THE TWO RELIGIONS.—The Crusades were a new chapter in the long warfare of Christendom with Mohammedanism. "In the Middle Ages, there were two worlds utterly distinct,—that of the Gospel and that of the Koran." In Europe, with the exception of Spain, the Gospel had sway; from the Pyrenees to the mouths of the Ganges, the Koran. The border contests between the two hostile parties on the eastern and western frontiers of Christendom were now to give place to conflict on a larger scale during centuries of invasion and war.
STATE OF THE GREEK EMPIRE.—The Greek Christian Empire lay between the Christian peoples of the West and the dominion of the Arabs. That empire lived on, a spiritless body. After Justinian, there is an endless recurrence of wars with the Arabs, and with the barbarians on the North, and of theological disputes, either within the empire itself, or with the Church of the West. The Greeks complained that a phrase teaching the procession of the Spirit from the Son had been added in the West to the Nicene Creed. The Latins complained of the use of leavened bread in the sacrament, of the marriage of priests, and of some other Greek peculiarities. The separation of the two churches was consummated when, in 1054, the legate of the Pope laid on the altar of St. Sophia, at Constantinople, an anathema against "the seven mortal heresies" of the Greeks.
ATTACKS OF RUSSIANS AND BULGARIANS.—Left to itself, the empire showed some energy in repelling the attacks of the Russians and Bulgarians. A number of capable rulers arose. The Russians, of the same race of Northmen who had ravaged Western Europe, kept up their assaults until their chief, Vladimir, made peace, accepted Christianity, and married the sister of the emperor, Basil II. (988). The empire between 988 and 1014 was invaded twenty-six times by King Samuel of Bulgaria. But the Bulgarian kingdom was overthrown, in 1019, by Basil II. In the twelfth century it regained its independence.
THE GREEK EMPERORS.—In the ninth century the Greeks made head against the Arabs, especially by means of their navy. In the tenth century John I. (Zimisces) crossed the Euphrates, and created alarm in Bagdad. The tenacity of life in the Greek Empire was surprising in view of the languishing sort of existence that it led. After Heraclius, there were three dynasties, the last of which, the Macedonian (867-1056), produced three remarkable men, Nicephorus Phocas, Zimisces, and Basil II. But the dynasty of Comneni, which, in the person of Isaac I., ascended the throne in 1057, had to combat a new and vigorous enemy, the Turks, who had now made themselves masters of Asia. One of this line of emperors, Alexius I., appealed to the Germans for help. This had some influence in giving rise to the first of the Crusades. In these conflicts the Latins bore the brunt. The exhausted Greek Empire played a minor part.
CONQUESTS OF THE TURKS.—The Mussulman dominion of the Arabs had become enfeebled. The Ommiad dynasty at Cordova had disappeared under the assaults of Christians, and of the Moors of Africa. The Fatimite caliphs were confined to Egypt. The rule of the Abassids of Bagdad had been well-nigh demolished by the Seljukian Turks in 1058. They founded in the eleventh century an extensive empire. The sultan, Alp Arslan, took the emperor, Romanus IV. Diogenes, prisoner (1071), and conquered Armenia. Malek Shah invaded Syria, Palestine, Jerusalem, and carried his arms as far as Egypt, while a member of the Turkish family of Seljuk wrested Asia Minor from the Greeks, and established the kingdom of Iconium, which was called Roum, extending from Mount Taurus to the Bosphorus. After the death of Malek Shah, there were three distinct sultanates, Persia, Syria, and Kerman,—the last being on the shores of the Indian Ocean.
THE PILGRIMS TO JERUSALEM.—The immediate occasion of the Crusades was the hard treatment of the Christian pilgrims who visited the sepulcher of Christ in Jerusalem. There the Empress Helena, the mother of Constantine, had erected a stately church. Pilgrimages—which had become more and more a custom since the fourth century—naturally tended to the sacred places in Palestine. Especially was this the case in the eleventh century, when piety had been quickened by the Cluny movement. In 1064 a great pilgrimage, in which seven thousand persons, priests and laity, of all nations, were included, under Siegfried, archbishop of Mentz, made its way through Hungary to Syria. Not more than a third of them lived to return. The reports of returning pilgrims were listened to with absorbing interest, as they told of the spots to which the imagination of the people was constantly directed. What indignation then was kindled by the pathetic narrative of the insults and blows which they had endured from the infidels who profaned the holy places with their hateful domination! In the ninth century, under caliphs of the temper of Haroun Al-Raschid, Christians had been well treated. About the middle of the tenth century the Fatimite caliphs of Egypt were the rulers at Jerusalem. Hakem was fierce in his persecution, but his successors were more tolerant. When the Seljukian Turks got control there, the harassed pilgrims had constant occasion to complain of insult and inhumanity.
THE CALL OF THE GREEKS.—The Greek emperor, Alexius Comnenus, threatened by the Mussulmans on the opposite bank of the Bosphorus, sent his call for succor to all Christian courts. Two popes, Sylvester II. and Gregory VII., had in vain exhorted the princes to rise in their might, to do away with the wrong and the shame which the disciples of Jesus were suffering at the hands of his enemies.
MOTIVES TO THE CRUSADES.—After this, only a spark was needed to kindle in the Western nations a flame of enthusiasm. The summons to a crusade appealed to the two most powerful sentiments then prevalent,—the sentiment of religion and that of chivalry. The response made by faith and reverence was reinforced by that thirst for a martial career and for knightly exploits which burned as a passion in the hearts of men. The peoples in the countries formed by the Germanic conquests were full of vigor and life. Outside of the Church, there was no employment to attract aspiring youth but the employment of a soldier. Western Europe was covered with a net-work of petty sovereignties. Feudal conflicts, while they were a discipline of strength and valor, were a narrow field for all this pent-up energy. There was a latent yearning for a wider horizon, a broader theater of action. Thus the Crusades profoundly interested all classes. The Church and the clergy, the lower orders, the women and the children, shared to the full in the religious enthusiasm, which, in the case of princes and nobles, took the form of an intense desire to engage personally in the holy war, in order to crush the infidels, and at the same time to signalize themselves by gallant feats of arms. There was no surer road to salvation. There was, moreover, a hope, of which all in distressed circumstances partook, of improving their temporal lot.
THE COUNCIL OF CLERMONT.—The prime author of the first Crusade was Pope Urban II. He authorized an enthusiast, Peter the Hermit, of Amiens, to travel on an ass through Italy and Southern France, and to stir up the people to the great undertaking of delivering the Holy Sepulcher. With an emaciated countenance and flashing eye, his head bare, and feet naked, and wearing a coarse garment bound with a girdle of cords, he told his burning tale of the inflictions endured by the pilgrims. At the great council of Clermont, in 1095, where a throng of bishops and nobles, and a multitude of common people who spoke the Romanic tongue, were assembled, Urban himself addressed the assembly in a strain of impassioned fervor. He called upon everyone to deny himself, and take up his cross, that he might win Christ. Whoever would enlist in the war was to have a complete remission of penances,—a "plenary indulgence." The answer was thundered forth, "God wills it." Thousands knelt, and begged to be enrolled in the sacred bands. The red cross of cloth or silk, fastened to the right shoulder, was the badge of all who took up arms. Hence they were called crusaders (from an old French word derived from crucem, Lat. acc. of crux, a cross).
THE UNDISCIPLINED BANDS.—The farmer left his plow, and the shepherd his flock. Both sexes and all ages were inspired with a common passion. Before a military organization could be made, a disorderly host, poorly armed and ill-provided, led by Peter the Hermit and Walter the Penniless, a French knight, started for Constantinople by way of Germany and Hungary. They were obliged to separate; and, of two hundred thousand, it is said that only seven thousand reached that capital. These perished in Asia Minor. They left their bones on the plain of Nicoea, where they were found by the next crusading expedition.
FIRST CRUSADE (1096-1099).—"The Crusades were primarily a Gaulish movement:" in French-speaking lands, the fire of chivalric devotion was most intense. The first regular army of soldiers of the cross departed by different routes under separate chiefs. First of these was Godfrey of Bouillon, duke of Lower Lorraine, the bravest and noblest of them all. With him were his brothers, Baldwin, and Eustace, count of Boulogne. Prominent among the other chiefs were Hugh, count of Vermandois; Robert, duke of Normandy, who had pawned his duchy to his brother, William II., the king of England; Robert, count of Flanders; Raymond, count of Toulouse; Bohemond of Tarentum, son of Robert Guiscard; and Tancred, Robert Guiscard's nephew. The Spaniards were taken up with their own crusade against the Moors. In consequence of the late absorbing struggles between emperors and popes, the Germans and Italians did not now embark in the enterprise. The relation of the Norman dynasty in England to the conquered Saxons prevented the first crusading host from receiving substantial aid from that country. The leaders of the army finally consented to become the feudal dependents of the emperor Alexius while they should be within his borders, and to restore to him such of their conquests as had been lately wrested by the Turks from the Eastern Empire. Alexius was more alarmed than gratified on seeing the swarm of warriors which he had brought into his land. After a siege of seven weeks, Nicea was surrendered, not, however, into the hands of the European soldiers who had conducted the siege, but to the shrewd Alexius. At Doryleum, in a desperate battle the Turks were defeated; but, on their march eastward, they wasted the lands which they left behind them. The crusaders suffered severely from disease consequent on the heat. A private quarrel broke out between Tancred and Baldwin. Baldwin, invited to Edessa by the Greek or Armenian ruler, founded there a Latin principality. After besieging Antioch for several months, by the treachery of a renegade Christian, Bohemond, with a few followers, was admitted into the city. The Christians slew ten thousand of its defenders; but, three days after, Antioch was shut in by a great army of Turks under the sultan Kerboga. The crusaders were stimulated by the supposed discovery of the "holy lance," or the steel head of the spear which had pierced the side of Jesus. The Turks were vanquished, and the citadel of Antioch was possessed by Bohemond. The wrangling chieftains were now compelled by the army to set out for Jerusalem. When they reached the heights where they first caught a glimpse of the holy city, the crusaders fell on their knees, and with tears of joy broke out in hymns of praise to God. But, not accustomed to siege operations, and destitute of the machines and ladders requisite for the purpose, they found themselves balked in the first attempts to capture the city. Yet after thirty days, their needs having been meantime in a measure supplied, Jerusalem was taken by storm (July 15, 1099). The infuriated conquerors gave the rein to their vindictive passions. Ten thousand Saracens were slaughtered. The Jews were burned in the synagogues, to which they had fled. When the thirst for blood and for plunder was sated, feelings of penitence and humility took possession of the victors. The leaders, casting aside their arms, with bared heads and barefoot, entered into the church of the Holy Sepulcher, and on their bended knees thanked God for their success. After debate, the princes united in choosing Godfrey of Bouillon as ruler of the city. He would not wear a royal crown in the place where the Saviour of the world had worn on his bleeding forehead a crown of thorns. He designated himself Protector of the Holy Sepulcher. Shortly after, at Ascalon, he won a great victory against the vastly superior forces of the Egyptian sultan. Godfrey died the next year (1100), and was succeeded by his brother Baldwin, who first took the title of King of Jerusalem. The force of the Moslems, and the almost incessant strife and division among the crusaders themselves, made the kingdom hard to defend.
