The Western Church from 1050 to 1250
CLARENDON PRESS · OXFORD
Christ left to Peter, not only the whole church but also the whole world, to govern ( Pope Innocent III).
Once, kings and emperors, Dukes, counts and officers, Valiant knights of theirs, Governed the land. I see the clergy stand In the lords' places, Traitors and thieves Who have hypocrites' faces. ( Peire Cardenal, troubadour)
The twelfth-century scholar saw himself as a dwarf sitting on the back of a giant, and this volume rests uneasily on the shoulders of a vast mass of previous scholarship. There is no way of adequately expressing my debt to the writings and conversation of others, except through the inadequate medium of the bibliography, which provides some introduction to the wealth of discussion made available by modern research.
I owe debts of gratitude to the Leverhulme Trustees and the British Academy for generous research grants, to Pembroke and Wolfson Colleges at Oxford for their very kind hospitality during periods of research. It is impossible to detail the archivists and librarians from whom I have received help, but I must mention in particular the Bodleian Library, which has provided a pleasant setting for work and access to magnificent collections of material. I am grateful, too, to the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge for permission to quote from my previous book, The Discovery of the Individual.
From my own University of Southampton I have received much help, including a grant for research which enabled me to have for a time the valuable help of two research assistants, Alison Bideleux and Joan Wardrop. The Library staff have dealt with innumerable obscure bibliographical inquiries with great efficiency and good humour, and Mark Farley, of the Department of Education gave indispensable help in putting the material into machine-readable form suitable for transmission to the Press. My thanks are also due to Jean Colson, and to my pupil Claire Burch, for assistance in preparing the index. I am very specially indebted to two colleagues, Dr Ernest Blake and Dr Brian Golding, who have been an unfailing source of ideas and comments and whose reading of the manuscript has saved me from many errors and misinterpretations. Finally, my thanks are due to the History Department at Southampton for providing such a congenial and stimulating academic setting during the years in which this book was under preparation.
References to Canon Law xvii
1. Christian Society in the Middle of the Eleventh Century 11
i. Introduction 11
ii. The Pattern of Divine Government 14
iii. The Church and the Lay Powers 21
iv. The Beginnings of a Reform Ideology 28
2. The Pattern of Social Change 34
i. The Extension of Economic Activity: the Countryside 34
ii. The Extension of Economic Activity: the Cities 39
iii. The Expansion of Education 45
iv. The Aristocracy 50
v. The Dissemination of Ideas 53
3. Monastic Growth and Change 57
i. The Expansion of the Monasteries 57
ii. The Golden Age of Cluny 64
iii. Hermits 68
iv. Canons 74
4. The Papal Reform (1046-1073) 79
i. Introduction 79
ii. The Beginnings of Papal Reform (1046-1057) 82
iii. The Reformers Come of Age (1057-1073) 89
iv. The Principles of Papal Reform 98
v. The Reform of the Clergy 101
5. The Discord of Empire and Papacy (1073-1099) 109
i. Gregory VII 109
ii. The Breach with the Empire 113
iii. The Revival of the Gregorian Papacy (1085-1099) 121
iv. The War of Ideas (1076-1099) 126
6. Greeks and Saracens 134
i. The Situation in the Mediterranean World 134
ii. The Conquest of Sicily and Apulia 139
iii. The Rise of Christian Militarism 143
iv. The First Crusade 147
7. The Conflict Renewed: the Question of Investiture (1099-1122) 154
i. Paschal II (1099-1118) 154
ii. The Concordat of Worms 162
iii. Papal Administration 164
iv. The Achievement of the Papal Reform Movement 169
8. The Roman Church and the Empire in the Twelfth Century 182
i. After the Concordat of Worms (1122-1153) 182
ii. Frederick I and the Renewal of the Empire 188
iii. The Alexandrine Schism (1159-1177) 192
iv. The Papacy under Pressure (1177-1198) 197
9. The Government of the Church in the Twelfth Century 205
i. Concepts of Papal Authority 205
ii. The Exercise of Papal Power 210
iii. The Pastorate of the Bishops 219
iv. Churches and Kingdoms 226
10. The New Monastic Orders 237
i. From Hermitage to Monastery 237
ii. The New Orders 240
iii. Controversy and Criticism 250
iv. The New Orders in Twelfth-century Society 258
11. The Christian Frontier 263
i. The Theory of Mission 263
ii. Scandinavia 268
iii. Eastern Europe 271
iv. The Defence of the Holy Sepulchre
12. The Message of the Churches 297
i. Towards a Christian Society 287
ii. The Great Churches 290
iii. The Local Churches 294
iv. Learning through Worship 297
v. Preaching 305
vi. Ceremonial and Society 310
13. Christianity and Social Ideas 316
i. The Basis of Christian Social Action 316
ii. Provision for the Poor 320
iii. Marriage 327
iv. Commercial Morality: the Question of Interest and Usury 332
v. Chivalry 335
14. Dissent 339
i. The Beginnings of Heresy (1050-1140) 339
ii. Cathars and Waldensians (1140-1200) 344
iii. Sorcery 350
iv. The Jews 354
15. The Formulation of the Faith 358
i. The Growth of Theology 358
ii. The Science of Theology 360
iii. The Theology of Humanism 366
iv. Sin and Redemption 371
v. The World to Come 378
16. Property, Privilege, and Law 387
i. Ownership and Distribution 388
ii. Tithes 389
iii. The Structure of Ecclesiastical Property 392
iv. Clerical Privilege 397
v. The Growth of Canon Law 400
vi. The Critics 404
17. The Pontificate of Innocent III (1198-1216) 417
i. The New Pope 48
ii. The Papal State, Sicily, and the Empire 420
iii. Innocent and the Lay Power 426
iv. Reform 433
v. The Christian East 438
vi. The Struggle with Heresy 442
vii. The Fourth Lateran Council 447
18. Friars, Beguines, and the Action against Heresy 452
i. The Growth of the Friars 452
ii. Religion for Women: the Rise of the Beguines 462
iii. The Repression of Heresy 470
19. Proclaiming the Faith 478
i. Crusade and Mission 478
ii. The Pastoral Revolution 489
iii. Popular Religion 496
20. Reason and Hope in a Changing World 505
i. A New Pattern of Learning: the Universities 505
ii. Theology: from Pastoral Care to Speculation 511
iii. Joachim of Fiore: a New Eschatology 518
iv. The Influence of Joachim 522
21. The Structure of Government 527
i. The Bishops 527
ii. Parishes 536
iii. Monasteries and Cathedrals 541
22. The Roman Church and the Lay Power in the Thirteenth Century 550
i. Papacy, Kingdoms, and City States 550
ii. Frederick II 559
iii. The Papal Monarchy in the Thirteenth Century 568
AASS Acta Sanctorum, ed. J. Bollandus ( Antwerp, 1643-)
AFH Archivum Franciscanum Historicum ( Florence)
AFP Archivum Fratrum Praedicatorum ( Rome)
AHC Annuarium Historiae Conciliorum ( Paderborn)
AHP Archivum Historiae Pontificiae ( Rome)
AKg Archivfiir Kulturgeschichte ( Cologne)
Alberigo J. Alberigo et al., Conciliorum Oecumenicorum Decreta
( Basle, 1962). (There is also a third, enlarged edition at Bologna, 1973.)
Annales Annales. Économies, sociétés, civilisations ( Paris)
Bernard, Opera J. Leclercq et al. (eds.), S. Bernardi Opera, 8 vols. ( Rome, 1957-77)at Bologna, 1973.)
BMCL Bulletin of Medieval Canon Law ( Berkeley, Calif.)
C&S Councils and Synods, with other Documents relating to the English Church, 2 vols (4 parts) ( Oxford 1964-81)
CCM Cahiers de civilisation médiévale ( Poitiers)
CC (CM) Corpus Christianorum, continuatio mediaevalis
CF Cahiers de Fanjeaux ( Toulouse)
CISAM Centro italiano di studi sull'alto medioevo ( Spoleto)
CMH Cambridge Medieval History
CNSS Actes du congrès national des Sociétés Savantes ( Paris)
CSSSM Centro di studi sulla spiritualià medievale ( Todi)
DAEM Deutsches Archiv für Erforschung des Mittelalters ( Cologne)
Dic. DC Dictionnaire de Droit Canonique, ed. R. Naz ( Paris, 1935-)
Dic. TC Dictionnaire de Théologie Catholique ( Paris, 1899- 1972)
EHR English Historical Review
FM A. Fliche and V. Martin (eds.), Histoire de l'église, 21 vols. ( Paris, 1939-) Foreville R. Foreville, Latran I, II, III et Latran IV, Histoire des conciles oecuméniques 6 ( Paris, 1965)
Gall. Christ. Gallia Christiana, 16 vols. ( Paris, 1715- 1865, repr. 1970)
Greg. VII. Extrav. H. E. J. Cowdrey, "The Epistolae Vagantes of Pope Gregory VII" ( Oxford, 1972)
Greg. VII. Reg. E. Caspar (ed.), Das Register Gregors VII. , MGH Ep. 2
HJb Historisches Jahrbuch ( Munich)
HZ Historische Zeitschrift ( Munich)
ICMCL International Congress of Medieval Canon Law ( Vatican)
JEH Journal of Ecclesiastical History
JMH Journal of Medieval History
LdM Lexikon des Mittelalters ( Munich)
Le Bras Études d'histoire du droit canonique dédiées Á G. Le Bras, 2 vols. ( Paris, 1965)
MA Le Moyen-Âge ( Brussels)
Mansi J. D. Mansi (ed.), Sanctorum Conciliorum collectio nova ( Venice 1748-)
MCSM Miscellanea del Centro di Studi Medievall (La Mendola)
MGH Monumenta Germaniae Historica
LdL Libelli de Lite
SSRG Scriptores rerum Germanicarum in usum scholarum
MIC Monumenta Iuris Canonici
MIOG Mitteilungen des Instituts für Österreichische Geschichts-forschung
Misc. Med. Miscellanea Medievalia ( Rome)
MS Mediaeval Studies
n. d. no date
Vitalis Marjorie Chibnall, The Ecclesiastical History of Ordericus Vitalis, 6 vols. ( Oxford, 1969-80)
PBA Proceedings of the British Academy
PL Patrologiae Latinae cursus completus, series Latina, ed. J. -P. Migne ( 1844-)
QFIAB Quellen und Forschungen aus italienischen Archiven und Bibliotheken ( Tübingen)
RHC Recueil des Historiens des Croisades
Occ Historiens occidentaux
RHDFE Revue historique de droit français et étranger ( Paris)
RHE Revue d'histoire ecclésiastique ( Louvain)
RHEF Revue d'histoire de l'église de France ( Paris)
RR Renaissance and Renewal in the Twelfth Century, ed.
R. L. Benson and G. Constable ( Oxford, 1982)
RS Rolls Series
RSCI Rivista di Storia della Chiesa in Italia ( Rome)
SC Sources chrétiennes
SCH Studies in Church History
SGrat Studia Gratiana ( Rome)
S Greg Studi Gregoriani ( Rome)
SSCISAM Settimane di Studi del Centro italiano di Studi sull'alto medioevo ( Spoleto)
TRHS Transactions of the Royal Historical Society
VuF Vorträge und Forschungen ( Sigmaringen)
ZKg Zeitschrift für Kirchengeschichte ( Stuttgart)
ZSSRGkA Zeitschrift der Savigny-Stiftung für Rechtsgeschichte, kanonistische Abteilung (volume numbers are those of the main series)
REFERENCES TO CANON LAW
The standard edition is E. Friedberg, Corpus Iuris Canonici, 2nd 2 vols. ( Leipzig, 1922). Gratian, Decr.C. XII, q. 2, c. 3 (1223) means Causa XII, questio 2, capitulum 3 of the Decretum in column 1223 of Friedberg vol. i. Greg. IX, Decretals, IV. 2.5 (673) means book IV, questio 2, capitulum 5 of the Gregorian Collection in column 673 of Friedberg vol. ii.
THE PAPAL MONARCHY
The title of this book expresses a paradox, not a fact. A papal monarchy was in principle and in practice inconceivable in medieval Europe. One of the distinctive features of Christianity has been a clear separation between church and state. The awareness of two powers, each with its own area of authority, was founded upon the ministry of Christ and embodied in his command, 'Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's' ( Mark 12: 17). The distinction between sacred and secular, between kingdom ( regnum) and priesthood ( sacerdotium) is a commonplace of Christian thinking, and it was not forgotten between 1050 and 1250. On the contrary the sense of opposition between clergy and laity grew stronger, as clergy were discouraged from secular employment and debarred from those activities of government which involved the use of force and imposition of death sentences. In the proper sense of the words, papal monarchy was impossible. A pope could no more rule a kingdom than a king could say mass. Yet the language of papal monarchy is inescapable in our sources, and the popes adopted imperial dress and ceremonial. Rhetoric and symbolism expressed a complex reality. In part they described the supremacy of papal authority within the church, a supremacy which was widely recognized although it was rarely defined as absolutism. But papal claims went further. The ineffectiveness of state power at the beginning of our period meant that the clergy supervised activities which in the ancient or the modern world alike have been the business of the state or of voluntary societies. These included the provision of hospitals and schools, jurisdiction over marriage and probate, the defence of Christendom against the infidel, and the preservation of peace within its borders. As the supreme authority within the church popes had final responsibility for all these matters, and it is striking to find how many major initiatives were undertaken directly by the Roman Church: the history of the crusades, of the friars, and of the inquisition, for example, was shaped by papal decisions. Moreover since the clergy were answerable for the souls of laity, the sacerdotium appeared superior to the regnum and popes to kings. There was much argument about how such supremacy should be defined in practice, but many writers were prepared to see in the papacy an authority above earthly kings, and such language was not always rejected by the lay powers, however carefully they defended their customary rights. The impression of dominance was strengthened by the fact that bishops and abbots controlled great estates, and even duchies and counties, so that German bishops in the thirteenth century could be described as 'kings and priests'. Over the centuries the Roman Church accumulated a great mass of claims to secular power, including the Papal State in central Italy and suzerainty over Sicily, England, and other kingdoms. The forged Donation of Constantine included a formal grant of imperial style to the pope. All this put the two-power theory under grave strain, and makes it appropriate to speak of papal monarchy as a special feature of the centuries after 1050.
The beginning of the period is easy to define. Although much use was made of earlier precedents the elaboration of the rhetoric of papal monarchy scarcely began before the middle of the eleventh century, and was then rapidly developed in the circle of Gregory VII ( 1073-85). There is no similarly clear terminal date. The language of sovereignty stamped itself upon the Roman Church, and its echoes remained clear in Boniface VIII, in the popes of Avignon, in Sixtus V, and in Pius IX. In spite of the Second Vatican Council, it is still alive in some recent utterances by authority. The year 1250, however, offers a natural break. By then, all the great initiatives of the medieval papacy had been put into effect. The two centuries covered by this book were the supreme age of papal monarchy. Christendom was ruled by kings and princes under the supervision of the clergy, and especially of the Roman Church, which alone possessed the fullness of power.
The ideal of Christendom, whatever its splendour, is an embarrassment to the historian of the church, for it provides no limit to his subject-matter. In an age when every man was a Christian, and when the patronage and responsibility of the church extended throughout society, its history comprises architecture and literature, philosophy and music, estate administration, law, crusades, the empire, national states and their churches. Of the making of such a book, there would be no end. There is fortunately one central theme which provides a natural line of investigation: the creation of an international culture which increasingly bound together the diverse, and often hostile, peoples into one Christian people or populus Christianus. The expanding authority of the papacy was only one of the new forces which moulded this international culture. Other influences include the appearance of religious orders which extended into every part of Europe, a common learning stimulated by the universities, a common discipline enjoined by councils, and a common defence provided by the crusades. Such a study offers a number of points of interest. What we are seeing is the making of Christendom in its later form, for there are innumerable institutions and attitudes which did not exist in 1050 but which by 1250 were firmly established, and which remained characteristic of modern history. Among them were the birth of theology as an academic discipline, the inquisition, central direction of the affairs of the regional churches, the growth of the friars, prince-bishops, diocesan records, chivalry, the crusades, regular confession, and the elevation of the host. This is the Europe of tradition, 'the world we have lost', whereas to go back before 1050 is to enter a region which is by comparison alien to our own. To historians who worked in a culture where the ideal of Christendom was still vital, these developments came to appear inescapable, and to Catholic scholars they appeared also right. These convictions shaped the approach of many of the ablest scholars of medieval church history, such as Augustin Fliche, and have contributed to the vocabulary of historical study: the ideals of the papal reformers have come to seem the central and creative force in subsequent ecclesiastical history, and the single word 'Gregorian' has been applied to almost everything that was new and enlightened in our period.
For those who live in post-Christian Europe the aura of inevitability has been removed. The dominant impression is not of evolution determined by earlier traditions, but of an abundance of new energies which were refashioning society in unprophesiable ways: the transformation of the economy and social structure and the rise of the cities and universities brought with them appeals to public opinion, demands for new teaching and devotional patterns, and an agonizing tension between privilege and poverty which is difficult to parallel from the preceding generations. The effect was to leave scope for individual policies which had a long-lasting impact upon the history of the church. It would have been hard to foresee Gregory VII's disconcerting sympathy for social revolution, Urban II's decision to rescue the church of Jerusalem, Alexander III's practice of legislating by letter, and Innocent III's remorseless determination to destroy the German hegemony in Italy, let alone the impact of charismatic personalities such as Bernard of Clairvaux and Francis of Assisi. If these men and their policies were in some sense an expression of existing ideas, they developed them in quite unexpected directions. Jean Leclercq has rightly warned us that 'Christian experience is never to be reduced to or explained by social, economic, political or ideological pressures.' The uncertainty principle is fundamental to both history and religion. It is always tempting for the historian to focus on those movements which had the greatest influence on the future, and the immense creativity of our period makes it easy to fall into such a trap. But it is vital to remember that the forces which were shaping a new international culture were destroying older values inherited from the Carolingian past. Karl Leyser has suggested that they actually aborted the growth of a common culture which can be discerned in the first half of the eleventh century. The new international culture had a fragmenting as well as a unifying impact, for it stamped new divisions upon society, between clergy and laity, Latins and Greeks, and papacy and empire. Already within our period we can see those divisions being deepened by a pattern of protest and reaction. Heresy was at least in part a protest against clerical authority, and crusade and inquisition followed in an attempt to preserve doctrinal unity from the corrosion of heresy.
The speed of change was so great that I have found it necessary to subdivide the book at 1122 and 1200. This arrangement has inconveniences. The divisions are unsuitable for some topics, in which they disrupt a story of continuous development. What is more, identical processes took place at different times in different regions: the founding of local churches was almost complete in south-eastern England in 1100, and was barely beginning -- in some parts of eastern Europe in 1250. The use of these chronological divisions also panders to the historian's besetting temptation to be a follower of fashion. The assumption that what is newest is also most significant is difficult to resist. But an original book sometimes was little read whereas traditional writings continued to have a vast influence disseminated through the inclusion of extracts in collections or florilegia. The work of modern editors, invaluable as it is to historians, may entangle them more deeply in the embrace of new fashions, for understandably there are far more definitive editions of works surviving in one manuscript than of those which exist in hundreds. Yet it was this latter group, spreading through countries and centuries, which maintained older ideas and values across the boundaries between periods. It will therefore be essential to move fairly easily across our chronological divisions, but it is important to have them. Medieval history is misrepresented if we study it in units of several centuries, for, while Innocent III was obviously in some sense the successor of Gregory VII, he was confronted by different problems and disposed of different resources with which to solve them. At times, too, our period falls into three ages with an accuracy which would have delighted the heart of Abbot Joachim of Fiore, for we have in turn the ages of the Cluniacs, the Cistercians, and the friars; or the times of little heresy, of growing heresy, and of the inquisition. Similarly the Concordat of Worms in 1122 and the death of Henry VI in 1197 mark points of real change in the relations of church and empire. In a dynamic age, more is gained than lost by marking the differences between the generations. One further difference will inevitably shape this book: the extremely rapid increase in record evidence. Even very basic information is denied us in the middle of the eleventh century, whereas 200 years later we know a great deal about the operation of many institutions. As a result there is a good deal more detail included, even in a volume of this general kind, as the period advances. This has the effect of keeping Gregory VII in his proper place. Great man that he was, his ideas were not the only, or even the most decisive, influence in the restructuring of the medieval church.
The common features in the new Europe (both of unification and fragmentation) will be the central theme, but they must not lead us to undervalue the continuing regional characteristics of medieval Europe. There are plenty of local features, such as the Gilbertine order in England or the houses of Fiore in southern Italy, and the appearance of a widely diffused phenomenon may conceal vast local divergences: the Franciscans were very different in the Apennines and the Rhineland. The question of continuity and change is at its most teasing in the area about which one would most like to have full information: the religious awareness of the ordinary member of the church. Here the basic problem is the obvious one that little people leave no records. We have virtually no first-hand statement of the ideas of peasants or townsmen in this period. There are reports by inquisitors, preachers, and recorders of miracles, and some of them were careful observers. But they are not sufficient to enable us to form a coherent picture of popular opinion and they are subject to caution, because a clerk was always liable to make an unfamiliar belief conform to something he knew from his textbooks. It is almost certainly wrong to suppose that there was a pattern of unchanging superstition at the roots of society. Recent work has made us aware of the concern of the hierarchy, especially in the thirteenth century, for the teaching of the populace as a whole, and it would be perverse to suppose that these endeavours were totally without effect. We are also beginning to recognize, thanks to the work of Jacques le Goff, Jean-Claude Schmitt, and others, that Christianity itself provided a great deal of material to popular fable and ritual, and it has been suggested that the twelfth and thirteenth centuries saw a profound transformation of the folklore which circulated in the west. Popular culture was being transformed at the same time as the learned world around it. In a general volume of this kind I have had to eschew a full exploration of this fascinating field, where the achievement of broad conclusions is still a distant prospect. The reader will find a good deal about pastoral and teaching techniques and the response of the authorities to dissent and heresy; and I have attempted to give some overview of the 'religion of the illiterate'. Perhaps the secret history of the people of God cannot be written for any generation. We are not yet ready to do so, in any event, for the Middle Ages.
In accordance with the policy of the series the footnotes do not include detailed discussions but are limited to references to quotations in the text. There are separate volumes allocated to the Iberian peninsula and to the eastern churches; the latter volume, by Dr Joan Hussey, has already covered the development of relations between Rome and Constantinople. With these exceptions, this book attempts to give an account of the religious history of the Latin west between 1050 and 1250.
THE PAPAL REFORM MOVEMENT AND THE CONFLICT WITH THE EMPIRE (c. 1046-1122)
The second half of the eleventh century was a particularly decisive time in the history of the church. To mention only three of the more important developments, the popes emerged as the leaders of an international reform movement in western Europe; they became involved in a dispute with the empire whose effects were to be longlasting; and they directed the military efforts of Christendom against Islam, most notably in the First Crusade. The papal reform movement, the investiture contest, and the crusades went far beyond any previous precedents for papal activity, and were to have a profound impact upon the future history of the church. Behind them lay one of the most remarkable features of this period: the influence of monasticism. In general it has been rare for a monk to become pope, but from 1073 to 1118 the chair of St Peter was continuously occupied by men with monastic training, and monastic advisers were prominent in the formulation of papal policy. Monasticism was itself in turmoil, for while existing abbeys were expanding rapidly many new ones were being founded and challenges to traditional ideals were being vigorously expressed. Yet monasticism was only one (although a very important) element in an international movement for the reform of the church and redefinition of the place of the laity within it. Behind these developments were major changes in society. A new structure of lordship was emerging, along with a money economy and urban communities. Closely related with these social changes was a great expansion of learning, the first stages in the movement which was to produce the distinctive medieval contribution to European scholarship.
There were thus five great forces transforming the history of the church: papal revival, monastic renewal, international reform, social change, and the growth of learning. It is not easy to define their mutual influence, or even to determine their chronological priority, since change necessarily took place over a long period, and at very different speeds in different parts of Europe. Nevertheless, the first part of this book must be concerned with an attempt to understand the way in which these new forces became dominant within the life of the church.
CHRISTIAN SOCIETY IN THE MIDDLE OF THE ELEVENTH CENTURY
i. Introduction It is hard to give a fair account of the church of the mid-eleventh century. The severe criticisms of the reformers of the next generation came to be accepted by subsequent catholic thinkers, and left their mark on the work of historians until recent times. What is more, men of the earlier eleventh century did not leave an abundant record of their point of view, for they lived in a largely pre-literate age. This does not mean simply that many people were unable to read or write, but that it was not natural to resort to writing as a means of record or communication. The usual mode of formal expression was a symbolic action. A man was known to be king because he had been publicly anointed and crowned; another was known to have been appointed bishop because he had received the gift of ring and staff. Land was transferred through a material token such as a knife or a clod of earth. Some written record might be made of a donation, but even then it would not often define the privileges and duties which were being conferred. While bishops and abbots valued the documents which validated their rights of possession, lay nobles felt a healthy contempt for writing, and were not prepared to give weight to a mere scrap of parchment. The advocate (or lay protector) of the abbey of Prüm in the Rhineland expressed his feeling clearly in a dispute in 1063: 'he laughed at the record, and said that a pen can write more or less anything. He was not going to lose his rights because of that.' 1 This was not simply the attitude of a backwoods nobleman without sense or education; it was a fact that the available documents were unreliable, and that it was almost impossible to detect a competent, or even an incompetent, forgery. The memory of sworn witnesses seemed more worthy of trust than title-deeds of
1 Cited H. Bresslau, Handbuch der Urkundenlehre für Deutschland und Italien, 2nd edn. ( Leipzig, 1912), i.651 n.
doubtful authenticity, and for a long time after 1050 it continued to be accepted that witnesses were the best evidence in a legal tribunal. This reluctance to use writing was also reflected in the relatively small amount of controversy on contemporary issues. A well-read man in 1050, and that with rare exceptions meant a monk or member of the upper clergy, would be familiar with works from the distant past: the Scriptures, monastic writings such as the Collations of Cassian and the Rule of St Benedict, patristic and Carolingian commentaries and saints' lives, and doctrinal and pastoral works by a small number of the Fathers. To an extent which we would find unimaginable there was a lack of contemporary written work, and not much demand for it: the great letter-collections of the succeeding age, for example, were anticipated in the early eleventh century only by that of Fulbert of Chartres. A limited number of chronicles, such as those of Thietmar of Merseburg in eastern Germany and Adhemar of Chabannes in Aquitaine show that intelligent contemporaries were reflecting on the issues facing their society and that creative thinking did not begin in 1050, but they offer a relatively small amount of material in which we can overhear the anxieties of the age.
