Saturday, 25 April 2009

Chapter 10

Pope Paschal II's visit

The year after Bohemund’s return home, the universal and supreme pope Paschal[1] of venerable memory came to the west with many very wise men, bishops, cardinals and nobles of the Roman province, to consult the King of France, the Lord Louis and the church of France over certain difficulties and new problems relating to investiture[2], with which the emperor Henry[3] troubled him and threatened to trouble him even more. This man, lacking in parental affection or any humanity, most cruelly used his father Henry, disinherited him, held him, so they say, in criminal captivity, and most impiously forced him, by allowing his enemies to inflict blows and injuries on him, into handing over to him the royal regalia, the crown, the sceptre and the lance of St. Maurice and allowed him to keep nothing in the whole kingdom. [4]

It was decided at Rome that, because of the venal treachery of the Romans, it would be safer to discuss this matter and all other questions, not in Rome but in France[5] with the king, the king’s son and the French church. So Paschal came to Cluny[6] and from Cluny to La Charité[7], where, before a great crowd of archbishops, bishops and monks he dedicated and consecrated that famous monastery. There were also present great magnates of the realm, including the noble count of Rochefort, seneschal of the King[8], sent to meet the lord pope as their spiritual father, to do his will throughout the realm. I was present at this consecration and before the Lord Pope I inveighed against Galon[9], bishop of Paris, who was pursuing several disputes against St-Denis. I there obtained satisfaction in accordance both with reason and with canon law.

After celebrating Laetare Jerusalem at St. Martin’s in Tours[10], his mitre on his head in the Roman fashion[11], he came to the venerable home of St. Denis[12], with benevolence and devotion such as would have been appropriate to the true seat of St. Peter. He was gloriously received in the manner suitable to a bishop. There he administered to the Romans, for whom it was an unknown thing, and also to posterity, a truly memorable example. Quite contrary to what had been feared, he did not strive to obtain the monastery’s gold or silver or precious stones. Indeed he did not deign to look at them. Most humbly prostrating himself before the relics of the saints[13], he humbly begged that he might be given for his protection a scrap of St. Denis’ episcopal vestments soaked in blood. ‘Do not be displeased’, he requested, ‘to return a small part of his vestments to us, for we sent that great man to you without a murmur, for the conversion of Gaul.’

There King Philip[14] and the Lord Louis met him with respect and vows, the royal majesty kneeling at his feet for love of God, just as kings are accustomed to bow their crowned heads at the sepulchre of Peter the fisherman. The lord pope stretched out his hand to raise them up and made them sit facing him as the most devoted sons of the apostles. As a shrewd man in his wisdom, he consulted them closely on the state of the church and, flattering them delicately, he prayed them to give assistance to St. Peter and himself, his vicar, to maintain the church, and in accordance with the custom established by their predecessor Charlemagne and other kings of the Franks, to resist boldly tyrants and the enemies of the church, above all the Emperor Henry.[15] They gave him their hands as witness of their friendship, aid and counsel, put their realm at his disposal, and sent with him to Chalons[16] to meet the imperial legates some archbishops and bishops and Adam, abbot of St. Denis, whom I accompanied. 

The lord pope waited there for some time before the legates of the Emperor Henry turned up as had been arranged. They were not humble, but proud and unrepentant. They received hospitality at St. Menge[17], where they left the chancellor Albert[18], with whom the emperor agreed heart and soul. The rest came to the papal court in a great procession with much pomp and display of ornament. They[19] were the archbishop of Trèves, the bishop of Halberstadt, the bishop of Munster, several counts and Duke Welf[20], a corpulent man of amazing girth and height and a loud voice, who had a sword carried before him everywhere. They made such commotion that they seemed to have been sent to frighten, not to reason with us.

