A Short History of the Papacy in the Middle Ages

By Walter Ullmann | Go to book overview

2

The Papal Conflict with the Imperial Government

DURING THE PERIOD between the Council of Chalcedon and the pontificate of Gregory I the contours of the subsequent development began to show themselves distinctly. It was during this period that, as a result of the full implementation of the Constantinean plan (see above p. 7) by the imperial government, the papacy was forced to declare itself on a number of essential points: these were made in the face of what the papacy considered a serious challenge to its own vocation, raison d'être and purpose. Moreover, the principles which the late fifth-century papacy enunciated constituted the groundwork and framework of the papacy in the subsequent ages. It is therefore of prime importance to realize that the physiognomy and complexion of the medieval papacy were formed at this time and in specific relation to the imperial government at Constantinople. The papacy never lost these features-its path was determined by the imperial government which compelled it to clarify its own position within a Christian society. It was the fateful intimate link of the papacy with the city of Rome, the one-time capital of the empire, its absorption of Roman governmental themes and their integration into its own system which historically explains its clash with the imperial government. And to a very large extent the medieval papacy was the product of the fifth-century papal conflict with Constantinople. It was a struggle fought within the precincts of the empire itself and therefore on Roman terms. Shaped and structured in this severe confrontation with the empire, the papal programme and plan were given their contours, and the papacy that emerged from the conflict entered the medieval period.

Moreover, the Western parts of the empire experienced politically, economically, if not also socially and culturally, a very real

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A Short History of the Papacy in the Middle Ages
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Preface to the Reprint vi
  • Preface vii
  • Introduction x
  • 1 - The Papacy in the Late Roman Empire 4
  • 2 - The Papal Conflict with the Imperial Government 28
  • 3 - The Papacy and the Conversion of England 51
  • 4 - The Western Orientation of the Papacy 71
  • 5 - The Papacy and Latin Europe 91
  • 6 - The German Monarchy and the Papacy 116
  • 7 - The Gregorian Age 142
  • 8 - Tensions and Conflicts 173
  • 9 - The Zenith of the Medieval Papacy 201
  • 10 - Central Government and the Papal Curia 227
  • 11 - Gradual Decline of Papal Authority 251
  • 12 - Avignon, Rome and Constance 279
  • 13 - The Last Phase of the Medieval Papacy 306
  • Abbreviations 333
  • Bibliographical Notes 337
  • Appendix 367
  • List of Medieval Popes 372
  • Index 377
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