rome italian kingdom lombards cities emperor king roman popes otto
ITALY HISTORY, the difficulty of Italian history lies in this that until our own time the Italians have had no political unity, no independence, no organized existence as a nation. Split up into numerous and mutually hostile communities, they never, through the fourteen centuries which have elapsed since the end of the old Western empire, shook off the yoke of foreigners completely ; they never until lately learned to merge their local and conflicting interests in the common good of undivided Italy. Their history is therefore not the history of a single people, centralizing and absorbing its constituent elements by a process of continued evolution, but of a group of cognate populations, exemplifying divers types of constitutional development.
Without attaching undue importance to the date 476 as marking the boundary between ancient and modern history, there is no doubt that this year opened a new age for thil Italian people. Odovakar, a chief of the Herulians, deposed Romulus, the last Augustus of the West, and placed the peninsula beneath the titular sway of the Byzantine emperors. At Pavia the barbarian conquerors of Italy proclaimed him king, and he received from Zeno the dignity of Roman patrician. Thus began that system of mixed government, Teutonic and Roman, which, in the absence of a national monarch, impressed the institutions of new Italy from the earliest date with dualism. The same revolution vested supreme authority in a non-resident and inefficient autocrat, whose title gave him the right to interfere in Italian affairs, but who lacked the power and will to rule the people for his own or their advantage. Odovakar inaugurated that long series of foreign rulers - Greeks, Franks, Germans, Spaniards, and Austrians - who have successively contributed to the misgovernment of Italy from distant seats of empire.
Gothic and Lombard Kingdoms.
In 488 Theodoric, king of the East Goths, received commission from the Greek emperor, Zeno, to undertake the affairs of Italy. He defeated Odovakar, drove him to Ravenna, besieged him there, and in 493 completed the conquest of the country by murdering the Herulian chief with his own hand. Theodoric respected the Roman institutions which he found in Italy, held the Eternal City sacred, and governed by ministers chosen from the Roman population. He settled at Ravenna, which had been the capital of Italy since the days of Honorius, and which still testifies by its monuments to the Gothic chieftain's Romanizing policy. Those who believe that the Italians would have gained strength by unification in a single monarchy must regret that this Gothic kingdom lacked the elements of stability. The Goths, except in the valley of the Po, resembled an army of occupation rather than a people numerous enough to blend with the Italic stock. Though their rule was favourable to the Romans, they were Arians ; and religious differences, combined with the pride and jealousies of a nation accustomed to imperial honours, rendered the inhabitants of Italy eager to throw off their yoke. When, therefore, Justinian undertook the reconquest of Italy, his generals, Belisarius and Narses, were supported by the south. The struggle of the Greeks and the Goths was carried on for fourteen years, between 539 and 553, when Teia, the last Gothic king, was finally defeated in a bloody battle near Vesuvius. At its close the provinces of Italy were placed beneath Greek dukes, controlled by a governor-general, entitled exarch, who ruled in the Byzantine emperor's name at Ravenna.
This new settlement lasted but a few years. Narses had employed Lombard auxiliaries in his campaigns against the Goths ; and when he was recalled by an insulting message from the empress in 565, he is said to have invited this fiercest and rudest of the Teutonic clans to seize the spoils of Italy. Be this as it may, the Lombards, their ranks swelled by the Gepidac, whom they had lately conquered, and by the wrecks of other barbarian tribes, passed southward under their king Alboin in 568. The Herulian invaders had been but a band of adventurers ; the Goths were an army ; the Lombards, far more formidable, were a nation in movement. Pavia offered stubborn resistance ; but after a three years' siege it was taken, and Alboin made it the capital of his new kingdom.