Only the Archbishop of Trèves spoke for them. He was a well-bred and agreeable man, rich in eloquence and wisdom, fluent in French. He made a fitting speech, offering the lord pope and his court the greetings and cooperation of the emperor, saving the rights of his kingdom. Then in accordance with his instructions, he said: ‘This is the reason why I was sent by my lord the emperor. In the days of our ancestors and of the holy popes such as Gregory the Great and others, the empire had a recognised right that the following order be observed in every election. Before a public election took place, the name of the favoured candidate should be mentioned to the emperor, and if the person was suitable, he would give his assent before the election; then an assembly was held according to canon law, and by the request of the people, at the choice of the clergy and with the assent of the suzerain, the candidate was proclaimed. After being consecrated freely and without simony, he would go to the emperor for the regalia, to be invested with the ring and staff, and to take the oath of fidelity and homage. There is nothing odd about this. It is exactly the way in which cities or castles or marcher territories or tolls or any other gifts of the imperial dignity are conferred. If the lord pope will accept this, the kingdom and the church will remain together in prosperity and peace to the honour of God.’

To this the lord pope replied, after reflection, through the mouth of the bishop of Plaisance[21]: ‘The church which has been redeemed and set free through the precious blood of Christ ought in no way again to be imprisoned. If the church cannot choose a bishop without consulting the emperor, then it is enslaved by him, and Christ died in vain. Investiture with the staff and ring, since these things belong to the altar, is a usurpation of God’s rights. If hands consecrated to the body and blood of Christ is to be placed between laymen’s hands, bloodied by the use of the sword, in order to create an obligation, then ordination and sacred anointing are degraded.’

When the stiff-necked legates heard this and similar things, with German hot-headedness they ground their teeth, grew agitated, and if they could have dared to do so safely, they would have vomited their insults and wounded others. They cried, ‘This quarrel will not be ended here but in Rome and by the sword.’ But the pope sent several specially chosen and experienced men to the chancellor, to discuss these things with him in an orderly and peaceful way, where they could hear and be heard, and to beg him resolutely to work for the peace of the kingdom. After their departure the pope went to Troyes, where he presided with ceremony over a universal council called long before[22]; then, with great warmth for the French who had helped him so much, but with fear and hatred for the Germans, he returned successfully to the see of St. Peter.

But the emperor, in the second year after the pope’s return home, collected together an enormous army of thirty thousand men.[23] ‘Rejoicing to take only those roads bathed in blood’[24], he set out for Rome. There he very convincingly pretended to peaceful aims, put aside the investiture dispute, made all sorts of fine promises about this and other things and, in order to be allowed to enter the city, which would otherwise have been barred to him, he used flattery and feared not to deceive the supreme pontiff, the whole church, even the King of Kings. When they heard that this malicious problem, so serious and so dangerous for the church of God, had been solved, the Roman nobles rightly or wrongly danced with joy and the clergy rejoiced mightily; and in their enthusiasm each contended as to which should receive him more honourably or magnificently. Then the lord pope, surrounded by a crowd of bishops and cardinals clad in white mantles and on white horses hastened to meet him, followed by the Roman people. They had sent before them messengers to receive from the emperor the oath of peace sworn on the Bible and his renunciation of investitures. This was done at Monte Mario[25], where travellers arriving at Rome see for the first time the church of the blessed apostles. Then the oath was repeated by the hand of the emperor and his magnates at the very gate of Rome, a marvellous sight for all the Romans.

From thence he set forth with greater pomp than if some triumphal arch was smiling on an African victory; with hymns and much triumphant praise he received the diadem from the hand of the lord pope according to the Augustan custom[26]. Then he was taken to the most sacred altar of the apostles, preceded by a procession of clerics chanting hymns, and a terrible clamour of Germans whose shrieks pierced the heavens. Then the lord pope celebrated thanksgiving mass, offered the body and blood of Jesus Christ, and then broke the Eucharist, and the emperor received it and made his communion. He dedicated the marvellous sacrifice to the church, in testimony of an alliance founded on indivisible love and on the preservation of the peace.

