Sidebilder
PDF
ePub

61

Wars of the

against the

cities.

After the extinction of the house of Swabia, they were banished heyond the Alps; and their last coronations betrayed the impotence and poverty of the Teutonic Cæsars.

Under the reign of Hadrian, when the empire extended from the Euphrates to the ocean, from Mount Atlas to the Grampian hills, a fanciful historian 62 amused the Romans with the Romans picture of their infant wars. “ There was a time,” says neighbouring Florus, “ when Tibur and Præneste, our summer retreats, “ were the objects of hostile vows in the Capitol, when we dreaded “ the shades of the Arician groves, when we could triumph without a “ blush over the nameless villages of the Sabines and Latins, and “even Corioli could afford a title not unworthy of a victorious

general.”. The pride of his contemporaries was gratified by the contrast of the past and the present: they would have been humbled by the prospect of futurity ; by the prediction that, after a thousand years, Rome, despoiled of empire and contracted to her primæval limits, would renew the same hostilities, on the same ground which was then decorated with her villas and gardens. The adjacent territory on either side of the Tiber was always claimed, and sometimes possessed, as the patrimony of St. Peter; but the barons assumed a lawless independence, and the cities too faithfully copied the revolt and discord of the metropolis. In the twelfth and thirteenth centuries the Romans incessantly laboured to reduce or destroy the contumacious vassals of the church and senate; and if their headstrong and selfish ambition was moderated by the pope, he often encouraged their zeal by the alliance of his spiritual arms. Their warfare was that of the first consuls and dictators, who were taken from the plough. They assembled in arins at the foot of the Capitol ; sallied from the gates, plundered or burnt the harvests of their neighbours, engaged in tumultuary conflict, and returned home after an expedition of fifteen or twenty days. Their sieges were tedious and unskilful : in the use of victory they indulged the meaner passions of jealousy and revenge; and instead of adopting the valour, they trampled on the misfortunes, of their adversaries. The captives, in their shirts, with a rope round their necks, solicited their pardon : the fortifications, and even the buildings, of the rival cities were demolished, and the inhabitants were scattered in the adjacent villages.

61 The decline of the Imperial arms and authority in Italy is related with impartial learning in the Annals of Muratori (tom. x. xi. xii.); and the reader may compare his narrative with the Histoire des Allemands (tom. iii. iv.) by Schmidt, who has deserved the esteem of his countrymen.

62 Tibur nunc suburbanum, et æstivæ Præneste deliciæ, nuncupatis in Capitolio votis petebantur. The whole passage of Florus (1. i. c. 11) may be read with pleasure, and has deserved the praise of a man of genius (Euvres de Montesquieu, toio. iii. p. 634, 635, quarto edition).

VOL. VIII,

P

Battle of

It was thus that the seats of the cardinal bishops, Porto, Ostia, Albanum, Tusculum, Præneste, and Tibur or Tivoli, were successively overthrown by the ferocious hostility of the Romans.63 Of these, 64 Porto and Ostia, the two keys of the Tiber, are still vacant and desolate : the marshy and unwholesome banks are peopled with herds of buffaloes, and the river is lost to every purpose of navigation and trade. The hills, which afford a shady retirement from the autumnal heats, have again smiled with the blessings of peace; Frascati has arisen near the ruins of Tusculum ; Tibur or Tivoli has resumed the honours of a city ; 65 and the meaner towns of Albano and Palestrina are decorated with the villas of the cardinals and princes of Rome. In the work of destruction, the ambition of the Romans was often checked and repulsed by the neighbouring cities and their allies : in the first siege of Tibur they were driven from

their camp; and the battles of Tusculum 66 and Viterbo 67 Tusculum, might be compared in their relative state to the memorable

fields of Thrasymene and Cannæ. In the first of these petty wars thirty thousand Romans were overthrown by a thousand German horse, whom Frederic Barbarossa had detached to the relief of Tusculum; and if we number the slain at three, the prisoners at two,

thousand, we shall embrace the most authentic and mode-
rate account. Sixty-eight years afterwards they marched

against Viterbo in the ecclesiastical state with the whole force of the city ; by a rare coalition the Teutonic eagle was blended, in the adverse banners, with the keys of St. Peter; and the pope's auxiliaries were commanded by a count of Toulouse and a bishop of Winchester. The Romans were discomfited with shame and slaughter; but the English prelate must have indulged the vanity of a pilgrim, if he multiplied their numbers to one hundred, and their loss in the field to thirty, thousand men. Had the policy of the senate and the discipline of the legions been restored with the Capitol, the divided

A.D. 1167.

Battle of
Viterbo,
A.D. 1234.

