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EUH2001 – The Dismal 14th Century 12/07/2007

War, Heresy, Plagues & Extras

Crises of Late Medieval Europe

• Division within the church

• persecution of heretics

• the hundred years war

• the ‘black death’

• peasant uprisings

• invasions from the east

o 1Mongols

o ottoman Turks

Background on the development in the church in the 13th


The Medieval Search for Religious Harmony

• The Church’s Mission of Reform

o Innocent III

 first pope trained in the universities

 strengthened the authority of the office

o 4th Lateran Council [1215]

 attempted to regulate every aspect of

Christian life

 stipulated that Christians are to attend

mass and confess at least once a year

 doctrine of transubstantiation

 the wine and bread taken at

communion are the physical

incarnation of blood and body of


 the church had the right to investigate

marriages and their legality

 to strengthened the legal authority of

the church and in case a child was

born out of wedlock

 they required for all Jews to wear an item

to identify them as a Jew

 they did not set a specific guideline,

based on region by region basis

 the nobles liked it because they could

charge so they would not have to

wear the items

o Suppression of Heretics

 It not only was a crime against the church

but also against the secular government

 the pope also had an army, just not large

enough to attack other kingdoms, just to

enforce their doctrines

o The Inquisition

o Lay Piety

 Friars, townspeople, tertiary

 Friars are there to help the poor

 Tertiary were lay people that took the

monastic life. They were religious, but

were not part of the clergy

 Piety of Women

 Stay at home, take care of the family

 nobles and wealthy women entered


• Cultural Harmonies

o Scholasticism

 Empiricism & Faith

 Thomas Aquinas [1225 – 1274]

 scholar

 John Duns Scotus [1266 – 1308]

 truth only came from the intervention

of the divine

 they called themselves scholars

 they were looking for a combination and

spiritual and empirical powers

 they wanted to create harmony and new

authority for the Pope

o New Artistic Syntheses

 Literature

 Dante Alighieri

• Published the divine trilogy

o Very lengthy poem on his

journeys through hell,

purgatory and heaven

o incorporated historical

figures and from his lifetime

 Gothic Architecture

 High arches designed to lead people

into knowledge

 stained glass with saints

 community efforts in financing,

design and construction

The Politics of Control

• Weakening of the Empire

o Frederick II

 conflict between him and the Pope

 as emperor he needed to maintain his

kingdom and the Pope wanted to expand

the Papal states

 Innocent III wanted to separate from

Frederick II

 the emperor was able to use the

church’s office as his own ruling


 Constitutions of Melfi [1231]

 pulls jurisdiction from the church

back to the empire’s people

 “Statute in Favor of the Princes” [1232]

 virtual independence of the German

Kingdoms under his rule, in exchange

for his recognition of the Italian rule

 The Pope excommunicates Frederick II,

they call a crusade against him

o Blowback

 some people fight back on both fronts

o Holy Roman Empire

 Frederick II is no longer a strong emperor

 he has no heirs

 Rudolf [Hapsburg, Swabia, 1273]

 takes the title of Holy Roman Empire

 elected by the rest of the princes of

the empire

 consolidates power over the rule of


 the emperor is an honorary title and

the title is elected by the princes of

the German states

 Charles IV & the ‘Golden Bull’ [1356]

 declares the holy roman empire and

its electoral system as official

o Kings and Representation

 Over 500 years does not become its own


 Loosely co-coordinated kingdoms and

principalities for 500 years

 Louis VIIII establishes its court

 and the Parliament is being established at

this time as well

• Weakening of the Papacy

o The secular rulers did not tax the clergy before

the 12th century

o Philip IV (French) and Edward I (English) tax

the church and do not have to submit to any

other institution, be it the church or anyone


o Taxing the Clergy

 National Sovereignty

 The Pope Boniface VIII threatens to

excommunicate the Kings

 Both respond in similar ways

 Edward I declares if they do not pay

taxes then they are not under the

protection of its law

• also publicly burns the Pope’s

letter of excommunication

• as a part of propaganda he

distributes a forged letter that

not only excommunicates the

King but also says that the

people of England are under the

rule of the Pope

• he tries (successfully) to garner

hate against the Papacy

 Philip IV

• Embargoes all payments to

• calls a meeting of French nobles

to gather their support as King

and his authority of him over

that of the Pope

• he declares the Pope is a heretic

and a trader to France

o In 1302

 The Pope issues Unam Sanctum

 it says you can’t have salvation

unless you are under the Pope’s


• follow the Pope or go to hell

 largely ignored

 Philip claiming that the pope is a

heretic and sends mercenaries

southwest of Rome in Anagni [1303]