The lord pope had scarcely taken off his episcopal regalia after the mass, when with unexpected wickedness Teutonic fury, concocting reasons for a breach broke forth in passion. Drawing their swords and rushing out as if filled with frenzy, they met the Romans, naturally unarmed in such a place. They shouted and swore that they would capture or slay the whole Roman clergy including bishops and cardinals and, the final height of insanity, they did not fear to lay hands on the lord pope himself. The Roman nobles and people, struck with incredulous grief and heartfelt sadness understood the treachery too late. Some rushed to arms, others fled as if bewildered. They could not escape the unexpected attack except by pulling down the beams of the gateway, so making their ruins into their defence. The emperor, at the mercy of his bad conscience and tormented by his evil deed left city as hastily as possible, taking with him as booty, Christians have never heard of such a deed by a Christian, the lord pope and as many cardinals and bishops as he could. He retired to Civitate Castellana[27], a place well defended both by nature and by man. Henry treated the cardinals disgracefully, dishonestly despoiling them and, wicked to relate, he proudly seized from the lord pope himself his cope and his mitre and other papal insignia, not fearing to lay hands on the Lord’s anointed yet injuring him much. Then he heaped insults upon them and would not suffer them to depart until he had forced them to annul the pact and to return him his privilege. He even extorted another underhand privilege from the hand of the pope, that he should thenceforth invest; a privilege which, in my own hearing and in a great council of three hundred or more bishops, the lord pope overturned and annulled under pain of perpetual anathema.[28]

But if anyone asks why the pope behaved so weakly, he should realise that without the pope and his cardinals the church languished, and the tyrant almost subdued it to slavery and treated it as if it were his own property, for there was no-one to resist him. The pope gave certain proof of this. For when he had brought about the release of his brothers, the pillars of the church, had done whatever he could for the defence and repair of the church and had restored some kind of peace to the church, he fled to a solitary refuge where he would have taken up perpetual abode had not the pressure of the universal church and of the Romans forced him to return.[29]

But the Lord Jesus Christ, the redeemer and defender of the church, would not suffer her to be long trampled under foot or the emperor to go unpunished. Those who were not bound or obliged by homage took up the cause of the storm-tossed church. With the help and advice of Louis, the lord designate[30], the French church in a famous council anathematised the tyrannical emperor and struck him with the sword of St. Peter.[31] Then, entering the kingdom of Germany, they raised up the nobles and the larger part of the kingdom against him, deposed his followers like Bouchard the Red, bishop of Münster[32], and did not cease to persecute him and seize his possessions until his deserved death and the end of his tyranny[33]. By divine vengeance, his evil deeds justly brought about the transfer of the empire; for after his death Lothar, duke of Saxony[34], succeeded, a warlike man, unconquered defender of the state. Accompanied by the lord pope Innocent[35], Lothar reduced recalcitrant Italy, ravaging Campania and Apulia as far as the Adriatic, before the eyes of count Roger of Sicily[36], because he had proclaimed himself king; then he returned home in the greatest triumph, to fall victim to death in his moment of victory.[37]

But let other writers describe these and similar things. I shall recall the deeds of the French, for that is my object.[38]


[1] Paschal II, a Cluniac monk was pope from 1099 to 1118. An Italian named Ranieri, he was born near Ravenna and was the successor of Urban II. He was a monk and, as a reformer, was made a cardinal by Pope Gregory VII. He was a loyal supporter of Urban II and maintained his position on lay investiture and homage by prelates (though he dropped the latter demand from 1106). His reign began well. Philip I of France was reconciled with the church in 1104, St. Anselm was victor in his struggle in England, and the First Crusade was a great success. Negotiations over investitures with the French and English kings led to agreements in 1106 and 1107 respectively, but proved more difficult with Henry V of Germany. In 1105, Henry IV was deposed by his son Henry V, with whom Paschal was allied. Henry V, however, proved no less strongly anti-investiture. He invaded Italy in 1110; negotiations between emperor and pope failed, and the emperor captured Paschal, who was compelled to surrender the papal position on investitures. Once freed, however, and encouraged by clerical protests, the pope reaffirmed the legislation against lay investiture in 1112 and 1116. The name is also spelled Pascal. He was succeeded by Gelasius II. Servatius, Carlo, Paschalis II, 1099-1118, Stuttgart, 1979 is the standard modern study.

