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Chapter 4


Nicholas II. commits the election of the pope to the cardinals--
First example of a prince deprived of his dominions by the pope--
Guelphs and Ghibellines--Establishment of the kingdom of Naples--
Pope Urban II. goes to France--The first crusade--New orders of
knighthood--Saladin takes from the Christians their possessions in
the east--Death of the Countess Matilda--Character of Frederick
Barbarossa--Schism--Frederick creates an anti-pope--Building of
Alexandria in Puglia--Disgraceful conditions imposed by the pope
upon Henry, king of England--Reconciliation of Frederick with the
pope--The kingdom of Naples passes to the Germans--Orders of St.
Dominic and St. Francis.

Italy was at this time governed partly by the people, some districts
by their own princes, and others by the deputies of the emperor. The
highest in authority, and to whom the others referred, was called the
chancellor. Of the princes, the most powerful were Godfred and the
Countess Matilda his wife, who was daughter of Beatrice, the sister of
Henry II. She and her husband possessed Lucca, Parma, Reggio, Mantua,
and the whole of what is now called THE PATRIMONY OF THE CHURCH. The
ambition of the Roman people caused many wars between them and the
pontiffs, whose authority had previously been used to free them from
the emperors; but when they had taken the government of the city to
themselves, and regulated it according to their own pleasure, they at
once became at enmity with the popes, who received far more injuries
from them than from any Christian potentate. And while the popes
caused all the west to tremble with their censures, the people of Rome
were in open rebellion against them; nor had they or the popes any
other purpose, but to deprive each other of reputation and authority.

Nicholas II. now attained the papacy; and as Gregory V. had taken from
the Romans the right to create an emperor, he in the same manner
determined to deprive them of their share in the election of the pope;
and confined the creation to the cardinals alone. Nor did this satisfy
him; for, having agreed with the princes who governed Calabria and
Puglia, with methods which we shall presently relate, he compelled the
officers whom the Romans appointed to their different jurisdictions,
to render obedience to him; and some of them he even deprived of their
offices. After the death of Nicholas, there was a schism in the
church; the clergy of Lombardy refused obedience to Alexander II.,
created at Rome, and elected Cadolo of Parma anti-pope; and Henry, who
hated the power of the pontiffs, gave Alexander to understand that he
must renounce the pontificate, and ordered the cardinals to go into
Germany to appoint a new pope. He was the first who felt the
importance of spiritual weapons; for the pope called a council at
Rome, and deprived Henry of both the empire and the kingdom. Some of
the people of Italy took the part of the pope, others of Henry; and
hence arose the factions of the Guelphs and the Ghibellines; that
Italy, relieved from the inundations of barbarians, might be
distracted with intestine strife. Henry, being excommunicated, was
compelled by his people to come into Italy, and fall barefooted upon
his knees before the pope, and ask his pardon. This occurred in the
year 1082. Nevertheless, there shortly afterward arose new discords
between the pope and Henry; upon which the pope again excommunicated
him, and the emperor sent his son, also named Henry, with an army to
Rome, and he, with the assistance of the Romans, who hated the pope,
besieged him in the fortress. Robert Guiscard them came from Puglia to
his relief, but Henry had left before his arrival, and returned to
Germany. The Romans stood out alone, and the city was sacked by
Robert, and reduced to ruins. As from this Robert sprung the
establishment of the kingdom of Naples, it seems not superfluous to
relate particularly his actions and origin.

Disunion having arisen among the descendants of Charlemagne, occasion
was given to another northern people, called Normans, to assail France
and occupy that portion of the country which is now named Normandy. A
part of these people came into Italy at the time when the province was
infested with the Berengarii, the Saracans, and the Huns, and occupied
some places in Romagna, where, during the wars of that period, they
conducted themselves valiantly. Tancred, one of these Norman princes,
had many children; among the rest were William, surnamed Ferabac, and
Robert, called Guiscard. When the principality was governed by
William, the troubles of Italy were in some measure abated; but the
Saracens still held Sicily, and plundered the coasts of Italy daily.
On this account William arranged with the princes of Capua and
Salerno, and with Melorco, a Greek, who governed Puglia and Calabria
for the Greek emperor, to attack Sicily; and it was agreed that, if
they were victorious, each should have a fourth part of the booty and
the territory. They were fortunate in their enterprise, expelled the
Saracens, and took possession of the island; but, after the victory,
Melorco secretly caused forces to be brought from Greece, seized
Sicily in the name of the emperor, and appropriated the booty to
himself and his followers. William was much dissatisfied with this,
but reserved the exhibition of his displeasure for a suitable
opportunity, and left Sicily with the princes of Salerno and Capua.
But when they had parted from him to return to their homes, instead of
proceeding to Romagna he led his people towards Puglia, and took
Melfi; and from thence, in a short time, recovered from the Greek
emperor almost the whole of Puglia and Calabria, over which provinces,
in the time of pope Nicholas II. his brother Robert Guiscard was
sovereign. Robert having had many disputes with his nephews for the
inheritance of these states, requested the influence of the pope to
settle them; which his holiness was very willing to afford, being
anxious to make a friend of Robert, to defend himself against the
emperor of Germany and the insolence of the Roman people, which indeed
shortly followed, when, at the instance of Gregory, he drove Henry
from Rome, and subdued the people. Robert was succeeded by his sons
Roger and William, to whose dominion not only was Naples added, but
all the places interjacent as far as Rome, and afterward Sicily, of
which Roger became sovereign; but, upon William going to
Constantinople, to marry the daughter of the emperor, his dominions
were wrested from him by his brother Roger. Inflated with so great an
acquisition, Roger first took the title of king of Italy, but
afterward contented himself with that of king of Puglia and Sicily. He
was the first who established and gave that name to this kingdom,
which still retains its ancient boundaries, although its sovereigns
have been of many families and countries. Upon the failure of the
Normans, it came to the Germans, after these to the French, then to
the Aragonese, and it is now held by the Flemish.

