success. Pope Celestine III (1191-8), who took office just after Henry entered Italy, dared not refuse to crown him emperor, nor could he prevent Henry from either courting the Roman Commune with success or prosecuting his claim to the Sicilian crown. But Henry failed before Naples: his army was decimated by the plague, and his wife fell into Tancred's hands.

[Sidenote: His success in Italy.]

This ill-success revived the Guelf opposition in Germany, whose most powerful supporter was Henry the Lion's brother-in-law, Richard of England. Richard on his way to Palestine had made an alliance with Tancred against the common Hohenstaufen enemy. But returning from crusade Richard fell into the hands of Leopold of Austria. Leopold was forced to hand him over to the Emperor, and the anti-Hohenstaufen alliance fell to pieces. For whatever reason, Henry kept the English King for more than a year, and turned a deaf ear to the papal remonstrances against his detention of a crusader. Fortified by the failure of the threatened combination against him, and by the money from Richard's ransom, Henry returned to Italy. Fortune favoured him at every turn. Since he left Italy Tancred and his eldest son had died, and Henry found no difficulty in getting hold of the youthful son of Tancred, who had been placed upon the throne under his mother's regency. Apulia and Sicily were overrun. The toils were closing round the Pope. Celestine had excommunicated all concerned in Richard's imprisonment until they should have restored his ransom. Thus by implication Henry was excommunicate. The money had been spent in subduing the papal fief of Sicily; while Henry further made his brother Philip Marquis of Tuscany, and planted his followers about in the lands of the Church. Yet Celestine did not dare to pronounce the fatal sentence against the Emperor directly.

[Sidenote: His imperial schemes.]

Henry meditated one more step which would have rendered the Pope powerless. Frederick, with the mere prospect of the Sicilian succession for his son, desired to make the imperial title hereditary; much more was Henry, the active sovereign of Sicily, anxious to accomplish this. The lay princes could have been bribed to consent by the recognition of hereditary succession to their fiefs. But the German ecclesiastics, with the Pope at their back, had no desire to increase the power of the Emperor, and the utmost that Henry could secure was the election as German King, and therefore King of the Romans, of his two-year-old son Frederick.

[Sidenote: His death.]

Henry's projects stretched out beyond the lands under his rule. The death of Saladin encouraged the idea of a new crusade. Henry as crusader might propitiate the Pope. But such an expedition once started might have been diverted, as indeed happened a few years later, for an attack upon Constantinople, which should lead to the union of both empires under the ambitious Hohenstaufen. Pretexts were not wanting. Henry collected a number of German crusaders upon the coast of Italy, and many of these had actually sailed for Palestine when everything was changed by Henry's sudden death on September 28, 1197. He had reigned eight years, and was only thirty-two years of age. Despite his youthful age and his short reign he had raised the imperial power to a height which it had scarcely ever touched before and which it was never to reach again. Endowed with ability at least equal to his father's, his very selfishness and ruthlessness gave him a success denied to his predecessor. All Henry's acts were associated with his own aggrandisement, and the result shows that the Papacy no less than the Empire was dependent for its influence chiefly upon the personality of the holder of the office. Henry had to deal at Rome with Popes of inferior capacity. Had Innocent III been elected a few years earlier, the tragedy of Anagni -- the maltreatment of Boniface VIII by the emissaries of the King of France -- might have been anticipated by a century.

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