• the plan was to grab the pope

and have him stand in trial for

heresy and treason

• they can't get a hold of him, the

townspeople protect him

o the pope is relatively safe

 This is the first time that a secular

power not only took arms against the

pope but also denied the authority of

the pope and got away with it

 Philip IV has a lot of support, the

nobles want to tax the clergy as well

 huge humiliation for the papacy

o By 1305

 Cardinals across Europe are deeply


 Also the Pope dies of natural causes

 the cardinals are afraid of secular


 in order to appease the French and

English king they appoint a French

archbishop that has royal ties with

the English nobility

 Rome becomes a dangerous seat for

the papacy

 the church moves the capital to

Avignon. Close to France with very

close ties to it

 Between 1305 – 1378

 The next 5 popes are French

Papacy in Crisis

• Avignon Papacy [1305 – 1378]

o French cardinals dominate the church and

most church officials are French

o the church allows the king of France to use

funding raised through the ties of the church

to finance France’s wars

o in practicality, despite the clear leaning

toward France, the papacy is not just a vassal

of the French king. They do go against the

French king from time to time

o However, overwhelmingly people think they

church is just a vassal of the French kingdom

o the Christians do not like the French rule of the


o the city of Avignon becomes a symbol of


 crowded with merchants, prostitution

industry, thriving industry of astrologers

who are not in line with church doctrine

 there are 43 banking houses in Avignon

o people see it as corrupt and in bed with the

king of France

• Papal Authority

o The pope is still very powerful and proficient in

collecting money

o The pope has its own army

 Most of the time in Italy, but still under his


o Profitable Doctrines

 Purgatory

 Intermediary between heaven and


 not damned, but you’ll get to heaven

sooner or later

 Indulgences

 Jesus Christ and all the saints have a

surplus of merit, a surplus of

• It acts as a treasury

• if you donate enough money the

treasury will pay out to you for

your own salvation

 this is an active system

 they have their own people meeting

with nobles

• kind of like salesman pitching the

system of ‘salvation’

• Benefices Conflict

o Church offices become a point of conflict

o the offices were also solicited

o specially a problem within the German


o this reduces local influence in the church

o papal tax collectors are prevented from

collecting on an office that is essentially

o the German kingdoms get together and come

out with the ‘Statue of Provisors’

 forbids offices in absentia

 money will not go to offices that are


o Edward III of England makes the election of

papal authority to the Bishops in England.

• Criticism

o Catherine of Siena

 A greatly influential spiritual leader at her


 given to raptures and trances, described

Avignon as a city in distress and urged the

papacy to return to Rome

o William of Ockman & Nominalism

 Church power derived from the covenant

of the faithful

 nominalism
 he believed that truth was only

derived from the spiritual absolvation

o Patriarch & “Babylonian captivity”

 The church was gathering and spending

too much money, living a lavish life while

to giving enough to the people

o French and Scandinavians supported the pope,

however, not the English

o William of Ockman and Catherine of Siena

 They are not heretics

 They want change but they don’t dispute

its authority

Extra Popes, Angry Councils & Heretics

• Gregory XI Returns to Rome [1377 – 1378]

o Lure of a crusade

o Byzantium appeals for help against the

ottoman Turks from the pope

 The consensus is that if there is going to

be another crusade, it should be launched

from Rome

 A greater symbolic power to combine

European powers

o Papal states

 Growing agitation between the papal


 The pope believes if he stays in Avignon

then the papal states might become

independent from the church

o Threat of Schism

 He is afraid that they will appoint their

own bishops

• The Great Schism

o He dies shortly after coming to Rome

o The cardinals, majority of whom are French,

have to pick a new pope

 They convene in Rome to chose a new

pope and fearing a return to Avignon the

Romans stand outside the Vatican

chanting “Romano lo volemo!” (We want a

roman) however, they’ll settle for an


 They chose an Italian bishop, Urban VI

o Urban VI

 The cardinals regret the decision

 11 of the 16 cardinals choosing the Pope

are French

 they are hoping to chose an Italian and

still move back to Avignon

 urban VI says no

 he also says that cardinals are corrupt

 the practice of collecting money from

a place that they are not even at.

