Sidebilder
PDF
ePub

approach was saluted by a long procession of the clergy and people with palms and crosses ; and the terrific emblems of wolves and lions, of dragons and eagles, that floated in the military banners, represented the departed legions and cohorts of the republic. The royal oath to maintain the liberties of Rome was thrice reiterated, at the bridge, the gate, and on the stairs of the Vatican ; and the distribution of a customary donative feebly imitated the magnificence of the first Cæsars. In the church of St. Peter, the coronation was performed by his successor ;? the voice of God was confounded with that of the people; and the public consent was declared in the acclamations of “Long life and victory to our lord the pope! Long life and victory to our lord the emperor! Long life and victory to the Roman and Teutonic armies !"8 The names of Cæsar and

der Kaiserkrönung (in Forschungen zur deutschen Geschichte, xxii. 161 sqq., 1882). The coronations of the 9th century have been treated by W. Siokel in his article on Die Kaiserkrönungen von Karl bis Berengar, in the Historische Zeitschrift, N.F. xlvi. 1 899.]

5[The emperor "first took an oath to the Romans at the little bridge on the Neronian field faithfully to observe the rights and usages of the city. On the day of the coronation he made his entrance through the Porta Castella close to St. Angelo and here repeated the oath. The clergy and the corporations of Rome greeted him at the church of St. Maria Traspontina on a legendary site called the Terebinthus of Nero” (Gregorovius, op. cit., Eng. Tr. iv. 59).]

6 [It may be noted that Henry V., crowned at St. Peter's A.D. 1111, 13th April, was the first emperor crowned at Rome who was not crowned in the city.]

7[The interesting ceremony at St. Peter's—as it was performed in the 12th century at all events--deserves more particular notice. Gregorovius thus describes it (ib. p. 59, 60): Having arrived at the steps, the king dismounted and “stooped to kiss the pope's foot, tendered the oath to be an upright protector of the Church, and was adopted by him as the son of the Church. With solemn song both king and pope entered the Church of St. Maria in Turri beside the steps of St. Peter's, and here the king was formally made Canon of the Cathedral. He then advanced, conducted by the Lateran Count of the Palace and by the Primicerius of the Judges, to the silver door of the cathedral, where he prayed and the Bishop of Albano delivered the first oration. Innumerable mystic ceremonies awaited the king in St. Peter's itself. Here a short way from the entrance was the Rota Porphyretica, a round porphyry stone inserted in the pavement, on which the king and pope knelt. The imperial candidate here made bis Confession of Faith, the Cardinal-bishop of Portus placed himself in the middle of the Rota and pronounced the second oration. The king was then draped in new vestments, was made a cleric in the sacristy by the pope, was clad with a tunic, dalmatica, pluviale, mitre and sandals, and was then led to the altar of St. Maurice, whither his wife, after similar but less fatiguing ceremonies, accompanied him. The Bishop of Ostia here anointed the king on the right arm and the neck and delivered the third oration." After this followed the chief ceremony. The pope placed a ring on the king's finger, girt him with a sword, and placed the crown on his head. Then the emperor, having taken off these symbols, “ ministered to the pope as subdeacon at

The Count Palatine afterwards removed the sandals and put the red imperial boots with the spars of St. Maurice upon him."]

8 Exercitui Romano et Teutonico ! The latter was both seen and felt; but the former was no more than magni nominis umbra.

mars.

Augustus, the laws of Constantine and Justinian, the example of Charlemagne and Otho, established the supreme dominion of the emperors; their title and image was engraved on the papal coins ; ' and their jurisdiction was marked by the sword of justice, which they delivered to the præfect of the city. But every Roman prejudice was awakened by the name, the language, and the manners, of a barbarian lord. The Cæsars of Saxony or Franconia were the chiefs of a feudal aristocracy; nor could they exercise the discipline of civil and military power, which alone secures the obedience of a distant people, impatient of servitude, though perhaps incapable of freedom. Once, and once only, in his life, each emperor, with an army of Teutonic vassals, descended from the Alps. I have described the peaceful order of his entry and coronation; but that order was commonly disturbed by the clamour and sedition of the Romans, who encountered their sovereign as a foreign invader : his departure was always speedy, and often shameful; and, in the absence of a long reign, his authority was insulted, and his name was forgotten. The progress of independence in Germany and Italy undermined the foundations of the Imperial sovereignty, and the triumph of the popes was the deliverance of Rome.