In governing and educated circles, the Carolingian inheritance was still strong. It is true that the world of Charlemagne and his descendants had been transformed: its political unity had been shattered, kingdoms had passed to other families, and bishoprics and monasteries had been ravaged by barbarian invaders. Nevertheless, readers of the volume in this series by Michael Wallace-Hadrill on The Frankish Church will recognize how attitudes and institutions which went back to the Carolingians still provided the framework for thinking in the eleventh century. From that source had come the idea of a western empire with a special relationship with the Roman Church, and so had the idea of the God-given ruler, who like a new David championed the Christian people in war against the unbeliever. The respect of the Frankish church for Rome, reflected in the cult of St Peter and in liturgical borrowing, offered a basis for claims to Roman primacy in a new age. Germany in particular had preserved much from the Carolingians. The title of emperor, the royal direction of great monasteries and bishoprics, and a variety of other practices of government maintained that continuity, as did institutions such as the court chapel, or Hofkapelle, of the German kings. The Rhineland and Lotharingia displayed a particularly strong continuity with the past in architecture and scholarship. The immense majority of Carolingian manuscripts had been devoted to the text of the Bible, the liturgy, or the four major Latin Fathers, Ambrose, Jerome, Augustine, and Gregory; and this remained the dominant pattern for book production until well into the twelfth century. Ideas and styles created by Carolingian scholars were taken up by their successors. Thus the interpretation of the liturgy by Amalarius of Metz, which his contemporaries had found unduly daring, became the basis for expositions of the mass, while the dispute over the presence of Christ in the eucharist between Ratramnus of Corbie and Paschasius Radbertus was to be revived by Berengar of Tours in the middle of the eleventh century on a much more public platform. Collections of canon law (most notably the pseudo-Isidorian decretals forged about 850) provided the basis for church discipline in the new age. Even the reformers' originalities testify to the pervasive late Carolingian atmosphere. Gregory VII's policy was directed not only against recent corruptions, but also against the Carolingian polity itself, rejecting liturgy and laws which were not truly Roman and the Rule of Aix which permitted canons to own individual property, which Gregory saw as the result of improper imperial interference in church affairs.
By 1050 the conversion of Europe was almost complete, at least in terms of formal allegiance. The older Christian lands were now ringed by nations in the process of accepting the faith: Norway, Denmark, Poland, and Hungary. To the north there remained untouched the more remote areas of the Baltic, and the Slavonic tribes on the frontier of Saxony. In southern Europe much less progress had been made, and Sicily and most of Spain were still under Moslem rule. The chronicler Raoul Glaber explained that on the cross Christ had his face to the west and his right hand to the north, to symbolize the fact that conversions would be more abundant there. 2 Within these wide boundaries, people were acquainted with unbelief only as represented by the Jews, who were increasingly moving from the countryside to form communities in the cities, or by pagan cults brought from outside by settlers. By 1050, moreover, there were few remains of non-Christian worship in former Viking areas, although the church in eastern England and in parts of Normandy was still suffering from the damage done by the Viking invasions through the seizure of property and suppression
2 Raoul Glaber, Historiae, i. 5 (PL 142.626C).
of bishoprics and monasteries. With few exceptions, western Europeans worshipped in Latin liturgies, reverenced Rome as the mother of churches, and drew on a common stock of ceremony and symbolism. Among the learned at least, there was a clear awareness of the Latin world as a cultural unity which had grown apart from Greek tradition embodied in the great Christian empire of Byzantium. Lanfranc of Bec could call 'almost all the Latin world' as witness to the truth of his doctrines. 3
Yet there was no sense of living in a stable age of secure faith. Contemporaries were aware of the threat posed by the heathen outside and of their duty to proclaim the Gospel 'in every place and to every people without exception'. 4 They were also troubled by the power of demons within their own homeland, for, as Raoul Glaber warned his readers, they were 'abundant all over the world, and especially in springs and trees'. 5 The world was seen not only as the abode of demons, but also as a centre of corruption and depravity. A favourite text was 1 John 5: 19, 'the whole world is in the power of the evil one'. The learned German monk, Hermann the Lame, gave on his death-bed in 1054 the message tedet quidem me vivere (it is a bore to be alive): 'This present world, with all that belongs to it, and this mortal life itself is despicable and wearisome to me, and in contrast that future and intransitory world and that eternal and immortal life fill me with such ineffable desire and love . . . that I count all transitory things as vain nothings.' 6 This world-rejection, so characteristic of the eleventh century, was to continue as a dark background to spiritual life throughout our whole period, and contributed one of the important elements within the growth of a new monasticism. Yet paradoxically the monks who had abandoned the world were also concerned for the general well-being of the church. While some thinkers were filled with despair about the secular order, another strand of Christian belief was confident in the divine power to govern the affairs of men.
ii. The Pattern of Divine Government. The passion and resurrection of Christ had established him as king:
3 Lanfranc, De Corpore et Sanguine, 2 (PL 150.410A): huius rei testis est tota fere Latinitas.
4 Glaber, Historiae i.5 (PL 142.626C).
5 Glaber, Historiae iv. 3 (675A).
6 Berthold, Annales, sub anno 1054 (MGH SS V. 268).
Triumphat ille splendide
et dignus amplitudine,
soli polique patriam
unam fecit rempublicam. 7
He triumphs gloriously on high,
Is over all accounted great.
The fatherland of earth and sky
He now has made a single state.
In spiritual matters as in political ones the contemporary idea of authority was different from ours. The king was a hero-figure or a bearer of sanctity, and men looked to him not for a uniform administration but for interventions to promote justice and righteousness. Similarly Christ's government of the world consisted in particular manifestations of power. Miracles were specially important in imparting a sense of God's presence. As Lawrence of Amalfi wrote, 'he waters the dryness of our minds by the joyful manifestation of his miracles'. 8 The learned Bishop Gerard of Cambrai told a synod of clergy at Arras in 1025 about the frequent presence of heavenly beings: 'Often when these holy mysteries are celebrated choirs of angels are seen by many going about the table of the altar . . . like knights in attendance on the service of their king.' 9 What Herbert Marcuse has called the one-dimensional character of modern awareness is wholly alien to the experience of medieval man.
Even the ordinary affairs of men depended upon the intervention of celestial powers. There was no confidence in an autonomous human capacity to conduct business without intervention from above. The saints in particular inspired the minds of men by their examples, and they performed many valuable social functions. Men turned to them when they needed healing, or victory in judicial combat, or the birth of an heir. Saints acted as intercessors for God's forgiveness, and sinners who were not ready to enter a monastery could hope for mercy by performing a pilgrimage to one of the great shrines. Above all, the saint was the patron of his church, its protector and in a real sense its owner. His (or, much more rarely, her) power resided specially in his relics, contained in a magnificent casket of gold and silver preserved in the crypt or, increasingly, beside the high altar. In southern France it became customary to house the relics in a golden image of the saint, such as the statue of Ste Foy which still survives at Conques. The lives of the saints,
7 F. J. E. Raby (ed.) The Oxford Book of Medieval Latin Verse ( Oxford, 1959), no. 128, ascribed to Bishop Fulbert of Chartres.
8 Lawrence of Amalfi, Vita S. Zenobii Episcopi, prol., F. Newton (ed.), Opera (MGH Quellen 7, 51).
9 Mansi, xix.435C.
Which were written in abundance, told of invaders of church lands who had been brought to repentance or punishment by their power; monks might take the relics with them when they went to plead in a law court, as the community of Stavelot did before the Emperor Henry IV at Liége in 1071; and relics were regularly carried into battle to harness the victory-bringing power of the saint. The veneration of the saints was not a primitive practice which survived from the barbarian past and was destined to fade away with higher standards of education. On the contrary, their shrines were increasingly important centres in the eleventh-century world, and pilgrimage to them, which in the Carolingian period had been mainly the prerogative of clergy and nobles, was becoming widespread and popular. This was true of the greatest international centres: pilgrimage to Jerusalem was on a larger scale than ever before, and from about 1050 the shrine of St James at Compostella in northern Spain began to attract visitors from abroad in ever growing numbers. In many parts of Europe the century saw the establishment of major pilgrimage centres. The popularity of the shrine of Ste Foy at Conques increased markedly from about the year 1000; Vézelay under Abbot Geoffrey ( 1037-52) acquired the body of St Mary Magdalen; Bavaria received its first major centre of pilgrimage in 1049 when Pope Leo IX consecrated the church of Heiligkreuz, Donauwörth, specially built to house a fragment of the cross brought from Constantinople; the body of St Matthew was discovered at Salerno in 1080; and the international fame of the image of Christ, the Santo Volto, at Lucca seems to date from the late eleventh century. Raoul Glaber was justified in entitling one of his chapters 'the relics of the saints discovered on all sides'. 10 The new importance of pilgrimage was such that the word peregrinus, which had previously meant a foreigner or exile, now came to be used to mean a visitor to a shrine, a pilgrim in the later sense. This confidence in the power of the saints will be more comprehensible to us if we remember that it was, as a matter of hard fact, effective. The standing of a church really did depend on the greatness of its patron saint. The authority of Rome was derived from St Peter and St Paul, and Compostella would have been nothing without St James. Lands were restored out of love or fear of the saints, the poor and the sick could hope for relief at their shrines, and the donations of
10 Glaber, Historiae, iii.6 (PL 142.655B).
pilgrims helped to finance new and splendid buildings. It is understandable that these wonders were ascribed to the mysterious powers which resided in the bodies of holy men. Sin and sorrow could not be overcome by human arrangement, but by sacred power.
The shrines of the saints were by no means the only places where men might have recourse to the help of the sacred. The judicial system depended in difficult cases on recourse to divine judgement through the practices which we know as ordeals, but which were at the time described by the simple term judgement, iudicium. When human testimony was lacking, the accused might appeal to divine witness in the ceremonies of hot iron, or hot or cold water, ceremonies for which a liturgy was provided and which frequently took place in the cathedral itself. Once again we encounter the same distrust of human possibilities and the conviction that the innocent can only be vindicated by sacred power.
God's care for his people was shown not only in the shrines of the saints and the ritual of the ordeal, but in the provision of authorities to govern Christian society: 'The greatest gifts of God to mankind, bestowed by the divine clemency, are indeed the priesthood and the empire, the one ministering in divine things, the other presiding and taking care over human affairs: both proceed from the same origin and adorn human life.' 11 This declaration of Roman Law embodied what is generally known as the Gelasian principle: the affirmation that God had provided two powers for the government of men, the royal and the priestly, regnum and sacerdotium. Gelasius I (492-6), the pope from whom it received its name, had been clear in his declaration of the duality but had implied the greater dignity of the sacerdotium, which dealt with spiritual and eternal things. To medieval men, this duality was a matter of common sense, and so was the duty of the two powers to co-operate for the well-being of the Christian world. It was also necessary that each power should respect the boundary between them, and its definition was to become one of the most important issues of the succeeding centuries. In practice in the middle of the eleventh century the two powers were not equal, for in most parts of Europe the organization of the church depended heavily upon the rule of the anointed king.
A glance at the historical atlas reveals a pattern of kingdoms which
11 Corpus Iuris Civilis, iii, Nov. VI pr. ed. R. Schoell and W. Kroll ( Berlin, 1954), 35-6.
are recognizably the ancestors of the states of modern Europe, even if their frontiers are different in detail, and their names still undefined. Spain was not a political term at all, and Germany and Italy were only slowly being distinguished within the general concept of the empire. Gregory VII was adopting an unusual style in 1076 when he spoke of the 'kingdom of the Teutons and of Italy'. 12 The rulers of these kingdoms had little by way of administrative machinery at their disposal. The classical term for a state, respublica, was relatively rare in eleventh-century writing; patria referred more commonly to the heavenly country than the earthly; and the king was ruler of a people, rex Anglorum rather than rex Anglie. He was their father and protector, whose task it was to save them from oppression and injustice, and he was their leader in war. The nature of the royal office at the beginning of our period is declared in materials which, although highly evocative, are hard to interpret with precision: coronation liturgies, panegyrics, and the symbolism of royal insignia. It is a fact of prime importance that there was not, at the beginning of our period, a clear area of separate governmental responsibilities which could be firmly labelled as secular. Although the lay ruler's military role was peculiar to his office, in other respects (as guardian of peace and justice and protector of the church) his functions interlocked with those of bishops and of patron saints. Carolingian bishops had certainly seen the preservation of the peace as part of the emperor's function, but had themselves co-operated actively with him. Monastic writers of the tenth and eleventh centuries had sometimes stressed the king's standing as a sacred person, and esteemed such rulers as Robert the Pious of France ( 9961031) and the Emperor Henry II ( 1002-24) because of their asceticism, whether real or imagined: the virtues of the king overlapped with those of the monk. The definition of responsibilities, which could be made so confidently in the time of Justinian, was no longer clear.
Of the rulers of the west, the greatest was the emperor, whose dominions included Germany, northern and central Italy, and the old middle kingdom of Burgundy. It was accepted by this time that the imperial dignity was vested in one of the leading families of Germany, and in 1050 the emperor was the brilliant Henry III ( 1039-
12 Greg. VII, Reg. iii.6 (253). Gregory also regularly used the word 'Teutonic' in his letters. It seems to have expressed a new perception of national relations, and conceivably reflected the pope's awareness of his Roman origins.
56), the second of the Salian house. The existence of the imperial title has sometimes misled historians into supposing that it expressed a strong ambition for political unity: 'as Christendom is subject to the pope, so all peoples must obey the emperor'. 13 It is true that language was used which appears to imply this. The emperors regarded themselves as the legitimate heirs of Rome, and already in the tenth century they used the title Imperator Augustus Romanorum. When the style of Roman imperialism was combined with the belief that the emperor was God's anointed, propaganda inevitably took on a universalist ring. Thus Wipo, chaplain of Henry III, wrote
Henry the Third, the friend of virtue, reigns. Next after Christ he rules across the earth. 14
The practical significance of such phrases was slight. The Salian emperors did not claim fealty or tribute from other monarchs except where they had special grounds for doing so, and the universal empire scarcely existed as an ideal, let alone as a reality. Even in the early eleventh century the assertion was being made in France that 'each king devoutly exercises Christian empire within the bounds of his realm'. 15 The distinctive thing about the empire was not that it was universal, but that it was Roman. The emperor claimed lordship over the city of Rome, where alone he could receive his crown, and he was protector of the see of Rome, the greatest of all the western churches.
All kings, the emperor included, were God's agents, set apart for government by the anointing which they had received: 'Kings and priests . . . are found to be called God and Christ on account of the mystery of the ministry which they have received.' 16 In the great prayer Deus inenarrabilis, which was used in coronation orders throughout the whole of our period, the king was seen as the means by which peace and virtue were bestowed upon his people: 'and so may this people thrive under his government and be blessed with eternal life'. 17 The anointing of a king could take place only once, but he could show himself many times at a crown-wearing or coronation. So similar were the functions of a king and of a patron saint
13 For these words of Ludwig Hahn and similar views, see R. Schlierer, Weltherrschaftsgedanke und altdeutsches Kaisertum ( Tübingen, 1934), 20-4.
14 Wipo, Tetralogus, vv. 18-19, ed. H. Bresslau, Die Werke Wipos ( Hanover, 1915), 76.
15 Abbo of Fleury, Collectio Canonum, 9 (PL 139-482B).
16 Peter Damian, Liber Gratissimus, 10 (MGHLdL. i.31).
17 R. Elze, Die Ordines für die Weihe und Krönung des Kaisers ( Hanover, 1960), no. iv. A.2 (p. 10).
that the ceremonial proper to the one was transferred to the other. The regalia often contained relics or even were relics -- the German kings were invested with the lance of St Maurice, into which had been set a nail from the cross of Christ. The king was displayed to his people as the Lord's anointed and as a walking relic-collection. It is not surprising that at one of William the Conqueror's crownwearings a spectator fell down, crying out, 'Behold, I see God!' Marc Bloch has seen this period as the time when the custom of 'royal healing' or touching for scrofula arose, although its regular use may belong rather to the thirteenth-century cult of kingship. 18 The sacred office of kingship gave its holder a special responsibility for the church. He was acknowledged as vicar of Christ, and even, in a title which belonged to Christ himself, as head of the church. 19 The Old Testament provided many texts and examples to support the idea of the godly king ruling over a faithful people. The New Testament is considerably less enthusiastic about the secular power, but contemporaries did the best they could with its few helpful texts, such as Romans 13: 1: 'Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.' The responsibility of a conscientious ruler towards the church is expressed in a charter of Edward the Confessor:
It will be right and proper for us, who are said to have been appointed by God as ruler over men, prudently to endeavour by the inspiration of divine mercy and after the measure of our judgement . . . especially to take in hand and in kindly measure investigate the affairs of the church. 20
While the lay power therefore accepted responsibilities for the welfare of the church, the collapse of royal power, most notably in France, had led the bishops to assume what had primarily been royal functions, and to take the initiative in defending the peace. The beginning of the Peace of God movement is usually identified as the council of Le Puy in 975, where Bishop Guy demanded from an assembly of laymen an oath to preserve the peace and to respect the property of the church and of the 'poor', that is the ordinary population. There followed a sequence of councils, mainly in
18 Milo, Vita Lanfranci xiii.33 (PL 150.53CD). On 'royal healing' see works cited in the bibliography.
19 Wipo, Vita Chuonradi 3, ed. H. Bresslau, 23; K. Strecker, Die Tegernseer Briefsammlung no. 125 (MGH Epistolae Selectae III p. 142). The title 'head of the church' is from Eph. 5: 23, and had already been used of the royal office in a work falsely ascribed to St John Chrysostom.
20 Cited and discussed by F. Barlow, The English Church 1000-66 ( London, 1963), 35.
southern France but spreading into the north and other regions, in which peace was enjoined upon the military classes under the threat of ecclesiastical censures. Associated with this were measures, first evident at the council of Toulouges in 1027, prohibiting violence at certain seasons, initially on Sundays but extending to include Fridays, Lent, and other days of special significance. By the time of the council of Narbonne in 1054 an impressive body of legislation had been assembled, which had reached the point of prohibiting any Christian from killing another. John Cowdrey has suggested that this was the culmination of the movement, which afterwards did not show the same vitality in its original form. 21 By this time it had moved far from its Carolingian roots and had developed features which were to be of great significance in the development of medieval society. The bishops were no longer the assistants of the lay power in keeping the peace, but had accepted that responsibility themselves, seeking the support of princes where possible, taking oaths from knights, and even on occasions organizing peace-keeping militias. The calling of special peace councils, where the presence of relics contributed by local monasteries added to the force of the injunctions, similarly went far beyond ninth-century precedents. The theological foundation of this enterprise was also significant, for it was seen as a realization of the peace which the apostles received from their Lord: 'How fair is the name of peace, and how beautiful is the reputation of unity, which Christ left to the disciples when he ascended into heaven.' 22 These themes (the church's duty to defend and provide for the welfare of Christian society, employing militias and oaths when necessary for the purpose; and the restoration of the apostolic age) will be appearing again in this history. The peace movement was a seed-bed in which many of the growths of the following century were germinated.
iii. The Church and the Lay Powers Although the extent to which lay powers intervened in ecclesiastical affairs differed from one part of Europe to another, the general pattern was of heavy involvement. Apart from their moral responsibility, they were compelled to take a close interest because of the large landholdings of monasteries and bishoprics, and the clergy's
21 H. E. J. Cowdrey, "The Peace of God and the Truce of God in the Eleventh century", Past and Present 46 ( 1970) 53.
22 Council of Poitiers (c. 1011-14), prol. (Mansi, xix. 267).
influential position in local society. When William I became king of England in 1066 he found thirty-five monasteries in existence with an aggregate income of £11,000, almost a sixth of the annual revenue of the whole country, while their links with the nobility tended to make them centres of opposition to the Norman conquerors. It was even more vital to control the great churches of Germany and Italy, for from the late tenth century the emperors had endowed them with secular privileges on an even greater scale than elsewhere: counties, immunities, tolls, markets, the minting of money, and other rights were transferred into the hands of favoured bishops, so that, for example, the diocese of Utrecht received no less than eight counties in the course of the eleventh century. It was assumed that the resources of the churches were available for the assistance of the ruler: in particular, bishops were expected to provide hospitality in their cities for the royal court on its incessant journeys, to bring troops to the support of royal expeditions, and to attend the court to give counsel. Royal grants of protection or tuitio were seen as creating a formal relationship between the Crown and the church which received them. The emperors were quite open about the service which the churches were expected to provide, and Henry II granted the abbey of Helmershausen to Bishop Meinwerk of Paderborn 'because it could be of no use to the kingdom in providing facilities or servants'. 23 The government of the German and Italian churches has often been described as the 'imperial church system'. This was not a clearly structured institution, for personal relations were pre-eminent in the functioning of the emperor's government. Even the most important services, such as participation in the military expeditions to Italy, were performed mainly by bishops closely associated with the king, who visited most frequently a relatively small number of favourite cities. The services thus rendered were in practice repaid by the grant of generous privileges. Especially under Henry III, bishops were appointed from the clerks who had acquired personal links with the court through their membership of the royal chapel and of a small group of chapters such as Bamberg, Magdeburg, and Henry's own beloved foundation of St Simon and St Jude at Goslar. Although most German bishops and abbots were of noble birth, lineage was not the only consideration in episcopal appointments. The choice was influenced by
23 Vita Meinwerci 144 (MGH SS XI. 137).
bishops at court who appear as sponsors for candidates by officially 'intervening' in elections, and the evidence is that they used their position to secure the advancement of pupils whom they had taught, canons of their cathedrals, or other clergy whom they had encountered during their careers. It was a solid structure founded not on constitutional powers but on an old-boy network on an impressive scale. The central position of the Crown was made clear by the king's custom of giving to each new bishop a ring and staff, signs of the episcopal office which had originally been placed on the altar for his consecration, but were now bestowed by the emperor as the sign of nomination. The gift of the pastoral staff was by this time a long-standing tradition, and it is probable that the ring was added by Henry III himself. It is not certain whether Henry supposed that he was giving the spiritual office of bishop on God's behalf, or whether he intended only to bestow the land and rights which emperors had so abundantly given. In the empire, there are no texts from his reign which distinguish between the gift of temporal possessions and of the cure of souls, whereas this distinction was recognized in some parts of France before the middle of the century.
The position of the ruler in the German church was an extreme example of a general situation. In England the right of the king to participate in episcopal elections was clear, and although it is not certain whether the Anglo-Saxon kings invested with the pastoral staff, their Norman successors undoubtedly did so after 1066. In France royal authority was only effective in the north, in the area of the île de France, and elsewhere the appointment of bishops had fallen into local hands. The great princes were not necessarily bad rulers of their regional churches: the dukes of Aquitaine helped to sponsor the Peace of God movement, and during the middle years of the century the monasteries of Normandy saw a brilliant revival under ducal patronage. In many cases, however, the bishopric was controlled at a still more local level. There are a few examples of bishoprics which had actually become hereditary. At Quimper in Brittany, a certain Benedict or Budic was describing himself as 'count and bishop' in the early eleventh century, and the two offices then descended in different branches of his family until 1123. Similar succession from father to son can be found at Rennes and Nantes, and seems to have been characteristic of the Breton church. Outside Brittany there was a long family tenure at Poitiers, held by the Isembart family from 986 to 1087. French bishops were usually drawn from the local nobility of the diocese; the replacement of an uncle by a nephew was quite common, but it was rare for the same family to retain the see for more than two generations. The new bishop was in many cases expected to provide a gift or donum to the count. At its best, such a system could secure an easy co-operation between clergy and lay nobility; it provided bishops whose connections and social status enabled them to act effectively in a society dominated by the lay aristocracy; and the payment of the donum confirmed, according to prevailing custom, their security of tenure. It is quite wrong to suppose that only bad bishops could be appointed under these customs. In most cases, we do not know enough about them to decide one way or the other, but it is not difficult to find bishops whose appointment was by later standards gravely improper, but who were effective administrators of their sees. The system, however, had obvious dangers. The exaction of gifts might be on such a scale as to ruin the endowments of the church, and the lay nobles, being the relatives and allies of the upper clergy, were in a good position to establish themselves as tenants of church lands. They could also acquire spiritual revenues: tithes had often passed into lay hands, and we even hear of a layman holding an archdeaconry as a fief by hereditary right. 24
The influence of lay owners was even more marked at the level of local churches. The character of these varied from one region to another, according to the density of settlements and the length of time for which Christianity had been established, but there were some important common features. In each district there was a mother-church, often originally founded at a royal estate. Such a church (the old minster of England, or the plebs or pieve of Italy) was a meeting-place for worship and centre for baptisms and burials. A range of revenues had been attached to it for its upkeep, the most important being tithes, a tenth of the income of all inhabitants. At some of these churches there was a resident community of clergy, although this could only be found at a minority in the eleventh century, and probably such team ministries had never been general. In addition to the mother-churches, many other chapels and oratories had been founded. These had been designed to serve the private estates of bishops, abbeys, or lay lords or to meet the needs of villagers distant from their local church. The impact of private ownership upon this structure was complex. It was inevitable that
24 Ordericus Vitalis, iii (ii. 152).
the rights of the founder would be dominant in the churches which he had provided and which were on his estates, where the priest was in a sense the chaplain of the lord to whom the church belonged. In some parts of Europe, most notably in France, these churches rapidly acquired the rights originally belonging to the baptismal churches. They secured their own tithes, font, and cemetery and thus emerged as parish churches in the later sense, although there was not in this period a clear distinction in usage between the words 'parish' and 'diocese', parochia and diocesis. In Italy, the older pattern of ministry survived much longer. The characteristic system there, throughout the twelfth century, was one of mother-churches and outlying chapels, plebes cure capellis. The advance of private ownership here took the form of the alienation of the rights of the plebes to laymen, which can be observed from at least the tenth century. When Alexander II ( 1062-73) drew up a list of the rights of the bishopric of Lucca, only five of the fifty plebes there remained in the possession of the bishop. The mightiest holder of plebes was probably Marquis Boniface of Tuscany, who is listed in a document of about 1052 as owning, in the diocese of Reggio alone, eleven and a half plebes with a number of chapels, while fourteen more were listed under 'castles and plebes which the bishop holds with all his knights'. 25 Boniface repented of his acquisition of church property, and his family was to be a pillar of the reforming papacy. At the other end of Europe we can observe a similar development, when in the middle years of the eleventh century the estates of the great church of Bosham (Sussex) were being alienated to oblige an earl and provide for the royal clerks of Edward the Confessor. 26 The lord of a church might expect to enjoy revenue from tithes and lands and to control the appointment of the priest, and to a remarkable extent churches were treated as legal property like the mill or oven. They could be inherited and given as fiefs, so that the church of Huntingdon changed its lord five times in a generation, being sold twice and once given as security for a loan. In France it was common for charters to refer to churches which were possessed by hereditary right. 27 It was quite normal for a lay owner to grant a church with all its appendages, including tithes,
25 For detailed evidence, see C. Violante, "Pievi e parocchie nell'Italia centrosettentrionale", MCSM 8 ( 1977) 658 f., 669-70.
