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Introduction to the Medieval World: Class 13

Class 13: Revolution from the Top: Rome and the Gregorian Reform Movement

Assigned Reading:

I.      Introduction

Period 1000-1150 - a period of great all round change.
-In last class looked at Agricultural change - basically
 the  stabilization and formation of villages.
-Also looked at New political beginnings - the rebirth of the
 HRE as a strong German State (with Italian interests..
-And, more importantly the development of feudal principalities,
 and the beginning of stronger monarchical government in France
 and England - a theme to which we shall return.

In this class we are going to look at changes in the Church.
Church was bearer of culture, or more specially, high culture.

II.     State of the Church in the 10th-11th Centuries

A.      As always, variation.

B.      Good things - development of parish system in the
        countryside as churches are built in villages.

C.      Church and State
        -Ottonians had depended on Churchmen to govern for them,
        especially in the newer areas opening up to the East.
        -Elsewhere, it was normal for kings, princes and other
        assorted bigwigs to appoint bishops.
        -Sometimes, the secular power `owned' the local church,
        and invested the new bishops with symbols of office.
        -At first this was not seen as bad, especially given the
        state of the papacy.

D.      The Papacy
        -Beholden to local Roman families, One women had her lover,
        her second lover, and her son on the Roman Throne.
        -If not, the local Italian powers, the German Emperor
        would often appoint the pope - who was not then a
        particularly powerful figure. In fact it was one German
        emperor who was eventually to put a new, reform pope on
        the throne.

E.      Problems with the Clergy
        -Simony - paying for office
        -Nicolaitism - Marriage and Concubinage - having sex.
        basically forbidden to clergy - and ignored  - since
        St. Gregory I in c.500
        -Are these really problems?

III.    Monastic Reform

Monastic ideals became the basis of a more widespread reform.

A.      Monasticism in the 10th Century
        -Many Abbeys damaged by raids.
        -Many were owned by a family - who founded them as a
        family house.
        -Often their funds would be usurped, and a lay person would
        appoint the abbot.
        -Part of the general localization and personalization, and
        diffusion of power after the collapse of the Carolingian

B.      Reform Abbeys
        Gorze in Germany/St. Victor in Marseilles/Cluny in Burgundy

C.      Cluny

        1.      Cluny - Foundation 909 by the Duke of Aquitaine
                Dependent on Rome - which gave it a degree of
                independence, especially as Rome was so far away.

        2.      Long lived Abbots.
                Odo, Odilo, Hugh - all were very influential

        3.      Liturgy - Very Long, Very elaborate.
                Gets it the reputation of holiness
                Leads to donations of land, and other monasteries.

        4.      The Cluniac `Order' - Mainly in France
                Also in Spain, Italy, Germany and England

D.      Monastic ideals of Reform
        Reform of the Church was not in fact carried out by
        Monks, but their ideas - as main conveyors of Christian
        culture were essential.

        1.      Superiority of Church to secular power
                -the church should not be controlled by lay lords.

        2.      Realization of the potentiality of the power of
                Rome. Conception of reform from above.

        3.      Belief that monastic life was most perfect
                Christian life
                -an attempt to force secular clergy into a
                monastic mold.
                -Plus a certain disgust at sex.
                -Attacks on clerical marriage.

        4.      In General - A moral reform of the Church was
                needed, to be accomplished by exercise of
                ecclesiastical power.

E.      Ongoing Monastic Reform Idealism

        1.      Citeaux 1098. by 1115 - 4 houses, 1200 - 500
                Strictly controlled order.
                St. Bernard entered 1112

        2.      Carthusians - St. Bruno 1084

IV.     The Gregorian Reform [or Revolution?]

A.      Reform gets going with help of German Emperor - Henry III
        -Benedict IX, sold and bought back papal throne.
        -In 1046 a three way schism ended when Henry (1039-56.
        deposed all contenders, and appointed Leo IX.

B.      1049-1054 Leo IX
        -Papal court becomes a center of reform activity.
        -Most notable is the Deacon Hildebrand - who wanted
        complete church autonomy.
        -It must be realized that these people were absolute
        radicals. They wanted not just a reform of abuses, but
        to claim as yet unheard of powers for the Church and
        papacy and to impose these views everywhere.

C.      Methods of Reform

        1.      Councils - Leo IX held yearly synods.
                -Lateran Councils - claimed as `ecumenical'
                -Council at Reims in October 1049
                Leo used relics of S. Remigus as a prop. and
                asked all who could declare they had not bought
                their sees to stand up. Massive confessions and
                punishments including depositions.