Of her two sovereigns, the emperor had precariously reigned Authority by the right of conquest; but the authority of the pope was popes in founded on the soft, though more solid, basis of opinion and habit.) The removal of a foreign influence restored and endeared the shepherd to his flock. Instead of the arbitrary or venal nomination of a German court, the vicar of Christ was freely chosen by the college of cardinals, most of whom were either natives or inhabitants of the city. The applause of the magistrates from affecand people confirmed his election; and the ecclesiastical power that was obeyed in Sweden and Britain had been ultimately derived from the suffrage of the Romans. The same suffrage

Rome,

tion:

9 Muratori has given the series of the papal coins (Antiquitat. tom. ii. diss. xxvii. p. 548-554). He finds only two more early than the year 800 ; fifty are still extant from Leo III. to Leo IX. with the addition of the reigning emperor; none remain of Gregory VII. or Urban II. ; but in those of Paschal II. he seems to have renounced this badge of dependence. [There are no Papal denarii between Benedict VII. (ob. A.D. 984) and Leo IX. But, as Gregorovius observes (op. cit. iv. p. 78 note), this is an accident, for coins must have been struck. In the 11th century we have one coin of Leo IX. and one of Paschal II. The interval between Paschal and Benedict XI. (ob. A.D. 1304) is filled by the coinage of the Senate; but, after the installation of the Senate, “solidi Papæ " (sous of the Pope) are still spoken of. See Gregorovius, ib. p. 498.]

right;

gave a prince, as well as a pontiff, to the capital. It was universally believed that Constantine had invested the popes with the temporal dominion of Rome; and the boldest civilians, the most profane sceptics, were satisfied with disputing the right of the emperor and the validity of his gift. The truth of the fact, the authenticity of his donation, was deeply rooted in the ignorance and tradition of four centuries; and the fabulous origin was lost in the real and permanent effects. The name of Dominus, or Lord, was inscribed on the coin of the bishops; their title was acknowledged by acclamations and oaths of allegiance; and, with the free or reluctant consent of the German Cæsars, they had long exercised a supreme or subordinate jurisdiction over the city and patrimony of St. Peter.

of St. Peter. The reign of the popes, which gratified the prejudices, was not incompatible with the liberties of Rome; and a more critical inquiry would have revealed a still nobler source of their power: the gratitude of a nation, whom they hachrescued from the heresy and oppression of the Greek tyrant. In an age of superstition, it should seem that the union of the royal and sacerdotal characters would mutually fortify each other, and that the keys of paradise would be the surest pledge of earthly obedience. The sanctity of the office might indeed be degraded by the personal vices of the man; but the scandals of the tenth century were obliterated by the austere and more dangerous virtues of Gregory the Seventh and his successors; and, in the ambitious contests which they maintained for the rights of the church, their sufferings or their success must equally tend to increase the popular veneration. They sometimes wandered in poverty and exile, the victims of persecution; and the apostolic zeal with which they offered themselves to martyrdom must engage the favour and sympathy of every Catholic breast. And sometimes, thundering from the Vatican, they created, judged, and deposed the kings of the world; nor could the proudest Roman be disgraced by submitting to a priest whose feet were kissed, and whose stirrup was held, by the successors of Charlemagne.10 Even the temporal interest of the city should have protected in peace

virtue;

10 See Ducange, Gloss. mediæ et infimæ Latinitat. tom. vi. p. 364, 365, Staffa. This homage was paid by kings to archbishops, and by vassals to their lords (Schmidt, tom. iii. p. 262); and it was the nicest policy of Rome to confound the marks of filial and of feudal subjection.

and honour the residence of the popes; from whence a vain and lazy people derived the greatest part of their subsistence and riches. The fixed revenue of the popes was probably impaired: benefits many of the old patrimonial estates, both in Italy and the provinces, had been invaded by sacrilegious hands; nor could the loss be compensated by the claim rather than the possession of the more ample gifts of Pepin and his descendants. But the Vatican and Capitol were nourished by the incessant and increasing swarms of pilgrims and suppliants; the pale of Christianity was enlarged, and the pope and cardinals were overwhelmed by the judgment of ecclesiastical and secular causes. A new jurisprudence had established in the Latin church the right and practice of appeals ; 11 and, from the North and West, the bishops and abbots were invited or summoned to solicit, to complain, to accuse, or to justify, before the threshold of the apostles. A rare prodigy is once recorded, that two horses, belonging to the Archbishops of Mentz and Cologne, repassed the Alps, yet laden with gold and silver ; 12 but it was soon understood that the success, both of the pilgrims and clients, depended much less on the justice of their cause than on the value of their offering. The wealth and piety of these strangers were ostentatiously displayed; and their expenses, sacred or profane, circulated in various channels for the emolument of the Romans.