THE NEW KINGDOM.—Venice, Genoa, and Pisa had the most to do with the defense and enlargement of the new kingdom. It was organized according to the method of feudalism. It continued until the capture of Jerusalem by Saladin in 1187.
THE MILITARY ORDERS.—The principal supporters of the new kingdom at Jerusalem were the orders of knights, in which were united the spirit of chivalry and the spirit of monasticism. To the monastic vows of chastity, poverty, and obedience, they added a fourth vow, which bound them to fight the infidels, and to protect the pilgrims. These military orders acquired great privileges and great wealth. Each of them had its own peculiar apparel, stamped with a cross. The two principal orders were the Knights of St. John, or the Hospitallers, and the Knights Templar. The Hospitallers grew out of a hospital established in the eleventh century near the Holy Sepulcher, for the care of sick or wounded pilgrims. The order, when fully constituted, contained three classes of members,—knights, who were all of noble birth, priests and chaplains, and serving brothers. After the loss of the Holy Land, the island of Rhodes was given up to them. This they held until 1522, when they were driven out by the Turks, and received from the emperor, Charles V., the island of Malta. The Templars gained high renown for their valor, and, by presents and legacies, acquired immense wealth. After the loss of their possessions in Palestine, most of their members took up their abode in Cyprus: from there many of them went to France. Not a few of them became addicted to violent and profligate ways. They were charged, whether truly or falsely, with unbelief, and Oriental superstitions caught up in the East from their enemies. These accusations, coupled with a desire to get their property, led to their suppression by Philip V. in the beginning of the fourteenth century. A third order was that of Teutonic Knights, founded at Jerusalem about 1128. In the next century they subjugated the heathen Wends in Prussia (1226-1283).
WELFS AND WAIBLINGS.—The emperor Lothar died on a journey back from Italy in 1137. Henry the Proud, of the house of Welf, to whom he had given the imperial insignia, hoped to be his successor, and hesitated to recognize Conrad III. (1137-1152) of the house of Hohenstaufen, who was chosen. Conrad required him to give up Saxony, for the reason that one prince could not govern two duchies. When he refused, Bavaria, also, was taken from him, and given to Leopold, margrave of Austria. This led to war, in which the king, as usual, was strongly supported by the cities. Henry the Proud left a young son, known later as Henry the Lion. Count Welf, the brother of Henry the Proud, kept up the war in Bavaria. He was besieged in Weinsberg. During the siege, it is said that his followers shouted "Welf" as a war-cry, while the besiegers shouted "Waiblings,"—Waiblingen being the birthplace of Frederick, duke of Swabia, brother of Conrad. These names, corrupted into Guelphs and Ghibellines by the Italians, were afterwards attached to the two great parties,—the supporters, respectively, of the popes and the emperors. Henry the Lion afterwards received Saxony; and the mark of Brandenburg was given in lieu of it to Albert the Bear.
Welf I. was a powerful nobleman, who received from Henry IV. the fief of Bavaria. When Henry V died, the natural heirs of the extinct Franconian line were his nephews, Frederick of Hohenstaufen, duke of Swabia, and Conrad. But the Saxons supported the wealthy Lothar, who was chosen emperor, and won over to his side Henry the Proud, grandson of Welf I., to whom Lothar gave his daughter in marriage, and gave, also, the dukedom of Saxony, in addition to his dukedom of Bavaria. In these events lay the roots of the long rivalship between the Welfs and the Hohenstaufens. Henry the Lion, as stated above, was the son of Henry the Proud.
GENEALOGY OF THE WELFS.
WELF, Duke of Bavaria, 1070-1101. + HENRY the Black, Duke of Bavaria, 1120-1126. + Judith, m. to Frederic, Duke of Swabia (d. 1147), the son of Agnes, who was the daughter of HENRY IV. FREDERIC I (Barbarossa) was the son of Judith, and this Frederic of Swabia. The Swabian dukes were called Hohenstaufens, from a castle on Mount Staufen in Wurtemberg. + HENRY the Proud, Duke of Bavaria 1126, of Saxony 1137; deprived, 1138. + HENRY the Lion, m. Matilda, daughter of Henry II of England. + HENRY the Young, d. 1227. + OTTO IV, d. 1218.
SECOND CRUSADE (1147-1149).—The preacher of the second Crusade was St. Bernard, whose saintly life and moving eloquence produced a great effect. Louis VII. of France and Conrad III. were the leaders. The expedition was attended by a series of calamities. The design of recapturing Edessa from Noureddin, the sultan of Aleppo, was given up. The siege of Damascus failed (1148). Conrad returned home with broken health. Soon after, Damascus fell into the hands of Noureddin, who was a brave and upright leader. Through one of his lieutenants, he conquered Egypt. After his death, Saladin, who sprung from one of the tribes of Kurds, and was in his service, rose to power there, and set aside the Fatimite caliphate (1171). He was not less renowned for his culture and magnanimity than for his valor. Saladin united under his scepter all the lands from Cairo to Aleppo. In the battle at Ramla, not far from Ascalon (1178), the crusaders gained their last notable victory over this antagonist, which served to prolong for some years the existence of the kingdom of Jerusalem. Afterwards victory was on his side: the crusaders were overthrown in the fatal battle of Tiberias, and Jerusalem was taken by him (1187). Thus the Latin kingdom fell. The Saracen conqueror was much more humane after success than the Christian warriors had been in like circumstances.
FREDERICK BARBAROSSA.—Frederick I.—Barbarossa, or Redbeard, he was called in Italy—(1152-1190) was one of the grand figures of the Middle Ages. He was thirty-one years of age at his election as emperor, and had already been with the crusaders to the Holy Land. In him great strength of understanding and a capacity for large undertakings were combined with a taste for letters and art. His aim was to bring back to the empire the strength and dignity which had belonged to it under the Saxon and Franconian emperors. The rulers of Bohemia and Poland he obliged to swear fealty as vassals. He put down private war, and restored order in Germany. The palatinate on the Rhine, formerly a part of Franconia, he gave to his half-brother Conrad, who founded Heidelberg (1155).
STRUGGLE WITH THE LOMABARD CITIES.—The principal conflict of Frederick I. was in Italy, where he endeavored to restore the imperial supremacy over the Lombard cities, which had grown prosperous and freedom-loving, and were bent on managing their own municipal affairs. They had thrown off the rule of bishops and counts. The burghers of Milan, the principal town, had obliged the neighboring nobles and cities to form a league with them. The smaller cities, as Como and Lodi, preferred the emperor's control to being subject to Milan. Pavia clung to the empire. But most of the cities prized their independence and republican administration. The Pope and the emperor were soon at variance, and the cities naturally looked to the pontiff for sympathy and leadership. In 1158 Frederick again crossed the Alps, bent on establishing the imperial jurisdiction as it had stood in the days of Charlemagne. The study of the Roman law was now pursued with enthusiasm at Bologna and Padua. At a great assembly in the Roncalian Fields, Frederick caused the prerogatives of the empire to be defined according to the terms of the civil law. The emperor was proclaimed as "lord of the world,"—dominus mundi. In the room of the consuls, a Podesta was appointed as the chief officer in each city, to represent his authority. Milan, which had submitted, revolted, but, after a siege of two years, was forced to surrender, and was destroyed, at the emperor's command, by the inhabitants of the neighboring cities (1162). In 1159 Alexander III. was elected Pope by a majority of the cardinals. Victor IV. was chosen by the imperial party, and was recognized at a council convened by Frederick at Pavia. On the death of Victor, another anti-pope, Paschal III., was elected in his place; and, on the fourth visit of Frederick to Italy (1166-1168), he conducted Paschal to Rome. In 1167 the cities of Northern Italy, which maintained their cause with invincible spirit, united in the Lombard League. They built the strongly fortified place, Alessandria,—named after the Pope,—and took possession of the passes of the Alps. The emperor, whose army was nearly destroyed by a pestilence at Rome, escaped, with no little difficulty and danger, to Germany.
FREDERICK I. AND POPE ALEXANDER III.—For nearly seven years Frederick remained in Germany. He put an end to a violent feud which had been raging between Henry the Lion and his enemies (1168). In 1174 he was ready to resume his great Italian enterprise. But he did not succeed in taking Alessandria. All his efforts to induce Henry the Lion to come to his support failed. He was consequently defeated in the battle of Legnano (1176). The extraordinary abilities and indefatigable energy of the great emperor had been exerted in the vain effort, as he himself now perceived it to be, to break down the resistance of a free people to a system which they felt to be an obsolete despotism. A reconciliation took place at Venice in 1177 between Pope Alexander III. and Frederick, in which the latter virtually gave up the plan which he had so long struggled to realize. It was a day of triumph for the Papacy. At Constance, in 1183, a treaty was made with the Lombard cities, in which their self-government was substantially conceded, with the right to fortify themselves, and to levy armies, and to extend the bounds of their confederacy. The overlordship of the emperor was recognized. There was to be an imperial judge in each town, to whom appeals in the most important causes might be made. The "regalian rights" to forage, food, and lodging for the emperor's army, when within their territory, were reduced to a definite form. The cities grew stronger from their newly gained freedom; yet the loss of imperial restraint was, on some occasions, an evil.
