Oldalképek
PDF
ePub

the city in company with the king of Aragon. Once more the count was excommunicated, pronounced an enemy of the church and an apostate from the faith, and declared to have forfeited his title and estates.

The war was now resumed with fresh vigor ; after a long siege, De Montfort took the strong castle of Lavaur by assault, hanged its brave governor, the lord of Montreal, and massacred the entire garrison. “ The lady of the castle,” says the Romish historian, " who was an execrable heretic, was by the earl's orders thrown into a well, and stones heaped over her: afterward, the pilgrims collected the numberless heretics that were in the fortress, and burned them alive with great joy.”

The same cruelties were perpetrated at every other place through which the crusaders passed ; and the friends of the victims took revenge, by intercepting convoys, and murdering stragglers. It was not until he had received a large reinforcement of pilgrims from Germany, that the earl of Leicester ventured to lay siege to Toulouse. Raymond, in this extremity, displayed a vigor and courage, which, if he had manifested in the earlier part of the war, would probably have saved his country from ruin. He made so vigorous a defence, that the crusaders were forced to raise the siege, and retire with some precipitation.

The friendship between the monks of Citeaux and the crusaders soon began to be interrupted by the ambition of the former. Under pretence of reforming the ecclesiastical condition of Languedoc, they expelled the principal prelates, and seized for themselves the richest sees and benefices. The legate, Arnold, took for his share the archbishop of Narbonne, after which he abandoned Montfort, and went to lead a new crusade against the Moors in Spain. Innocent III. himself paused for a moment in his career of vengeance, and, at the instance of the king of Aragon, promised Raymond the benefit of a fair trial. But it is easier to rouse than to allay the spirit of fanaticism; disobeyed by his legates, and reproached by the crusaders, the pope was compelled to retrace his steps, and abandon Raymond to the fury of his enemies.

The king of Arragon came to the aid of his unfortunate relative, and encountered the formidable army of the crusaders at Muret; but he was slain in the beginning of the battle; the Spanish chivalry, disheartened by his fall, took to flight; and the infantry of Toulouse, thus forsaken, could offer no effective resistance. Trampled down by the pilgrimknights, the citizens of Toulouse who followed their sovereign to the field, were either cut to pieces, or drowned in the waters of the Garonne.

Philip Augustus had triumphed over his enemies, the king of England and the emperor of Germany, just when the victory of Muret seems to have confirmed the power of De Montfort. But the ambitious adventurer derived little profit from his success, for the court of Rome began to dread the power of its creature (A. D. 1215). His influence with the papal legates and the prelates who had directed the crusade was, however, still very great, and he procured from the council of Montpellier the investiture of Toulouse and all the conquests made by “the Christian pilgrims." Philip Augustus was by no means disposed to acquiesce in this arrangement; he sent his son Louis with a numerous army into the south of France, under pretence of joining in the crusade, but really to watch the proceedings of De Montfort. Louis subsequently returned to accept the proffered crown of England, and the quarrel in which this proceeding involved him with the pope diverted his attention from Languedoc.

Arnold of Citeaux, having returned from his Spanish crusade, took possession of his archbishopric of Narbonne, where he began to exercise the rights of a sovereign prince. Simon de Montfort, who had taken the title of duke of Narbonne in addition to that of count of Toulouse, denied that his old companion in arms had a right to temporal jurisdiction ; he entered the city by force, and erected his ducal standard. Arnold fulminated an excommunication against De Montfort, and placed the city under an interdict while he remained in it; he found, however, to his great surprise and vexation, that these weapons were contemned by the formidable champion of the church. But a more vigorous enemy appeared in the person of Raymond VII., son of the count of Toulouse, who, in conjunction with his father, made a vigorous effort to recover the ancient inheritance of his race. Simon de Montfort, contrary to his own better judgment, was induced by Foulke, bishop of Toulouse, to treat the citizens with treacherous cruelty for showing some symptoms of affection to their ancient lord; the consequence was, that they took advantage of his absence to invite Raymond to resume his power; and on the 13th of September, 1217, the count was publicly received into his ancient capital amid universal acclamations.

Simon, by the aid of the papal legate and the clergy, was able to collect a large army, but the bravest of the crusaders had either fallen in the preceding wars, or returned disgusted to their homes. Every one now knew that heresy was extinguished in Languedoc, and that the war was maintained only to gratify private revenge and individual ambition. De Montfort laid siege to Toulouse, but he was slain in a sally of the inhabitants, and his son Almeric, after a vain effort to revenge his death, retired to Carcasonne.