6 Ne a feritate Romanorum, sicut fuerant Hostienses, Portuenses, Tusculanenses, Albanenses, Labicenses, et nuper Tiburtini destruerentur (Matthew Paris, p. 757). These events are marked in the Annals and Index (the xviiith volume) of Muratori.

of For the state or ruin of these suburban cities, the banks of the Tiber, &c., see the lively picture of the P. Labat (Voyage en Espagne et en Italie), who had long resided in the neighbourhood of Rome; and the more accurate description of which P. Eschinard (Roma, 1750, in octavo) has added to the topographical map of Cingolani.

Labat (tom. iii. p. 233) mentions a recent decree of the Roman government, which has severely mortified the pride and poverty of Tivoli: in civitate Tiburtina non vivitur civiliter.

66 I depart from my usual method of quoting only by the date the Annals of Muratori, in consideration of the critical balance in which he has weighed nine contem. porary writers who montion the battle of Tusculum (tom. I. p. 42-44).

Matthew Paris, p. 345. This bishop of Winchester was Peter do Rupibus, who occupied tho see thirty-two years (A.D. 1206-1238), and is described, by the English historian, as a soldior and a statesman (p. 178, 399).

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

The election

condition of Italy would have offered the fairest opportunity of a second conquest.

But in arms the modern Romans were not above, and in arts they were far below, the common level of the neighbouring republics. Nor was their warlike spirit of any long continuance : after some irregular sallies they subsided in the national apathy, in the neglect of military institutions, and in the disgraceful and dangerous use of foreign mercenaries.

Ambition is a weed of quick and early vegetation in the vineyard of Christ. Under the first Christian princes the chair of St. Peter was disputed by the votes, the venality, the of the popes. violence, of a popular election : the sanctuaries of Rome were polluted with blood ; and, from the third to the twelfth century, the church was distracted by the mischief of frequent schisms. As long as the final appeal was determined by the civil magistrate, these mischiefs were transient and local : the merits were tried by equity or favour; nor could the unsuccessful competitor long disturb the triumph of his rival. But after the emperors had been divested of their prerogatives, after a maxim had been established that the vicar of Christ is amenable to no earthly tribunal, each vacancy of the holy see might involve Christendom in controversy and war.

The claims of the cardinals and inferior clergy, of the nobles and people, were vague and litigious : the freedom of choice was overruled by the tumults of a city that no longer owned or obeyed a superior. On the decease of a pope, two factions proceeded in different churches to a double election: the number and weight of votes, the priority of time, the merit of the candidates, might balance each other : the most respectable of the clergy were divided ; and the distant princes, who bowed before the spiritual throne, could not distinguish the spurious from the legitimate idol. The emperors were often the authors of the schism, from the political motive of opposing a friendly to an hostile pontiff; and each of the competitors was reduced to suffer the insults of his enemies, who were not awed by conscience, and to purchase the support of his adherents, who were instigated by avarice or ambition. A peaceful and perpetual succession was ascertained by Alexander the Third,68 who finally abolished the tumultuary votes of the clergy and people, and defined the right of election Right of the in the sole college of cardinals.69 The three orders of cardinale oisnops, priests, and deacons, were assimilated to each by Alen: other by this important privilege; the parochial clergy of A.D. 1179.

" See Mosheim, Institut. Histor. Ecclesiast. p. 401, 403. Alexander himself had nearly been the victim of a contested election; and the doubtful merits of Innocent had only preponderated by the weight of genius and learning which St. Bernard cast into tho scale (see his life and writings).

* Tk, origin, titles, importance, dress, precedency, &c., of the Roman cardinals, are

ander III.,

Institution of the conclave by Gregory X. A.D. 1274.

Rome ootained the first rank in the hierarchy: they were indifferently chosen among the nations of Christendom; and the possession of the richest benefices, of the most important bishoprics, was not incompatible with their title and office. The senators of the Catholic church, the coadjutors and legates of the supreme pontiff, were robed in purple, the symbol of martyrdom or royalty; they claimed a proud equality with kings; and their dignity was enhanced by the sinallness of their number, which, till the reign of Leo the Tenth, seldom exceeded twenty or twenty-five persons. By this wise regulation all doubt and scandal were removed, and the root of schism was so effectually destroyed, that in a period of six hundred years a double choice has only once divided the unity of the sacred college. But as the concurrence of two-thirds of the votes had been made necessary, the election was often delayed by the private interest and passions of the cardinals; and while they prolonged their independent reign, the