FREDERICK IN GERMANY.—After his return to Germany, Frederick deprived Henry the Lion of his lands; and when Henry craved his forgiveness at the Diet of Erfurt in 1181, he was allowed to retain Brunswick and Lueneburg. He was to live for three years, with his wife and child, at the court of his father-in-law, Henry II., king of England. His son William, born there, is the ancestor of the present royal family in England. In 1184 the emperor, in honor of his sons, King Henry, and Frederick, duke of Swabia, who were of age to become knights, celebrated at Mentz a magnificent festival, where a great throng of attendants was gathered from far and near. In a last and peaceful visit to Italy, his son Henry was married to Constance, the daughter of Roger II., and the heiress of the Norman kingdom of Lower Italy and Sicily.
THIRD CRUSADE (1189-1192).—The old emperor now undertook another Crusade (1189), in which he was supported by Philip II. (Philip Augustus), king of France, and Richard the Lion-Hearted (Caeur-de-Lion), king of England, but of French descent. Having spent the winter at Adrianople, Frederick crossed into Asia Minor, and conquered Iconium. In his advance he showed a military skill and a valor which made the expedition a memorable one; but at the river Calycadnus in Cilicia, either while bathing or attempting to cross on horseback, the old warrior was swept away by the stream, and drowned (1190). His son Frederick died during the siege of Acre. Richard and Philip quarreled, before and after reaching Acre, which surrendered in 1191. Philip returned to France. Richard, with all his valor, was twice compelled to turn back from Jerusalem. Nothing was accomplished except the establishment of a truce with Saladin, by which a strip of land on the coast, from Joppa to Acre, was given to the Christians, and pilgrimages to the holy places were allowed. Richard was distinguished both for his deeds of arms and for his cruelty. On his return, he was kept as a prisoner by Leopold, duke of Austria, by the direction of the emperor, Henry VI., for thirteen months, and released on the payment of a ransom, and rendering homage. He was charged with treading the German banner in the filth at Acre. His alliance with the Welfs in Germany is enough to explain the hostility felt towards him by the imperial party.
HENRY VI.: POPE INNOCENT III.—Henry VI. (1190-1197) had the prudence and vigor of his father, but lacked his magnanimity. He was hard and stern in his temper. Twice he visited Italy to conquer the kingdom of the Two Sicilies, the inheritance of his wife. He waged a new war with Henry the Lion (1192-1194), which ended in a marriage of Agnes, the emperor's cousin, with Henry, the son of Henry. It was a project of the emperor to convert Germany and Italy, with Sicily, into a hereditary monarchy; but the princes would not consent. He aspired to incorporate the Eastern Empire in the same dominion. While engaged in strife with the aged Pope, Coelestin II., respecting the Tuscan lands of Matilda, which she had bequeathed to the Church, the emperor suddenly died. His son Frederick was a boy only three years old. On the death of Coelestin II., early in 1198, Innocent III., the ablest and most powerful of all the popes, acceded to the pontifical chair. Innocent was a statesman of unsurpassed sagacity and energy. He was imbued with the highest idea of the pontifical dignity. He made his authority felt and feared in all parts of Christendom. He exacted submission from all rulers, civil and ecclesiastical. The Empress Constance, in order to secure Italy for Frederick, accepted the papal investment on conditions dictated by the Pope. After her death Innocent ruled Italy in the character of guardian of her son. He dislodged the imperial vassals from the Tuscan territory of Matilda, and thus became a second founder of the papal state.
FOURTH CRUSADE (1202-1204).—Under the auspices of Innocent III., a Crusade was undertaken by French barons, with whom were associated Baldwin, count of Flanders, and Boniface, marquis of Montferrat. Arrived at Venice, the crusaders were not able to furnish to the Venetians the sum agreed to be paid for their transportation. The Venetians, whose devotion was strongly tempered with the mercantile spirit, under the old doge, Henry Dandolo, greatly to the displeasure of the Pope, persuaded them to assist in the capture of Zara, which the king of Hungary had wrested from Venice. Then, at the call of Alexius, son of the Eastern emperor, Isaac Angelus, they went with the Venetian fleet to Constantinople, and restored these princes to the throne. The result of the contentions that followed with the Greeks was the pillage of Constantinople, and the establishment of the Latin Empire under Baldwin. Principalities were carved out for different chiefs; the Venetians taking several Greek coast towns, and afterwards Candia (Crete). The patriarch of Constantinople had to take his pallium from Rome. The Latin service was established in the churches. There was no real union between the Greeks and the invaders, but constant strife, until, in 1261, Michael Paloeologus, the head of a Greek empire which had been established at Nicoea, put an end to the Latin kingdom.
CHILDREN'S CRUSADE.—The failure of the stupendous undertakings for the conquest of the infidels was attributed to the wicked wrangles, and still more to the vicious lives, of the crusaders, whose defeat was regarded as indicative of the frown of Heaven on their evil courses. This feeling gave occasion to the Children's Crusade, in 1212. Many thousands of French and German boys made their way, in two distinct expeditions, to Marseilles and the seaports of Italy, in order to be conveyed thence to the Holy Land. But few returned: nearly all perished by the way, or were seized, and carried off to slave-markets. The enterprise grew out of a wild construction of the injunction of Jesus to let little children come to him.
OTTO IV.: CIVIL WAR IN GERMANY.—Frederick had been elected king; but, on the death of his father, his claims were disregarded. The Hohenstaufens chose Philip, brother of Henry VI.: the Welfs appointed Otto, the second son of Henry the Lion. Innocent claimed the right, not to appoint the emperor, but to decide between the rival claimants. He decided, in 1201, in favor of Otto IV. (1198-1214). Philip's party, however, seemed likely to succeed; but, in 1208, he was murdered. Otto, having made large promises of submission to the Pope's requirements, was crowned emperor, and universally acknowledged. When he failed to fulfill his pledges, and began to assert the old imperial prerogatives in Italy, he was excommunicated and deposed by Innocent (1210).
FREDERICK (II.) MADE KING.—Innocent was now led to take up the cause of young Frederick (1212). The latter won Germany over to his side, and received the German crown at Aix-la-Chapelle in 1215. Otto was restricted to his ancestral territory in Brunswick.
CHARACTER OF FREDERICK II. (1214-1250).—_Frederick II._, on account of his extraordinary natural gifts and his accomplishments, was called _the wonder of the world_. He knew several languages, and, in intercourse with the Saracens_ in Sicily, had acquired a familiarity with the sciences. In many of his ideas of government he was in advance of his time. But his reign was largely spent in a contest with the Lombard cities and with the popes. He is styled by an eminent modern historian, "the gay, the brave, the wise, the relentless, and the godless Frederick." He was often charged with skepticism in relation to the doctrines of the Church. The main ground of this imputation seems to have been a temper of mind at variance with the habit of the age,—a very moderate degree of reverence for ecclesiastical authority, and the absence of the usual antipathy to heresy and religious dissent.
FIFTH CRUSADE (1228-1229).—Having caused his son Henry to be elected king of Rome, Frederick, in 1220, left Germany for fifteen years. It was the policy of the popes to keep the Sicilian crown from being united with the empire, and the emperor from gaining the supremacy in Lombardy. Frederick, at his coronation at Aix, and afterwards, had engaged to undertake a crusade. But he had postponed it from time to time. Pope Honorius III. had patiently borne with this delay. But when Frederick, in 1227, was about to start, and was prevented, as he professed, by the contagious disease in his army, from which he himself was suffering, Gregory IX., the next pope, placed him under the ban of the Church. Nevertheless, the emperor, in the following year, embarked on his crusade. His vigor as a soldier, and, still more, his tact in conciliating the Saracens, enabled him to get possession of Jerusalem. No bishop would crown an excommunicate, and he had to put the crown on his own head. That he left a mosque unmolested was a fresh ground of reproach. He negotiated an armistice with the sultan, Kameel (El Kamil), who ceded Nazareth and a strip of territory reaching to the coast, together with Sidon. Fifteen years later (in 1244) Jerusalem was finally lost by the Christians.
CONTEST OF FREDERICK WITH THE POPES.—On his return to Italy, Frederick drove the papal troops out of Apulia. In a personal interview with Gregory IX. at San Germane, a treaty was made between them, the ban was removed, and the treaty of Frederick with the Sultan was sanctioned by the Pope. Frederick now displayed his talent for organization in all parts of his empire. His constitution for the Sicilian kingdom, based on the ruins of the old feudalism, is tinged with the modern political spirit. His court, wherever he sojourned, mingled an almost Oriental luxury and splendor with the attractions of poetry and song. A sore trial was the revolt of his son Henry (1234), whom he conquered, and confined in a prison, where he died in 1242. The efforts of Frederick to enforce the imperial supremacy over the Lombard cities were met with the same stubborn resistance from the Guelfs which his grandfather had encountered. In 1237 he gained a brilliant victory over them at Cortenuova. But the hard terms on which Frederick insisted, in connection with other transactions offensive to the Pope, called out another excommunication from Gregory IX. (1239). The Genoese fleet, which was conveying ecclesiastics to a council called by the Pope at Rome, was captured by direction of Frederick; and the prelates were thrown into prison. Pope Innocent IV. (1243-1254) fled to Lyons, and there published anew the ban against the emperor, declared him deposed, and summoned the Germans to elect another emperor in his place. The ecclesiastical princes in Germany chose Henry Raspe (1246-1247), landgrave of Thuringia, who was defeated by Conrad, Henry's son. The next emperor thus chosen, William of Holland (1247), made no headway in Germany. During this period of civil war, many German cities gained their freedom from episcopal rule, attained to great privileges, and came into an immediate relation to the emperor. A fearful war raged in Italy between the Guelfs and Ghibellines, in the midst of which Frederick died, in the fifty-sixth year of his age. Had he been as conscientious and as capable of curbing his passions and appetites as he was highly endowed in other respects, he might have been a model ruler. As it was; although his career was splendid, his private life, as well as his public conduct, was stained with flagrant faults.