About this time Urban II. became pope and excited the hatred of the
Romans. As he did not think himself safe even in Italy, on account of
the disunion which prevailed, he directed his thoughts to a generous
enterprise. With his whole clergy he went into France, and at Anvers,
having drawn together a vast multitude of people, delivered an oration
against the infidels, which so excited the minds of his audience, that
they determined to undertake the conquest of Asia from the Saracens;
which enterprise, with all those of a similar nature, were afterward
called crusades, because the people who joined in them bore upon their
armor and apparel the figure of a cross. The leaders were Godfrey,
Eustace, and Baldwin of Bouillon, counts of Boulogne, and Peter, a
hermit celebrated for his prudence and sagacity. Many kings and people
joined them, and contributed money; and many private persons fought
under them at their own expense; so great was the influence of
religion in those days upon the minds of men, excited by the example
of those who were its principal ministers. The proudest successes
attended the beginning of this enterprise; for the whole of Asia
Minor, Syria, and part of Egypt, fell under the power of the
Christians. To commemorate these events the order of the Knights of
Jerusalem was created, which still continues, and holds the island of
Rhodes--the only obstacle to the power of the Mohammedans. The same
events gave rise to the order of the Knights Templars, which, after a
short time, on account of their shameless practices, was dissolved.
Various fortunes attended the crusaders in the course of their
enterprises, and many nations and individuals became celebrated
accordingly. The kings of France and England joined them, and, with
the Venetians, Pisans, and Genoese, acquired great reputation, till
the time of Saladin, when, by whose talents, and the disagreement of
the Christians among themselves, the crusaders were robbed of all that
glory which they had at first acquired; and, after ninety years, were
driven from those places which they had so honorably and happily

After the death of Urban, Pascal II. became pope, and the empire was
under the dominion of Henry IV. who came to Rome pretending friendship
for the pontiff but afterward put his holiness and all his clergy in
prison; nor did he release them till it was conceded that he should
dispose of the churches of Germany according to his own pleasure.
About this time, the Countess Matilda died, and made the church heir
to all her territories. After the deaths of Pascal and Henry IV. many
popes and emperors followed, till the papacy was occupied by Alexander
III. and the empire by Frederick, surnamed Barbarossa. The popes
during this period had met with many difficulties from the people of
Rome and the emperors; and in the time of Barbarossa they were much
increased. Frederick possessed military talent, but was so full of
pride that he would not submit to the pontiff. However, at his
election to the empire he came to Rome to be crowned, and returned
peaceably to Germany, where he did not long remain in the same mind,
but came again into Italy to subdue certain places in Lombardy, which
did not obey him. It happened at this time that the cardinal St.
Clement, of a Roman family, separated from Alexander, and was made
pope by some of the cardinals. The Emperor Frederick, being encamped
at Cerma, Alexander complained to him of the anti-pope, and received
for answer, that they were both to go to him, and, having heard each
side, he would determine which was the true pope. This reply
displeased Alexander; and, as he saw the emperor was inclined to favor
the anti-pope, he excommunicated him, and then fled to Philip, king of
France. Frederick, in the meantime, carrying on the war in Lombardy,
destroyed Milan; which caused the union of Verona, Padua, and Vicenza
against him for their common defense. About the same period the anti-
pope died, and Frederick set up Guido of Cremona, in his stead.