In order to understand the future history of Italy, it is necessary to form a clear conception of the method pursued by the Lombards in their conquest. Penetrating the peninsula, and advancing like a glacier or half-liquid stream of mud, they occupied the valley of the Po, and moved slowly downward through the centre of the country. Numerous as they were compared with their Gothic predecessors, they had not strength or multitude enough to occupy the whole peninsula. Venice, which since the days of Attila had offered an asylum to Roman refugees from the northern cities, was left untouched. So was Genoa with its Riviera. Ravenna, entrenched within her lagoons, remained a Greek city. Rome, protected by invincible prestige, escaped. The sea-coast cities of the south, and the islands, Sicily, Sardinia, and Corsica, preserved their independence. Thus the Lombards neither occupied the extremities nor subjugated the brain-centre of the country. The strength of Alboin's kingdom was in the north ; his capital, Pavia. As his people pressed southward, they omitted to possess themselves of the coasts ; and what was worse for the future of these conquerors, the original impetus of the invasion was checked by the untimely murder of Alboin in 573. After this event, the semi-independent chiefs of the Lombard tribe, who borrowed the title of dukes from their Roman predecessors, seem to have been contented with consolidating their power in the districts each had occupied. The duchies of Spoleto in the centre, and of Benevento in the south, inserted wedge-like into the middle of the peninsula, and enclosing independent Rome, were but loosely united to the kingdom at Pavia. Italy was broken up into districts, each offering points for attack from without, and fostering the seeds of internal revolution. Three separate capitals must be discriminated - Pavia, the seat of the new Lombard kingdom ; Ravenna, the garrison city of the Byzantine emperor ; and Rome, the rallying point of the old nation, where the successor of St Peter was already beginning to assume that national protectorate which proved so influential in the future.
It is not necessary to write the history of the Lombard kingdom in detail. Suffice it to say that the rule of the Lombards proved at first far more oppressive to the native population, and was less intelligent of their old customs, than that of the Goths had been. Wherever the Lombards had the upper hand, they placed the country under military rule, resembling in its general character what we now know as the feudal system. Though there is reason to suppose that the Roman laws were still administered within the cities, yet the Lombard code was that of the kingdom ; and the Lombards being Arians, they added the oppression of religious intolerance to that of martial despotism and barbarous cupidity. The Italians were reduced to the last extremity when Gregory the Great (590-604), having strengthened his position by diplomatic relations with the duchy of Spoleto, and brought about the conversion of the Lombards to orthodoxy, raised the cause of the remaining Roman population throughout Italy. The fruit of his policy, which made of Rome a counterpoise against the effete empire of the Greeks upon the one hand and against the pressure of the feudal kingdom on the other, was seen in the succeeding century. When Leo the Isaurian published his decrees against the worship of images in 726, Gregory II. allied himself with Liudprand, the Lombard king, threw off allegiance to Byzantium, and established the autonomy of Rome. This pope initiated the dangerous policy of playing one hostile force off against another with a view to securing independence. He used the Lombards in his struggle with the Greeks, leaving to his successors the duty of checking these unnatural allies. This was accomplished by calling the Franks in against the Lombards. Liudprand pressed hard, not only upon the Greek dominions of the exarchate, but also upon Rome. His successors, Rachis and Astolf, attempted to follow the same game of conquest. But the popes, Gregory III., Zachary, and Stephen II., determining at any cost to espouse the national cause and to aggrandize their own office, continued to rely upon the Franks. Pippin twice crossed the Alps, and forced Astolf to relinquish his acquisitions, including Ravenna, Pentapolis, the coast towns of Romagna, and some cities in the duchy of Spoleto. These he handed over to the pope of Rome. This donation of Pippin in 756 confirmed the papal see in the protectorate of the Italic party, and conferred upon it sovereign rights. The virtual outcome of the contest carried on by Rome since the year 726 with Byzantium and Pavia was to place the popes in the position held by the Greek exarch, and to confirm the limitation of the Lombard kingdom. We must, however, be cautious to remember that the south of Italy was comparatively unaffected. The dukes of the Greek empire and the Lombard dukes of Benevento, together with a few autonomous commercial cities, still divided Italy below the Campagna of Rome.
The Franko-Papal alliance, which conferred a crown on ,t Pippin and sovereign rights upon the see of Rome, held within itself that ideal of mutually supporting papacy and empire which exercised so powerful an influence in medival history. When Charles the Great (Charlemagne) deposed his father-in-law Desiderius, the last Lornb-ard king, in 774, and when he received the circlet of the empire from Leo III. at Rome in 800, he did but complete and ratify the compact offered to his grandfather, Charles Martel, by Gregory III. The relations between the new emperor and the pope were ill defined ; and this proved the source of infinite disasters to Italy and Europe in the sequel. But for the moment each seemed necessary to the other ; and that sufficed. Charles took possession of the kingdom of Italy, as limited by Pippin's settlement. The pope was confirmed in his rectorship of the cities ceded by Astolf, with the further understanding, tacit rather than expressed, that, even as he had wrung these provinces for the Italic people from both Greeks and Lombards, so in the future he might claim the protectorate of such portions of Italy, external to the kingdom, as he should be able to acquire. This, at any rate, seems to be the meaning of that obscure re-settlement of the peninsula which Charles effected. The kingdom of Italy, transmitted on his death by Charles the Great, and afterwards confirmed to his grandson Lothar by the peace of Verdun in 843, stretched from the Alps to Terracina. The duchy of Benevento remained tributary, but independent. The cities of Gaeta and Naples, Sicily, and the so-called Theme of Lombardy in South Apulia and Calabria, still recognized the Byzantine emperor. Venice stood aloof, professing a nominal allegiance to the East. The parcels into which the Lombards had divided the peninsula remained thus virtually unaltered, except for the new authority acquired by the see of Rome.