THE SICILIAN KINGDOM.—The kingdom of the Two Sicilies was bravely defended by Manfred, son of Frederick II, in behalf of young Conradin, the son of the new emperor, Conrad IV. The Pope gave the crown to Charles of Anjou, brother of Louis IX. of France. Charles, after the fall of Manfred at Beneventum (1266), gained the kingdom. Conradin went to Italy, but was defeated and captured in 1268, and was executed at Naples. Such was the tragic end of the last of the Hohenstaufens. The unbearable tyranny of the French led to a conspiracy called the Sicilian Vespers (1282); and, at Easter Monday, at vesper time, the rising took place. All the French in Sicily were massacred. Peter of Aragon, who had married the daughter of Manfred, became king of Sicily. The dominion of Charles of Anjou was restricted to Naples.
SPAIN.—The Spaniards had a crusade to carry forward in their own land, which lasted for eight hundred years. In the tenth and eleventh centuries, especially under Abderrahman III. (912-961), the Moorish civilization was most brilliant. In Cordova, there were six hundred mosques. There were said to be seventeen universities and seventy large libraries in Spain. The caliph's fleets were dominant in the Mediterranean. He was mild in his policy towards Jews and Christians. In the eleventh century the caliphs gave themselves up to luxury, and the control of their forces was in the hands of the viziers. Of these, Almanzor, the general of Hakem II (976-1013), was the most famous. He took the city of Leon, and plundered the church of St. James of Compostella, the patron saint of Spain. After this time the caliphate of Cordova broke up into numerous kingdoms. The Christian Visigoths in the north-west had built up the little kingdom of Oviedo, which later took the name of Leon. The rest of Christian Spain was united under Sancho the Great (970-1035). To one of his sons, Ferdinand I, he left Castile, to which Leon and the Asturias were united; to another, Aragon; and, to a third, Navarre and Biscay. It was under Ferdinand that the exploits of the Spanish hero, the Cid (Rodrigo Diaz of Bivar), in conflict with the infidels, began. The complete conquest of the Moors was prevented by the strife of the Christian kingdoms with one another. Under Alfonso VI (1072-1109), they were all once more united.
GREAT DEFEAT OF THE MOORS.—The invasion of the Almoravids, invited over from Africa by the Mussulman princes (1086), checked the progress of the Christian conquest. These allies of the Arabs built up a kingdom for themselves, reconquered Valencia, and taxed to the utmost the power of the Christians to resist their progress. New sects of fanatical Moslems, the Almohads, having conquered Morocco, passed over into Spain. The Mohammedans were thus at war among themselves, and were divided into three parties. Military orders were established in Spain; and the kings of Castile, Leon, and Navarre, aided by sixty thousand crusaders from Germany, France, and Italy, defeated Mohammed, the chief of the Almohads, with great slaughter, in a decisive battle near Tolosa (1212). The Spanish crusade built up the little kingdom of Portugal, and the states of Castile and of Aragon. They were destined to play an important part in the history of commerce and discovery. The Spanish character owed some of its marked traits to this prolonged struggle with the Moslems.
THE MONGOLIAN INVASIONS.—At the beginning of the thirteenth century, Genghis Khan, the leader of Mongolian hordes which roamed over the Asiatic plateau between China and Siberia, conquered China, and overthrew the ruling dynasty. He subdued Hindustan and the empire of the Chowares, which had been founded by a Seljukian slave, and spread his power from the Caspian Sea through Persia to India (1218). Bokhara and Samarcand were among the populous cities which were burned with all their treasures by these ruthless invaders. Libraries were converted into stalls for the horses of the brutal conquerors. The sons and successors of Genghis Khan swept over the countries north of the Black Sea, captured Moscow and Kiev, burned Cracow, and pursued their murderous and devastating path over Poland and Hungary, At the battle of Wahlstatt (1241), the Germans under Henry the Pious, duke of Liegnitz, were defeated. The victories of the Tartars were frightful massacres. It was a custom of the Mongols to cut off an ear of the slaughtered enemy. It was said that at Liegnitz these trophies filled nine sacks. The Mongol hosts retired from Europe. They attacked the caliphate of Bagdad, a city which they took by storm, and plundered for forty days. They destroyed the dynasty of the Abassids. They marched into Syria, stormed and sacked Aleppo, and captured Damascus. For a time the central point of the Tartar conquests was the city or camping-ground of Karakorum in Central Asia. After a few generations their empire was broken in pieces. The "Golden Horde," which they had planted in Russia, on the east of the Volga, remained there for two centuries. Bagdad was held by the Mongols until 1400, when it was conquered, and kept for a short time, by Tamerlane.
The religion of the Tartars was either Lamaism—a corrupted form of Buddhistic belief and worship,—or Mohammedanism. In China and Mongolia they were Lamaists: elsewhere they generally adopted the faith of Islam. Their original religion was Shamaism, a worship of spirits, akin to fetichism. The later Mongol sovereigns, especially Kublai Khan, were ready to promote peaceful intercourse with Europe. It was at this time that Marco Polo resided at their court.
SIXTH CRUSADE (1248-1254): SEVENTH CRUSADE (1270).-Two additional Crusades were undertaken under the leadership of that upright and devout king, Louis IX. of France. The first (1248-1254) resulted in the taking of Damietta in Egypt (1249); but the next year Louis, with his whole army, was captured, and obtained his release after much delay, by the surrender of his conquests, and in return for a large ransom. Not disheartened by this failure, the pious monarch, in 1270, sailed to Tunis, where he and most of his army perished from sickness. In 1291 Acre, the last town held by the Christians, was taken by the Egyptian Mamelukes; and the Crusades came to an end.
EFFECTS OF THE CRUSADES.—The Crusades were a spontaneous movement of Christian Europe. It was a great tide, which bore away all classes of people. It lends to the Middle Ages an ideal and heroic character. An overpowering sentiment, submerging calculation and self-interest, swept over society. There was infinite suffering: countless lives were the forfeit. The results, however, were beneficent, 1. It is true that the conquests made in the East were all surrendered. The holy places were given up. Yet the Turks had received a check which was a protection to Europe during the period when its monarchies were forming, and were gaining the force to encounter them anew, and repel their dangerous aggressions. 2. The Feudal System in Europe was smitten with a mortal blow. Smaller fiefs, either by sale or by the death of the holders, were swallowed up in the larger. The anarchical spirit was counteracted. Political unity was promoted. 3. There was a lessening of the social distance between suzerain and serf. They fought side by side, and aided one another in common perils. The consequence was an increase of sympathy. 4. There was an expansion of knowledge. There was a widening of geographical knowledge. An acquaintance was gained with other peoples and countries. To the more civilized Saracens, the crusaders seemed brutal and barbarous. The crusaders in turn were impressed with the superior advancement and elegance of the Saracens. It was not the lord only who beheld distant lands: the serf was taken from the soil to which he had been tied. He drew stimulus and information from sojourning under other skies. 5. A great impulse was given to trade and commerce. An acquaintance was gained with new products, natural and artificial. New wants were created. 6. The cities advanced in strength and wealth. Important social consequences resulted from their growth.
WHY THE CRUSADES TERMINATED.—After the thirteenth century it was impossible to rekindle the crusading enthusiasm. The fire had burned out. It seemed as if the idea had exhausted itself in action. This effect was due, (1) to the absence of novelty in such undertakings; (2) to the long experience of the hardships belonging to them, which tended to dampen the romantic zeal that had formed a part of the motive; (3) to the disappointments following upon the practical failure of so prodigious and costly exertions; (4) to an altered condition of public feeling of a more general character. Antipathy to the infidel, the more exclusive sway of religious sentiment, were giving way to a mingling of secular aims and interests. There were new and wider fields of activity at home. The mood of men's minds was no longer the same.
LUXURIES INTRODUCED BY THE CRUSADES.—The effect of the Crusades in bringing in new comforts and luxuries, and in thus altering the style of living, was remarkable. At the very outset, a great deal of money, obtained by the sale or pawning of estates, was spent in the outfit of the hundred thousand nobles, who, at the beginning, took the cross. Costly furs, embroidered cushions, curtains of purple dye, pavilions worked with gold, banners of purple or of cloth-of-gold, showy costumes, and shining armor,—such was the splendor that met the eyes of thousands who had never before beheld such a spectacle. The journey to the East brought under the observation of the crusaders, arts and fashions to which they had been strangers, They saw the gilded domes and marble palaces of Constantinople, and the treasures of ancient art which had been gathered within the walls of that ancient capital. Antioch, with all its wealth, fell into their hands. Later, the merchants of both religions followed in the wake of the armies, and met one another. The superb fabrics of the East were carried to the West by routes which now became safe and familiar. The precious ores and tissues of Damascus, and the beautiful glassware of Tyre, were conveyed to Venice, and thence to places more distant. Silk stuffs of exquisite beauty were brought from Mosul and Alexandria. The elegance of the East, with its rich fabrics, its jewels and pearls, was so enchanting that an enthusiastic crusader termed it "the vestibule of Paradise." It was not the nobles alone in the West who acquired these attractive products of skill and industry. The cities shared in them. Even the lower classes partook of the change in the way of living.