 The cardinals retreat

 13 retreat to a town outside of Rome

where they conclude that the election

of urban VI was not legitimate

 the pressure of the mob nullifies the


 they elect their own pope Clement VII

(Aug. 1378)

 Clement VII

 They return to Avignon and now

Europe has two popes

• Europe at Sixes and Sevens

o Europe is divided, some go for urban VI and

some for clement VII

• Pisa [1409]
o The cardinals and nobles from both sides of

the divide are disconcerted enough by the fact

that there are two popes and religious divide

that they take it upon themselves to meet at

Pisa in 1409

o This is a revolutionary event

 New pope used to be chose when the

pope dies

 This is the first time that a pope is elected

while there is a living pope. Two in fact

 The idea is to create one pope and nullify

the other two

o They come with this however from church law

 A sitting pope can be deposed on account

of heresy and corruption

 And that ultimate authority rests upon the

church as a whole

o They elect pope John XXIII

 Now there are three popes

 A lot people do not take much seriousness

to the new pope or the convention at Pisa

 They don’t believe they have the

authority to create a new pope

 Some people DO take the council of Pisa

seriously and the new pope but is not

widespread as they had hoped

o The authority of the church has been

weakened by this

 People do not believe the church can

direct itself anymore

• Conciliar Movement

o In 1415 the holy roman emperor calls for a

council of bishops and nobles to reform church

doctrine and elect a new pope that will finally

end this mess

o At the council of Constance they come up with

Haec Sancta

 The council itself is now under the

authority of Jesus Christ and therefore

have authority over the pope

 They order john xxiii to resign

 They then deposed the other two popes

and elect the pope Martin V

 They believe that this type of councils

should meet over and over and direct the

church from time to time

o The conciliar movement fails at directing the

church from then on, however, they do stop

the schism

• Heresy

o This allows for everybody to come together

o Three groups of heretics (major groups)

 The Free Spirits

 They are called Beghards and


 They stressed the direct contact of

god in the individual which not only

rejects the sacrament of the church

but declares a quality among men

and women

 They set up communal sites for men

and women worked, preached and

rejected the church and did not

submit to its authority together

 There were rumors of orgies and free

love and all sorts of sexual


 The church acted to stamp out this

movement by moving bibles which

they had translated to French and

burning some free spirits at the stake

 John Wycliffe and the Lollards

 This is in England

 He was appalled at the corruption of

the church

• The sale of indulgences

 Not only rejected the authority of the

church but proposed that the state

should direct the church

• Bishops in England dismiss him

of his position as a monk and a

professor of theology

• He lives the rest of his life in


 His followers are called the Lollards

 Hussites Revolt (shortly before of the

council at Constance)

 Jan Hus was powerful theologist

• He was excommunicated by john

XXIII in 1410

• But he is still active in preaching

and gains a following

• In 1415 he is invited to

Constance and guaranteed safe

passage and safety once he


o This is false

o He believes he is going to

Constance for an important

theological debate

o He walks into a trap and

burned at the stake

 When words comes back of his death

his followers openly revolt

• They demanded greater freedom

from the church

• They demanded that they could

take wine (only the priest could

do so at this time)

• They also asked that priests

should be punished by secular

courts for corruption

 During the revolt Ziska led an army to

a hill and lived together and fought


 They are able to hold off all the attacks

mounted against them then in 1433 a

council convenes in Switzerland

 The council negotiates a truce with

the Hussites

 They give in to the Hussites demands

12/07/2007 10:21:00
12/07/2007 10:21:00