A Short History of the Papacy in the Middle Ages

By Walter Ullmann | Go to book overview

7

The Gregorian Age

IN THE PERIOD immediately preceding the pontificate of Gregory VII the papacy guided by Alexander II kept up the initiative and impetus which had characterized its policy since 1046. In particular, the dynamic initiative of the papacy displayed itself in two ways and each, though in a different field, was to have long-term effects. The one was in part an extension of the measure which the papacy had already begun to apply, that is, the infeudation of weakly placed or insecure governments. The papacy now showed considerable interest in the military campaigns all too frequently undertaken at the time by princes and kings. And the latter welcomed this spontaneous papal interest, however much their motives and those of the papacy might have differed. By manifestly supporting the one or the other campaign, the papacy indubitably believed that it was gaining military allies-a belief not always borne out by subsequent facts-and that it was strengthening and extending its own authority and influence. The concrete means by which this papal approval of a campaign was shown was by the dispatch of the banner of St Peter. This papal banner symbolically denoted that the particular campaign was undertaken in the interests of Christian justice, of which the papacy claimed to be the sole and final interpreter. Alexander II on several occasions had an opportunity of sending the papal banner to warriors. The most famous case was that of William (the Conqueror) before he set out on his invasion of England (in 1066), while other contemporary instances were those of Roger of Sicily (in 1064), William of Aquitaine (1064-65) and of Erlembald of Milan; the cases could easily be multiplied. What they all signified was the blessing of St Peter through his successor, the pope, of the military action: it was a public 'sanctification' of war or warlike measures. There can be no doubt that this measure bore a revolutionary and dynamic complexion, and this was

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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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