Internally Charles left the affairs of the Italian kingdom much as he found them, except that he appears to have pursued the policy of breaking up the larger fiefs of the Lombards, substituting counts for their dukes, and adding to the privileges of the bishops. We may reckon these measures among the earliest advantages extended to the cities, which still contained the hulk of the old Roman population, and which were destined to intervene with decisive effect two centuries later in Italian history. It should also here be noticed that the changes introduced into the holding of the fiefs, whether by altering their boundaries or substituting Frankish for Lombard vassals, were chief among the causes why the feudal system took no permanent hold in Italy. Feudalism was not at any time a national institution. The hierarchy of dukes and marquises and counts consisted of foreign soldiers imposed on the indigenous inhabitants ; and the rapid succession of conquerors, Lombards, Franks, and Germans following each other at no long interval, and each endeavouring to weaken the remaining strength of his predecessor, prevented this alien hierarchy from acquiring fixity by permanence of tenure. Among the many miseries inflicted upon Italy by the frequent changes of her northern rulers, this at least may be reckoned a blessing.
The Italians acknowledged eight kings of the house of F Charles the Great, ending in Charles the Fat, who was al deposed in 888. After them followed ten sovereigns, some 1, of whom have been misnamed Italians by writers too eager to catch at any resemblance of national glory for a people passive in the hands of foreign masters. The truth is that no period in Italian history was less really glorious than that which came to a close in 961 by Berengar II.'s cession of his rights to Otto the Great. It was a period marked in the first place by the conquests of the Saracens, who began to occupy Sicily early in the 9th century, overran Calabria and Apulia, took Bari, and threatened Rome. In the second place it was marked by a restoration of the Greeks to power. In 890 they established themselves again at Bari, and ruled the Theme of Lombardy by means of an officer entitled Catapan. In the third place it was marked by a decline of good government in Rome. Early in the 10th century the papacy fell into the hands of a noble family, known eventually as the counts of Tusculum, who almost succeeded in rendering the office hereditary, and in uniting the civil and ecclesiastical functions of the city under a single member of their house. It is not necessary to relate the scandals of Marozia's and Theodora's female reign, the infamies of John XII., or the intrigues which tended to convert Rome into a duchy. The most important fact for the historian of Italy to notice is that during this time the popes abandoned, not only their high duties as chiefs of Christendom, but also their protectorate of Italian liberties. A fourth humiliating episode in this period was the invasion of the Magyar barbarians, who overran the north of Italy, and reduced its fairest provinces to the condition of a wilderness. Anarchy and misery are indeed the main features of that long space of time which elapsed between the death of Charles the Great and the descent of Otto. Through the almost impenetrable darkness and confusion we only discern this much, that Italy was powerless to constitute herself a nation.