Such powerful motives should have firmly attached the Inconvoluntary and pious obedience of the Roman people to their so poroti

tion spiritual and temporal father. But the operation of prejudice and interest is often disturbed by the sallies of ungovernable passion. The Indian who fells the tree that he may gather the fruit,13 and the Arab who plunders the caravans of commerce, are actuated by the same impulse of savage nature, which over

11 The appeals from all the churches to the Roman Pontiff are deplored by the zeal of St. Bernard (de Consideratione, 1. iii. tom. ii. p. 431-442, edit. Mabillon, Venet, 1750), and the judgment of Fleury (Discours sur l'Hist. Ecclésiastique, iv. and vii.). But the saint, who believed in the false decretals, condemns only the abuse of these appeals; the more enlightened historian investigates the origin, and rejects the principles, of this new jurisprudence.

12 Germanici . . summarii non levatis sarcinis onusti nihilominus repatriant inviti. Nova res ! quando hactenus aurum Roma refudit? Et nunc Romanorum consilio id usurpatum non credimus (Bernard, de Consideratione, l. iii. c. 3, p. 437). The first words of the passage are obscure, and probably corrupt.

13 Quand les sauvages de la Louisiane veulent avoir du fruit, ils coupent l'arbre au pied et cueillent le fruit. Voilà le gouvernement despotique (Esprit des Loix, 11. V. c. 13); and passion and ignorance are always despotic.

looks the future in the present, and relinquishes for momentary
rapine the long and secure possession of the most important
blessings. And it was thus that the shrine of St. Peter was
profaned by the thoughtless Romans, who pillaged the offerings,
and wounded the pilgrims, without computing the number and
value of similar visits, which they prevented by their inhospitable
sacrilege. Even the influence of superstition is fluctuating and
precarious; and the slave, whose reason is subdued, will often
be delivered by his avarice or pride. A credulous devotion for
the fables and oracles of the priesthood most powerfully acts on
the mind of a barbarian; yet such a mind is the least capable of
preferring imagination to sense, of sacrificing to a distant motive,
to an invisible, perhaps an ideal, object, the appetites and interests
of the present world. In the vigour of health and youth, his
practice will perpetually contradict his belief; till the pressure
of age, or sickness, or calamity, awakens his terrors and com-
pels him to satisfy the double debt of piety and remorse. I have
already observed that the modern times of religious indifference
are the most favourable to the peace and security of the clergy.
Under the reign of superstition they had much to hope from the
ignorance, and much to fear from the violence, of manki
wealth, whose constant increase must have rendered them the
sole proprietors of the earth, was alternately bestowed by the
repentant father and plundered by the rapacious son; their

persons were adored or violated ; and the same idol, by the Seditions hands of the same votaries, was placed on the altar or trampled

in the dust. In the feudal system of Europe, arms were the title of distinction and the measure of allegiance; and amidst their tumult the still voice of law and reason was seldom heard or obeyed. The turbulent Romans disdained the yoke, and insulted the impotence, of their bishop ; 14 nor would his education or character allow him to exercise, with decency or effect, the power of the sword. The motives of his election and the frailties of his life were exposed to their familiar observation; and

14 In a free conversation with his countryman Adrian IV. John of Salisbury accuses the avarice of the pope and clergy : Provinciarum deripiunt spolia, ac si thesauros Crosi studeant reparare. Sed recte cum eis agit Altissimus, quoniam et ipsi aliis et sæpe vilissimis hominibus dati sunt in direptionem (de Nugis Curialium, 1. vi. c. 24, p. 387). In the next page, he blames the rashness and infidelity of the Romans, whom their bishops vainly strove to conciliate by gifts instead of virtues. It is pity that this miscellaneous writer has not given us less morality and erudition, and more pictures of himself and the times.

kind. The

of Rome against the popes

« ForrigeFortsett »