LIFE IN THE CASTLE.—Even in the earlier days of feudalism, the seclusion of the castle was not without an influence in promoting domestic intercourse and affection. A new sentiment respecting woman sprang up in the Middle Ages, and was fostered by the honor which the New Testament and the teaching of the Church rendered to saintly women. A spirit of gallantry and devotion to woman, partly natural to the Germanic race, and partly arising from causes like that just named, sprang up in the midst of prevailing ignorance and perpetual strife. In the course of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries life in the castle is found to be very much improved. In the eleventh century it lacked comfort, to say nothing of luxury. The lights were torches of dry wood: even candles were not in general use. Houses in France, England, and Germany commonly had thatched roofs. They were made of logs covered with a sort of clay or mud. They were built with low and narrow doors, and with small windows which admitted but little light. In the middle of the smoky hall was a large, round fireplace. There was no chimney, but only a funnel, which pierced the ceiling. The seats were benches and stools. The feet of the family and guests were kept warm by hay spread beneath them. In the later period the substitution of dry rushes and straw was thought to be a marvelous gain. Beds of straw were introduced into all the apartments of nobles, and even of kings. To sleep on a straw couch was deemed a regal luxury. One consequence of the Crusades was to introduce carpets and hangings into the dwellings of the great. Improved timepieces took the place of the water-clocks, which were a wonder in the days of Charlemagne. In the twelfth century the castle begins to look less like a dungeon. Within and without, it ceases to wear so exclusively the aspect of a fortress. The furniture has more beauty. In the great hall are the large tables attached to the floor, the sideboards, the cupboards, the stately chair of the lord, the couch with its canopy, the chests for the wearing-apparel, the armor on the walls. In the thirteenth century France was covered with chateaux, which, in the case of princes and nobles of highest rank, had their spacious courts, their stables, their lodgings for the servants. All these were within the precincts of the palace. In the great hall were held the assemblies of vassals, banquets, judicial trials. In the wealthiest mansions, there was a main saloon on the floor above, reached by a spiral stairway, and serving also for the principal bed-chamber. There the stone floor gave place to marble of varied colors. Mosaics and other ornaments were introduced. Sculptures, carvings, and mural paintings decorated the apartments. Glass mirrors, imported by way of Venice, began to supersede the mirrors of polished metal. Larger windows, of painted glass, became common among the rich, in the room of the small pieces of glass, or of alabaster, which had before served to let in a few rays of light. Tallow candles came into vogue. Lamps were not unknown. On great occasions, lanterns and wax candles were used for a festive illumination. Chimneys were in use, and about the vast fire-place the family group could gather. The hospitality of the castle was often bountiful. The chase, the favorite amusement, gave life and animation to the scene, and prepared the inmates for the feast that followed. Minstrels enlivened the social gathering. Troops of mountebanks and buffoons furnished amusement, and were sometimes lavishly rewarded. There were singers and buffoons who were attached permanently to the household. There were others who traveled from place to place, and were even organized into corporations or guilds. The fool, or jester, to whom a large license was allowed, was long deemed a necessary adjunct of the castle-hall. Carriages were little used; rank was indicated by the accouterments of the war-horse or of the palfrey. From the twelfth century onward, the improvement in the comforts of living was not confined to the nobles and to rich burghers in cities. It was shared by the rural classes, notwithstanding the miseries—such as insecurity, and dangers of famine—that belonged to their condition.
POVERTY AND DISEASE.—A French writer on the history of luxury, speaking of France in this period, says, "In the cities, we meet at once luxury, certain beginnings of prosperity, and frightful misery. Beggary exists in a form the most hideous: there is an organization of it with grades, and a sort of hierarchy. In the face of sumptuous costumes, of chateaux better adorned, of the nascent wealth of industry, France included more than two thousand lepers, and knew not how to treat maladies born of the most imperfect hygiene and the most sordid filth. Such were the extremes. The course of general progress went forward between them." The condition of the poorest class in England was no better. "The absence of vegetable food for the greater part of the year, the personal dirt of the people, the sleeping at night in the clothes worn in the day, and other causes, made skin-diseases frightfully common. At the outskirts of every town in England, there were crawling about emaciated creatures covered with loathsome sores, living Heaven knows how. They were called by the common name of lepers; and probably the leprosy, strictly so called, was awfully common." Such being the life of the poor in villages, and in the absence of drainage and other modern safeguards of health, in large towns, it is no wonder that in the Middle Ages there were terrible pestilences, and that the average length of life was much less than at present.
ORIGIN AND NATURE OF CHIVALRY.—It was in the period of the crusades that the mediaeval institution of chivalry was ennobled by receiving a religious consecration. Chivalry is a comprehensive term, denoting a system of ideas and customs that prevailed in the middle ages. In the western kingdoms of Europe there was gradually formed a distinct class of warriors of superior rank, who fought on horseback, and were recognized as knights by a ceremony of equipment with arms. Among the customs of the ancient Germans, which are noticed by Tacitus, and in which may be discovered the germs of chivalry, are the remarkable deference paid to women, attendance of the aspiring youth on a military superior,—out of which vassalship arose,—and the formal receiving of arms on reaching manhood. At the outset, knighthood was linked to feudal service: the knights were landholders. In the age of Charlemagne, the warriors on horseback—the caballarii—were the precursors, both in name and function, of the chevaliers of later times. The word knight, meaning a youth or servant, and then a military attendant, came to be a term of equivalent meaning. The necessary connection of knighthood with the possession of fiefs was broken in the thirteenth century, through changes in the circumstances of warfare. Knighthood became independent of feudalism. It was a personal distinction, frequently bestowed as a reward for brave deeds, and often conferred with elaborate ceremonies, partly of a religious character. When the boy of gentle birth passed from under the care of females, he first served as a page or valet at the court of a prince or the castle of a rich noble. Having been thus trained in habits of courtesy and obedience, he was advanced, not earlier than the age of fourteen, to the rank of squire, and instructed in horsemanship and in the use of weapons. He followed his master to the tournament and in battle, until finally he was himself dubbed a knight, was clothed in armor of steel, and took on him all the obligations and privileges of his order. The introduction of hereditary surnames and of armorial bearings served to distinguish the members of this order. He who was a knight in one place was a knight everywhere.
There were different classes of knights. The "bachelor," who bore a forked pennon, was below the "knight-banneret," who alone had the right to carry the square banner. The banneret was required to have a certain estate, and to be able to bring into the field a certain number of lances, i.e., inferior knights with their men-at-arms and foot-soldiers. Each knight was accompanied by his squire and personal attendants. Not seldom two knights joined together in a brotherhood in arms, pledging themselves to sustain each other in every peril.
THE VIRTUES OF KNIGHTHOOD.—There were characteristic obligations of knighthood. One was loyalty, which included a strict fidelity to all pledges, embracing promises made to an enemy. Another knightly virtue was courtesy, which was exercised even towards a foe. The spirit of gallantry, inspiring devotion to woman, especially the chosen object of love, and protection to womanly weakness, was always a cardinal trait of the chivalric temper. Courage, which delighted in daring exploits, and sought fields for the exercise of personal prowess, was an indispensable quality of the knights. The ideal of chivalry was honor rather than benevolence. The influence of chivalry in refining manners was very great; but, especially in its period of decline, it allowed or brought in much cruelty and profligacy. Its distinctive spirit could find room for exercise only amid conflict and bloodshed, which it naturally tended to promote.
CEREMONIES OF INVESTITURE.—When the knight was created according to the complete form, he entered into a bath on the evening previous, was instructed by old knights in "the order and feats" of chivalry, was then clad in white and russet, like a hermit, passed the night in the chapel in "orisons and prayers," and at daybreak confessed to the priest, and received the sacrament. He then returned to his chamber. At the appointed hour he was conducted to the hall, where he received the spurs and was girded with the sword by the prince or other lord who was to confer the distinction, by whom he was smitten on the shoulder and charged to be "a good knight." Thence he was escorted to the chapel, where he swore on the altar to defend the church, and his sword was consecrated.
JUDICIAL COMBATS.—The disposition to resort to single combats as a judicial test of guilt or innocence was stimulated by the development of chivalry. There were other ordeals long in vogue, by which it was thought that Heaven would interpose miraculously to shield, and thus to vindicate, the innocent, and to expose the criminal. Such were the plunging of the hand into boiling water, the contact of the flesh with red-hot iron or with fire, the lot, the oath taken on holy relics, the reception of the Eucharist, which would choke the perjurer, and send his soul to perdition. The ordeals were regulated and managed by the clergy. Among the German, and also the Celtic tribes, there are traces of the duel between combatants, for purposes of divination, or of determining on which side in a controversy the right lay. The judicial combat in mediaeval Europe became general. Champions, in cases where the rights of women were in debate, and in other instances where the wager of battle between the direct antagonists in a dispute was impracticable, were selected, or volunteered, to try the issue in an armed conflict. Sometimes professional champions, hired for the occasion, were employed. The custom of judicial combats by degrees declined. The municipalities and the spirit of commerce were averse to it. It was opposed by the Emperor Frederic II. and by Louis IX. of France. The influence of the Roman law helped to undermine it; but the opposition of the Church was the most effectual agency in doing away with it. The modern duel, which survived the judicial combat, is a relic of the ancient custom of avenging private injuries, and of proving the courage of the combatants between whom a quarrel had arisen. In the opening of Shakespeare's play of Richard II., in the quarrel of Mowbray and Bolingbroke, the idea of the judicial combat mingles with the motives and feelings characteristic of the duel when stripped of its religious aspect.
FRANCE.—DESCENDANTS OF HUGH CAPET
HUGH THE GREAT (d. 956), m. 3, Hedwiga, daughter of Henry I of Germany. + HUGH CAPET, 987-996. + ROBERT, 996-1031. + HENRY I,1031-1060. + PHILIP I, 1060-1108, m. Bertha, daughter of Florence I, Count of Holland. + LOUIS VI, 1108-1137. + LOUIS VII, 1137-1180, m. 3, Alice, daughter of Theobold II, Count of Champagne. + PHILIP II (Augustus), 1180-1223, m. 1, Isabella, daughter of Baldwin V, Count of Hainault. + LOUIS VIII, 1223-1226, m. Blanche, daughter of Alfonso IX of Castile. + (St.) Louis IX, 1226-1270, m. Margaret, daughter of Raimond Berengar IV, Count of Provence. + 2, PHILIP III, 1270-1285, m. 1, Isabella, daughter of James I of Aragon. + PHILIP IV, 1285-1314, m. Jeanne, heiress of Champagne and Navarre. + LOUIS X, 1314-1316. + PHILIP V, 1316-1322. + CHARLES IV, 1322-1328. + Charles, Count of Valois (d. 1325), founder of the house of Valois, m. Margaret, daughter of Charles II of Naples. + PHILIP VI, succeeded 1328. + Robert, Count of Clermont, founder of the house of Bourbon.