26 Barlow, The English Church 1000-66, 190-1.
27 Ibid., 192-3 ; Cartulaire noir de la cathédrale d'Angers, ed. C. Urseau ( Angers, 1908), no. 66, p. 132, granting 'ecclesias de Mellomartis . . . sicut eas hereditario jure huc usque possedi'.
burial rights, first-fruits, offerings, and other revenues which clearly derived from the spiritual functions of the priest. It seems that in the early eleventh century the idea of the church as a local community, or even as a body capable of possessing rights, had been largely lost. Ecclesia meant a building, and charters were phrased so that land was given to God and the saints at the church. 'The idea of corporate personality was too abstract to lay hold of men's minds.' 28 The lay control of local churches was matched by the intrusion of lay interests into monasteries and collegiate churches. With the decay of royal government in France during the century before 1050, the lay advocate of each monastery, whose task had been to represent it in the law-courts, had to become its defender against neighbouring nobles, and from a protector he rapidly became an exploiter. It was a matter of status for a landowner to have a family monastery, and if an abbey was too expensive, then a small collegiate church could be founded. This was particularly a feature of northern France, where the petty nobles, enjoying wide independence, created many such churches during the eleventh century, several of them being endowed with lands which had been taken from nearby abbeys. There is clearly much to support the description of this period as 'the church in the power of the laity'. 29
Yet that description contains a revealing assumption, that the church should normally be controlled by the clergy. This was to be the thrust of the argument of the reformers, with their strong sense of a distinction between the two orders; but it fails to cover important aspects of the situation. By no means all proprietors were laymen. Monasteries were large owners of churches, and their holdings were steadily increasing as lay lords transferred their ecclesiastical rights to them -- a movement which antedates the middle of the century. Clergy were no less eager than laymen to exploit the cash value of their spiritual functions. The bishops' duties of oversight were transmuted into collections of profitable rights, which in Normandy were known as 'episcopal customs'. Charges were made at synod and visitation, and it is by no means certain that the occasions actually took place, or whether they had merely become the name of a tax; fines were levied for moral offences; and churches were sometimes quite openly offered for sale, although this
28 A. Dumas, "La notion de la propriété eccléslastique", RHEF 26 ( 1940) 17.
29 Especially by E. Amann and A. Dumas, L'Église au pouvoir des laïques (888-1057), FM 7 ( Paris, 1942).
perhaps was unusual. As far as we can judge from surviving documents, the prevailing concept of the bishop's office was that of a spiritual lord, who performed important liturgical functions and was the proprietor of a large body of particular rights. The distinctive thing, in fact, was not lay lordship but private ownership. In the church as in the kingdoms the idea of corporate institutions with public functions had collapsed into bundles of rights owned by individual proprietors. It was a seigneurial church which had adopted the practices of the world in which it lived.
The whole system has been described by German historians as Eigenkirchentum. This may be translated, to adapt a modern term to an ancient practice, as the privatization of churches. The concept has the merit of emphasizing that we are dealing with a genuine type of customary law, which had its own cogency, even though it was in conflict with both ancient and modern canon law. Ulrich Stutz traced the idea of Eigenkirchentum back to the early Germanic assumptions about possession, and he is undoubtedly right in believing that it had ancient foundations and that it had for centuries posed problems for the church. More important from our point of view, however, are indications that the process of privatization had advanced very rapidly between 950 and 1050. It is not surprising that this should be so, for it coincided with precisely the same process in the state, where royal rights and public functions were being taken into private hands: the seigneurial revolution proceeded in parallel in the secular and spiritual spheres. Increasingly it presented the church with a critical situation and posed four problems. One of these, the huge lay intrusion into ecclesiastical revenues, has already been mentioned. The advance of privatization also brought with it a collapse of clerical communities. Monasteries had suffered from the Viking invasions, which had obliterated some ancient abbeys and led elsewhere to the replacement of the monks by lay canons. The changes of the later tenth century had in their turn a grave impact upon certain abbeys, but even more upon colleges of canons in cathedrals and other great churches. The Rule of Aix (816), while insisting on a corporate life, had allowed the ownership of individual property, and under the impact of privatization many communities dissolved. We hear, for example, that the canons of Arezzo in Tuscany had wives and families and divided the common property among themselves, and that St Romuald about 1005 'assigned canons and clerks who were living in the world like laymen to provosts and taught them to live in a common congregation'. 30 A third problem was posed by the married clergy. Not many people in the year 1000 thought there was much wrong with clerical marriage, but it had certainly become more prominent than before, with the appearance of married canons in major churches, the growing number of local churches served by married priests, and the tendency for son to succeed father in them.
The fourth effect of the growth of Eigenkirchentum is the most prominent of all in the thought of the period: simony, or the procurement of spiritual privileges by payment of money. It is most unlikely that the widespread purchase of ecclesiastical appointments and revenues was a new thing. In Germanic society, the exchange of gifts was a normal custom, and convention would require a countergift from a clerk who had received the grant of a living; to render some appropriate return would have been good manners, as well as confirming his entitlement to hold the office. If that is so, the question presents itself why the issue now began to cause so much excitement. To this there are perhaps two answers. One is that the use of money for commercial purposes was becoming very much more common in the eleventh century. The present given to a bishop or a lay lord therefore appeared much more like a cash payment than a conventional gift, and the intensity of the reaction was increased by the fact that some leading reformers, such as Peter Damian, showed fierce hostility to the whole development of a money economy. It is unlikely to be a coincidence that Italy, which was foremost in commercial development, was also a forerunner in radical protests against simony. The other cause for growing anxiety about simony may have been the progress of privatization itself, which gave rise to a large number of business transactions in church rights. It is probable, therefore, that we are not simply the victims of an optical illusion: even allowing for the greater volume of evidence, the church of 1050 really was much more dominated by simony than that of 850. The growth of a money economy and of seigneurial jurisdiction had increased the grip of simony, and the chink of money round the altar had become impossible to ignore or to accept.
iv. The Beginnings of a Reform Ideology.
The roots of the great reforming movement, whose manifestations
30 Historia Custodum Aretinorum (MGH SS XXX.2. 1473); Peter Damian, Vita Romualdi 35 (PL 144.986-7). This life was written about 1042.
will occupy a great part of this volume, were already in existence before 1050, and we can discern three spheres which were particularly significant.
We noticed earlier that the idea of the church as a community had almost disappeared, and that churches were being treated as buildings which were as susceptible to ownership as a mill or an oven. At best, they were seen as property owned by God or the patron saint. Yet in some influential circles the old concept of the church as a community was being actively revived. It was kept in memory in part by the fact that Isidore of Seville had defined the church as an assembly of people. 31 At the abbey of St Victor, Marseille, a major centre of monastic growth, it was realized that the use of the word ecclesia to mean a building is strictly incorrect: 'preaching freely that Jesus Christ is the son of the living God, (the apostles) ordered the building of material houses both in wood and stone, in which they could readily instruct the assembled faithful in the Lord's teaching. These houses from that time onwards the faithful incorrectly called "churches" '. 32 This sense of community was particularly expressed in a growing devotion to the apostles. In France and Germany, there was an increasing observance of the feast of Divisio apostolorum, kept normally on 15 July to commemorate the separation of the apostles to preach the Gospel. At the same time, it was becoming fashionable for churches to adopt patron saints from among the apostles, who sometimes replaced the less familiar martyr or missionary of the traditional dedication; or, as in the case of St Martial at Limoges, there was a move to obtain recognition of the patron as having apostolic rank. This devotion to the apostolic past was not a mere formality, but was accompanied by an attempt to understand and appropriate the spirituality of the first generation of Christians. It has already been mentioned that the Peace of God movement saw itself as inspired by the peace which Christ had given to the twelve, and there was growing excitement about the description of the apostolic church in the New Testament: 'Now the company of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one said that any of the things which he possessed was his own, but they had everything in common' (Acts 4:32).
The proud duty of living the apostolic life belonged in the first place to monks, and the passages from the Acts of the Apostles
31 Isidore, De Ecclesiasticis Officiis I.i.2 (PL 83.739-40): ecclesia autem vocatur proprie, propter quod omnes ad se vocet et in unum congreget, echoing a definition by St Augustine.
32 M. Guérard, (ed.), Cartulaire . . . de S. Victor de Marseille ( Paris, 1857), I, no. 33, p. 52.
provided them with a vision of community which they could set against the sombre background of a world of which they had despaired. The monasteries were seen as the historical continuation of the apostolic church at Jerusalem. This idea was expounded by Bishop Pons of Marseille in his carta liberalis for St Victor, Marseille, in 1005. Having quoted Acts 4: 32, he continued
At Jerusalem the whole multitude of believers was of a kind which it is now difficult to find among the few who are in monasteries. But when by the preaching of the apostles the necks of all the peoples were subjugated to the yoke of the Lord, and the number of believers was infinite, and when the holy apostles had departed from the world in the glory of martyrdom, that holy fellowship and institution of the apostles began little by little to grow lukewarm. Seeing this, those whose minds were fervent in the doctrine which they had received from the apostles separated themselves and began to live together. They were called in Greek cenobites, that is 'living communally'. From that monasteries took their origin. 33
These ideals were shared by many monastic leaders, and provided a programme for such great houses as Cluny and St Bénigne, Dijon, and were also, as we shall see later, beginning to impinge on the secular clergy, among whom houses of canons were already, before the middle of the century, returning to a common life and common ownership of property.
A further source of reforming ideas was canon law. This was thought to have absolute authority, so that Abbot Siegfried of Gorze wrote in 1043 that 'it is sure and undoubtedly true that the authority of the canons is the law of God'. 34 It was, however, hard to study and apply the canons, for existing collections were arranged chronologically and were difficult to consult on any particular matter. The two most widely circulated were the DionysiaHadriana, which was the nearest thing to an official compilation that existed, and the pseudo-Isidorian decretals. In the years before 1050 the situation was being changed by the dissemination of a new collection, the Decretum of Bishop Burchard of Worms, completed before 1020, and admirably designed to meet the needs of bishops who had to hear ecclesiastical disputes, for the compilation was arranged by themes and so was much easier to consult. It spread throughout western Europe, appeared in Rome and central Italy by
33 Cartulaire . . . de S. Victor I, no. 15, p 18.
34 Letter to Abbot Poppo of Stavelot, cited W. von Giesebrecht, Geschichte der deutschen Kaiserzeit, ii ( Brunswick, 1860), doc. 10, p. 663.
about I050, and remained influential until the end of the century. For some fifty years or more it was the most generally authoritative of canonical collections, and the character of the reforming ideology was influenced by the fact that many extracts from papal letters, which were believed to represent the teaching of the early church, were in fact drawn from the forged decretals of pseudo-Isidore. Thinking was therefore being shaped, not so much by catholic tradition in its historical form, as by the image of tradition in the minds of the ninth-century forgers.
The apostolic ideal, the monastic and clerical revivals, and the application of canon law all had features in common, and their objectives were actively supported by some of the German emperors, notably by Henry II ( 1002-24) and Henry III ( 1039-56). The most important feature of all was the attack on simony, which was condemned in the synods of Ravenna and Rome: 'if any one shall consecrate a bishop or priest or deacon or any form of holy orders for money, he shall be anathema and the ordainer shall be deposed'. The attack on simony was pursued on an international scale: in France it was condemned at the synod of Bourges 1031 and in the chronicle of the Cluniac Raoul Glaber; in England lay domination and the sale of churches were attacked in the sermons of Ælfric; in Germany the Decretum of Burchard of Worms preserved the ancient legislation against simony; and in Tuscany monastic founders included provisions that an abbot who obtained office by simony should be expelled. 35 The attack on clerical marriage was not as persistent, but it was a central theme of the synod of Pavia in 1022, while Burchard of Worms preserved from earlier collections legislation which limited the intervention of lay powers in pastoral affairs.
The Roman Church was not a major source of reforming enterprises. Until the crisis of 1045-6 the papal office was held by members of the great family of Tusculum. They have often been regarded as an expression of its degradation, and certainly contemporary criticism of Benedict IX ( 1032-45) was severe. Recent study has however shown that the Tusculan popes were more concerned for the upholding of canon law, and more active on the international scene, than has ugually been supposed. Even under Benedict IX there
35 See e.g. M. Fornasari, ed., Collectio Canonum in V Libris, i.72, CC(CM) 6 ( 1970), 63. See also W. Goez, "Reformpapsttum, Adel und monastische Erneuerung in der Toscana", VuF 17 ( 1973), 222 n.
was a group at Rome based on the household of John Gratian, who was to become pope briefly as Gregory VI in 1045. This party probably had connections with reformers such as the hermit Peter Damian, Abbot Odilo of Cluny and the exiled Archbishop Lawrence of Amalfi. It also included the youthful clerk Hildebrand, who may have been a relative of John Gratian and certainly began his fiery career under his auspices.
The dignity of the church of Rome rested, in the eyes of contemporaries, on its standing as the shrine of the apostles. There were many people, great and small, who like Count Haimo of Corbell 'went to Rome to the tombs of the apostles Peter and Paul for the sake of prayer'. 36 The foundation-texts of the Roman Church were the promises given by Christ to Peter, with power to bind and loose, but these were not generally regarded as giving jurisdiction over all other churches. Isidore had taught that the powers of Peter had been conferred on all the apostles, and his teaching was quoted at the synod of Arras in 1025. 37 In line with this, Burchard of Worms declared that the order of bishops had begun with Peter, so that Rome was to be reverenced as the first see and enjoyed a primacy among bishops; but its bishop could not properly be termed chief of the bishops or their prince ( princeps sacerdotum or summus sacerdos ). 38 Papal influence north of the Alps was limited to a narrow range of specific issues. In the first half of the century it was very rare for a pope to travel outside Italy, and many bishops had never visited Rome. There was no regular channel of communication, and it is probable that many dioceses never received a papal letter of any kind. Nevertheless there were still signs of a view which had been expressed by Leo I and Gregory I and had been sharpened in the Carolingian period, that the see of Rome was the special recipient of the Petrine commission and enjoyed a general authority of binding and loosing in the church as a whole. The materials for such an interpretation were contained in papal letters and in canon law, and had been increased by the fertile imagination of the pseudo-Isidorian forger, whose work was already known at Rome. There was only one area of activity in which this primacy had received significant application before 1050: the emergent practice of exempting great
36 C. Borel (ed.), Vie de Bouchard le Vénérable par Eudes de S.-Maur ( Paris, 1892). 5-6. The life was written in 1058 although it tells of earlier events.
37 Isidore, De Officiis Ecclesiasticis, II. v. _5 (PL 83.782A); Mansi xix.444A.
38 Burchard, Decretum i. 1-3 (PL 140.549-50).
monasteries from the control of the bishops. John XIX linked the exemption which he granted to Cluny with the claim that the apostolic see 'has the right of judging over every church, and no one is permitted to quibble about its decree nor to judge its judgement.' 39 This was saying a great deal, but before 1050 it was very rare for the claim to be put into effect.
Between about 1020 and 1050, then, there were important groups who were looking for a revival of apostolic standards in opposition to the practices which generally prevailed. The work of monastic renewal, the reform of collegiate churches, and the more effective application of canon law and legislation by councils and synods did not begin in the middle of the century, however much they may have been accelerated thereafter. The rediscovery of the church of Christ and the apostles -- in its own way, a quest for the historical Jesus -- had already emerged as an ideal, and is a striking illustration of the renewal of the church by the recovery of the past, or of what was conceived to be the past. As Hans Küng has said, 'Christianity means the activation of memory', and the process was already happening before 1050. 40 Scholars have been unable to agree how close the reform movement of those years had come to the ideals which became dominant in the second half of the century. Many of the principles were certainly being stated already: there was not much later legislation about simony, for example, which was not already in essence contained in the collection of Burchard of Worms. One difference we can notice at once: there was before 1050 no very clear statement of a programme, and no co-ordination of the reforming endeavours by an authority which could champion them throughout western Europe. These were provided only by the dramatic change within the Roman Church after the intervention of Henry III in 1046. The implementation of the programme, moreover, could take place only in the context of developments in society as a whole, which were only beginning in the middle of the eleventh century, and to which we must turn in the next chapter.
39 See H. E. J. Cowdrey, The Cluniacs and the Gregorian Reform ( Oxford, 1970), 41-2 n.
40 H. Küng, On being a Christian ( London, 1974), 121.
THE PATTERN OF SOCIAL CHANGE
It is not possible in studying the medieval world to distinguish clearly between the history of the church and that of secular society. The chronicler Otto of Freising, remembering St Augustine's distinction between the city of God and the earthly city, thought it could hardly be applied to his own times: 'because not only the whole people, but also the princes, with a few exceptions, were catholics, it seems to me that I have written the history, not of two cities, but only of one, which I call the church'. 1 The great changes which we shall have to study in the organization and spirituality of the church were responses to the transformation of society, and at the same time they helped to bring the transformation about. What is more, the actual concepts which we must use in understanding the period were themselves moulded by ecclesiastical writers. Such groups as the knights (milites) or the poor (pauperes) may seem to us to be sociological phenomena, but to twelfth-century writers they were theological and moral conceptions, significant for the function which they fulfilled in the divine purpose for the world. Social changes cannot be examined separately from the religious thought which helped to bring them about and shaped the information we receive about them. The purpose of this chapter is to consider these wider changes before turning to those developments which are more specifically ecclesiastical.
i. The Extension of Economic Activity: the Countryside In the eleventh century a great part of the countryside in western Europe was still unpeopled. River valleys were unprofitable marshlands, and low-lying coasts, notably those of Flanders, Holland, and northern Germany, were covered with sand-dunes and salt-marsh. Still more characteristic of the landscape were the great forests. Even in the more thickly settled areas such as England or northern France,
1 Otto of Freising, Chronica, v. prol., ed. A. Hofmeister ( Hanover, 1912), 229.
there were extensive woods, each of which had its own name, like rivers and mountains on the modern map: Wychwood, Sherwood, Weald, Yveline, La Bière. Perhaps the most fully developed countryside was that of Lombardy, but even there estates had been allowed to lapse from cultivation, the marshes at the mouth of the Po valley were unrecovered, and at the heart of the most fertile area a village near Mantua had still in 1114 the legal obligation to assist the lord when he pursued wild beasts in the woods. 2 While even the more populated lands had a good deal of undeveloped space, Germany still had huge areas of primeval forest untouched by man, and its internal colonization was going to produce one of the major shifts in political power in our period.
The years after 1050 have been christened the Age of Clearance. All over Europe, there were in progress the settlement of wastes, the clearance of forests, and the draining of marshes. The timing of this great enterprise varied from one region to another. In France the activity was most intense between 1050 and 1150, although in some areas, such as the county of Mâcon on the Rhône in the neighbourhood of the great abbey of Cluny, it had begun in the late tenth century. In Flanders, Count Baldwin V was congratulated around 1060 because 'you have made fertile by your care and industry land which was uncultivated until recently'. 3 In the Île de France new settlement, or resettlement of land which had become waste during the past century of disorder, was specially evident when Louis VI ( 1108-37) was creating new villages beside the crucial road from Paris to Orléans through the heart of the royal territory, and when Abbot Suger of Saint-Denis ( 1122-51) was restoring the abbey lands and settling colonists, coloni or hospites. Germany provided specially abundant opportunities for clearance. In this land of great forests, it had perhaps never wholly stopped, but evidence suggests that it had slowed around 900 and that progress had become rapid by the late eleventh century. Peasant settlers were moving into Austria, while in the north Archbishop Frederick of Hamburg-Bremen made an agreement with a group of Hollanders in 1106 to drain land which was 'until now uncultivated and marshy and useless to the inhabitants of the country.' 4 Princely houses were able to build up territories under their own control, as the Zähringen did in the Black
____________________ 2 See the evidence in J. K. Hyde, Society and Politics in Medieval Italy ( London, 1973), 25-6. 3 Letter from archbishop of Reims (MGH SS XV. ii. 855). 4 Cited G. Duby, Rural Economy and Country Life in the Medieval West ( London, 1968), 391-3.
Forest and the Hohenstaufen in Alsace and Suabia. The same possibility was open to the ecclesiastical princes, and the question of territorialpolitik, the clashes over the control of territories, became increasingly significant in the relations between the German monarchy and bishops. Land for settlement was particularly abundant on the eastern frontier. In 1108 the bishops and lay nobles of Saxony drafted a manifesto inviting peoples from the German lands to join in an expedition against the pagan Wends and to settle in the east: 'here you can save your souls and, if you wish, acquire the best of land to dwell in'. 5 The process of settlement made it easy to find the land needed for founding or extending monasteries. Thus (to take one of many possible examples) in 1101 Abbot Windolf of Pegau on the river Elster undertook the settlement of a place which was called after him Abbatisdorf, 'to root out the trees and bushes everywhere and, having destroyed the dense woods, to lay out new lands. A church was built there and a manor (curia) properly provided for the use of the inhabitants.' 6
The process of clearance was associated with a growth in population in many parts of western Europe. Some of the new lands were brought into cultivation by immigrants, like the Hollanders at Bremen, who had probably been driven away by the growing population and consequent land shortage in their home districts. It is likely that several different causes were combining to produce a great demographic increase. It must in part have been due to the cessation of invasions from outside which had made the ninth and tenth centuries such a troubled time all over the west. Improvements in technology helped: an upsurge in iron production made available more iron tools (the woodman's axe, the heavy plough for rich soils), while better systems of harnessing improved the performance of draught animals. Nutrition played its part, with the extension of fields devoted to leguminous crops; as Lynn White has suggested, medieval people were literally full of beans. It is difficult to give a firm chronological framework to these changes, but they were certainly having a significant impact in the course of the twelfth century. It may well be, too, that the continent was experiencing one of the cyclical changes in the world's weather, and that the longer
5 The expedition did not set off, and there is some doubt whether the manifesto was circulated. See P. Knoch, "Kreuzzug und Siedlung: Studien zum Aufruf der Magdeburger Kirche von 1108", Für die Geschichte Mittel-und Ostdeutschlands 23 ( 1974), 1-33.
6 Annales Pegavienses for 1101 (MGH SS XVI.247). For the background see M. Meiner, Wiprecht von Groitzsch und Abt Windolf von Pegau (Grossdeuben bei Leipzig, 1927).
and drier summers, which had grave consequences for the economy of hot and arid regions such as Iraq at precisely this time, made the processes of draining and clearance much easier in the wetter conditions of the west. The emergence of cities interacted with the countryside by producing a demand for its products; the new prosperity of the Île de France was founded on the supply of corn and wine to the industrial towns of Flanders. The reasons are speculative, but the increase in the population, and of the settled area, is an important fact in most of western Europe.
Contemporaries were aware of the problem of over-population. One account of the speech of pope Urban II, when he proclaimed the First Crusade at Clermont in 1095, strikingly ascribes to him a recognition of the need for Lebensraum in the east:
The land which you inhabit is closed in on all sides by the sea and the chains of mountains and is crowded by your large numbers, so that it does not suffice for the supply of riches and scarcely provides food for its cultivators. That is why you quarrel among yourselves, wage war and often wound and kill each other. 7
The pressure of population upon the land, that most fundamental of resources, shaped social customs and ethical ideas. It lay behind the growth of practices designed to prevent the disintegration of estates through subdivision among many heirs. The most obvious of these was primogeniture, the rule that the eldest son inherited the whole of the estate. It made the propertied classes interested in new strategies of marriage which might enable them to safeguard or acquire land, and this interacted with the thinking of theologians and canon lawyers to produce a quite new marriage law. Another strategy for a hard-pressed nobility was chastity. It is evident to us that one reason for monastic growth was the need to remove some of the sons and daughters from competition for the family lands, and it is interesting to discover that this was recognized at the time. Bishop Otto of Bamberg ( 1102-39) explained his many monastic foundations by the fact that 'now, at the end of the ages, when men are multiplied beyond number, is the time of continence'. 8
The expansion of settlement into hitherto uninhabited areas had large implications for the organization of religious communities and the emergence of new ways of thinking. It was now possible to
____________________ 7 Robert the Monk, Historia Iherosolimitana, i. 1 (RHC Occ. iii.728). 8 Herbord, Dialogus de vita Ottonis, i. 18 (MGH SS XX.710).
create stable monastic foundations in what had previously been wilderness. The growth of new orders in the hills and forests would not have been possible a century earlier, and the economic success of the Cistercians would have then been unthinkable. The expansion was also creating a climate of greater confidence. The wastes which had once been the abode of beasts and demons were falling to the axe and becoming the home of men, and the wolf was literally being driven from the door. The land was being clad in a white robe of churches. This provided the physical background to the sense of dominance over nature and belief in human capacity which was to become a feature of the new age. At the same time the movement of considerable elements of the population from their ancestral villages tended to disrupt the system of kin or clan which had provided belonging and security. Many men were 'compelled by the constraints of hunger to leave their land and their kindred'. 9 Their move took them into a variety of different environments. They might enter a newly founded settlement or villeneuve, enjoying land of their own regulated by the lord's charter, or settle within the walls of a fortified village (castello) of the sort which was numerous in central Italy. The inhabitants of these entered a structured community, even if the move uprooted them from their old kindred and neighbourhood. Others might be driven from their land by warfare, famine, acquisitive landlords, or population pressure without a secure place of refuge. 10 Migrants came to live in the growing cities, where they remained in poverty at the mercy of the changing demand for unskilled labour, and others moved into the forest to settle in small clearings. To some of them the pilgrim routes offered a source of escape, and we find that they sometimes ended as beggars who travelled from one shrine to another, existing on charity as perpetual pilgrims. Economic activity, therefore, produced the new social problem of the 'poor'.
Poverty in the modern sense of the word had long been endemic in a world troubled by outside invasion, internal war, poor technology, and natural disasters. In Carolingian usage, however, pauper did not primarily refer to those who lacked financial resources. The classic opposition had been between potens and pauper, between the great proprietors and the subject population which required protection to
10 The causes of poverty are well illustrated in J. M. Bienvenu, "Pauvreté, misères et charité en Anjou", MA 72 ( 1966), 389-424; 73 ( 1967), 5-34, 189-216.
9 Annales Cameracenses for 1144 (MGH SS XVI.516).
safeguard its land. We even find a contrast between the pauper, a small holder, and the egenus, the needy man whom we would more naturally call the poor. The Carolingian thinking was exactly in line with the words of the psalmist: 'May he judge thy people with righteousness, and thy poor with justice!. . . May he defend the cause of the poor of the people, give deliverance to the needy, and crush the oppressor!' (Ps. 72: 2-4). In the eleventh century, the meaning of the word became diversified. It could be used for unarmed peasants, incapable of defending themselves against nobles and knights who were oppressing them -- an adaptation of the old distinction to a new social reality. The 'poor' were also very frequently the voluntary poor, monks or hermits who had renounced their worldly inheritance for the sake of Christ. Finally, and most significantly from our point of view, the 'poor' were seen as a distinct group of the dispossessed. They were those who had lost their lord, their land and kindred; whose provisions would not suffice until the next harvest; who had fallen into the hands of rural money-lenders. The word pauperes was thus already being used in the eleventh century to identify a new problem of poverty: the existence of groups who had fallen through the net of protection which, inadequate as it was, had formerly been provided by the family and the village community. This problem of poverty was to have a profound effect upon the spiritual ideals and functions of the church in our period. 11
ii. The Extension of Economic Activity: the Cities.
At the beginning of the eleventh century the culture and economy of the west were almost wholly rural. It is true that many of the old Roman cities still existed, and moreover that they were important. Not only were they walled towns and centres of defence, but they contained the cathedrals and therefore the remains of diocesan administration. Nevertheless their population was small and there were relatively few Roman cities in northern France and England and none at all beyond the Rhine and Danube. Only in Italy was something like an urban culture preserved. Even there the economy, outside a few ports such as Venice and Amalfi, was agricultural, and
11 I have here adopted amendments to the views of M. Mollat proposed in an important article by C. Violante, "Riflessioni sulla povertà nel secolo Xl", Studi sul medioevo cristiano offerti a R. Morghen ( Rome, 1974), ii. 1061-81.
the possibility of an industrial and commercial society seemed scarcely imaginable. About 1025 a writer at Pavia, one of the largest inland cities, noted with amazement that the people of Venice did not cultivate crops or vineyards. 12 Nevertheless, the larger Italian cities contained not only a cathedral, but a palace and court administration, the residences of the nobility, and a group of lay judges and notaries. These varied a good deal in their legal learning, but they were the nearest thing to a professional class anywhere in the west, and their leading members might become men of outstanding importance, like the family of Leo at Lucca, who were large landowners and held administrative authority in more than one city.