The discords which followed on the break-up of the Carolingian power, and the weakness of the so-called Italian emperors, who were unable to control the feudatories (marquises of Ivrea and Tuscany, dukes of Friuli and Spoleto), from whose ranks they sprang, exposed Italy to ever-increasing misrule. The country by this time had become thickly covered over with castles, the seats of greater or lesser nobles, all of whom were eager to detach themselves from strict allegiance to the "Regno." The cities, exposed to pillage by Huns in the north and Saracens in the south, and ravaged on the coast by Norse pirates, asserted their right to enclose themselves with walls, and taught their burghers the use of arms. Within the circuit of their ramparts, the bishops already began to exercise authority in rivalry with the counts, to whom, since the days of Theodoric, had been entrusted the government of the Italian burghs. Agreeably to feudal customs, these nobles, as they grew in power, retired from the town, and built themselves fortresses on points of vantage in the neighbourhood. Thus the titular king of Italy found himself simultaneously at war with those great vassals who had chosen him from their own class, with the turbulent factions of the Roman aristocracy, with unruly bishops in the growing cities, and with the multitude of minor counts and barons who occupied the open lands, and who changed sides according to the interests of the moment. The last king of the quasi-Italian succession, Berengar II., marquis of Ivrea (951-961), made a vigorous effort to restore the authority of the regno ; and had he succeeded, it is not impossible that now at the last moment Italy might have become an independent nation. But this attempt at unification was reckoned to Berengar for a crime. He only won the hatred of all classes, and was represented by the obscure annalists of that period as an oppressor of the church and a remorseless tyrant. In Italy, divided between feudal nobles and almost hereditary ecclesiastics, of foreign blood and alien sympathies, there was no national feeling. Berengar stood alone against a multitude, unanimous in their intolerance of discipline. His predecessor in the kingdom, Lothar, had left a young and beautiful widow, Adelheid. Berengar imprisoned her upon the Lake of Como, and threatened her with a forced marriage to his son Adalbert. She escaped to the castle of Canossa, where the great count of Tuscany espoused her cause, and appealed in her behalf to Otto the Saxon. The king of Germany descended into Italy, and took Adelheid in marriage. After this episode Berengar was more discredited and impotent than ever. In the extremity of his fortunes he had recourse himself to Otto, making a formal cession of the Italian kingdom, in his own name and that of his son Adalbert, to the Saxon as his overlord. By this slender tie the crown of Italy was joined to that of Germany ; and the formal right of the elected king of Germany to be considered king of Italy and emperor may be held to have accrued from this epoch.
The German Emperors.
Berengar gained nothing by his act of obedience to Otto. The great Italian nobles, in their turn, appealed to Germany. Otto entered Lombardy in 961, deposed .s.Berengar, assumed the crown in St Ambrocrio at Milan, and in 962 was proclaimed emperor by John XII. at Rome. Henceforward Italy changed masters according as one or other of the German families assumed supremacy beyond the Alps. It is one of the strongest instances furnished by history of the fascination exercised by an idea that the Italians themselves should have grown to glory in this dependence of their nation upon Cmsars who had nothing but a name in common with the Roman Imperator of the past.
The first thing we have to notice in this revolution which placed Otto the Great upon the imperial throne is that the Italian kingdom, founded by the Lombards, recognized by the Franks, and recently claimed by eminent Italian feudatories, virtually ceased to exist. It was merged in the German kingdom ; and, since for the German princes Germany was of necessity their first care, Italy from this time forward began to be left more and more to herself. The central authority of Pavia had always been weak; the reguo had proved insufficient to combine the nation. But now even that shadow of union disappeared, and the Italians were abandoned to the slowly working influences which tended to divide them into separate states. The most brilliant period of their chequered history, the period which includes the rise of communes, the exchange of municipal liberty for despotism, and the gradual discrimination of the five great powers (Milan, Venice, Florence, the Papacy, and the kingdom of Naples), now begins. Among the centrifugal forces which determined the future of the Italian race must be reckoned, first and foremost, the new spirit of municipal independence. We have seen how the cities enclosed themselves with walls, and how the bishops defined their authority against that of the counts. Otto encouraged this revolution by placing the enclosures of the chief burghs beyond the jurisdiction of the counts. Within those precincts the bishops and the citizens were independent of all feudal masters but the emperor. He further broke the power of the great vassals by redivisions of their feuds, and by the creation of new marches which he assigned to his German followers. In this way, owing to the dislocation of the ancient aristocracy, to the enlarged jurisdiction of a power so democratic as the episcopate, and to the increased privileges of the burghs, feudalism received a powerful check in Italy. The Italian people, that people which gave to the world the commerce and the arts of Florence, was not indeed as yet apparent. But the conditions under which it could arise, casting from itself all foreign and feudal trammels, recognizing its true past in ancient Rome, and reconstructing a civility out of the ruins of those glorious memories, were now at last granted. The nobles from this time forward retired into the country and the mountains, fortified themselves in strong places outside the cities, and gave their best attention to fostering the rural population. Within the cities and upon the open lands the Italians, in this and the next century, doubled, trebled, and quadrupled their numbers. A race was formed strong enough to keep the empire itself in check, strong enough, except for its own internecine contests, to have formed a nation equal to its happier neighbours.