ENGLAND.—FROM THE CONQUEST TO EDWARD I.
WILLIAM I, 1066-1087, m. Matilda, daughter of Baldwin V of Flanders + WILLIAM II (Rufus), 1087-1100. (Malcolm Canmore m. St. Margaret) + Mary m. Eustace, Count of Boulogne + Maud + Matilda. m. + HENRY I, 1100-1135 + MATILDA (d. 1167) m. 1, Emperor Henry V; 2, Geoffrey Plantagenet, Count of Anjou + HENRY II, 1154-1189 m. Eleanor of Aquitaine, etc., wife of Louis VII of France. + 3, RICHARD I, 1189-1199. + 5, JOHN, 1199-1216, m. Isabella of Angouleme + HENRY III, 1216-1272, m. Eleanor, daughter of Raymond Berengar IV of Provence. + EDWARD I, succeeded 1272. + Adela, m. Stephen, Count of Blois. + STEPHEN, 1135-1154. m. Maud, daughter of Malcolm Canmore and St. Margaret.
CHAPTER III. ENGLAND AND FRANCE: THE FIRST PERIOD OF THEIR RIVALSHIP (1066-1217).
The emperors, the heads of the Holy Roman Empire, were the chief secular rulers in the Middle Ages, and were in theory the sovereigns of Christendom. But in the era of the Crusades, the kingdoms of England and France began to be prominent. In them, moreover, we see beginnings of an order of things not embraced in the mediaeval system. In France, steps are taken towards a compact monarchy. In England, there are laid the foundations of free representative government.
CONNECTION OF ENGLAND AND FRANCE.—For a long time the fortunes of England and of France are linked together. The kings of the French, with their capital at Paris, had been often obliged to contend with their powerful liegemen, the dukes of Normandy, at Rouen. When the Norman duke became king of England, he had an independent dominion added to the great fief on the other side of the channel. It sometimes looked as if England and France would be united under one sovereignty, so close did their relations become.
DEATH OF WILLIAM THE CONQUEROR.—It was while William the Conqueror, angry with the king of the French, was burning Mantes, in the border-land between Normandy and France, that, by the stumbling of his horse in the ashes, he was thrown forward upon the iron pommel of his saddle, and received the hurt which ended, in the next month, in his death (Sept., 1087). On his death-bed he was smitten with remorse for his unjust conquest of England, and for his bloody deeds there. He would not dare to appoint a successor: it belonged, he said, to the Almighty to do that; but he hoped that his son William might succeed him. The burial service at Caen, in the church which he had built, was interrupted by Ascelin, a knight, who raised his voice to protest against the interment, for the reason that the duke had wrongfully seized from his father the ground on which the church stood. The family of William made a settlement with Ascelin on the spot by paying a sum of money, and the service proceeded. The whole ground was afterwards paid for. William had left money for the rebuilding of the churches which he had burned at Mantes. He gave his treasures to the poor and to the churches in his dominions. These circumstances illustrate in a striking way how, in the Middle Ages, ruthless violence was mingled with power of conscience and a sense of righteous obligation.
WILLIAM RUFUS.—William the Conqueror was succeeded by his son, William Rufus (1087-1100), who was as able a man as his father. He promised to be liberal, and to lay no unjust taxes; but he proved to be—especially after the death of the good Lanfranc, the archbishop of Canterbury—a vicious and irreligious king. The Norman nobles would have preferred to have his brother Robert, who was duke of Normandy, for their king; but the English stood by William. He left bishoprics and abbacies vacant that he might seize the revenues. One of his good deeds was the appointment of the holy and learned Anselm to succeed Lanfranc; but he quarreled with Anselm, who withdrew from the kingdom. Normandy, which he had tried to wrest from his elder brother Robert, was mortgaged to him by the latter, in order that he might set out upon the first Crusade. That duchy came thus into the king's possession. William, while hunting in the New Forest, was killed, if not accidentally, then either, as it was charged, by Walter Tyrrel, one of the party, or by some one who had been robbed of his home when the New Forest was made. He was found in the agonies of death, pierced by an arrow shot from a cross-bow.
HENRY I. OF ENGLAND (1100-1135): LOUIS VI. (the FAT) OF FRANCE (1108-1137): LOUIS VII. (1137-1180).—Henry was the youngest son of the Conqueror. His wife was English, and was a great-granddaughter of Edmund Ironside. Her name was Edith, but she assumed the Norman name of Matilda. Her mother Margaret, wife of Malcolm of Scotland, was of the stock of the West Saxon kings. Thus the blood of Alfred, as well as of William the Conqueror, flowed in the veins of the later English kings. In the absence of his older brother Robert, who was in Jerusalem, he took the crown, and put forth a Charter of Liberties, promising the Church to respect its rights, and giving privileges to his vassals which they in turn were to extend to their own vassals. Robert came back from the Holy Land, and tried to wrest England from his brother. He failed in the attempt. After this, Henry got possession of Normandy by the victory of Tinchebrai in 1106, and kept Robert a prisoner in Cardiff Castle until his death (1135). Louis the Fat, king of France, espoused the cause of William of Clito, son of Robert, but was beaten in 1119 at Brenneville. Peace was made between the two kings; but in 1124 Henry of England combined with his son-in-law, Henry V. of Germany, for the invasion of France. Louis called upon his vassals, who gathered in such force that the emperor abandoned the scheme. Louis then undertook to chastise those great vassals who had not responded to his summons. William, the duke of Aquitane, seeing the power of the suzerain, came into his camp, and offered him his homage. Louis inflicted a brutal punishment in Flanders, where the count, Charles the Good, had been assassinated in 1127, and which had failed to furnish its contingent in 1124. He obliged the Flemish lords to elect as their count, William Clito, whose rule, however, they presently cast off. Louis the Fat united his son Louis in marriage with Eleanor, the only daughter of William (X.), the duke of Aquitaine, and thus paved the way for a direct control over the South. The duchy of Aquitaine included Gascony and other districts, and the suzerainty over Auvergne, Perigord, etc. Louis the VII. (1137-1180) was not able to preserve the dominion, extending from the north to the south of France, which he inherited. He plunged into a dispute with Pope Innocent II. in relation to the church of Bourges, where he claimed the right to name the archbishop. St. Bernard took the side of the Pope. Suger, abbot of St. Denis, an able minister, the counselor of the last king, supported Louis. The king attacked the lands of Theobald of Champagne, who sided with the Pope, and in his wrath burned the parish church of Vitry, with hundreds of poor people who had taken refuge in it. His own remorse and the excommunication of the Pope moved him to do penance by departing on a Crusade. Suger, not liking the risk which the monarchy incurred through the absence of the king, opposed the project. St. Bernard encouraged it. The Crusade failed of any important result; but it helped to infuse a national spirit into the French soldiers, who fought side by side with the army of the emperor, Conrad III. On his return, on the alleged ground that Eleanor was too near of kin, he divorced her, and rendered back her dowry (1152).
LOUIS VII. OF FRANCE (1137-1180): STEPHEN (1135-1154) AND HENRY II. of ENGLAND (1154-1189).—The king of England, Henry I., after the death of his son by shipwreck, declared his daughter Matilda his heir. She was the widow of Henry V., the emperor of Germany. In 1127 she married Geoffrey, count of Anjou, surnamed Plantagenet on account of his habit of wearing a sprig of broom (genet) in his bonnet. Henry left Matilda, whom he called the "Empress," under the charge of his nephew, Stephen of Blois, who got himself elected king by the barons or great landowners,—as there was no law regulating the succession of the crown,—and was crowned at Westminster. They had sworn, however, to support Matilda. Her uncle David, king of Scots, took up her cause; but the Scots were defeated at the Battle of the Standard in 1138. England was thrown into utter disorder by these circumstances: some of the barons fought on one side, and some on the other. There were thieves along the highways, and the barons in their castles were no better than the thieves. The empress landed in England in 1139, to recover her rights. In the civil war that ensued, Stephen was taken prisoner (1141); but Matilda, whose imperious temper made her unpopular in London, was driven out of the city. Stephen was released in exchange for the Earl of Gloucester. Matilda was at one time in great peril, but contrived to escape in a winter night from Oxford Castle (1142). In 1153 peace was made, by which Stephen was to retain the kingdom, but was to be succeeded by Matilda's eldest son.
CRUELTY OF THE NOBLES.—In the time of Stephen and Matilda, the barons, released from the strong hand of his predecessor, were guilty of atrocities which made the people mourn the loss of Henry.
"They built strong castles, and filled them with armed men. From these they rode out as robbers, as a wild beast goes forth from its den. 'They fought among themselves with deadly hatred, they spoiled the fairest lands with fire and rapine; in what had been the most fertile of counties they destroyed almost all the provision of bread.' Whatever money or valuable goods they found, they carried off. They burnt houses and sacked towns, If they suspected any one of concealing his wealth, they carried him off to their castle; and there they tortured him, to make him confess where his money was. 'They hanged up men by their feet, and smoked them with foul smoke. Some were hanged up by their thumbs, others by the head, and burning things were hung on to their feet. They put knotted strings about men's heads, and twisted them till they went to the brain. They put men into prisons where adders and snakes and toads were crawling, and so they tormented them. Some they put into a chest short and narrow, and not deep, and that had sharp stones within, and forced men therein so that they broke all their limbs. In many of the castles were hateful and grim things called rachenteges, which two or three men had enough to do to carry. It was thus made: it was fastened to a beam, and had a sharp iron to go about a man's neck and throat, so that he might noways sit or lie or sleep; but he bore all the iron. Many thousands they starved with hunger.' The unhappy sufferers had no one to help them. Stephen and Matilda were too busy with their own quarrel to do justice to their subjects. Poor men cried to Heaven, but they got no answer. 'Men said openly that Christ and his saints were asleep.'"
