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Selected Sources: Empire and Papacy


Introductory Essay

The "Empire and Papacy" has been a theme of medieval history teaching for so long that students might be forgiven for being bored out of their minds. What, they might ask,  is the possible use of studying conflicts between long dead popes and emperors. In fact this seemingly arcane dispute had major consequences for the history of Western culture:

  • Nation-States: The papal-imperial conflict lead to the weakening of the Western (Holy Roman) Empire, the first strong state with staying power after the 5th-century collapse of Roman Empire in the West. Instead a series of proto-"nation" states [France, England, Spain, Portugal] achieved great power and eventually set the "nation-state" rather than the "imperial" standard for all European states.
  • Separation of Church and State: The conflict between church and state firmly established that church and state were distinct entities. This is in dramatic contrast to Islam, which never made a distinction between "religion" and "politics"; and in contrast equally to the "Byzantine model" of "symphony" between church and state.
  • Effect on Law and Education: Because both "Papal" and "Imperial" sides in the dispute had a real basis for their power, the conflict was long-lasting. Each side, then, tried to prove its case by consulting earlier "authoritative" documents. In the short term this lead to a revival in the study of Roman Law, a legal approach which has since come to predominate in much of the world. In the longer term, the fighting lawyers had to collect information, organize it, and then work out the principles of interpretation [e.g. was a later or earlier law most authoritative]. They had to do all this while making arguments against each other. In time these procedures affected western higher education, which eschewed memory methods, and insisted that students Plearn to collect, organize and interpret material, and then defend their conclusions in argument.

Phase I: The Invesituture Controversy
  • Emergence of Reform Ideology
  • The Conflict over Investitures
    • [Tierney 36.3] Gregory VII: Lay Investitures Forbidden, 1074, 1080.
    • [Geary 39.1] Gregory VII: Letter to Henry IV, Jul 20, 1075, copyrighted?
    • [Geary 39.2] Gregory VII: Letter to Henry IV, Dec 8, 1075 or Jan 8, 1076, copyrighted?
    • [Geary 39.6] Henry IV: Letter to Roman Clergy and People, 1076, copyrighted?
    • [Geary 39.7] Henry IV: Letter to Gregory VII, 1076, copyrighted?
    • [Tierney 37.1, Geary 39.9] Henry IV: Letter to Gregory VII, Jan 24 1076.
    • [Geary 39.10] Henry IV: Letter to His Bishops, 1076, copyrighted?
    • [Tierney 37.2] Gregory VII: Deposition of Henry IV, , Feb 22 1076.
    • [Geary 39.3] Gregory VII: Letter to All the Faithful in Germany, 1076, copyrighted?
    • [Geary 39.4] Gregory VII: Letter to Hermann of Metz, Aug 26,1076, copyrighted?
    • [Geary 39.8] German Bishops: Renunciation of Gregory VII, Synod of Worms, 1076, copyrighted?
    • [Geary 39.11] Henry IV: Promise to Gregory VII, 1076, copyrighted?
    • [Geary 39.12] Henry IV: Letter to His Princes, 1076, copyrighted?
    • [Geary 39.13] Henry IV: Letter to His Mother, 1074-1076, copyrighted?
    • [Geary 39.14] Henry IV: Vow at Canossa, 1077, copyrighted?
    • [Geary 39.5] Gregory VII: To German Princes, on Canossa, Jan.1077, copyrighted?
    • Gregory VII: Bans on Lay Invesititures, 1078 and 1080
    • [Tierney 37.3] Gregory VII: Second Banning of Henry IV, March 7 1080.
    • [Tierney 38.1] Ivo of Chartres: Letter to Hugo 1097, copyrighted
    • [Geary 39.15] Decree of Synod of Brixen, 1080, copyrighted?
    • [Geary 39.16] Henry IV: To Clergy and People of Rome, 1081, copyrighted?
  • Solutions

Phase II: Barbarossa: The Empire at its Height
  • General
  • The Besançon Episode 1157-
    • [Tierney 57] Otto of Freising: Deeds of Frederick Barbarossa: Incident at Besançon, 1157 copyrighted, but see next item
    • The Besançon Episode 1157, - in the original documents [A: Letter of Adrian IV. to Frederick Barbarossa, Sept. 20th, 1157; B: Manifesto of the Emperor, Oct. 1157; C: Letter of Adrian IV. to the German Bishops; D: Letter of the German Bishops to Adrian IV - including Frederick's defence of his position; E: Letter of Adrian IV. to Frederick Barbarossa, Feb, 1158].
  • Barbarossa and Alexander III
  • Barbarossa in Italy
    • Barbarossa and the Lombards. Excerpts from the Diet of Ronçaglia, 1158, and The Peace of Constance, January 25, 1183.
    • [Geary 41] Otto of Friesing: Deeds of Frederick Barbarossa, copyrighted.
  • Canonical Response

Innocent III: The Papacy at its Height
The Holy Roman Empire: Frederick II and After
The Papacy Overreaches
NOTES: copyrighted means the text is not available for free distribution. In some cases alternate versions are available, and are working through the pipeline. Dates of accession of material can be seen in the New Accessions Page. The date of inception was 1/20/1996. Links to files at other site are indicated by [At some indication of the site name or location]. No indication means that the text file is local. WEB indicates a link to one of small number of high quality web sites which provide either more texts or an especially valuable overview.
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created 1996: last revised 3/21/2007

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