The demographic expansion which gave rise to the clearances in the countryside was also reflected in the growth of the cities. Indeed, they were part of the same process. Most cities grew because of the increasing vitality of the economic life of the region which they served, for a larger population and greater production required better centres of exchange. To that must be added the growth of transcontinental trade. By 1150 the outlines of the later medieval commercial pattern had been firmly sketched. The Italian ports controlled the carrying trade to Constantinople, Syria, and Egypt, while they themselves obtained cloth from the industrial towns of Flanders. For its raw materials, Flanders in turn drew from a wide area: wool from England, corn and wine from the Île de France. The cities therefore ranged in importance from small regional markets to trading centres with connections in every part of the world. Almost no numerical evidence remains of their population, but an indication of their growth is given by the walls. At Cologne, the Roman walls enclosed ninety-seven hectares, and these already had received a minor extension in the tenth century. In 1106, there was a further small extension, and then a major new wall in 1180, which enclosed 401 hectares, one of the largest city areas in Europe. At Paris the Roman settlement south of the river Seine on the Mont SainteGeneviève had not survived the Germanic invasions, and urban life continued mainly on the tiny Île de la Cité, with an area measuring only eight hectares. Rapid expansion apparently began late in the eleventh century, and the walls built by Philip Augustus early in the thirteenth century encompassed almost 273 hectares. The growth of Paris was produced by a combination of the features which were encouraging urban development. On the right bank of the Seine was
12 Honorancie Civitatis Papie, 4 (MGH SS XXX-ii. 1453).
a commercial centre, from which the merchants controlled trade on the river from Rouen eastwards. From the reign of Louis VI ( 110837) Paris became increasingly the centre of royal government, and at the same time the famous schools began to attract students from all over Europe. Under Abbot Suger the abbey of Saint-Denis, just to the north, developed into a national shrine and centre of pilgrimage.
The century from 1050 to 1150 also saw the growth of Flanders as a populous industrial area, and extensive developments in the civic life of Italy. The fleets of Venice, Genoa, and Pisa were handling large-scale trade with Asia and Africa, while the collapse of the old political order had led to the emergence in Lombardy of a society whose authority was in the hands of the cities. The disintegration of imperial control, which can already be discerned in some cities in the tenth century, developed apace during the minority of the emperor Henry IV after 1056 and continued throughout the bitter papalimperial conflict. The destruction of the palaces of the emperor or the margrave in cities such as Pavia, Lucca, and Bologna symbolized the end of an order. The ruling classes of the cities, nobles, judges, and knights of the bishops' households, increasingly exercised authority in the name of the community, displacing the bishop who had once acted on its behalf. By 1150 virtually every city in northern Italy was governed by elected consuls and organized as a commune. Rome itself, the head of the world, caput mundi, was also touched by the new vigour of urban life, but in a way occasioned by its unique history. The vast Antonine walls had, even in the classical period, enclosed a good deal of countryside, and by 1100 they bore no sort of relationship to the size of the city, whose population had shrunk during the intervening ages. The great basilicas situated near the walls, including the cathedral church of St John Lateran itself, formed villages separated by open country from the main city. The new growth of population was centred in the Tiber valley and in Trastevere on the west bank, which provided a power-base for new families such as the Pierleoni, whose possessions on Tiber Island controlled one of the main bridges. Also on the west bank, the basilica of St Peter at the Vatican had been given its own protective wall as early as the ninth century. Most Italian cities were influenced by their memories of the classical past, and this was supremely so at Rome. Extensive church-building there was stimulated by the need to make provision for the densely settled areas by the Tiber and also to repair damage done, along the edges of the main inhabited area, by the Normans in 1084. Splendid buildings such as San Clemente and Santa Maria in Trastevere were in neo-classical style, designed in basilican form and decorated by mosaics inspired by those of the early centuries. The citizens' desire for liberty was subsequently expressed in classical forms with a Senate meeting at the Capitol. Rome was not, for most of our period, a satisfactory basis for the exercise of papal authority. It did not, until centuries later, possess the commercial or banking resources of the cities further north, nor did its schools share in the brilliant developments of those of France or Lombardy; most of its cultural history was written from outside. There were powerful groups always ready to go into opposition or to ally with the emperors, and for long periods the popes were unable to settle in their own city or conduct their administration from it. Their seat of power was a travelling household, not the Vatican or the Lateran basilicas.
The rising cities expressed themselves in the social and religious forms which came most naturally to the age. Almost invariably they were governed by a small group of leading families, a patriciate descended from the local aristocracy or from officers of the bishop's household. Like any monastery, the cities sought for charters of privilege and exemption, and they protected their security by that most standard of contemporary devices, a mutual oath - for that was the meaning of the 'commune' which so many cities wished to establish. It was an oath of peace with strong similarities to the oaths exacted from participants in the Peace of God movement. The cities often found in their patron saint their sense of identity and guarantee of protection. The body of St Mark was Venice's proudest possession, while at Lucca the generation which saw the appearance of the first consuls was also responsible for the recarving of the city's most splendid relic, the Santo Volto or statue of Christ, believed to record his exact appearance. The new greatness of the city of Bari was celebrated by the theft in 1087 of the body of St Nicholas from the shrine in Asia Minor in which it was housed, and at Verona the tympanum of the church of San Zeno, carved by the mason Nicholas in the 1130s, showed the saint bestowing a banner on the forces of the commune. Some bishops, especially in smaller cities, identified themselves closely with the aspirations of the citizens against castellans who were also trying to gain control. Bishop Bruno of Segni's last words were a promise 'that no tyrant shall in future construct a tower or any fortification in the city of Segni to dominate or oppress them, and they shall enjoy for ever the joys of liberty, which the divine munificence has given them'. 13 The impact of the saints upon the new cities was such that it brought about a major reconstruction of traditional ceremonies and superstitions. 'Folklore' seems to have been told anew in many cities in the twelfth century. For example, the relics of St Martha of Bethany were discovered at Tarascon on the Rhône in 1187, when the town was beginning to enjoy a new prosperity. Within the next few years a life of St Martha told of her capture of a local monster, la Tarasque. The Tarasque procession on Whit Monday, and the celebration of the capture on the saint's day, 29 July, continued at least sporadically into the twentieth century. It is striking that in the medieval materials the description of the saint and details of the capture are of common form, easy to parallel from other legends, whereas la Tarasque is a beast with distinctive features and strong local connections. The conclusion lies ready to hand that the original ceremonial and storytelling of the region were being altered to accommodate the rising power of the new saint. La Tarasque was tamed by urbanism and the power of the church, but without wholly losing her original features, which survived long enough to give us some indication of the transformation which had taken place in folk belief.
Before the middle of the twelfth century the expanding towns were showing signs of a new cultural and political importance. The cathedral schools were emerging as a major intellectual force, and the cathedrals themselves were increasingly the finest architectural monuments of the time. The outbreak of the conflict between Henry IV and Gregory VII turned on the struggle for Milan, and the support which most of the German cities gave Henry was crucial in excluding his opponents from the major bishoprics. On the First Crusade the navies of the Italian ports played an essential part in the capture of Antioch and Jerusalem. Increasingly, an urban style of life emerged, for the towns, small as they seem by twentieth-century standards, were posing unprecedented problems of scale. Their inhabitants needed hospitals, almshouses, leper-houses, schools, brothels, taverns, and churches, and the provision of all these things was rapidly extended. The cities also offered new opportunities for propagandists to sow the seeds of discontent, as Ariald did so effectively at Milan in the 1050s. Some of them acquired a nasty reputation for riot: 'the people is fickle and disorderly, and therefore
13 Vita (AASS July IV 484DE).
is sometimes disturbed with seditious movements'. 14 One of the most famous insurrections was that at Laon in 1112, When the townsmen found their disreputable Bishop Gaudri hiding in a wine barrel and murdered him there. It is not surprising that these episodes of tumult led some clergy to declare themselves hostile to the whole urban movement; Abbot Guibert of Nogent, a close observer of the troubles at Laon, regarded 'commune' as a 'new and most evil name'. 15 Some historians have therefore regarded the cities as forming an intrusive element in society, 'hostile to the aristocracy and the feudal system', but at best this is a half-truth. 16 According to local circumstances citizens might rise against their bishop, or act as his ally against the local nobility; while some listened to anticlerical preachers, others were cathedral builders and devotees of their patron saint.
Some thinkers rejected the city entirely, not because of any clash of interests, but because they abhorred the whole ethos of commerce and careerist education. 'I will not dwell in cities', declared Norbert of Xanten, the founder of the Premonstratensians, 'but rather in deserted and uncultivated places,' while Bernard of Clairvaux urged Henry Murdac, master of the school at York, to seek God in the heart of nature: 'You will find something more in forests than in books. Woods and rocks will teach you what you cannot learn from masters.' 17 Their abhorrence of city life was increased by the part which money was coming to play in it. It is hard to trace in detail this growth in the availability of money, which indeed by later standards was still limited: throughout the period covered by this book there was no successful minting of a gold currency by a western government, and credit techniques were very primitive before the thirteenth century. Nevertheless, by about 1050 an increased level of financial activity was becoming quite widely evident. One of its effects was to act as a solvent on older forms of social organization. We have already observed an apparent link between the growing concern about simony and the rise of a money economy, and the demand for cash and credit also had a disastrous impact upon the
14 At Tournai, Vita S. Macharii altera, 22 (MGH SS XV.ii.617).
15 Guibert, De Vita Sua, iii.7: E. R. Labande (ed.), Guibert de Nogent: Autobiographie ( Paris, 1981), 320.
16 F. Heer, The Medieval World ( London, 1962), 75. A more balanced statement of the same view is in E. Werner, "Heresie und Gesellschaft im 11 Jh.", Sb der sächsischen Akademie, Philhlst. Kl., 117.5 ( 1975), 11 ff.
17 Hermann, De Miraculis S. Mariae Laudunensis, iii.3 (PL 156.991C); Bernard, ep.106 (Opera vii.266-7).
position of the Jews. They had previously formed a minority which, if little loved, had been tolerated, but they were now pressed into acting as the money-lenders which Christian society required, and became hated for the efficiency with which they performed their new role. The radical enthusiasts for poverty found the impact of money wholly objectionable, but the emergence of a cash economy also opened a great range of new possibilities. Alexander Murray is right in his judgement that 'money, rather than being a solvent of medieval society as it might first appear, was a prerequisite for its most characteristic achievements -- such as cathedrals, pilgrimages and crusades.' 18 The flexibility provided by the wider use of money was essential for the range of international undertakings which, as we shall see shortly, was one of the most characteristic features of the new age.
iii. The Expansion of Education.
The medieval church in its years of fullest development depended heavily upon learning. Its theology was sophisticated and its administration shaped by skilled canon lawyers. This is particularly striking in view of the fact that in 1050 the level of learning was low and good education available to very few. Large monasteries needed a school for the training of their monks, and might open it to favoured pupils from outside or supplement it with an external school designed for students outside the community. Other major churches were required by Carolingian legislation to provide instruction, and in practice they had at least a song school designed to train boys to sing the service. Before the twelfth century, the word schola meant a choir rather than a school in our sense, and the training was often in the hands of the precentor, who was in charge of the music. The requirement of the Council of Rome in 1078 that bishops should provide for the teaching of letters in their churches and supervise the care of their ornaments emphasized the link between education and liturgy. 19 In Germany the emperors had encouraged the development of cathedral schools, and by 1050 such schools as Liège, Bamberg, and Magdeburg were the recruiting-grounds of the next generation of canons, and therefore of bishops. Henry III was a noted champion of these centres; indeed, he drew all his bishops
18 A. Murray, Reason and Society in the Middle Ages ( Oxford, 1978), 55.
19 Greg. VII, Reg. VI.5b (402).
from this source. The Augsburg annalist noted succinctly that in Henry's time there was 'most famous study everywhere'. 20 In smaller towns it is unlikely that teaching was available other than from the parish priest, whose efforts would be directed (if he possessed the modest skill required) to training boys to help in church. It was a system which made natural the hereditary benefice, in which the son was trained up to follow his father's business.
There were indeed monasteries and cathedrals with fine libraries. Fleury on the river Loire and Reichenau and Saint-Gall in southern Germany were literary and artistic centres, and the activity of learned abbeys and their external schools kept the Meuse valley in the forefront of European culture. Even at its best, however, monastic writing in the eleventh century showed the marks of a nonspeculative education. There were hymns, lives of saints, and annals in abundance, but not much serious theology or philosophy, whose absence from a Christian culture may be unexpected to the modern reader. Outside the monasteries, it was even more difficult to secure an advanced education. At times an outstanding master would emerge, such as Gerbert of Reims in the late tenth century or Fulbert of Chartres in the next generation, and Fulbert had a large group of pupils who later became heads of schools or scholastici. It has been suggested that Italian cities still possessed schools under lay masters, and it is at least true that cathedrals such as Milan and Pavia provided teaching to quite a high level. The core of their training was rhetoric, the art of public speaking, but it included a considerable amount of law and a good knowledge of the classics.
As against these rather frail beginnings, rapid progress took place from the second half of the eleventh century. There was a general improvement in the level of literacy among the clergy. Abbot Guibert of Nogent, writing about 1115, reflected on the change which he had seen:
A little before that time, and still partly in my own time, there was a great shortage of teachers of grammar. Almost none could be found in towns, and scarcely any in cities; and those who could be found were slender in knowledge, and were not even comparable with the wandering scholars of our own day. 21
Some local schools at least had teaching of high quality: Bernard of Clairvaux acquired excellent Latin without attending any of the great
20 Annal. Aug. for 1041 (MGH SS III 125).
21 Guibert, De Vita Sua, i.4, ed. E.-R. Labande, 26.
centres, and in England Gilbert of Sempringham, the founder of a major religious order, began his career as a local schoolmaster. The facts support the impression of a great expansion of education. Not merely were vastly more books being written in the early twelfth century, but many were composed in elegant Latin. The years from 1080 to 1130 saw the work of Anselm of Canterbury, Hildebert of Lavardin, Marbod of Rennes, Baudri of Bourgueil, Peter Abelard, and the young Bernard of Clairvaux, to mention only a few names. These were literary artists of high quality, with whom scarcely any writer of the previous century could be compared, and they had clearly enjoyed a good foundation in the mastery of Latin.
The general rise in the level of instruction was accompanied by the rapid expansion of higher education, especially in the schools of northern France. This was not at first the result of new institutions, but of new masters. Some of the earliest were monks: the teaching of Lanfranc and Anselm at Bec in Normandy was particularly famous. Much more typically, these teachers were secular masters attached to a cathedral. Assemblies of students began to be added to the traditional cathedral community. We are fortunate in having an account of a cathedral school in this early phase of expansion from the time of Master Odo of Tournai ( 1087-92). Odo personally supervised the attendance and conduct of his pupils at services, while at the same time providing a wide-ranging syllabus, including dialectic and astronomy, which attracted about 200 students 'not only from France, Flanders or Normandy, but also from far-distant Italy, Saxony and Burgundy'. 22 After 1100 the number of famous masters increased. At Laon there was Anselm (c. 1080-1117), an innovator in theological method with a wide reputation. In the same generation there was William of Champeaux at Paris and Bernard of Chartres. The masters were not on the staff of established institutions, but were liable to move from one school to another or, not infrequently, to join a radical group of monastic reformers. Bruno of Reims became the founder of La Grande Chartreuse in 1084, and Odo established a small community at Tournai. When the master moved, the stream of pupils flowed to other centres, but before 1150 Paris had become an outstanding centre with a substantial group of masters permanently teaching there. 23
22 Hermann, De Restauratione Abbatiae S. Martini Tornacensis, i. 1-4 (PL 180.41-5).
23 It used to be thought that Chartres was another centre with a tradition of learned teachers and its own distinctive theological outlook, but an argument is in progress whether this group of masters was really based there or whether they primarily taught at Paris.
The masters were now becoming an important element in the life of the church. They began to attain high office, among the earliest being Lanfranc and Anselm (successively archbishops of Canterbury), William of Champeaux (bishop of Châlons 1113-22), and Gilbert the Universal (bishop of London 1128-34). By 1150 a large proportion of bishops had studied in the schools, and masters had many influential pupils. At Reims Bruno had taught the future Pope Urban II, who in 1090 invited him to Rome; Anselm of Laon's former students included cardinals, bishops, and abbots; and Bernard of Clairvaux, campaigning against Peter Abelard, was worried about the influence of his pupils who were now in the papal curia. The masters were playing an exciting and troubling part on the European stage. Disciples adored their masters, and they flocked after Abelard asking him to lecture. The sober Hugh of St Victor made fun of the dewy-eyed admiration which some students expressed: ' "We have seen them", they will tell you. "We studied under them. They often used to speak to us. Those great and famous men were our acquaintances." ' 24
While this spectacular growth was taking place in the city schools, monastic schools were declining. The monasteries could now recruit literate members, and did not have to train them themselves. The new monastic orders set their face against accepting boys for training, and this approach began to prevail within traditional abbeys also. External schools were either abandoned or placed under the direction of lay masters. This failure to expand the monastic schools did not mean that the orders had lost the spiritual leadership of the western church. The years from 1050 to 1150 were among the most creative ones in monastic history, and monasticism had a marked ability to attract outstanding masters into its ranks. Peter Damian, Bruno of Reims, Robert of Arbrissel, Peter Abelard, and Henry Murdac, to mention only a few, began as masters and ended as monks, and the number of masters who joined the regular canons was even greater. For a time the religious were able to find leaders among men who had been trained in the world and had deliberately rejected secular values and who were consequently champions of a revivalistic and radical spirit. It was only later, and with the coming of the friars, that the monasteries wholly lost the leadership of learning which had been theirs since the sixth century, but which now passed to the universities.
24 Hugh of St Victor, Didascalicon, iii. 14 (PL 176.773D).
The basic syllabus was still, formally speaking, that of the Carolingian period: the three subjects of the trivium (grammar, rhetoric, and logic or dialectic) and the four of the quadrivium (arithmetic, geometry, astronomy, and music). This was by this time a threadbare and conventional classification, but it was a neat formula which survived several far-reaching attempts to revise it, such as those in the Eptateucon of Thierry of Chartres and the Didascalicon of Hugh of S. Victor. It was in any case being reformed by changes within it. Gerbert had introduced into the syllabus the logical works of Aristotle in the sixth-century versions of Boethius. They opened to students techniques of argument and of categorization which, when developed, made possible the ordering of major new fields of study. Outstandingly in the schools of northern France, and to an extent in those of Germany and Lombardy, dialectic became the central and most exciting part of the trivium. Grammar itself was changing in its methods and matter. Since the Carolingian period a wider range of classics had been brought into the syllabus to replace or supplement the early Christian poets as literary models. Rhetoric was adapted to form the basis of a higher secretarial theory, the ars dictaminis or art of correspondence, whose first clear manifestation was in Italy in the Precepta dictaminum of Adalbertus Samaritanus ( 1111-15), which was specifically designed, the author said, for 'the wise and powerful of this world'.
Further modifications in the syllabus arose from the fact that the greater schools were attended by older students intent upon advanced work. One field of advanced study which was well established by 1150 was divinity, the sacra pagina. Two great masters of the eleventh century, Lanfranc and Bruno, had written commentaries on the Biblical text, and Master Anselm had made Laon a major centre for theology in the years before his death in 1117. In about 1113 Peter Abelard began his controversial career as a teacher of theology, without ever having had a master in the subject. The character of Christian thinking was to be deeply influenced by the fact that theology was increasingly studied in a non-monastic environment and was shaped intellectually by techniques learned from the study of dialectic. Similar forces were at work in the schools of northern Italy, but the dominant discipline was Roman Law. It had long been a staple subject there, and early in the eleventh century Peter Damian had acquired a substantial legal knowledge in the course of his schooling. From about 1070 there are signs that at Bologna law was becoming specially important within the framework of the arts course, and professional advocates (causidici) were appearing in the courts of Tuscany, many of them from Bologna or Ferrara. By 1100 Irnerius, the first of the great legal masters, was becoming famous for his exposition at Bologna of the texts of the civil law.
The world of learning in the early twelfth century had become a diversified scene, within which it was possible to study a range of different subjects to an advanced level. They had just one feature in common: the purpose of study was the elucidation of the texts of the past. The authority might be the Bible, or the Fathers, or Roman law, or the canons, or the pagan philosophers or poets (or, in the case of monastic reformers, Cassian and the Rule of St Benedict); in all these cases, the object was the exploration and application of inherited wisdom. The recovery of the past was the crucial feature of twelfth-century learning.
iv. The Aristocracy Medieval Europe was a seigneurial society, a world dominated by its lords. This was never more completely true than during the eleventh and twelfth centuries. The breakdown of Carolingian government had, especially in parts of France, been accompanied by the collapse of public jurisdiction, and its replacement by the dominance of local noble families to create the seigneurial society which was the secular equivalent of the privatization of rights within the church. The old county courts had been succeeded by honorial courts in which the lord exercised jurisdiction only over his own men, and the ties of land tenure or personal dependence replaced public obligations and duties. The visible symbol of the new order was the castle, which had already become significant in France early in the eleventh century, and which spread to England after the Norman Conquest in 1066 and, in subsequent years, to Germany. Each neighbourhood was dominated by the castellan and his strong-armed men, who imposed levies on the peasantry and tried to establish his claim to be advocate or protector of local monastic lands. It was around 1100 that families began to acquire surnames (Montfort, Clare, Hohenstaufen) based on their most important castle. The twelfth-century noble had literally a local habitation and a name in a way which had not been true of his predecessors. In France, where the fragmentation had gone furthest, the Capetian kings themselves had begun to act as a private household, abandoning the old official diploma and issuing grants modelled on the private charter. In many French regions the castellans in 1050 were virtually independent powers uncontrolled by any superior authority, although the extent of the disintegration varied. The dukes of Normandy and counts of Flanders, for example, retained large powers of control within their territories. In England and the empire the position of the royal house was strong enough to prevent a total fragmentation and to preserve an awareness of the authority of the king over the whole of society. The private ownership of rights and jurisdiction had made large strides there without having obliterated the old order.
The situation was, however, not stable. At a date which varies according to the district, it became possible once again to build up the administration of a large territory. Louis VI on the Capetian royal domain campaigned strenuously to subdue the independence of the local nobles, and the same tendency is visible elsewhere. The colonization movement, the availability of revenues from tolls and markets, as well as such technical developments as the stone castle, weighted things in favour of the greater nobles, and led to the creation of larger units of government. What in France produced greater national integration had the opposite effect in Germany, where the princely territorium grew to the detriment of royal power. All over Europe the power of the aristocracy was enormous. It was said of Robert of Meulan, the friend and adviser of Henry I of England, that the kings of England and France made war and peace at his will. 25 The two northern French families of Anjou and Blois illustrate to perfection the international nobility at its highest point of power. The counts of Blois combined with their large county of Blois-Chartres the even richer territory of Champagne, married into the house of William the Conqueror, and produced a king of England in Stephen ( 1135-54). Anjou secured the throne of England in the person of Henry II ( 1154-89), and his grandfather Fulk had earlier become king of Jerusalem ( 1131-43). These families of the highest rank were obviously not typical, but at a lower level the international connections of the nobility might be widespread. Norman families might have relatives in England, Wales, Sicily, and Syria, and French nobles commonly had members of their families who had visited Spain or the Holy Land.
25 Henry of Huntingdon, De Contemptu Mundi, 7 (RS 74, 306).
The centre of a noble's activity was his household (familia) or court (curia). Here in a domestic setting his tenants, officers, and counsellors would gather round him, and here he could impose the stamp of his patronage upon their activities. The courts of the greater nobles might be major cultural centres, and could vary greatly in kind. Under the counts of Poitiers their courts became a centre of troubadour poetry from 1100 onwards, while at the same time Countess Adela of Blois was a patron of new monasticism and in touch with many of the leading scholars in northern France. Even more remarkable was the patronage of Countess Matilda of Tuscany, who from the 1070s turned her court into a centre for the dissemination of Gregorian ideas. The development of the city schools did not destroy the importance of this lay patronage of learning, because it was in the courts of princes that the masters sought careers and influence. Until recently, it has been the fashion to write European history from a national viewpoint, and the story of the growth of the monarchy has been told in preference to the cultural importance of the nobility; but the wide scope of private lordship, which had almost superseded public authority in France and played an important part in every country, also requires recognition. True, the Carolingian model remained alive in Germany and England, and by the middle of the twelfth century the kingdoms of England and Sicily had taken the first steps towards renewed centralization. The exchange of ideas was furthered by royal councils, attended alike by bishops and lay lords. Yet we are still a long way from effective royal government. The king as a rule had only the same limited machinery of administration as was available to nobles, and like them he governed through his household. The most distinctive feature of the king was the sacred gift of anointing, which no noble ever received, but even so dukes and counts were regarded as the rightful defenders of churches, and they all bore the proud title dominus, lord, which belonged to God from whom all dominion came. In 1043 the synod of Narbonne excommunicated those who had invaded the abbey lands of SaintMichel, Cuxa, but exempted Count Guilhem and his brothers, 'because we think it unworthy to subject to excommunication those whom we would wish to be patrons or defenders of the said monastery'. 26 Jacques le Goff has remarked that kings were always in a sense strangers in the medieval world, and this paradox is
26 Mansi xix. 602.
particularly applicable to the century between 1050 and 1150, when the nobility had a wide range of action and the ability to drive society along new paths.
v. The Dissemination of Ideas
Medieval society lacked those technical means for the rapid dissemination of ideas and exchange of information which the modern world so abundantly possesses, but the interchange of cultural influences was of great importance. Movements of international scope were characteristic of the emerging society: the preaching of the crusades, ideals of chivalry, reverence for the see of Rome, and the influence of new monastic orders, all spread throughout the west, in some cases with remarkable speed. This could not have happened without an effective network for the interchange of ideas. The peculiarity of this pattern, as judged from our own standpoint, was the relative insignificance of the national level. The state as an organism was weak, and even where the bishops were royal nominees, this did not engender in them a primarily national consciousness. In one sense their loyalties were narrowly local, for their devotion was directed to the patron saint of their church, and to the preservation of its rights and privileges. It was St Augustine or St Cuthbert, St Denis or St Benedict, who provided the impetus and motivation for their policies. At another level Christendom was their natural unit. The world of scholarship was peculiarly international, and it was common to settle in foreign lands to study and teach, as did Lanfranc and Anselm in Normandy and John of Salisbury and William of Tyre at the schools of northern France. A similar pattern prevailed in economic affairs. There was much activity at a local level, and an international trade in high-value commodities carried mainly in Italian shipping, but there was no national economic policy, nor even the idea of one. Such an international civilization required a system of information elaborate enough to give unity to the culture of Christendom.