DOMINIONS OF HENRY II.—Henry, the son of the empress and of Count Geoffrey of Anjou, was the first of the Angevin kings of England. They had Saxon blood in their veins, but were neither Norman nor Saxon, except in the female line. It was eighty-eight years since the Conquest; and, although the higher classes talked French, almost every one of their number was of mixed descent. The line between Saxon and Norman was becoming effaced. A vassal of the king of France, Henry held so many fiefs that he was stronger than the king himself, and all the other crown vassals taken together. From his father he had Anjou; from his mother, Normandy and Maine; the county of Poitou and the duchy of Aquitaine he received by Eleanor, the divorced wife of Louis VII., whom he married. Later, by marrying one of his sons to the heiress of Brittany, that district, the nominal fief of Normandy, came practically under his dominion. He was a strong-willed man, who reduced the barons to subjection, and pulled down the castles which had been built without the king's leave. It might seem probable that the possessor of so great power would absorb the little monarchy of France. But this was prevented by long-continued discord in England,—discord in the royal family, between the king and the clergy, and, later, between the king and the barons. On the Continent, the king of England required a great and united force to break the feudal bonds which grew stronger between the king of France and the French provinces of England. We shall soon see how France enlarged her territory, and how the English dominion on the Continent was greatly reduced.
REFORMS OF HENRY.—In order to control the barons, he arranged with them to pay money in lieu of military service. In this way they were weakened. At the same time, he encouraged the small landowners to exercise themselves in arms, which would prepare them for self-defense and to assist the king. Moreover, he sent judges through the land to hear causes. They were to ask a certain number of men in the county as to the merits of the cases coming before them. These men took an oath to tell the truth. They gradually adopted the custom of hearing the evidence of others before giving to the judges their verdict,—that is, their declaration of the truth (from vere dictum). Out of this custom grew the jury system.
BECKET: CONSTITUTIONS OF CLARENDON.—The Conqueror had granted to ecclesiastical courts the privilege of trying cases in which the clergy were concerned. On this privilege the clergy had been disposed to insist ever since the fall of the Roman Empire. Under Stephen the energetic restraint exercised upon them was removed. In the early years of the reign of Henry II., there were great disorders among the Norman clergy, and crimes were of frequent occurrence. These were often punished more lightly than the same offenses when committed by a layman, as church courts could not inflict capital punishment. Henry undertook to bring the clergy under the jurisdiction of the ordinary courts. In this attempt he was resisted by Thomas a Becket, who had been his chancelor, and whom he raised to the archbishopric of Canterbury (1162), in the full expectation of having his support. He had been gay and extravagant in his ways, and zealous in behalf of whatever the king wished. But the brilliant chancelor became a strict and austere prelate, the champion of the clergy, with a will as inflexible as that of Henry. The only bishop that voted against him at his election, remarked that "the king had worked a miracle in having that day turned a layman into an archbishop, and a soldier into a saint." In this controversy, the clergy had reason to fear that Henry, if he got the power, would use it to punish and plunder the innocent. At a great council of prelates and barons, the Constitutions of Clarendon were adopted (1164), which went far towards the subjecting of the ecclesiastics, as to their appointment and conduct, to the royal will.
Becket, with the other prelates, swore to observe these statutes; but he repented of the act, was absolved by the Pope from his oath, and fled to France. Later a reconciliation took place between him and the king. Becket returned to England, but with a temper unaltered. A hasty expression of Henry, uttered in wrath, and indicating a desire to be rid of him, was taken up by four knights, who attacked the archbishop, and slew him, near the great altar in the cathedral at Canterbury (Dec. 29, 1170). The higher nobles welcomed the occasion to revolt. Henry was regarded as the instigator of the bloody deed, and was moved to make important concessions to the Pope, Alexander III. His life was darkened by quarrels with his sons. In 1173 the kings of France and Scotland, and many nobles of Normandy and England, joined hands with them. Henry, afflicted with remorse, did penance, allowing himself to be scourged by the monks at the tomb of Becket, or "St. Thomas,"—for he was canonized. The people rallied to him, and the nobles were defeated. The rebellion came to an end. The king of Scotland became more completely the vassal of England. In another rebellion the king's sons rebelled against him: in 1189 John, the youngest of them, joined with his brother Richard. Then Henry's heart was broken, and he died.
CONQUEST OF IRELAND.—In the first year of Henry's reign, he was authorized by Pope Hadrian IV. to invade Ireland. In 1169 Dermot of Leinster, a fugitive Irish king, undertook to enlist adventurers for this service. He was aided by Richard of Clare, earl of Pembroke, called Strongbow, and others. They were successful; and in 1171 Henry crossed over to Ireland, and was acknowledged as sovereign by all the chiefs of the South. A synod brought the Irish Church into subjection to the see of Canterbury. But there was constant warfare, and the North and East of the island were not subdued. The whole country was not conquered until Elizabeth's time, four centuries later.
WEAKENING OF GREAT VASSALS IN FRANCE.—The weakening of Henry's power was the salvation of Louis VII., who had more the spirit of a monk than of an active and resolute monarch. At his death a new epoch is seen to begin. The dominion of the great vassals declines, and the truly monarchical period commences. It was the change which ended in making the king the sole judge, legislator, and executive of the country. Louis the Fat, Philip Augustus, and St. Louis (Louis IX.) are the early forerunners of Louis XIV., under whom the absolute monarchy was made complete.
PHILIP AUGUSTUS OF FRANCE (1180-1223): RICHARD THE LIONHEARTED OF ENGLAND (1189-1199).—Philip Augustus was the last king of France to be crowned before his accession. The custom had helped to give stability to the regal system. Now it was no longer needful. Philip was only fifteen years old when he began to reign alone. For forty-three years he labored with shrewdness and perseverance, and with few scruples as to the means employed, to build up the kingly authority. His first act was a violent attack on the Jews, whom he despoiled and banished. This was counted an act of piety. He acquired Vermandois, Valois, and Amiens; refusing to render homage to the Bishop of Amiens, who claimed to be its suzerain. During the life of Henry II., Philip had allied himself closely with his son Richard (the Lion-hearted), who succeeded his father. Richard was passionate and quarrelsome, yet generous. He was troubadour as well as king. After his coronation (1189), the two kings made ready for a Crusade together. To raise money, Richard sold earldoms and crown lands, and exclaimed that he would sell London if he could find a buyer. The two kings set out together in 1190. They soon quarreled. Philip came home first, and, while Richard was a prisoner in Austria, did his best to profit by his misfortunes, and to weaken the English reigning house. In the absence of Richard, John, his ambitious and unfaithful brother, was made regent by the lords and the London citizens. As nothing was heard of the king, John claimed the crown. Hearing of the release of Richard, Philip wrote to John (1194), "Take care of yourself, for the devil is let loose." Richard made war on Philip in Normandy, but Pope Innocent III. obliged the two kings to make a truce for five years (1199). Two months after, Richard was mortally wounded while besieging a castle near Limoges, where it was said that a treasure had been found, which he as the suzerain claimed. He had never visited England but twice; and, although he always had the fame of a hero, the country had no real cause to regret his death.
JOHN OF ENGLAND (1199-1216).—John (surnamed Sansterre, or Lackland, a name given to the younger sons, whose fathers had died before they were old enough to hold fiefs) was chosen king. Anjou, Poitou, and Touraine desired to have for their duke young Arthur, duke of Brittany, the son of Geoffrey, John's elder brother. Philip Augustus took up the cause of Arthur, but deserted him when he had gained for himself what he wished. When Philip wished to reopen the war he took advantage of a complaint from one of John's vassals, Hugh of Lusignan, whose affianced bride John had stolen away. As suzerain Philip summoned John to answer at Paris, and when he did not appear the court declared his fiefs forfeited. It was in this war that Arthur was captured by his uncle and was murdered. This crime served only to strengthen Philip's cause. He seized on Normandy, which thenceforward was French, and Brittany, which became an immediate fief of the king (1204). He took the other possessions of England in Northern Gaul. There were left to the English the duchy of Aquitaine, with Gascony and the Channel Islands. The lands south of the Loire John had inherited from his mother.
TYRANNY OF JOHN.—John robbed his subjects, high and low, under the name of taxation. Not content with forcing money out of the Jews, one of whom he was said to have coerced by pulling out a tooth every day, he treated rich land-owners with hardly less cruelty. He had not, like Henry II., the support of the people, and added to his unpopularity by hiring soldiers from abroad to help him in his oppression.
JOHN'S QUARREL WITH THE POPE: MAGNA CHARTA.—As rash as he was tyrannical, John engaged in a quarrel with Pope Innocent III. The monks of Canterbury appointed as archbishop, not the king's treasurer, whom he bade them choose, but another. The Pope neither heeded the king nor confirmed their choice, but made them elect a religious and learned Englishman, Stephen Langton. John, in a rage, drove the monks out of Canterbury, and refused to recognize the election. The Pope excommunicated him, and laid England under an interdict; that is, he forbade services in the churches, and sacraments except for infants and the dying; marriages were to take place in the church porch, and the dead were to be buried without prayer and in unconsecrated ground. As John paid no regard to this measure of coercion, Innocent declared him deposed, and charged the king of France to carry the sentence into effect (1213). Resisted at home, and threatened from abroad, John now made an abject submission, laying his crown at the feet of Pandulph, the Pope's legate. He made himself the vassal of the Pope, receiving back from him the kingdoms of England and Ireland, which he had delivered to Innocent, and engaging that a yearly rent should be paid to Rome by the king of England and his heirs. Philip had to give up his plan of invading England. John's tyranny and licentiousness had become intolerable. Langton, a man of large views, and the English Church, united with the barons in extorting from him, in the meadow of Runnymede,—an island in the Thames, near Windsor,—the Magna Charta, the foundation of English constitutional liberty. It secured two great principles: first, that the king could take the money of his subjects only when it was voted to him for public objects; and secondly, that he could not punish or imprison them at his will, but could only punish them after conviction, according to law, by their countrymen.
The Great Charter is based on the charter of Henry I. It precisely defines and secures old customs, 1. It recognizes the rights of the Church. 2. It secures person and property from seizure and spoliation without the judgment of peers or the law of the land. 3. There are regulations for courts of law. 4. Exactions by the lord are limited to the three customary feudal aids. The benefits granted to the vassal are to be extended to the lower tenants. 5, How the Great Council is to be composed, and how convened, is defined. 6. The "liberties and free customs" of London and of other towns are secured. 7. Protection is given against certain oppressive exactions of the Crown. 8. The safety of merchants against exactions in coming into England, and in going out, and in traveling through it, is guaranteed. 9. There is some provision in favor of the villain.