The Albigensian war was not ended by the death of its great leader. Almeric de Montfort sold his claims over Languedoc to Louis VIII., king of France; and though this prince died in the attempt to gain possession of Toulouse, the war was so vigorously supported by the queenregent, Blanche, that Raymond VII, submitted to his enemies, and his dominions were united to the crown of France (A. D. 1229). The Inquisition was immediately established in these unhappy countries, which have never since recovered completely from the calamities inflicted upon them by the ministers of papal vengeance.

SECTION IX.-Consequences of the Crusüäes. Though the popes did not succeed in establishing their supremacy over the eastern churches, yet they derived very important advantages from the wars of the crusaders. Not the least of these was the general recognition of their right to interfere in the internal management of states, they compelled emperors and kings to assume the cross ; they levied taxes at their discretion on the clergy throughout Christendom for the support of these wars; they took under their immediate protection the persons and properties of those who enlisted, and granted privileges to the adventurous warriors, which it would have been deemed impiety to contravene. Those who joined in these wars, frequently bequeathed their estates to the church, in the not improbable case of their death without heirs ; those whom cowardice or policy detained at home, atoned for their absence by founding ecclesiastical endowments.

While the papal power increased, that of monarchs declined ; in Germany, the Hohenstauffen gradually lost all influence ; in England, the barons extorted a charter from John, and the Hungarians chiefs placed similar restrictions on their sovereign. Peculiar circumstances led to a contrary result in France; many of the great feudatories having fallen in a distant land, the monarchs were enabled to extend their prerogatives, while their domains were increased by seizing the properties of those who died without feudal heirs, or of those who were suspected of heretical opinions. The Christian kings of Spain and northern Europe derived also some profit from the fanaticism of the age, being aided by troops of warlike adventurers, in extending their dominions at the expense of their Mohammedan and pagan neighbors.

Chivalry, though older than the crusades, derived its chief influence and strength from these wars. The use of surnames, coats of arms, and distinctive banners, became necessary in armies composed of men differing in language, habits, and feelings, collected at hazard from every Christian kingdom. Tournaments were the natural result of pride and courage, in warriors naturally jealous of each other's fame, while the institution of the military orders invested knighthood with a mysterious religious sanction. The first of these was the order of the Hospitallers, or Knights of St. John of Jerusalem, known subsequently as the Knights of Malta. They were formed into a confraternity by Pope Pascal (A. D. 1114), but their order was greatly enlarged by Pope Calixtus. They bore an octagonal white cross on their black robes, and were bound to wage war on infidels, and attend to sick pilgrims. After the loss of the Holy Land, they removed successively to Cyprus, Rhodes, and Malta. Their order held Malta until A. D. 1798, when they were deprived of their last possession by Napoleon.

The Knights Templars, distinguished by the red cross, were instituted soon after the Hospitallers. Their original duty was to keep the roads free for the pilgrims that visited the Holy Sepulchre, but as their numbers increased, they became the great bulwark of the Christian kingdom of Palestine, and the possessors of rich endowments in every part of western Europe.* At length their wealth excited the cupidity of monarchs; they were overwhelmed by a mass of forged accusations ; many of the noblest knights were put to death by torture, and the order wholly abolished at the council of Vienne (A. D. 1312).

The Teutonic order was originally a confraternity of German knights, formed during the seige of Acre, for the relief of the sick and wounded It was formally instituted by Pope Celestin III. (A. D. 1192), and a

* The Temple in London belonged to the Red-cross knights; the Hospitallers possessed a splendid preceptory in Clerkenwell, part of which is still standing.

code of regulations prescribed for its direction. Their ensign was 5 black cross, on a white robe. They subdued the kingdom of Prussia (A. D. 1230), of which they held possession until the progress of the Reformation gave that country to a protestant prince (A. D. 1525). The last great order was that of St. Lazarus, instituted originally for superintending the treatment of leprosy, a loathsome disease which the crusaders introduced into Europe. It soon became military, like the preceding, but never rose to similar eminence.

The Italian maritime states supplied the crusaders with transports, and conveyed to them provision and the munitions of war. This traffic led to a rapid increase in the commerce and navigation of the Mediterranean ; a taste for spices and other articles of oriental luxury was gradually diffused throughout Europe, and trading depôts were formed by Venice, Genoa, and other Italian powers, on the shores of the Levant, and the coasts of the Greek empire. Several French towns imitated this example, and in the remote north an association was formed for the protection and extension of commerce between the cities of Lubeck and Hamburgh (A. D. 1241), which laid the foundation of the Hanseatic league. The progress of industry, the encouragement which sovereigns found it their interest to grant to trade, and their anxiety to check the arrogance and rapacity of their feudal vassals, led to a great change in most European countries, the establishment of municipal institutions.