The recent scandals of the papacy induced Otto to deprive the Romans of their right to elect popes. But when he died in 973, his son Otto II. (married to Theophano of the imperial Byzantine house) and his grandson, Otto Ill., who descended into Italy in 996, found that the affairs of Rome and of the southern provinces were more than even their imperial powers could cope with. The faction of the counts of Tusculum raised its head from time to time in the Eternal City, and Rome still claimed to be a commonwealth. Otto III.'s untimely death in 1002 introduced new discords. Rome fell once more into the hands of her nobles, The Lombards chose Ardoin, marquis of Ivrea, for king, and Pavia supported his claims against those of Henry of Bavaria, who had been elected in Germany. Milan sided with Henry ; and this is perhaps the first eminent instance of cities being reckoned powerful allies in the Italian disputes of sovereigns. It is also the first instance of that bitter feud between the two great capitals of Lombardy, a feud rooted in ancient antipathies between the Roman population of Mediolanum and the Lombard garrison of Alboin's successors, which proved so disastrous to the national cause. Ardoin retired to a monastery, where he died in 1015. Henry nearly destroyed Pavia, was crowned in Rome, and died in 1024. After this event Heribert, the archbishop of Milan, invited Conrad, the Franconian king of Germany, into Italy, and crowned him with the iron crown of the kingdom.
't The intervention of this man, Heribert, compels us to turn a closer glance upon the cities of North Italy. It is -d here, at the present epoch and for the next two centuries, that the pith and nerve of the Italian nation must be sought ; and among the burghs of Lombardy, Milan, the eldest daughter of ancient Rome, assumes the lead. In Milan we hear for the first time the word Connote. In Milan the citizens first form themselves into a Parlantento. In Milan the archbishop organizes the hitherto voiceless, defenceless population into a community capable of expressing its needs, and an army ready to maintain its rights. To Heribert is attributed the invention of the Carroccio, which played so singular and important a part in the warfare of Italian cities. A huge car drawn by oxen, bearing the standard of the burgh, and carrying an altar with the host, this carroceio, like the ark of the Israelites, formed a rallying point in battle, and reminded the armed artisans that they had a city and a church to fight for. That Heribert's device proved effectual in raising the spirit of his burghers, and consolidating them into a formidable band of warriors, is shown by the fact that it was speedily adopted in all the free, cities. It must not, however, be supposed that at this epoch the liberties of the burghs were fully developed. The mass of the people remained unrepresented in the government ; and even if the consuls existed in the days of Heribert, they were but humble legal officers, transacting business for their constituents in the courts of the bishop and his viscount. It still needed nearly a century of struggle to render the burghers independent of lordship, with a fully organized commune, self-governed in its several assemblies. While making these reservations, it is at the same time right to observe that certain Italian communities were more advanced upon the path of independence than others. This is specially the case with the maritime ports. Not to mention Venice, which has not yet entered the Italian community, and remains a Greek free city, Genoa and Pisa were rapidly rising into ill-defined autonomy. Their command of fleets gave them incontestable advantages, as when, for instance, Otto II. employed the Pisans in 980 against the Greeks in Lower Italy, and the Pisans and Genoese together attacked the Saracens of Sardinia in 1017. Still, speaking generally, the age of independence for the burghs had only begun when Heribert from Milan undertook the earliest organization of a force that was to become paramount in peace and war.