[2] Investiture is a term for any transfer of property or rights from one person to another using symbols and a public ceremony to mark the transfer. In the eleventh century it had become customary for those who controlled appointments to bishoprics and abbeys to make these appointments by conferring on the bishop or abbot the staff which symbolised his office (and in the case of bishops also the ring symbolising his ‘marriage’ to the diocese. This is known as ‘lay investiture’. Lay investiture had been under attack from the 1050s at least; it is first known to have been condemned by Gregory VII and his followers in 1077, and the prohibition came to be a key papal demand, repeated on numerous occasions by subsequent popes. Henry I of England and Phillip I of France renounced the practice in 1106-7; Henry V renounced investiture with ring and staff in 1122 by the Concordat of Worms, but not investiture as such. Wilks, M.J., ‘Ecclesia and regalia: Papal Investiture Policy from the Council of Guastalla to the First Lateran Councilo 1106-1123’, in Cumming, G.J. and Baker, Derek, (eds.), Studies in Church History vol. 8, (Cambridge University Press), 1971, pp. 69-85 is especially useful.

[3] Henry V was emperor from 1106 to 1125. Although Henry came to power at the head of an uprising against his father in 1104-5, he proved no more willing to abandon investitures than his father had been. Negotiations with Paschal II led to the radical solution of 1111 by which the king abandoned investitures and the German prelates were to renounce all rights and lands granted to them by Henry or his predecessors. This proved unworkable, as did Paschal’s concession to Henry under duress of the right of investitures. Henry and successive popes negotiated intermittently over the next decade: agreement was nearly reached at Reims in 1119, and concluded by the concordat of Worms in 1122.

[4] St Maurice is believed to have been a soldier who was martyred in Gaul in the third century.

[5] He arrived in France in January 1107.

[6] He remained at Cluny from 4th to 8th February 1107.

[7] The monastery of la Charité-sur-Loire was a Cluniac priory and Paschal was there on 9th May 1107. It is downstream about fifteen miles north of Nevers and about thirty miles from Bourges.

[8] The king of France and the pope had been reconciled since the 2nd December 1104: see Monod, B., Essai sur les rapports de Pascal II avec Philippe Ier, Paris 1907, pp. 42-43. The count of Rochefort was sénéchal from 1091 until he went on crusade in 1101. From this date, the sénéchalate was confirmed successively to Gilbert called Païn de Garlande, then probably to Anselm de Garlande: Prou, M., (ed.), Recueil des actes de Philippe Ier, roi de France, Paris, 1908, pp. cxxxix and cxl. Having recovered his office in 1104, Guy de Rochefort exercised it for less than two years; his son Hugh de Crécy, replaced him in 1106.

[9] Trouble between the abbey of St-Denis and the bishops of Paris was of long standing: see ibid, Recueil des actes de Philippe Ier, roi de France, pp. 114-117 and ibid, Fliche, A., La Règne de Philippe I, roi de France 1060-1108, p. 109 for the dispute of 1068. Galon was elected bishop of Paris in July 1104 and died in 1116 and belonged to the reformist party in the Church. He disagreed with the abbot and monks of St-Denis who sought to get the sacraments from other bishops for which they were reprimanded by the pope in 1105(?).

[10] Paschal was at Tours from 24th March to 3rd April 1107.

[11] A ‘frigium’ or ‘phrygium’ held the mitre and the tiara. It was a white conical bonnet, circled at its base by a crown of gold and jewels. The tiara of three crowns did not appear until the fourteenth century.

[12] The pope was at Chartres on 19th April before moving to St Denis by 30th April 1107.

[13] Paschal’s humility before the relics of St Denis establishes an important theme in Suger’s work though it is more usually a characteristic of Louis VI: see chapters 28 and 34.

[14] Paschal decided to change his proposed journey to Germany and went on to France, where he was received enthusiastically by King Philip, who did penance for his adultery and was reconciled to the Church and by the French people. Henry resented the discussion of a German question on foreign soil, though the question of investitures was one of universal interest. The meeting was probably on either 1st or 2nd May 1107 since the pope was in Lagny on 3rd May.