        2.      College of Cardinals - 1059 Papal election Decree
                Under Hildebrand's influence. Popes elected by
                Cardinals, who are appointed by Popes.

        3.      Renewal of Canon Law

D.      Ideology of Reformers - moderates and rigorists.

        1.      Long Tradition of Papal ideas about role of Papacy
                -Going back to Gelasius, and Pope Leo,
                -Res Publica Christiana under leadership of Papacy
                [Shown in 1054 in Constantinople.]

        2.      Incorporation of Monastic ideals of clerical and
                lay ways of life.
                -Anti-sex. Almost saw it as pollution.
                -Moral Rigorism - all sex wrong except if
                explicitly for procreation.

        3.      Marriage Theory
                -Beginning of church take over of marriage:
                Monogamous: Indissoluble: Voluntary: Only
                legal sexual relation-ship: All extra-marital sex
                to be punished: all sexual activity is under church
                jurisdiction, not civil: exogamy.
                -This presented real problems for noble marriage

E.      Gregory VII, (1073-85. Hildebrand
        1075 - banned lay investiture (ring, staff.

        Insisted on Archbishops coming to Rome for Pallium.
        Church of Milan humbled in 1059.

        The Dicatatus Papae - Discuss in class.

V.      Struggle with the Empire

A.      Henry IV 1056-1106
        -Gregory VII deposes him in 1076
        -Emphasize how radical this was. Previously emperors
        did this to popes.
        -It created a problem of control for the Emperor over
        his powerful subjects.
        -Use of tool of excommunication.

B.      Canossa 1077
        Saved Henry IV - but eventually the German monarchy was
        Excommunicated again 1080 - and not forgiven

C.      Gregory VII dies in exile in Salerno in 1085

D.      Future popes less fiery - Urban II 1088-99

E.      Concordat of Worms 1122
        -Henry V 1106-25 gives up investiture with religious
        symbols, but not symbols of secular power.
        -local lords always had a say in episcopal appointments
        as they all belonged to the same social class.
        -End of first papal-imperial struggle
        Papacy failed to enforce papal monarchy, but became an
        important political force. As such it effected all
        other governments in Europe.

VI.     Papal Government

A.      Papal Courts
        As popes claimed greater power, and exercised it -
        move to send court cases to Rome.
        -Development of a Court system.

B.      Papal Chancery
        Development in ways of creating documents. Formulas
        etc. Copied by lesser chanceries throughout Europe.
        Develops distinct notions, E.g. Sovereignty

VII.    Canon Law

Need for Law. Increases a papal power advances. Also in secular
states (Common law in England develops out of royal use of
feudal property law..

A.      Canons
        -There were very many church laws in existence.
        Conciliar decrees, papal decrees,
        Collections - Didache in 2nd century (?.
        -Roman law played a big part in Church law -
        all early councils in Roman Empire + CJC had
        much to say on Church matters - but remained largely
        unknown in the West in 1060s - even tough in Latin.
        First cited in 1076 in Tuscany.
        -Burchard of Worms c.1000 - but too long (1785 chapters!..

B.      Investiture Contest simulated Canon Law study
        -what exactly were the popes rights.
        -A Collection in 1076 - Collection in Five Books
        -But a more serious study of law was simulated.

C.      First Roman lawyer - called Pepo
        Then a German whose name as Warner = Guarnerius = Irnerius
        By 1090s - was working on the Digest

D.      University of Bologna from 11th century
        Irnerius worked at Bologna.
        Had four successors
        Development of a law school at Bologna - controlled
        by the masters.

        Intellectual effort
        -collection of materials
        -arranging materials
        -principles of interpretation

        -connected to medieval tendency to systematize.

E.      Gratian 1140 - Concordance of Discordant Canons
        or the Decretum/Decretals

        -later amendments - e.g. in 1234 under Gregory IX
        -first promulgated code not until 1911 however]

F.      Civil Law - Grows from Canon law.
        -But dependent only on CJC, not Church docs.
        -CJC - had ideas like sovereignty of Prince
        -Power of Prince
        -Found useful by various Kings - most notably the
        Kings of France - `emperor in own kingdom"

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© Paul Halsall, 1996.

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© Site Concept and Design: Paul Halsall created 26 Jan 1996: latest revision 6 October 2023 [CV]