Next to Milan, and from the point of view of general politics even more than Milan, Rome now claims attention. The destinies of Italy depended upon the character which the see of St Peter should assume. Even the liberties of her republics in the north hung on the issue of a contest which in the 1 lth and 12th centuries shook Europe to its furthest boundaries. So fatally were the internal affairs of that magnificent but unhappy country bound up with concerns which brought the forces of the civilized world into play. Her ancient prestige, her geographical position, and the intellectual primacy of her most noble children rendered Italy the battleground of principles that set all Christendom in motion, and by the clash of which she found herself for ever afterwards divided. During the reign of Conrad II., the party of the counts of Tusculum revived in Rome ; and Crescentius, claiming the title of consul in the imperial city, sought once more to control the election of the popes. When Henry III., the son of Conrad, entered Italy in 1046, he found three popes in Rome. These he abolished, and, taking the appointment into his own hands, gave German bishops to the see. The policy thus initiated upon the precedent laid down by Otto the Great was a remedy for pressing evils. It saved Rome from becoming a duchy in the hands of the Tusculan house. But it neither raised the prestige of the papacy, nor could it satisfy the Italians, who rightly regarded the Roman see as theirs. These German popes were short-lived and inefficient. Their appointment, according to notions which defined themselves within the church at this epoch, was simoniacal ; and during the long minority of Henry IV., who succeeded his father in 1056, the terrible Tuscan monk, Hildebrand of Soana, forged weapons which lie used with deadly effect against the presumption of the empire. The condition of the church seemed desperate, unless it could be purged of crying scandals - of the subjection of the papacy to the great Roman nobles, of its subordination to the German emperor, and of its internal demoralization. It was Hildebrand's policy throughout three papacies, during which he controlled the counsels of the Vatican, and before he himself assumed the tiara, to prepare the mind of Italy and Europe for a mighty change. His programme included these three points : - (1) the celibacy of the clergy; (2) the abolition of ecclesiastical appointments made by the secular authority ; (3) the vesting of the papal election in the hands of the Roman clergy and people, presided over by the curia of cardinals. How Hildebrand paved the way for these reforms during the pontificates of Nicholas II. and Alexander II., how he succeeded in raising the papal office from the depths of ,'degradation and subjection to illimitable sway over the minds of men in Europe, and how his warfare with the empire established on a solid basis the still doubtful independence of the Italian burghs, renewing the long neglected protectorate of the Italian race, and bequeathing to his successors a national policy which had been forgotten by the popes since his great predecessor Gregory II., forms a chapter in European history which must now be interrupted. We have to follow the fortunes of unexpected allies, upon whom in no small measure his success depended.
In order to maintain some thread of continuity through the perplexed and tangled vicissitudes of the Italian race, it has been necessary to disregard those provinces which did not immediately contribute to the formation of its history. For this reason we have left the whole of the south up to the present point unnoticed. Sicily in the hands of the Mussulmans, the Theme of Lombardy abandoned to the weak suzerainty of the Greek catapans, the Lombard duchy of Benevento slowly falling to pieces, and the maritime republics of Naples, Gaeta, and Amalfi extending their influence by commerce in the Mediterranean, were in effect detached from the Italian regno, beyond the jurisdiction of Rome, included in no parcel of Italy proper. But now the moment had arrived when this vast group of provinces, forming the future kingdom of the Two Sicilies, was about to enter definitely and decisively within the bounds of the Italian community. Some Norman adventurers, on pilgrimage to St Michael's shrine on Monte Gargano, lent their swords in 1017 to the Lombard cities of Apulia against the Greeks. Twelve years later we find the Normans settled at Aversa under their Count Rainulf. - From this station as a centre the little band of adventurers, playing the Greeks off against the Lombards, and the Lombards against the Greeks, spread their power in all directions, until they made themselves the most considerable force in southern Italy. William of Hauteville was proclaimed count of Apulia. His half-brother, Robert Wiskard or Guiscard, after defeating the papal troops at Civitella in 1053, received from Leo IX. the investiture of all present and future conquests in Apulia, Calabria, and Sicily, which he agreed to hold as fiefs of the Holy See. Nicholas II. ratified this grant, and confirmed the title of count. Having consolidated their possessions on the mainland, the Normans, under Robert Guiscard's brother, the great Count Roger, undertook the conquest of Sicily in 1060. After a prolonged struggle of thirty years, they wrested the whole island from the Saracens; and Roger, dying in 1101, 'bequeathed to his son Roger a kingdom in Calabria and Sicily second to none in Europe for wealth and magnificence. This while, the elder branch of the Hauteville family still held the title and domains of the Apulian duchy ; but in 1127, upon the death of his cousin Duke William, Roger united the whole of the future realm. In 1130 he assumed the style of king of Sicily, inscribing upon his sword the famous hexameterAppulas et Calaber Sieulus milli servit et Afer.
