A Short History of the Papacy in the Middle Ages

By Walter Ullmann | Go to book overview

9

The Zenith of the Medieval Papacy

THE HARVEST FOR the papacy from the formal peace settlement at Venice was not overwhelming, either in Germany where the papal demands for 'freedom of elections' remained largely on parchment-the German episcopate appeared to prefer imperial mastery to papal orders-or in Italy where imperial troops were stationed in large parts of the Mathildine territories claimed by the papacy as belonging to the papal state. Yet the effects of the long schism within the papacy and the quarrels between papacy and empire were not lost on contemporaries. These were facts which fanned criticism of the contemporary papacy that was easily to develop into opposition. For what the Western world witnessed in the seventies and eighties of the twelfth century was an upsurge of so-called heretical sects and movements and groups, the common denominator of which was aversion from the officially fixed and applied kind of Christianity. These manifestations grew quite spontaneously in different parts of Europe and were largely independent of each other. This phenomenon furnishes ample evidence of the deep social influence which ecclesiastical institutions had come to exercise, and in particular the papacy which by its thousands of decretals effectively and concretely intervened in the shaping of the social organism. Furthermore, these non-conformist sects flourished strongly where the theocratic or descending theme of government was firmly entrenched and applied in practice, such as in France, Flanders, Southern Germany and the Rhineland. Vice-versa, where this ideology was less developed, the reaction to it was correspondingly weak, which appears to explain the absence of heretical movements on any worthwhile scale in England.

By virtue of the theocratic thesis directly based as it was on religious principles, the non-conformist manifestations were bound to affect theocratic governments adversely. This explains

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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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