There were, moreover, features of contemporary society which rendered publicity not less necessary than in our own day, but more so. The inadequacy of the system of record meant that transactions had to be brought to public notice. Charters and grants were designed to inform the community as a whole of what had been done, and commonly began with such a formula as 'let it be known to all our faithful who shall see this present charter'. A new bishop had to be received by the people of his city, a parish priest to be installed in the presence of the deanery chapter; otherwise there would be no public knowledge, and therefore no secure tenure. Administrative processes were the property of everybody in a way which modern champions of open government might envy. The extent to which the 'Public' included the whole population would vary from one issue to another. Frequently it was enough to address oneself to a small and privileged group, but there were occasions (and they were more frequent than has sometimes been supposed) when a very wide circulation was needed. The appeal to Join the crusades was addressed very generally; so were demands for support in the conflicts between empire and papacy; and the requirement of annual confession was designed to be heard and obeyed by every adult in the west. The growth of the cities was crucial in the effectiveness of this mass propaganda, for it was relatively easy to reach the whole population of a town, which in addition served as a meeting-point for the surrounding countryside. The fact that there was no single absolute authority, as existed in the empires of Rome or China, and that there was not even an effective national unit which controlled opinion, made the techniques of conviction and persuasion quite remarkably important.
There was, of course, a physical problem of communication, and there were attempts to improve the difficult conditions of travel. This was one aspect of the Peace of God movement. The hierarchy strove to protect travellers; pilgrims and crusaders were guarded by manifold privileges; and at first attempts were made to defend merchants from interference, although in the twelfth century the distaste for commercial gain became so strong among the extremists who influenced papal policy that this course of action was not sustained. Bridge-building was seen as a charitable work, and in the course of the twelfth century brotherhoods were established at important river crossings to establish and maintain a bridge there. In the past, travel had been made possible not only by the availability of accommodation in monastic guest-houses, limited as this was in the early Middle Ages, but also by customs of hospitality which required a visitor to be maintained for the night by the host who encountered him; but the rapid increase in numbers on the roads made this impossible to operate. The last legislation requiring the old convention comes from a German Landpeace of the late eleventh century. It was already being replaced by two alternative provisions: the rise of taverns, where supplies could be readily obtained, and the creation of hostels or hospitals where travellers might stay, of which one important early group was the guest-houses established by the Hospitallers before 1113 in the main ports on the pilgrim route to the Holy Land.
At the same time, the media of exchange were being employed to publicize ideas, policies, programmes, and doctrines. The circulation of ideas was greatly assisted by the existence of Latin as the medium for the universal expression of scholarship, liturgy, and controversy. Some vernaculars also functioned as a lingua franca beyond the boundaries of any one nation. French was spoken in the twelfth century by the aristocracy not only in northern France, but also in England and Syria, and to some extent in southern Italy. The monasteries had originally been representatives of strong local or regional cultures, with each house independent of others and attached to its own diocese. In the eleventh century they began to be attached far more to international structures. The growth of exemption led abbeys such as Cluny and St Victor, Marseille, to look for protection to Rome, and the Cluniac houses were in theory all part of the mother abbey of Cluny. In the twelfth century the process went further, with the Cistercians, Carthusians, and others observing a standardized way of life in houses in many different countries. Pilgrimage was yet another influence which made for a common culture. The shrines proclaimed their message in the decoration of the buildings, in hymns and sermons, in songs and stories, and some of the cults (James of Compostella, Nicholas, Alexis, Mary Magdalen) were adopted in many European countries.
The Roman Church was particularly active in creating links to enable its reforming programme, and its controversies with the empire, to reach all the provinces of the west. As Gerhoh of Reichersberg said, the Romans 'paint, speak and write, indoors and out', to communicate their message. 27 Above all, they sought to establish close connections between Rome and the provincial churches. Metropolitans were required to collect their pallium or scarf of office in person from the pope, and were subsequently invited or ordered to pay regular visits. Legates were sent to every part of Europe, often men who were close to the pope personally, to
27 Gerhoh, De Investigatione.Antichristi, i. 72 (MGH LdL iii.393), referring to claims of supremacy over the emperors.
represent his policy. Councils and synods were held under the presidency of a legate or of an archbishop acting on papal instructions. A major synod would bring together numbers of clergy and laity to hear the settlement of a wide range of disputes, as well as the enactment of decrees, and thus spread information and instructions widely. Assemblies which had a primarily spiritual purpose rather than a legal one could also serve an important purpose in the distribution of information. Leo IX ( 1049-54) and Urban II ( 108899) on their long tours north of the Alps were active in visiting great churches and consecrating them, and one must suppose that the meetings, no doubt with a sermon by the pope, helped to create the sympathy between the pope and upper clergy which is a feature of both pontificates. Leo IX is indeed the prime example of a pope whose activity was less legal and administrative (although he did not neglect these spheres) than charismatic: the power of his preaching, the dramatic repentance of simoniacs, and their even more dramatic deaths gave an impetus to the cause of reform which no legislation could have achieved. In the pattern of changing social structures the improvement of the means for disseminating ideas was of major importance, for it involved the localities of Europe, still in many ways remote from each other, in the great issues which were central to the new age. No church could regard itself as exempt from these imperatives: as Ulrich of Cluny sharply pointed out, what God can do in France, he can also do in the neighbourhood of Speyer. 28
28 Ulrich of Cluny, preface to customs in PL 149.638CD.
MONASTIC GROWTH AND CHANGE
At a time therefore when there were no establishments for monks except in the oldest monasteries, new structures were begun everywhere . . . In villages and towns, cities and castles, and even in the very woods and fields, there suddenly appeared swarms of monks spreading in every direction and busily engaged, and places in which there had been lairs of wild beasts and caves of robbers resounded with the name of God and the veneration of the saints. 1
The truth of this contemporary description is confirmed by a great abundance of evidence. At no other period in the history of the church has there been so rapid a growth in the number of monks, the variety of forms of monastic life, and the scale of monastic possessions. In this whole process of rapid change there were three different but connected developments. There was, first, the growth of existing monasteries. One of these, the abbey of Cluny, enjoyed an expansion so enormous, and of so special a kind, that it has to be discussed as a second element in the monastic scene. Thirdly, there were varied groups which may be loosely described as 'hermits', which were seeking a different type of monastic obedience from the one which had become traditional.
i. The Expansion of the Monasteries.
There were already many great monasteries in the eleventh century, with a long history behind them and large landed endowments. One of the most famous of all was Monte Cassino, to the south of Rome, where St Benedict himself had lived, and which was described as the 'head and beginning of all monasteries'. 2 The disorders attendant on the collapse of Carolingian government had been a time of trouble for many of these houses; the number of monks had fallen, and the
1 Guibert of Nogent, De Vita Sua, i.11 E.-R. Labande (ed.), Autobiographie ( Paris, 1981), 72. 2 Duchesne (ed.), Liber Pontificalis ( Paris, 1886- 1957), ii.311.
estates suffered from the aggression of nearby laymen. The eleventh century saw an increase in the size of most communities, sometimes a very large one. We know, for example, that Monte Cassino had about 100 monks at the beginning of the century and 200 in 1071. St Aubin at Angers showed a sustained increase over a period of a century from 11 monks in 970 to 57 in 1038 and 105 in 1082, while at Gloucester there was dramatic growth from 10 monks to 100 under Abbot Serlo ( 1072-1104). 3 Greater numbers required larger churches and buildings for the accommodation of the monks, and the new architecture often expressed the power and wealth of the abbeys. One of the greatest of these projects was Abbot Desiderius's new basilica at Monte Cassino, whose consecration by Alexander II on 1 October 1071 was a magnificent affair with a huge attendance. At Cluny the third church, built between 1088 and about 1130, was the largest building ever designed for Christian worship apart from the later St Peter's at Rome. These were the two most celebrated churches of all, but many other abbots were building big. A specially impressive building campaign was undertaken in England after the Conquest by the Norman abbots, the size of whose new churches may still be seen at such places as St Albans and Durham. Almost all the really outstanding ecclesiastical buildings were monastic until the time of Abbot Suger's reconstruction of Saint-Denis in the middle years of the twelfth century. Thereafter, although there were still fine abbey churches being built, the leadership in architectural innovation passed mainly to the cathedrals and city churches.
This expansion had to be supported by increased resources, and the second half of the eleventh century was in general a time of development of monastic lands. Admittedly there were setbacks: we hear complaints from monastic chroniclers about the intrusion of knights onto monastic land in England by the new Norman rulers. But by and large the nobility was disposed to be generous to monasteries, and in almost all parts of Europe the number of recorded donations increased. The restoration of church lands was an important part of the policy of the reforming popes, and great families valued their association with the devotions of the monks, apart from more secular advantages of prestige or profit: the authentication of their status by the recognition of a great abbey, the
3 For references see H. Hoffmann in H. Dormeier, Montecassino und die Laien im 11. und 12.Jh. , MGH Schriften27 ( 1979) 1; J. Dubois, "Les moines dans la société du Moyen Âge" , RHEF 60 ( 1974) 5-37; and D. Knowles, The Monastic Order in England ( Cambridge, 1950), 126.
benefits of hospitality and the ability of the monks to bring into profitable cultivation land which was outside the control of the dominant family. All these motives gave an opportunity to abbots to extend their holdings. At Monte Cassino the extension and strengthening of the land of St Benedict, the terra Sancti Benedicti, began before the middle of the eleventh century. Under Abbot Desiderius ( 1058-87) the abbey made a close alliance with the Norman princes who were then in the process of establishing their power throughout the south of the Italian peninsula, and the monk Amatus wrote a history in praise and justification of their triumph. The abbey lands benefited from their patronage on a vast scale. The land of St Benedict was further extended, an access to the sea secured in 1066 at Torre a Mare beside the mouth of the river Garigliano, and large grants received in southern Italy as a whole. The importance attached to this expansion of land and revenue is evident from the magnificent bronze doors which a member of the Amalfi ruling class, Maurus Pantaleone, gave for the old basilica in 1066, on which was inscribed a list of the abbey's possessions, including 47 castella and 560 churches. The Norman conquerors of England were similarly generous to their family monasteries at home in Normandy. In some regions, the process of rebuilding and extending the estates was more delayed: the restoration of those of Saint-Denis was primarily the work of Louis VI and Abbot Suger in the second quarter of the twelfth century. The study of the muniments became an essential part of the strategy of the abbeys: Leo, chronicler of Monte Cassino and cardinal-bishop of Ostia (c. 1102-15), and Suger of Saint-Denis both founded their future reputations on their work as young monks in the abbey's archives. When documents were missing it was necessary to supply them: Leo's successor as chronicler at Monte Cassino was a talented and imaginative forger, Peter the Deacon. The growth of the abbey lands was not just a matter of donation or recovery. Some monasteries were able to take advantage of the rapid growth of the cities by selling or leasing land for building; this process has been studied at Arras, where a great part of the town belonged to the abbey of St Vaast, and at Genoa. 4 There was also the opportunity to make loans in cash or treasure on the security of a piece of land. This was certainly being done on a considerable scale by the monasteries, and Cinzio Violante has
4 See C. Violante, "Monasteri e canoniche nello sviluppo dell' economia monetaria" , MCSM 9 ( 1980) esp. 375-6.
emphasized that the major purpose of most of these loans was the extension of the estates. In northern Europe land given as security for a loan was usually held in mortgage, which gave both possession and revenue to the monastery, and the terms of the loan were designed to discourage its repayment, with the object of securing a permanent increase in the abbey lands. With the partial exception of Italy, there was no attempt to secure repayment within a limited term in order to facilitate further investments in new commercial projects. This insertion of the monasteries into the money economy has to be understood, however, not as a commercial undertaking, but as part of the domanial policy of the rich monasteries and collegiate churches.
The increase in monastic resources did not come only from lordship over land. The development in the private ownership of ecclesiastical rights had already placed in the hands of the monks tithes and churches which canon law assigned to the supervision of the bishop. More significantly still, very many churches and tithes were in the hands of laymen, who during the eleventh century granted them to abbeys in a movement which was called 'restitution', inaccurately because the revenues were not properly monastic ones. During the period 1038-1126 Monte Cassino received 193 donations of churches, 186 of them from laymen. 5 In northern France the process went so far that lay ownership had been almost extinguished by 1200. In the diocese of Angers, for example, 44 churches were transferred between 1050 and 1100, and a further 102 between 1050 and 1100. In northern Italy the rights of the baptismal churches, the pievi or plebes, were extensively recovered from lay proprietors between 1050 and 1125 and put into the control of communities of canons. The resulting balance of lordship over local churches between laymen, monks, and bishops varied a great deal. In England and Normandy many lay patrons remained, although with reduced rights. In a few places, churches were largely taken into the bishop's hand, usually for a special reason: in Italy the small dioceses of Latium made the bishop a dominant force, and in Brittany 'restitution' took place late, at a time when the authority of the diocese had been revived, so that it was able to benefit directly from the transfers. More typically the beneficiaries were the monks. Houses such as Déols (Berry) or Farfa (central Italy) acquired huge numbers of dependent churches. In the diocese of Bourges, the
5 See the table in H. Dormeier, Montecassino und die Laien, 56.
archbishop ended with the patronage of only 7 per cent of the churches; none remained in lay patronage; all the rest belonged to the great churches, usually monastic ones. At Lyon and Besançon the pattern was similar. In the same way, monasteries were acquiring grants of tithe from the lay lords who had misappropriated it.
The most obvious reason for the large-scale restitutions was the prohibition of lay ownership of churches and tithes which became a firm part of the policy of the reforming popes. At Reims in 1049 Leo IX forbade the possession of ecclesiastical revenues by laymen, and at Rome in 1050 he ordered that all revenues of churches were to be returned, and tithes paid to the clergy. 6 From this time, it was consistently held by the Roman Church that it was simony for laymen to hold such rights. There was no question of simony if they were transferred to monasteries, but there was still a problem, because in canon law the division of tithes, and the government of local churches, was a matter for the bishop. Papal policy on this point was not wholly consistent, but as a rule it followed the principle which can already be found in a major decision by the Roman Church in 1060: monasteries were permitted to retain 'tithes or any ecclesiastical property' which had been theirs for thirty or forty years, but more recent acquisitions required the consent of the bishop. 7 This probably did not present much of an obstacle, for reforming bishops were in favour of the extension of the power of clerical communities over local churches, and in any case the bishop presumably had little real option: if he refused permission, the revenue would remain in the hands of the lay lord, to the danger of his soul, and the monastery would be deprived of a gift to no good purpose. The process of restitution was a success for papal policy, but it is more difficult to say how far commitment to reform was the real motivation for the lay lords. In a few cases it is possible to associate grants with a local reforming council or similar event, and sometimes the lord records his awareness of the sin which he is committing by detaining ecclesiastical revenues: 'struck by the fear of God, and coming to archbishop Richard lest they die accursed, they voluntarily relinquished into his hands the church which they wrongfully possessed'. 8 But such mentions are few among a huge
6 For the evidence see G. Constable, Monastic Tithes from their Origins to the Twelfth Century ( Cambridge, 1964), 85-7.
7 Ibid. 87-8.
8 Grant made under Archbishop Richard of Bourges ( 1071-90); see G. Devailly, "Le clergé régulier et le ministère pastoral" , Cahiers d'Histoire 20 ( 1975), 262 n.
mass of surviving charters (only two, for example, among the donations to Monte Cassino), and it is striking that the process had begun at least a generation before the development of the strenuous papal reform movement about 1050. 9 Many of these grants must have been straight financial transactions in return for a payment or a loan. The reformers' programme encouraged both donors and recipients to feel that churches and tithes were particularly appropriate ways to endow a monastery, and also introduced a prohibition on ecclesiastical owners from granting them to laymen, thus ensuring that it became a one-way process which resulted in a vast reduction in lay holdings to the advantage, above all, of the monasteries.
In addition to the landed endowments and ecclesiastical revenues which they were accumulating, many abbeys had a privileged legal status, which they derived from grants of three kinds. From kings and princes they had received charters of immunity, excluding royal officers wholly or partly from their estates and freeing them from services which were normally due from their tenures. In England, for example, several abbeys had a specially privileged zone or banleuca which often extended for a mile or more around the house. An abbey might also have received one of the grants of papal protection or 'liberty' which were being issued from the late ninth century. They were designed mainly to protect the estates by spiritual sanctions to supplement the royal power which was becoming steadily less effective as a defence. A third type of privilege prevented the bishop from exercising his usual rights over the house, for example by forbidding the holding of diocesan synods there or allowing the abbot to invite any bishop he chose to consecrate altars or ordain members of the house. It came to be known as 'exemption' in the twelfth century, when the legal position was defined with much more precision. 10 With the progressive increase in papal activity the number of grants of protection and exemption increased considerably, but for most monasteries the main source of privilege was still their ancient charters, extended by forgery and custom. The bishops of the century before 1050 had been in no position to supervise their dioceses effectively, and abbeys tended to exercise autonomous control both over their own affairs within the house and over the churches which they owned. The revival of the bishops'
10 The term first occurs in a diploma of Nicholas II to St Martin, Autun in 1059: "et ab omni alia jurisdictione et subiectione liberum sit et exemptum" (PL 143. 1327C).
9 H.Dormeier, Montecassino und die Laien, 58-62.
authority provoked a series of disputes, like that between Archbishop Hildebrand of Capua and Monte Cassino from 1065 onwards, in which even the greatest abbeys had to defend their traditional position in face of the attempt to subject them to the powers of the diocese under canon law.
One further feature in the monastic scene has to be noted here. Almost all monasteries reverenced the Rule of St Benedict, but their routine was governed by customs which differed from one abbey to another. The Rule was a revered authority rather than a piece of legislation which had to be followed in every detail. The daily order of most abbeys went back to the reforms of Benedict of Aniane in the early ninth century, and this meant that all spent longer in singing services than St Benedict had envisaged, for new offices had been added together with hymns and sequences, and provisions had been made for the saying of private masses by the increasing number of monks in priests' orders. The monastery had become above all a liturgical body dedicated to the performance of God's work, the Opus Dei. The Carolingian pattern was most directly continued in eleventh-century Germany. There monastic renewal was very closely connected with the royal family, for the emperor was the protector of major abbeys. A series of houses (first St Maximin at Trier, later St Emmeram at Regensburg) had acted as centres of inspiration, sending out their monks and customs to reform or found new monasteries, which however remained autonomous under imperial patronage.
Outside Germany the eleventh century saw the emergence of what can best be called monastic empires, in which one abbey governed a whole series of smaller houses. The reasons for the creation of structures of this type were various. One was the subjection of several monasteries to an outstanding monastic leader, such as William of Volpiano, for the purpose of reform. During the leader's lifetime at least the group of houses tended to remain under his supervision. In other cases an abbey which, like St Victor, Marseille, had been specially fertile in founding others would continue to exercise responsibility, to safeguard its distinctive customs in the daughter-houses. Another reason was the granting of estates at a great distance from the original abbey, which could only be administered by installing nearby a small cell or priory with two or three monks in residence. It was a form of monastic colonialism, increasingly characteristic of French monasticism, and very specially of the Normans in England. In the first generation, they founded few new abbeys (the Conqueror's thanksgiving monastery of Battle is an important exception) but gave generously to their monasteries at home. The exploitation of south Wales was even cruder, for there was not a single new abbey created there until 1130, whereas there were nineteen dependent priories, of which only a few ever became independent. 11 From these causes there arose groups of houses run, with varying degrees of efficiency and centralization, from a motherabbey; and the greatest of these was Cluny.
ii. The Golden Age of Cluny
In Germany and in England there was an effective royal authority to which the monasteries could look for protection. In France, where there was not, monasticism began to develop in a different direction. Cluny, which was to become the most influential of all French houses, looked not to the power of the king but to an understanding with the aristocracy and papal protection. At its foundation in 909 Cluny was given immunity from all secular jurisdiction and was made the property of the Roman Church, being dedicated appropriately to St Peter and St Paul. The popes not only involved themselves directly in the preservation of Cluny's rights, but in 1024 granted it, with its dependencies, extensive independence from the diocesan bishop. Cluny came to symbolize the liberty or exemption of the church in a way unknown in Germany. In spite of fundamental similarities in the way of life of Cluniac and German monasticism derived from their Carolingian inheritance, there were important distinctions in their organization and attitudes.
The privileges which had been conceded to Cluny were the more significant in that the abbey became the centre of a system of subordinate monasteries. The foundations of this had been laid before the middle of the eleventh century, but the great expansion was the work of Abbot Hugh of Sémur ( 1049-1109). The motherhouse itself grew progressively larger. It probably had 100 monks at Hugh's accession, 200 in 1080, and 300 by the time of his death. The massive extension of both the church and the monastic buildings was produced by this influx of numbers, and Abbot Hugh, who was not at first enthusiastic about new building, was eventually convinced of its necessity. The enormous abbey church, 531 feet in length, was
11 F. G. Cowley, The Monastic Order in South Wales ( Cardiff, 1977), 9 ff.
begun in 1088, and by 1095 the east end was sufficiently complete to be consecrated by Pope Urban II, although the whole building was not finished until well into the following century. The growth of the mother-house was parallelled by the expansion of its influence. In 1052 or shortly afterwards, for example, estates were given for the endowment of a priory on the river Loire near Nevers, which became known as La Charité-sur-Loire because of the abundant provision made there for the poor. Hugh's brother, Geoffrey of Sémur, founded the first nunnery in the order at Marcigny in 1056, with their sister Ermengarde as prioress. This, too, was a large house planned for ninety-nine nuns, the Virgin Mary being the hundredth and the titular abbess. In other instances, existing monasteries, including some ancient and famous ones like St Pierre, Moissac, were taken over, the customs of Cluny introduced and the authority of its abbot enforced. These transactions were sometimes bitterly opposed by the monks involved, and it is far from clear (although it was often said) that in every case a decayed house was being reformed. St Martial Limoges was subordinated to Cluny in 1062 only as a result of relentless pressure by vicomte Adhemar II, who seems to have had a financial interest in the deal. 12 Southern France was the centre of the Cluniac empire, but houses were also founded in Spain, where the personal devotion of Alfonso VI of Castile and Leon led him to grant a handsome annual tribute. Abbot Hugh was opposed to the creation of dependent priories far distant from the mother-house, but so vigorous was the impetus behind the expansion that it could not be stopped. St Pancras, Lewes, and other priories were founded in England, and foundations made in Lombardy.
This spectacular success was due in part to a series of talented abbots, and especially to the combination of authority and moderation characteristic of Hugh, whom Gregory VII described as a gentle tyrant, blandus tyrannus. Cluny also expressed in its life much of the spirituality of the age. It was above all a cultic centre and a power-house of prayer. It has often been supposed that at Cluny the contemporary fashion for magnificent and lengthy services reached its extreme. It was not necessarily radical in welcoming liturgical innovation, but sheer size meant that it became the symbol of rich and elaborate ceremonial. Cluny's special ministry, however, and
12 N. Hunt, Cluny under S. Hugh ( London, 1967), 137 and 153-4; H. E. J. Cowdrey, The Cluniacs and the Gregorian Reform ( Oxford, 1970), 90-4.
the one which made it so influential, was its function as a refuge for penitents. Cluny developed to its widest extent the system of associating noble families in the brotherhood of the monks. The word 'association' is a crucial one in understanding this relationship. Certainly these aristocratic patrons were anxious to benefit from the intercessions of the monks, but they did not see themselves as 'buying' prayers and masses as actions of value in themselves. It was rather that they became spiritually members of the community, enjoying an inclusion which might be expressed in burial within the monastery precinct. In a period when Christian burial had become accessible, indeed obligatory, to everyone, and when the poor were required to be buried in the cemetery of their local churches, the aristocracy sought association with the far more splendid liturgy of the great abbeys. The Cluniac extension of prayers for the departed, including the widespread adoption of All Souls' Day within the order, must be understood in the sense of prayer for the community and its lay associates; the observance of All Souls' was rare outside the order until the end of the twelfth century. Cluny was also particularly ready to admit members of the aristocracy as monks. Many of the recruits which were increasing its numbers were, it is true, secular clergy or monks from other houses, since Cluny had the remarkable privilege of receiving any monk it chose to admit; but others were laymen. These 'converts' or conversi must often have been without the Latin necessary to participate in the offices, but they were regarded as full monks. The house was divided into the choir, the boys, and the conversi. The latter were given minor tasks in the liturgy, and sometimes (but by no means invariably) were trained as choir-monks. Hugh treated the susceptibilities of lay nobles kindly. Those who had committed grave offences in the world were readily admitted, including the murderer of Hugh's own brother. In these ways Cluny exercised a genuine ministry of forgiveness toward the nobility, and it was associated with some important initiatives among them. Older historical views went too far in discovering the influence of Cluny almost everywhere, but it probably assisted in some degree in the growth of the Peace of God movement, the recruitment of French knights to fight the Moors in Spain, and even in the preparation of the First Crusade.
In its relations with its dependent monasteries Cluny introduced some remarkable innovations. Notionally the whole fellowship constituted one single abbey, with Hugh himself as the sole abbot.
Each monk was supposed to journey to the mother-house to make his profession, and the subordinate houses had priors, not abbots, at their head, with the exception of a few great monasteries which had been brought under Cluny. This divergence from Benedictine principles was the deliberate policy of Hugh, who sought to downgrade abbeys into priories, and was denounced on one occasion as an 'arch-abbot'. 13 It may reasonably be described as the first monastic order, as long as we remember that to contemporaries the word 'order' still meant the way of life followed by a monastery. It would, however, be a great mistake to see Cluny as a centralized and inflexible body. It was at once its strength and weakness that it possessed no machinery for co-ordinating policy and discipline. There was, for that matter, no clear distinction between Cluniac priories proper and houses which had adopted its customs, whose representatives attended the great council summoned by Peter the Venerable to discuss the customs of Cluny in 1132. A lot of freedom, too, was allowed to individual monks. Around Cluny itself there were hermitages where monks could go on retreat, and Anastasius, who was brought to the abbey by Hugh himself in 1067, lived in a markedly individual style in the community. Cluny had a broad bottom. There was plenty of room for people of divergent temperaments.
During the abbacy of Hugh, Cluny's prestige was enormous. He was one of the small group of people addressed by Gregory VII in terms of close friendship, and Gregory at the synod of Rome in Lent 1080 delivered a remarkable tribute to the abbey, ' which belongs to St Peter and to this church by special right as its own particular property'. 14 Cluny's esteem was also great in the imperial family, and Hugh was invited by Henry III to act as the godfather of his son, the future Henry IV. Cluniac customs were, however, only slowly adopted within imperial territories, as princes and bishops began to found monasteries without tight imperial control. Bishop Adalbero of Würzburg in 1046 encouraged monks from Gorze to settle at Schwarzach am Main, whence a large group of abbeys was founded in the south-east and Saxony. In the 1070s Archbishop Anno of Cologne, influenced by the ideals of Fruttuaria in northern Italy, summoned monks from there to Siegburg near Cologne.
13 Vita Bernardi Tironensis, vii. 58 (PL 172.1401D). Thus at Sauxillange "reducta est abbatia in prioratum per S. Hugonem magnum" : cited J. Evans, Monastic Life at Cluny ( London, 1931), 26.