[15] Guibert de Nogent has a similar view of the relationship between past popes and kings of France and Ivo of Chartres wrote, in a letter to Paschal that the kingdom of the French had always been more submissive to the papacy than any other kingdom. Suger is here enlarging Louis’ royal duties to include the Carolingian role of protecting the pope: see Bur, Michel, ‘Suger’s Understanding of Political Power’, in ibid, Gerson, P.L., (ed.), Abbot Suger and St Denis, pp. 73-75.

[16] Around 10th May.

[17] St. Menge is St. Memmie, a few miles east of Chalons in central eastern France.

[18] Albert became archbishop of Mainz in 1111 and was a supporter of church reform. He was imprisoned by the emperor for three years. He was restored to his position as chancellor in 1121 and died in 1137.

[19] Bruno de Brettheim, archbishop of Trèves from 1102 to 1124; Reinhard de Blankenbourg, bishop of Halberstadt from 1106 to 1123; Burchard de Holte ‘the Red’, bishop of Münster from 1097 to 1118

[20] Welf V, duke of Bavaria since 1102. Originally a supporter of the papacy and married to Matilda of Tuscany in 1089, he separated from her in 1095 and was reconciled with the emperor the following year. He died in 1119.

[21] Aldo Gabrielli, bishop of Plaisance from 1096 to 1118

[22] After the lengthy description of the meeting at Chalons, Suger passes over the Council of Troyes with almost no comment. Bur, Michel, La Formation du compté de Champagne v.950-v.1150, Nancy, 1977, p. 274 suggests that this was perhaps because the council was held in the lands of Theobald who was hostile to the Capetians. It opened on 23rd May (Ascension Day) 1107 but its decisions are lost. The pope stayed in Troyes from 21st to 23rd May 1107 but left France soon after and was at Valence on 14th July and Lausanne on 29th July.

[23] Henry V threatened to deal with the problem of investiture by force, as soon as circumstances permitted his going to Rome to receive the imperial crown. In August 1110, he crossed the Alps with a well-organised army accompanied by a band of imperialistic lawyers. Crushing out opposition on his way through the peninsula, Henry sent an embassy to arrange with the Pope the preliminaries of his coronation. The outcome was embodied in the Concordat of Sutri. Before receiving the imperial crown, Henry was to renounce all claims to investitures, while the pope undertook to compel the prelates and abbots of the empire to restore all the temporal rights and privileges which they held from the crown. When the compact was made public in St. Peter’s on the date assigned for the coronation on 12th February 1111, there arose a fierce protest led by the prelates who by one stroke of the pen had been degraded from the estate of princes of the empire to beggary. The indignation was the more intense, because the rights of the Roman See had been secured from a similar confiscation. After fruitless wrangling and three days of rioting, Henry carried the pope and his cardinals into captivity. Abandoned as he was by everyone, Paschal, after two months of imprisonment, yielded to the king that right of investiture. Henry’s violence rebounded upon himself. All Christendom united in condemning him. The voices raised to condemn the faint-heartedness of Paschal were drowned by the universal denunciation of Henry. Paschal acknowledged his weakness, but refused to break the promise he had made not to inflict any censure upon Henry for his violence. It was unfortunate for Paschal’s memory that he should be so closely associated with the episode of Sutri.

[24] Lucan, De bello civili, II, 439-440

[25] ‘Mons Gaudii’ or the Mount of Joy is so called bacause of the circumstances Suger related. It is just to the north of the Vatican.

[26] The emperor was crowned and subsequent arrest of the pope can be dated to 13th February 1111.

[27] Civita Castellana is situated about twenty-five miles north of Rome. The pope was at Trevi with four cardinals. The rest were at Carcolle while Henry V camped not far from Corcolle at Ponte-Lucano.

[28] Paschal excommunicated Henry V at the council that sat in the Lateran Palace between 18th and 23rd May 1112. Suger was in Rome in 1112 and while there he gathered his version of the events of February 1111.

[29] Paschal II retired to one of the islands in the Pontine marsh in July 1111 and did not return to Rome until October. He reinstalled in the Lateran Palace by 26th October.

[30] Louis became king in 1108. The error may have perhaps arisen because at this point in his text Suger had departed from his chronological approach to Louis’ reign. The compiler of Manuscript F substituted the words ‘Regis Francie’ for ‘domini designati Ludovici’.