The royal authority gained considerably by the extension of municipal freedom. The cities and towns saw that the sovereign was the person most interested in protecting their growing freedom, and they therefore gladly gave him their support in his struggles with the aristocracy and the clergy. The emancipation of the serfs was a consequence of municipal freedom. The free cities granted protection to all who sought shelter within their walls, and the nobles saw that they must either ameliorate the condition of their vassals, or witness the depopulation of their estates. Liberty thus gradually recovered its right civilization consequently began to extend its blessings over society.

The imperial house of Hohenstauffen fell from its pride of place on the death of the emperor Frederic II., the great opponent of the papacy (A. D. 1250). His son Conrad fell a victim to disease, after a brief but troubled reign; and the anarchy which succeeded in Germany, is justly named the calamitous period of the great interregnum. William of Holland, and an English prince, Richard, earl of Cornwall, were sucressively elected emperors, and enjoyed little more than the title. At length, Rodolph, count of Hapsburgh, was chosen (A. D. 1273) and showed himself worthy of the crown by his energy in suppressing the predatory wars that were waged by his vassals. In the meantime, the popes, in defiance of the rights of the Hohenstauffen, had bestowed the kingdom of Naples on Charles, duke of Anjou brother to the king of France.

The cruelties of Charles led the Italians to invite young Conradin to assert the hereditary claims of his family. At the age of sixteen this brave prince entered Italy, where he was enthusiastically received, But the Italians were not able to compete with the French in the field, when Conradin encountered Charles, his followers broke at the first onset, and he remained a prisoner. The duke of Anjou subjected the young prince tu the mockery of a trial, and commanded him to be executed.

Thus fell the last prince of the house of Suabia, which had long been the most forinidable obstacle to papal usurpation. The triumph of the papacy appeared complete : Italy was severed from the German empire ; but the peninsula recovered its independence only to be torn in sunder by factions; the church did not succeed to the empire, and the pontiffs found that the spirit of freedom, which they had themselves nurtured, was a more formidable foe than the sovereigns of Germany.

SECTION X.- Formation and Constitutional History of the Spanish Monarchy.

For several hundred years after the great Saracen ir rasion in the beginning of the eighth century, Spain was broken up into a number of small but independent states, divided in their interests, and often in deadly hostility with one another. By the middle of the fifteenth century, the number of states into which the country had been divided was reduced to four; Castile, Aragon, Navarre, and the Moorish kingdom of Granada. The last, comprised within nearly the same limits as the modern province of that name, was all that remained to the Moslems of their once vast possessions in the peninsula. Its concentrated population gave it a degree of strength altogether disproportioned to the extent of its territory; and the profuse magnificence of its court, which rivalled that of the ancient khaliphs, was supported by the labors of a sober industrious people, under whom agriculture and several of the mechanic arts had reached a degree of perfection probably unequalled in any other part of Europe during the middle ages.

The little kingdom of Navarre, embosomed within the Pyrenees, had often attracted the avarice of neighboring and more powerful states. But since their selfish schemes operated as a mutual check upon each other, Navarre still continued to maintain her independence when all the smaller states had been absorbed in the gradually increasing dominion of Castile and Aragon. This latter kingdom comprehended the province of that name, together with Catalonia and Valencia. Under its auspicious climate and free political institutions, its inhabitants displayed an uncommon share of intellectual and moral energy. Its long line of coast opened the way to an extensive and flourishing commerce ; and its enterprising navy indemnified the nation for the scantiness of its territory at home by the important foreign conquests of Sardinia, Sicily, Naples, and the Balearic Isles.

The remaining provinces of the peninsula fell to the crown of Castile, which, thus extending its sway over an unbroken line of country from the bay of Biscay to the Mediterranean, seemed, by the magnitude of its territory, to be entitled to some supremacy over the other states of the peninsula ; especially as it was there that the old Gothic monarchy may be said first to have revived after the great Saracen invasion This claim, indeed, appears to have been recognised at an early period of her history.

The Saracens, reposing under the sunny skies of Andalusia, so congenial with their own, seemed willing to relinquish the sterile regions

« ElőzőTovább »