14 Printed H. E. J. Cowdrey, The Cluniacs and the Gregorian Reform ( Oxford, 1970), 271-3.
Fruttuaria had early historical connections with Cluny, and contained little of the traditional German respect for imperial authority. Soon afterwards, Abbot William of Hirsau deliberately adopted the customs of Cluny. He had visited Rome in 1076, and come back as a fervent partisan of Gregory VII and an admirer of Cluny, which he saw as the model of monastic perfection, 'so that if any traces of sanctity may still be seen in other monasteries, there is no doubt that the particular streams flowed from thence, as from a living and unfailing spring'. 15 The customs of Cluny were recorded by Ulric of Zell for use in southern Germany, and Hirsau's influence rapidly carried them to other houses. This group of disciples of Cluny was passionately hostile to imperial policy in the dispute with Gregory VII, and fiercely critical of traditional German monasteries, with whom they engaged in bitter controversy. Paradoxically, these enthusiasts never became constitutionally part of the Cluniac family: they retained a link with lay patrons (much valued by the south German nobles who were their protectors) and owed no formal obedience to Cluny while they were following its customs. They were, in fact, a polemical group distinct from the more mellow outlook of the French Cluniacs, but representing the passionate admiration felt for Cluny within the papal reforming party. That, however, is another matter, to which we must return later.
There had always been a place for hermits in Benedictine tradition. The Rule itself had listed among the various types of monks the hermits who 'go out well armed from the battle-line of their brothers to the solitary combat of the desert', and it was a common practice for monasteries to make provision for their members to retire to the wilderness. 16 Hermitages were built close to abbeys, and some have left remains which can be seen today, like the chapel of St Saturnin on the hill above the abbey of St Wandrille in Normandy, or the hermitage at Scex, perched on a cliff high above St Maurice at Agaune in Switzerland. Monks might go on retreat into the isolation of the forests surrounding the abbey, as at Cluny, and for some monks residence in a cell distant from the mother-house was an opportunity to live a life of isolation and contemplation. Retirement
15 Constitutions of Hirsau, prol. (PL 150. 929AB).
16 A. de Vogüé and J. Neufville, Le règle de S. Benoît (SC 181( 1972) c. 1, i. 436-8).
into a hermitage was an option chosen by former abbots or officers, like Hugh of Selby in 1122 and Gerald le Vert, who is described by Peter the Venerable of Cluny as residing on a remote mountain until his death in 1133. 17
One of the most striking features of the religious life of the eleventh century was the growth of enthusiasm for the eremitical life. In estimating the dimensions of this movement, we are faced with a problem of sources. Hermits do not require records, as a monastery does, and often we only know about a hermit because he came to be venerated locally as a saint and therefore was recorded in a Life. To piece together these lives is to form a picture of holy men whose witness formed the basis of local cults in many parts of Europe. Such hermits can be traced in almost every region of Italy throughout the eleventh and twelfth centuries until they came to be associated with the Franciscans or (after the end of our period) linked in loosely organized societies. The majority of those who were called hermits at this time, however, were not solitaries. The emphasis in their writings is not so much upon privacy as upon a retreat to the wilderness, sometimes with one or two companions, sometimes with a group of disciples; and such retreats seem often to have alternated with preaching campaigns or an active ministry in the world. They were men who could not find a calling within the traditional pattern of received monasticism, and who withdrew to found new communities outside it. It has been said that 'much confusion could have been avoided if these new hermits . . . had presumed to call themselves "holy men" '. 18 They remembered that the word 'hermit' properly means a wilderness-dweller, and were essentially men seeking an alternative way of life, which was severe but not necessarily solitary. They also present us with a paradox, because in many cases groups which began by rejecting monastic discipline ended by being incorporated into a monastic order, sometimes a highly organized one. There is often a large gap between the first foundation of a hermitage and the recording of customs and, in the case of successful houses, the creation of a family of monasteries, so that it is often far from clear whether the fully developed order accurately reflects the intentions of the founding fathers. There is no simple chronology to this process, for we can see
17 For references and other examples see G. Constable, "Eremitical Forms of Monastic Life", MCSM 9 ( 1977), 256-7.
18 H. Leyser, Hermits and the new Monasticism ( London, 1984), 1.
the hermit urge at work throughout our whole period, but the time of rule-writing is to be found primarily in the twelfth century. It belongs to a general tendency to codify, which is also apparent in canon law and theology and which brought to an end the great age of hermit experiments.
Enthusiasm for the eremitical life became apparent in Italy at the turn of the tenth and eleventh centuries when Nilus, who had been trained in Calabria in the Greek tradition of austerity and eremitism, founded a house at Grottaferrata near Rome. Soon afterwards, Rornuald, a monk from the abbey of St Apollinare at Ravenna, left the house, and after travelling widely settled at Camaldoli just after 1010. He was followed by Peter Damian, the most outstanding hermit-leader of the century, who disseminated the way of life originally created by Romuald. 19 Another movement in the Appenines, of a different kind, was initiated by John Gualbert, a monk of San Miniato, Florence, who about 1036 settled at Vallombrosa. Gualbert was a champion of the cenobitic way of life, and the nine monasteries which were following his teaching by the time of his death in 1073 were organized on Benedictine lines. But they diverged from traditional monasticism in stressing the need to observe the Rule in conditions of poverty and severity, and even more distinctively in the intensity of their campaign against simony. The emergence of similar hermits in France was not long delayed. They can be found in the first companions of the knight Herluin at Bec in Normandy in the 1030s and in Robert of Turlande, a canon who settled in 1043 in a remote part of the Auvergne and founded what was to become the great abbey of La Chaise-Dieu ( Casa Dei ). The last twenty years of the century saw enormous eremitical activity. In the Limousin, Stephen settled at Muret about 1076, having lived with hermits in Calabria, and established the beginnings of the later order of Grandmont. In 1080 Gerard of Corbie founded the community of Sauve-Majeur in the diocese of Bordeaux. There was also an important group of hermits in Burgundy in the forest of Colan. Outstanding among them was Robert, who had left the abbey of Tonnerre where he was abbot, became a hermit, founded Molesme in 1075, abandoned it in 1098 to found Citeaux ('with his usual levity', a papal legate impatiently observed), and finally returned to Molesme. One of his companions for a time was Bruno
19 For the argument that Peter was codifying rather than creating a way of life, see Leyser, Hermits, 29.
of Cologne, a master of the school of Reims, then founder of La Grande Chartreuse in 1084, adviser to Urban II, and finally founder of the austere house of Squillace in Calabria. In north-western France an active movement was also beginning, with Robert of Arbrissel, son of a priest and himself a Paris scholar, settling in the 'desert' of Craon, preaching, founding a house of canons, and finally in 1101 establishing the house of Fontevraud. A preaching ministry seems to have been a particular feature of this region, where Bernard of Tiron and Vitalis of Savigny were also prominent. Hermit activity is a little more difficult to find in the eleventh century outside Italy and France, but we must note that the re-establishment of monasticism in northern England ( Durham, Jarrow, St Mary's York, for example) was initiated by monks from Evesham and other southern abbeys who were inspired by eremitical ideals; and that the Hirsau movement in southern Germany, although from the beginning it accepted the customs of Cluny, had a strong share of the hermit spirit.
These varied examples of a widespread dissatisfaction with traditional monasticism constituted what historians have come to call 'the monastic crisis'. The term is a misleading one, at least if it is understood as describing a failure of traditional monasticism: the total picture is, on the contrary, one of the extension of the religious life both within and outside its accustomed forms. Many enthusiasts were abandoning the old structured life. Some were influenced by the eremitic element which, as we have seen, still existed within Benedictine communities, and by older pre-Benedictine practices which were to be found in some areas. Celtic hermits were still to be found in the far west: we know, for example, of Caradog, a hermit who lived in a number of places in south Wales until his death in 1124. The Greek hermit-tradition in Calabria had been strengthened by the migration of monks from Moslem-controlled Sicily. We can trace connections between the new hermits and these areas; some of them lived with Celtic hermits for a time, Stephen of Muret apparently obtained his training in southern Italy and Bruno settled in Calabria. But neither the links nor the similarities are very strong, and we have to seek another source for the new spirit. One major feature was the desire for participation in the religious life by groups who felt excluded from the old monasteries. The classic figure in Benedictine monasticism was the monk who had been brought up since boyhood within the house and trained in its traditions. The leaders of the new movements came on the whole from elsewhere. Some were monks, but had entered as converts ( Romuald, John Gualbert), and quite rapidly had found their way of life unsatisfying. Some were from the city schools (Peter Damian, Bruno of Cologne, Robert of Arbrissel). Yet others were canons (Robert of Turlande and Bruno of Cologne). Laymen were prominent: Bec was founded by the converted knight Herluin, Afflighem in Flanders in 1083 by knights who gave up their life of brigandage and settled around a wandering preacher, and many of the small hermit groups, like that at Muret, included laymen who were treated on equal terms with the clergy. A feature of some of the leaders was their concern to make provision for women: Robert of Arbrissel in particular included them among his followers, to the alarm of some of those who were otherwise in sympathy with him. The older monasteries had not wholly failed to make provision for the interests of these groups canons could certainly be admitted as monks, and Cluny had its active ministry to laymen. But the provision for laymen, and still more for women, was in general insufficient, and scholars or canons would not necessarily wish to accept traditions of worship which were foreign to them, and in which they had not been trained. The new hermits represented the ambitions of groups which were being brought into prominence by the social changes discussed in the last chapter; such 'new men' were the knights and the growing urban aristocracy, and a more learned secular clergy, educated by their work in the schools to criticize accepted practice and to look to earlier and different models of organization.
These forces acted as a solvent upon the accepted monastic values of stability and association in the liturgy of a traditional community. In the new movements total withdrawal from the world was uneasily linked with concern about growing social problems. The most obvious of these was simony. Almost all the hermit leaders felt passionately about it, and in particular refusal to tolerate simony within the abbey of San Miniato had been the starting-point of John Gualbert's withdrawal thence and his foundation of Vallombrosa. There were other questions, too. One was the concern to open the Gospel to the whole world, which we can see in Romuald and Robert of Arbrissel, and later in Francis of Assisi. The reason why this basic element of Christianity became so prominent at this time was perhaps that as large numbers of people broke away from their traditional structures, assembled in cities, moved on the pilgrim roads and made settlements in the forests, their needs became more obvious, and the inadequacy of the old order in meeting them became more apparent. This would explain the urgency of Romuald's desire 'to turn the whole world into a wilderness, and to associate the whole multitude of people to the monastic order'. 20 It is significant that there is a marked shift in the attitude to poverty at this time. Traditionally, monasteries had been aware of their duty to provide for the poor, but it was pre-eminently the rich who were blessed, for they had the means of earning God's pleasure; we hear, for example, of a pilgrim at Bourges who thought that God and the saint would not be willing to heal a poor man. 21 The eleventh century saw the beginning of a reversal of these values. The new movements insisted not simply on largesse, but on identification with the poor. Their settlements in the wilderness had at first only the bare necessities of life, and some of them were marked by a deliberate and conscious poverty. Stephen of Muret had a deep love for the poor, and Norbert of Xanten is said to have desired 'naked to follow the naked cross'. 22 The new attitude was summed up in the story of St Alexis, which told of a young Roman nobleman who had given up all his possessions and who spent long years in disguise in his parents' house living as a servant. This legend spread rapidly in the eleventh and twelfth centuries and expressed the ideal of poverty as an individual way of life embodying the values of the Gospel. The general concern for those in need also expressed itself in ministry to particular groups of people. Robert of Arbrissel, Peter the Hermit, and others were anxious to provide an escape for women of the cities from a life of prostitution; and Stephen of Muret, although in one sense he represented the ideal of withdrawal in an extreme form, was willing to instruct knights how to go on campaign without sin.
As they followed no traditional set of customs, the new societies were guided by their leader, who generally had the title 'master'; at Obazine, where the priest Stephen settled with followers in the course of the 1120s, 'since no law of any order had been accepted, the institutes of the master were taken as law; these demanded nothing other than humility, obedience, poverty and discipline and, on top of these, continual charity'. 23 The master's own teaching was based on the following of Christ after the example of the apostles. This did not
20 Peter Damian, Vita Romualdi, 37 (PL 144.988AB).
21 Miracula S. Austregisili, iii.4 (AASS May V. 237*C).
22 "nudam crucem nudus utique sequi deberet" , Vita iv. 22(PL 170.1272AB). For Stephen of Muret, see C. Pellisstrandi, "La pauvreé dans la règle de Grandmont" ': M. Mollat (ed.), Études sur l'histoire de la pauvreté ( Paris, 1974), i. 229-45.
23 Vita Stephani Obazinensis, i. 16 ed. M. Aubrun ( Clermont-Ferrand, 1970), 70.
exclude the use of the Rule of Benedict, or the lives of the desert Fathers, as guides, because they were thought to embody this example. But some deliberately went behind these later texts to the simple word of Scripture; Stephen of Muret exclaimed, in a spirit worthy of Francis of Assisi later, 'there is no other Rule than the Gospel of Christ!' 24 For most of these reformers, the thing which captured their imagination was the common life of poverty which the apostles had lived at Jerusalem, as the Acts of the Apostles described it. For monks this way of life was embodied in their customary order, but increasingly there were people who saw a contrast between the complexity of monastic observance and the simplicity of the first fellowship, which they sought to revive in their own age. The life of perfection no longer had to be learned in long years in the monastery school, but was open to all men.
It is both inconvenient and necessary to distinguish canons from hermits. It is inconvenient because there was a large overlap between the two movements. Some leading hermits were originally canons, and hermit foundations sometimes adopted customs designed for canons. The diversity of forms of religious life was puzzling to contemporaries, so that Stephen of Muret was later said to have been asked by two visiting cardinals whether he had been instructed by a monk, a canon, or a hermit. 25 In principle, however, canons were distinct from hermits, just as they were from monks. Under Carolingian legislation they were subject to the Rule of Aix of 816, which was very different from that of Benedict. Communities of canons were intended to officiate in public, and in contrast to the older monastic tradition their members were normally expected to be priests. They were required to live the common life in refectory and dormitory, but were permitted to retain private property. In the disorders of the tenth century, many houses of canons lost their distinctive discipline, and became colleges of married clergy who lived in their own houses and had no common dormitory or refectory.
The apostolic life movement had, even before the middle of the
24 Liber de Doctrina prol. : J. Becquet (ed.), Scriptores Ordinis Grandimontensis, CC(CM) 8 ( 1978) 5.
25 Vita Stephani ampliata, 32, Becquet 121.
eleventh century, made its impact upon communities of canons. The most obvious objective was the restoration of the common life according to the Rule of Aix, but some reformers had already gone beyond this to the ownership of common property. The chapters in German cathedrals were being reshaped in accordance with the new principles under the encouragement of such emperors as Henry II: Bamberg and other houses were used for the training of future bishops in the imperial churches. In some places complete common ownership seems to have been adopted, as at Hildesheim, where it was said that the chapter 'in their profession as canons observed the strictness of monks'. In Italy the old baptismal churches or pievi had often been run by teams of clergy, and the popularity of a full common life was growing among reformers at cathedrals, pievi and hermitages. When Romuald c. 1005 'taught canons and clergy who lived in the world like laymen to be obedient to a provost and live the common life in a congregation' he may have been prescribing customs more demanding than those of Aix. 26 Through imperial influence the reform of canons spread into the province of Ravenna under Archbishop Gebhard ( 1027-44); there the theory of the movement was stated by Bishop John of Cesena in 1042 in a diploma for his cathedral chapter. In Tuscany bishops and lay nobles were active supporters of the movement, notably at Florence and Lucca (from which Popes Nicholas II and Alexander II were to come to Rome). Elsewhere in 1039 four canons of Avignon were authorized by the bishop to retire to the church of St Ruf 'to live the religious life there', and founded a house which was to become the centre of a great collection of communities of canons. The issue received precise definition at the Lateran Council of 1059, when Hildebrand spoke in praise of some clergy who had renounced their goods 'by the example of the primitive church', and launched an attack upon the Rule of Aix for its laxity. It was specifically the permission to enjoy private property which was Hildebrand's target. The Council of 1059 made it obligatory for clergy to live at the churches which they served and share a dormitory and refectory, and exhorted them to practise 'the apostolic, that is the common life' . 27 The same policy was strenuously advocated by Peter Damian in his pamphlet Contra Clericos Regulares Proprietarios.
The idea that canons, like monks, should take the apostolic church
26 Peter Damian, Vita Romualdi, 35 (PL 144.986-7).
27 Canon 4, MGH Leges Const.I, no. 384, p. 547.
of Jerusalem as their model was not entirely new, for Augustine himself had proposed this in sermons which were quoted in the Rule of Aix. It was strengthened by the use of two decretals from pseudoIsidore, ascribed to Clement and Urban I. Clement was said to have written that 'the common life is necessary to all . . . and especially to those who desire to serve God blamelessly and wish to imitate the life of the apostles and their disciples'. These decretals were incorporated by Anselm of Lucca in his collection in the 1080s. 28 One necessity for the reformers was to find a Rule to express these more stringent ideals, and by the end of the century canons had been provided with one. The first reference to a community living according to the Rule of St Augustine seems to be at St Denis, Reims, in 1067. At first this was perhaps only an allusion to the statements by Augustine contained in the Rule of Aix, but by 1100 there were many foundations which had accepted as their rule a collection of writings known as the Third Rule or Regula Tertia. It was believed, perhaps correctly, to be authentically the work of Augustine. Before the end of the century, the canons had been provided, not only with a Rule, but also with a history of their descent from the apostles, parallel to that claimed by monks. The classic definition was formulated by Urban II in a bull to the house of canons at Rottenbuch in southern Germany in 1092:
From the beginning of the holy church two ways of life were instituted for its sons: one to strengthen the debility of the weak, the other to perfect the blessed life of the strong . . . Those who hold to the lower make use of earthly goods; those who hold to the higher despise and abandon earthly goods. The path which by God's favour is turned from earthly things is divided into two sections with almost the same purpose, that is canons and monks. The latter of these, by the mercy of God, now shines forth in great numbers in almost the whole world, but the first has almost become extinct because of the indifference of the people. 29
Urban thus subdivided the clergy into classes which soon became generally recognized: secular clergy (including canons living under the Rule of Aix) who retain private property, and regulars who imitate the life of the apostles, and who are in turn divided into monks and canons. The statement in the Rottenbuch bull was
28 Gratian, Decr. C. XII, q. 1, C. 2 (676). On these decretals see G. Le Bras, "Note sur la vie commune des clercs dans les collections canoniques" , MCSM 3 ( 1962) 16-19.
29 PL 151-338CD. There is a similar statement of theory in the customary of Lethbert at St Ruf, Avignon, about 1100 (PL 157.718-9).
incorporated into privileges to several other major houses of canons and became a crucial element in determing their self-awareness. The term 'regular' canons was increasingly adopted for those living according to the Augustinian Rule in order to distinguish them from the 'secular' canons who observed the Rule of Aix or lived individually, without a common dormitory and refectory.
All over Europe there were vast numbers of churches served by canons, ranging from cathedrals and rich collegiate foundations to baptismal churches and castle chapels. The obvious priority was to 'regularize' these communities, and in southern Europe this took place on a very considerable scale. When the canons of a cathedral were unwilling to change their way of life, bishops sometimes encouraged seceders to form a separate community nearby. St Ruf at Avignon may be an early example of this process, as may St Denis, Reims; St Quentin, Beauvais, whose provost Ivo became bishop of Chartres from 1093 to 1111 and an important propagator of the regular canons; and St Victor at Paris, founded by William of Champeaux in 1108. In northern Europe, little progress had in fact been made by the end of the eleventh century in replacing secular canons by regulars, but the canonical life had shown itself very attractive to hermit communities. At Arrouaise, for example, a lay hermit Roger was joined by two clerks about 1090. One of these two, Cono, became head of the community, which was given the statutes of regular canons by Bishop Lambert of Arras, who had links with St Quentin, Beauvais, and Bishop Ivo. Some hermit groups applied to existing houses of canons to secure a Rule and customs, as did Walcher of Aureil in the Limousin and the community of Chamouzey in Lorraine; both houses obtained their customs from St Ruf, Avignon. It must appear paradoxical that men who had opted for withdrawal from the world decided to shape their communal life according to norms designed for clergy with pastoral responsibilities, but on reflection the attraction was a natural one. To accept a set of monastic customs was scarcely an option for many hermits, who had gone into the wilderness either because traditional monastic life was not available to them or because they found it too relaxed. The Rule of St Augustine, moreover, contained much less detail than that of Benedict, and left room for the community's own practices. It also allowed a ministry of preaching or charity to the poor, which many hermits combined with their withdrawal into contemplation. Thus when just after 1086 a priest named Geoffrey, who was teaching at Limoges, was considering retirement from the world, Abbot Hugh of Cluny recommended him to become a monk; but Geoffrey did not wish to accept 'the burden of monastic rule', and he first became a hermit at le Chalard near Limoges, and soon afterwards a regular canon. Already in the eleventh century the status of regular canon, and the Rule of St Augustine which was its mark, could be found throughout the whole gamut of religious life, from cathedral chapters to small, charitable communities in remote regions, and it was to become a significant element in the policy of the papal reformers and to make an important contribution to the building up of Christian society in the following century.
THE PAPAL REFORM 1046-1073
In the middle of the eleventh century, there were many signs of dissatisfaction with the prevailing conditions within the church. The concern of Cluny for monastic dignity and purity, the beginnings of the eremitical revival and the desire to restore the apostolic life, the sympathy for reform in imperial circles, the circulation of the Decretum of Burchard of Worms and the 'restitution' of local churches from lay to monastic control were all pointing towards a change. At Rome itself there was in the household of John Gratian a group with contacts among reforming enthusiasts in the church outside. It was evident that there was going to be an attack on the evils of Eigenkirchentum and there were hopes that the Roman Church would be a participant in it. What could not have been foreseen was the scale of the offensive, its suddenness, the coherent ideology which was developed to support it, and the decisive impact which it was to have on the whole history of the western church. In the course of twenty-five years, the popes began to intervene vigorously in the affairs of other churches and became the leaders of an international reform movement. After many decades in which the Roman Church had been controlled by the local noble families, influential positions came to be held by men from outside Rome, and of the line of reforming popes only Gregory VII himself was Roman by birth or education. Monks came to play a role in the direction of papal policy for which no previous example can be found: significantly, the great apse mosaic at Sany Clemente, composed as a manifesto for the reforming papacy and completed perhaps about 1120, showed the Fathers of the church dressed in monastic habit. Most startling of all, the dominant thinking in the Roman Church took on a strongly anti-imperial tinge, in defiance of the traditional idea that regnum and sacerdorium operate in the service of God. And the change was rapid. The appointment of the first German pope led almost at once to the promulgation of reform, and only a generation divided Henry III's intervention in 1046 from Henry IV's excommunication in 1076.
In an attempt to explain the rapid development of this remarkable course of events historians have sometimes looked for a single, or at least a principal, moving force. It has been suggested, for example, that the Cluniac reform was the source from which the reformers' thinking flowed. Augustin Fliche, while he painted the background on a broad canvas, stressed the importance of Lotharingia (Lorraine), the province which was now part of the empire, but which had originally been within the middle kingdom between France and Germany. There Fliche discerned a tradition of radical thinking about the state which entered the Roman Church under Leo IX. Other writers have pointed to the arrival at Rome of the pseudo-Isidorian decretals, with their emphasis on the autonomy of churches from royal power. There is no doubt that Cluny, reformers from Lotharingia, and pseudo-Isidore all had a part to play in the papal reform, but none of them can be regarded as the primary explanation of the course of events. The ideas of Cluny needed much adaptation before they could be applied to the government of the clergy as a whole, and while it is true that the influence of Cluny and Monte Cassino was great at Rome, it must not be forgotten that their fullest development did not precede the papal reform, but was most evident under Abbots Hugh and Desiderius, two contemporaries of Gregory VII. Lotharingia produced its quota of radical thinkers, but it is hard to say that they were specially characteristic of the province, whose finest scholar, the long-lived Sigebert of Gembloux, remained a stalwart imperialist until his death in 1112. The pseudo-Isidorian decretals certainly provided a good deal of the material needed to formulate the new ideology, and in that sense their importance can scarcely be exaggerated; but they were a resource (especially in the convenient form provided by Burchard of Worms) rather than a single precipitant of change.
In looking for an explanation of what was to happen, we need to keep in mind some much more general considerations. One is the coexistence of several currents of reform in the middle years of the eleventh century. Although no truly international programme had emerged to unite these scattered endeavours, there was a real coherence between them. The attack on simony, and less obviously on clerical marriage and on the lay invasion of ecclesiastical rights, rested on a determination to restore the clergy to the apostolic life which was described in The Acts of the Apostles and in canon law. It was not yet a programme, but it was capable of becoming one. It was sharpened, and disseminated throughout Europe, by the expansion of monasticism and the insistence on sanctity and poverty which accompanied it. The sudden leap forward within the generation after 1046 was the consequence of the take-over at Rome by a group of enthusiastic reformers; and that in turn was made possible by the existence of special political circumstances in Italy which allowed leaders from outside to be imposed by imperial authority, and then to sustain themselves in control against the power which had originally placed them there. Also significant was the broad pattern of social change which we considered in Chapter 2. The growth of learning made possible an exchange of ideas and formulation of programmes which would not have been conceivable a century before: the papal reform was to generate the first great pamphlet war since the fall of Rome. Equally important was 'the appearance of the crowd on the stage of public events'. 1 Connections between the Roman Church and radical groups in the cities, especially at Milan, were of crucial importance, and one of the weapons of the new papacy was an appeal to laymen to go on strike against corrupt priests by refusing to attend their masses. But these broad considerations will not suffice as explanations without bearing in mind the remarkable ability of some of the leaders, and particularly of the ministry of all the talents assembled in the Roman Church by Leo IX. Without Lenin, the Russian revolution would have been very different; without Leo IX and Gregory VII, the papal reform would not have acquired its distinctive characteristics.
The movement which we have now to study is often known as the Gregorian Reform. The term was made famous by Augustin Fliche, whose major study, La réforme grégorienne, was named after the leader who, as Subdeacon and Cardinal Hildebrand and then as Pope Gregory VII, was almost continuously associated with the reform for forty years. Its very wide use has obscured the fact that 'ecclesiastical reform in the eleventh century was more complex and less papally oriented than the title, Gregorian Reform Movement, has suggested'. 2 It was, indeed, rather a series of movements
1 R. I. Moore, "Family, Community and Cult on the Eve of the Gregorian Reform", TRHS V. 30 ( 1980), 49.
2 J. Gilchrist, . "The Epistola Widonis", Authority and Power: Studies presented to Walter Ullmann ( Cambridge, 1980), 49-58. Fliche did not originally intend the all-purpose use which has been made of his concept.
operating at a number of different levels. There was, first, a series of overlapping initiatives, in various parts of Europe and different sections of the church, which had become apparent before 1050 and thereafter made steady progress. Not all of these were papally inspired: some great archbishops were opponents of simony and of clerical marriage, but resented the activities of papal legates in their provinces. Among these movements, and steadily assuming the direction of them, was the reforming party in control of the Romannnnn Church. This group was itself split by the policy of Gregory VII. Whether or not his ideas were a logical consequence of earlier policies, their application created a new situation, with an open breach with the emperor and a schism in the papal office. The indiscriminate application of the term "Gregorian Reform" tends to obscure the special character of Gregory's policy, which alienated some of the most ardent reformers, as well as over-simplifying the complicated interrelationship of the reforming movements as a whole. I shall therefore reserve 'Gregorian' for the actions of Gregory himself and his successors in the papal schism, using the terms 'papal reform' or 'reforming papacy' for the directing group at Rome from 1046 onwards.