[31] The Council of Vienne opened on 15th September 1112 under the chairmanship of archbishop Guy of Burgundy, the future Calixtus II: see Mansi, Sacrorum conciliorum... collectio, vol. xxi, pp. 73-76. There was another at Lyons, a provincial council probably called for the same reasons.

[32] This is an error. Bouchard had been deposed by a papal legate in 1105 and, moreover had been reinstated in January 1106. At the time of his death in 1118, he was clearly favoured by Henry V.

[33] Henry V died on 23rd May 1125 from an illness he had had since childhood. With his death the Salian dynasty that had held imperial power for a century was ended.

[34] Lothar is known also as Lothar of Saxony or Lothar of Supplinburg. Lothar II is also called Lothar III. He was born in 1075 and died in 1137. He was Holy Roman emperor (1133–37) and German king (1125–37). The Emperor Henry V invested him with the duchy of Saxony in 1106, but after 1112 Lothar, in several rebellions successfully championed local independence against the royal authority. When Henry V died in 1125, the electors chose Lothar over Frederick of Hohenstaufen, Henry V’s nephew, to succeed him. This represented an important victory of elective over hereditary kingship. Frederick and his brother Conrad (who later became German king as Conrad III) made war on Lothar, and Conrad was elected (1127) anti-king. However, Lothar and his son-in-law, Henry the Proud of Bavaria, defeated the Hohenstaufen and peace was made in 1135. In Italy, Lothar promised his support to Pope Innocent II, whose election was disputed. In 1132, he entered Italy and was crowned emperor in Rome the following year. After the defeat of the Hohenstaufen, he returned to Italy in 1136 and campaigned successfully against Roger II of Sicily, supporter of the antipope Anacletus II. Lothar died on the journey home. As emperor, Lothar adhered loyally to the Concordat of Worms, and actively supported both political expansion and revival of missionary activity in the East. He forced various heathen princes to pay tribute and established German suzerainty in Denmark, Bohemia, and Poland. At his death his rival, Conrad III, was elected king.

[35] Pope Innocent II was Pope from 1130 to 1143. On 14th February 1130, the morning following the death of Honorius II, the cardinal-bishops held an election and Gregory was chosen as his successor, taking the name of Innocent II. Three hours later Pietro Pierleone was elected by the other cardinals and took the name of Anacletus II. Both received episcopal consecration 23rd February; Innocent at Santa Maria Nuova and Anacletus at St. Peter's. Finding the influential family of the Frangipani had deserted his cause, Innocent at first retired into the stronghold belonging to his family in Trastevere, then went to France by way of Pisa and Genoa. There he secured the support of Louis VI and in a synod at Etampes the assembled bishops, influenced by the eloquence of Suger of St-Denis, acknowledged his authority. This was also done by other bishops gathered at Puy-en-Velay through St. Hugh of Grenoble. The pope went to the Abbey of Cluny, and then attended another meeting of bishops in November, 1130 at Clermont.

[36] Roger II of Sicily was born c.1095 and died in 1154. He was count (1101–1130) and the first king (1130–1154) of Sicily, son and successor of Roger I. He conquered Apulia and Salerno in 1127 and sided with the antipope Anacletus II against Pope Innocent II. In 1130, Anacletus crowned Roger king. Innocent rallied the Emperor Lothar II and other allies against Roger but was defeated in 1139. Naples and Capua recognized Roger’s sovereignty. Innocent was obliged to invest him with the lands that became the kingdoms of Naples and Sicily. Roger also conquered the coast of Africa from Tunis to Tripoli. He established a strong central administration and attempted to fuse the disparate ethnic groups in his kingdom. Prosperity returned to Sicily, and Roger’s court at Palermo became a centre of the arts, letters, and sciences.

[37] In the spring of 1137, Emperor Lothar, in answer to the repeated entreaties of the pope, began his march to Rome. The papal and imperial troops met at Bari on 30th May, 1137, and the pope was again conducted into Rome. He died on 4th December 1137.

[38] Much of this chapter is largely irrelevant to a book on the life of Louis VI and Suger seems to be aware of this.

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