WAR WITH FRANCE.—John joined in a great coalition against Philip Augustus. He was to attack France in the south-west; while the emperor, Otto IV., and the counts of Flanders and Boulogne, with all the princes of the Low Countries, were to make their attack on the north. It was a war of the feudal aristocracy against the king of the French. At the great battle of Bouvines (1214) the French were victorious. The success, in the glory of which the communes shared, added no territory to France; but it awakened a national spirit. John was beaten in Poitou, and went home.
DEPOSITION OF JOHN.—In England, John found that all his exertions against the Charter, even with the aid of Rome, were unavailing. In a spirit of vengeance, he brought in mercenary freebooters, and marched into Scotland, robbing and burning as he went. Every morning he burned the house in which he had lodged for the night. At length the English barons offered the crown to Louis, the eldest son of Philip Augustus; but John died in 1216, and Louis found himself deserted. He had shown a disposition to give lands to the French.
THE ALBIGENSIAN WAR.—The war against the Albigenses began in the reign of Philip; but he pleaded that his hands were full, and left it to be waged by the nobles. That sect had its seat in the south of France, and derived its name from the city of Albi. It held certain heterodox tenets, and rejected the authority of the priesthood. In 1208, under Innocent III., a crusade was preached against Raymond VI., count of Toulouse, in whose territory most of them were found. This was first conducted by Simon de Montfort, and then by Philip's son, Louis VIII., the county of Toulouse being a fief of France. The result of the desolating conflict was, that part of the count's fiefs were in 1229 transferred to the crown, and the country itself in 1270. In that year, at the council of Toulouse, the Inquisition, a special ecclesiastical tribunal, was organized to complete the extermination of the Albigensians who had escaped the sword. The advantages resulting from the crushing of the sovereignties of the south were sure to come to the French monarchy. But Philip left it to the nobles and to his successors to win the enticing prize.
The first period of rivalry between England and France ends with John and Philip Augustus. For one hundred and twenty years, each country pursues its course separately. Monarchy grows stronger in France: constitutional government advances in England.
LOUIS IX. OF FRANCE (1226-1270).—In Louis IX. (St. Louis) France had a king so noble and just that the monarchy was sanctified in the eyes of the people. At his accession he was but eleven years old, and with his mother, Blanche of Castile, had to encounter for sixteen years a combination of great barons determined to uphold feudalism. Most of them staid away from his coronation. When the young king and his mother approached Paris, they found the way barred; but it was opened by the devoted burghers, who came forth with arms in their hands to bring them in. The magistrates of the communes swore to defend the king and his friends (1228). They were supported by the Papacy. In 1231 the war ended in a way favorable to royalty. The treaty of 1229 with Raymond VII., count of Toulouse, led to the gradual absorption of the South. Theobald of Champagne became king of Navarre, and sold to the crown Chartres and other valuable fiefs. In the earlier period of his reign Louis was guided by his wise, even if imperious, mother, who held the regency.
ENGLAND AND FRANCE.—In 1243 Louis defeated Henry III. of England, who had come over to help the count of La Marche and other rebellious nobles. In 1245 Charles of Anjou, the king's brother, married Beatrice, through whom Provence passed to the house of Anjou. The king's long absence (1248-1254), during the sixth Crusade, had no other result but to show to all that he combined in himself the qualities of a hero and of a saint. After his return, his government was wise and just, and marked by sympathy with his people. In 1259 he made a treaty with Henry III., yielding to him the Limousin, Perigord, and parts of Saintonge, for which Henry relinquished all claims on the rest of France. Louis fostered learning. The University of Paris flourished under his care. In his reign Robert of Sorbon (1252) founded the Sorbonne, the famous college for ecclesiastics which bears his name.
CIVIL POLICY OF LOUIS.—In his civil policy Louis availed himself of the Roman law to undermine feudal privileges. The legists enlarged the number of cases reserved for the king himself to adjudicate. He established new courts of justice, higher than the feudal courts, and the right of final appeal to himself. He made the king's "Parliament" a great judicial body. He abolished in his domains the judicial combat, or duel,—the old German method of deciding between the accused and the accuser. He liberated many serfs. But, mild as he was, he had no mercy for Jews and heretics. In his intercourse with other nations, he blended firmness and courage with a fair and unselfish spirit. He refused to comply with the request of the Pope to take up arms against the emperor, Frederic II.; but he threatened to make war upon him if he did not release the prelates whom he had captured on their way to Rome. The "Pragmatic Sanction" of St. Louis is of doubtful genuineness. It is an assertion of the liberties of the Gallican Church. With loyalty to the Holy See, and an exalted piety, Louis defended the rights of all, and did not allow the clergy to attain to an unjust control. Voltaire said of him, "It is not given to man to carry virtue to a higher point." He stands in the scale of merit on a level with Alfred of England.
PARLIAMENTS IN FRANCE.—The word parliament in French history has a very different meaning from that which it bears when applied to the English institution of the same name. There were thirteen parliaments in France, each having a jurisdiction of its own. They were established at different times. Of these the Parliament of Paris was the oldest and by far the most important. The king and other suzerains administered justice, each in his own domain. The Parliament of Paris was originally a portion of the king's council that was set apart to hear causes among the fiefs. It considered all appeals and judicial questions. But in the reign of Louis IX., commissioners, or baillis, of the king, held provincial courts of appeal in his name. The great suzerains established, each in his own fief, like tribunals, but of more restricted authority. Louis IX. made it optional with the vassal to be tried by his immediate suzerain, or in the king's courts, which were subordinate to his council. As time went on, the authority of the royal tribunals increased, as that of the feudal courts grew weaker. In the Parliament of Paris, a corps of legists who understood the Roman law were admitted with the lords, knights, and prelates. More and more these "counsellors" were left to themselves. Later there was a division into Chambers, of which the Grand Chamber for the final hearing and decision of appeals was of principal importance. Philip the Fair (1303) gave a more complete organization to Parliament. He provided that it should hold two annual sittings at Paris. Thus there grew up a judicial aristocracy. After 1368 the members were appointed for life. At length, under Henry IV., the seats in Parliament became hereditary. The great magistrates thus constituted wore robes of ermine, or of scarlet adorned with velvet. The Palace of Justice (Palais de Justice), on an island in the Seine, was given to Parliament for its sessions by Charles V. In its hall scenes of tragic interest, including, in modern times, the condemnation of Marie Antoinette and of Robespierre, have taken place. The crown was represented by a great officer, a public prosecutor or attorney-general (procureur general). He and his assistants were termed the "king's people" (gens du roi). They had the privilege of speaking with their hats on. It was an ancient custom to enroll the royal ordinances in the parliamentary records. Gradually it came to be considered that no statute or decree had the force of law unless it was entered on the registers of Parliament. Great conflicts occurred with the kings when Parliament refused "to register" their edicts or treaties. Then the king would hold "a bed of justice,"—so called from the cushions of the seat where he sat in the hall of Parliament, whither he came in person to command them to register the obnoxious enactment. This royal intervention could not be resisted: commonly the enrollment would be made, but sometimes under a protest. Each of the local parliaments claimed to be supreme in its own province: they were held to constitute together one institution, and all the judges were on a level. Attempts at political interference by Parliaments, the kings resisted. At the French Revolution in 1790, the Parliaments were finally abolished.
HENRY III. (1216-1272).—John's eldest son, Henry, when he was crowned by the royalists, was only nine years old. For a short time he had a wise guardian in William, Earl of Pembroke. In two battles, one on the land and one on the sea, Louis VIII. (1223-1226), son of Philip Augustus of France, was defeated. He made peace, and returned to France. Henry married Eleanor, the daughter of Raymond, count of Provence,—a beautiful and accomplished woman, but she was unpopular in England. The king, as well as his wife, lavished offices, honors, and lands upon foreigners. He was a weak prince, and unwisely accepted for his second son, Edmund, the crown of the Two Sicilies, which could be won only at the expense of England. This measure induced the barons to compel Henry to a measure equivalent to the placing of authority in the hands of a council. This brought on a war between the king and the barons. The latter were led by Simon de Montfort (the second of the name), who had inherited the earldom of Leicester through his mother. Through him PARLIAMENT assumed the form which it has since retained. The greater barons, the lords or peers, with the bishops and principal abbots, came together in person, and grew into the House of Lords. The freeholders of each county had sent some of the knights to represent them. The attendance of these knights now began to be regular; but besides the two knights from each county, who were like the county members of our own time, Simon caused each city and borough to send two of their citizens, or burgesses. Thus the House of Commons arose. Simon defeated Henry at Lewes (1264): but the barons flocked to the standard of Prince Edward, who escaped from custody; and Simon was defeated and slain at the battle of Evesham in 1265. Henry was restored to power. He died in 1272, and was buried in Westminster Abbey, which he had begun to rebuild. Under Henry, the Great Charter, with some alterations, was three times confirmed. A Charter of the Forest was added, providing that no man should lose life or limb for taking the king's game. Cruel laws for the protection of game in the forests or uncultivated lands had been a standing grievance from the days of the Norman Conquest. The confirming of the Great Charter in 1225 was made the condition of a grant of money from the National Council to the king. When the bishops, in 1236, desired to have the laws of inheritance conformed to the rules of the Church, the barons made the laconic answer, "We will not change the laws of England" (Nolumus leges Anglice mutare).
CHAPTER IV. RISE OF THE BURGHER CLASS: SOCIETY IN THE ERA OF THE CRUSADES.
RISE OF THE CITIES.—Under feudalism, only two classes present themselves to view,—the nobility and the clergy on the one hand, and the serfs on the other. This was the character of society in the ninth century. In the tenth century we see the beginnings of an intermediate class, the germ of "the third estate." This change appears in the cities, where the burghers begin to increase in intelligence, and to manifest a spirit of independence. From this time, for several centuries, their power and privileges continued to grow.