One final word of warning has to be given to the reader. It is often difficult in the eleventh century to reconstruct a course of events precisely, but this difficulty becomes quite extreme with the history of the papal reform. The early chronicles are slight and poorly informed, and the fuller accounts which were written later, like those of Benzo of Alba and Bonizo of Sutri, are distorted by controversy. Record evidence is thin and complicated by forgery and interpolation. In spite of an enormous volume of scholarly work, there is still no agreement on such basic questions as the intentions of Henry III in 1046, the purpose of the papal election decree of 1059, or the timing of the prohibition of lay investiture in relation to the breach with the empire in 1076. Some attempt will be made to indicate where there are major disputes still current; more than that, within reasonable limits of space, cannot be promised.
ii. The Beginnings of Papal Reform (1046-1057) The tenure of the papal office by members of the great Roman family of Tusculum was interrupted in the middle of the 1040s. It is reasonable to assume that expression of reforming ideals in the groups around John Gratian and the unpopularity of Benedict IX were among the causes of the crisis, but we have little solid knowledge of the situation beyond the bare facts. In autumn 1044 Benedict was expelled from Romenn by its citizens and replaced by Bishop John of Sabina as Sylvester III. Although Benedict was quickly restored his position seems to have become untenable, and on 1 May 1045 he resigned his office in favour of John Gratian, who took the title of Gregory VI and was eagerly greeted by the Italian hermit leader Peter Damian as the bringer of a new age. Gregory was thereafter recognized as pope, since Sylvester was an intruder and Benedict had resigned, and the suggestion that an appeal was made for Henry III to come to Rome to disentangle a threefold schism, although it is an understandable one, is not correct.
It is more probable that Henry's journey to Rome in 1046 was coincidental, caused not by events in the city but by his intention to reassert his rights in Italy and secure the imperial crown at the hands of the pope, as all his predecessors had done since Otto I. He was a remarkable man, who took very seriously his divinely given duties. It was his custom to make his confession before wearing the royal insignia, and his scrupulous rectitude won him the name of Linea Iusticie, the measure of righteousness. He was conscientious in the appointment of bishops and, by reputation, entirely free from simony. Even among the zealous reformers of the next generation, he was revered as 'a religious king, very ecclesiastical and devout in matters of worship'. 3 He was a particularly scrupulous champion of the royal authority over the church which had been characteristic of the government of Germany since the time of Otto I. He also embodied some of its more domineering features: he dealt with his bishops in a masterful way, and was not unduly troubled about the niceties of canon law -- in particular, his marriage with the Empress Agnes was well within the prohibited relationship and provoked protests in stricter circles. Henry can be seen, moreover, as having deliberately extended this Ottonian supremacy to the Roman Church itself. He nominated a series of German bishops as pope, and chose men who were model products of the imperial church system: Germans of noble birth, several of them nearly related to the emperor, products of the royal chapel and cathedral schools. Henry was no enthusiast of monk-bishops, appointing only one in his seventeen years of rule in Germany, and to this extent he was out of tune with one important reforming element which was eventually to
3 Chronicle of St Bénigne, Dijonn (MGH SS VII. 237); Peter Damian, Liber Gratissimus, 38 (MGH LdL.i.71-2); and, most striking of all, Humbert, Adversus Simoniacos, iii.7 (LdL.i. 206)
dominate the movement at Rome. The signs are that he intended to change the character of the Roman Church in a new and lasting way. He was recognized by the citizens of Rome as patricius, a title which was regarded as giving a decisive voice in the appointment of future popes; and his first appointment significantly called himself Clement II, a revival of the name of the early pope who was usually taken as the direct successor of Peter. It was a dramatic announcement of the restoration of the Romannn Church to apostolic purity.
To interpret Henry III's reign as the highest expression of royal ecclesiastical supremacy is, however, to disregard the ambiguities in his government -- ambiguities which were to become critical in later decades. At one and the same time, he accepted the ideas of apostolic renewal which were beginning to circulate in reforming circles, and he disregarded the provisions of canon law in his dealings with the bishops. The assumption of the title patricius was itself a product of such ambiguity, since it based his claim to nominate the pope, not on the divine authority of the anointed emperor, but on a secular title recently exercised by the Roman aristocracy. In all probability Henry, a practical ruler in an age not noted for theoretical refinement, was unaware that such principles existed in uneasy tension below the surface of his policy. If we had more information about his detailed intentions, and the procedures which he followed in his dealings with the Roman Church, we might discover a clearer line of policy, but the evidence leaves these matters uncertain.
Henry entered Italy in the autumn of 1046. He met Gregory VI at Piacenzannnnn, amicably as far as we know. At some point, however, it was reported that the retirement of Benedict IX had been secured by the payment of money, and that Gregory VI's position as pope was thus stained by simony. At the synod of Sutri on 20 December, Gregory VI was removed, and any remaining claims of Sylvester and Benedict set aside. Henry's motives in taking action against Gregory were probably the obvious ones: he was an opponent of simony, and would have had no wish to be crowned by a pope whose accession could be questioned. The procedure adopted at Sutri is very variously reported: Gregory may have been deposed by Henry or by the bishops in synod, or resigned of his own free will, or deemed not to have been properly elected because of the charge of simony. 4
____________________ 4 There is little doubt about the truth of the accusation of simony. For a possible explanation, see Herrmann, Das Tuskulanerpapsttum (Stuttgartnn, 1973), 155-6. The view that Gregory was not deposed by the synod has been reasserted by F.-J. Schmale, "Die Absetzung Gregors VI", Annuarium Historiae Conciliorum, II ( 1979) 55-103.
The possibility that Henry had Gregory went into exile in Germany, accompanied by his young clerk, Hildebrand. For a replacement Henry turned to the ranks of the German bishops and appointed Suidger of Bamberg. On Christmasn Day 1046 the new pope was enthroned, with the name Clement II, and he in turn crowned Henry and his wife Agnes as emperor and empress.
The reform of the Roman Church was widely welcomed, but it did not go unchallenged. Burchard of Worms had already incorporated in his Decretum some texts which limited royal authority in spiritual matters, and in the reign of Henry III a number of critical voices were raised against the exercise of his royal priesthood. When the Benedictine Halinard was appointed to the archbishopric of Lyon in 1046 he refused to swear an oath of fealty, alleging both the New Testament command not to swear, and the command of the Rule that a monk should separate himself from secular affairs. A much more jealous defender of the division between the two powers was Bishop Wazo of Liège, whose remarks, admittedly, were only recorded some years later. When Henry took action against Widger, the archbishop-elect of Ravenna, in 1046, Wazo protested against the procedure and declared in resounding fashion that bishops owed obedience to the king in secular affairs, but in spiritual ones to the pope. It was a distinction which in essence would have been familiar to Carolingian churchmen, and suggests that their tradition of thought was not dead. Wazo is also said to have compared Henry's royal unction with the greater dignity of the anointing of bishops, and to have denied the validity of the deposition of Gregory VI. A still sharper attack was contained in the tract De Ordinando Pontifice, probably of French origin, in which the whole issue of imperial authority in the church was raised in radical terms: 'where do we read that emperors have obtained the place of Christ?' 5 The new age was in any event dawning slowly. German popes proved vulnerable to the Italian climate. Clement II died on 9 October 1047 and his
been told of the simony charge in Germany and had intervened for that reason cannot be excluded, but is less likely than the version in the text. By the same token we do not know whether Henry's design for a long-term reform of the Roman Church, for which I have argued in the text, was originally conceived in co-operation with Gregory VI or was developed after the breach with him.
5 H. H. Anton, Der sogenannte Traktat De Ordinando Pontifice ( Bonn, 1982), 83. The question of authorship and intent is fully discussed there, with full references to earlier studies. The title of the tract is modern and does not properly describe the contents. For Wazo, see Anselm, Gesta episcoporum Leodiensium, 65 (MGH SS VII.228-9).
successor Damasus II survived for only three weeks after his enthronement on 17 July 1048.
The future character of the reforming papacy was determined by the next pope, that papa mirabilis Leo IX. 6 Perhaps few elements in his policy were completely new, but he implemented it with a force and vision which in a few short years changed the character of the Roman Church and its standing in western Christendom. At his appointment Bruno was 46 years old, the son of a count in Alsace, a relative of the Emperor Henry III, and bishop of Toul, where he was already noted for his activity in combatting simony. Having been welcomed by the clergy and people of Rome he was enthroned as pope on 12 February 1049. One of Leo's most important contributions was the recruiting of a group of outstanding reformers into the senior ranks of the Romann Church. Some were from his own diocese of Toul, including Humbert, a monk of Moyenmoutier (who became cardinal-bishop of Silva Candida), Hugh Candidus from Remiremont (cardinal-priest of Sannnnn Clemente) and Udo (papal chancellor). From elsewhere came Frederick, archdeacon of Liège and brother of Duke Godfrey of Lorraine (also papal chancellor) and the Subdeacon Hildebrand, who now after the death of Gregory VI returned to the Lateran palace. Other prominent reformers in close touch with Leo were Archbishops Halinard of Lyon and Hugh of Besançon, and the hermit leader Peter Damian. These talented men, whose names include two future popes, were to sustain the reforming cause throughout the next generation.
The purpose of this recruitment was to provide Leo with the means for an ambitious attack on abuses within the western church. In his five years in office he held eleven or twelve synods which issued canons against simony and clerical marriage, and reasserted the validity of canon law and the necessity of the canonical election of bishops. Contemporaries were struck by his conviction of the international responsibility of the n Church, which was vividly expressed in his travels in 1049 in northern Italy, Germany, and France and in the synods of Reims and Mainz in the autumn of that year:
What pastor of the Roman Church, since that golden age in which Leo and Gregory shone clearer than crystal as lights of spiritual doctrine, has arisen as diligent and watchful as you, holiest of bishops . . . ? You were not
6 John of Fécamp, Epistola ad S. Leonem IX (PL 143.797C).
content in your own see of the city of Rome to care for one people . . . but also visited and examined with synodical scrutiny the churches north of the Alps. 7
This sense of the revival of the glories of the early church was confirmed by Leo's charismatic gifts. He was not simply a legislator; rather, it was characteristic for him to preside at the consecration of great churches and other liturgical occasions, some of which, like the translation of St Remigius at Reims in 1049, he converted into reforming synods. He had a strong sense that through him God was speaking to the Christian people, and a remarkable ability to call down judgement upon evil-doers. At Leo's first synod at Rome the bishop of Sutri collapsed and died as he defended himself against a charge of simony; at Reims the spokesman for Bishop Hugh of Langres became tongue-tied as he tried to present his case, and years later one of the clergy present remembered how the assembly had been terrified by Leo's proclamation of God's wrath against simoniacs. 8 His ministry set the fashion for treating the reforming popes as saints, whose lives and miracles should be recorded. This charismatic power was precisely what was needed to give impetus to the campaign against simony and to force public opinion to take it seriously.
To modern eyes there is a sharp contrast between the two parts of Leo's short pontificate. From 1051 onwards, although his concern for reform did not cease, the main focus of his policy was the Norman menace in southern Italy. They had entered the country as mercenaries, but were now engaged in establishing themselves as its rulers under their formidable leaders Richard of Aversa and Robert Guiscard. The clash of interests began when Leo accepted the lordship over Beneventonn which its inhabitants offered him, and in 1052 the pope appealed to Henry III for support, which was not forthcoming. Leo, while carrying on negotiations with the Byzantine emperor, therefore decided to put himself at the head of an army and to suppress the Normans from his own resources. In Leo's eyes the expedition was not a mere political matter. The papal claims to authority in southern Italy were large; indeed, the Donation of Constantine, another ninth-century forgery, provided a basis for claiming dominion over the whole region. He was also shocked by
7 John of Fécamp (PL 143.797C).
8 Will of Udalric of Reims (PL 150.1547C).
the violence of the Normans and was pressing them to treat the inhabitants justly: 'he showed them how God is persecuted when the poor are persecuted, and God is satisfied when the poor are well treated. And he charged them that they should faithfully protect the priests and the goods of the church.' 9 The pope was therefore driven by the defence of the possessions of St Peter and the suffering of the people of Apulia, as well as by an attempted alliance with Byzantium, to give high priority to action against the invaders. The result was an anti-climax. The papal army was overwhelmed at Civitate on 18 June 1053 and Leo himself was captured. The Normans kept him in honourable captivity for almost a year, and he died at Rome on 19 April 1054 shortly after his release.
He had been pope for only a short time, and the end of his pontificate was occupied by the disastrous Norman campaign; but Leo's work had been great. He had manifested the authority of Rome north of the Alps, emphasized the binding power of canon law, given a new and dramatic life to the campaign against simony and clerical marriage, provided a startling precedent for papally conducted warfare, and set a stamp on future dealings with the Greek Church. There was so far little sign of the deteriorating relations with the empire which were to be a feature of the following decade, although it was significant that Henry III, finding himself under pressure in Germany, had been unable to provide the resources for which the pope had asked to fight the Normans. There were also some complaints that Henry had fallen away from his original high aims and was disappointing the expectations which he had aroused. As far as relations between pope and emperor were concerned, however, these were the distant whisperings of a storm whose coming no one foresaw.
Leo's successor was Bishop Gebhard of Eichstätt, who was enthroned at Rome as Victor II. Another relative of the emperor, his policy followed the general lines of Leo's, and he secured from Henry a promise that he would render to St Peter what was rightly his. 10 By this time Henry's hold over Italy was becoming increasingly insecure. Countess Beatrice of Tuscany, the greatest landowner of northern Italy, had married Duke Godfrey of Lorraine, a long-standing enemy of Henry III, and it was only with difficulty
10 De episcopis Eichstetensibus, 38 (MGH SS VII. 265).
9 V. de Bartholomaeis (ed.), Storia de' Normanni di Amato di Montecassino ( Rome, 1935), iii. 16 (130-1).
that the pope was able to reconcile the emperor with them. Hardly had he done so when Henry died on 5 October 1056, in the presence of the pope, to whom he commended his small son Henry. In a sense Victor was the heir to the imperial policy, but he did not long survive, and died at Arezzo in Tuscany on 28 July 1057. The line of popes appointed from the ranks of German bishops had come to an end, and so had the close co-operation of papal reformers and the imperial court.
iii. The Reformers Come of Age (1057-1073) The deaths of Henry III and Victor II completed the transformation of the Italian political situation. Until the early 1050s, conditions had been favourable for maintaining the imperial interest in the Roman Church in co-operation with the German popes. Now, imperial policy was in the weak hands of the Empress Agnes, regent for the boy Henry IV; the formidable power of Lorraine-Tuscany, in the hands of Duke Godfrey, dominated much of the north of the peninsula; and, to the south of Rome, Norman power had been consolidated by the victory at Civitate. The quiescence of the Roman nobility was also coming to an end. Their failure to challenge the position of the German popes had been notable in the preceding years. The reason may well be that the Tusculan family had depended heavily on the control of the papacy for its power and had been disabled by losing it. Moreover, until the death of the former Benedict IX in 1055 the Roman nobles were in practice unable to unite behind a convincing local candidate. Thereafter, they recovered their freedom of action, which they were to use in ways which threatened the reformers and jeopardized their good relations with the imperial court.
When news arrived at Rome of the death of Victor II an assembly of clergy and people immediately elected Frederick of Lorraine as Pope Stephen IX, and he was enthroned on 3 August 1057. The new pope had been brought to Rome by Leo, who had made him chancellor, and he had subsequently been elected abbot of Monte Cassino. For the first time since 1045 an election had been made without prior consultation with the German court, and the choice of Godfrey of Lorraine's brother probably indicates an appeal to him for his protection. Stephen was the first monk to be elected pope for many years, and he proceeded to strengthen the monastic position within the Roman Church by appointing Peter Damian as bishop of Ostia, the senior cardinal-bishop, and Humbert as papal chancellor. His term as pope was too short for more than these first measures, since he died at Florence on 29 March 1058.
His death gave rise to a schism. The clergy and laity at once proceeded to an election at Rome, choosing Bishop John of Velletri, who was installed as Benedict X on 5 April 1058. By this time, the new men had established themselves sufficiently firmly to be able to challenge the old nobility. They turned for support jointly to the Empress Agnes, with whom Hildebrand conducted the negotiations, and to Duke Godfrey. The new pope was another Tuscan connection, Bishop Gerard of Florence, who had been prominent in the reform movement there. He was escorted to Romenn by the troops of Duke Godfrey and installed as Nicholas II on 24 January 1059.
Within the party which thus renewed its control of the papal office there were three outstanding men. The oldest of them was Peter Damian. He had been born at Ravenna about 1007, had studied at Faenza and Parma, and been a master, probably at Ravenna. In 1035 he entered the hermitage of Fonte Avellana in the Appenines and became prior in 1043. Peter was at once an advocate of withdrawal, given to ascetic practices of an exaggerated kind, and a propagandist for reform. The clash of loyalties within his mind produced a number of eccentricities and indiscretions: his fierce attack on homosexual practices in monasteries, the Liber Gomorrhianus, was regarded somewhat coolly by the popes. On the other hand on major issues of theology Peter's was the voice of moderation. He asserted firmly the tradition that it was the emperor's task to be the defender of the church, and that the pope should look to him for assistance in reform. His Liber Gratissimus ( 1052) was one of the finest theological works of the century and a classic criticism of the rigorist approach to the problem of simony.
The second of these three men, Hildebrand, may have been related to the Roman nobility, although there is little solid evidence that, as was formerly believed, he was a member of the rising Pier Leone family. He was educated in the school in the Lateran palace and at the monastery of St Mary Aventine, where he was probably professed as a monk in boyhood. 11 After exile in northern Europen with Gregory
11 Gregory was certainly a monk, but it is hard to be sure where he made his profession. In spite of a clear statement of Bonizo of Sutri that this took place at Cluny in 1047-8 an earlier profession seems more probable.
VI he returned to Rome under Leo IX, and his arrival at a position of prime importance was indicated by his part in negotiating the election of Nicholas II. By 1059 he had become archdeacon of the Roman Church. Peter Damian, who was far from being an uncritical admirer, nicknamed him 'holy Satan'. 12
The third member of the group was Humbert. Originally a monk of Moyenmoutier, he had come to Rome with Leo IX and been nominated archbishop of Palermonnn, a nominal title as the town was in Moslem hands; he was then made cardinal-bishop of Silva Candida and subsequently papal chancellor. Humbert was a learned man, who apart from wide reading of the Latin Fathers also knew some Greek, and he enjoyed a great deal of influence with the popes from 1050 until his death in 1061. He had a large involvement in negotiations with Constantinople, and in the politics of reform he represented the rigorist party, which refused to recognize the orders conferred by simoniac bishops. There has been much discussion among historians about the body of writing which may be assigned to Humbert, who at one time was in danger of becoming the residuary legatee of every anonymous pamphlet written in his lifetime. The fact is that the only major work which can be securely assigned to him was the Adversus Simoniacos, 'Against the Simoniacs', which he composed about 1058 as a reply (although not expressly) to Peter Damian's Liber Gratissimus. It is striking for its statement of the rigorist view and its early attack on lay investiture, and we shall have to return to it shortly. It was, however, little circulated; it is important, not because it became well known, but because its author was influential in papal circles for a decade.
The pontificate of Nicholas II, which was deeply influenced by these three men, has sometimes been seen as embodying the first application of the ideas which were fully implemented by Gregory VII after 1075. The question is an important one, because if this view is correct it would mean that the policy had been both formulated and applied (presumably under Humbert's influence) at this early stage in the development of the papal reform. On this interpretation, Nicholas not only re-enacted the reforming legislation of Leo IX but added to it a prohibition of lay investiture, a decree on papal elections designed to free the papacy from imperial influence, a stringent
12 Opuscula 20, 1 (PL 145.444AB). Dr Blake has suggested to me that the reference is to Matt. 16: 23, and that Peter was complaining about the pressure put on him by Hildebrand to involve himself in the affairs of the world rather than withdraw to his hermitage.
attempt to oblige canons to adopt individual poverty, and a treaty which provided Norman protection for the reform party. It was not surprising, the argument runs, that by 1061 there was an open breach between the reform party at Rome and the imperial advisers in Germany. Does an examination of Nicholas' policy support this understanding of it? 13
The new pope celebrated his victory in the schism by summoning a great synod at the Lateran, including 113 bishops, and its decrees were published to the western church in the letter Vigilantia universalis. This provided a summary of the reforming programme, including the measures against simony and clerical marriage which had become a standard part of it over the last ten years. The discussion of the common life of canons was marked by a sharp attack, led by Hildebrand, on the permission to own private property contained in the Rule of Aix, which had been adopted under Louis the Pious in 816; but the resulting decree was moderate in its wording, for canons were only exhorted (not compelled) to give up the use of private possessions. The papal election decree, which was the most striking piece of new legislation, appears to have been designed for three purposes: to justify the procedures which had in fact been followed in electing Nicholas II; to secure the hold upon the Roman Church which the reform party had almost lost and to ensure that future elections should be carried out according to the principles of canon law. The contorted provisions were the result of trying to achieve these different, and not completely consistent, aims. There was in fact no real guidance in canon law about the method of electing the Roman pontiff, and this decree was the first attempt to define procedure: 'First the cardinal bishops shall together discuss with most careful consideration, then they shall associate with themselves the cardinal clerks, and thus the remaining clergy and people shall join in consenting to the new election.' 14 The common electoral procedure at the time was for an inner group, which acted as a nominating committee in modern terminology, to hold a preliminary discussion or tractatio and produce a name for election by the wider body. The influential place of the cardinalbishops, in whose ranks the reformers were strongly entrenched, is evident. Another drafting problem was presented by the rights of the emperor, for there was nothing in canon law to justify his influence upon elections. It was solved rather evasively by allowing to Henry
13 The question of the alleged decree on investiture is considered later in this chapter.
14 Papal election decree 3 (MGH Leges IV Const. I, p. 539 ).
IV the 'due honour and dignity' which had been granted by the apostolic see. The precise significance of this measure has been the subject of a great deal of controversy. It is unlikely that it was intended to exclude the emperor from any part in papal elections, but his role was reduced to a privilege granted by the Roman Church, a change which marked a sharp difference from the days of Henry III, when the all-important tractatio had been held at the imperial court.
In the same year there was a reversal of Leo IX's policy towards the Normans. It is uncertain whether this was mainly the work of Desiderius, abbot of Monte Cassino, or of Archdeacon Hildebrand. Whoever was the initiator, the new pope was persuaded to seek a rapprochement with Richard of Capua and Robert Guiscard. At Melfi in August 1059 he recognized their right to most of southern Italy. Robert received investiture of Apulia, Calabria, and Sicily, most of which were still in Greek and Moslem hands. In return the Norman princes swore obedience to the papacy, promising to pay an annual tribute and to defend the rights of St Peter. The arrangement achieved several things: it recognized the large papal claims to southern Italy, envisaged an effective extension of Latin Christendom against Moslems and Greeks, and promised financial and military assistance to the popes. Neither the papal election decree nor the Norman alliance was directly anti-imperial; they were rather attempts to fortify the position of the reformers in a world in which (at least during the minority of Henry IV) the imperial interest had become only one, and not the most powerful, of the forces to be taken into account.
In the meantime a new front in the campaign against simony and clerical marriage had opened with the beginning of the troubles at Milany. In this great and traditional church, both the payment of fees and the marriage of priests were customary. The move against the ecclesiastical establishment began with the preaching of the deacon Ariald against clerical marriage: on 10 May 1057 the clergy, assembled for the translation of the relics of St Nazzaro, were surprised by an uprising of the laity and compelled to swear that in future they would observe chastity. Before long, Ariald had widened his attack to include simony, and had come to feel that marriage was a secondary matter if clergy were involved in simoniacal heresy: 'it hardly matters whether heretics have wives or not.' Perhaps at this time his followers received the insulting name Patarini. 15 To settle
15 Andrew of Strumi, Vita sancti Arialdi 10 (MGH SS XXX. ii. 1055).
this crisis Nicholas II sent as legates Peter Damian and Bishop Anselm of Lucca, who imposed a solution along the lines advocated in Peter's Liber Gratissimus. The clergy were obliged to renounce simony and concubinage and to do penance, but they were permitted to keep their offices. It was an insecure settlement, which did not satisfy the radical demands of the Patarini, who had meanwhile established within the city a community devoted to living the apostolic life.
Nicholas II died on 27 July 1061, leaving behind him an awkward situation. In the months before his death, relations with the German church had deteriorated gravely, apparently as a result of a clash with Archbishops Anno of Cologne and Siegfried of Mainz. 16 The quarrel has often been explained as the result of imperial resentment at the papal election decree and the alliance with the Normans, but there is no clear evidence for this view. The dispute reached the point where a synod of German bishops met to condemn the pope and declare his acts invalid, and this was to have grave consequences for the new election. At Rome Bishop Anselm of Lucca was elected and enthroned as Alexander II on 30 September or 1 October 1061. He was a member of the Milanese family of da Baggio and had been associated with the reforming group at Rome. 17 He owed his elevation to the support of Archdeacon Hildebrand and the presence of a Norman force brought there in fulfilment of the oath of 1059. This time the German court was not even informed, and an embassy from the Roman nobility induced Henry IV at the council of Basle on 28 October 1061 to nominate Bishop Cadalus of Parma as Honorius II. Alexander's prospects at first appeared poor, but a coup d'état by Archbishop Anno of Cologne reversed the policy of the imperial court. Alexander was able to secure himself in Rome, and at Pentecost 1064 the synod of Mantua finally secured his general recognition as pope.
Alexander's policy stood firmly in the tradition of Nicholas II, whose legislation he repeated almost verbatim in his first synod after Easter 1063, attended by more than 100 bishops. There was
16 Unfortunately the details of this important episode are obscure, and we depend on a short account by Peter Damian, Disceptatio Synodalis (MGH LdL i. 87-8), supplemented by Deusdedit (LdL ii.309) and Benzo of Alba (MGH SS XI.672). There is no contemporary support for a connection between the quarrel of 1061 and the events of 1059.
17 The weight of evidence is against the traditional views (although they rest on early statements) that Alexander was a former pupil of Lanfranc at Bec, and that he had been a founder of the Patarini.
nevertheless a shift of power among his advisers, with the death of Cardinal Humbert in 1061 and the determination of Peter Damian to return to his hermitage. Most contemporaries thought that the direction of policy was now in the hands of archdeacon Hildebrand. Peter Damian acidly remarked that, if you wanted to live at Rome you had to obey the pope's lord rather than the lord pope. 18 The evidence does not enable us to measure precisely the correctness of this impression, but it does seem clear that Hildebrand was in charge of policy towards Milan, a city of crucial importance which was moreover the birthplace of Alexander. The pontificate saw a steadily increasing intervention in the regions of Europey in the cause of reform, a policy implemented by the despatch of legates and by the approval of military endeavours in support of the papacy. In France, where papal legates had already been active, a further series visited the country, including Peter Damian who was sent to hear a dispute between the abbey of Cluny and the bishop of Mâcon in 1063. A closer watch was also kept on appointments to bishoprics there. In 1065 the pope wrote that Hildegaire was believed to have seized the bishopric of Chartres with the connivance of the advisers of the young Philip I, and he threatened an interdict on the royal court unless it withdrew its support for him. Alexander was not challenging all lay interest in appointments, but was reacting with vigour to any suggestion of purchase or the use of force. In England the Norman Conquest provided an occasion for the reorganization of the church. This was welcomed at Rome, for Archbishop Stigand of Canterbury ( 1052-70) was an intruder and a scandalous pluralist, and had obtained the pallium, the emblem of his authority, from the 'anti-pope' Benedict X. William I welcomed the visit in 1070 of Bishop Ermenfrid of Sitten who came to remove some of the English bishops, Stigand included. William was following a policy of gallicizing the English church, and by the end of his reign in 1087 only one bishop, Wulfstan of Worcester, was English by birth. It can, however, not be said that papal power had made a spectacular breakthrough in England. King William regarded himself as responsible for the church in collaboration with his adviser and friend, Archbishop Lanfranc of ( 1070-89). Lanfranc was a north Italian who had moved to Normandy and won recognition as one of the outstanding scholars of his generation. The imperialist Pope Clement III, admittedly when he was angling for his support,
18 Peter Damian, Carmen, 149 (PL 145.961 D).
described him as 'the most splendid star of Europey'. He had become a monk in 1042 at the newly founded house of Bec, and then in 1063 been appointed by Duke William as abbot of his new foundation of St Stephen's, Romeanfranc was an active reformer, but he neither expected nor welcomed direct intervention from Rome, and was concerned to secure his own recognition as primate, with authority over the archbishop of York and effective headship over the whole British church.