The Romans, from the absence of the pope, and from the emperor being
in Lombardy, had reacquired some authority in Rome, and proceeded to
recover the obedience of those places which had been subject to them.
And as the people of Tusculum refused to submit to their authority,
they proceeded against them with their whole force; but these, being
assisted by Frederick, routed the Roman army with such dreadful
slaughter, that Rome was never after either so populous or so rich.
Alexander now returned to the city, thinking he could be safe there on
account of the enmity subsisting between the Romans and the emperor,
and from the enemies which the latter had in Lombardy. But Frederick,
setting aside every other consideration, led his forces and encamped
before Rome; and Alexander fled to William, king of Puglia, who had
become hair of that kingdom after the death of Roger. Frederick,
however, withdrew from Rome on account of the plague which then
prevailed, and returned to Germany. The cities of Lombardy in league
against him, in order to command Pavia and Tortona, which adhered to
the imperial party, built a city, to be their magazine in time of war,
and named in Alexandria, in honor of the pope and in contempt of

Guido the anti-pope died, and Giovanni of Fermo was appointed in his
stead, who, being favored by the imperialists, lived at Montefiascone.
Pope Alexander being at Tusculum, whither he had been called by the
inhabitants, that with his authority he might defend them from the
Romans, ambassadors came to him from Henry, king of England, to
signify that he was not blamable for the death of Thomas Becket,
archbishop of Canterbury, although public report had slandered him
with it. On this the pope sent two cardinals to England, to inquire
into the truth of the matter; and although they found no actual charge
against the king, still, on account of the infamy of the crime, and
for not having honored the archbishop so much as he deserved, the
sentence against the king of England was, that having called together
the barons of his empire, he should upon oath before them affirm his
innocence; that he should immediately send two hundred soldiers to
Jerusalem, paid for one year; that, before the end of three years, he
should himself proceed thither with as large an army as he could draw
together; that his subjects should have the power of appealing to Rome
when they thought proper; and that he should annul whatever acts had
been passed in his kingdom unfavorable to ecclesiastical rule. These
terms were all accepted by Henry; and thus a great king submitted to a
sentence that in our day a private person would have been ashamed of.
But while the pope exercised so great authority over distant princes,
he could not compel obedience from the Romans themselves, or obtain
their consent that he should remain in Rome, even though he promised
to intermeddle only with ecclesiastical affairs.

About this time Frederick returned to Italy, and while he was
preparing to carry on new wars against the pope, his prelates and
barons declared that they would abandon him unless he reconciled
himself with the church; so that he was obliged to go and submit to
the pope at Venus, where a pacification was effected, but in which the
pope deprived the emperor of all authority over Rome, and named
William, king of Sicily and Puglia, a coadjutor with him. Frederick,
unable to exist without war, joined the crusaders in Asia, that he
might exercise that ambition against Mohammed, which he could not
gratify against the vicars of Christ. And being near the river Cydnus,
tempted by the clearness of its waters, bathed therein, took cold, and
died. Thus the river did a greater favor to the Mohammedans than the
pope's excommunications had done to the Christians; for the latter
only checked his pride, while the former finished his career.
Frederick being dead, the pope had now only to suppress the contumacy
of the Romans; and, after many disputes concerning the creation of
consuls, it was agreed that they should elect them as they had been
accustomed to do, but that these should not undertake the office, till
they had first sworn to be faithful to the church. This agreement
being made, Giovanni the anti-pope took refuge in Mount Albano, where
he shortly afterward died. William, king of Naples, died about the
same time, and the pope intended to occupy that kingdom on the ground
that the king had left only a natural son named Tancred. But the
barons would not consent, and wished that Tancred should be king.
Celestine III., the then pope, anxious to snatch the kingdom from the
hands of Tancred, contrived that Henry, son of Frederick should be
elected emperor, and promised him the kingdom on the condition that he
should restore to the church all the places that had belonged to her.
To facilitate this affair, he caused Gostanza, a daughter of William,
who had been placed in a monastery and was now old, to be brought from
her seclusion and become the wife of Henry. Thus the kingdom of Naples
passed from the Normans, who had been the founders of it, to the
Germans. As soon as the affairs of Germany were arranged, the Emperor
Henry came into Italy with Gostanza his wife, and a son about four
years of age named Frederick; and, as Tancred was now dead, leaving
only an infant named Roger, he took possession of the kingdom without
much difficulty. After some years, Henry died in Sicily, and was
succeeded in the kingdom by Frederick, and in the empire by Otho, duke
of Saxony, who was elected through the influence of Innocent III. But
as soon as he had taken the crown, contrary to the general
expectation, he became an enemy of the pope, occupied Romagna, and
prepared to attack the kingdom. On this account the pope
excommunicated him; he was abandoned by every one, and the electors
appointed Frederick, king of Naples, emperor in his stead. Frederick
came to Rome for his coronation; but the pope, being afraid of his
power, would not crown him, and endeavored to withdraw him from Italy
as he had done Otho. Frederick returned to Germany in anger, and,
after many battles with Otho, at length conquered him. Meanwhile,
Innocent died, who, besides other excellent works, built the hospital
of the Holy Ghost at Rome. He was succeeded by Honorius III., in whose
time the religious orders of St. Dominic and St. Francis were founded,
1218. Honorius crowned Frederick, to whom Giovanni, descended from
Baldwin, king of Jerusalem, who commanded the remainder of the
Christian army in Asia and still held that title, gave a daughter in
marriage; and, with her portion, conceded to him the title to that
kingdom: hence it is that every king of Naples is called king of

Niccolo Machiavelli