Christian world was left destitute of a head. A vacancy of almost three years had preceded the elevation of Gregory the Tenth, who resolved to prevent the future abuse; and

his bull, after some opposition, has been consecrated in the code of the canon law.70 Nine days are allowed for the obsequies of the deceased pope, and the arrival of the absent cardinals ; on the tenth, they are imprisoned, each with one domestic, in a common apartment or conclave, without any separation of walls or curtains; a small window is reserved for the introduction of necessaries; but the door is locked on both sides, and guarded by the magistrates of the city, to seclude them from all correspondence with the world. If the election be not consummated in three days, the luxury of their table is contracted to a single dish at dinner and supper; and after the eighth day they are reduced to a scanty allowance of bread, water, and wine. During the vacancy of the holy see the cardinals are prohibited from touching the revenues, or assuming, unless in some rare emergency, the government of the church : all agreements and promises among the electors are formally annulled ; and their integrity is fortified by their solemn oath and the prayers of the Catholics. Some articles of inconvenient or superfluous rigour have been gradually relaxed, but the principle of confinement is vigorous and entire: they are still urged, by the personal motives of health and freedom, to accelerate the moment of their deliverance; and the

very ably discussed by Thomassin (Discipline de l'Eglise, tom. i. p. 1262-1287); but their purple is now much faded. The sacred college was raised to the definite number of seventy-two, to represent, under his vicar, the disciples of Christ.

70 See the bull of Gregory X., approbante sacro concilio, in the Sexte of the Canon Law (1. i. tit. 6, c. 3), a supplement to the Decretals, which Boniface VIII. promul. pated at Roma in 1298, and addressed to all tbe universities of Europe.

A.D. 1328.

improveinent of ballot or secret votes has wrapped the struggles of the conclave 7 in the silky veil of charity and politeness."2 By these institutions the Romans were excluded from the election of their prince and bishop; and in the fever of wild and precarious liberty, they seemed insensible of the loss of this inestimable privilege. The emperor Lewis of Bavaria revived the example of the great Otho. After some negociation with the magistrates, the Roman people was assembled 73 in the square before St. Peter's : the pope of Avignon, John the Twenty-second, was deposed: the choice of his successor was ratified by their consent and applause. They freely voted for a new law, that their bishop should never be absent more than three months in the year, and two days journey from the city; and that, if he neglected to return on the third summons, the public servant should be degraded and dismissed. 74 But Lewis forgot his own debility and the prejudices of the times: beyond the precincts of a German camp, his useless phantom was rejected ; the Romans despised their own workmanship; the antipope implored the mercy of his lawful sovereign ; *5 and the exclusive right of the cardinals was more firmly established by this unseasonable attack

Had the election been always held in the Vatican, the rights of the senate and people would not have been violated with impunity. But the Romans forgot, and were forgotten, in the popes the absence of the successors of Gregory the Seventh, who did not keep as a divine precept their ordinary residence in the city

Absence of

frum Rome.

11 The genius of Cardinal de Retz had a right to paint a conclave (of 1655) in which he was a spectator and an actor (Mémoires, tom. iv. p. 15-57); but I am at a loss to appreciate the knowledge or authority of an anonymous Italian, whose history (Conclavi de' Pontifici Romani, in 4to. 1667) has been continued since the reign of Alex. ander VII. The accidental form of the work furnishes a lesson, though not an antidote to ambition. From a labyrinth of intrigues we emerge to the adoration of the bug cessful candidate; but the next page opens with his funeral.

72 The expressions of Cardinal de Retz are positive and picturesque: On y vécut toujours ensemble avec le même respect et la même civilité que l'on observe dans le cabinet des rois, avec la même politesse qu'on avoit dans la cour de Henri III., avec la même familiarité que l'on voit dans les collèges; avec la même modestie qui se remarque dans les noviciats; et avec la même charité, du moins en apparence, qui pourroit être entre des frères parfaitement unis.

73 Richiesti per bando (says John Villani) sanatori di Roma, e 52 del popolo, et capitani de' 25, e consoli (consoli ?), et 13 buone huomini, uno per rione. Our knowledge is too imperfect to pronounce how much of this constitution was temporary, and how much ordinary and permanent. Yet it is faintly illustrated by the ancient statutes of Rome.

76 Villani (1. x. C. 68-71, in Muratori, Script. tom. xii. p. 641-645) relates this law, and the whole transaction, with much less abhorrence than the prudent Muratori. Any one conversant with the darker ages must have observed how much the sense (I mean the nonsense) of superstition is Auctuating and inconsistent.

75 In the first volume of the Popes of Avignon, see the second original Life of Jolin XXII. p. 142-145; the confession of the antipope, p. 145-152; and the laborious notes of Baluze, p. 714, 715.

« ForrigeFortsett »