In Germany the young King Henry IV was assuming control from about 1066, after ten years of minority government. He was as deeply religious as his father had been and took pleasure in discussion with the learned clergy whom he appointed as his chaplains. Later in his life his personal copy of the psalter became so worn with use that one of his chaplains, the future Bishop Otto of Bamberg, had it bound for him as a surprise. At first there was little disposition to challenge the principles of church order which Henry III had imposed, but in practice it was becoming more difficult for the king to govern the imperial church. As regent, Archbishop Anno had forced his relatives into vacant sees, including his brother Werner, who became archbishop of Magdeburg in 1063, and he used so much annoyance in 1066 in trying to appoint his nephew Cuno as archbishop of Trier that Cuno was murdered there. The increasing independence of cathedral and other canons led to arguments about episcopal appointments, and so did the growing collision of interest between the Crown and some of the great princes, who were seeking to build up their territories and, as part of the process, to found monasteries under their patronage. Archbishop Anno of Cologne, Duke Rudolf of Suabia, and others brought in monks from Fruttuaria and other houses outside y, whicyh did not share the tradition of imperial headship. The growing alienation between the court and the reformers was reflected in the position of Henry's mother, the Empress Agnes, who had retired to Rome and who intervened in Germany several times in order to reconcile Henry with Alexander II, the southern princes, and Gregory VII in turn. It may be that a more statesmanlike approach by Henry IV would have won support, but he followed the natural line of trying to force his nominees into bishoprics. Hermann of Bamberg was probably a good appointment, although very much a royal favourite, while Charles of Constance was a much less suitable nomination, and both provoked fierce complaints from the canons of their cities. With the growth of these divisions, papal authority was drawn into the affairs of German churches in a way unknown in the past. At Trier, following Cuno's murder. Alexander II approved the election of Udo, the first case of promotion in Germany without the approval of the royal court. Bishop Hermann of Bamberg was pursued with false charges of simony, and Charles of Constance resigned under pressure at the synod of Mainz in 1071. The campaign of the canons there had been led by the head of their school, Bernard, and inspired him to a study of canon law. It is our first mention of the Constance tradition of canonists, who were to be a major element in the development of papal teory under Gregory VII.
The Roman Church was even more directly involved in the local movements of protest in Italian cities. At Florence the Vallombrosan monks whipped up popular feeling against Bishop Peter and insisted on arranging an ordeal by fire in which one of their number proved the bishop guilty of simony. At the Rome synod of 1068 Alexander II bowed to the inevitable and deposed him. More influential for future events was the renewal of the troubles at Milan, where settlement of 1059 had not endured. The Patarini had acquired a new leader in Erlembald, a layman who acted with violence against clergy charged with simony: his critics said that he was like a pope to judge the priests, and like a king to bruise the peoples. Rome showed a remarkable lack of reserve in giving its support to Erlembald. The conservative party remained strong at Milan, however, and in June 1066 Ariald, the founder of the Patarini was murdered; the movement now had its martyr. A few years later the struggle led to a schism which was to have international consequences. In 1072the city was divided between two claimants to the archbishopric, Godfrey who had been invested by Henry IV, and Atto the Patarini candidate. The y Chuyrch promptly recognized Atto, and at the Easter synod of 1073 Alexander II excommunicated the advisers of Henry IV for their part in the investiture of Godfrey. When Alexander died on 21 April 1073 he left a crisis, with an almost open breach between the pope and the German king. The situation had been partly produced by the papal support for a party whose appeal to the people, and violent conduct, had created both a social upheaval and a schism in the Milanese church. Probably Hildebrand had been the champion of this policy of direct involvement; and his was to be the voice which determined the policy of the Romanyyy Church during the next ten years.
iv. The Principles of Papal Reform
Between the synod of Sutri in 1046 and the accession of Gregory VII in 1073, a group of dedicated men had secured the senior positions in the Roman Church and established it as a co-ordinating force in international reform. They had begun to show a sturdy independence towards old-established powers and by 1073 they had come to the brink of a confrontation with the authority of Henry IV. Many of these leaders were monks, and a set of common principles underlay the monastic revival and the papal reform movement. Both were imbued with the spirit of contemptus mundi or rejection of worldly values. Abbot John of Fécamp explained what this meant:
We find that in the Scriptures those who love the world are called the world. So what can be more properly called the world than kings and dukes, marquises and counts, fleshly bishops and every one who is given up to fleshly desires? For we see abbots bound in friendship to such men, and monks diligently serving them. 19
This dismissal of the political order expresses the spirit which also underlay the work of the papal reformers, and is embodied in its most extreme form in Humbert's work Adversus Simoniacos. Against this mass of evil, papal and monastic reformers agreed on the source of remedy: 'let us turn back, dearly beloved, to the innocence of the primitive church'. 20 In their imaginations these men lived again in the pages of the Acts of the Apostles, when Simon Peter strove with Simon Magus. While papal and monastic reformers shared these principles in common, their practical programmes were necessarily different. Leo IX, Humbert, and Hildebrand stood for the correction of abuses among the clergy as a whole, who had subjected themselves to the dominance of the worldly laity. Tellenbach said of Hildebrand as Gregory VII that he 'stands at the greatest -- from the spiritual point of view the only -- turning-point in the history of Catholic Christendom; in his time the policy of converting the world gained once and for all the upper hand over the policy of withdrawing from it'. 21 This large claim rests on the solid fact that the function of a pope is different from that of an abbot, and that the reforming popes, with their enlarged sense of authority, saw
19 Letter Tuae quidem, 7, J. Leclercq and J.-P. Bonnes, Jean de Fécamp ( Paris, 1946), 203. John was abbot of Fécamp from 1028 to 1078, but the letter contains no indication of date.
20 Sermo 53 ascribed to Peter Damian (PL 144.806C).
21 G. Tellenbach, Church, State and Christian Society ( Oxford, 1940), 164.
themselves as responsible for the well-being of the western church and issued legislation and published it through legates and synods in a way which would not have been conceivable for Hugh of Cluny or Desiderius of Monte Cassino.
Yet the difference of roles does not necessarily imply a difference of attitudes, and it is arguable that the papal reform movement did not mark the abandonment of the monastic approach so much as its adoption as the policy of the Roman Church. One of the fundamental aims was to separate the clergy from the rest of society, preferably into communities living under rule with common property, but at least stripped of the ties such as simony and marriage which bound them to the world. The classic statement is that of Humbert:
Just as clergy are forbidden to interfere with secular business, so are laymen with ecclesiastical business . . . In the same way as clergy are distinct from laymen in their dress and profession, so they should also be in deeds and conversation, so that neither party should take upon itself the office or hereditary status of the other, but each respect the bounds appointed by the holy Fathers and orthodox princes. Just as the clergy are separated within the walls of basilicas from the offices and areas allotted to laymen, so they ought to be identifiably separate in business. Thus laymen should arrange and provide for their own business, which is secular, and clergy for theirs, which is ecclesiastical. 22
The stress on separation was not new. It was implicit in the Gelasian principle, and the rules of canon law which forbade the clergy to become involved in secular affairs had already been cited in Burchard of Worms. But the separation of the clergy from worldly affairs was not a simple restoration of the past, because it was being applied to a society in which the churches had landed endowments and secular duties, and it was accompanied by the attempt to strip away from the priesthood all family ties and segregate it into communities. The first generation of reformers looked to abbeys such as Cluny and Monte Cassino, with the empires of local churches under their control, as natural allies in implementing their policy. At a later stage, as we shall see, the growth of the regular canons and the possibility of using the bishop as the effective power in the reform of the local churches led to an 'episcopal revival' and to an emphasis upon the withdrawal of monasteries from involvement in the secular church.
22 Humbert, Adversus Simoniacos, iii.9 (MGH LdL i.208).
The priority in this reform was the need to purify the clergy for the performance of their liturgical functions, for it was through the means of grace dispensed in the sacraments, and above all in the mass, that salvation was made available to believers. It was for this reason that there were agonized discussions about the impact of simony upon the administration of the sacraments, and that Humbert and other leaders committed themselves passionately to a doctrine of Christ's physical presence in the bread and wine consecrated by the hands of a faithful priest. Johannes Laudage has emphasized that the concern for the purification of the clergy as the channel of sacramental salvation runs through the whole of the reforming movement. It represents a welding of a monastic demand for purity with a pastoral concern proper to secular clergy, and it is reflected not only in the legislation of reforming councils but in a new type of saint's life, in which miracles were given much less prominence than the demand that the clergy should follow Christ as his disciples. One early example of this style was the Life of Ariald by Andrew of Strumi, written about 1075 with its stress on Ariald's characteristic message: 'Behold, Christ says, "whoever is my minister must follow me".' 23 We must, however, be careful not to state this concept of reform in too modern a way. Historians have often stressed that, whatever the disagreements may have been over the proper discipline of the church, there were men of good will who were united in the desire for moral reform of the clergy; but this is a misconception, at least if we think of 'moral reform' in terms which would be natural today. There is little in the whole literature of the papal reform movement about the need to make clergy personally more devout, to build up their character, or to provide better instruction or pastoral care for the laity. Indeed, there is only a limited amount of discussion designed to define the priestly office in its inner character. These things do indeed become important in the thirteenth century, but in the age of Leo IX and Gregory VII we are still in a primitive society, in which it is more accurate to think in terms of cultic reform. The church and clergy must be freed from practices which made them ritually impure. Simony and clerical marriage were often discussed not as obstacles to pastoral service, but in terms of physical corruption. Simony was like disease; trafficking in money was described in anal language, as dirt and ordure. It was a terrible impurity for the priest to go from a woman's
23 Vita sancti Arialdi, c. 10 (MGH SS XXX.ii. 1052), citing John 12: 26.
bed to handle the body of the Lord on the altar. Churches had to be rescued from defilement by lay possession through transfer to monastic ownership; the effect on the parishioners was almost never considered. The objective of the reformers was not pastoral efficiency in a modern sense, but purification of the clergy from secular service, money, and women, and in consequence simony (not ignorance or incompetence) was the enemy against which all reforming endeavours must be directed.
v. The Reform of the Clergy
There are fashions in sin, as in everything else. In our own age the prime offence is racial discrimination, but in the second half of the eleventh century simony came to hold the position of the thing abhorred above all others by scrupulous men. It was an ancient evil whose name was derived from Simon Magus, who had offered money for the power of the Holy Spirit and been condemned for it by St Peter (Acts 8: 9-24). The main outlines were already contained in the canons collected by Burchard of Worms; the novelty was the vehemence with which simony was condemned rather than the way it was defined. It had long been seen as a heresy, simoniaca heresis, and included the sin of giving money for holy orders, and indeed for any ecclesiastical office. What was more, it was simony to obtain ecclesiastical promotion by secular service or flattery, even if no money were paid -- an extension of the concept which can already be found in Gregory I. The campaign against simony was an expression of the major objectives of the reformers: the purification of the clergy for divine service by their separation from the world and the pursuit of apostolic perfection. It was an unsubtle concept which offered a dramatic symbol presented to the faithful in preaching and art, through which they could see the danger of priests whose holy office had been polluted by money, and the hope that once more Peter would deliver the church from the machinations of Simon Magus. In the sculpted capital at Autun, for example, we see him hurled headlong to destruction by the apostle's prayers.
In spite of several condemnations of simony in synods, it was still said around 1050 to be almost universal 'throughout Germany and Gaul and the whole of Italy'. 24 The purchase of orders and benefices
24 Humbert , Adversus Simoniacos, ii.36 and iii.7 (MGH LdL i. 85, 206).
See also Peter Damian , Vita Romualdi, 35 (PL 144. 896C) and Raoul Glaber, Historiae, ii.6 (PL 142.636AB).
was prohibited by Clement II at Rome in 1047 and Leo IX at Reims in 1049, and Leo began a determined effort to remove bishops guilty of simony. In 1059 Nicholas II's Vigilantia universalis contained a general condemnation of the securing of ecclesiastical office by simony, and Alexander II's version of it incorporated a lengthy definition of the practice. Gregory VII could fairly say in 1075 of the canons against simony and clerical marriage that 'our holy and apostolic mother church has ever since the time of the blessed pope Leo often, in councils and by legates and letters, admonished, asked and ordered, by the authority she has received from St Peter, the peoples committed to her care to restore and observe these, neglected as they have been in the past'. 25 There was, however, sharp disagreement about the discipline which should be imposed against simony. The radical view was set out by Humbert in his Adversus Simoniacos of 1058 and widely circulated in the so-called Letter of Wido. It denied the charge could be avoided by pleading that the cash had been paid not for the sacrament but for the income arising from the appointment: 'if someone objects that they are not selling consecration, but the goods which arise from consecration, he may sound as if he is saying something, but he is making no sense at all'. Orders and the possessions of churches are as inseparably united as body and soul. 26 Still more drastic was the argument that, since simony is heresy, a bishop who has been simoniacally consecrated has received no authority and is incapable of ordaining clergy. Peter Damian reported a conversation with a clerk who had been ordained by a simoniac bishop:
'Did you possess', I asked, 'anything within yourself of those grades you previously received from the bishop?' 'Nothing at all', he said, 'for what was there for me to receive?' And I added, so you were no different from a layman, in fact you were just a layman.' 'That's right', he said, 'just simply a layman, with nothing clerical about me at all.' 27 The theory had spectacular implications. Given that simony was common, it followed that there were whole dioceses, even whole countries, in which priests had not been properly ordained, and at the end of the century it was still being asserted by some people that 'the priesthood has been extinguished in the church'. 28 It was
25 Nicholas II, Vigilantia universalis, 9 and (for Alexander II) 1 ( R. Schieffer, Investiturverbot 215-22); and Greg. VII. Reg. II. 15 ( 183 -4).
26 For the importance of the letter, see Gilchrist, The Epistola Widonis and the text of the longer version in DAEM 37 ( 1981), esp. 595.
27 Peter Damian, Liber Gratissimus, 35 (MGH LdL i. 68).
28 Bruno of Segni, Libellus de Symoniacis, 1(MGH LdL ii. 547).
possible to maintain that this radical view was in accord with catholic tradition, especially as the anti-Donatist writings of St Augustine, which were the classic statement of the validity of orders conferred outside the church, were little known. The main champion of a more moderate position was Peter Damian in his Liber Gratissimus ( 1052), a work widely circulated but by no means readily accepted in reforming circles. The controversy arrived at Rome with Leo IX, who probably (the matter is not completely clear) attempted to annul ( cassare ) the orders of clergy ordained by simonist bishops, and re ordained some of them. Fuel was added to the fire in 1059 when Peter Damian, as legate at Milan, allowed penitent simonists to remain in office, and Nicholas II arrived at a rather awkward compromise: considering the exigencies of the present time, innocent clergy ordained by simoniacs might remain in office, but the concession would not be applied to later ordinations. 29
Second only in importance, in the eyes of the reformers, to the freeing of the church from simony was the attempt to enforce chastity. Canon law in the western church forbade the marriage of clergy in major orders (although not in the subordinate grades) but there was no bar to the ordination of married men provided they remained continent. Since the minimum age for ordination as priest was 30, many bishops and priests were already married and had a family. The position was complicated by the fact that the institution of concubinage or 'subsidiary marriage' was an accepted one in society generally, and was widespread among the clergy. The evidence suggests that a high proportion of priests lived with wives or concubines, had families, and hoped that they might succeed them in their benefices. It was the intention of Leo IX to enforce the canon law, above all because of the danger that the Lord's body would be touched by impure hands: 'if you commit incest with your spiritual daughter, with what conscience do you dare to handle the mystery of the Lord's body?' 30 There had already been attempts to enforce celibacy on those in major orders, and Leo IX issued canons to the same purpose. One of the aims of the synod of 1059 was legislation against the concubinage of clergy in holy orders, that is priests, deacons, and subdeacons. Peter Damian wrote his De Celibatu Sacerdotum and Contra Intemperantes Clericos in the same cause, and identified the heresy of the Nicolaitans, known since New Testament days, as consisting in the defence of the marriage of priests.
29 MGH Leges IV Const. I, p. 550, dated 1059 or 1060.
30 Peter Damian, De Celibatu Sacerdotum, 3 (PL 145.385A).
The term was an artificial invention, and never secured the same currency as simoniaca heresis. It was one of the innovations of the reformers. Another was the insistence that married men must leave their wives on receiving holy orders, whereas the older canons, while prescribing continence, stressed that the marriage should be maintained and the wife supported. It was also new to attempt to enforce these regulations by what was effectively a lay strike: in 1059 the faithful were instructed to absent themselves from the masses of married priests, a measure repeated by Alexander II and Gregory VII. 31
The protests against this policy were loud. Pamphlets were produced against it, notably the Rescriptum of Bishop Ulric of Imola in 1060 (a popular work, widely copied and adapted) and the Apologia of Sigebert of Gembloux shortly after 1075, and there were riots in synods when bishops attempted to issue regulations separating priests from their wives. The reforming Archbishop John of Rouen was driven with stones out of his diocesan synod in 1072, exclaiming 'O God, the heathen are come into your inheritance!'; and in 1074 there were angry scenes in various parts of Europe, including Paris, where the clergy condemned the reforming decrees as 'intolerable and therefore unreasonable'. Opposition became stronger as a new and increasingly powerful element entered the situation: the conviction that a married priest was not really married in law. The idea rested on secular custom rather than on the canons. Before 1050 there was both in France and Germany a belief that sons of clergy were illegitimate and therefore incapable of inheriting, and a law of Justinian, which required the deposition of clergy who married after ordination, was applied to all married clergy in major orders. 32 It became standard in papal decrees to refer to the women of priests, whether married or not, as concubines, and eventually the Roman Church gave the force of law to the denial of the validity of the marriage of priests. The Second Lateran Council in 1139 declared a marriage entered into by a priest, deacon, or subdeacon not to be a marriage, matrimonium non esse. Although this covered only mar-
31 Vigilantia universalis 3: R. Schieffer (ed.), Investiturverbot, 218-19.
32 For the practice in France, see the "synod" of Bourges 1031 can. 8 ( Mansi xix.504); for Germany, A. Hauck, Kirchengeschichte Deutschlands iii ( Leipzig, 1896), 567-8. The law of Justinian was probably the basis for decrees at Pavia in 1022 and the oath imposed on the Milanese clergy in 1057.
riages after ordination, it was an important step towards the norm of a wholly celibate priesthood. 33
The ideal way of securing the liberation of the clergy from secular dependence and family ties was to bring them into communities living under rule, and we saw in the previous chapter how the reforming popes were enthusiastic advocates of the regular canons. Nicholas II, Alexander II, Gregory VII, and Urban II all had close links with the movement, and the council of 1059 made the promotion of the common life part of the official programme, at least in the moderate form that canons were commanded to live in community, but simply urged to accept the apostolic ideal of poverty as to their own possessions. 34 The implementation of this programme took some decades, and even then it did little for the large numbers of country churches, where it would scarcely have been possible to form a clerical community. It is hard to find any indication that much thought was given to this problem, perhaps because in Italy the baptismal churches or pievi still exercised supervision over the rural chapels, and the Roman Church tended to take this pattern as a model. The attack on clerical marriage and promotion of houses of canons could never have been a viable reform for the large dioceses of northern Europe, where the common life movement created many communities of regular canons but had little impact on the village clergy as a whole.
Another important element of reform was the control of the appointment of bishops. The principle governing this was defined in a text of Leo I: 'Reason does not allow them to be counted among bishops who are not elected by the clergy nor requested by the people nor consecrated by the bishops with the approval of the metropolitan.' 35 The exact meaning of these broadly defined requirements was unclear. The normal procedure in the eleventh century involved a discussion or tractatio in the presence of the lay ruler followed by the giving of the pastoral staff, reception by the V
33 There is a canon ascribed to the First Lateran Council (1123) ordering that the partners of such a marriage should be disjoined, disiungi, but the text is of doubtful authenticity, and in any case may only be a repetition of the demand for separation. The more stringent rule was first formulated at the council of Pisa in 1135.
34 Vigilantia universalis 4 ed. Schieffer, 220.
35 Epistola ad Rusticum (PL 67.288B). Other texts commonly quoted in the eleventh century were Celestine I, "Nullus invitis datur episcopus" (PL 67.276D) and Leo I, "qui praefuturus est omnibus, ab omnibus eligatur" (PL 54.634A).
clergy and people of the diocese, and consecration by the archbishop. Dangers began when one of these constituent parts, usually the ruler, ignored the rest and sought to impose its own candidate by force. It was not easy to devise a system which would prevent this, and when Leo IX at Reims decreed that 'no one shall be promoted to ecclesiastical office without the election of clergy and people', he probably intended simply to exclude the cruder sort of intrusion, such as that which had caused a long schism in the archbishopric of Besançon. 36 In 1058 Humbert's Adversus Simoniacos for the first time interpreted the canon law as prohibiting lay investiture. Earlier popes, he wrote, had commanded that by the judgement of the metropolitan the election of the clergy shall be confirmed, and by the consent of the prince the petition of the laity shall be likewise. Nevertheless the sacred canons are being rejected and the whole Christian religion confounded because these things are done backwards . . . For the secular power comes first in electing and confirming, and then whether they like it or not there follows the consent of the clergy and people and finally the judgement of the metropolitan. 37
We do not know of any other expression of reservations about lay investiture in papal circles in the 1060s. The decree of Nicholas II that 'no clerk or priest should in any way accept a church from laymen, whether freely or for payment' has been interpreted as a prohibition of lay investiture, but it was certainly not applied in that sense. 38 Alexander II, as we saw in a previous section, resisted the cruder forms of lay dictation in the appointment of bishops, and there are signs in a privilege to the archbishop of Salzburg in 1070 and in his support for Atto at Milan in 1072 that he was moving towards the promotion of free election, but he never to our knowledge expressed any opposition to lay investiture. When, early in his pontificate, Gregory VII consulted the cardinals he received the reply that royal
36 Mansi xix.741. A variant reading of this text is 'episcopal election shall lie in the common consent of the clergy and people of the vacant diocese': U.-R. Blumenthal, "Ein neuer Text für das Reimser Konzil Leos IX (1049)", DAEM 32 ( 1976)
36. It is quite likely that Leo, legislating at a synod in France, had in mind the situation there, and not in the empire.
37 Humbert, Adversus Simoniacos, iii.6 (MGH LdL i. 205).
38 Vigilantia universalis, 6, ed. Schieffer, 222. Unhappily we have only the title, and it is conceivable the text referred to local churches and not bishoprics. See G. Borino, "L'in vestitura laica dal decreto di Nicolo al decreto di Gregorio VII", S. Greg. 5 ( 1956), 349-59. The papal election decree, which placed the conduct of the proceedings in the hands of the cardinalbishops and left the German king with a vague traditional honour, showed an attitude unfavourable to lay influence in elections but is not directly relevant to the customary investiture of bishops.
investiture 'was the usage of the church and considered as legal, although it rested on no authority'. 39
The basis of action of the reformers was the authority of the Roman Church. Their thought rested on papal teaching in past centuries, and the Tusculan popes before them had at times made claims to general authority. But important elements were new, and above all the primacy of Rome was taught with more warmth and vehemence than ever before. Peter Damian formulated the doctrine that all other churches have founders, but Christ alone founded the Roman Church. 40 It may already have meant to him what it certainly did a generation later, namely that St Peter had appointed the patriarchs of the east and the bishops of the west. In Rome, according to Leo IX and his contemporaries, all churches could find their mother, their head, and their hinge (cardo). The title 'universal', which Gregory I had explicitly refused to use, was now advanced officially. 41 Rome was the judge of the catholicity of all other churches. 42 The new status of the apostolic see was reflected in the emergence of a new term, apparently first used by Clement II in 1047: papacy, papatus. Constructed on the analogy of bishopric, episcopatus, it expressed the idea that there existed a rank or order higher than that of bishop.
The hope was that in a reformed papacy the prince of the apostles, St Peter, himself could manifest his power. Peter Damian, who expressed so much of the new ideology, was keenly aware of this potential source of energy for the renewal of the church: 'How great is the privilege of the Roman Church to preserve the rule of canonical equity and justice, and how great is its force in enforcing the discipline of the ecclesiastical order, can only be clearly understood by those engaged in ecclesiastical business.' 43 To define the apostolic authority of Rome, it was necessary to go back to the canon law and the documents of the early centuries. Leo IX drew at length on the Donation of Constantine when he expounded the
39 Hugh of Flavigny, Chronicon, ii (MGH SS VIII 411-12).
40 Peter Damian, Disceptatio Synodalis (MGH LdL i.78). The idea was based on the Isidorian decretals, esp. pseudo-Anacletus: 'This holy Roman Church received the primacy, not from the apostles, but from the Lord our Saviour himself' ( Gratian, Deer. D. XXII, c. 2(73)).
41 Synod of Reims 1049 (Mansi xix. 738) and papal election decree 1059 (MGH Leges IV Const I. no. 382 p. 539 ).
42 See Peter Damian in PL 144.241A and the bull of 1054 to the patriarch of Constantinople (PL 143.1004C). The origins of this idea are discussed in J. J. Ryan, Saint Peter Damiani and his canonical Sources ( Toronto, 1956), no. 145 .
43 Peter Damian, PL 145.89B.
nature of Roman authority to Michael Cerularius, patriarch of Constantinople; and Hildebrand asked Peter Damian before 1059 to compile a collection of texts on the prerogatives of the apostolic see. The irony was that most of the material which was being used, although of this they had no conception, was the product of ninthcentury forgery, and they were thus reconstructing, not the apostolic age, but a church order designed for polemical purposes by the imagination of a Carolingian author. At this early stage, however, there was no close definition of the legal rights which the pope might exercise over other churches, and in fact much of the exposition of papal theory is to be found in Leo IX's correspondence with Constantinople and other eastern churches. In practice the authority of the Roman Church was beginning to impinge intermittently upon the other western churches in such matters as the disputed appointment of bishops, and papal legates were visiting France and Spain in particular. Even by 1061 there had been serious tension with the archbishops of Germany. Nevertheless, such episodes were rare. The time when popes would seek to exercise any sort of general administrative supervision over Latin Christendom was still remote, but some important steps in that direction were to be taken in the pontificate of Gregory VII.
[Continue to Part I - Chapter 5]
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