This Norman conquest of the two Sicilies forms the most romantic episode in mediceval nation history. By the consolidation of Apulia, Calabria, and Sicily into a powerful kingdom, by checking the growth of the maritime republics, and by recognizing the over-lordship of the papal see, the house of llauteville influenced the destinies of Italy with more effect than any of the princes who had previously dealt with any portion of the peninsula. Their kingdom, though Naples was from time to time separated from Sicily, never quite lost the cohesion they had given it ; and all the disturbances of equilibrium in Italy were due in after days to papal manipulation of the rights acquired by RobertGuiscard's act of homage. The southern regno, in the hands of the popes, proved an insurmountable obstacle to the unification of Italy, led to French interference in Italian affairs, introduced the Spaniard, and maintained in those rich southern provinces the reality of feudal sovereignty long after this alien element lied been eliminated from the rest of Italy.
For the sake of clearness, we have anticipated the coursa of events by nearly a century. We must now return to the date of Hildebrand's elevation to the papacy in 1073, when he chose the memorable name of Gregory VII. In the next year after his election Hildebrand convened a council, and passed measures enforcing the celibacy of the clergy. In 1075 he caused the investiture of ecclesiastical dignitaries by secular potentates of any degree to be condemned. These two reforms, striking at the most cherished privileges and most deeply-rooted self-indulgences of the aristocratic caste in Europe, inflamed the bitterest hostility. Henry IV., king of Germany, but not crowned emperor, convened a diet in the following year at Worms, where Gregory was deposed and excommunicated. The pope followed with a counter excommunication, far more formidable, releasing the king's subjects from their oaths of allegiance. War was thus declared between the two chiefs of Western Christendom, that war of investitures which out-lasted the lives of both Gregory and Henry, and was not terminated till the year 1122. The dramatic episodes of this struggle are too well known to be enlarged upon. In Ids single-handed duel with the strength of Germany, Gregory received material assistance from the Countess Matilda of Tuscany. She was the last heiress of the great house of Canossa, whose fiefs stretched from Mantua across Lombardy, passed the Apennines, included the Tuscan plains, and embraced a portion of the duchy of Spoleto. It was iu her castle of Canossa that Henry IV. performed his three clays' penance in the winter of 1077: and there she made the cession of her vast domains to the church. That cession, renewed after the death of Gregory to his successors, conferred upon the popes indefinite rights, of which they afterwards availed themselves in the consolidation of their temporal power. Matilda died in the year 1115. Gregory hail passed Lefore her from the scene of his contest, an exile at Salerno, whither Robert Wiskard tarried him in 1084 from the anarchy of rebellious Rome. With unbroken spirit, though the objects of his life were mattained, though Italy and Europe had been thrown into ;onfusion, and the issue of the conflict was still doubtful, 3regory expired in 1085 with these words on his lips : " I oved justice, I hated iniquity, therefore in banishment I lie."
The greatest of the popes thus breathed his last ; but le new spirit he had communicated to the papacy was oot destined to expire with him. Gregory's immediate muccessors, Victor III., Urban II., and Paschal II., carried on his struggle with Henry IV. and his imperial anti-popes, encouraging the emperor's son to rebel against him, and stirring up Europe for the first crusade. When Henry IV. died, his own son's prisoner, in 1106, Henry V. crossed the Alps, entered Rome, wrung the imperial coronation from Paschal II., and compelled the pope to -grant his claims on the investitures. Scarcely had he returned to Germany when the Lateran disavowed all that the pope had done, on the score that it had been extorted by-force. France sided with the church. Germany rejected the bull of investiture. A new descent into Italy, a new seizure of Rome, proved of no avail. The emperor's real weakness was in Germany, where his subjects openly expres-sed their discontent. He at last abandoned the contest which had distracted Europe. By the concordat of Worms, 1122, the emperor surrendered the right of investiture by ring and staff, and granted the right of election to the clergy. The popes were henceforth to be chosen by the cardinals, the bishops by the chapters subject to the pope's approval. On the other hand the pope ceded to the emperor the right of investiture by the sceptre. But the main issue of the struggle was not in these details of ecclesiastical government; principles had been at stake far deeper and more widely reaching. The respective relations of pope and emperor, ill-defined in the compact between Charles the Great and Leo III., were brought in question, and the two chief potentates of Christendom, no longer tacitly concordant, stood against each other in irreconcilable rivalry. Upon this point, though the battle seemed to be a drawn one, the popes were really victors. They remained independent of the emperor, hut the emperor had still to seek the crown at their hands. The pretensions of Otto the Great and Henry III. to make popes were gone for ever.
Age of tlie Communes.